Fittest loser

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  • Emma Watson stars in Darren Aronofsky's “Noah.”

    Emma Watson 'more spiritual' than religiousMar 28, 2014 12:00 AM
    Emma Watson was no believer. She just couldn't see “Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky telling the biblical story of Noah. “Darren does these very dark, very intense, very gritty, very real films,” the “Harry Potter” actress explained. “And then Noah is kind of — you see this guy with the long beard and there's the animals. ... You can't really picture it.” Then the 23-year-old Watson read the script by Aronofsky and Ari Handel.

  • Don’t cry, Ron Burgundy! You and Veronica Corningstone are coming home to Blu-ray on April 1.

    Want more Ron Burgundy? You got itMar 28, 2014 12:00 AM
    Fans of 2004’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” had to wait nearly 10 years for a sequel. Now, just a little more than three months after the Channel 4 Action News Team returned to theaters, fans can bring home three different versions of that sequel.

  • Grinder (Joe Manganiello) and Breacher (Arnold Schwarzenegger) hunt down members of a drug cartel in “Sabotage.”

    ‘Sabotage’ a disturbing, bloody assault on the sensesMar 27, 2014 12:00 AM
    Grisly assassinations target a team of elite commandos -- led by Arnold Schwarzenegger, no less -- in "Sabotage," a disturbing, blood-soaked thriller. Throughout, “Sabotage” seems less interested in using violence to make a point than to make entertainment.

  • Cesar Chavez (Michael Pena) fights for the rights of farm workers in “Cesar Chavez.”

    Lackluster storytelling dulls ‘Cesar Chavez’ biopicMar 27, 2014 12:00 AM
    You don’t get to be the namesake of countless roads, schools, buildings and even a state holiday unless you’ve led a pretty exceptional life. So why does the biopic “Cesar Chavez” make the folk hero seem like such a dull guy? That misfortune may not rank with the injustices Chavez spent his life fighting, but the movie does little to enhance the man’s legacy.

  • Noah (Russell Crowe) faces the floods in Darren Aronofsky’s astonishing “Noah.”

    Aronofsky brings biblical tale to life in respectful, revisionist ‘Noah’Mar 27, 2014 12:00 AM
    Old Testament fury has rarely come to such spectacularly fearsome life than in “Noah,” Darren Aronofsky’s audacious adaptation of one of the Bible’s best-known but still enigmatic chapters. Be warned: Anyone familiar with the 500-year-old man and his ark may need to check some of their most cherished visualizations at the theater door. This is a movie that is clearly deeply respectful of its source material but also at times startlingly revisionist, a go-for-broke throwback to Hollywood biblical epics of yore that combines grandeur and grace, as well as a generous dollop of goofy overstatement.

  • Dann & Raymond’s Movie Club looks at the greatest film comedies. Included is “The Graduate,” starring a young Dustin Hoffman.

    Reel life: Join Dann for more comedy clipsMar 27, 2014 12:00 AM
    Dann Gire and Raymond Benson present Part 2 of the Greatest Comedy Movies of All Time at the Schaumburg Township District Library. Also, don't miss the Chicago Film Critics Association's screening of Otto Preminger's 1954 western "River of No Return" at the Elk Grove Cinema.

  • Elgin resident Milan Shah is the brains behind the Film App Festival debuting Saturday, March 29 at the Hemmens Cultural Center.

    Film App Festival on Saturday at Hemmens in ElginMar 24, 2014 12:00 AM
    Elgin resident Milan Shah, 41, a computer programmer who owns the company Virtual Scribe, came up with the Film App Festival debuting Saturday at the Hemmens Cultural Center. The festival has two components: a film festival on Saturday and a companion app that will debut the same day.

  • This image released by Summit Entertainment shows Shailene Woodley, left, and Theo James in a scene from “Divergent.” The movie, which is based on Barrington native Veronica Roth’s best-selling novels, raked in $56 million at the box office in its first weekend of release.

    Barrington native’s ‘Divergent’ series now blockbuster filmMar 23, 2014 12:00 AM
    To go with “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games,” Lionsgate now has a trio of young-adult franchises with the box-office leading “Divergent.” The teen science-fiction thriller based on the novels by Barrington native Veronica Roth debuted with $56 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. The opening, while less than some anticipated, launches Lionsgate’s third franchise built on young-adult best-sellers.

  • After more than two decades with Disney, where he produced the juggernaut “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “National Treasure” film franchises among many box-office hits, Jerry Bruckheimer begins a new partnership with Paramount.

    No retirement in sight for Jerry BruckheimerMar 23, 2014 12:00 AM
    After more than two decades with Disney, where he produced the juggernaut “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “National Treasure” film franchises among many box-office hits, Jerry Bruckheimer begins a new partnership with Paramount.

  • Des Plaines Theatre owner Dhitu Bhagwakar says he's willing to entertain a variety of options regarding the future of the theater, including working with someone who could operate the venue.

    Des Plaines will solicit possible operators for historic theaterMar 23, 2014 12:00 AM
    The future of the Des Plaines Theatre could be determined over the course of the next several weeks, when city officials and the theater's current owner will be looking for someone who may be interested in running the historic showplace. “As long as the theater is run right and everybody is happy, I'm open to several different options,” the owner said.

  • Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe, is a dark take on the biblical tale.

    ‘Noah’ renews tradition of big-screen biblical epicsMar 22, 2014 12:00 AM
    In the beginning of their work together on “Noah,” director Darren Aronofsky made Russell Crowe a promise: “I’ll never shoot you on a houseboat in a robe and sandals with two giraffes popping up behind you.” Decades after Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” and “Ben-Hur,” Aronofsky has renewed the tradition of the studio-made, mass-audience Bible epic, albeit as a distinctly darker parable about sin, justice and mercy.

  • Elsa Pataky, left, and actor Chris Hemsworth have welcomed not one but two sons. The twins of the 30-year-old “Thor: The Dark World” star and the 37-year-old “Fast and Furious 6” actress were born in Los Angeles, Hemsworth’s publicist, Robin Baum says.

    Actor Chris Hemsworth, wife welcome twin sonsMar 22, 2014 12:00 AM
    Chris Hemsworth and his wife, Elsa Pataky, have welcomed not one, but two sons to the world. The twins of the 30-year-old “Thor: The Dark World” star and the 37-year-old “Fast and Furious 6” actress were born in Los Angeles.

  • Actors Theo James, left, and Shailene Woodley promote the movie “Divergent” in Toronto. They star in the anticipated first film in the young adult trilogy by author Veronica Roth, a native of Barrington.

    ‘Divergent’ star Shailene Woodley hugs it outMar 22, 2014 12:00 AM
    Shailene Woodley is known for her hugs. The 22-year-old “Divergent” star gives hearty embraces — often more than one — to everyone she meets. “It’s very disarming” said co-star Theo James in a recent interview. “She (first) hugged me at our test. Yeah, she’s a big hugger.” Woodley and James star in the anticipated first film adaptation of the young adult trilogy by author Veronica Roth. “Divergent” follows 16-year-old Tris (Woodley) as she finds her place in a future dystopian society where people are separated into groups based on their virtues.

  • David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) addresses many of his 533 children in the comedy “Delivery Man.”

    DVD previews: ‘Delivery Man,’ ‘Wolf of Wall Street’Mar 22, 2014 12:00 AM
    Former suburbanite Vince Vaughn plays a man who discovers he has fathered 533 children through sperm donation. The comedy heads to DVD Tuesday.

  • Constantine, a criminal Kermit the frog look-alike, takes over the Muppets World Tour in “Muppets Most Wanted.”

    These ‘Muppets’ not wanted all that muchMar 20, 2014 12:00 AM
    At 112 minutes, “Muppets Most Wanted” runs too long and no amount of “surprise” cameos by Tony Bennett, Usher, Celine Deon, Frank Langella, Ty Burrell, and others can abate the feeling we’re being strung along. So much of “Muppets Most Wanted” has been repurposed from earlier Muppet films that it undermines what few new, fun songs and comic situations actually make it to the silver screen.

  • Guy Trilby (director Jason Bateman) engages in some unsportsmanlike behavior in “Bad Words.”

    'Bad Words' is cringe-inducingly hilariousMar 20, 2014 12:00 AM
    If you've seen the poster for “Bad Words,” starring and directed by Jason Bateman, you'll see a sneer on Bateman's face. It's truly nasty. More than most movie posters, this image sets a perfect tone for the film, much of which really IS that nasty. And funny. Very, very funny.

  • Tris (Shailene Woodley), right, and her friend (Zoe Kravitz) leap for their lives from a Chicago el train in Neil Burger's “Divergent,” based on the novel by Barrington author Veronica Roth.

    Futuristic 'Divergent' action-packed, but suspense-starved tale of Chicago on the edgeMar 20, 2014 12:00 AM
    “Divergent” propels us into a future world of teen angst and hormonally inspired romance where body, emotion and character are constantly pushed to the breaking point while telling its action-packed tale pitting the individual against a dehumanizing collective. Yet, Neil Burger directs it with near joyless disinterest, only occasionally lifting the story out of its blandly generic milieu.

  • Actor Jason Bateman breaks out as a director with his new movie “Bad Words.”

    Woman tells a sordid tale in 'Nymphomaniac Vol. 1'Mar 20, 2014 12:00 AM
    Controversial director Lars von Trier promoted his adult art house film “Nymphomaniac Vol. 1” by creating posters from photographs of his actors captured during moments of sexual ecstasy. That's probably more gratification than most others will gain from von Trier's Debbie Downer of a drama, a mad, brave but self-indulgent merger of hard-core sexual imagery with artistic pretense.

  • Actor Jason Bateman breaks out as a director with his new movie “Bad Words.”

    Reel life: Bateman breaks out as 'Words' directorMar 20, 2014 12:00 AM
    Time to play Five Questions with Jason Bateman, the popular and critically acclaimed actor now making his directorial debut with “Bad Words,” opening this weekend. Then Dann goes after Hollywood screenwriters for murdering the English language.

  • Roger Ebert works in his office at the WTTW-TV studios in Chicago. A documentary about the late film critic, titled “Life Itself,” will open the annual Ebertfest film festival in April.

    Ebert documentary to open critic’s film festivalMar 20, 2014 12:00 AM
    Roger Ebert’s film festival will open this year with a screening of a documentary about the late film critic. The annual festival will run from April 23-27 at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign.

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