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Julianne Moore Delivers Shattering Portrayal in ‘Still Alice’

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

CHICAGO – In one of the best film acting performances from 2014, Julianne Moore devastatingly portrays a woman in her fifties who is a victim of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. As the effects of dementia physically deteriorates her life, it is a wonder if she is “Still Alice.”

‘Blue Jasmine’ Puts Woody Allen Back on Top

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

CHICAGO – The auteur Woody Allen is one of the most prolific post-studio-system directors, averaging one film a year for close to 40 years. His meditations on life have become part of the culture, and he brilliantly expresses himself once again – with help from Cate Blachett – in the emotional “Blue Jasmine.”

Banal Story, Unique Visuals Define ‘Rise of the Guardians’

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

CHICAGO – Okay, we get it. The current crop of animators can create amazing worlds, full of sensory-expanding images and visions of magical awe (and in 3D). But, if there is a dull story interacting with the eye candy, it can feel like a fancy cake that tastes like sawdust. Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher Jude Law and Hugh Jackman lend their voices to “Rise of the Guardians.”

Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love’ is Episodic, Choppy

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

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen continues his film travelogues in “To Rome with Love,” touring The Eternal City with four separate vignettes. An all-star cast – including Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Woody himself – hit and miss with this varying blend of stories.

Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough Have Fun in ‘Rock of Ages’

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

CHICAGO – Although the jukebox musical needs an available pasture to be put out onto, the new film “Rock of Ages” – based on the Broadway stage play – improves on that genre by having a little fun and lots of tongue-in-cheek. Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand rock the cashbox.

Story Lets Down Chloe Grace Moretz in Stupid ‘Hick’

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

CHICAGO – It’s understandable that people from the Southern or rural United States would criticize the general media. With films like “Hick,” which generally portray them as idiots or sociopathic, there is no balance or honest characterizations. Chloe Moretz, Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne and Alec Baldwin add their take on it all.

Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin Shine in ‘It’s Complicated’

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

CHICAGO – Referring to her new film, “It’s Complicated,” Meryl Steep recently said, “It’s incredible, I’m playing the romantic lead in romantic comedies. Bette Davis is rolling over in her grave.” Tell Kate Hepburn the news.

‘My Sister’s Keeper’: An Emotional Look at a Modern Moral Dilemma

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

CHICAGO – The advancement of medicine has brought about many things: longer life-expectancy, treatments for serious illnesses such as cancer, artificial conception, and genetic modification. Though there are positive aspects to each of these things, inherent within each are moral dilemmas we will have to face.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Spike Heels Stage Play

    CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).

  • Book of Merman, The

    CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.

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