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‘The Counselor’ Disguises Lackluster Storytelling in Philosophy

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

CHICAGO – “That’s not what greed does; that’s what greed is.” Cormac McCarthy’s script for “The Counselor” is so weighed down with allegedly insightful philosophy like this that it collapses into a heap of laughable, unbelievable exchanges between characters who simply don’t exist in the real world.

Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love’ is Episodic, Choppy

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

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen continues his film travelogues in “To Rome with Love,” touring The Eternal City with four separate vignettes. An all-star cast – including Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Woody himself – hit and miss with this varying blend of stories.

Johnny Depp in Entertaining ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’

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

CHICAGO – It’s easy to remember that the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series is on its fourth formulaic film, but harder to remember that it’s based on a freaking amusement park ride! Director Rob Marshall livens it up with “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

Star-Studded ‘Nine’ With Daniel Day-Lewis Delivers Grand Musical Spectacle

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

CHICAGO – Rob Marshall’s highly anticipated “Nine” isn’t quite the complete piece that it could have been, but its flaws are easy to overlook in favor of the spectacle of old-fashioned, pure entertainment. It is what so many musicals are remembered for being: a series of memorable moments, the toe-tapping sum of which makes a missed beat or two easier to overlook.

Hit-or-Miss Mastermind Woody Allen Recaptures Genius With Eccentric ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’

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

CHICAGO – While legendary writer and director Woody Allen can’t always be equated with sheer genius these days and is more accurately described as a hit-or-miss proposition, the sorely undermarketed and film-festival touring “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” serves as unquestionable retribution for his recently questionable work.

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  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 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.

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