Walt Disney Studios

Film Review: Journey to Conclusion is the Thrill of ‘Avengers: Endgame’

CHICAGO – When it comes down to this, and the creators do it right, there is no more satisfying conclusion than “Avengers: Endgame.” Admirers of this magnificent Marvel (Studios) Universe story will get everything they want. It is the “Gone with the Wind” of superhero epic films.

Film Review: Tim Burton’s Version of ‘Dumbo’ is Disappointingly Glum

CHICAGO – For reasons which remain unexplained, Walt Disney Studios and director Tim Burton have decided to weigh down the sweet story of a flying elephant with a whole pachyderm’s worth of pathos. The animated original clocked in as one of Disney’s shortest full length animated features. But the live action version drags us through nearly an extra hour’s worth of post-World War One misery.

Film Review: Brie Larson as ‘Captain Marvel’ is Not as Marvel-ous

CHICAGO – Since the Marvel cinematic universe began over a decade ago with “Iron Man,” it’s shown an amazing talent for consistency. While only a few installments have surpassed their comic book origins to become great examples of the genre – and great stories in general – Marvel hasn’t had many out and out clunkers either (possible exception, the second Thor movie).

Film Review: You’ll Be Wild About Magical ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

CHICAGO – They did it. Walt Disney Studios took one of their most beloved live action/animated films and rebooted it for a new millennium. “Mary Poppins Returns” is a song-filled, emotional and magical celebration of all things Mary P, combining the elements that made it great the first time with the modern movie strengths of today.

Film Review: ‘Christopher Robin’ is a Story That Should Have Remained Untold

Christopher Robin

CHICAGO – Yeesh. Who woulda thunk that the fine people at Walt Disney Studios would throw the “legend” of Winnie-the-Pooh into a live action “sequel,” with absolutely no life… including the computer generated dead-eyed stuffed machinations of the famous animals. Yet, here we are with “Christopher Robin,” featuring Ewan McGregor in the title role.

Film Review: ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ is Abuzz with Laughs & Shrinkage

CHICAGO – Gag writers, it’s time to head to Marvel Studios. Apparently the direction their superhero franchises are going for is laughs. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a prime example… the second film in the “Ant-Man” series amps up the humor, priming a hero that can go super small or massive. Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know.

Film Review: Epic Comic Book Story in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

CHICAGO – Coming off the multi-textured “Black Panther,” Marvel Studios now turns its assignment towards an Avengers movie, and man, everything is on the table. This overstuffed, somewhat overindulged journey of a tale never loses its flavor, and has surprises around every corner. Anticipate “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Film Review: Visual Excellence Aside, ‘Coco’ is Just So-So

CHICAGO – “Coco” bears all the visual hallmarks of the Pixar Studio at its best, however its story bears the more recent symptoms of creative exhaustion. In this story, a young boy named Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) aims to follow his heart and pursue music, but toe tapping tunes have been strictly forbidden in his home.

Interview, Audio: David Lowery, Writer & Director of ‘A Ghost Story’

CHICAGO – Not all supernatural tales are meant to scare, and writer/director David Lowery haunts in a different way with his new film, “A Ghost Story.” Using the classic “white sheet” costume, with actor Casey Affleck underneath it for most of the film, Lowery creates a spirit with both emotion and a contemplation of its fate.

Film Review: Johnny Depp Stays Afloat in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’

CHICAGO – The “Pirates Of The Caribbean” series has undergone a strange transformation over five films. The first film was better than any movie “based on a theme park ride” then it had any business being. But now in its fifth film voyage, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” bears a closer resemblance to the ride now more that ever.

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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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