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Billy Connolly

Too-Long ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Delivers on Intimate, Hand-to-Hand Combat

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

CHICAGO – Though he’s never been called it before in scientific speak, I’m saying it now: Peter Jackson is a master of mitosis. He’s one of Hollywood’s best in splitting up the cinematic cellular DNA of one story into three because, apparently, he can’t do epics unless they’re in groups of three.

Great Cast Receives Winning Showcase in Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Quartet’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – There are few things more fragile than an actor’s ego. It must be treated with the utmost care in order to prevent a split-second meltdown. The enormous pressure of audience expectations coupled with the piercing eye of an ever-present media is enough to send sensitive folk to a sanitarium. Thick skin is a necessity in show business, but what happens when that skin begins to age?

Gorgeous ‘Brave’ Connects While Not Matching Pixar Standard

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

CHICAGO – Pixar’s 13th film has been lauded as a major first for the company – the inaugural adventure aimed squarely at young females. Luckily, there’s nothing here that diminishes that goal in any way. “Brave” features a strong, well-designed, interesting heroine, perfectly voiced by Kelly Macdonald, and it doesn’t pander to its demographic, proving that girls can play with the big boys while also giving them a fable of their own.

Jack Black, Emily Blunt Think Big in ‘Gulliver’s Travels’

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

CHICAGO – Call it too much holiday eggnog, but the re-imagining of the immortal classic “Gulliver’s Travels,’ starring Jack Black, Emily Blunt and Jason Segal, has a little Yuletide fun and hurts no one. If you like Jack Black, you’ll enjoy the film. If you don’t, find another way to spend 93 minutes this tinsel time weekend.

No Matter How Hard You Believe Otherwise, ‘The X-Files: I Want to Believe’ Most Anemic Story Yet

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Following an addictive TV series that spanned from 1992 to 2002, I wanted to believe “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” would more dynamically pay homage to its television success than Chris Carter’s first film attempt in 1998. In take two, though, it didn’t happen.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Spike Heels Stage Play

    CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).

  • 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.

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