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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

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

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