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Abigail Breslin

Family Secrets, Fine Acting in ‘August: Osage County’

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

CHICAGO – There will be inevitable comparisons to the Pulitzer Prize winning stage version of “August: Osage County” from the thousands of people who have been touched by the stage play. But in giving the film version a chance, there is the same passion, drama and heat of family dysfunction within it, with a dream cast.

‘Ender’s Game’ Loses Personality in Journey From Book to Film

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

CHICAGO – Gavin Hood’s “Ender’s Game” may be the best example of a current problem with science fiction: From “Oblivion” to “After Earth” to most of “Star Trek Into Darkness” and now this adaptation of the Orson Scott Card book, modern science fiction has become so depressingly sterile as to drain the genre of most of its joy.

Tense Thriller Has Halle Berry Answering ‘The Call’

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

CHICAGO – “The Call” rises above the usual crime drama for a couple of reasons. First, it is a thriller that runs at a breakneck speed, using the driving culture of Los Angeles in a cat-and-mouse chase. Secondly, it symbolically emphasizes the plight of women, and honors their empowerment.

Shallow, Garish ‘New Year’s Eve’ Ruins Your Holiday

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “New Year’s Eve” is so garish and manipulative that it doesn’t really qualify as a film – it’s a product, no more an actual movie than a Hallmark card is a piece of poetry. It is corporate junk at its worst, so shallow that it’s almost remarkably thin, as if director Garry Marshall were trying to win a contest for lack of subtlety.

Johnny Depp Spins Animation Gold in Hilarious ‘Rango’

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

CHICAGO – When we first see the chameleon named Lars (Johnny Depp), soon to be ‘Rango,’ he is doing acting voice exercises. He is basically warming up a film that is a real hoot, and has wonderful heart.

Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg Deliver Action, Laughs With Great ‘Zombieland’

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

CHICAGO – The horror/comedy “Zombieland” is one of the few 2009 films to honestly deserve the overused phrase “thrill ride.” From the opening shots to the best post-credits tag in years, “Zombieland” attempts nothing but pure fun and completely delivers.

‘My Sister’s Keeper’: An Emotional Look at a Modern Moral Dilemma

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The advancement of medicine has brought about many things: longer life-expectancy, treatments for serious illnesses such as cancer, artificial conception, and genetic modification. Though there are positive aspects to each of these things, inherent within each are moral dilemmas we will have to face.

‘Definitely, Maybe’ Borrows From Successful Romantic Comedies, Adds Fresh Hook

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – The makers of “Love Actually” and “Notting Hill” know how to do romantic comedy that doesn’t somehow fall into the trap of a formulaic chick flick like “27 Dresses”. “Definitely, Maybe,” which is their latest effort, on the other hand isn’t particularly original and really isn’t very funny.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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