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Film Review: ‘Shazam!’ is a Paint by Numbers Superhero Movie

CHICAGO – The former Captain Marvel (story below) is now “Shazam!,” and has his own film in the DC Comics universe. Zachary Levi portrays the title character, now with a new origin to go along with his new name. Speaking of that, no new ground is broken in this pretty standard foster-kid-makes-good hero epic.

Podtalk: Rob Paulsen, Voice of Yakko in 'Animaniacs,' at C2E2 in Chicago thru Mar. 24, 2019

Rob Paulsen, "Animaniacs"

CHICAGO – If the words, “We’re Animaniacs…” immediately makes you think, “There’s baloney in our slacks…” then you’ll want to experience voiceover artist Rob Paulsen, the iconic character of Yakko on that series. Rob, along with Animaniacs voices Jess Harnell (Wakko), Tress MacNeille (Dot) and Maurice LaMarche (the Brain) are at C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) through Sunday, March 24, 2019. For ticket information and details, click here.

Film Review: Something for Everyone in Delicious ‘Isn’t It Romantic’

CHICAGO – “Isn’t It Romantic” knows exactly what it is, and what it wants to be. It is simultaneously for people who love Romantic Comedy, and those who profess to hate them … but may secretly love them. It’s an amusing trifle that’s about as surprising as a heart shaped box of chocolates, but sometimes that’s what you want.

Film Review: ‘The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part’ is Flat Out Funny

CHICAGO – There are two things I love as a film observer. The pretty colors of modern animation … and to laugh. I got both in the appropriately titled “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.” Picking up where the first first left off, the gang of Lego brick figures, including Emmet, Wyldstyle and Batman, have a new adventure.

Film Review: World War I Comes to Life in ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’

CHICAGO – The First World War took place (1914-18) in conjunction with the early days of film, with enough cameras available to actually capture it. For years, that dusty and silent celluloid was used in documentaries, but never has it come to life the way that director Peter Jackson presents it in “They Shall Not Grow Old.”

Film Review: ‘Aquaman’ is a Watery Sleep with the Fishes

CHICAGO – The dripping sound of water you will hear this upcoming weekend will be the tears of DC Comics fans, as they cry from frustration over the latest cinema hit job on one of the Super-Friends. The tepid and overlong “Aquaman” is another hero movie that tries to combine origin story and “first case” adventure, and fails at both.

Film Review: Fight for Redemption in the Rocky Universe of ‘Creed II’

CHICAGO – In the EIGHTH exploration (wow) for the story of boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) – that began way back in 1976 – the son of his first opponent, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), must settle an old score and seek redemption for himself and those around him in “Creed II.”

Film Review: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Goes Deeper into Harry Potter World

CHICAGO – “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is like the “Joey” of film franchises, a spinoff which only exists because of its tangential connections to a better (and more beloved) property. But since this is our only current filmed connection to the “wizarding world of Harry Potter,” it’ll have to do.

Film Review: Lady Gaga Characterizes the Title ‘A Star is Born’

CHICAGO – Stefani Joanne Angelina Gemanotta, also known as Lady Gaga, is the only reason to see the latest iteration of ‘A Star is Born.’ The luminous stage presence that propelled her to music superstardom is present in her major film debut, taking the female lead reins from Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand.

Film Review: Stylish ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a Bit Too Soap Opera

CHICAGO – “Crazy Rich Asians” is not meant to be anything but glitzy fun, but in the midst of the glamour, excessive wealth and beautiful people, there is a plot that ventures into Soap Opera land, and eventually becomes a distraction for the reason an audience goes to this show… to fantasize about living large.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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