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‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ Delivers the Usual Laughs

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

CHICAGO – “The LEGO Batman Movie” is more of a parody than the laugh-out-loud hijinks of the surprising “The LEGO Movie,” but the legend of The Bats is ripe for a good skewering, and the movie has a lot of fun doing it. Will Arnett reprises the voice as the title character, with Zach Galifianakis taking on the antics of The Joker.

‘Hail, Caesar!’ is Coen Bros. Excellence for Movie Lovers

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

CHICAGO – Writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen love the movies, and that love is magnificently played out in “Hail, Caesar!” As they riff on religion, geopolitics and 1950s morality, while wonderfully celebrating and spoofing an era in movies that will never be again, the Coens abide and deliver.

Quentin Tarantino Stays Familiar in ‘The Hateful Eight’

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

CHICAGO – Story-wise, there is not much difference in “The Hateful Eight” – regarding themes and violence – that writer/director Quentin Tarantino hasn’t explored before. But it is also an outrageous and big western tale, and it’s presented in some theaters in a huge 70mm screen format.

Nichely Entertaining ‘Magic Mike XXL’ a Substanceless Soft Porn

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

CHICAGO – You know those amateur porns with no-name actors that use cheesy dialogue in between the sex scenes those viewers simply want? You never expect a real story or actually developed characters because it’s a collection of sex scenes. It’s not a real, you know, movie.

‘Jupiter Ascending’ Might Cause Attention Descending

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

CHICAGO – “Jupiter Ascending” is certainly one of the oddest and densest of sci-fi movies, this side of “Dune,” and has some of the most laughable acting and dialogue seen in a major film in awhile. But the worst offense is that the film is dull, and practically without emotion or human empathy.

Human Emotions Transcend Wealth in ‘Foxcatcher’

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

CHICAGO – In the memorable film “Barton Fink,” the title character is asked to write a wrestling movie for Wallace Beery. If Fink had isolated himself long enough, he might have come up with “Foxcatcher,” demonstrating once again that a true story is much stranger than fiction.

‘The Book of Life’ Has Uninspired Tale to Tell

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

CHICAGO – Unfortunately you can’t judge “The Book Of Life” by its cover. The movie draws on the fertile imagery of the Mexican “Day Of The Dead” to create its own animated world. The animation is excellent and the wooden characters seem to spring to life – but those performances are as wooden as a board. Which also describes my feelings for most of this uninspired journey…bored.

‘22 Jump Street’ is a Proud Bargain Bin Blockbuster

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

CHICAGO – “22 Jump Street” is a big budget Hollywood sequel that actively comments on the diminishing returns of sequels. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller know that for every “Lethal Weapon 2,” that manages to surpass the original, there are a dozen “Another 48 Hours” that try and fail to give audiences an approximation of what they enjoyed before.

Big Laughs Await in Sly, Fun ‘The LEGO Movie’

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

CHICAGO – The funniest movie in a long while features no human beings, just animated bland faces among interlocking plastic bricks, the toys which inspired the film. “The LEGO Movie” never takes itself seriously, which means huge laughs for the audience.

Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx in ‘White House Down’

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

CHICAGO – How could a movie in which the President shoots a rocket from the back of a limousine during a car chase on the White House lawn possibly be boring? Roland Emmerich somehow finds a way in the numbing “White House Down,” a movie that make absolutely no sense but fails to entertain as B-movie escapism (as his movies sometimes have in the past).

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

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