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Film Review: Parts Are Better Than the Whole in ‘The Skeleton Twins’

CHICAGO – Live from the movies, it’s Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig! The two “Saturday Night Live” veterans are “The Skeleton Twins,” and both have more to do than just be funny. There are moments that sink or swim, depending on the “Twins,” and those parts are greater than the narrative sum.

Film Review: Animal Psychology Charges Rugged Thug Tale ‘The Drop’

The Drop

CHICAGO – For a film adapted from “Mystic River” and “Gone Baby Gone” author Dennis Lehane, there are no children in danger in “The Drop,” but there is a pit bull puppy named Rocco. The dog’s involvement in the story, an animal who gets as many closeups this side of a Charles Martin Smith film, invites the uncharacteristically blunt metaphor of how creatures fight for power, or even just the impression of power.

Film Review: ‘Dolphin Tale 2’ is Fantastic Family Entertainment

CHICAGO – They don’t come along often, the rare fun-for-the-whole-family film. But “Dolphin Tale 2” fits that description perfectly, throws in some idealistic symbolism, and more importantly follows those symbols through to the end.

Movie News: In Memoriam, An Appreciation of Richard Kiel

Richard Kiel, photo by Joe Arce

LOS ANGELES – He was 7 foot 2 inches tall, an imposing figure that made for one of the most memorable James Bond villains. Richard Kiel portrayed “Jaws” in two Bond films – “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker” – and left an unforgettable mark as a character actor with a distinctive look and persona. Richard Kiel died at age 74 on September 10th, 2014.

Interview: Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Nathan Gamble of ‘Dolphin Tale 2’

CHICAGO – When sequels are made, they are rarely better than the original and often have different cast members. “Dolphin Tale 2” defies both of those conventions, and the returning cast delivers the goods – including Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., and the teenage actors Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff.

Film Review: Kevin Kline in Like Flynn For ‘The Last of Robin Hood’

CHICAGO – The term “in like Flynn” still gets used, when delusional dudes think they have the score. The saying is a product of former matinee idol Errol Flynn, whose tastes in young girls inspired the saying. Kevin Kline portrays him, and his tastes, in “The Last of Robin Hood.”

Film Review: Brutal Coming-of-Rage Prison Drama ‘Starred Up’

Starred Up

CHICAGO – Opening this weekend at Chicago’s Facets Cinematheque after a week on VOD is “Starred Up,” a bloody-knuckles British prison drama that was also a favorite at the most recent Chicago Critics Film Festival. This is an at-times beastly movie that follows in the line of previous character-driven jail films like “Chopper” (starring Eric Bana), or Tom Hardy’s raging breakout movie “Bronson”.

Entertainment News: Comic Legend Joan Rivers Dies at 81

NEW YORK CITY – There are legends, and then there is Joan Rivers. The comedian and show business survivor had a life journey as an influential star from the 1960s all the way to the end of her life. Joan Rivers died on September 4th, 2014, in New York City after suffering respiratory failure last weekend.

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  • References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot

    CHICAGO – In “References to Salvador Dali Makes Me Hot,” now at the Den Theatre in Chicago through September 7th, the intersect of author José Rivera and the strong cast of actors make for a formidable partnership. Committed and passionate interpreters take both the soft and edgy parts of the narrative to task.

  • Emmy Awards, Bryan Cranston

    LOS ANGELES – It was one more lap around the victory track for the AMC-TV show ‘Breakling Bad,’ as the gritty drama about a teacher turned meth dealer took home six Primetime Emmy Awards at the 66th ceremony on August 25th. ‘Modern Family’ took home the statue for Outstanding Comedy Series for a a fifth straight year.

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