Patrick McDonald

Relatable Togetherness Highlight 2019 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

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

CHICAGO – The relationships in our lives affect who we are, whether they are momentary or long term. Interestingly, like the Oscar nominated Live Action shorts, the Animated Short Film nominees have that similar connective themes in four of the five stories. Family relationships, son-to-mother, mother-to-daughter, daughter-to-father and parents-to-child, are explored in poignant and expressive ways. The Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago are currently showing all the shorts in one program. Click here for more information.

The James Cameron Touch Creates ‘Alita: Battle Angel’

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

CHICAGO – The creation of new worlds has always been a mainstay of the cinema, virtually since it was invented. And whether you love or are indifferent to the films of James Cameron (“Titanic”), he remains one of the prime movers in advancing the creative tools of films. His influence is all over “Alita: Battle Angel.”

Childhood is a Major Theme in 2019 Oscar Nominated Live Action Short Films

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

CHICAGO – There are four films among the five Oscar-nominated Live Action Shorts for 2019 that have childhood in their theme, and they all are telling about situations in the more in-your-face dark circumstances of life today (or in the case of one film, 25 years ago). The Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago are currently showing all the shorts in one program. Click here for more information.

‘The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part’ is Flat Out Funny

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

CHICAGO – There are two things I love as a film observer. The pretty colors of modern animation … and to laugh. I got both in the appropriately titled “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.” Picking up where the first first left off, the gang of Lego brick figures, including Emmet, Wyldstyle and Batman, have a new adventure.

Windy City Romance We’ve All Been Waiting for is ‘Rendezvous in Chicago’

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

CHICAGO – In the 30 odd years I’ve lived in Chicago, and in the 10 years I’ve done the Chicago Film Tour, I know Chicago movies. The problem was that most of them didn’t understand the Windy City vibe, especially in the relationships that develop here. Well, writer/director Michael Glover Smith gets it exquisitely right, in his three story anthology called “Rendezvous in Chicago.”

World War I Comes to Life in ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’

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

CHICAGO – The First World War took place (1914-18) in conjunction with the early days of film, with enough cameras available to actually capture it. For years, that dusty and silent celluloid was used in documentaries, but never has it come to life the way that director Peter Jackson presents it in “They Shall Not Grow Old.”

A Boy’s Adventure in ‘The Kid Who Would Be King’

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

CHICAGO – The marketing of this film keeps mentioning the 1980s cult film ‘The Goonies,’ but this British based “school mates” adventure is rooted more in King Arthur and “The Sword in the Stone.” A boy’s grand adventure plays out with themes of what is at stake in a delightful “The Kid Who Would Be King.”

Too Much Wasted Time in M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Glass’

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

CHICAGO – Maybe inside filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s head, his latest film “Glass” works… all the elements of what we need to know about this sequel to MNS’s previous films “Split” and “Unbreakable” are within. However, what works inside the director’s head may not work for the audience, especially in the first half of the film.

Unsettling View of Evil in Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built’

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

CHICAGO – With director Lars von Trier, who is a mad f**king genius of a filmmaker, it’s always make or break (or both). He breaks in his latest, “The House That Jack Built” which is all too much of evil everything, until it morphs into a last act that has an intriguing and unsettling sense of weird purpose. The story of a serial killer and the meticulous realizations of his killings is like a sound meter that is constantly going into the red zone, until the damn thing shatters.

‘The Upside’ Works Because of Kevin Hart & Bryan Cranston

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

CHICAGO – In 2011, there was a notable French film called “The Intouchables,” based on the true story of quadriplegic Phillippe Pozzo di Borgo and the relationship with his caregiver. Leave it to the U.S. film industry to get its sticky fingers on the story, and seven years later Bryan Cranston portrays “Phillip” and his caretaker is portrayed by Kevin Hart. Instead of story, this version relies on its lead actors.

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