Toni Collette

Film News: Chicago Film Critics Best Film of 2018 is ‘Roma’

CHICAGO – The personal, emotional essence of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” – a memory film set in the Mexico City neighborhood in the early 1970s – took home the Best Picture honor at the 2018 Chicago Film Critics Association annual dinner. “Roma” also was honored as Best Foreign Film, Director, Cinematography and Editing.

Podtalk: Director Brett Haley on Rhythms in ‘Hearts Beat Loud’

CHICAGO – There is no better Father’s Day present at the movies than director Brett Haley’s new film, “Hearts Beat Loud.” It’s the story of a single Dad, portrayed by Nick Offerman, dealing with his about-to-go-to-college daughter. The riff in the film is that they are also songwriters together, and that becomes a major conflict.

Film Review: Toni Collette Discovers that Horror is ‘Hereditary’

CHICAGO – The classic horror/psychological films continue to chill our souls long after the experience of them. “Hereditary” uses a masterful performance by Toni Collette, and layers it with symbolic commentary and freaky scares to accomplish that lingering discomfort. After viewing it, the cluck of the tongue will never be the same.

Film Review: ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ is Action as Phantasm

CHICAGO – The true miracle of “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” – besides constantly breaking the law of physics – was making the sonorous line readings of Vin Diesel almost palatable. This over-the-top action fantastic turns up every implausibility dial to the red zone, but satisfactorily entertains.

Film Review: Unfunny ‘Tammy’ is a Melissa McCarthy Misfire

Tammy front

CHICAGO – Melissa McCarthy has jumped the shark. Or if she hasn’t, she’s strapped on the skis and is contemplating the ramp. Going once more to the same character well – this time with a script co-written with her husband Ben Falcone and directed by him – McCarthy shows little originality or gumption as the title character in “Tammy..”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘Tammy’ With Melissa McCarthy

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new “R”-rated comedyTammy” starring Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon!

Blu-ray Review: Sweet, Sentimental ‘The Way, Way Back’

The Way, Way Back

CHICAGO – “The Way, Way Back” made a solid $21 million domestically but I kind of expected it to be an even bigger hit when I saw it back in January at the Sundance Film Festival. I saw several dozen films at this year’s fest and nothing produced a response like Nat Faxon & Jim Rash’s sweet, sentimental comedy. The audience I saw it with LOVED it. And now that it’s on Blu-ray and DVD, I expect it to reach an even bigger audience through word-of-mouth recommendations. It’s a fun, clever movie with some great performances, including a supporting turn by Sam Rockwell that stands with the best of the year.

Film Review: Romantic Comedy ‘Enough Said’ is a Sweet, Gentle Gem

CHICAGO – The plot description which this review will eventually get to is going to make Nicole Holofcener’s “Enough Said” sound sitcomish. It’s a conceit straight out of Must-See TV.

TV Review: Great Cast, Clever Concept Carry ‘Hostages’

CHICAGOCBS’s “Hostages” is the first interesting new drama of 2013 (well, tied with NBC’s “The Blacklist,” which airs at the same time tonight, Monday, September 23, 2013). It’s not an instant hit creatively but there’s a lot to like here, particularly in its great cast and clever concept, one that engages the viewer enough with the promise of excitement for all fifteen weeks of this shortened season.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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