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Barry Pepper

‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ Has Run Out of Life

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

CHICAGO – The third part of the “Maze Runner” trilogy is called “The Death Cure,” and that cure best describes the faint pulse of this run-out-of-steam dystopia aimed at “young adults.” It is mostly warring and not much more, except for a stab (literally) at misplaced emotion.

‘Monster Trucks’ May Be One of the Weirdest Films Ever

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

CHICAGO – A four year old walks into a room with a great idea for a movie, and unfortunately his father is president of a “motion picture group.” Millions of dollars and four years later, this child’s idea became “Monster Trucks,” one of the strangest movies ever conceived.

‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ is Dystopian Rambling

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

CHICAGO – Movie pundits are falling all over themselves to point out there is no maze running in “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” so buyer beware! What began in the first film as a new take in the dystopian Young Adult movie genre, has become a scattered, uninteresting mess.

Meet the Press in Illuminating ‘Kill the Messenger’

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

CHICAGO – When journalists were heroes and exposed those in power for their sins, movies were made like “All the President’s Men.” Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News was one of those journalist heroes during the 1990s, but he wasn’t celebrated in his time. The indictments, induced paranoia and outright lies against him are distinctly chronicled in the luminary “Kill the Messenger.”

‘The Lone Ranger’ Rides Again in Classic Western Style

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

CHICAGO – In trying to revive the Western film genre, Walt Disney Pictures is also reviving the “Pirates of the Caribbean” formula – extreme action, intrigue, flamboyant characters and Johnny Depp. Add a dash of a familiar American legend – “The Lone Ranger” – and it’s summer movie time.

Despite Low Expectations, Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Snitch’ Leaves You Pleasantly Surprised

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

CHICAGO – Dwayne Johnson doesn’t just want to be The Rock. And perhaps he is more after all. Despite his professional wrestling fame, “Snitch” is Johnson’s plea to be respected as a true, dramatic actor. He’s doing it now just like Jackie Chan wanted to evolve beyond being just a funny karate man in the latest “The Karate Kid”.

Crime Thriller ‘Broken City’ Fictionalizes its Crime Without Most of its Thrill

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

CHICAGO – Rife with corruption and injustice, the setting for “Broken City” could have been picked from a litter of U.S. metropolitans. Said star Mark Wahlberg in a recent red-carpet interview with HollywoodChicago.com, it’s not Chicago.

Kevin Spacey Comes Up Aces in ‘Casino Jack’

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

CHICAGO – The halls of the Capitol Building are paved with money. It takes a long time beyond civics class and history to realize that. Kevin Spacey illustrates that concept precisely playing “super lobbyist” and convicted larcenist Jack Abramoff in “Casino Jack.”

Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon Ride the Lonely Plain of ‘True Grit’

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

CHICAGO – “True Grit” seems like the perfect project for Joel and Ethan Coen; something they had been working toward their entire career. Not only had they made what could be considered a modern Western already in “No Country Old Men” but they were to bring together The Dude (Jeff Bridges) and Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) under the magnificent lens of the great Roger Deakins. It nearly had to be a masterpiece.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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