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Rebecca Hall

Superb Allegorical Story Told in Essential ‘Christine’

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

CHICAGO – In one of the great American films of the year, character actor Rebecca Hall interprets a based-on-truth incident from the 1970s, as she portrays the title character of “Christine.” The film encapsulates the nature of mental health, gender issues and the pursuit of random numbers.

Joel Edgerton’s Directorial Debut ‘The Gift’ Shows Psychological Thriller Promise

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

CHICAGO – Of the various genres of films, the psychological thriller is one of my holy grails. A story that highlights the psychology of its characters and their wobbly emotional states, few modern filmmakers dare to compete with the masterminds – Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and more recently David Fincher and Darren Aronofsky – or fail when trying to.

Meditative ‘Transcendence’ Also Artificially Intelligent

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

CHICAGO – The Internet is for real in “Transcendence”, a B-movie with grade-A production quality, loaded with terabyte-size open-ended questions, so long as one can accept it lastly with a scientific mindset. It is a film that perceives technology to be more expansive than a box of wires and computer chips, and actualizes the expanse of the internet as limitless to the realm of spiritual.

‘Closed Circuit’ is a Tense Reminder of Our Times

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

CHICAGO – The threat of terrorist acts defies security. That is a fundamental truth. With 7 billion people on the planet – and an infinite number of motivations within them – all the security cameras, techniques and agencies cannot stop a determined group or individual, as depicted in “Closed Circuit.”

‘Iron Man 3’ Starts Summer with a Mechanized Bang

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

CHICAGO – Critics and viewers fell in rapturous adoration of the legend of The Dark Knight when Christopher Nolan and his team took the risk of making character-driven superhero movies. To kick off the second phase of the Marvel Universe of films with this weekend’s “Iron Man 3,” Shane Black and the team behind this guaranteed blockbuster have done the same – presenting us with the most human Marvel flick since “Spider-Man 2.”

‘The Awakening’ with Rebecca Hall Will Put You to Sleep

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

CHICAGO – There a lot of sighs and longing looks in the new horror film “The Awakening” (and good luck trying to distinguish between the generically-titled “The Apparition,” “The Possession,” and this one — all in theaters). This disappointing attempt at an atmospheric ghost story tries to tell a tale that first feels like a haunting from within.

Will Ferrell Seeks Recovery in ‘Everything Must Go’

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

CHICAGO – Alcohol mixed with the American Dream sometimes becomes a destructive chemistry. With every individual’s reaction to ethyl alcohol like a fingerprint, the general image of the party animal can easily morph into what John Cheever called “The Sorrows of Gin.” These sorrows are explored through Will Ferrell in “Everything Must Go.”

Ben Affleck’s ‘The Town’ Proves ‘Gone Baby Gone’ Wasn’t Beginner’s Luck

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

CHICAGO – Only three years since the Chicago Film Critics Association awarded Ben Affleck as our most promising filmmaker, he’s back in the director’s seat a second time with “The Town”. While the film dramatically centers on the business of robbery in his familiar streets of Boston, Affleck importantly proves that his 2007 Oscar-nominated film “Gone Baby Gone” wasn’t just beginner’s luck.

Catherine Keener Shines in Nicole Holofcener’s Rewarding ‘Please Give’

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

CHICAGO – Writer/director Nicole Holofcener (“Lovely and Amazing,” “Friends With Money”) has an amazing ability to write characters that immediately feel genuine. It helps to have an actress as free of artifice as Catherine Keener as your regular lead but we shouldn’t diminish Holofcener’s rare ear for dialogue that actually sounds like it wasn’t created by a screenwriting machine.

‘Red Riding Trilogy’ Simultaneously Captivates, Infuriates

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

CHICAGO – Much ink has been spilled about how HBO is at the forefront of made-for-TV filmmaking in the world, a fact already demonstrated this year by the brilliant biopic “Temple Grandin” and the stellar WWII mini-series, “The Pacific.”

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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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