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Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers the Films of Director John G. Avildsen

John G. Avildsen

CHICAGO – His films were more popular than his name, but director John G. Avildsen did put his mark on the last 30 years of 20th Century movies. Avildsen died last week at the age of 81. He is known best for the Oscar Best Picture-winning “Rocky” (1976), but also did the controversial “Joe” (1970), “Save the Tiger” (1973, Best Actor Oscar for Jack Lemmon), John Belushi’s last film “Neighbors” (1981), “The Karate Kid” (1984), “Lean on Me” (1989) and “8 Seconds” (1994). Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com offer three essays on their Avildsen favorites.

Film Review: Cut of Nostalgia in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

CHICAGO – When I first saw “Guardians of the Galaxy” I was unfamiliar with the comic book source. I enjoyed the film, but worried it might be just a little too nerdy and obscure to develop a following. Now with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” the series has solidified itself as the class clowns of the Marvel Studios cinematic universe, and it’s been embraced for it.

Entertainment News: Best Picture ‘The Revenant,’ TV’s ‘Mr. Robot’ Are 2016 Golden Globe Winners

CHICAGO – The best of 2015 in film and TV was celebrated at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards on January 10th, 2016. Hosted with the usual sass by Ricky Gervais, the Globes honored “The Revenant” (Drama) and “The Martian” (Comedy) as Best Pictures, and surprised in TV Best categories with “Mr Robot” (Drama) on the USA Network and “Mozart in the Jungle” (Comedy) on Amazon Video.

Slideshow: ‘Creed’ Movie Premiere in Chicago on Nov. 12, 2015

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Michael B. Jordan portrays Adonis in ‘Creed.’

CHICAGO – “Creed” is poised to become a contender at the box office over the Thanksgiving weekend, and the new boxing film starring Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa and Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed (son of ex-heavyweight champion and Rocky opponent Apollo Creed) is also in the buzz of the 2015 Oscar race. The film premiered in Chicago on Nov. 12th, 2015, with a Red Carpet event at Jones College Prep High School, where a mural was unveiled as part of the ceremony.

Film Review: ‘Creed’ is a Champion in the Rocky Balboa Legacy

CHICAGO – This is what happens when passionate filmmakers come into a known movie project – with an obvious love for the previous stories and characters – and create a new chapter that both evolves and honors its source. “Creed” does all of that, and gives the beloved Rocky Balboa one more time in the spotlight.

Film Review: As Title Implies, ‘The Expendables 3’ Totally Expendable

CHICAGO – The old man as macho action hero trend has finally calcified. If you haven’t seen either of the two previous “Expendables” pictures – this is definitely not the place to start. Sylvester Stallone’s creaky franchise hits rock bottom.

Film Review: More Questions Than Answers in ‘Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon’

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

CHICAGO – Not much is really revealed about the subject of the documentary “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” co-directed by comedian Mike Myers. Shep is a rock star agent, Shep gets rich, Shep shares his Hawaiian beach condo with big stars, Shep represents gourmet chefs, Shep likes to cook and Shep strangely wants kids, despite being in his sixties and not being able to maintain any domestic relationship. There is no there in this film, only the spoils of good representation.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Grudge Match’ is Strictly Lightweight

Grudge Match

CHICAGO – This forgettable time waster is mildly amusing as long as you don’t let yourself go into mourning over Robert Deniro’s career. But then again that almost goes without saying these days. Likewise Stallone who has had far more interesting career choices in the last decade than this. The pair play retired boxers who comes out of retirement for one last fight. One for the paycheck. The other to settle an old score.

Blu-ray Review: Even Villainous James Franco Can’t Save Dull ‘Homefront’

Homefront

CHICAGO – Jason Statham has become an amorphous blob in the action genre, but an amorphous blob who is his own archetype, nonetheless. With the “Expendables” movies he began to take the genre torch from Sylvester Stallone, and now working from a script by Stallone in “Homefront”, his Americanization is nearly certified. That being said, watching Jason Statham tattoo a bald eagle on himself might be more enjoyable than his latest addition to a bloated filmography, “Homefront”. That, or staging a debate with Stallone and Statham about gun control.

Film Review: Two Old Stars Roast Their Images in ‘Grudge Match’

CHICAGO – Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro – between them they have over 150 film credits in careers stretching back to the 1960s. Two of their most famous roles, boxers Rocky and the Raging Bull, get the full make-fun-of treatment in the Christmas Day Film “Grudge Match.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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