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Film Review: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ Relies on Second-Hand Wonder

CHICAGO – It’s been five years since the last Harry Potter film, and for fans eager to scratch that itch for a dreamworld of magic again “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” will probably suffice. It’s this story’s tangential connection to the Harry Potter universe that is its biggest asset – but the film unfortunately can’t muster up much wonder on its own.

Film Review: Tom Hanks is Solid, But ‘Sully’ Never Really Soars

CHICAGO – “Sully” is a solid effort from Director Clint Eastwood, but it never really soars the way its supposed to. It’s a good story, helped immeasurably by Tom Hanks low key performance, but it feels unnecessary. The problem may be that the story of the pilot who pulled off the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” is so well known, the movie can’t really add anything to it.

Film Review: Sandra Bullock Bombs in Bad ‘Our Brand is Crisis’

CHICAGO – This misbegotten political satire shows almost as much contempt for its audience as its characters do for the politicians they’re supposed to be helping. This movie thinks it is smartly cynical, but it’s about as smart as a Larry the Cable Guy routine at a Donald Trump rally.

Film Review: Johnny Depp is Ghoulish in Mob Saga ‘Black Mass’

CHICAGO – “Black Mass” is a well crafted, if somewhat conventional crime tale. It won’t win any awards, but it’s entertaining enough. The story of real life Boston crime boss “Whitey” Bulger has no shortage of juicy details, and while the saga of this mob boss slash FBI turncoat falls short of greatness, Johnny Depp turns him into an otherworldly presence.

Film Review: ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Just a Big Screen Bore

CHICAGO – Director Guy Ritchie’s big screen version of the 1960’s spy show “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” is a colossal waste of time for all involved. The original show was never all that good to begin with, but this film is never able to clear that admittedly low bar, or even replicate any of the TV show’s small pleasures.

Film Review: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is All Kinds of Awesome

CHICAGO – While “Mad Max: Fury Road” isn’t quite in the same league as director George Miller’s masterpiece “The Road Warrior,” it’s learned all the right lessons from that action classic. It’s a cinematic adrenaline machine that puts the pedal to the metal and rarely lets up.

Film News: First Six Minutes of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Coming in December

The Dark Knight Rises official teaser poster

CHICAGO – Remember when you went to see “I Am Legend” at an IMAX screen in 2007 more because you wanted to watch a six minute trailer before the film than an apocalyptic Will Smith movie itself? Well, get ready to map out your way to the nearest IMAX theater again this December.

Interview: Matthew Lewis Reflects on Neville Longbottom, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’

CHICAGO – Late in 2001’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Albus Dumbledore reads off the House points earned by four heroic students. Three of them are easy to guess (Harry, Ron and Hermione), but the fourth comes as a shock: Neville Longbottom. The mousy, roly-poly boy had undergone the difficult task of standing up to his friends, not realizing that he would be rewarded for it.

Film News: Russell Crowe in Talks to Co-Star in ‘Man of Steel’

Russell Crowe Man of Steel

CHICAGO – In the same day major news broke out about “The Dark Knight Rises,” another key casting choice in an equally anticipated Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures production has also been buzzing throughout cyberspace.

Film News: Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy Join ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Tom Hardy News

CHICAGO – The Batcave is buzzing about the two new cast members confirmed for “The Dark Knight Rises,” the third installment in Christopher Nolan’s phenomenally successful reboot of the Batman franchise.

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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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