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Film Review: Glaring Lack of Originality Handicaps ‘The Bad Batch’

Bad Batch, The

CHICAGO – Dystopia has been dissed out. Mining the negative vibe future world can’t seem to touch the rich creative vein any more and the reserves seem dry. Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour may have an element within her interpretation that is hard core, but it’s not enough to understand the overall vision of her tomorrow world, except that we’re all part of “The Bad Batch.”

Interview, Audio: Director Ana Lily Amirpour Stirs up ‘The Bad Batch’

CHICAGO – The dystopia – or negative future world – is a genre staple, from “Soylent Green” to “Max Max.” The latest film to ponder the possibilities is “The Bad Batch,” from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour. This is her sophomore feature, after “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” and features Suki Waterhouse in the lead role.

Interview: John Michael is the One-Man Show in ‘Dementia Me’

CHICAGO – No one would call talented one-man-show artist John Michael conventional, at least if they are in their right mind. So ironically, after tackling sexually transmitted disease in his last solo performance, he takes on the vagrancies of old age and caring for elderly patients in his truly heartfelt “Dementia Me.”

Interview: John Michael Performs the One-Man ‘Order of the Penix’

John Michael & the Order of the Penix

CHICAGO – Occasionally we can be surprised through true wonder and serendipity. In August of 2015, John Michael – a Texas native and one-man-show artist – crushed out the funny at the Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins theater festival, by making his Chicago debut with “John Michael & the Order of the Penix.” For two consecutive upcoming Saturdays – Dec. 5th and 12th – he returns to the scene of his debut, the Mary-Arrchie Theater at Angel Island in Chicago, to perform the show once again.

Interview: Hitting the Links with the Collaborators of ‘The Squeeze’

CHICAGO – Golf and gambling go together like the 19th hole and tall tales. The green grass of the course isn’t the same without a little wagering, and the new film ‘The Squeeze’ – written and directed by Terry Jastrow – follows the game from small town America to the big stage of Las Vegas.

Film Review: Circumstances of Life, Truth Exist in ‘Boyhood’

CHICAGO – Life is made up of moments, as the philosophy of the new Richard Linklater film wants to convey. What formulates a person’s ideals and soul, born in a certain place and time? Over 12 years, the writer and director created a fictional family using the same actors in “Boyhood.”

Film Review: Tour de Force for Jack Black in Fact-Based ‘Bernie’

CHICAGO – Jack Black is a smart and interesting actor. Not content to ride on the modern day John Belushi-type roles that might have pigeonholed him, Black portrays “Bernie,” a convincing conniver in Texas, based on a true story. Veterans Matthew McConaughhey and Shirley MacLaine add spice to the brew.

TV Review: ‘Friday Night Lights’ Continues Stellar Storytelling

Friday Night Lights

CHICAGO – Why has a seemingly ordinary tale of an oil patch town in Texas and their high school football obsession conquered books, film and television? Because the folks telling the story continue a tradition of beautiful, significant truth.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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