Universal Pictures

‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Feels More Like a Cat Nap Than Catnip

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

CHICAGO – As a pet owner, I know firsthand that I want an exciting life for my guinea pigs. When I’m off at work, I’d like to think that they throw parties or have some sort of hangouts with other guinea pigs or pets in the area. The alternative being the sad realization that they are stuck in their cage while I’m away, probably bored out of their little minds. “The Secret Life of Pets” franchise continues to brings the fantasy to life, even if the sequel feels too tame.

‘Little’ Squanders Its Comedic and Social Potential in an Attempt to Play It Safe

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

CHICAGO – After a typical late night, deep dive of the internet, I found something terrifying. Around the 60’s, creating dinners in Jello were popular for some reason. Although I liked every individual ingredient, seeing the way they fit together was a less than appetizing. Watching “Little” reminds me of this experience except after the film, I was left with a bland, spiceless taste in my mouth.

Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Gets Bogged Down in Conventionality

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

CHICAGO – Like his first film, “Get Out,” writer/director Jordan Peele creates a horror/thriller filled with symbolism and laughs. Unlike “Get Out,” “Us” is awash in overly concentrated plot points, a reliance on lesser references and an ending that can be seen from outer space. It’s not sophomore “jinx,” but more like the sophomore “over think.”

Satisfying Emotion in ‘How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World’

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

CHICAGO –All fiery things must come to an extinguishing point, and the “How to Train Your Dragon” animated film series concludes with its third entry, subtitled “Hidden World.” To finish things up the creators turn on the Dragon power, there are literally thousands of them flamed up and ready to go.

Sequel Surprisingly Surpasses the First Film in ‘Happy Death Day 2U’

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

CHICAGO – At some point, we’ve all experienced deja vu. Sure, it could just be because we lead a monotonous, predictable life, but I’d personally welcome the idea of something supernatural at play over the more practical explanation. That’s exactly what “Happy Death Day” introduced, and it was a hilarious slasher take on “Groundhog Day”, and luckily the sequel, “Happy Death Day 2U”, adds to the experience.

Too Much Wasted Time in M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Glass’

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

CHICAGO – Maybe inside filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s head, his latest film “Glass” works… all the elements of what we need to know about this sequel to MNS’s previous films “Split” and “Unbreakable” are within. However, what works inside the director’s head may not work for the audience, especially in the first half of the film.

The Friendship Page of Black & White in ‘Green Book’

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

CHICAGO – In the original sin of racism in America, structured in the societal relationship between whites and African Americans, there had to be small steps before there were larger ones. In 1962, a black piano virtuoso and his white Italian New Yorker driver toured through the Deep South and developed a friendship, in the new film “Green Book.”

He’s a Not-So-Mean-One in Remake of ‘The Grinch’

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

CHICAGO – They should have left well enough alone, didn’t anybody learn anything from the trainwreck of the Jim Carrey live-action-as-The-Grinch? Apparently not. A more kid friendly and modern animated version of “The Grinch” opens six weeks before Christmas, and already I want to return it.

Rebooted ‘Halloween’ Sequel Offers Nothing New in 2018

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

CHICAGO – At this point, the “Halloween” franchise is looking as tattered and tired as Michael Myers old William Shatner mask… fraying around the edges and on the verge of falling apart. The 2018 “reboot” sequel brings back former scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, along with original Michael Myers, Nick Castle.

'First Man' is Reverential to Moon Landing Mission

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

CHICAGO – There were several “firsts” for humankind in our civilization and technology breakthroughs, but until 1969 no person had even stepped on a planetary surface other than on earth. Neil Armstrong was that man, and he is portrayed by Ryan Gosling in a respectful overview of that Apollo 11 mission in “First Man.”

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  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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