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Brad Pitt

Exposé of ‘The Big Short’ is an American Masterwork

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

CHICAGO – This is a rare film that will fill you with anger, while making you laugh at the absurdity of 21st Century life. “The Big Short” is an inside look at the mortgage meltdown that began in 2007, that cost eight million jobs and an untold amount of foreclosures, and the men who knew it was coming.

World War II Drama ‘Fury’ Fires on All Cylinders

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

CHICAGO – “Fury” just might be Brad Pitt’s “Saving Private Ryan.” At its heart it’s a crowd pleaser, but it never shies away from the sheer brutality of war. While it doesn’t have anything quite so devastating as “Saving Private Ryan’s” D-Day sequence, it depicts the everyday horrors of killing the enemy and the men who must force themselves to make their peace with the casualties that pile up in the muck.

‘The Counselor’ Disguises Lackluster Storytelling in Philosophy

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

CHICAGO – “That’s not what greed does; that’s what greed is.” Cormac McCarthy’s script for “The Counselor” is so weighed down with allegedly insightful philosophy like this that it collapses into a heap of laughable, unbelievable exchanges between characters who simply don’t exist in the real world.

Relentless Artistry of ‘12 Years a Slave’

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

CHICAGO – A man is chained to the floor in a dark, barren room. He has been ripped from his family and his freedom, and we watch as he’s whipped with amazing brutality. It goes on well past the point that most films with similar human suffering would have cut to a less stressful image. It will not be the last time that “12 Years a Slave” forces the viewer to turn away before the editor does it for you.

‘World War Z’ Reminder of 1950s Apocalyptic Films

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

CHICAGO – Earnest family man, check. Somber, ineffective bureaucrats, check. Monsters in nature created through mankind’s hubris, check. Unintentional laughs, check and checkmate. That describes every plot of a 1950s end-of-the-world movie treatment, and the latest Brad Pitt film, “World War Z.”

Metaphor is Message in Violent ‘Killing Them Softly’

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

CHICAGO – If there ever was an industry that deserved a good metaphor bashing, it would be the financial sector. “Killing Them Softly” does a hit-over-the-head with the symbolism, but at the same time delivers a gritty and literate parable, featuring Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta.

Fate Doesn’t Fail Them Now in ‘Happy Feet Two’

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

CHICAGO – Dancing animated penguins, a tradition dating back to Disney’s “Mary Poppins” and brought to further life in the first “Happy Feet” movie, finds more stepping pep in “Happy Feet Two.” Robin Williams and Elijah Wood return to lend their vocal talents in this enjoyable sequel.

Brad Pitt, Baseball Evolve in Magnificent ‘Moneyball’

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

CHICAGO – Using sports, especially baseball, as a metaphor for life can get dicey – sometimes the symbolic pieces don’t fit universally for everything. But “Moneyball, ” starring Brad Pitt, hits a grand slam with this old allegory, and educates regarding the true nature of modern large dollar sports.

‘The Big Uneasy’ Unleashes Maddening Flood of Vital Information

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

CHICAGO – Some of the best documentaries are spawned directly from the raw outage of a filmmaker intent on sharing vital truths with the unenlightened public. Every frame is fraught with a sense of urgency that keeps viewers on the edge of their seat much like an engrossing popcorn thriller. Yet great passion alone does not make for great cinema.

Terrence Malick’s Captivating Meditation on ‘The Tree of Life’

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

CHICAGO – I’ve seen Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” twice now and I still struggle with how to put my reaction to it into words. The film almost defies typical critical discussion with its lack of narrative thrust and a structure that makes it far closer to a poem than a piece of prose. How do you even begin to talk about a piece that works with emotions instead of plot twists?

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  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

  • Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Fest

    CHICAGO – It’s 3am on Saturday night/Sunday morning on August 20th, and you’re just not ready to quit. How about indulging in the 2016 “Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins” Theater Festival? The three-day theater marathon is in its 28th edition, and will be sponsored for the final time by the Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, and hosted by the “Godfather of Storefront Theater,” Rich Cotovsky. It all takes place at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee in Chicago (details below).


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