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2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

9 items from 2017


Film Review: Emotionally Perfect Cowboy Elegy in ‘The Hero’

20 June 2017 10:31 AM, PDT | HollywoodChicago.com | See recent HollywoodChicago.com news »

Chicago – The great character actor Sam Elliott – known mostly for his cowboy roles in film/TV and his unique bass sounding voiceovers – gets an opportunity to deliver a nuanced and emotional performance as a hyper-realized version of himself. There is virtue and truth in this character journey.

Rating: 5.0/5.0

The screenplay, by director Brett Haley and Marc Basch, is brilliantly in line with Elliott’s particular breed of Hollywood character actor. In addition, Elliott’s character has some regrets, and buries it under a cloud of marijuana smoke. All of the tics and situations are handled expertly by Elliott, showing a range of performance that had never been seen from him before… it is his greatest role. Also, the vulnerability of his persona is on full display, which creates a subtlety in the story that is welcome… life isn’t predictable, and it’s refreshing to see the cinema reflect that value. Brett Haley will be a director to watch for many years, as he ponders the expectations of life.

Lee Hayden (Elliott) is a 72-year-old character actor – known mostly for playing cowboys over the years. He is a bit washed up, but can supplement his divorced man lifestyle with voiceover gigs. His leisure includes pot smoking, so conveniently his dealer Jeremy (Nick Offerman) lives in his apartment complex. His life takes a turn when he gets some bad health news, and simultaneously meets Charlotte (Laura Prepon), a stand-up comic.

He takes Charlotte to a low-rent Cowboy Honoree event, where he receives a Lifetime Achievement Award. High on dope and Ecstasy, Lee makes an amazing acceptance speech that goes viral. He’s suddenly a hot commodity again, and uses the notoriety to ignore his health issues… part of which involves his estranged daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter). The next phase is assessment and acceptance of his life.

“The Hero” was released in Chicago on June 16th, nationwide by July 4th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Nick Offerman, Katherine Ross and Max Gail. Written by Brett Haley and Marc Basch. Directed by Brett Haley. Rated “R”

Continue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Hero”

The Future is Nigh for Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) in ‘The Hero’

Photo credit: The Orchard

Continue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Hero” »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview, Audio: Director Brett Haley Discovers ‘The Hero’

13 June 2017 10:09 AM, PDT | HollywoodChicago.com | See recent HollywoodChicago.com news »

Chicago – The familiar character actor and voiceover artist, Sam Elliott, has been breaking out in that latter part of his career. Known for his cowboy roles, smooth bass-tone voice and epic mustache, the icon has been seen lately in diverse roles in “Grandma,” “Digging for Fire,” “Grace and Frankie” and his latest – and perhaps greatest – “The Hero.”

Brett Haley and Sam Elliott on the Set of ‘The Hero

Photo credit: The Orchard

“The Hero” is co-written (with Marc Basch) and directed by Brett Haley, who had previously directed Elliott, opposite Blythe Danner, in “I’ll See You in my Dreams.” Haley must have been inspired, because he wrote “The Hero” expressly for Elliott, and uses the actor’s cowboy character past as a basis for the role of Lee Hayden, an old actor with a broken past, and a health condition that changes everything. Elliott is masterful as the lead in the film, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Festival Feature: The Films of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival

7 May 2017 9:47 AM, PDT | HollywoodChicago.com | See recent HollywoodChicago.com news »

Chicago – The 16th Tribeca Film Festival wrapped last Sunday (April 30, 2017) and the award-winning films of the festival have been named. Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com was there for the first week of Tribeca and files his personal best of the films he experienced.

This is Patrick switching to first person, and I was able to see 13 media and film works, and took a turn in the “Immersive” or Virtual Reality arcade (there will a separate article on that experience). I sampled TV, short films, documentaries and narrative films, and rank them from first preferred on down, but honestly I didn’t see anything that I didn’t like, which is a testament to the programmers of this iconic film festival.

The following are the prime 13, and an indication of when they are scheduled to release…

Flower

Flower,’ Directed by Max Winkler

Photo credit: Tribeca Film Festival

What seems like a “Juno” rip-off, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Tribeca Review: ‘Abundant Acreage Available’ is a Quietly Moving Character Study

26 April 2017 5:35 PM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Faith-based cinema is as diverse a genre as there is, from the extreme, often violent portraits of devotion from established directors like Martin Scorsese and Mel Gibson, to the attacks on logic in the God’s Not Dead and Left Behind pictures. Angus MacLachlan, a great storyteller of the not-too-deep south, offers a nuanced example of what this genre can bring, returning with the moving Abundant Acreage Available. The title may signal a light-hearted film, and given MacLachlan’s previous feature (the charming sex comedy Goodbye To All That) and writing credits (which include Phil Morrison’s masterpiece Junebug), you might be forgiven for having that expectation. However, MacLachlan’s latest is a departure from his previous work: a quiet, powerful portrait of two families at a crossroads, featuring the middle-aged Ledbetters — including the reformed alcoholic Jesse (Terry Kinney) and his adopted sister Tracy (Amy Ryan) — and three aging brothers (Max Gail, »

- John Fink

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘Abundant Acreage Available’

21 April 2017 11:45 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

If you liked “Manchester by the Sea” — or the kind of low-key emotional drama in which men break down and sob uncontrollably — then Martin Scorsese has the movie for you. It’s called “Abundant Acreage Available,” and it’s pretty much the opposite of anything Scorsese has directed, which stands to reason, because he didn’t direct it. North Carolina playwright-turned-director Angus MacLachlan did, and like the “Junebug” script for which he’s best known, this one achieves a tricky kind of subtlety amid so much stage-style chatter. (Just to be clear about Scorsese’s involvement, he agreed to executive produce after seeing MacLachlan’s promising debut feature, “Goodbye to All That,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival two years earlier.)

Set on a family-owned North Carolina tobacco farm, recognizable as such from its almost blood-red clay, “Abundant Acreage Available” begins as many a play has, with a pair »

- Peter Debruge

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Amy Ryan Gives Her Best Performance In a Decade With ‘Abundant Acreage Available’ — Tribeca 2017 Review

21 April 2017 5:11 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

If “Abundant Acreage Available” didn’t have closeups or outdoor scenes, it could have been filmed theater. Writer-director Angus MacLachlan’s second feature focuses on grown siblings Tracy (Amy Ryan) and Jesse (Terry Kinney) in the immediate aftermath of their father’s death. Stuck with his expansive farmland, they’re unsure what to do next, until the arrival of three older men who knew the deceased stake a claim to it. Set in a single location with a cast of five, the movie offers a lesson in minimalist drama, unfolding as a sharply acted mood piece that never crescendos, but hums along with wise observations and first-rate performances.

A intergenerational family drama that wouldn’t look out of place in the oeuvres of Tennessee Miller or Arthur Miller, “Abundant Acreage Available” is a noticeably more somber work for MacLachlan, whose directorial debut “Goodbye to All That” was a vulgar black comedy about overcoming divorce. »

- Eric Kohn

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Peak TV Treasure: Review

15 March 2017 12:10 PM, PDT | TVLine.com | See recent TVLine.com news »

Are you overwhelmed by how much television is available right now? Is life getting in the way of keeping up with the shows you wanna try out? We feel your tube-related pain. Here’s a handy feature that’ll help you locate the hidden gems in this era of Peak TV.

Review

Network | Comedy Central

Created By | Andy Daly and Charlie Siskel

RelatedPeak TV Treasure: 12 Monkeys

Number Of Episodes | 19 over the first two seasons

Episode Length | 30 mins.

Premise | Daly stars as TV personality Forrest MacNeil, the host of show-within-a-show Review. Instead of critiquing TV, film or books, Forrest uses his »

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Review: Third & Final Season Coming to Comedy Central in March

16 February 2017 6:00 PM, PST | TVSeriesFinale.com | See recent TVSeriesFinale news »

Five stars all around. Today, Comedy Central announced the third and final season of Review will premiere in March.The comedy stars Andy Daly as Forrest MacNeil, a professional critic who reviews real-life experiences such as stealing, addiction, road rage, and blackmail to see if they are any good. The cast also includes Megan Stevenson, Jessica St. Clair, Tara Karsian, Michael Croner, Fred Willard, James Urbaniak, Max Gail, Hayley Huntley, and Lennon Parham.Read More… »

- TVSeriesFinale.com

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Hawaii Five-0 Season 7 Episode 15 Review: Big Game

4 February 2017 4:38 AM, PST | TVfanatic | See recent TVfanatic news »

It's a family affair.

What people will do for those they love – good and bad – is the theme of Hawaii Five-0 Season 7 Episode 15.

And even better, there was a healthy dose of education amid the entertainment.

I always appreciate a little dose of learning in my TV, something that drives me to Google while I'm watching.

For all its many faults, I've enjoyed NBC's Timeless this season, because I get a healthy dose of history each week.

Now that it's in its seventh season, Hawaii Five-0 has really started to tap into Hawaii's 1,000 years of history, discovering some unique narrative settings as a result.

This episode told the story of the Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement, in the Kalaupapa National Historic Site on Molokai.

This was neatly handled by having the island's law, Sheriff Alana, explain the settlement's history to McGarrett and Chin on the ride out. That way, the viewer quickly got brought up to speed. »

- Dale McGarrigle

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2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

9 items from 2017


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