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Film Review: Alicia Vikander Has a Case of the Runs in ‘Tomb Raider’

CHICAGO – Movies based on video games are almost never good… even the best ones only ascend to the level of “barely watchable.” By that measure, “Tomb Raider” can be considered a modest success since it didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out. I have to confess I never saw either of the first two films with Angelina Jolie, but after watching this I’m not actually clamoring at the bit to catch up.

Oscar Week: HollywoodChicago.com 2018 Oscar Predictions

CHICAGO – Time to fill out the Oscar prediction ballots! The 90th Academy Awards are on Sunday, March 4th, 2018, and HC film critics Patrick McDonald, Michael “Spike” Walters and Jon Lennon Espino are ready to add their prognosticating powers to all the major categories, plus three wild cards. Let the predicting begin.

Film Review: Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams Score on ‘Game Night’

CHICAGO – A game cast elevates what is otherwise a bit of a ho hum affair in the action comedy “Game Night.” Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are a middle class couple hosting weekly game nights with a group of good friends. But when Bateman’s competitive venture capitalist older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to town, he promises to take game night up a notch.

Film Review: Final Chapter of ’Fifty Shades Freed’ for Masochists Only

CHICAGO – Only masochists and other gluttons for punishment will be heading to the theaters for “Fifty Shades Freed.” But be sure to grab a blindfold, because you can at least get 40 winks while the incompetent and unintentionally hilarious Fifty Shades Trilogy reaches its deadly dull climax.

Film Review: ‘The Commuter’ is a Fun, Butt-Kicking Good Time

CHICAGO – Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a good old Liam Neeson ass-kicker… and “The Commuter” fits that bill. It asks, damn near requires, you to leave your brain safely at the station, but it moves too fast that you don’t have much time to think about it. It’s ludicrous, dumb and fun entertainment for January.

Film Review: ‘Hostiles’ with Christian Bale is a Big Bad Bore

CHICAGO – “Hostiles” is an exercise in prestige western boredom. It’s competently made, but its as lifeless as a scalped corpse on the prairie. It’s long on pretty western locales and impressive facial hair, but short on story, characters, or much of anything else to help keep your eyelids from closing.

Film Review: Margot Robbie in ‘I, Tonya’ Can’t Stick the Landing

CHICAGO – We have arrived at point where yesterday’s trash TV has become today’s critical darling of the film festival circuit. As the trailers proclaim, “I, Tonya” desperately wants to be the “‘Goodfellas’ of Figure Skating,” but one of the biggest problems I had is that it’s just trying too hard.

Film Review: Matt Damon in ‘Downsizing’ Offers Few Small Pleasures

CHICAGO – “Downsizing” is an interesting premise that doesn’t ultimately go anywhere interesting. Part of the problem is that writer/director Alexander Payne doesn’t seem to know what kind of a movie he wants it to be… it’s part cerebral Woody Allen futuristic comedy, part sci-fi social satire about Midwestern malaise, and winds up failing at both.

Film Review: Woody Allen Has Run Out of Ideas with ‘Wonder Wheel’

CHICAGO – Woody Allen emptied out his junk drawer of discarded script ideas and somehow managed to convince Kate Winslet to star in it. That’s the gist of the latest “serious Woody” entry in the Oscar winner’s long running career. Woody Allen has had some timeless triumphs, but lately he’s been more about quantity than quality.

Film Review: Visual Excellence Aside, ‘Coco’ is Just So-So

CHICAGO – “Coco” bears all the visual hallmarks of the Pixar Studio at its best, however its story bears the more recent symptoms of creative exhaustion. In this story, a young boy named Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) aims to follow his heart and pursue music, but toe tapping tunes have been strictly forbidden in his home.

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  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


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