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  • 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' raises common reboot questions: Why so serious? Jul 21, 2014 1:15 PM
    Most people who flocked to “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” over the weekend might have shared a twinge of ambivalence when it was all over: Rather than turn to one another with goofy, what-a-great-flick glee, they were more likely to shuffle out of the multiplex in a mood of subdued solemnity. Is “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” impressive? Without a doubt. Is it admirably smart and ambitious? You bet. Is it fun? Eh ... not so much.

     
  • Cameron Diaz bares all in ‘Sex Tape’ Jul 20, 2014 5:00 AM
    Cameron Diaz does something she’s never done before in her movie, “Sex Tape,” now in theaters. She gets naked on camera. It’s a first for the 41-year-old actress, who described the experience to Esquire magazine as “just a part of the role.”

     
  • ‘Apes’ swings to second week atop the box office Jul 20, 2014 1:48 PM
    “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” topped the box office in the U.S and Canada for a second week, outselling three new releases. The summer sequel from 21st Century Fox Inc. generated ticket sales of $36 million, bringing its total domestic gross so far to $139 million, researcher Rentrak Corp. said today in an e-mailed statement. Horror producer Jason Blum’s “The Purge: Anarchy” placed second with $28.4 million in its debut, while Walt Disney Co.’s “Planes: Fire and Rescue” was third.

     
  • DVD releases for Tuesday, July 22 Jul 19, 2014 5:00 AM
    A boy glimpses a world beyond in "Heaven is for Real." Johnny Depp builds an army of cyborg zombies in "Transcendence." And Michael Pena portrays the title icon in "Cesar Chavez." All three are coming to DVD July 22.

     
  • 'Last Sentence' should be inspiring, not dry Jul 17, 2014 6:30 AM
    Jan Troell's lackluster black-and-white drama “The Last Sentence” tells the true story of a great and strong-principled Swedish newspaper man who campaigned against the rising Nazis while his countrymen and political leaders followed a disastrous policy of appeasement.

     
  • 'Sex Tape' far from a screwball comedy classic Jul 17, 2014 2:58 PM
    A married couple's attempt to reawaken their love life goes badly awry in "Sex Tape," a raunchy tale trapped in a PG plot. Even the always-game Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal can't save this tired romp, a low point in a line of sex comedies since Judd Apatow's landmark film “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

     
  • 'Boyhood' a different kind of cinematic epic Jul 17, 2014 4:00 AM
    If you approach Richard Linklater's bold cinematic experiment “Boyhood” with the proper frame of mind, you will walk out of it having experienced an epic journey, one every bit as rich and moving as the entire “Harry Potter” series, except in one installment and without the wizards, goblins, ghosts and fire-breathing dragons. “Boyhood” has a dragon or two, but they are of the human variety.

     
  • 5 questions with actor/director Zach Braff Jul 17, 2014 10:16 AM
    Dann interviews Zach Braff about his second film “Wish I Was Here,” kickstarted by 47,000 contributors. “You have to do right by 47,000 people instead of just one person,” Braff said. “Plus, you've got to fulfill 47,000 individual promises. One person gets a free screening in Chicago. Another person you said you'd propose their wedding for them. It's an extraordinary amount of work to do.”

     
  • Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival begins Sunday Jul 17, 2014 5:27 PM
    The weeklong Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival will launch 7 p.m. Sunday, July 20, at Star Cinema Grill, 53 S. Evergreen Ave., Arlington Heights, with the Illinois premiere of “Coherence.”

     
  • 'Wish I Was Here' never reaches high potential Jul 17, 2014 6:30 AM
    The good will, sincerity and insightfulness that marked Zach Braff's 2004 smart directorial debut “Garden State” come up short in his long-awaited follow-up, “Wish I Was Here,” a generically broad and vaguely life-affirming film that constantly veers into sitcom territory even as Braff struggles to steer it to a higher level.

     
  • Violence trumps all in clumsy ‘Purge: Anarchy’ Jul 17, 2014 4:53 PM
    “The Purge: Anarchy” takes place in 2023, one year after “The Purge,” a violent thriller that imagined an America so beset by crime that the government has instituted an annual holiday from law and order. Over the course of 12 therapeutic hours, “purgers” are allowed to rape, murder and pillage with impunity. The sequel takes the idea further, positing the ritualized violence as a manifestation of class warfares. But some of the have-nots are fighting back, including a young couple played by Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez of Carol Stream.

     
  • Visually splendid 'Planes' sequel takes dramatic dive Jul 17, 2014 2:32 PM
    It takes two-thirds into the leisurely paced “Planes: Fire & Rescue” for Walt Disney's animated comedy to catch a narrative tail wind and soar into a visually explosive parody of Irwin Allen disaster movies. (Mostly “Fire!” and “The Poseidon Adventure.”) But before we get to the good stuff, “Planes” does a lot of gliding on conventions and clichés without an engine to push it up and onward.

     
  • New film ‘Book of Life’ animates Day of the Dead Jul 16, 2014 1:01 AM
    Guillermo del Toro is helping to open the “Book of Life.” The Oscar winner is producing the animated feature by first-time director Jorge Gutierrez. “Book of Life” is rich with imagery from Mexican folklore, with a special emphasis on the Day of the Dead, the food- and music-filled celebration of the annual return of the spirits of deceased loved ones.

     
  • 'Snowpiercer' leads train of on-demand gems Jul 20, 2014 3:06 PM
    "Snowpiercer” — the buzzworthy science-fiction flick starring “Captain America” himself, Chris Evans — opened in a small number of Chicago-area theaters on July 4, but you can already watch it from the comfort of your own home. Many brand-new films are now premiering on VOD services while still playing in theaters.

     
  • Filmmakers in Ga. train crash go briefly to jail Jul 15, 2014 11:19 AM
    Two filmmakers charged with manslaughter several months after a train crash killed a member of their movie crew flew to Georgia over the weekend to turn themselves in at a rural jail, where they posted $25,000 bond apiece before returning home to California, their defense attorney said Tuesday.

     
  • Maine film festival honors Glenn Close Jul 14, 2014 8:42 AM
    Six-time Oscar nominated actress Glenn Close has been honored by the Maine International Film Festival. Close called the Mid-Life Achievement Award — a moose statuette— she received Sunday night in Waterville “the best award I’ve ever received.”

     
  • Willow Creek-Crystal Lake to host Lifetree Film Fest Jul 14, 2014 4:54 PM
    Willow Creek-Crystal Lake will host the Lifetree Film Fest from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 18. The event, showcasing short films from around the globe, celebrates life with stories that make you laugh, cry and give you hope. Each of the six films focus on one of two themes: "People doing life" and "People doing good."

     
  • “Stand By Me” Aug. 12 part of Elk Grove Theatre’s classics series Jul 14, 2014 4:01 PM
    The Elk Grove Theatre continues its second Tuesday of the month Critic’s Classics Series with “screenings of Stand By Me” at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 12. The series is co-sponsored by the Chicago Film Critics Association, and critic David Fowlie will introduce both screenings.

     
  • ‘Planet of the Apes’ roars to $73 million opening Jul 13, 2014 5:31 PM
    “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” roared to $73 million on its opening weekend, one of the summer’s best debuts, according to studio estimates Sunday. The 20th Century Fox sequel easily surpassed the $54.8 million opening to 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” the reboot of the fabled chimp franchise.

     
  • DVD previews: ‘Rio2,’ ‘Under the Skin’ Jul 12, 2014 5:30 AM
    Like the first movie, “Rio 2” looks great with vibrant colors and lovely animation that pop off the screen. And among the many layers of plots, some are winners. The film comes to DVD July 15.

     
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