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Rachel McAdams

‘Doctor Strange’ is Odd Enough to be Enchanting

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

CHICAGO – We’ve reached a point where comic book films are no longer a scarcity, but an eventuality. With several coming out every year, each one competes for our attention even though the originality behind their approach has the opposite effect. A great cinematic fatigue is almost upon us, but “Doctor Strange” shows a promising deviation that could possibly alter the franchise’s fate.

‘Spotlight’ Offers a Relevant First Draft to History

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

CHICAGO – “Spotlight” is a movie which aspires to greatness and oftentimes just about gets there. It’s a movie that is thoroughly confident that the process of journalism and a great story provides all the excitement it needs to grab an audience’s attention. And what a great story it is.

Unusual, Passionate ‘Aloha’ is Deeply Resonant

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

CHICAGO – Films with major movie stars that take real chances on story formula are rare. “Aloha” is one such example, and produces considerations that are way off the beaten path. Is it an allegory? An absurdity? An homage to 1960s paranoia? Only writer/director Cameron Crowe knows for sure.

Slushy ‘About Time’ Still Says All You Need is Love

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

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Richard Curtis is somewhat of a love guru. Fresh on the heels of the tenth anniversary of what is now his classic Christmas movie, “Love Actually,” comes his latest ode to amore. It’s about life, passion and – oh yeah – a little time travel. It’s “About Time.”

Brian De Palma Returns with Revenge Thriller ‘Passion’

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

CHICAGO – Brian De Palma returns to what he does best after a few notable failures in the last decade, producing his best work since 2002’s “Femme Fatale” and arguably returning to form in the surprisingly effective thriller “Passion.” It’s certainly not the home run that fans of “Dressed to Kill” or “Blow Out” still hold out hope for the director to deliver but it’s proof that this very stylish filmmaker hasn’t completely thrown in the towel like some of his ‘70s and ‘80s peers.

Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum Don’t Stick to ‘The Vow’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “The Vow” was “inspired by true events.” The end credits even showed the real couple of those events. Given the actual film, it’s likely that inspiration came in the form of “making stuff up,” as Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum were opposite to any reality in this illogical, strangely cold romance.

Woody Allen’s Charming ‘Midnight in Paris’ Delights

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

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen and the amazing cinematographer Darius Khondji (“Seven,” “The City of Lost Children”) very purposefully open their new film “Midnight in Paris” with a long series of static shots of the title city before even presenting a cast list. You see, Paris is a cast member in this film. The sun rises, people hustle and bustle through Paris, they sip coffee in cafes, the lights go on at dusk, and the city sleeps.

Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams Charm in ‘Morning Glory’

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

CHICAGO – The Holiday Season for films is populated by epic crowd pleasers and artsy Oscar bait. In between are the warm popcorn movies that don’t attempt to be anything except what they are. Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Patrick Wilson illustrate that cinematic point in the appealing and accessible “Morning Glory.”

Robert Downey Jr.’s Low-Tech ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Packs Powerful Punch

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

CHICAGO – Instead of relying of high-tech gadgetry and big-budget Hollywood CGI, Guy Ritchie’s gritty “Sherlock Holmes” does what major films often don’t: delivers big-payoff action sequences merely utilizing the body and mind.

Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck Bring Spark to Mediocre ‘State of Play’

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

CHICAGO – I’ll be the first critic to tell you that they don’t make adult thrillers often enough. I was very disappointed by the lackluster box office take of Tony Gilroy’s ” Duplicity”. But does that mean that we should give all intellectual mysteries a pass? Of course not. And while I want to love Kevin Macdonald’s “State of Play,” a few poor decisions during production keep it back from being the excellent film it could have been.

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  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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