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Zach Galifianakis

Film Review: Michael Keaton Soars in Mesmerizing ‘Birdman’

CHICAGO – There are parts of “Birdman” that are absolutely breathtaking, in dialogue, performance and visual acumen. Even its subtitle, “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” has a wonderful payoff. Michael Keaton provides an Oscar worthy performance as the title character.

Film Review: ‘Are You Here’ Feels Like Mashup of Two Different Films

Are You Here

CHICAGO – You would think that a film written and directed by Matthew Weiner – the creator of “Mad Men” – would be worthwhile company, especially when the cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. It is disappointing to note that not only was this cliché-ridden mess unpalatable, but it also switched gears two-thirds of the way through to evoke a different mood, and that schizophrenia didn’t help the overall product.

Film Review: Muppets Still Know How to Entertain in ‘Muppets Most Wanted’

CHICAGO – There is a comfort, like a favorite drink in a childhood mug, about Jim Henson’s legendary Muppets and their standard of entertainment and humor. It’s brilliant that Walt Disney Studios continues to understand what makes them work, producing their latest, “Muppets Most Wanted.”

Film Review: Worse Than a Real One, ‘The Hangover Part III’

CHICAGO – With a lazy, over-plotted story, and a cast that are desperately going through the motions, “The Hangover Part III” is the latest example of a contract obligation disguising itself as a movie. Writer/director Todd Phillips sluggishly pounds out another one, with simply no originality.

Blu-ray Review: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis in Leaden ‘The Campaign’

The Campaign with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis

CHICAGO – Jay Roach’s “The Campaign” should have been a slam dunk. A political comedy during an intense Presidential campaign with two of the funniest actors in movies today from a director who knows how politics can make for bizarre behavior after helming HBO’s stellar “Campaign Change” about Sarah Palin & John McCain. How could it fail? While “The Campaign” isn’t an outright disaster, it’s ultimately a disappointment, taking easy shots at physical humor and sex jokes instead of the clever satire it could have been.

Film Review: Predictable ‘The Campaign’ Hinges on Hilarious Newlyweds Ferrell, Galifianakis

CHICAGO – Will Ferrell makes several new proclamations loud and clear: he’s a comic dream-team duo with Zach Galifianakis in “The Campaign,” punching a baby and then a dog are seriously funny and real-life politics should take a lesson from this over-the-top smear campaign.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Hangover Part II’ Offers More of the Same

The Hangover Part II

CHICAGO – Todd Phillips has huge balls. Never before has a sequel hit SO many of the exact same beats as its predecessor. More of a remake of the film that came before than most slasher franchises, “The Hangover Part II” is the definition of more of the same. You can see Phillips going through the motions — they liked the first one, let’s give it to ‘em again with a bit of Thai flavor and more Ken Jeong. The result is a film that feels remarkably familiar with a few laughs, some decent comedic chemistry, and some daring humor, but a work that just reeks of lazy filmmaking.

Film Review: ‘Puss in Boots’ Coasts Through Familiar Animated Antics

CHICAGO – Animated family films have made a pact with their audience. For our participation – and extra 3D glasses fee – they deliver the latest in computer generated eye candy, familiar voice talent and heroes that always win while making pop culture references. Antonio Banderas is “Puss in Boots.”

Exclusive Portraits: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek at ‘Puss in Boots’ Red Carpet

Salma Hayek, photo by Joe Arce.

CHICAGO – A media and admirer frenzy took place last week at the Kerasotes ICON theater in Chicago, where Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek walked the red carpet at the sneak preview for the upcoming film “Puss in Boots.” Both lent their voices to characters that are a spin-off from the “Shrek” series of animated films.

Film Review: ‘The Hangover Part II’ a Funny, Formulaic, Desperately Shocking Carbon Copy

CHICAGO – Business and creative people go together as well as fine wine at a burger joint. Riding on the heels of the monumentally profitable “The Hangover,” the brass win out over the artists in “The Hangover Part II”.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Book of Merman, The

    CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.

  • Men, Women & Children with Kaitlyn Dever

    CHICAGO – In “Men, Women & Children,” director Jason Reitman not-so-audaciously reflects onto viewers their world of silent screens and awkward impersonal interactions. As many stories (“Don Jon,” “Disconnect”) have taken on the torch of showing how we are, gasp! — connected to the world yet disconnected from those close to us — Reitman’s tale is just another one for the batch.

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