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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

‘4th Man Out’ Puts a Contemporary Spin on Orientation

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

CHICAGO – Undoubtedly, one of the most poignant days of a gay person’s life is when they “come out” to family and friends. “4th Man Out” explores these moments, within the non-judgmental standards of the millennial generation. It’s only life, after all.

Hard to Find a Point to ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

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

CHICAGO – Having not read this best-selling source novel, I had a hard time understanding the point of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.’ Amazingly, it falls short as both a zombie movie and a satire of the original Jane Austin “Pride and Prejudice” story, which was its only achievement as a final result.

‘Hail, Caesar!’ is Coen Bros. Excellence for Movie Lovers

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

CHICAGO – Writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen love the movies, and that love is magnificently played out in “Hail, Caesar!” As they riff on religion, geopolitics and 1950s morality, while wonderfully celebrating and spoofing an era in movies that will never be again, the Coens abide and deliver.

Take the Opportunity to See 2016 ‘Oscar Nominated Shorts’

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

CHICAGO – Chicago is one of the cinematic cities that has the privilege to see two categories of Academy Award nominations on the big screen that are often not exhibited – the Live Action and Animated Short Films. In two separate programs, the Landmark Century City Cinema – 2828 N. Clark Street in Chicago – are screening the ten nominees.

Personal Holocaust Horror is Rooted in ‘Son of Saul’

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

CHICAGO – The Oscar nominated, Golden Globe winning Best Foreign Language Film is a another trip into the well of horror that was the Holocaust. After over 100 movie treatments, director László Nemes finds a more personal story to tell, and it all unfolds in “Son of Saul.”

‘The 5th Wave’ Crashes, Then Slowly Dissipates

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

CHICAGO – Is there ever an end to the Young Adult Dystopia genre (“Hunger Games,” “Maze Runner,” etc.)? Or are we cursed with the end of the world every year, if it weren’t for those meddling kids? “The 5th Wave” is the latest adaptation, and if you haven’t read the source novel, good luck following it.

‘45 Years’ is Emotional Art From a Long Relationship

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

CHICAGO – There is something incredibly special when two old pros – in this case actors Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay – interpret an amazing exploration of a long relationship with a preciseness that creates life affirmation, despite the sorrows. There is truth in this film.

‘Ride Along 2’ Takes a Bumpy Trip to a Dead End

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

CHICAGO – Kevin Hart’s license to riff should be revoked. “Ride Along 2” is an aimless, pointless and seemingly endless sequel to the bafflingly successful action comedy from a couple years back. Hart hijacks nearly every scene with his incessant hyperactive schtick.

Uneven ‘Anomalisa’ is an Animated Reflection Back to Us

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

CHICAGO – There is directness in the reflective philosophy of “Anomalisa,” but there is also a sense of disconnection. From writer/co-director Charlie Kaufman (“Being John Malkovich”) comes another meditation on the life of life, and the twists of fate that inhabit the journey.

A Celebration of Pure Cinema in ‘Hitchcock/Truffaut’

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

CHICAGO – In 1966, a breakthrough book about the movies was released, entitled “Hitchcock/Truffaut.” A new documentary explores the actual interviews that were conducted between French new wave director Francois Truffaut and the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, that would become that book.

‘Concussion’ Can’t Quite Tackle its Difficult Subject

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

CHICAGO – “Concussion” suffers from what I call the “Moneyball” problem – it’s got an interesting subject matter, but it doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. It doesn’t have enough faith in its own material or its audience, so it stocks up on a lot of off-the-shelf melodrama in effort to avoid digging into what makes the story interesting in the first place. It’s also a movie that chickens out at the end and seems afraid to pick a fight.

Quentin Tarantino Stays Familiar in ‘The Hateful Eight’

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

CHICAGO – Story-wise, there is not much difference in “The Hateful Eight” – regarding themes and violence – that writer/director Quentin Tarantino hasn’t explored before. But it is also an outrageous and big western tale, and it’s presented in some theaters in a huge 70mm screen format.

Ordinary Lives Are Interwoven in Intricate ‘Flowers’

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

CHICAGO – The meaning of our lives is elusive, and the time we spend here too short. The Spanish foreign language film “Flowers” seeks to define the meaning, through three women trying to memorialize one man. “Flowers” opens at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre on Dec. 18th, 2015.

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