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Film Review: ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ is Woody Allen By-the-Book

20 hours ago

Chicago – After last year’s powerful “Blue Jasmine,” writer/director Woody Allen’s trajectory seemed destined toward another film masterpiece, but “Magic in the Moonlight” isn’t it. Colin Firth and Emma Stone are an unlikely pairing in this seen-it-before-Woody film trifle.

Rating: 3.0/5.0

Again Allen goes back to the 1920s, an era he has explored before in “Bullets Over Broadway” and to a lesser degree “Midnight in Paris.” The elements of magicians and illusions have also been covered in “Shadows and Fog” and the underrated “Stardust Memories.” Thematically, it feels like Woody Allen has done this film before, even in the relationship between Colin Firth and Emma Stone, which generates zero chemistry. In his quest to make at least one film a year, the 78-year-old auteur has made this one a placeholder, albeit a funnier, more beautifully filmed and at times more interesting placeholder – better than most of the films out there. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Emotional Destiny Versus Science Debate in ‘I Origins’

20 hours ago

Chicago – In the current debate between metaphysical spirituality or intelligent design versus scientific and provable fact, there are demands regarding the religious or metaphysics that do not relate to those facts. What the new film “I Origins” hopes to provide for, is that there is room for both forms of mysticism in our lives, if only the eyes remain open.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Writer/Director Mike Cahill, in his first film since the transforming “Another Earth” (2011), takes on our ability to remain faithful in a tech-and-science realm, which seems to dispute faith with every passing discovery. By highlighting a research scientist – portrayed with magnificent clarity by Michael Pitt – Cahill brings forth a story that rocks our real world of assumed knowledge. The research scientist is on the edge of a cliff in this drama, and discoveries are made because this time they’re personal.

Ian Gray (Michael Pitt) is a graduate student »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Script Weakens Cast, Director in ‘And So it Goes’

25 July 2014 9:28 AM, PDT

Chicago – “And So it Goes” can be summed up in its incredibly weak title, as just lazy hackery. In attempting to tell a story of redemption for a old white rich man, the film falls back on clichés, predictability, improbability, overdone physical comedy and stereotypes. The first-time pairing of Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, and the direction of old pro Rob Reiner, couldn’t overcome the stench of the hackneyed screenplay.

Rating: 2.0/5.0

Rob Reiner’s ability to recognize good scripts seems to have faded. The man knows how to make American classics (“When Harry Met Sally…,” “A Few Good Men,” “The Princess Bride,” etc.), but can’t seem to find or identify the type of work lately that can keep his reputation sound. The Mark Andrus screenplay is just not interesting, and couldn’t have been interesting on paper. None of the characters have any depth, they are just given »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Scarlett Johansson Packs a Blockbuster Punch in "Lucy'

25 July 2014 4:43 AM, PDT

Chicago – “Lucy” is a piece of high-minded cinematic junk food that manages to be outlandishly weird while still satisfying the lizard brain desires of its audience. It’s a film that knows what’ll get the behinds in the seats, and that appeal can effectively be summed up in one shot.

It shows Scarlett Johansson in a tight-fitting white t-shirt walking in slow motion with her bosoms bouncing in unison, carrying two guns and ready to kick some serious ass. But amazingly enough, this is a movie with more than just ass-kicking on its mind.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Mercifully jettisoning some tortured backstory, French schlockmeister du jour Luc Besson instead drops us right into the middle of the action. Johansson stars as Lucy, an American in China who gets caught up in a drug smuggling scheme. She’s taken captive, and turned into one of a group of unwilling drug mules. She »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview: Comedian Gabriel Iglesias For ‘The Fluffy Movie’

24 July 2014 8:38 AM, PDT

Chicago – One the hottest, most creative and “fluffiest” stand-up comics working today is Gabriel Iglesias. The comedian riffs on the circumstances of his own life, as he deals with his adventures in the comedy world. He has put that all together in a new stand-up concert film, appropriately entitled “The Fluffy Movie.”

Iglesias was born in San Diego, but grew up in Long Beach, California. After high school, he worked for a mobile phone company while doing stand-up comedy on the side. When he was 21 years old, he turned to stand-up full time. He worked his way up and gained cult-like popularity with routines that include his amazing ability to mimic voices and sound effects. He gained the nickname “Fluffy” from his act, in which he described the levels of “fatness” (Fluffy was right before, “daaaaamn” and “hell, no”). The comic has recently dropped 100 pounds, and is primed to hit the big screen. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview: Director Mike Cahill, Actor Michael Pitt on ‘I Origins’

23 July 2014 5:46 PM, PDT

Chicago – The debate between science and intelligent design (God) will go on as long as man evolves and searches for answers. A new and provocative film, “I Origins,” takes on the challenge of the debate through storytelling, and features hot actor Michael Pitt (“Boardwalk Empire”), directed by Mike Cahill (“Another Earth”).

Mike Cahill also teams again up with actress Brit Marling, who plays a research co-worker to Pitt’s main scientist character. Her last collaboration with Cahill, “Another Earth” – Marling also co-wrote the script – also investigated the concept of scientific certainly when faced with the mystery of an expansive and perplexing universe. In “I Origins,” the examination of the unique nature of the eye is explored, especially within its definition as a “window to the soul.”

Mike Cahill (center) and Michael Pitt Set Up a Camera for ‘I Origins

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Michael Pitt is as memorable at times as James Dean, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview: Director Rob Reiner on Latest Film ‘And So it Goes’

23 July 2014 10:18 AM, PDT

Chicago – Rob Reiner has lived two distinct show business lives. He played a major role in one of the most famous television shows in history, “All in the Family,” and broke out afterward as a classic American film director, with hits such as “This is Spinal Tap” and “The Princess Bride.” His latest film is “And So it Goes.”

The film stars Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, as an older couple discovering a connection that on the surface seems highly unlikely. This is Rob Reiner’s 15th feature film as director, after such classics as “The Sure Thing,” “Stand By Me,” “When Harry Met Sally…,” “Misery,” “A Few Good Men,” “The American President” and “Ghosts of Mississippi.” Michael Douglas last worked with Reiner when he portrayed the title character in “The American President.” Reiner himself performs a small supporting role in “And So it Goes.”

Michael Douglas (left) and Rob Reiner »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Red-Carpet Video & Photo: Woody Allen in Chicago for ‘Magic in the Moonlight’

21 July 2014 8:11 PM, PDT

Chicago – A neurotic New Yorker, Woody Allen has been a fixture in Hollywood for more than 50 years. After racking up 73 writing credits and 50 in the director’s chair, Allen returned to Chicago on July 19, 2014 to walk the red carpet for his new romantic dramedy “Magic in the Moonlight”.

The film stars Emma Stone and Colin Firth.

At the age of 79, our red-carpet video shows you Woody Allen’s enduring wit, discusses what he thinks is funny, reminisces about standup comedy in Chicago and recalls how much the now-vegetarion misses Windy City ribs. The video also includes interviews with executive producer Ron Chez and Metropolitan Capital CEO Michael Rose. Enjoy our red-carpet video below!

While it lacks the oomph and memorability of Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” which in 2013 scored and Oscar for Cate Blanchett’s leading role, “Magic in the Moonlight” fascinatingly focuses on the seance, psychic and magic craze of the 1920s. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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