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Penelope Ann Miller

‘The Birth of a Nation’ Depends on its Own Piety

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “The Birth of a Nation” has been making news since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early this year. Taking place before the American Civil War, this incendiary look at a real slave rebellion in the deep South does pack a punch, but its approach isn’t completely successful.

Lauren Ambrose Shines in Heartbreaking Indie ‘About Sunny’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – In the annals of bad parenting portrayed on film, the heroine of Bryan Wizemann’s 2011 indie drama is a special case indeed. Though we watch helplessly as she makes countless bad decisions guaranteed to send her young daughter to intensive therapy, we don’t regard her as a sinister figure on the order of Monique’s monstrous matriarch in “Precious.” Our gaze is one of empathy.

‘The Artist’ is Magical Ode to Old Hollywood

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

CHICAGO – “The Artist” is the kind of film for which a critic feels an added responsibility. The fact is that I know that a large number of readers won’t go anywhere near a movie that is described as “a black & white ode to silent films.” Eek. Sounds like torture. And yet, I also know for a fact that a vast majority of those same readers would LOVE “The Artist.” This is a stellar piece of filmmaking, one of the best of the year. Jump on the bandwagon early for what will surely be one of the major players of the upcoming awards season.

Excellent Young Actors Carry Rob Reiner’s Nostalgic ‘Flipped’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Rob Reiner’s “Flipped” is not merely nostalgic for an era when life seemed simpler and sweeter but for an age when every minor detail meant the world and love was as simple as looking into the eyes of a new neighbor. We all remember the days when the smallest act of kindness or meanness changed everything and, thanks to two very strong central performances, “Flipped” captures the essence of those times in a gentle, sentimental romance.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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