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Patrick McDonald

‘Baby Driver’ Runs on the Fast Track of Movieland

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

CHICAGO – While it may seem that we’ve seen this type of tough-guy robbery gang film before, “Baby Driver” lives in its own universe, that of the movieland of movies. It is rich in squealing tires, bang-bang guns synched to the soundtrack, and a mystery cool boy creating his own star-crossed romance.

‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ is Bizarrely Enjoyable

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

CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course.

Emotionally Perfect Cowboy Elegy in ‘The Hero’

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

CHICAGO – The great character actor Sam Elliott – known mostly for his cowboy roles in film/TV and his unique bass sounding voiceovers – gets an opportunity to deliver a nuanced and emotional performance as a hyper-realized version of himself. There is virtue and truth in this character journey.

‘The Book of Henry’ Generates a Different Story Vibe

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

CHICAGO – There are some total exasperations in “The Book of Henry”… numerous ones that are almost deal breakers. But somehow, some way, the strange twists and ideas take over, and the film becomes fable-like, examining a different line of story elements that switched from one character to another. Director Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic Park” reboot) reveals a love in what he is doing in this film, and that also counts for something.

Discerning the Heroes is Tough in ‘Megan Leavey’

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

CHICAGO – The poster is what gives away “Megan Leavey” the most. The titular soldier, and her bomb-sniffing dog, below a billowing American flag. So which war is it? Why, it’s the Iraq invasion, where the U.S. military and the politicians at home “freed” the Iraqi citizens from a peaceful life. Making a dog story out of that boondoggle doesn’t make it any more palatable, except to “support the troops.”

The Human Being Behind the Greatness in ‘Churchill’

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

CHICAGO – Winston Churchill, except to hardcore history buffs, is fast fading from the cultural radar. Often called the Greatest Briton Ever, the lion who led his people for so many years became a bit toothless during the greatest World War II battle ever conceived, D-Day the Sixth of June. That moment in his life, and the lives of those around him, is the subject of the magnificent new film, “Churchill.”

‘Wonder Woman’ Creates Power with Social Justice

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

CHICAGO – There is a truth in the latest superhero epic, “Wonder Woman,” that is undeniable. The suppression of the power of woman in society, and denying the acceptance of all people – who just desire love – is the evil that can destroy the world. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman saves the day.

Diane Lane Hits the Blacktop in ‘Paris Can Wait’

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

CHICAGO – The cache of “Paris Can Wait” is what immediately makes it attractive. It’s Diane Lane road tripping through France on the way to Paris, guided by the script and direction of Eleanor Coppola, in her narrative film debut (at age 80!). Along the way there is food, seduction, incredible sights and Alec Baldwin. That formula was destined to work.

Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn Bring Hilarity to ‘Snatched’

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

CHICAGO – This is the Amy Schumer-in-the-movies we’ve all been waiting for… the brash zing factory who has a bit of insecurity behind her adventurous and licentious ways. Schumer teams with Goldie Hawn in a mother and daughter laugh factory called “Snatched.”

Love is Champion in ‘The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki’

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

CHICAGO – As a film set in 1962, shot on glorious black & white 16mm stock, “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki” has both a feeling that it was made back then, and a timelessness that radiates from that quality. The film is about a boxer, but his heart turns out to be the champion.

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  • Adam West, LIFE Magazine

    CHICAGO – As they say about Adam West’s interpretation of Batman, “he hit so hard, that words describing the impact appeared out of thin air.” But there was more to him than just the superhero tights, as Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com remember the three main characters in the career of Adam West, who passed away last week.

  • Jeff Awards, 2017

    CHICAGO – The 44th edition of the Non-Equity Jeff Awards were given out on June 5th, 2017, at what insiders call “the theater prom.” The event honors the non-union smaller or “storefront” theater companies, and their efforts to produce quality stage work. Hosted in grand style by Alexis Roston and Lillian Castillo, the recipients of the top play was “At the Table” by the Broken Nose Theatre and top musical was “High Fidelity” by the Refuge Theatre Project.

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