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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

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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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  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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