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Fred Armisen

Funny, Political ‘The Dictator’ with Sacha Baron Cohen

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

CHICAGO – Ali G, Borat, Bruno and the Stationmaster Guy in “Hugo” is now “The Dictator.” Sacha Baron Cohen puts on another character mask and produces his usual style of cheap laughs with a surprising sense of political sharpness. Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley go along for the ride.

Only the Kiddies Will Connect to ‘The Smurfs’

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

CHICAGO – There is nothing wrong with “The Smurfs” that a thousand volts of electricity couldn’t cure. It is well made, looks good in the optional 3-D and has a competent cast trying their hardest. What it lacks is a spark, either of nostalgia or a fresh update, as it meanders with the seen-it-all-before template.

Low Grade on Report Card For ‘Easy A’ With Emma Stone

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

CHICAGO - “Easy A” is simply a hard film to swallow. Set in a high school on another planet, it wants everything and ends up giving very little. The cast is game - Emma Stone, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow - but with few exceptions the players cannot handle the lead balloon banter that passes for jokey dialogue. It wants also to be a grand statement on gossip and those who get hurt by it, but perky Stone doesn’t seem that affected.

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  • Sherlock Holmes with David Arquette (teaser)

    CHICAGO – Different isn’t bad and might be great, but you’d better have an irrefutable reason to change what was never broken. Campy being the only word to accurately convey this alternate-reality version of Sherlock Holmes with an original script, writer Greg Kramer and director Andrew Shaver try too hard to be different without ever figuring out why.

  • Merry Widow, The

    CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.


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