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Ewan McGregor

‘American Pastoral’ Should Have Been Put to Pasture

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

CHICAGO – Change can be a frightening part of life and the human experience. It is an unavoidable but often necessary transition for progress. If you fight change or innovation, the stagnation alone will weigh you down and hold you back. “American Pastoral” may deal with the themes of revolution, but that’s about all that is revolutionary or unique about this film.

Supremely Silly ‘Mortdecai’ is a Pleasant Surprise

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

CHICAGO – I have to say while watching Johnny Depp in “Mortdecai,” I found myself amused. I rarely elicited anything more than a slight chuckle, but its indomitable spirit of silliness made it a not entirely unpleasant evening out. This feather-weight trifle of a caper is only slightly more than the funny mustache movie its posters and trailer make it out to be.

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.

‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ Has Some Fee-Fi-Fo Fun

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

CHICAGO – The trend of taking ancient fairy tales – “Hanzel and Gretel” and “Snow White,” for example – and converting them into computer generated mega-pictures is peculiar, and glaringly profitable (no “rights” to buy). The latest, “Jack and the Giant Slayer,” has some fun up the beanstalk again.

Shattering Power of True Story of ‘The Impossible’

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

CHICAGO – Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Impossible” captures what its title implies. It transports us to an unimaginable situation, into an absolute nightmare in which air is replaced by rushing water, families are ripped apart, and people’s lives hang in the balance. It is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking, a film that is at times devastating, at times emotional, at times inspirational, and always riveting. It’s one of the best films of 2012.

Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt Flounder in ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’

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

CHICAGO – Often when novels with quirky titles get made into films, all that is left of the quirk is the name on the cover. That is exactly what has happened to “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” a tome authored by Paul Torday, and reduced to torpid blandness by director Lasse Hallstrøm.

Eye-Popping 3D, Same Story in ‘Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace’ Rerelease

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

CHICAGO – Jar Jar Binks is back, and George Lucas has him in 3D. Yes, the re-release of 1999’s “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace,” takes advantage of the new 3D technology. However, it can’t change the story or the now 13-year outrage regarding this weird take on the Stars Wars legacy. Were we ever that young and that angry?

Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor in Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Haywire’

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

CHICAGO – Steven Soderbergh is one of the few directors who can do whatever the hell he wants. Whatever genre, whomever he casts, whichever story he chooses to tell – he pulls it off. He hasn’t made anything approaching a stumble since 2004’s “Ocean’s Twelve” (and, believe it or not, there have been eight films released since including this one) and his latest, “Haywire,” serves as further evidence that any conversation of the best working directors that doesn’t include him is incomplete.

Ewan McGregor Needs More Seasoning in 'Beginners'

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

CHICAGO – When the matriarch of a family dies, the void can create dynamic shifts or imbalance for those left behind. Pair that turmoil with the announcement that a surviving father is gay, and the atmosphere is created for the new film “Beginners.”

Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor Make Unique Couple in ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’

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

CHICAGO – John Requa and Glenn Ficarra’s “I Love You Phillip Morris” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival nearly two years ago and was released internationally so long ago that it’s out on DVD in most markets around the world. After financial difficulties plagued the first company intent on stateside distribution, the movie sat on a shelf and most of us assumed it would be making its U.S. debut on a round shiny disc.

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  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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