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‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Solidifies Franchise

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

Peter Jackson and Bilbo Baggins find their groove in the entertaining “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” an improvement over “An Unexpected Journey” in every single department. Whereas the first one suffered from a tumultuous pre-production process and the fact that it was all prologue, “Smaug” expands this universe in ways that are narratively engaging, while also providing enough of that gorgeously shot and perfectly choreographed fantasy action that made “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy such a phenomenon.

‘Real Steel’ Overcomes Harebrained Premise With Heart, Quenching Hollywood Wizardry

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

CHICAGO – Try selling a friend on paying to see a movie with you about machine-operated boxing where humans control robots for money.

Just call your friend on his Motorola DynaTAC retro brickphone and say: “Hey, Billy! Remember all those swell nights we had as kids when I smoked you every time in Rock’em Sock’em Robots with our two dueling robot boxers mechanically manipulated by us?

Riveting, Must-See ‘The Hurt Locker’ is Flawless Filmmaking

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

CHICAGO – Filmmaking simply doesn’t get much more riveting than Kathryn Bigelow’s incredible “The Hurt Locker,” a cinematic experience unlike any other that you will have this year. Building and releasing tension better than her peers have in a long time, Bigelow has made not only the best Iraq War movie to date but the best film of 2009 at just over the halfway point.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • reno 911 front.png

    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.

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