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Topher Grace

Christopher Nolan’s Riveting Story Shines Brightest in Imperfectly Cast ‘Interstellar’

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

CHICAGO – It was Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 at 10:15 p.m. Leaving Navy Pier IMAX, I was driving north on Lake Shore Drive – a constantly busy, multi-lane highway that hugs the east of Chicago and separates it from water. What I saw next with fellow staff critic Patrick McDonald might have been normal for 3 a.m., but discussing Christopher Nolan’s new sci-fi “Interstellar” and being the only one on the road in either direction felt otherworldly.

‘Interstellar’ is Supposed to Mean Something, But What?

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

CHICAGO – It is most likely that movie goers were asking the same question of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 1968, but Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” belongs to its own category of what-is-the-meaning, because it tries to combine pseudo-science with psycho-babble, which clashes into meaninglessness. But the visuals are stunning, and there are moments of fulfillment, especially in a big screen IMAX format.

Miscast Crew Spoils Christopher Nolan’s Epic ‘Interstellar’ 

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

CHICAGO – “Interstellar” is easily director Christopher Nolan’s worst film. It contains much of the ambition and striking visuals that have endeared him to audiences, but for large chunks of the movie his own worst tendencies towards bombast, self-importance, and hippy dippy dialogue threaten to overwhelm his dandy space sequences entirely.

Turn Down the Invitation to ‘The Big Wedding’

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

CHICAGO – “The Big Wedding” begins with Robert De Niro performing a particular love making maneuver on Susan Sarandon, and is caught in the act by Diane Keaton. What could have happened in a cutting-edge indie feature in 1981 is the basis of a lame bit in 2013, and so it goes for the rest of the film.

Jenna Fischer Stars in Sweet ‘The Giant Mechanical Man’

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

CHICAGO – Don’t let the awful title fool you — “The Giant Mechanical Man” is not sci-fi. This cute dramedy tackles well-trod ground in the world of indie film but Lee Kirk conveys enough honest affection for his well-crafted characters that the piece works.

‘The Double’ Copies Lazy Performances, Silly Twists

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

CHICAGO – It’s ironic that a film called “The Double,” starring Richard Gere & Topher Grace, would remind one of so many superior thrillers. It is in itself a double, a carbon copy of better films that focuses on all of the wrong elements, thinking that audiences are still dumb enough that just throwing twist after twist at them will keep their head spinning enough to not realize that what they just saw not only makes no sense at all but wasn’t even remotely entertaining.

Topher Grace Goes to 1980s in ‘Take Me Home Tonight’

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

CHICAGO – Nostalgia films need a couple of elements to make them work. First, instant recognition with the era, and second, a reason to go there. “Take Me Home Tonight” lacks both characteristics, and lead actor Topher Grace can’t seem to light a fire under the rest of it.

Adrien Brody’s ‘Predators’ Unmemorably Lulls Through the Expected Motions

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

CHICAGO – Good films deliver on their promise. Great films up the ante even more. In this version of the long “Predators” franchise from director Nimrod Antal (“Control,” “Armored,” “Vacancy”) and more-known producer Robert Rodriguez (“Grindhouse,” “Sin City”), we merely see more of the same: just enough to get us by but not nearly enough to make us care.

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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  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.

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