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James McAvoy

Danny Boyle Nearly Mesmerizes with ‘Trance’

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

CHICAGO – Danny Boyle’s “Trance” is an undeniably well-made thriller that works back in on itself a few too many times for disbelief to stay suspended but delivers enough escapist entertainment to be considered a success. It’s totally ridiculous and yet never boring, propelled by the quick-cut style of the man who brought similar momentum to “Shallow Grave,” “Trainspotting,” and “28 Days Later.”

Aardman Studios Offers a Merry ‘Arthur Christmas’

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

CHICAGO – Aardman Studios, the creators of the irrepressible “Wallace & Gromit” and the witty “Flushed Away” is back with another animated holiday treat, “Arthur Christmas.” Santa Claus and the gang are taken into the modern era, but the cheeky lads/lasses at Aardman can’t help but throw in a bit of whimsy and heart.

Matthew Vaughn’s Entertaining, Stylish ‘X-Men: First Class’ Rocks

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

CHICAGO – Matthew Vaughn rights the ship of mediocre superhero movies with the incredibly accomplished “X-Men: First Class,” the best Marvel Movie since “Spider-Man 2” and a film that proves that big blockbuster summer entertainment can be both commercially crowd-pleasing and intellectually complex at the same time. “X-Men: First Class” features a spectacular mix of well-choreographed action, revisionist history, themes of tolerance, and great performances. This will be one of the best movies of this season.

‘The Conspirator’ Has Lessons That Resonate Today

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

CHICAGO – The Latin term “Inter arma silent leges.” (There is no law on the battlefield) is coldly stated in “The Conspirator,” directed by Robert Redford. In plain truth, the new film recreates one of the most controversial military trials in American history.

‘Gnomeo & Juliet’ Charms With Music of Elton John

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

CHICAGO – As movie animation domination continues, “Gnomeo and Juliet” throws its stone cap into the ring, and has a lively story that tweaks it source, while respecting its power. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt are the voices of the star-crossed lovers, with the addition of familiar vocals from Michael Caine and Ozzy Osbourne, among others.

‘Wanted’ With Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy Concocts Curving Bullet in Gluttonously Entertaining Blockbuster

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

CHICAGO – With curving, clinking and kissing bullets, “Wanted” indeed does Chicago proud. And Angelina Jolie sells it. And Morgan Freeman is ominous. And in his body of work, James McAvoy – the star of this orgasmic summer blockbuster – becomes a man.

Anne Hathaway Steals Show in Slow, Stuffy ‘Becoming Jane’

Rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – “Becoming Jane” is slow, stuffy – as it should be in that time period – but beautifully acted and scripted. Anne Hathaway as pre-fame Jane Austen entirely steals the show.

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  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 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.

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