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Ellen Page

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Dares to Richly Invest in Story First, CGI Second

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

CHICAGO – After a string of superhero movie disappointments in recent memory, last month “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” renewed our faith in Hollywood blockbusters once again. Just 7 weeks later, can “X-Men: Days of Future Fast” impress us again?

Opportunity For Insight Wasted in ‘The East’

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

CHICAGO – Brit Marling is an undeniably smart, forward-thinking writer/actress in that she refuses to succumb to gender stereotypes and tries to chart her own way through the independent film movement. If this is true, and I still believe it is, why did “The East,” in which she stars and which she co-wrote, end up so frustratingly melodramatic? Why was the opportunity for true commentary or even character development within this fascinating world discarded in favor of an awkwardly-staged and poorly-written love story laden with genre tropes? I so wanted to like “The East,” but it never pointed me in the direction where I could do so.

Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love’ is Episodic, Choppy

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

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen continues his film travelogues in “To Rome with Love,” touring The Eternal City with four separate vignettes. An all-star cast – including Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Woody himself – hit and miss with this varying blend of stories.

James Gunn’s Memorable ‘Super’ With Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page

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

CHICAGO – A much darker cousin of Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass” by way of “Taxi Driver,” James Gunn’s “Super” is a tonally inconsistent comedy that nevertheless features one of my absolute favorite performances of the year so far and enough interesting ideas to warrant a look. If only those ideas were shaped into something a bit more coherent. “Super” could have lived up to its title.

Following ‘The Dark Knight,’ Nolan’s ‘Inception’ is a Mind-Stupefying Masterpiece

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

CHICAGO – After thinking it’d take “a couple months” to ink, director Christopher Nolan (of “The Dark Knight” fame) took eight years to painstakingly write the “Inception” script. And you can tell. It’s his first pure masterpiece.

Ellen Page’s ‘Smart People’ Only as Scholarly as Zealous Senior in High School

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5CHICAGO – I’m flummoxed. I know “Smart People” was supposed to be comedic drama with a splash of romance. Instead, I have been misled. It’s not a comedy. It’s not a tragedy. It’s not even a tragicomedy.

‘Snow Angels’ an Essential Examination of Yin, Yang in Our Vulnerable Lives

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – Staying sane is truly an edge-of-the-knife proposition. We are all the sum of our past environments, our present circumstances and our future worries. The sludge that is generated by such a mixture becomes the psyche that’s ready to interact with other psyches we deem important or are forced to be around through family or commerce.

‘Juno’ the First LiveJournal, Blogger Film; Writer Diablo Cody a Standout Star

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5AUSTIN, Texas – No one says anything plainly in “Juno”. Hyper clever, hyper literate and hyper pop savvy, it tells a light story of teenage pregnancy in a package of verbose middle classiness.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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