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Woody Allen

Film Review: ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ is Woody Allen By the Book

CHICAGO – After last year’s powerful “Blue Jasmine,” writer/director Woody Allen’s trajectory seemed destined toward another film masterpiece, but “Magic in the Moonlight” isn’t it. Colin Firth and Emma Stone are an unlikely pairing in this seen-it-before-Woody film trifle.

Red-Carpet Video & Photo: Woody Allen in Chicago for ‘Magic in the Moonlight’

CHICAGO – A neurotic New Yorker, Woody Allen has been a fixture in Hollywood for more than 50 years. After racking up 73 writing credits and 50 in the director’s chair, Allen returned to Chicago on July 19, 2014 to walk the red carpet for his new romantic dramedy “Magic in the Moonlight”.

Film Review: Warm ‘Fading Gigolo’ Has Odd Romance, Woody Allen

Fading Gigolo

CHICAGO – How do you make a Woody Allen style film? You hire Woody Allen to act in it. Writer, director and lead actor John Turturro channels the soul of Allen’s films by creating a strange and romantic scenario with different types of relationships, including one with Woody himself in “Fading Gigolo.”

Interview: John Turturro Vibrantly Directs ‘Fading Gigolo’

CHICAGO – “You’re a sick f**k, Fink” is the movie quote I was tempted to throw at John Turturro, the actor who played the title role as “Barton Fink,” and dozens of other memorable movie characters. Turturro is breaking out again as a writer/director, producing a new film co-starring Woody Allen, delicately entitled “Fading Gigolo.”

Entertainment News: TV Comedy Pioneer Sid Caesar Dies at 91

Sid Caesar

LOS ANGELES – It’s a pioneering TV show practically lost to history. Sid Caesar hosted and performed in “Your Show of Shows,” a 90 minute live 1950s sketch comedy program, and also helped to launch a who’s who of 20th Century comedy. Coming out of his writer’s rooms were such comic greats as Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Carl Reiner and Woody Allen. Sid Caesar died February 12th at his home near Los Angeles, according to a newsfeed from Larry King on Twitter.

Interview: Actress, Activist Mariel Hemingway Navigates Life

Mariel Hemingway, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – The Hemingway name evokes an immediate visceral reaction, from the beginnings of Ernest “Papa” Hemingway’s powerful American literature to the Hollywood career of his granddaughter Mariel Hemingway. The actress was recently in Chicago to promote director Ed Brown’s documentary, “Unacceptable Levels.”

Film Review: ‘Blue Jasmine’ Puts Woody Allen Back on Top

CHICAGO – The auteur Woody Allen is one of the most prolific post-studio-system directors, averaging one film a year for close to 40 years. His meditations on life have become part of the culture, and he brilliantly expresses himself once again – with help from Cate Blachett – in the emotional “Blue Jasmine.”

Film Review: Greta Gerwig Lights Up the Life of ‘Frances Ha’

CHICAGO – Greta Gerwig is a gift to the type of film acting that dominates the screen. This beautiful, versatile actor gives poignant energy to her latest title character, “Frances Ha,” a collaboration with indie director Noah Baumbach (“Greenberg”).

Blu-ray Review: Minor Woody Allen Comedy ‘To Rome with Love’ Still Delights

To Rome with Love Blu-ray

CHICAGO – After acknowledging that the rewards of reality are infinitely preferable to the shallow pleasures of a nostalgic dreamworld in his Oscar-winning crowd-pleaser, “Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen’s tirelessly neurotic psyche appears to be more calm and serene than ever before. Perhaps his compulsion to make one picture a year has finally brought him some sort of therapeutic catharsis.

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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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