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Woody Allen

Deep Thoughts, Shallow Characters in ‘Irrational Man’

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

CHICAGO – At this point in his stellar career, what is fascinating about Woody Allen is basically what he thinks about. He is a successful, family-stable, millionaire filmmaker with mortality issues. In “Irrational Man,” he ponders the existential question of “what lights the spark of life?”

‘Magic in the Moonlight’ is Woody Allen By the Book

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

CHICAGO – After last year’s powerful “Blue Jasmine,” writer/director Woody Allen’s trajectory seemed destined toward another film masterpiece, but “Magic in the Moonlight” isn’t it. Colin Firth and Emma Stone are an unlikely pairing in this seen-it-before-Woody film trifle.

Warm ‘Fading Gigolo’ Has Odd Romance, Woody Allen

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

CHICAGO – How do you make a Woody Allen-style film? You hire Allen to act in it. Writer, director and lead actor John Turturro channels the soul of Allen’s films by creating a strange and romantic scenario with different types of relationships, including one with Allen himself in “Fading Gigolo.”

‘Blue Jasmine’ Puts Woody Allen Back on Top

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

CHICAGO – The auteur Woody Allen is one of the most prolific post-studio-system directors, averaging one film a year for close to 40 years. His meditations on life have become part of the culture, and he brilliantly expresses himself once again – with help from Cate Blachett – in the emotional “Blue Jasmine.”

Greta Gerwig Lights Up the Life of ‘Frances Ha’

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

CHICAGO – Greta Gerwig is a gift to the type of film acting that dominates the screen. This beautiful, versatile actor gives poignant energy to her latest title character, “Frances Ha,” a collaboration with indie director Noah Baumbach (“Greenberg”).

Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love’ is Episodic, Choppy

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

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen continues his film travelogues in “To Rome with Love,” touring The Eternal City with four separate vignettes. An all-star cast – including Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Woody himself – hit and miss with this varying blend of stories.

Woody Allen’s Charming ‘Midnight in Paris’ Delights

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

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen and the amazing cinematographer Darius Khondji (“Seven,” “The City of Lost Children”) very purposefully open their new film “Midnight in Paris” with a long series of static shots of the title city before even presenting a cast list. You see, Paris is a cast member in this film. The sun rises, people hustle and bustle through Paris, they sip coffee in cafes, the lights go on at dusk, and the city sleeps.

‘Happythankyoumoreplease’ Falls Flat With Unlikable Characters

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

CHICAGO – Josh Radnor’s “Happythankyoumoreplease” wants to be a new-generation Woody Allen film but misses the mark wildly by presenting characters that aren’t likable in situations that aren’t believable. None of the relationships that drive this awkward dramedy ring true and only a few supporting performances make the effort worthwhile as they highlight the weaknesses at the core of the manipulative script.

Hit-or-Miss Mastermind Woody Allen Recaptures Genius With Eccentric ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’

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

CHICAGO – While legendary writer and director Woody Allen can’t always be equated with sheer genius these days and is more accurately described as a hit-or-miss proposition, the sorely undermarketed and film-festival touring “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” serves as unquestionable retribution for his recently questionable work.

Akin to ‘Match Point,’ Woody Allen’s ‘Cassandra’s Dream’ Expressly Hitchcockian

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – Woody Allen – the most prolific American writer/director of the last quarter century – has a desire for a particular expression in this last part of his epic career.

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  • Punk Punk

    CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


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