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William Fichtner

Journey to ‘Elysium’ Lacks Sci-fi Smarts

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

CHICAGO – “Elysium” is a blunt instrument. It contains all the subtlety of franchise-killer “Terminator: Salvation.” Where Neill Blomkamp’s “District 9” was surprisingly sleek and refined given its low budget and rookie creator, the follow-up proves that more is very often less.

‘The Lone Ranger’ Rides Again in Classic Western Style

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

CHICAGO – In trying to revive the Western film genre, Walt Disney Pictures is also reviving the “Pirates of the Caribbean” formula – extreme action, intrigue, flamboyant characters and Johnny Depp. Add a dash of a familiar American legend – “The Lone Ranger” – and it’s summer movie time.

Life's a Grind For Nicolas Cage in ‘Drive Angry 3D’

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

CHICAGO – Muscle cars, kick-ass dudes and foxy ladies have been staples of the grindhouse since Detroit had a pulse. Nicolas Cage joins that parade in the over-the-top road picture called “Drive Angry 3D,” lest we mistake it for the 2nd dimension.

‘The Dark Knight’ Bestows Role of a Lifetime For Heath Ledger, Epic Proportions For Itself

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0
(rarely perfect)

CHICAGO – With only three short words comprising the film’s enigmatic title, “The Dark Knight” also boasts three epic claims to fame: the role of a lifetime for the late Heath Ledger as the hauntingly deranged Joker, one of the best films of 2008 and one of the greatest superhero films of all time.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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