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Billy Ray

Spectacular ‘The Hunger Games’ Lives Up to High Expectations

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Gary Ross’ “The Hunger Games” is a spectacular piece of blockbuster entertainment, a movie that should connect across all demographics from those who have never heard of the book to those who have shrines to Katniss and Peeta in their closets. It is more than mere Hollywood adaptation, it is a work of art on multiple levels with fantastic technical elements and some of the best performances in a work of science fiction in years.

Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck Bring Spark to Mediocre ‘State of Play’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – I’ll be the first critic to tell you that they don’t make adult thrillers often enough. I was very disappointed by the lackluster box office take of Tony Gilroy’s ” Duplicity”. But does that mean that we should give all intellectual mysteries a pass? Of course not. And while I want to love Kevin Macdonald’s “State of Play,” a few poor decisions during production keep it back from being the excellent film it could have been.

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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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