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Film Review: Feminism Humbles Tommy Lee Jones in Heartfelt Western 'The Homesman'

19 hours ago

Chicago - In Tommy Lee Jones’ passion project “The Homesman,” the wild west provides a vivid setting for a battle in man’s endless war against women, as the film firmly occupying a genre strictly known for cowboys and pioneer machismo. It’s a sorrowful western from actor/writer/director Jones that often shines in its twilight, hoping to slightly reconcile the maltreatment unleashed on half of the world’s most powerful species.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Living outside standard domestic criteria of a developing America in the mid 1800s is Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank), a woman without a spouse or a child, who only takes care of herself and her giant farm. When three extremely psychologically-disturbed women are in need of transport to a hospital up north where they can receive help, Mary Bee volunteers to take on the journey, despite the town initially requiring that a man lead the expedition. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Human Emotions Transcend Wealth in ‘Foxcatcher’

21 November 2014 9:40 AM, PST

Chicago – In the memorable film “Barton Fink,” the title character is asked to write a wrestling movie for Wallace Beery. If Fink had isolated himself long enough, he might have come up with “Foxcatcher,” demonstrating once again that a true story is much stranger than fiction.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Directed by Bennett Miller (“Capote”), the film is a dreamy nightmare, if that contradiction in terms can be used a descriptive. It is quietly weird, featuring performances from three popular actors – Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo – that stretch them beyond anything else they’ve ever done. The story of one of the wealthiest men in the world, John du Pont (of the du Pont chemical dynasty), as he tries to grasp some kind of identity and acceptance, is proof that no one gets out of their lives without some connection to the very emotions that can uplift or destroy them. The »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Moving On in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’

20 November 2014 8:53 PM, PST

Chicago – The über popular “The Hunger Games” series is back, splitting the final novel into two movie parts, Harry Potter style. Subtitled “Mockingjay - Part 1,” this is the beginning of the end of the story, setting up rather than knocking down.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

But “The Hunger Games” has its own distinct feel and source, plus a once-in-a-lifetime cast that deliver the rather soap operish ramifications with a seriousness that edges on parody – there are parts of the film where it wouldn’t be surprising if the actors burst out in laughter. The battle against the evil district of Panem is Dystopia 101, but there is a style to it, and a sly wit, that gives this series an edge in the teenager-fighting-the-man-in-the-future genre of books and films. Jennifer Lawrence as the heroine Katniss adds a depth of feeling that maintains a rooting interest, and old pros like the late Philip Seymour Hoffman »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Movie News: Oscar-Winning Director Mike Nichols Dies at 83

20 November 2014 7:13 AM, PST

New York City – He was an immigrant kid from Germany who directed the most American of stage plays and films. Mike Nichols uplifted the culture with his art, and along the way won the famed Egot – Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Nichols passed away suddenly at his home. He was 83.

Nichols brought the Chicago improvisation sensibility to his work – he was part of the original Compass Players of the University of Chicago, the group that morphed into The Second City. He achieved Beatle-like fame in the early 1960s with his comedy act Nichols and May, paired with Elaine May. But his destiny was behind the camera, and after making a huge splash on Broadway, conquered the film world with the one-two triumphs of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and the classic “The Graduate.”

Mike Nichols in a Recent Photo

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky was Nichols birth name, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ With John Malkovich

19 November 2014 8:51 PM, PST

Chicago – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new animated comedy “Penguins of Madagascar” starring John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch!

Penguins of Madagascar,” which opens on Nov. 26, 2014 and is rated “PG,” also stars Werner Herzog, Ken Jeong, Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare and Conrad Vernon from directors Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith and writers John Aboud and Michael Colton.

To win your free “Penguins of Madagascar” passes courtesy of HollywoodChicago.com, just get interactive with our social media widget below. That’s it! This screening is on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at 11 a.m. in downtown Chicago. The more social actions you complete, the more points you score and the higher yours odds of winning! Completing these social actions only increases your odds of winning; this doesn’t intensify your competition!

Preferably, use your »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview: Filmmaker Darryl Roberts on ‘America the Beautiful 3’

19 November 2014 8:03 PM, PST

Chicago – Filmmaker Darryl Roberts has been on an eight-year journey to chronicle the influence of corporations, advertising and images on today’s teenagers. After releasing the first two “America the Beautiful” documentaries, his latest – and potentially most controversial – is “America the Beautiful 3: The Sexualization of Our Youth.”

The subject matter of the latest film is curious, given that Roberts went more specifically after the beauty industry in the first “America the Beautiful” (2007) plus body image and dieting in “America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments.” (2011). In the third chapter, which deals with sexual imagery and sexual advertising images in society, the focus is not as clear, and the filmmaker acknowledges the intensity of the subject in the interview below, and even the backlash it had on the production.

Darryl Robert’s ‘America the Beautiful 3: The Sexualization of Our Youth’

Photo credit: Harley Boy Entertainment/Brainstream Media

HollywoodChicago.com »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Exclusive Portrait: Bob Odenkirk Reminds Us ‘Better Call Saul’

18 November 2014 9:59 AM, PST

Chicago – Sometimes it take awhile to be an overnight sensation, but Bob Odenkirk will be on the precipice of that kingdom when the “Breaking Bad” spin-off show, “Better Call Saul” premieres in February of next year on the AMC Network. Odenkirk was recently in Chicago to promote his new book, “A Load of Hooey.” in an appearance that took place at the Up Comedy Club on Wells Street in the city.

Bob Odenkirk at the Up Comedy Club in Chicago, November 7th, 2014

Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Bob Odenkirk was a familiar presence in the comedy world, and has conquered drama with his portrayal of Saul Goodman in “Breaking Bad.” His appearance was a homecoming of sorts, as he was born in the suburb of Berwyn and graduated from Naperville North High School. After performing in Chicago at the Improv Olympics and The Players Workshop of “The Second City, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview: Director Bennett Miller is the Hound in ‘Foxcatcher’

18 November 2014 8:10 AM, PST

Chicago – There are many categories of film director types – facilitators, tacticians, framers, to name a few – but there are few real artists. Bennett Miller has guided three films in his career, “Capote,” “Moneyball” and his latest “Foxcatcher.” All three have a purposeful artistry, and explore the soul within the humanity it portrays.

Having brought on that analysis, Bennett Miller is also a pragmatist, who can’t reconcile some of the interpretations involved in the following interview – which also sets him uniquely apart. He was born in New York City, and in his youth knew both writer Dan Futterman – who fashioned the story for “Foxcatcher” – and the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who magnificently portrayed Truman Capote in Miller’s 2005 directorial debut, “Capote.” Miller next took on the complex “Moneyball,” and made it into a baseball movie that communicated more about the game than past films that dealt directly with the sport. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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