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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

Familiarity of ‘Terminator Genisys’ Also its Flaw

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

CHICAGO – The “Terminator” series means so much to so many film fans. What began as a modest sci-fi “what if?” morphed into now four sequels, billions of box office dollars, and the cementing of Arnold Schwarzenegger as an action film titan. It’s all mixed together again in “Terminator Genisys.”

Nichely Entertaining ‘Magic Mike XXL’ a Substanceless Soft Porn

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

CHICAGO – You know those amateur porns with no-name actors that use cheesy dialogue in between the sex scenes those viewers simply want? You never expect a real story or actually developed characters because it’s a collection of sex scenes. It’s not a real, you know, movie.

‘Max’ is a Step Beyond the Heroic Dog Movie Genre

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

CHICAGO – From Rin-Tin-Tin to Lassie to Benji, American movie goers have loved the heroic dog. As the film “Max” throws its leash into the ring, the expectation was a dull family drama just about Max the dog himself. What a surprise to learn it was also a poignant meditation on people.

‘Ted 2’ is a Funnier Film Than it Deserves to Be

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

CHICAGO – While it’s cruder and it can’t quite match the original “Ted,” “Ted 2” is still funnier than it has any right to be. It is unmistakably a Seth MacFarlane production, and there are a million reasons why this movie shouldn’t work, chief among them a plot that attempts to plop a foul mouthed talking teddy bear into a moralistic legal parable about civil rights. But I can’t deny I laughed throughout, almost despite myself.

Alternate American Dream Played Out in ‘Dope’

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

CHICAGO – If you’re lucky enough, you’ll never know what it’s like to grow up in a poor American neighborhood. But what if the notions of such societies are flipped on its ear, and what if the message draws attention to our current perceptions of race? This is what the new film “Dope” conveys.

‘Inside Out’ is a Loving Masterwork of Pixar Animation

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

CHICAGO – It starts with the imagination, and the story that comes from that lightning inner creativity. Nobody, it seems, does it better than Pixar Animation, and they are taking it all to a new level. For your consideration, and in a perfect world a candidate for Best Picture, “Inside Out.”

Love, Truth & Dignity in Emotional ‘The Farewell Party’

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

CHICAGO – As the last cells in our carbon based forms decide to perish, how can our consciousness bear the stigma of that demise? This question is the theme of “The Farewell Party,” a Israeli/German production that combines the mix of feelings that come with old age, and the sorrowful truth that there are more goodbyes than anything else, with a burden that is brought to bear when a person is dying around family, friends and spouses.

SNL Rightly Touts Its Influence in ‘Live From New York!’

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

CHICAGO – Love, hate or maintain indifference to it, the TV dinosaur “Saturday Night Live” has and will continue to influence American culture as long as it may reign. To celebrate its 40th Anniversary, filmmaker Bao Nguyen takes a fresh look at the iconic television show in “Live From New York!”

More Than a Popcorn Flick, ‘Jurassic World’ Makes a Climactic Comeback Worth Making

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

CHICAGO – Blockbuster films are obsessed with bigger, louder and faster. They often think they need to spend more money to outdo what they’ve done before – especially when coming from a beloved original like “Jurassic Park”.

Ever-Present Passion in ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’

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

CHICAGO – There are feelings encoded in a film, imparted by the creators, which sometimes takes a while to become apparent. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is an example, with a deceptive surface story that contains an ocean of feelings and emotions within its passionate core.

Brian Wilson Redeems His Soul in ‘Love & Mercy’

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

CHICAGO – Brian Wilson has been called one of the greatest songwriters in popular music history. His tonality and approach towards his best compositions have been studied like Mozart. In “Love & Mercy,” we see that the thing that made Wilson great also had the power to destroy him.

Fresh Blast of Funny From Melissa McCarthy in ‘Spy’

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

CHICAGO – It can be argued that Melissa McCarthy, with a film a year and a TV sitcom still running, is topping out on exposure. But as long as she teams with writer/director Paul Feig, as she did on “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat,” she will continue to be an original comic force. Their latest is “Spy.”

It is Best to Steer Clear of This ‘Entourage’

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

CHICAGO – I actually did watch the HBO show this big-screen iteration is based on, and I looked back in surprise to find the show actually lasted for 8 years. That’s a long time for a show that peaked in season two, and petered out into irrelevance somewhere around season four or so.

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  • Lori Petty, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Lori Petty will never be predictable, nor put into some show business box. The free-wheelin’ Ms. P applies her expansive performance skills to the role of Lolly – a guest spot that turned into a recurring character – on Netflix’s hot series “Orange is the New Black,” which released its third season on June 12th, 2015.

  • The Projects

    CHICAGO – The legacy of public housing is one of the strangest forces of karma in the City of Chicago. For example, sites that were once some of the roughest and most neglected housing for the poor now contain luxury condos. It is the people of those former hellholes that still remember the sorrowful history of what they once called home. The American Theater Company (ATC) have gathered these stories for the poignant and extraordinary “The Projects.”

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