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Wondrous Last Act for Hayao Miyazaki in ‘The Wind Rises’

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

CHICAGO – The master animator and film legend Hayao Miyazaki (“Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”) announced his retirement after his latest film, “The Wind Rises.” He is often called “Japan’s Walt Disney,” but there is more to him then that, a soul and a mystery that is revealed in the stages of his animated art, and his contribution to artistic culture will continue to influence for generations to come. “The Wind Rises” is nominated for Best Animated Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.

Gus Van Sant’s ‘Promised Land’ Breaks Promise to Audiences

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

CHICAGO – When a Gus Van Sant picture works well, it can be as rousing as “Milk” or as thrillingly experimental as “Elephant.” Few filmmakers have straddled the mainstream and independent realms with such success (Steven Soderbergh would be another). But when a Van Sant film fails, it often fails spectacularly, as proven by “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” and that notoriously pointless “Psycho” remake.

Beguiling Ensemble Nearly Salvages Frustrating ‘Nobody Walks’

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

CHICAGO – From the very beginning of her screen career, Olivia Thirlby has specialized in playing youthful seductresses intent on jump-starting their male partners’ sexual coming-of-age. She exuded megawatt allure in everything from David Gordon Green’s “George Washington” to Brett Ratner’s memorable segment in “New York, I Love You.”

Whale of a Tale For Drew Barrymore in ‘Big Miracle’

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

CHICAGO – Whale of a tale (chuckle), no other headline writer has thought of that. “Big Miracle” is a family movie with Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell, Ted Danson and the voice of Ronald Reagan, that will not have adults seeking the emergency exits. It’s about whales.

Kate Hudson in ‘Something Borrowed’ is Something Bad

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

CHICAGO – Wedding movies, the wedding industrial complex, weddings as women’s literature, where does it end? (divorce) It’s that time of year, and the wedding film makes its ritualistic appearance, here represented by the morally bankrupt “Something Borrowed.”

Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin Shine in ‘It’s Complicated’

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

CHICAGO – Referring to her new film, “It’s Complicated,” Meryl Steep recently said, “It’s incredible, I’m playing the romantic lead in romantic comedies. Bette Davis is rolling over in her grave.” Tell Kate Hepburn the news.

‘Away We Go’ From Sam Mendes a Slightly Bumpy Trip Worth Taking

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

CHICAGO – Has life always been this difficult? Doesn’t anybody ever stay together anymore? Have the pressures of modern times turned the majority of us into screw-ups?

“Away We Go” is a chronicle of couple – Burt and Verona (John Krasinski of NBC’s “The Office” and Maya Rudolph of “Saturday Night Live”) – attempting to resolve just that.

Despite Stylistic Inconsistency, George Clooney’s ‘Leatherheads’ Feels Good

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3/5CHICAGO – George Clooney’s latest film, “Leatherheads,” brings light-hearted, screwball antics and slapstick blunders to the screen with a romantic tale that tells how professional football came to be.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kingpin Blu-ray

    CHICAGO – Before 1998’s “The Big Lebowski” there was 1996’s “Kingpin”, the Farrelly brothers bowling comedy that didn’t have the narrative intricacies of the Coen brothers’ classic, but had plenty of jokes about middle-aged men playing the sport. Today finds the release of “Kingpin” to Blu-ray for the first time, coming with only one new special feature.

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    CHICAGO – With J.J. Abrams not involved with the creation of a third “Star Trek” movie, a compendium of his work within the franchise only seems fitting. Loaded with special features but only a few new ones, this disc set is a strong choice for those who don’t already have both entertaining blockbusters in their collection.

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