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Steven Spielberg

‘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.

Emotion of ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ in ‘Earth to Echo’

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

CHICAGO – Oh those meddling kids, they can’t keep their noses out of anything, and for one lost space alien that’s a good thing. “Earth to Echo” is a wonderfully mastered combination of “found footage” composition and a Spielbergian-style encounter with an extra-terrestrial.

‘Lincoln’ Magnificently Humanizes the Man, Our History

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

CHICAGO – There is an argument that Steven Spielberg is the most “American” of directors, at least in his generation. He deftly and brilliantly teams up with playwright Tony Kushner and actor Daniel Day-Lewis to humanize and realize our 16th president in “Lincoln.”

Steven Spielberg Casts a Golden Light Upon ‘War Horse’

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

CHICAGO – Opening on Christmas Day is a film about a boy, his horse and war, brought to the screen by America’s most popular living director. “War Horse” is the most critic proof film ever realized. Kidding. This equine epic is Steven Spielberg’s latest, taking advantage of precise filmmaking, emotion and cinematography to deliver a decent holiday package.

Steven Spielberg’s Disappointing ‘The Adventures of Tintin’

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

CHICAGO – Being a huge Steven Spielberg fan and a pretty big aficionado of Peter Jackson (who produced) as well, I was pretty psyched to see what these two undeniable geniuses could do in the world of motion-capture animation with their collaboration on the adaptation of the hit Herge cartoon “The Adventures of Tintin.” That’s why it hurts me to say that, excepting a few stand-out action scenes, this is a shockingly dull affair, something that lulled me to sleep far more often than it inspired my imagination to life.

‘Real Steel’ Overcomes Harebrained Premise With Heart, Quenching Hollywood Wizardry

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

CHICAGO – Try selling a friend on paying to see a movie with you about machine-operated boxing where humans control robots for money.

Just call your friend on his Motorola DynaTAC retro brickphone and say: “Hey, Billy! Remember all those swell nights we had as kids when I smoked you every time in Rock’em Sock’em Robots with our two dueling robot boxers mechanically manipulated by us?

J.J. Abrams Finds Magic in Wonderful ‘Super 8’

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

CHICAGOJ.J. Abrams’ “Super 8” comes to theaters this week shrouded in mystery, nostalgia, and expectation. What do the aliens look like? How will it pay homage to the works of Steven Spielberg that so clearly inspired it? And will the merging of two filmmakers amplify their flaws or underline their strengths?

Simon Pegg, Seth Rogen Have Close Encounter in Fun ‘Paul’

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

CHICAGO – When having fun at the movies seems in short supply, the British film duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost come along with one of their goofy, comic tributes to our cinematic heritage. After zombies in “Shaun of the Dead” and action heroes in “Hot Fuzz.” Pegg and Frost take on the extra terrestrials in “Paul.”

MIchael Bay-Produced ‘I Am Number Four’ a Solid Block of Superhero Gouda

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

CHICAGO – While the new sci-fi/superhero film “I Am Number Four” can be easily dismissed as yet another “Twilight” knockoff, the power of two mega-producers arms the film with nearly as much right as it does wrong. Thankfully for Chicagoans the film doesn’t star Brett Favre because of his numerical jersey affiliation, but with a story this weak, that stretch wouldn’t be too far.

After 19 Years, ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ Phenomenally Exhumes Venerated Roots

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – After such a long respite from the beloved film progression, I was initially just as skittish about seeing Harrison Ford back in the Indy saddle as I was watching Sylvester Stallone back in the ring in “Rocky Balboa” in his 2006 comeback and then again in 2008 in his “Rambo” return.

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  • The Projects

    CHICAGO – The legacy of public housing is one of the strangest forces of karma in the City of Chicago. For example, sites that were once some of the roughest and most neglected housing for the poor now contain luxury condos. It is the people of those former hellholes that still remember the sorrowful history of what they once called home. The American Theater Company (ATC) have gathered these stories for the poignant and extraordinary “The Projects.”

  • Gambler, The 2

    CHICAGO – Browsing Dostoyevsky titles with consideration for proper roles for Mark Wahlberg, one might expect the Beantown hero to take on an adaptation of “The Idiot” before anything like “The Gambler.” After all, while Wahlberg has proven to be a diverse screen force - one who has well-grown past his Funky Bunch days - he often leans towards goofy men, or at least goofy men in goofy movies.

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