Articles filed under Movies

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  • Ted Melfi takes questions about 'St. Vincent' Oct 23, 2014 6:30 AM
    Ted Melfi is a TV commercial director making his first feature (as director, writer and producer) with the Bill Murray comedy “St. Vincent"; local movie theaters are showing scary and family-friendly films for Halloween.

  • 'John' a Wick-ed, action-packed tale of stylish revenge Oct 23, 2014 3:31 PM
    Just when we thought we'd had quite enough of retired cops, hitmen and special-ops agents forced back into active duty to mete out justice, Chad Stahelski's “John Wick” shoots us between the eyes with an old-fashioned revenge tale directed with tongue-in-cheek humor, choreographed with bone-breakingly realistic stunts, and edited on Red Bull. Keanu Reeves stars as a retired Russian killer.

  • 'Stonehearst Asylum' a wasted opportunity Oct 23, 2014 6:30 AM
    The Edgar Allen Poe-inspired "Stonehearst Asylum" fails to be sexy, scary, revealing, suspenseful or even exciting, but it looks really good.

  • ‘Fury’ blasts ‘Gone Girl’ from top of box office Oct 20, 2014 6:49 AM
    The bloody World War II drama “Fury” blew past “Gone Girl” at theaters this weekend. “Gone Girl” was tops at the box office for two weeks before Brad Pitt and his rag-tag group of tank mates in “Fury” blasted the film to second place. Sony’s “Fury” captured $23.5 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Fox’s “Gone Girl” followed with $17.8 million.

  • Saldana, Luna talk Day of the Dead, ‘Book of Life’ Oct 19, 2014 6:32 AM
    The Mexican holiday that honors the dead is the backdrop for the new animated film “The Book of Life.” Stars Zoe Saldana and Diego Luna say Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, with its grand celebrations and colorful altars, is perfect fodder for a PG-rated film aimed at families. Saldana knows the tradition from her Dominican roots, and Luna has celebrated the holiday since he was a child in his native Mexico.

  • 'Fury' aims for an unvarnished look at war Oct 19, 2014 10:19 AM
    At one point during “Fury,” the World War II drama starring Brad Pitt out Friday, a tank commander's head is blown off while he's hunched outside his vehicle during a fiery battle with a combatant. “Fury” writer-director David Ayer insists he didn't include the surprise decapitation simply to shock moviegoers. “That was a very common thing that happened,” said Ayer.

  • Simmons moves to head of the class in ‘Whiplash’ Oct 18, 2014 6:30 AM
    Jonathan Kimble (J.K.) Simmons is sitting in a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan, recalling the myriad names he’s gone by over the years. But by any name, you’re more likely to know Simmons by his rubbery face, seen in everything from Broadway to insurance ads. In Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash,” he plays a drill sergeant of a jazz conductor at an elite New York music conservatory, pushing a young drummer (Miles Teller) to extremes.

  • DVD previews: ‘Sex Tape,’ ‘Snowpiercer’ Oct 18, 2014 6:30 AM
    A married couple accidentally makes takes their "Sex Tape" public. An uprising unfolds on a futuristic train in "Snowpiercer." And a young woman returns from the dead in "Life After Beth." All three films are available on DVD Tuesday.

  • Lucas fills in details on Chicago museum Oct 19, 2014 3:05 PM
    George Lucas is filling in some details on his planned art and movie memorabilia museum, including how the California native settled on Chicago as a location over San Francisco. It was his wife’s idea.

  • ‘Walking Dead’ just won’t die Oct 17, 2014 7:23 AM
    “The Walking Dead” returned to AMC last week to huge ratings, and Sean doesn't really get why. But who cares what he thinks? The show is so big, it has its own pinball table. And speaking of pinball, Wheeling is the place to be this weekend for enthusiasts of the game.

  • Neil Patrick Harris says he’ll host Oscars in 2015 Oct 16, 2014 7:15 AM
    Neil Patrick Harris is going for an awards-show trifecta, set to host the 2015 Oscars after four hosting stints at Broadway’s Tony Awards and two at TV’s Primetime Emmy Awards. “To be asked to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, and everyone else who had the great fortune of hosting is a bucket list dream come true,” Harris said in a statement Wednesday released by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

  • Macy’s directorial debut ‘Rudderless’ struggles to set sail Oct 16, 2014 3:44 PM
    The music sounds fine, but actor William H. Macy’s iffy first-time direction prevents “Rudderless” from becoming more than a quasi-pleasing, mediocre first effort from a filmmaker struggling to set sail on a firm course.

  • Bill Murray finds virtue in comically sentimental 'St. Vincent' Oct 16, 2014 1:22 PM
    In “St. Vincent,” Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher share an amazing chemistry between a super polite boy and his rude, world-weary baby-sitter. Director Ted Melfi does a remarkable job of pulling back on the treacly potential of this project by keeping it real and organically funny, something he openly credits Murray for accomplishing in a sentimental comedy that stops short of schmaltz.

  • ‘Good Lie’ spins compelling tale of Sudan’s ‘Lost Boys’ Oct 16, 2014 5:45 AM
    “The Good Lie” tells a fascinating story of the so-called “Lost Boys” (and girls) of Sudan, youngsters orphaned by the bitter war that engulfed their country beginning in 1983, forcing many to trek for hundreds and hundreds of miles — over several years in some cases — to safety. And, admirably, the filmmakers keep these youngsters — and the young adults they became — central in their storytelling.

  • 'Whiplash' drums up stinging tale of obsession, manipulation Oct 16, 2014 12:37 PM
    An explosive, ingeniously constructed drama titled “Whiplash” gives character actor J.K. Simmons the meatiest and mightiest role of his career. Simmons radiates ominous terror as Terence Fletcher, a driven music conservatory instructor who psychologically tortures his jazz band students (among them Miles Teller) to rip the best of their talents out of their instruments at all costs but his.

  • Animated ‘Book’ a wise, winning celebration of life Oct 16, 2014 6:00 AM
    Inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead figurines, the eye-popping CGI-animated “The Book of Life” takes place partly in a kind of underworld, presenting the afterlife as a candy-colored wonderland styled after such festive ghoulishness as the elaborately decorated skull candies associated with the Mexican holiday. The main story concerns a love triangle between three best friends. But there's more to this visually stunning film than romance.

  • Odd casting weighs down sparkless ‘Best of Me’ Oct 16, 2014 5:30 AM
    In “The Best of Me,” Australian actor Luke Bracey plays the teenage version of James Marsden. What reality-altering substance were the filmmakers under when they decided this? The only way that Bracey could pass for a teen version of Marsden would be in a sci-fi thriller where their character’s soul gets transferred into a stranger’s body. The complete miscasting is the worst of “The Best.”

  • Gire: Meet Dan Aykroyd at Hollywood Palms Sunday Oct 16, 2014 3:00 PM
    Dan Aykroyd comes to the Hollywood Palms Theater in Naperville on Sunday, Oct. 19, to chat with fans, sign autographs and introduce his movies “Ghostbusters” and “The Blues Brothers.” Plus, Dann has four questions for "St. Vincent" director Ted Melfi.

  • ‘Fury’ wallows in barbaric brutality of war Oct 16, 2014 6:00 AM
    From the start, David Ayer’s World War II tank drama “Fury” wants to make it clear the barbaric brutality of war. Gone is the romance of the "greatest generation." Instead, you get Sgt. Don Collier (Brad Pitt) and his bickering soldiers, heading into Germany in the waning days of the war. “We’re not here for right and wrong,” Pitt says. “We’re here to kill.”

  • With album, series and film, Minnie Driver in overdrive Oct 14, 2014 3:43 PM
    Talk about a career in high gear. Over the course of five weeks this autumn, Minnie Driver will have delivered a new album, performed in concert, appeared in a new big-screen musical and marked the start of the second season of her latest TV series when “About A Boy” returns to NBC on Tuesday night.

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