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Samuel L. Jackson

Near-Perfect ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Defies Common Sequel Disappointment

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

CHICAGO – If the original is anything to applaud, the sequel usually isn’t. And even more rarely is the sequel actually better.

While it’s aggressive to market “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” as one of the “best superhero movies of all time” and more realistic to pitch it as “better than ‘The Avengers,’” it most certainly is 2014’s best action flick yet and it definitely defies common sequel disappointment.

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Pledges Allegiance to Strong Action, Twists

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

CHICAGO – In record-breaking time, even for Marvel, a comic book character has had their existence (basically) rebooted. The arc may be continued from the previous film, and some of the actors may reappear, but this take on Captain America is bonafide divergent. It’s not the hollow nostalgic relic seen in his debut “Captain America: The First Avenger”, nor is this the goofy time alien/boy scout he was made in to be in the ensemble film “The Avengers”. This version of Captain America, and the world he lives in, is leaner and meaner.

‘RoboCop’ Reboot Lacks Fun Factor, Fearful Villain

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

CHICAGO – You get the sense that a writer for the new “RoboCop” felt very proud of himself when he coined the cheeky word “robophobic” as a play on a current cultural hot button. The Samuel L. Jackson moment of self-fulfilled glory reminded me of the rest of the plot that was missing.

Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ Remake Merely Echoes Superior Original

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

After years in development hell, Spike Lee’s remake of Park Chan-wook’s beloved “Oldboy” is finally here. Does it live up to the high expectations set by the original? Does it mark a return to form from the director of some of the most important movies of his era or is it another disappointment? No and no. Sadly, what’s so remarkable about “Oldboy,” especially when one considers the darkness of its themes and graphic violence, is that it’s just so forgettable. It’s an echo of Park’s film and will be quickly dismissed in the legacy of its director.

Jamie Foxx Rides in Quentin Tarantino’s Incredibly Fun ‘Django Unchained’

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

CHICAGO – Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” has some undeniable pleasures, the kind that erupt from the screenwriting abilities of one of the best movie scribes alive. Tarantino’s way with words and plotting are as honed as ever and he directs his super-talented cast to enjoyable performances all around.

Summer Movie Season Explodes with ‘The Avengers’

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

CHICAGO – When I was a kid, summer movies were an event. They weren’t just marketing tricks, young adult adaptations, or unnecessary sequels. They were blockbusters that you put on the calendar and counted the days until their arrival. Something of that summer movie magic has been lost in recent years – the sense that you weren’t just seeing a movie, you were experiencing something special.

Eye-Popping 3D, Same Story in ‘Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace’ Rerelease

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

CHICAGO – Jar Jar Binks is back, and George Lucas has him in 3D. Yes, the re-release of 1999’s “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace,” takes advantage of the new 3D technology. However, it can’t change the story or the now 13-year outrage regarding this weird take on the Stars Wars legacy. Were we ever that young and that angry?

Despite Disastrous Skinny Steve, ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ is Perfectly Imperfect

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

CHICAGO – With mammoth special effects budgets carelessly puked into blockbuster films these days without story or heart, it’s effortless to wow audiences with beguiling explosions and one or two trademark, “The Matrix”-like innovations.

Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg Partner in Cop Farce ‘The Other Guys’

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

CHICAGO – While a cop film take-off is filed under the fish-in-a-barrel category, writer/director Adam McKay manages to spin some absurd gold threads into the thin blue cloth. In other words, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are damn funny in this all-in cop farce, with enough familiar co-star support to prop up the whole enchilada.

Annette Bening, Naomi Watts Lack the Connection in ‘Mother and Child’

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

CHICAGO – “Mother and Child,” with an all star cast of Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits and Kerry Washington, is mindful of its subject matter, that rare and elusive connection between a mother and their offspring. However, the film has difficulties when the characters become inconsistent with their past backgrounds after that connection is introduced.

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