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Afghanistan

‘12 Strong’ Wins the Battle as it Loses the War

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

CHICAGO – In the 16 years of the U.S. and Afghanistan war, which began a month after Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars and lost 2,400 soldiers. The story of that war’s first battle, “12 Strong,” would probably be more revelatory if we weren’t still there.

The Fog of Battle is a Heavy Burden in ‘A War’

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

CHICAGO – Humanity and war simply do no mix. You could have the biggest guns, the most powerful bombs and the greatest army, but you’re also going to eliminate innocent lives, and affect those soldiers who do the killing. This topic is pungently realized in the Danish film “A War.”

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.

‘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.

‘The Patience Stone’ Reveals Eternal Truths

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

CHICAGO – Despite any manmade restrictions through governments, religion, commerce or trumped-up morality, the truth has a way of mightily conquering all. “The Patience Stone” is a perfect example of that luxurious truth, and it is an important contemporary fairy tale.

America Waist Deep in Endless ‘Dirty Wars’

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

CHICAGO – Jeremy Scahill is a relentless investigative reporter, a rare species in an age of increasing corporate control of the media. He goes to terror zones that others fear to tread, and has uncovered stories that comprise his new documentary, “Dirty Wars,” which uncovers dangerous U.S. foreign policy.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman Not Relatable in ‘Brothers’

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

CHICAGO – The transition from hot young actor to the domestic picket fence is about ten years and a shadowy crow’s foot. One day you’re a galaxy queen, superhero and Donnie Darko, next you’re playing house in “Brothers.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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