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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

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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