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Brad Pitt

‘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?

‘Megamind’ With Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt Barely Wins Animated Fight

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

CHICAGO – Being a super-villain is apparently going out of style as “Megamind” follows relatively quickly on the heels of “Despicable Me” and both tell the story of a bad guy realizing that it’s more fun to be good. The title character of “Megamind” (Will Ferrell) is a nefarious super-powered fellow who has just barely lost every fight he’s had with the beloved Metroman (Brad Pitt).

Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ With Brad Pitt Lives Up to Expectations

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

CHICAGO – What truly distinguishes Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” from the cookie-cutter marketplace also makes its impact incredibly difficult to put into words. It’s a film that’s impossible to pin down - a thriller, drama, comedy, action film, and a slice of revisionist history played as modern revenge fantasy. And it’s a total blast.

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  • Knick, The

    CHICAGO – Cinemax’s ominous new series “The Knick” is a hospital drama that’s very much in the voice of its director, Steven Soderbergh. Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, the series presents the medical world as it inches closer and closer to modernity, while making contemporary parallels to the desperate hustle by surgery room clients and their doctors alike regarding treatment of the human body. What has changed in the politics of medicine? What hasn’t?

  • Transcendence

    CHICAGO – The Internet is for real in “Transcendence”, a B-movie with grade-A production quality, loaded with terabyte-size open-ended questions, so long as one can accept it lastly with a scientific mindset. It is a film that perceives technology to be more expansive than a box of wires and computer chips, and actualizes the expanse of the internet as limitless to the realm of spiritual.

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