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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

‘The Good Dinosaur’ is Pixar Studio’s Most Ordinary Film

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

CHICAGO – The animation in Pixar Studio’s latest feature ,“The Good Dinosaur,” is nothing short of extraordinary. At times throughout the film, the images looked like they came right out of National Geographic, and I truly couldn’t believe i was watching animation. However, this delightful animation is in service to an undistinguished prehistoric buddy comedy that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of “The Flintstones.”

‘Creed’ is a Champion in the Rocky Balboa Legacy

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

CHICAGO – This is what happens when passionate filmmakers come into a known movie project – with an obvious love for the previous stories and characters – and create a new chapter that both evolves and honors its source. “Creed” does all of that, and gives the beloved Rocky Balboa one more time in the spotlight.

Grim Conclusion for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2’

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

CHICAGO – This has to be what the filmmakers intended when they split the final book of the “Hunger Games” series into two films. While “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1” was all set up, Part 2 doesn’t just lead up to a huge climax.

Spirit Starts Early in Fun, Raunchy ‘The Night Before’

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

CHICAGO – The tradition of the holiday party gets a workout in “The Night Before,” as three friends take a Christmas Eve walk through the environs of New York City, and make their merry journey an unforgettable night of libation enhancement, magic moments and yes, the Holiday Spirit.

‘Spotlight’ Offers a Relevant First Draft to History

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

CHICAGO – “Spotlight” is a movie which aspires to greatness and oftentimes just about gets there. It’s a movie that is thoroughly confident that the process of journalism and a great story provides all the excitement it needs to grab an audience’s attention. And what a great story it is.

‘The 33’ Adds Depth to the Trapped Miners of Chile

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

CHICAGO – In the art of film, the best way to approach a based-on-truth story – where the outcome is well known – is to create a point-of-view vision for the narrative. The story of “The 33,” the trapped miners from Chile who were rescued with worldwide attention, is a prime example of that vision.

‘The Peanuts Movie’ Honors Legacy of Charlie Brown

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

CHICAGO – They didn’t screw it up, and that is good. Eschewing modern conventions or typical animation pop culture jokes, “The Peanuts Movie” honors its source (Charlie Brown and the gang) and its creator, Charles M. Schultz, in a joyous and nostalgic celebration.

‘Truth’ Exposes the Obstacles in Modern Journalism

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

CHICAGO – One of the indications of how the story depicted in “Truth” still resonates was that the CBS Network refused to show advertising for it. The film is a lesson in messing with true power – CBS News went after the ruthless Bush administration during an election year, and they went down.

Sandra Bullock Bombs in Bad ‘Our Brand is Crisis’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.5/5.0
Rating: 0.5/5.0

CHICAGO – This misbegotten political satire shows almost as much contempt for its audience as its characters do for the politicians they’re supposed to be helping. This movie thinks it is smartly cynical, but it’s about as smart as a Larry the Cable Guy routine at a Donald Trump rally. Hate is not a big enough word for how I felt about this movie. I loathed, detested, scorned, despised, and abhorred this Hollywood abomination, that is so full of its own smug satisfaction it can’t see how dumb it really is.

Bill Murray Rolls Downhill in ‘Rock the Kasbah’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – What’s up with this movie? Everything in it is so wrong headed, despite movie star casting and a attempt toward “current events.” Setting itself in a modern and complex country – Afghanistan – but creating a perspective on that country that is straight ugly American, “Rock the Kasbah” is a total downer.

‘The Last Witch Hunter’ at Least is Hilariously Awful

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – You will see many many better movies this year, but you’re unlikely to see one quite this batshit crazy. I’ll give Vin Diesel this much credit, at least he’s created a memorably awful blockbuster instead of one that simply fades off into the moonlight.

Expansive ‘Steve Jobs’ is a Marvel of a Movie

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

CHICAGO – You don’t need CGI, entire cities being turned to rubble, or an army of assembling Avengers to make a great movie. All you need is a good story to tell and a team of people talented enough to tell it. Writer Aaron Sorkin, and Director Danny Boyle are just the right people to make “Steve Jobs” because their finished project positively springs to life on the screen.

Entertaining ‘The Martian’ is a Hollywood Space Opera

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

CHICAGO – It’s all based on science, they told us! “The Martian” is an old fashion feel-good movie about the hard working astronauts and scientists of the good old American space program, trying to rescue a stranded spaceman from Mars, aided by a brave cast of astro-colleagues.

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  • Sherlock Holmes with David Arquette (teaser)

    CHICAGO – Different isn’t bad and might be great, but you’d better have an irrefutable reason to change what was never broken. Campy being the only word to accurately convey this alternate-reality version of Sherlock Holmes with an original script, writer Greg Kramer and director Andrew Shaver try too hard to be different without ever figuring out why.

  • Merry Widow, The

    CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.


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