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Articles filed under Gire, Dann

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  • Swear words used like assault weapons in ‘Wolf’ Jan 10, 2014 12:00 AM
    Dann answers a reader’s concerns about the record number of swear words in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Plus, he previews some upcoming movie events in the area.

  • Young Roddy McDowall sits besides a future collie star in "Lassie Come Home," one of many canine movies in Dann & Raymond's salute to the great dog movies.

    Dann & Raymond’s winning ‘Woofers’ Jan 2, 2014 12:00 AM
    Dann Gire discusses his 10 best movie list with a dissatisfied reader, reveals the year’s biggest box office losers, and previews Dann & Raymond's next movie club topic, "Hollywood Woofers: Dogs in the Movies."

  • Max Von Sydow as Father Merrin poses in the iconic scene from William Friedkin's "The Exorcist," inspired by "Citizen Kane" cinematographer Gregg Toland, a native of Charleston, Ill., just like Dann Gire.

    'Exorcist': The scary movie that opened the eyes of a future film critic Dec 26, 2013 12:00 AM
    Dann has a special affection for “The Exorcist” with its spinning heads, projectile pea-soup hurling, crucifix abuse and tinkling on the living room carpet. He thought of films as simple entertainment vehicles, disposable weekend activities to talk about on Monday mornings and forget about. He saw within “The Exorcist” the possibility of art, symbolism, style, craft, and something magical.

  • Dann & Raymond’s Movie Club looks at the films of Paul Newman, including the Chicago-shot “Road to Perdition.”

    Reel life: Dann & Raymond celebrate Paul Newman Dec 25, 2013 12:00 AM
    Dann supplies this week's Reel Life film notes and touts the next Dann & Raymond's Movie Club entry, "The Films of Paul Newman" at the Schaumburg Township District Library on Jan. 2.

  • Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) waits in a South African jail for 27 years in the face-based drama “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

    Mandela's 'Long Walk' a long, plodding dramaDec 25, 2013 12:00 AM
    Justin Chadwick's “Mandela” presents the story of beloved South African leader Nelson Mandela with so much reverent respect, its good intentions nearly choke us. Idris Elba bears little actual resemblance to Mandela. Yet, the movie uses the real Mandela in newsreel footage, photos and on posters. Why constantly thwart the audience's ability to suspend its disbelief?

  • Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) battles Donnie (Jonah Hill) for the telephone in one of many comic sequences in Martin Scorsese’s fact-based movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

    Scorsese’s ‘Wolf’ a Wall Street comedy with dramatic chops Dec 25, 2013 12:00 AM
    “The Wolf of Wall Street” is an operatic ode to greed, gluttony, and selfishness. Nobody gets killed, making this about the closest thing to a Christmastime Martin Scorsese movie since “Hugo” — uh, except for the eyeball-popping graphic nudity and kinky sex stuff.

  • Walter Mitty (director Ben Stiller) tracks down reclusive Life magazine photographer Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn) in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

    Unwitty 'Mitty' misses point of Thurber's fantasies Dec 24, 2013 12:00 AM
    James Thurber's seminal 1939 short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” posed that a rich imagination and daydreams were enshrined as indispensable survival tools for modern henpecked man. In Ben Stiller's botched comedy, fantasies are merely crutches rendered irrelevant by self-actualization. Few things in this comedy make any internal sense, especially Stiller's heroic title character.

  • Benji, the lovable star of “Benji the Hunted,” will be featured at a special Dann & Raymond’s Movie Club, all about great dog movies, at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library on Jan. 9.

    Dann & Raymond salute great caninesDec 19, 2013 12:00 AM
    Join Dann Gire and film historian Raymond Benson as Dann & Raymond’s Movie Club rings in the new year at both the Schaumburg and Arlington Heights libraries next month. Plus, Dann helps a Sleepy Hollow reader out deciphering the meaning of the song title "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

  • Chicago's cutting-edge rock radio disc jockey Larry "Superjock" Lujack at his Palatine home in 1987. He died in New Mexico Wednesday night.

    Adios, Uncle Lar, one last time Dec 19, 2013 12:00 AM
    In 1987, after an incredible 30-year broadcasting career — 20 in Chicago — cutting-edge disc jockey Larry Lujack, affectionately dubbed “Superjock,” played his signature opening from his popular “Animal Stories” feature, said goodbye, and retired. Now, it’s the fans’ turn to say goodbye to Superjock. The broadcasting icon, 73, died Wednesday in New Mexico after fighting esophageal cancer.

  • Commander Robinson (Liev Schreiber) and a medic (Romola Garai) help an infected astronaut (Elias Koteas) in the sci-fi horror film "The Last Days on Mars."

    'Last Days' a mixed-up mess of genre tropes Dec 12, 2013 12:00 AM
    “The Last Days on Mars,” Ruairi Robinson's messed-up mash-up of horror and science fiction, starring Liev Schreiber as the commander of a mission aborted by a sudden outbreak of homicidal, reanimated decomposed astronauts. Credit the actors, who acquit themselves well despite being stuck playing living characters possessed of the depth and complexity of the formerly dead ones.

  • Mark Mori's documentary “Bettie Page Reveals All” tells the strange and courageous life story of a Tennessee girl who led the sexual revolution.

    Movie trailers: Why do they have to ruin it? Dec 5, 2013 12:00 AM
    Dann also takes Hollywood trailers to task for ruining surprises in movies and for grossly mispresenting what some movies are. Plus, join Dann and film historian Raymond Benson as Dann & Raymond's Movie Club presents “It's a Wonderful Life: The Films of Jimmy Stewart” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

  • A doctor examines Samantha (Najarra Townsend) to determine what kind of sexually transmitted disease she might have "Contracted."

    Dann & Raymond talk Sean Connery Nov 29, 2013 12:00 AM
    Join Dann Gire and film historian Raymond Benson as Dann & Raymond's Movie Club presents “Connery. Sean Connery: A Life in the Movies” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Schaumburg Township District Library. Clips from the James Bond movies (of course!), plus “Marnie,” “The Hill,” “Zardoz,” “The Untouchables,” “The Man Who Would Be King” and many more. It's free!

  • Peter Billingsley, right, witnesses the result of a dare in the holiday classic “A Christmas Story.”

    Get in on Classic Cinemas' free holiday moviesNov 21, 2013 12:00 AM
    Dann reports that the Chicago City Council proclaimed Friday, Nov. 22, as “Music Box Theatre Day in Chicago.” So to celebrate, the theater will devote two weeks to the sort of programming it did 30 years ago: Each day will offer a double-feature of two movies connected by a similar theme. Meanwhile, Dann reports that Classic Cinemas will offer special holiday movies starting in December.

  • Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her co-winner Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) prepare for another round of killing as sport in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

    'Hunger Games' sequel fired up with catchy characters, political plot Nov 18, 2013 12:00 AM
    Not since “The Empire Strikes Back” has the middle chapter in a cinematic series eclipsed the dramatic scope and technical quality of its original while leaving us breathlessly dangling from a narrative cliff the way “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” does. It's a drama set against the backdrop of a morally perverse universe built around devaluing humanity for entertainment and diversion.

  • Douglas Fairbanks uses his flying carpet to pick up women in the 1924 silent classic “The Thief of Bagdad” at the Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge.

    Travel back in time and a tale of two BobsNov 14, 2013 12:00 AM
    Dann suggests seeing Jay Warren play the Pickwick Theatre’s original 1928 Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ when he accompanies “The Thief of Bagdad” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Park Ridge theater. Plus, Dann replies to “Breaking Bad” star Bob Odenkirk, concerned that a recent story made him out to be negative about his hometown of Naperville. “I wish you’d mentioned how much I enjoy Naperville now,” he wrote. “I still don’t blame any teenager for wanting to get out of any smallish town. But I’d like Napervillians to know I have great affection for the people and town.”

  • Film notes: Catlow’s cheap shows, ‘Oz’ and Dann & Raymond Nov 7, 2013 12:00 AM
    Dann provides his weekly dose of film notes including the Catlow showing two Chicago-made movies on the cheap. Plus, Dann & Raymond’s Movie Club presents “Licensed to Thrill! The 007 Explosion” on Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

  • Shia LaBeouf stars as "Charlie Countryman," except this scene doesn't have Dann's name and a running digital clock at the bottom of the frame.

    Stop defacing screeners for the press to review Oct 31, 2013 12:00 AM
    We already say nothing about how cable and network TV devalue the movies by using them as backdrops for animated promos and station logos fixed in the corners of the screens. Now, movie distributors want to force critics to review visually altered versions of films that the public will not see. Dann says this is unethical, plus injurious to the art form. And he will not be a party to that.

  • Actor D.B. Sweeney to lead Q&A in Rosemont Friday Oct 30, 2013 12:00 AM
    Actor D.B. Sweeney will come to the Muvico 18 Rosemont Theaters Friday, Nov. 1, to conduct a Q&A with fans following the screening of his new movie “Underdogs.” The sports drama is based on the true story of a high school football team no one expected to succeed. Sweeney plays DeAntonio, coach who sees great potential in a losing team. “Broadway” Joe Namath also appears in the film.

  • Sean Faris and Grace Huang play lovers in the superbly photographed romance

    Reel life: 'Lost for Words' seems more lost than anythingOct 24, 2013 12:00 AM
    Dann supplies a run-down of Halloween offerings, answers a critic of his “Escape Plan” review, critiques four specialty movies, including the romantic “Lost For Words,” the surrealistically crazy “Escape From Tomorrow,” the culinary documentary “Spilling Plates,” and the disappointing home invasion thriller “Mischief Night.”

  • Lamb (Julianne Hough) befriends a surprisingly compassionate bartender (Russell Brand) in Diablo Cody’s choppy directorial debut “Paradise.”

    Diablo Cody’s ‘Paradise’ is serviceable yet uninspired Oct 17, 2013 12:00 AM
    Dann reviews local writer Diablo Cody’s directorial debut “Paradise,” calling it an “engaging collision of heartfelt sentimental sap and cynical, sarcastic rebellion.” This marks a serviceable yet uninspired start for the Oscar-winning writer of “Juno." He also congratulates Northwest suburban winners of the “Say It in Eight” student film contest sponsored by the After Hours Film Society.

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