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Film Review: Discerning the Heroes is Tough in ‘Megan Leavey’

Megan Leavey

CHICAGO – The poster is what gives away “Megan Leavey” the most. The titular soldier, and her bomb-sniffing dog, below a billowing American flag. So which war is it? Why, it’s the Iraq invasion, where the U.S. military and the politicians at home “freed” the Iraqi citizens from a peaceful life. Making a dog story out of that boondoggle doesn’t make it any more palatable, except to “support the troops.”

Film Review: ‘American Honey’ is a New National Anthem for All of Us

American Honey

CHICAGO – The America we find ourselves in today would never have been imagined by our ancestors. Sure, we don’t have flying cars or robotic house servants but we do have different ways of life. “American Honey” shows the sweet and sour side of my generation’s new American Dream while keeping it infinitely relatable to everyone.

Film Review: ‘The November Man’ a Stealthy Late-Summer Spy Thriller

CHICAGO – “The November Man” is better than its bland title and late August release date would suggest. It’s no gem, but it gets as far as it does almost solely on the strength of Pierce Brosnan’s breezy performance as an ex-CIA agent called back into duty for one last job.

Film Review: Great Performance From Abbie Cornish Carries ‘The Girl’

The Girl
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Let’s get this out of the way first – Abbie Cornish is simply great in David Riker’s “The Girl,” opening this weekend in Chicago at the AMC River East 21. She’s genuine, believable, and emotional resonant in ways that make this critic truly wish she would get more great roles (go rent “Bright Star” for further proof of her immense talents). Having said that, “The Girl” only barely works. Too much of the dialogue feels forced and the situations purposefully manipulative for it to fall on the right side of the soap opera-drama spectrum. There’s a heartfelt tenderness for this troubled character on Riker & Cornish’s part but it comes at the expense of realism or any serious answers to the questions raised by the film.

TV Review: Riveting, Action-Packed Return For TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’

CHICAGO – Rarely has a program returned for its second season with as much confidence, improved storytelling skills, and overall entertainment value as TNT’s “Falling Skies,” returning tonight, June 17, 2012.

Blu-Ray Review: Brilliant Subtlety of Existential, Striking ‘Meek’s Cutoff’

Meek's Cutoff

CHICAGO – Kelly Reichardt’s “Meek’s Cutoff” is certainly not a film for everyone. It features long, drawn-out scenes that are not only free of dialogue but basically just feature sorrowful people walking to the rhythm of the wagon wheel and the tune of the blowing wind. For the right viewers, these passages will frustrate but if you give yourself over to this remarkable film, they will build tension inside of you in a unique, discomfiting way.

TV Review: Noah Wyle Fights to Survive in ‘Falling Skies’

CHICAGO – It’s the end of the world as we know it, and the ragtag resistance fighters of “Falling Skies,” starring Noah Wyle from “ER,” are defending themselves against a surprise extraterrestrial colonization of earth. Live free or die hard.

Film Review: ‘Meek’s Cutoff’ Turns Physical Journey Into Riveting Spiritual Drama

Meek's Cutoff
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Very few films have ever conveyed an impending sense of doom as successfully as Kelly Reichardt’s stunningly accomplished “Meek’s Cutoff,” a journey into the past that has resonance for any era. Which way do you go when you’ve lost the map? Who do you trust when you can’t see beyond the horizon? How does man simply keep moving forward when it’s so unclear where we’re going?

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Passes, Signed Poster For ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’ With Don Cheadle, Richard Gere

CHICAGO – In our latest crime/drama edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 25 admit-two run-of-engagement movie passes and one signed poster for one grand-prize winner for the new film “Brooklyn’s Finest” from the director of “Training Day”!

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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