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Gerald McRaney

‘The Best of Me’ is the Worst of Formulaic Romance Novelist Nicholas Sparks

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

CHICAGO – What do you see in the compilation image below?

Yes, it’s nine films based on books by romance novelist Nicholas Sparks. But look more closely. “Message in a Bottle” opened his can of worms in 1999 and 2002’s “A Walk to Remember” could only say it was based on a best-selling novel.

World War II-Era Tuskegee Airmen Fly in ‘Red Tails’

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

CHICAGO – The courage of the Tuskegee Airmen cannot be denied. The all African American World War II fighter pilot squadron not only braved battle, but also the virulent prejudice of the 1940s. The new film “Red Tails” chronicles the circumstance of that squadron, with a sappy and overlong treatment.

Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek Elevate Drama ‘Get Low’

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

CHICAGO – What could possibly drive a man into such a deep pit of despair that he would choose to break from society and take on the life of a hermit? The mystery of such a decision is the driving force behind Aaron Schneider’s “Get Low,” a based-on-a-true-story drama that has already earned Oscar buzz for star Rubert Duvall and praise for co-stars Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek, Lucas Black, and Bill Cobbs.

Plan Comes Together For Entertaining Action of ‘The A-Team’

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

CHICAGO – “Overkill is underrated.” So says Col. Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) near the end of Joe Carnahan’s “The A-Team” and it clearly was the operating principle for not just the characters but the entire production. With its tongue firmly in its steroid-induced cheek, “The A-Team” is not designed to break any rules or change the action world, merely to offer summer entertainment for two hours and it does precisely that.

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    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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