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Rebecca Hall

‘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.”

Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Ensemble Save ‘Frost/Nixon’ From Soulless Direction

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

CHICAGO – Peter Morgan’s play “Frost/Nixon” was a searing portrait of two men trying their best to change their image and their future. It was a head-to-head battle between a celebrity interviewer whose reputation was on a steady decline and the man credited with bringing shame to the White House.

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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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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