Freeze Frame: “Rampage” (PG-13), “Truth or Dare” (PG-13), “Beirut” (R)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a knack for making a silk purse out of a cinematic sow’s ear. Can he do the same for the cursed video game genre? Maybe so.  In “Rampage,” based on the Midway arcade game, Johnson plays a primatologist who has to figure out what to do when a genetic experiment goes wrong and his favorite albino gorilla grows to Kong size. The ape and a giant mutated wolf and alligator, head to downtown Chicago in a destructive rage.

 

It’s as goofy as it sounds, but the visuals are spectacular and Johnson’s outsized charisma helps, too. “Rampage” is better than it has any business being.

 

Blumhouse, the phenomenally successful production company responsible for a slew of hit horror films, might have finally jumped the shark. “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare” is an annoying creepfest about a group of teens on spring break in Mexico who play a game of Truth or Dare that’s been overtaken by a demon. Naturally, things turn deadly and the participants desperately try to figure a way out. There are a few scares, but mostly it’s just irritating. The truth is, it’s bad and I wouldn’t watch it again on a dare.

 

Jon Hamm stars in “Beirut,” an involving thriller about a one-time US diplomat who is forced by CIA operatives Rosamund Pike and Dean Norris to help save a colleague from terrorists in Lebanon the 1980s. Hamm inherits his best role since “Mad Men,” but Pike is wasted in yet another part that doesn’t give her much to work with.

 

Also opening this week, “Finding Your Feet” is a comic drama from Britain about folks of a certain age who find romance at a community dance class. “Best F(r)iends” is black comedy that reunites the team behind the celebrated bad movie “The Room,” Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero. 

Take Two: “Isle of Dogs” (PG-13)

Eccentric filmmaker Wes Anderson (“Rushmore,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Moonlight Kingdom”) tackles his second stop-motion animation effort, following up on the success of “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” “Isle of Dogs” is a whimsical story set in the near future in Japan. Because of a canine flu, all dogs are banished to a garbage island and one young boy tries to save them. The voice cast includes Brian Cranston, Bill Murray, Yoko Ono, Scarlett Johansson and Edward Norton.

Take Two: “The Leisure Seeker” (R)

An elderly couple take a final Winnebago trip in the road movie, “The Leisure Seeker.” Two of our best actors, Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren, give a big boost to this story involves dementia, family squabbles and other issues that older Americans contend with.

Thursday Night Special: Shots in the Night Radio Theater

Shots in the Night Radio Theater Productions is broadcast the first Thursday of each month on KKFI 90.1 FM at 7:30 p.m. CST.  We are a laid back, variety show-esque radio theater group that harkens to the old time radio shows prevalent before The World met TV and TV met The World. We are a variety show with a modern day twist, of course!

Miss Kittin, Umfang, Will Easton, Andrea & more, PLUS DISC 2 w/ Ross From Friends!

J Zed‘s back from holiday with a slew of new tracks by Miss Kittin, Umfang, Jesse Perez, CoCreators, Andrea, Will Easton, Hugo Massien and more during another EXTENDED First 30 mix, plus a DISC 2 featuring selections from Ross From Friends‘ new EP which just dropped this month. LOG ON, OR JOG ON…stream us worldwide at KKFI.ORG, or find us on your local radio dial at 90.1 FM.

ARTS MAGAZINE

Jarrett Ott and Jack Swanson, singers from the Lyric Opera presentation of “The Barber of Seville”. Then later Ricardo Kahn, co-author and director, and actor Duncan McIntyre will talk about the UMKC New Works Festival production of “Freedom Summer”.

Highlights from Labor Notes and Bill Fletcher on How to Beat Right to Work

Two weeks ago more than 2,500 grassroots labor activists, “worker center” leaders, union members, union officers, and community activists gathered in Chicago for the semi-annual Labor Notes Conference. This week on the Heartland Labor Forum we’ll bring you some highlights. Then, as labor gears up for the No on Proposition A Campaign, we’ll talk to Bill Fletcher, Jr. former AFL-CIO Education Director, commentator and author about how to beat Right to Work.