Forest Whitaker

Science of the Human Condition Makes an ‘Arrival’

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

CHICAGO – The film genre of aliens from other planets is as old as the movies. But it hasn’t been told as boldly and humanely as the new film “Arrival.” Its theme is communication, and how this interaction relates to the concept of the life cycle. Yes, it’s lofty, but it is also edge-of-the-seat engaging.

Alternate American Dream Played Out in ‘Dope’

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

CHICAGO – If you’re lucky enough, you’ll never know what it’s like to grow up in a poor American neighborhood. But what if the notions of such societies are flipped on its ear, and what if the message draws attention to our current perceptions of race? This is what the new film “Dope” conveys.

Ramshackle, Rickety ‘Taken 3’ is Far Too Predictable

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

CHICAGO – “Taken 3” is more a brand extension than a movie. Seven years after “Taken” turned Liam Neeson into an unlikely action star, “Taken 3” shows this series has completely run out of gas. The novelty of the hulking Oscar-nominee beating bad guys to a pulp wore off a long time ago, and “Taken 3” puts Neeson through the most pedestrian set of paces yet. It says something when the operative word of his first scene is “predictable.” Neeson only says it a half dozen times.

Great Cast Can’t Find Truth in False Plotting of ‘Out of the Furnace’

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

One overriding thought dominated my time with Scott Cooper’s stunningly disappointing “Out of the Furnace” – I just don’t care. When I wasn’t picking apart the gigantic plot holes in the narrative, I was marveling at the overheated characters who have been crafted from cliché instead of the real world.

Family Emotions Uplift ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

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

CHICAGO – In one of the more intriguing ways to frame the 1960s civil rights movement, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” places the context of that African American struggle through the filter of family dynamics, focusing on the father as a butler in the White House, through six presidents.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is Back in ‘The Last Stand’

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

CHICAGO – With enough hair plugs, bronzer and hormone injections to float a rejuvenation clinic, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back from his political meanderings and is an action star once again in the shoot-’em-up “The Last Stand.” Johnny Knoxville lends some comic relief.

Jude Law, Forest Whitaker Misfire With Awful ‘Repo Men’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Reminiscent of vastly superior work by David Cronenberg and Paul Verhoeven but with none of the directorial skill apparent in the films of those two talented men, “Repo Men” with Jude Law and Forest Whitaker is a total disaster possibly unmatched in the careers of its talented stars.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Little Women: The Musical

    CHICAGO – The story of “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott, has been an American institution since its publication in 1869. The story of four girls-to-little-women during the American Civil War, with their indomitable mother holding down the household while their father is away in the war, was a perfect candidate to become a Broadway musical. The Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo) is currently presenting a brilliant adaptation of that musical for the storefront stage, and its emotion, music craft and energy is nothing sort of a triumph… this small theater company that could does it again. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the The Strawdog Theatre in Chicago through February 9th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

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