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Russell Brand

‘Trolls’ is Catchier Than it Has a Right to Be

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

CHICAGO – “Trolls” isn’t the type of confection that I would normally subject myself to, but at least it didn’t make me want to stick knitting needles in my ears. That’s because “Trolls” aspires to be this season’s “Frozen,” a full blown animated musical jam packed with songs you can’t get out of your head as much as you might try.

Diablo Cody Loses Tone in Awful ‘Paradise’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Diablo Cody’s directorial debut, “Paradise,” now available everywhere On Demand and released this Friday in some markets theatrically, is an unmitigated disaster. It’s the most tonally inconsistent film of 2013, a flick that fluctuates wildly from broad satire to manipulative drama to something altogether indescribably bad.

Same Formula in Weak Sequel ‘Despicable Me 2’

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

CHICAGO – Oh those wacky Minions. We just never know what those little yellow guys in “Despicable Me 2” will do, because they simply DO EVERYTHING! They sing, fart, burp, perform parodies and handle hazardous materials. More than comic relief, they are all-purpose story coverage.

Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough Have Fun in ‘Rock of Ages’

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

CHICAGO – Although the jukebox musical needs an available pasture to be put out onto, the new film “Rock of Ages” – based on the Broadway stage play – improves on that genre by having a little fun and lots of tongue-in-cheek. Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand rock the cashbox.

Russell Brand Tries Too Hard in Lame ‘Arthur’

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

CHICAGO – There are many problems inherent in film remakes, starting with comparisons to the original source. The first “Arthur,” while not a classic, did have a warm, funny story and Dudley Moore’s title performance. The current remake has none of that.

‘Hop’ is a Limp Skip, Jump For Russell Brand

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

CHICAGO – A definitive cinematic exploration of the Easter Bunny story is precisely what the world is missing. Right? Anyway, the folks behind “Hop,” featuring the voice of Russell Brand as the rascally rabbit, has produced this heretofore missing piece of the film canon.

‘Despicable Me’ With Steve Carell Falls Short of World Domination

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

CHICAGO – “Despicable Me” is a mildly entertaining diversion on a summer afternoon. It’s a film that’s as equally difficult to hate as it is to love — kind of like its morally complex lead Gru (Steve Carell) — that falls just short of animation domination.

Russell Brand, Jonah Hill Rock in Very Funny ‘Get Him to the Greek’

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

CHICAGO – Taking a character who was created as an obnoxious supporting one and giving him his own spin-off movie sounds like a recipe for disaster. Despite generally liking its stars and enjoying “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” I was dreading the quasi-sequel “Get Him to the Greek”. There were just too many screenwriting pitfalls in which the film could have and should have fallen in.

Judd Apatow Again Fashions Gimmick Into Gold in Uproarious ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – After being blitzed by an onslaught of attention-demanding advertising that begged the question “who is Sarah Marshall?” even before you realized it’s a film, anticipation was ravenous.

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  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

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