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Film Review: Feminism Humbles Tommy Lee Jones in Heartfelt Western ‘The Homesman’

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CHICAGO – In Tommy Lee Jones’ passion project “The Homesman,” the wild west provides a vivid setting for a battle in man’s endless war against women, as the film firmly occupying a genre strictly known for cowboys and pioneer machismo. It’s a sorrowful western from actor/writer/director Jones that often shines in its twilight, hoping to slightly reconcile the maltreatment unleashed on half of the world’s most powerful species.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘Kill the Messenger’ With Jeremy Renner

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new dramatic thriller “Kill the Messenger” starring Jeremy Renner based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb!

Film News: 10th Year of Midwest Independent Film Festival Kicks Off Feb. 4, 2014

Midwest Independent Film Festival Logo

CHICAGO – One of the finest film fest gathering places in Chicago is the Midwest Independent Film Festival, a year-long event that meets every first Tuesday of the month. The festival’s 10th year kicks off on Tuesday, February 4th, with the comedy “Adventures in the Sin Bin.”

Film Review: Frustrating Distance Travelled by ‘Blue Caprice’

CHICAGO – Alexandre Moors’ “Blue Caprice” presents no easy answers to a situation that likely doesn’t have any. I get that. I don’t need a traditional, TV-movie dissection of the D.C. sniper.

Film Review: Whale of a Tale For Drew Barrymore in ‘Big Miracle’

CHICAGO – Whale of a tale (chuckle), no other headline writer has thought of that. “Big Miracle” is a family movie with Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell, Ted Danson and the voice of Ronald Reagan, that will not have adults seeking the emergency exits. It’s about whales.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Flypaper’ Falters With Paper-Thin Characterizations

Flypaper Thumb

CHICAGO – After the not-so-surprising success of the heavily marketed farce “The Hangover,” Jon Lucas and Scott Moore have quickly become Hollywood’s most overrated screenwriters. They specialize in injecting high concepts with frat-boy vulgarity, mean spirited gags and entirely superficial warmth. If Zach Galifianakis hadn’t bolstered “Hangover” with his deadpan genius, the film almost surely would’ve flopped.

Film Review: Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, Jack Black Flock Up in ‘The Big Year’

The Big Year

CHICAGO – “The Big Year” is advertised as a comedy. The subject is bird watching, or as the new film likes to express the proper term, “birding.” It stars comic legend Steve Martin, and funnymen Jack Black and Owen Wilson. It is both not funny and is ACTUALLY, seriously about birding. Time to fly away.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?,’ ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’

O Brother BD

CHICAGO – Touchstone Pictures have reached into the vault and pulled out two of their modest hits, a pair of films with little in common other than studio and that they’re both around ten years old. For teenagers, these films will be new again and the fact is that both have been a bit forgotten by history. “The Count of Monte Cristo” certainly has been more so than the Coen brothers’ “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” but you may want to revisit both now that they’re available in HD.

TV Review: Freddy Rodriguez Stars in Quirky Spy Series ‘Chaos’

CHICAGO – The main problem with reviewing television is that we’re often sent only the premiere and asked to judge a show overall. And yet we’d all agree that programs regularly improve or slide in quality after week one.

DVD Review: Uneven ‘Leaves of Grass’ Delves Into High-Minded Farce

Leaves of Grass DVD

CHICAGO – As special effects technology continues to become more advanced, filmmakers have found increasingly convincing ways of allowing actors to give dual performances in the same movie, and often in the same frame. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, from the exquisite trick photography in “Moon” to the seamless digital creation of the Winklevi in “The Social Network.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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