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Daring Vision of Darren Aronofsky’s Epic ‘Noah’

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

Darren Aronofsky’s controversial “Noah” exists somewhere between the sentimental, straight-faced versions of biblical tales that Hollywood has been producing for decades and more auteur-driven fare like Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ”.

Sofia Coppola Captures Cult of Celebrity in ‘The Bling Ring’

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

CHICAGO – We live a celebrity-driven culture that not only easily dismisses when its celebutantes get DUIs but practically sees the occasion as a rite of passage. We follow gossip websites to the degree that we know the schedules of people who are famous just for being famous better than we know our family’s.

Wonderful ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ Captures Teenage Life with Grace

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

CHICAGO – Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” based on his hit book of the same name, is the most pleasant and accomplished surprise of the year, a delightful, sweet, funny, and moving examination of teenage life that merits comparison to John Hughes and Cameron Crowe.

Michelle Williams is Luminous in ‘My Week With Marilyn’

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

CHICAGO – Bringing the popular culture past back to life in a movie is always a tricky proposition. No matter what, there are always inevitable comparisons to the real thing. They don’t come any more really famous than Marilyn Monroe, and Michelle Williams takes on a portrayal that exemplifies, honors and humanizes the iconic star in “My Week with Marilyn.” 

It All Ends With Satisfying ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’

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

CHICAGO – So this is how it ends – not with a whimper but with a big, magical bang. After a decade of captivating movie audiences worldwide, will “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” appease the fans who have been eagerly anticipating the end of the saga of the boy who lived? It almost certainly will.

‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ is the Darkest, Loneliest Potter Film Yet

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

CHICAGO – While “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is the most murky and forlorn Potter film yet, its most grave battle is the internal question between the corporate and creative types. Did the splitting of a single finale film into two parts truly improve on its ability to impart this grand tale or was it purely for financial reaping? From what we see in part one of the seventh film in this franchise, it turns out the answer is a lot of both.

‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ Discovers the Wizard of Awe

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

CHICAGO – The Harry Potter phenomenon, born from the pen of J.K. Rowling and nurtured through the utter magic of modern filmmaking, has reached a monumental creative peak with the film “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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