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Will Patton

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”!

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Fourth Kind’ is Disturbing For the Wrong Reasons

The Fourth Kind Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – Here’s the most desperate film in many a moon. It tries harder than any recent horror picture to prove that its artificial horrors are real. What it lacks is the subtlety and suspense necessary to actually scare viewers. “Blair Witch Project” did it with ominous sounds in the dark. “Paranormal Activity” did it with time code. Both films proved that in the case of psychological horror, less is always more.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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