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Amanda Seyfried

‘Ted 2’ is a Funnier Film Than it Deserves to Be

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

CHICAGO – While it’s cruder and it can’t quite match the original “Ted,” “Ted 2” is still funnier than it has any right to be. It is unmistakably a Seth MacFarlane production, and there are a million reasons why this movie shouldn’t work, chief among them a plot that attempts to plop a foul mouthed talking teddy bear into a moralistic legal parable about civil rights. But I can’t deny I laughed throughout, almost despite myself.

An Age Range of Human Conditions in ‘While We’re Young’

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

CHICAGO – We’re born, we’re nurtured, we seek purpose and we die. In between there are a million decisions between the words of that opening sentence, and writer/director Noah Baumbach understands that intuitively in his great new film, “While We’re Young.”

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Suffers Because Seth MacFarlane Casts Himself

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

CHICAGO – A feature-length comedy is a daunting undertaking. But being consistently funny for 2 straight hours is like climbing Mount Everest blindfolded with no arms while taking selfies using your feet.

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Goes in All Directions

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

CHICAGO – Two observations regarding Seth MacFarlane: one, he is a hilarious writer and voiceover talent. Two, he isn’t as good as a comic leading man, on screen and in live action. Those two elements clash brightly in the overlong but funny “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”

Notoriety Triggers the Breaking Point in ‘Lovelace’

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

CHICAGO – It was one of the strangest star-is-born stories in show business history. One porn film – “Deep Throat” – permeates the American consciousness at precisely the right time. The “lead” actress in the film becomes a household name – and then becomes a victim of it – in ‘Lovelace.’

Gorgeous Visuals Lift Mediocre Script of ‘Epic’

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

“Epic” is the best-looking 3D animated film since “How to Train Your Dragon”. From the very first scenes, it has a mesmerizing visual palette as the natural world comes to life in a way reminiscent of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar.” It’s gorgeous. Sadly, the lurching, generic script doesn’t live up to the look of the film but it’s worth seeing just for the memorable visuals.

Turn Down the Invitation to ‘The Big Wedding’

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

CHICAGO – “The Big Wedding” begins with Robert De Niro performing a particular love making maneuver on Susan Sarandon, and is caught in the act by Diane Keaton. What could have happened in a cutting-edge indie feature in 1981 is the basis of a lame bit in 2013, and so it goes for the rest of the film.

‘Les Misérables’ Paints Emotion in Widescreen Colors

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

CHICAGO – Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables,” the best movie musical in over a decade, is what a musical like this should be – unabashed, unashamed emotion painted in vibrant, broad colors across a massive screen. It is gloriously bereft of the cynicism that has sapped so many stage-to-film adaptations from achieving the heights of their source material and features some of the most striking performances in the history of the genre.

Avenging Pursuit Motivates Amanda Seyfried in ‘Gone’

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

CHICAGO – The premise of “Gone” is a beguiling notion. What if the victim of a traumatic crime can’t get authorities to believe her? The evidence doesn’t add up, there are no physical signs of struggle and no crime scene is found. Amanda Seyfried plays such a victim, and her very sanity is questioned.

‘In Time’ With Justin Timberlake Fails to Build on Clever Idea

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

CHICAGO – Andrew Niccol has delivered complex, daring science fiction before, most notably in his scripts for “The Truman Show” and “Gattaca.” Sadly, “In Time” will never be mentioned in the same breath with those films. This is a one-idea film and that one idea is poorly executed. With some of the cheesiest, surface-level dialogue of the year, a complete lack of chemistry between the leads, and some of the choppiest action editing of the year, “In Time” is a near disaster.

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  • Punk Punk

    CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


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