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Idris Elba

‘The Jungle Book’ is a Technical Marvel Missing Some Magic

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

CHICAGO – While Disney Studios’ new live action version of “The Jungle Book” is an improvement over the 1967 animated version, it’s more of a technical marvel than magical fable. And it’s unable to completely transcend the earlier version’s limitations.

‘Zootopia’ is an Odd But Endearing Disney Animated Film

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

CHICAGO – Walt Disney Studio’s latest animated extravaganza is best viewed as a child’s introduction to the buddy cop movie, since you can’t exactly start a toddler on “Midnight Run” or “Lethal Weapon 2.” But in this case it’s a bunny cop movie.

Lack of Cohesiveness, Intrigue Stymies ‘The Gunman’

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

CHICAGO – If you’re going to see a Sean Penn action movie, I guess “The Gunman” would be appropriate. As he and the filmmakers inject some reality in the usual motivations, the puzzle pieces don’t connect well and in the end are not that interesting. That is not to say that the film is bad.

Legacy Matters in ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’

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

CHICAGO – The memory of South Africa freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, who passed away on December 5th, is filled with deserved accolades and iconography. Director Justin Chadwick and actor Idris Elba brings the man to human life in the essential “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

‘Thor: The Dark World’ is Little More Than Marketing For ‘The Avengers 2’

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

CHICAGO – Few major films have felt less creatively inspired and more commercially conceived than Alan Taylor’s dull “Thor: The Dark World,” a wannabe blockbuster with all the personality and ingenuity of a straight-to-DVD sequel. It is a film that simply fades into the background of other films, both already produced and still-to-come.

‘Pacific Rim’ is Classic Sci-fi Cult Movie Joy

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

CHICAGO – Leave it to the wondrous auteur, director Guillermo del Toro, to push the boundaries of giant science fiction epics simply by paying homage to their predecessors. The grand, glorious embrace of “Pacific Rim” leaves no stone of cult film fun unturned.

Fascinating Journey to ‘Prometheus’ Makes For Bumpy Ride

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

CHICAGO – Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” rides a wave of expectation, anticipation, hype, and an already-building backlash into theaters this weekend and all I have to say is something that most critics hesitate to do – you need to see this for yourself and make up your own mind. Is it the perfect blend of adult, intellectual science fiction and summer action that I was hoping for at the beginning of the season?

‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ Begs Audience to Accept Mediocrity, Stupidity

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

CHICAGO – At the very least, I can take some comfort in knowing that the YouTube montage of Nicolas Cage freaking out has some new (and golden) material. As cursed as Cage’s Johnny Blaze character is by the demon inside him known as the Ghost Rider in the newest chapter, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” so is this movie cursed by unthinkable dialogue, lackluster acting, obnoxious camerawork, and confusing editing.

Something’s Gotta Give With T.I., Matt Dillon in ‘Takers’

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

CHICAGO – The ensemble cast is decent, the story fits the action/adventure essence of the heist film and one of the hottest music stars of the moment, Tip “T.I.” Harris, has a prominent role. Then why is the new film “Takers” such a seen-it-all-before exercise in action blandness? It feels like a total waste of all those resources.

David S. Goyer’s ‘The Unborn’ is Unoriginal, Uninspiring Mess

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

CHICAGO – Odette Yustman stars in David S. Goyer’s “The Unborn,” a poorly conceived and produced horror movie that could have just as easily been called “The Un-scary,” “The Uninspiring,” “The Unoriginal,” or “The Unexciting”. Whatever you do, just un-plan to see it this weekend.

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  • King and I, The

    CHICAGO – The venerable musical “The King and I,” by the legendary team of (Richard) Rodgers and (Oscar) Hammerstein, is now 65 years old. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is injecting fresh life into this senior aged play, with a sumptuous new production that is top drawer at every level.

  • New Country

    CHICAGO – The Country Music industry has become as huge as any category of music entertainment. So Mark Roberts, the creator of the TV sitcom “Mike & Molly,” has fashioned a boisterous new play about the machinations of that genre of music industry, and gave it the plaintive title of “New Country.”

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