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Michelle Williams

Story Dims Visionary ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’

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

CHICAGO – “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a great and powerful visual and 3D experience. It expands the landscape of what cinema can produce in a visceral and evolutionary way. But a great film also needs a great story, and this Land of Oz tale is not equivalent to the awe-inspiring imagery.

‘Take This Waltz’ with Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen

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

CHICAGO – Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz” both illustrates its director’s uniquely confident vision as a filmmaker and her room to grow as a screenwriter. Despite the best efforts from a very talented cast led by a fearless performance from Michelle Williams, Polley’s film is frustrating in its inability to reflect the real world.

Michelle Williams is Luminous in ‘My Week With Marilyn’

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

CHICAGO – Bringing the popular culture past back to life in a movie is always a tricky proposition. No matter what, there are always inevitable comparisons to the real thing. They don’t come any more really famous than Marilyn Monroe, and Michelle Williams takes on a portrayal that exemplifies, honors and humanizes the iconic star in “My Week with Marilyn.” 

‘Meek’s Cutoff’ Turns Physical Journey Into Riveting Spiritual Drama

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

CHICAGO – Very few films have ever conveyed an impending sense of doom as successfully as Kelly Reichardt’s stunningly accomplished “Meek’s Cutoff,” a journey into the past that has resonance for any era. Which way do you go when you’ve lost the map? Who do you trust when you can’t see beyond the horizon? How does man simply keep moving forward when it’s so unclear where we’re going?

Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams Are Heartbreakingly Real in ‘Blue Valentine’

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

CHICAGO – Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine,” my pick last month for the 9th best film of 2010, is a devastatingly genuine representation of the first and final chapters of a marriage. It is a powerful drama, partially made so by a fantastic script, but mostly due to two of the best performances of the year from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Don’t miss it.

Take Trip to Riveting ‘Shutter Island’ With Leonardo DiCaprio

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

CHICAGO – “Shutter Island” is a riveting trip through a cinematic funhouse led by one of the best filmmakers of all time in Martin Scorsese, who fully employs the copious skills of his most talented collaborators including star Leonardo DiCaprio. It is a technical masterpiece that gets under your skin and stays there for days.

Tepid Con Job Spoils Sexual Intrigue in ‘Deception’ With Ewan McGregor

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2/5CHICAGO – Despite its timid title, “Deception” has all the right ingredients for a decent tale of mystery: a strong premise, sound acting and the famous femme fatale. It even starts with a promising conviction: How does a background player in life deal with initiation into a secret society?

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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