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Unusual, Passionate ‘Aloha’ is Deeply Resonant

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

CHICAGO – Films with major movie stars that take real chances on story formula are rare. “Aloha” is one such example, and produces considerations that are way off the beaten path. Is it an allegory? An absurdity? An homage to 1960s paranoia? Only writer/director Cameron Crowe knows for sure.

‘Dumb and Dumber To’ Too Dumb to Be Funny

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

CHICAGO – “Dumb And Dumber To” is an exercise in diminishing returns. Jim Carrey and The Farrelly Brothers expend twice the effort for less than a third of the laughs. It benefits greatly from the enormous well of goodwill created by the original’s inspired idiocy. But one can only suspend disbelief for so long and this sequel has problems that the warm glow of nostalgia can’t solve.

Phony ‘St. Vincent’ is Bill Murray’s Worst Choice Since ‘Garfield’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Garfield, maybe” was the sole utterance of regret that iconic actor/prolific movie-golfer Bill Murray expressed in 2009’s “Zombieland” before he died. Should the adoration for this cameo resurrect him for that film’s announced sequel, Murray will hopefully denounce “St. Vincent,” his most needless and perverse career choice since vocally birthing “Garfield” (and yes, that includes getting a handjob as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 2012’s also terrible “Hyde Park on Hudson”).

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is Built by Wes Anderson

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

CHICAGO – The distinct and strangely-alluring style of director Wes Anderson is on opulent display in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” In what is an eccentric, European style fairy tale, Anderson creates a legend that is forged in his signature, along with the performances of a brilliant cast.

‘The Monuments Men’ Has Been Drained of Personality

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” is processed cheese. It is a film that has been rewritten, edited, and refined until it has lost all sense of purpose or identity. There’s no flavor left. It is a film that defies genre; not quirky enough to have a comedic personality despite a cast that almost always supplies edge and not engaging enough to work as drama or thriller.

Charlie Sheen Opens Up in ‘A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III’

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

CHICAGO – Roman Coppola, Oscar-nominated as you read this for his great work co-writing “Moonrise Kingdom” (he also co-wrote “The Darjeeling Limited” with Wes Anderson) brings us the truly odd “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III,” now available On Demand and opening this Friday in Chicago. The film proves two things – that Charlie Sheen is a better actor than his public persona and stint on “Two and a Half Men” may have led you to believe and that he needs to find a character to prove that instead of this riff on his real-life drama.

Awkward History Mars ‘Hyde Park on the Hudson’

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

CHICAGO – Franklin Delano Roosevelt – father of the New Deal, leader through the Depression, war president – and according to the new film “Hyde Park on the Hudson,” he’s horny, baby. Bill Murray portrays FDR, with support from Laura Linney, Samuel West and Olivia Williams.

Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Delights with Clever Tale of Young Love

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

CHICAGO – Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” is a true delight — a fun, clever, and, of course, whimsical tale about the days when love seemed worth running away from home over and getting a scout badge meant the world. Easily Anderson’s best film since “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Moonrise” is arguably the most tonally consistent film he’s made to date, a thoroughly enjoyable endeavor that one would have to be pretty cynical to dismiss entirely.

Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox Sleepwalk Through ‘Passion Play’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Mickey Rourke must be a publicist’s nightmare. In the last few weeks, he’s been going around giving refreshingly honest reviews of his new film “Passion Play,” co-starring Megan Fox, Bill Murray, and Kelly Lynch and opening in New York and Los Angeles today, May 6th, 2011. He went as far as to call the film “terrible,” which might make viewers even more curious before this thing hits DVD at the end of this month. Is it THAT bad? Would Mickey lie to you?

Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek Elevate Drama ‘Get Low’

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

CHICAGO – What could possibly drive a man into such a deep pit of despair that he would choose to break from society and take on the life of a hermit? The mystery of such a decision is the driving force behind Aaron Schneider’s “Get Low,” a based-on-a-true-story drama that has already earned Oscar buzz for star Rubert Duvall and praise for co-stars Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek, Lucas Black, and Bill Cobbs.

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  • Punk Punk

    CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


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