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Sam Raimi

‘The Jungle Book’ is a Technical Marvel Missing Some Magic

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

CHICAGO – While Disney Studios’ new live action version of “The Jungle Book” is an improvement over the 1967 animated version, it’s more of a technical marvel than magical fable. And it’s unable to completely transcend the earlier version’s limitations.

‘Poltergeist’ Remake Has a Soul of Its Own

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

CHICAGO – Whether it’s the 1982 original or the remake just released in theaters today to the wrath of numerous fans, the lesson of “Poltergeist” remains the same: Don’t do a half-assed job when relocating skeletons for corporate greed, or suffer the supernatural consequences. Fear not, however, as this is one remake that doesn’t just dress up a nostalgic skeleton for the modern horror crowd, but one that reminisces, and looks forward, with a mostly intelligent, genuine heart.

Story Dims Visionary ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’

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

CHICAGO – “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a great and powerful visual and 3D experience. It expands the landscape of what cinema can produce in a visceral and evolutionary way. But a great film also needs a great story, and this Land of Oz tale is not equivalent to the awe-inspiring imagery.

Real-Life Backstory of ‘The Possession’ More Titillating Than Cinematic Dybbuk Dramatization

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

CHICAGO – A film marketing itself as being “based on a true story” doesn’t hold the same teeth it once did. With truly original stories a financial high risk for Hollywood and many films leaning toward being based on a best-selling novel, the genre that is based on a true story or “inspired by true events” has increasingly taken creative liberties.

Sam Raimi Returns to Horror Genre With Thrilling ‘Drag Me to Hell’

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

CHICAGO – The gleefully gory Sam Raimi who made “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn” and “Darkman” is back in close to prime form with this week’s thoroughly enjoyable “Drag Me To Hell,” a horror thrill ride almost certain to satisfy any audience member willing to choose a movie with “Hell” in the title over the latest Pixar offering.

Ellen Page’s ‘Smart People’ Only as Scholarly as Zealous Senior in High School

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5CHICAGO – I’m flummoxed. I know “Smart People” was supposed to be comedic drama with a splash of romance. Instead, I have been misled. It’s not a comedy. It’s not a tragedy. It’s not even a tragicomedy.

Tobey Maguire ‘Black’ in Action in Venomously Conflicted ‘Spider-Man 3’

Rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – At the heart of every great film is a good conflict. In Spidey’s third advent, his heart is venomously conflicted and so is the film.

The film gets gargantuan props on its special effects. Of course, the entertaining visual acuity is expected and is no surprise.

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  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


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