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Javier Bardem

Lack of Cohesiveness, Intrigue Stymies ‘The Gunman’

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

CHICAGO – If you’re going to see a Sean Penn action movie, I guess “The Gunman” would be appropriate. As he and the filmmakers inject some reality in the usual motivations, the puzzle pieces don’t connect well and in the end are not that interesting. That is not to say that the film is bad.

‘The Counselor’ Disguises Lackluster Storytelling in Philosophy

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

CHICAGO – “That’s not what greed does; that’s what greed is.” Cormac McCarthy’s script for “The Counselor” is so weighed down with allegedly insightful philosophy like this that it collapses into a heap of laughable, unbelievable exchanges between characters who simply don’t exist in the real world.

Terrence Malick’s ‘To the Wonder’ Nearly Drowns in its Own Beauty

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

CHICAGO – Deservedly renowned as one of our greatest living filmmakers, Terrence Malick has a reputation for taking his time with each project. He won’t make a picture unless he feels a burning desire to make it, and will put directing on the back burner for two decades, if necessary, in order to pursue other interests. He’s never made what could be conceivably considered a minor work—until now.

‘Skyfall’ is Enjoyable, Transitional James Bond Romp

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

CHICAGO – James Bond is the world’s most enduring super spy, beginning with Ian Fleming’s classic spy novels, up to a celebration of 50 years in the movies. Daniel Craig returns as Bond, James Bond in the latest film ‘Skyfall,’ which blends familiar 007 actions with psychological transitions.

James Bond Returns in Stunning, Spectacular ‘Skyfall’

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

CHICAGO – “Skyfall” is a gorgeous, action-packed, superbly structured piece of modern filmmaking. It is not only one of the best James Bond movies in the five-decade history of the beloved character but it’s one of the best action movies of the last decade. Sam Mendes’ film is smart, sexy, dangerous, and, most stunningly of all, beautiful.

Javier Bardem Takes a Journey to an End in ‘Biutiful’

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

CHICAGO – In the midst of life’s journey, what may seem like a long time suddenly can become short, what seems like the routine suddenly becomes desperate. The theme of these changes and the effect on a dying soul is explored in “Biutiful.”

Julia Roberts Learns How to ‘Eat Pray Love’

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

CHICAGO – Despite its flaws, the often-beautiful “Eat Pray Love,” starring Julia Roberts, works because it refuses to talk down to its audience. This is the rare “chick flick” that treats its demographic with respect, never becoming the sentimental or manipulative dreck that so many other filmmakers would have delivered from Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoirs.

Hit-or-Miss Mastermind Woody Allen Recaptures Genius With Eccentric ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’

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

CHICAGO – While legendary writer and director Woody Allen can’t always be equated with sheer genius these days and is more accurately described as a hit-or-miss proposition, the sorely undermarketed and film-festival touring “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” serves as unquestionable retribution for his recently questionable work.

‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ Searches Soul, Comes Up Half Full

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3/5CHICAGO – In 2000’s “High Fidelity,” John Cusack mused: “I’ve read books like … ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ and I think I’ve understood them. They’re about girls, right?”

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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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