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Magic & Creativity is Formula for ‘Dave Made a Maze’

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

CHICAGO – When the magnificently creative film “Dave Made a Maze” begins, it seems like another Millennial generation stab at micro budget filmmaking, with a claustrophobic set and extreme archetypes instead of characters. But then the “exploration” of the title maze starts, and suddenly “Dave” becomes a marvel of invention, tribute, hilarity and even truth.

Un-Buddy-Like Violence in ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’

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

CHICAGO – One day I would like to meet a professional assassin. Are they as quippy and biblical as Samuel L. Jackson? This tired movie occupation is trotted out again, this time pairing Jackson with Ryan Reynolds, in an overwrought and ultra-violent buddy comedy, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.”

Individualism in ‘Menashe’ Challenges the Tribe

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

CHICAGO – We all belong to something, be it a family, workplace, congregation or (expansively) a tribe. But within all that belonging is a sometimes nagging feeling of being an outsider. There is not a human being in existence that hasn’t felt that way, and a new film expresses that feeling in “Menashe.”

Story in ‘Wind River’ Gets Scattered in the Breeze

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

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Taylor Sheridan is a deep thinker regarding humanity in these United States. In the third film of his “American Frontier Trilogy” – after “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” – he goes to the Wyoming Native American reservation, for a unwieldy story titled “Wind River.”

‘The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature’ is in the No-Fun Zone

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

CHICAGO – Anyone showing up to the “The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature” will know exactly what they’re going to get… it’s a late summer sequel to an animated movie you may be surprised was successful enough to warrant a sequel at all, much less a theatrically released one.

Good vs. Evil Brightly Entertaining in ‘The Dark Tower’

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

CHICAGO – Nobody does good vs. evil archetypes like author Stephen King, and this framework is purposeful in the film adaptation of King’s “The Dark Tower.” The popular book series gets a visual kick through the rendering of director Nikolaj Arcel and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.

HollywoodChicago.com ESP, En Español: ‘Atomic Blonde,’ ‘Detroit,’ y ‘Dunkirk’

CHICAGO – Cada semana, HollywoodChicago.com le traerá las criticas de las películas que hemos visto y que están saliendo esa semana, pero en español. HollywoodChicago.com ESP no sólo representa HollywoodChicago.com Espanol, sino también Esta Semana en Peliculas. Esta semana haremos una gira de guerra a través de la historia de la Segunda Guerra Mundial (‘Dunkirk’), a la Guerra Fría (‘Atomic Blonde’) y a la zona de guerra en casa (‘Detroit’).

‘Detroit’ is Stark, Blunt & Honest U.S. History

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

CHICAGO – It has become clear to anyone who is making an observation about authority and “order” in America, that for certain people it comes with a severe price. “Detroit” explores an incident within the 1967 riots there, when white police officers raided a hotel and perpetuated crimes of their own.

‘City of Ghosts’ Puts Citizen Faces on Syrian Crisis

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

CHICAGO – Syria has become a distant place, disconnected from the wider world through civil war and extreme sociopolitical instability, including the takeover of some regions by ISIS (the Islamic State). “City of Ghosts” looks at Raqqa, a Syrian city with the iron boot of ISIS on their necks, and the citizens who risk their lives to tell that story to the world.

Strong Performance Makes ‘Lady Macbeth’ a Cogent Character Study

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

CHICAGO – Separating a performance from the rest of the film is usually an easy task. One may be stronger than the other, or vice versa, but either way, they can be judged individually and as a whole. “Lady Macbeth” proves to be that rare character study where a single performance (from breakout actress Florence Pugh) not only makes the film but essentially is the film.

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  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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