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William Fichtner

Film Review: Journey to ‘Elysium’ Lacks Sci-fi Smarts

CHICAGO – “Elysium” is a blunt instrument. It contains all the subtlety of franchise-killer “Terminator: Salvation.” Where Neill Blomkamp’s “District 9” was surprisingly sleek and refined given its low budget and rookie creator, the follow-up proves that more is very often less.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘Elysium’ with Matt Damon

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated sci-fi “Elysium” with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster from the director of “District 9”!

Blu-ray Review: Submarine Thriller ‘Phantom’ Wastes Talented Cast

Phantom

CHICAGO – “Opinions are antithetical to a clear chain of command.” Well, Mr. Cliched Submarine Movie Character, allow me to break the chain — “Phantom” is a dull excuse for a movie. Supposedly “Inspired by True Events,” this tale of a rogue Russian sub that almost started World War III features a super-talented cast and more strong performances to add to the resumes of the great Ed Harris & William Fichtner but it’s just a snooze as Director Tom Robinson produces more tedium than tension before getting to his ridiculous finale.

Film Review: ‘The Lone Ranger’ Rides Again in Classic Western Style

CHICAGO – In trying to revive the Western film genre, Walt Disney Pictures is also reviving the “Pirates of the Caribbean” formula – extreme action, intrigue, flamboyant characters and Johnny Depp. Add a dash of a familiar American legend – “The Lone Ranger” – and it’s summer movie time.

TV Review: NBC Breaks International Quality Standards with ‘Crossing Lines’

Crossing Lines

CHICAGONBC’s “Crossing Lines,” premiering with a two-part pilot on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 8pm CST, was blatantly created for an international audience. It’s a product of a French production company, filming largely in the Czech Republic with an international cast. Designed for sales in as many markets as possible around the world, it’s a financial consideration more than a creative venture, and it’s a boring one at that. Don’t bother.

Blu-Ray Review: Gory, Gratuitous ‘Drive Angry’ Delivers What it Promises

Drive Angry, Nicholas Cage

CHICAGO – One goes into a 3D film called “Drive Angry” with Nicolas Cage with different expectations. Just as you don’t judge “Piranha 3D” on the same scale as “The King’s Speech,” “Drive Angry” should be judged on what it sets out to do — offer ridiculous, over-the-top, B-movie entertainment. On that level, it works.

Film Review: Life’s a Grind For Nicolas Cage in ‘Drive Angry 3D’

CHICAGO – Muscle cars, kick-ass dudes and foxy ladies have been staples of the grindhouse since Detroit had a pulse. Nicolas Cage joins that parade in the over-the-top road picture called “Drive Angry 3D,” lest we mistake it for the 2nd dimension.

Blu-Ray Review: Spend ‘Date Night’ With Tina Fey, Steve Carell

Date Night

CHICAGO – “Date Night” is one of the few word-of-mouth hits of 2010; a film that started off reasonably well at the box office but hung around the top ten for months after its release, turning it into an undeniable comedy success. The comedy starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey opened in second place but dropped so slowly that it almost made $100 million (a huge amount for a movie like this one and plus another $50 million internationally). The movie’s loyal fans will love the excellent Blu-ray release from 20th Century Fox.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Prison Break: The Final Break’ a Lackluster Epilogue

The Final Break

CHICAGO – Very few shows have plummeted as far from their peak to their ignominious end as did Fox’s once-great “Prison Break”. For proof, look no further than the misguided “Prison Break: The Final Break,” what is essentially a straight-to-DVD epilogue at least here in the United States.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bad Words

    Looming over “Bad Words” is the potential it could have had, as is, were it released ten years ago. With its focus of R-rated behavior poking at the projected innocence of children, along with the couple of chromosomes that keep Bateman’s Trilby from being a Vince Vaughn character, this movie is certainly a product of the comedies that have sculpted out the manchild story in the past decade.

  • Winter's Tale

    The theatrical poster for “Winter’s Tale,” after promising that “It’s not a true story, it’s a love story,” made a large demand from its viewers at the bottom: “This Valentine’s Day, Believe In Miracles.” While there is indeed a difference between filmmaking and marketing, it is hard to not imagine writer/director Akiva Goldsman whispering “believe in miracles” into the ear of every executive who helped “Winter’s Tale” come to life, immediately after throwing glitter on them.

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