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T.J. Miller

Film Review: Anti-Heroism of ‘Deadpool’ Revels in Sass & Violence

CHICAGO – It was inevitable that we would get an “R-rated” superhero movie, and “Deadpool” fits the bill with its swears, violence and a little sex/nudity. It also has Ryan Reynolds as that hero, doing his “Van Wilder” smarmy act to the nth degree. How that all works will determine how you like the film.

Film Review: ‘Big Hero 6’ is Sorely Lacking the Charm Component

CHICAGO – “Big Hero 6” is a dark revenge thriller masquerading as a kids movie. Walt Disney Studios takes a few pages from its corporate cousin Marvel, while creating this new animated adventure. It has its moments, but not quite enough of them to make this anything more than a minor entry in the Disney legacy.  

Film Review: ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Most Tolerable of Series

CHICAGO – I’ll say this for “Transformers: Age Of Extinction,” it’s the most tolerable Transformers movie Michael Bay has ever made. The substitution of Mark Wahlberg for Shia LaBeouf is a big part of that – and for its first two hours at least, Bay realizes less is more.

Interview: Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor on ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’

CHICAGO – Among the Transforming machines in the fourth installment of the “Transformers” series are human actors, poised to react to the giant robot madness around them. Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor are newcomers to the series, and both are making major franchise film debuts in “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Interview: Djimon Hounsou is Vocal in ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’

CHICAGO – Character actor Djimon Hounsou (Jee-mahn Hahn-soo) is memorable in any role he takes on – whether it’s working with Steven Spielberg in “Amistad,” or being so indelibly subtle for “In America.” Hounsou has also forged a true character in his voiceover work as Drago Bludvist in “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”

Film Review: Heroic, Visually Bold ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’

CHICAGO – “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is spectacular in 3D, the filmmakers actually geared the film to enhance that much maligned vision. It also features a warm and heroic story about the coming-of-age for the character Hiccup, and his now fully trained dragon, Toothless.

TV Review: FOX Buries ‘The Goodwin Games’ For Good Reason

The Goodwin Games

CHICAGO – “The Goodwin Games” is bad, bad, bad. You know a show is likely to be awful when a network cuts back the order and buries its premiere in a time of year when most people are getting outside or going to see Summer blockbusters. While the networks are busy promoting Fall 2013 at Upfronts, who cares about a new show that won’t make it more than two months? And yet there is sometimes reason for hope that a network executive just missed the humor and is actually burying a hidden gem. Hope dies at “The Goodwin Games” and I wish they had buried it deeper.

Film Review: ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ with Steve Carell Can’t Find Honest Emotion

CHICAGO – Lorene Scafaria’s “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is a manipulative mess that’s only slightly redeemed by yet-another engaging performance from one of the best actresses of her generation.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Harry Lennix, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’

  • King and I, The

    CHICAGO – The venerable musical “The King and I,” by the legendary team of (Richard) Rodgers and (Oscar) Hammerstein, is now 65 years old. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is injecting fresh life into this senior aged play, with a sumptuous new production that is top drawer at every level.

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