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Dan Fogler

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ Relies on Second-Hand Wonder

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

CHICAGO – It’s been five years since the last Harry Potter film, and for fans eager to scratch that itch for a dreamworld of magic again “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” will probably suffice. It’s this story’s tangential connection to the Harry Potter universe that is its biggest asset – but the film unfortunately can’t muster up much wonder on its own.

Effective ‘Europa Report’ Mixes Science with Fiction

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

CHICAGO – Unlike a lot of so-called science fiction (“Sharknado” comes to mind), “Europa Report” actually relies heavily on true science. There really is a school of thought, as explained by the great Neil Degrasse Tyson in archival footage used in the film, that the icy surface of Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, may hold the most remarkable discovery in the history of mankind – that we are not alone.

Spectacle, Emotion Propel Animation in ‘Mars Needs Moms’

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

CHICAGO – “Mars Needs Moms” is an animated epic that takes its time to build toward the message, but the path to that real emotion is decorated with spectacular imagery and sprightly comedy. It’s Mom, apple pie and motion capture technology.

Ang Lee’s ‘Taking Woodstock’ Lays Down Too Mellow a Vibe to Be Memorable

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

CHICAGO – More about the vibe surrounding the three days of peace and love that would become the most influential festival in history than the actual music itself, Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock” is a frustrating drama with individual elements that work but a cinematic set list that is ultimately disjointed and unsatisfying.

‘Balls of Fury’: Thank You; Try Again

Rating: 2/5CHICAGO – Thank you. Try again. When your sell is entirely dependent on being utterly hi-lar-ious, you’d better trigger unruly body spasms.

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  • 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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