About Paige Wiser
I'm a free-lance writer with a full-time job: I'm Director of Communications at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois. I'm an alum, too, Class of 1988. You should enroll your children there immediately.
In my down time, I'm the TV critic on ABC-7's "Windy City Live." On Sunday nights, I talk entertainment with WGN AM-720's Bill Leff and my former movie-reviewing partner, David Plummer. You can find a lot of my writing at Michigan Avenue magazine. I also free-lance as a muse when I can fit it into my schedule.
During the last couple of decades in the newspaper business, I served as reporter, critic, and columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times. Regular columns included "Planet Paige," in which I wrote about the quirkier side of the news; "Camera Obscura," which celebrated B movies; and "BioFeedback," which distilled celebrity biographies.
I earned my bachelor's degree at Notre Dame and my master's at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. I'm thinking of putting "philosopher/adventuress" on my business cards.
Category Archives: Movies
This is the kind of thing I usually overthink. I mean, it’s not really all that fun to try to think like the typical Academy member: an old, white man. One of the voters is 101! But these are the nominees I think will win at the Academy Awards. And if you want to know how I would vote, I would give it to Melissa McCarthy in every acting category. And it would be “Man or Muppet” all the way.
Visit paigeandplummer.com to compare with David Plummer’s picks.
Actor in a Leading Role
- George Clooney in “The Descendants”
I dearly wish I had made it to a screening of “Larry Crowne” so that I could put it on my “worst” list, but I haven’t seen it and spending money to somehow see it is just something I won’t do. But I can tell you I wouldn’t have liked it.
10. “Dolphin Tale”
I was thinking of calling this “my favorite movies of the year,” which is altogether different than saying “the best movies of the year.”
For instance, I was absorbed by “Melancholia” despite a lifelong respulsion to Kirsten Dunst, and I thought it was original and profound — so profound that I didn’t completely understand what it was trying to do. I would call it one of the “best” movies, though, for advancing the medium and for entertaining us.
Paige and Plummer fight to the death about whether rock ‘em sock ‘em robots are inherently dramatic.
Paige and Plummer, together again on “Windy City Live.” I liked “50/50″ (pictured), but am not actually advising you to go see it.
“Moneyball,” “Dolphin Tale,” and “Killer Elite.” Warning: I must have been in a bad mood.
I read Allison Pearson’s book recently, when I was in the thick of my own work-life balance crisis. I was exhausted from erratic hours, feeling guilty that I wasn’t with my kids when I was working, feeling guilty that I wasn’t working when I was with my kids, and dehydrated in an effort to cut back on bathroom breaks. I consumed the book in a frenzy, eager to get to the end to find out what the answer was. Heroine Kate Reddy had it all: kids, career, romance. So how did she do it?
David Plummer and I have been seeing lots of movies and then talking about them on “Windy City Live.” Here’s the link — let me know what you think. (There’s a reason why I hid behind a computer for the first 41 years of my life.)
But I love the show, love the people, and now have a valid excuse to self-tan.
I was just reminiscing about “The Concorde . . . Airport ’79″ and wondering what happened to good old-fashioned disaster movies when I got invited to a screening of “Contagion.” Apparently there is no one who doesn’t want to work with director Steven Soderbergh, and I watched one A-list star after another don a haz-mat suit.
Gwyneth Paltrow plays a business executive who picks up some kind of bug in Hong Kong. Within days, almost everyone who touched something she touched is dead. (Yes, it’s worth the price of admission just to watch Gwyneth convulse and foam at the mouth.)
Doctors and scientists try to figure out what’s going on. A crusading blogger tells his readers that the government is lying to them. What’s left of the population scrambles for food and protection. “Contagion” is utterly believable, which is scarier than any vampire movie. It’s not as action-packed as the trailer would have you believe, but it works as a low-key horror movie, a mystery (as we try to track how the virus started), and a high-falutin disaster movie.
Three and a half stars
Fight movies are not my scene, however good they may be. I mean, ugh. I know you all loved “The Fighter,” but all brutality aside, I refuse to see any movie that Christian Bale loses weight for. I don’t want to encourage him.
Mixed martial arts are also not my scene, as they bring to mind vivid, unwanted images of Jean Claude Van Damme.
So “Warrior” started out as an underdog for me. Well, pow! Oof! Bam! . . . Consider me conquered.
It’s the story of two brothers, ripped apart by their alcoholic father, who haven’t seen each other in 14 years. In the mother of all coincidences, they end up in “the Super Bowl of mixed martial arts,” fighting each other for $5 million.
Realistic? No. Cliches? Sure, but you won’t mind. Nick Nolte sets the tone here as Paddy Conlon, the lousy father who’s now sober, but it’s too late: Neither of his sons care.
Joel Edgarton is sympathetic and real as big brother Brendan, who’s about to lose the house he shares with his wife (played by Chicago’s Jennifer Morrison) and two little girls. I had a more primal reaction to Tom Hardy (pictured), who plays the damaged Iraq war vet Tommy. Can you say Brando? Hardy has been in “Layer Cake” and “Inception,” but now he’s got my full attention. He skulks, broods and smolders with mouth-breathing conviction. Soon you can see him as the villain Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises.”