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Film Review: Earnest ‘Gimme Shelter’ Needs More Truth

CHICAGO – The balancing act between reality and drama in based-on-truth narratives is as delicate as walking the high wire. Pour in too much drama, and a story can feel like a soap opera. “Gimme Shelter,” although earnestly and achingly performed, has that sudsy protocol.

Interview: Director Ron Krauss, Kathy DiFiore for ‘Gimme Shelter’

Gimme Shelter 2013, Ron Krauss

CHICAGO – The opportunity for a new film to also take up a cause is one of the advantages of the movies as mass art. “Gimme Shelter” is the based-on-truth story of a runaway pregnant teen named Apple (Vanessa Hudgens) who needs the titular sanctuary to give birth. Director Ron Krauss leads an all-star cast, including Ann Dowd (“Compliance”), who portrayed the real-life facilitator of the shelter for single mothers, Kathy DiFiore.

Interview: New Role for Vanessa Hudgens in ‘Gimme Shelter’

CHICAGO – Vanessa Hudgens, the former teen actor from the “High School Musical” franchise, has a brand new bag. Besides shocking movie audiences with her memorable performance in last year’s “Spring Breakers,” Hudgens deconstructs her glam image in the new film, “Gimme Shelter.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘Machete Kills’ with Director Robert Rodriguez in Person

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipatedMachete Kills” starring Danny Trejo with director Robert Rodriguez in person for a post-screening Q&A!

Film Review: Nicolas Cage, John Cusack Get Buried in ‘The Frozen Ground’

The Frozen Ground
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – There have been a depressing number of bad career choices on the part of Oscar winner Nicolas Cage and once-great actor John Cusack in recent years. Anyone seen “Seeking Justice,” “Stolen,” “The Numbers Station,” or “The Factory”? Someone owes you an apology.

Film Review: Bikini Girls with Machine Guns in Mesmerizing ‘Spring Breakers’

CHICAGO – Already hailed as this generation’s “Fight Club,” Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” is a mesmerizing piece of satire, a journey into the dark side of teenage excess. And what’s a better symbol of excess than the ritual of spring break?

Film Review: Don’t Buy Ticket For ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’

CHICAGO – If you hear an unusual sound this weekend, it may be Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jonathan Swift spinning in their graves. The writers who have become an essential part of any growing person’s library have now been associated with a piece of 3D junk that insults the intelligence of everyone who sees it. “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” is not a trip worth taking.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Beastly’ Fails on Every Conceivable Level

Beastly Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – What higher power in Hollywood decided that Alex Pettyfer should be allowed to have a film career? His “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” didn’t exactly set the world on fire, nor did “I Am Number Four.” He has the name of a Bond girl and the emotional range of Miley Cyrus. And yet, the dude is still considered bankable, purely because of his good looks. Apparently it’s more important to look like a movie star than to act like one.

Blu-Ray Review: Extended Cut of Controversial ‘Sucker Punch’

Sucker Punch

CHICAGO – We’ve seen a lot of overly stylized films based on video games and comic books but rarely has there been a movie more derivative of other mediums yet not actually based on one than Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch,” a movie loathed by dozens of major critics (and defended by our very own Patrick McDonald) and recently released on Blu-ray and DVD in a 17-minute longer extended cut.

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  • Ride Along with Ice Cube

    CHICAGO – Few figures have had less of an exciting domination of the world than Kevin Hart. In the past few years, the comedian has skyrocketed to leading fixture in the comedy scene, creating hit scripts out of films like “Think Like A Man” and “About Last Night,” while taking victory laps in his lacking stand-up features like “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain”. The big problem is that these projects don’t justify his comic potential.

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

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