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Film Review: 'First Man' is Reverential to Moon Landing Mission

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.”

Film Review: ‘Night School’ Can’t Get to a Passing Grade

CHICAGO – “Night School” is the latest undistinguished product to come off the Kevin Hart assembly line. If you’re a fan of Hart’s motormouthed and hyperactive small time schtick, you’ll find that this will just barely passed the test. But if you’re not, this movie won’t change anyone’s mind.

Film Review: ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’ is Movie Magic

CHICAGO – “The House With The Clock In Its Walls” is a surprisingly restrained and endearing haunted house pic for kids just getting rid of their training wheels. It’s all a spooky atmosphere with cobwebs galore, creaking doors, a stained glass window which changes on its own, and a library of books which at times resemble the avifauna predators from the Hitchcock classic “The Birds.”

Film Review: ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ is a Bubbly Musical

CHICAGO – I give in. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” the sequel to the much derided “Mamma Mia,” is a bubbly, frothy here-come-the-good-times musical that fits summer like a glove. The flashback format will also answer all the burning questions that were left unanswered from the first film, and the cast includes Cher!

Film Review: Excess & Dwayne Johnson is How ‘Skyscraper’ Works

CHICAGO – The Dwayne Johnson formula is what it is, as it seems for about three to five films a year. A disaster strikes, but the Johnson character has loved ones among the victims, and in his background (military, police, mercenary) there is enough expertise to rescue them. “Skyscraper” is the latest.

Film Review: ‘The First Purge’ is Nothing But Tedious Trash

CHICAGO – I saw the original “The Purge” five years ago, but missed the other two installments. Let me say that nothing in the new prequel “The First Purge” makes me want to make up for lost time and catch up. The setup is the same… one night of legalized violence each year where the citizens are allowed to do whatever they want without the fear of prosecution.

Film Review: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is Classic Jurassic

CHICAGO – For a franchise celebrating its 25th Anniversary, with three original films and on its second reboot, the dinosaurs-living-on-modern-earth dynamic would pretty much be played out. But after a shallow first reboot, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” takes on a more classical approach, and returns to form.

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