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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ is a Marvel Entertainment Gem


Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – In doing “comic book” movies right, Marvel Entertainment has established a formula of decent back stories, complex villainy and probable scenarios. In continuing to tell a history of the second half of the 20th Century in “X-Men Apocalypse,” they also add a historical parallel universe that works.

Pointless Trip Back to ‘Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising’

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

CHICAGO – The original “Neighbors” was a funny enough movie, that still boasted at least a couple of big laughs. “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” only manages the occasional chuckle here and there. As far as big budget studio comedy sequels go, it’s not as bad as “The Hangover 2.” It’s more in line with “Ghostbusters 2”.

Approach of ‘Money Monster’ is Pure Fraud

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – In our society there is one eternal truth…the rich will ALWAYS win, that’s one of the reasons that they are rich. So when “Money Monster” attempts to take them down a peg with a ridiculous fantasy story, it’s as fraudulent as what they pretend to be fighting. An oligarch watches this, and laughs at us.

Marvel Studios Reaches New Heights in Satisfying ‘Captain America: Civil War’

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

CHICAGO – “Captain America: Civil War” is more of an “Avengers” movie than it is a Captain America movie. But that’s okay because this is easily the best Avengers movie Marvel Studios has ever made, and it also might be the best movie the studio has ever made.

‘Papa Hemingway in Cuba’ is Sadly Inauthentic

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

CHICAGO – Getting the opportunity to trod upon the very ground that Ernest Hemingway once trod must have been a heady experience for the producers of “Papa Hemingway in Cuba.” But location simply isn’t enough if such a literary legend is to come to life.

Susan Sarandon Plays Smother Mother in ‘The Meddler’

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

CHICAGO – Some mothers are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them. The Mom of “The Meddler” – portrayed with precise intuition by Susan Sarandon – is of the greatness-of-the-future variety, by simply evolving to be herself. Rose Byrne as daughter Lori tags along.

Tom Hanks Delivers in ‘A Hologram for the King’

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

CHICAGO – Tom Hanks is using his golden years as a vehicle to stretch his performance skills, and his role as a sort of “Death of a Salesman” spin in “A Hologram for the King” gives him an opportunity to keep stretching. The stylish film floats within the focus on his character, and he delivers.

‘Elvis & Nixon’ is a True Story That’s Fit for a King

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

CHICAGO – “When two great saints meet, it’s a humbling experience,” said Paul McCartney of John and Yoko. Well that also applies to “Elvis & Nixon.” Their meeting, albeit brief, has layers of meaning for our times – and their time – and the movie with the “E&N” title exposes that meaning with humor and grace.

‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ is a Bloated Bore

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

CHICAGO – This new Hollywood fairy tale does have one thing in common with the bedtime stories of old…it may lull you to sleep in the first 30 minutes. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is a special effects extravaganza where the effects aren’t special, the story is thin, and almost all the actors seem to have been allowed or even encouraged to indulge their worst impulses.

‘The Dark Horse’ Rises with Performance of Cliff Curtis

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

CHICAGO – The narrow genre of chess movies (“Searching for Bobby Fischer,” “Pawn Sacrifice”) gets a New Zealand entry, the appropriately titled “The Dark Horse.” The film is a showcase for the performance of Cliff Curtis as the title character, abiding with mental instability and his own redemption.

‘The First Monday in May’ Confirms That Life is Beautiful

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

CHICAGO – The moral of the story of “The First Monday in May” definitely is “there is heaven on earth if the right angels come together.” The film is stunningly beautiful, as it chronicles the development of the annual costume exhibit and gala at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

‘Barbershop: The Next Cut’ Does Their Take on ‘Chi-Raq’

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

CHICAGO – The Barbershop series of films have always prided themselves on following the “Seinfeld Rule” – they are essentially about nothing. But with this go-around – like the recent “Chi-Raq” – the gang at the shop takes on the Chicago neighborhood violence around them, in “Barbershop: The Next Cut.”

‘The Jungle Book’ is a Technical Marvel Missing Some Magic

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

CHICAGO – While Disney Studios’ new live action version of “The Jungle Book” is an improvement over the 1967 animated version, it’s more of a technical marvel than magical fable. And it’s unable to completely transcend the earlier version’s limitations.

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  • King and I, The

    CHICAGO – The venerable musical “The King and I,” by the legendary team of (Richard) Rodgers and (Oscar) Hammerstein, is now 65 years old. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is injecting fresh life into this senior aged play, with a sumptuous new production that is top drawer at every level.

  • New Country

    CHICAGO – The Country Music industry has become as huge as any category of music entertainment. So Mark Roberts, the creator of the TV sitcom “Mike & Molly,” has fashioned a boisterous new play about the machinations of that genre of music industry, and gave it the plaintive title of “New Country.”

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