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Aubrey Plaza

Studio Ghibli Gives Fans Sweet ‘From Up on Poppy Hill’

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

CHICAGO – The torch is being passed at Studio Ghibli from the great Hayao Miyazaki (“Princess Mononoke,” “Spirited Away”) to his son Goro, who directs this week’s tender “From Up on Poppy Hill,” certainly not one of the best in the Ghibli canon but a well-made, enjoyable melodrama nonetheless. A full awareness that it’s kind of a cheap melodrama (one of the characters even says so) doesn’t change the fact that it is but the young Miyazaki’s visual palette is notably beautiful and the voice work is strong throughout.

‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ with Aubrey Plaza is Delightful Journey

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

CHICAGO – I love “Safety Not Guaranteed.” It reminds me of films of my youth – the sci-fi/dramedy hits of directors like Robert Zemeckis, Richard Donner, and Steven Spielberg – that gifted viewers with wonderful characters with which we could identify. The set-up may be ridiculous but as long as we feel grounded with the people within it, we’ll go along with anything. This is something that’s been lost over the years and writer Derek Connolly and director Colin Trevorrow have found in their delicate, lovely film.

Ambition, Ingenuity Win Fight of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’

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

CHICAGO – Working from the graphic novels by Brian Lee O’Malley, Edgar Wright and Michael Cera deliver one of the most unique films of the year in the comeic-book/romance/comedy/video-game/pop-art/action/musical “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” You won’t see anything like this again for a long time. It’s an imperfect film that can get downright frustrating but it displays enough flashes of genius to warrant your time and demand your forgiveness of flaws.

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  • Sherlock Holmes with David Arquette (teaser)

    CHICAGO – Different isn’t bad and might be great, but you’d better have an irrefutable reason to change what was never broken. Campy being the only word to accurately convey this alternate-reality version of Sherlock Holmes with an original script, writer Greg Kramer and director Andrew Shaver try too hard to be different without ever figuring out why.

  • Merry Widow, The

    CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.


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