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Patrick McDonald

Delightful ‘Ferdinand’ Keeps it Simple & Funny

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

CHICAGO – Like the repeat tenets of real estate, good animated films come down to story, story, story. And ‘Ferdinand,’ an older children’s tale adapted to modern audiences, combines a gentle source narrative with palatable visual and cartoon jokes. It’s fun for the whole family!

Ethereal ‘The Shape of Water’ Forms Cinema Magic

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

CHICAGO – This breathtaking morality and love story, set in a backward age, takes all of its major themes – passion, tolerance, symbolism and thrills – to the highest level. Writer/director Guillermo del Toro has created a masterwork that is part fairy tale, part adult desperation and all cinema magic.

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Turns Up the Volume

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

CHICAGO – Everything that could be thrown into the Stars Wars legend – and the official story – is present in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” With three concurrent stories converging into an amped-up climax, all manner of Star Wars-mania and fan satisfaction can be realized in Episode 8.

Funny ‘The Disaster Artist’ Takes Us Back to ‘The Room’

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

CHICAGO – “The Room” is a post-millennial cult movie that plays the midnight and college movie circuit, entertaining audiences with its sheer badness. Its story is told in the “The Disaster Artist,” featuring James Franco as the director of “The Room,” and he also directed the film. Very meta.

Art & Real World Taken to Task in Angular ‘The Square’

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

CHICAGO – Recently, the record for highest bid ever on a work of art was shattered – $450 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvador Mundi’ – and the ownership of a canvas, for the price of supporting a small country, calls into question the meaning of art and collecting. All of this, and everything more, is generated in the cinematic rendering of “The Square.”

Charles Dickens is ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

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

CHICAGO – The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, as told in Charles Dicken’s classic “A Christmas Carol,” seems to be the one constant that survives the commercialization of the holiday season. The story of Scrooge’s creation is told with expressive sentimentality in “The Man Who Invented Christmas.”

Up Up & Away for ‘Justice League’ From DC Comics

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

CHICAGO – In the America of truth, justice and comic book movies, the DC brand – featuring hero icons Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – has lagged behind their rivals at Marvel Studios. “Justice League” fills that gap admirably, after the slam-bam summer of Wonder Woman.

Authentic Coming-of-Age in Expressive ‘Lady Bird’

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

CHICAGO – In one of the best American films of 2017, Greta Gerwig went behind the camera to write and direct an autobiographical overview of her Senior Year in high school, within a directionless town and family. The result is enlightening truth, told with laugh-out-loud directness and connective empathy. The film is a total winner.

‘Novitiate’ Goes Inside the 1960s Catholic Church

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

CHICAGO – In a “mystery of faith” narrative disguised as a feminist statement, the new film “Novitiate” goes inside a nunnery in 1964 America, just as the Catholic Church was about to make some radical changes to their procedures. How it affected the church is how it affected the nuns, and the intriguing insider story is full of back room shocks.

‘LBJ’ is Important American History Brought to Light

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

CHICAGO – The circumstances surrounding the John F. Kennedy assassination on November 22nd, 1963, put a man into the presidential spotlight who never thought he would get there… Lyndon Baines Johnson. The story of that strange time and the man who “would be king” is told in ‘LBJ.’

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    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. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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