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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

Up Up & Away for DC Comic Branded ‘Justice League’

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

CHICAGO – In the America of truth, justice and comic book movies, the DC brand – featuring hero icons Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – has lagged behind their rivals at Marvel Studios. “Justice League” fills that gap admirably, after the slam-bam summer of Wonder Woman.

Authentic Coming-of-Age in Expressive ‘Lady Bird’

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

CHICAGO – In one of the best American films of 2017, Greta Gerwig went behind the camera to write and direct an autobiographical overview of her Senior Year in high school, within a directionless town and family. The result is enlightening truth, told with laugh-out-loud directness and connective empathy. The film is a total winner.

Mustache Has More Than ‘Murder on the Orient Express’

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

CHICAGO – “Murder On The Orient Express” is a movie that is never quite as interesting as the main character’s mustache. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as Agatha Christie’s most famous detective, Hercule Poirot. While it is a departure from the source novel, Branagh sports silver streak facial hair of audacious eccentricity.

‘Novitiate’ Goes Inside the 1960s Catholic Church

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

CHICAGO – In a “mystery of faith” narrative disguised as a feminist statement, the new film “Novitiate” goes inside a nunnery in 1964 America, just as the Catholic Church was about to make some radical changes to their procedures. How it affected the church is how it affected the nuns, and the intriguing insider story is full of back room shocks.

‘LBJ’ is Important American History Brought to Light

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

CHICAGO – The circumstances surrounding the John F. Kennedy assassination on November 22nd, 1963, put a man into the presidential spotlight who never thought he would get there… Lyndon Baines Johnson. The story of that strange time and the man who “would be king” is told in ‘LBJ.’

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Shatters the Hammer, But Maintains the Mold

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

CHICAGO – Any blacksmith will tell you that their job is much more than the brute action of slamming a hammer onto steel. There is some finessing and an attention to detail that needs to take place in order to make something truly notable. With Taika Waititi manning the hammer, he takes the “Thor” franchise out from the Dark Ages and into the technicolor light.

Energy of Visual Cinema is the Power of ‘Wonderstruck’

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

CHICAGO – In one of the coolest visual films of the Fall Season thus far, “Wonderstruck” is another winner from director Todd Haynes (“Carol”), who adapts a Young Adult graphic novel by Brian Selznick (who also wrote the screenplay). The wonder of it all, baby.

‘Suburbicon’ is the Cinematic Equivalent of a Soccer Mom

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

CHICAGO – Having lived in both the suburbs and in major cities throughout my lifetime, I can say without hesitation that the suburbs tend to be dull, boring and bereft of creativity. To be fair, it’s not their fault since they’re built for efficiency and with placidity in mind. “Surburbicon” is made in much the same way, becoming the one thing a film shouldn’t be: boring.

Stellar Cast & Director Fail to Build ‘The Snowman’

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

CHICAGO – The biggest mystery in “The Snowman” is what in the world talented actors like Michael Fassbender, Chloe Sevigny, Toby Jones, and Val Kilmer are doing here in the first place. Fassbender’s character’s name alone should have sent off alarm bells. This is based on a series of detective novels featuring detective Harry Hole, and characters have voluminous opportunities to repeat it, although with nary a snigger.

Dull Origins in ‘Professor Marston & the Wonder Women’

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

CHICAGO – For a film that has free love, lie detection, bondage, the origin of a great comic superhero and 3-way carnality, “Professor Marston & the Wonder Women” still comes out rather flat… quite a achievement. Wonder Woman is the comic hero, and this is the rest of her story.

No New Frights in Store for ‘Happy Death Day’

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

CHICAGO – “Happy Death Day” has a “Groundhog Day” gimmick, but that’s about it, offering essentially an ‘80’s style slasher flick with the hope that with a little cosmetic window dressing will help it appeal to an audience in 2017… Live, Die, Repeat. That’s all this film offers with precious few improvements to justify its existence.

Cautionary ‘Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House’

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

CHICAGO – Everything old is new again, in the 1970s story of the infamous “Deep Throat” – the source in the FBI who tipped off the Washington Post about the issues surrounding Watergate scandal – who revealed himself in 2005. He is now the subject of a new film, and is portrayed by Liam Neeson, in “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House.”

Thin Story a Contrast to Visuals in ‘Blade Runner 2049’

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

CHICAGO – It comes down to compelling an audience with a story riff that’s a hook. “Blade Runner 2049” doesn’t possess either the riff or the hook, but what it does do is create a dystopian world that is beautiful in its bleakness, and unsettlingly weird in its twists and turns.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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