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Movie Review

'First Man' is Reverential to Moon Landing Mission

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – There were several “firsts” for humankind in our civilization and technology breakthroughs, but until 1969 no person had even stepped on a planetary surface other than on earth. Neil Armstrong was that man, and he is portrayed by Ryan Gosling in a respectful overview of that Apollo 11 mission in “First Man.”

Spreading Comic Book Fatigue to Everyone, ‘Venom’ Poisons the Well

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – I was one of the last sentinels; a conscientious objector in the war against comic book films. The handful of these that come out yearly had yet to weigh heavy on my film soul, especially when so many of the newer ones creating unique experiences, like “Deadpool” and “Thor: Ragnarok”. Even DC films, in all their failure, are products of their time. “Venom” changed all that.

Lady Gaga Characterizes the Title ‘A Star is Born’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Stefani Joanne Angelina Gemanotta, also known as Lady Gaga, is the only reason to see the latest iteration of ‘A Star is Born.’ The luminous stage presence that propelled her to music superstardom is present in her major film debut, taking the female lead reins from Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand.

Gilda Radner Becomes Live Again in ‘Love, Gilda’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – It’s always something, as the great Gilda Radner often said (through her character Roseanne Roseannadanna), and the documentary “Love, Gilda” is about all her somethings… her childhood, the early comedy days, the rise through “Saturday Night Live” and her succumbing to the dread disease of cancer. She had it all, did it all, but as always “it” could not save her, and eventually us.

Keira Knightley is Ahead of Her Times as ‘Colette’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – The maturation of Keira Knightley… from ‘Bend it Like Beckham” to “Pride and Prejudice” to the current “Colette,” has had the actor delivering an evolving depth and purpose to her roles. The latest is a fantastic overview of an ahead-of-her-time French novelist, as the rest of society tried to catch up.

‘Night School’ Can’t Get to a Passing Grade

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Night School” is the latest undistinguished product to come off the Kevin Hart assembly line. If you’re a fan of Hart’s motormouthed and hyperactive small time schtick, you’ll find that this will just barely passed the test. But if you’re not, this movie won’t change anyone’s mind.

Fate of a Nation is Contemplated in ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – You might think that “Fahrenheit 11/9,” the latest advocate documentary from provocateur Michael Moore, is all about Donald Trump and his diffident administration. But that’s not the whole thing, which is the strength of the film. Moore goes back to hometown Flint, Michigan, and other places in the USA, which exposes the symptoms rather than the Trump disease.

‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’ is Movie Magic

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “The House With The Clock In Its Walls” is a surprisingly restrained and endearing haunted house pic for kids just getting rid of their training wheels. It’s all a spooky atmosphere with cobwebs galore, creaking doors, a stained glass window which changes on its own, and a library of books which at times resemble the avifauna predators from the Hitchcock classic “The Birds.”

Entertaining ‘A Simple Favor’ Can’t Maintain Its Mojo

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – As the secrets are revealed in “A Simple Favor,” filtered through the witty and entertaining directorial style of Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”), the story moves with charm and energy for three-quarters of its running time. But as the mystery gets solved, the conclusion doesn’t live up to the promising beginning.

‘The Predator’ is the Best Sequel Reboot of the Series

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – By the standards of Predator sequels, “The Predator” is easily the best of the bunch. But that’s a depressingly low bar to clear… kind of like saying you got the nicest looking “Yugo” on the lot. Coming 31 years after Arnold Schwarzenegger battled the original “one ugly mother f**ker,” this reboot brings the space alien with the heat seeking vision to the suburbs.

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