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Imelda Staunton

‘Maleficent’ is All Dressed Up With No Story to Tell

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

CHICAGO – If “Maleficent” were an actual fairy tale storybook, I’d say it has beautiful illustrations but not much story to tell. As the title character, Angelina Jolie is a towering presence with an unforgettable look, but the film itself is all dressed up with nowhere to go. “Maleficent” the movie’s story moves so slowly it makes a sloth look like a cheetah.

‘The Awakening’ with Rebecca Hall Will Put You to Sleep

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

CHICAGO – There a lot of sighs and longing looks in the new horror film “The Awakening” (and good luck trying to distinguish between the generically-titled “The Apparition,” “The Possession,” and this one — all in theaters). This disappointing attempt at an atmospheric ghost story tries to tell a tale that first feels like a haunting from within.

Clever, Fun Adventures of ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’

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

CHICAGO – “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” has that incredible Aardman energy and elegance of works like “Wallace & Gromit” and “Chicken Run” along with some of the best voice work you’ll hear in an animated film all year.

Aardman Studios Offers a Merry ‘Arthur Christmas’

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

CHICAGO – Aardman Studios, the creators of the irrepressible “Wallace & Gromit” and the witty “Flushed Away” is back with another animated holiday treat, “Arthur Christmas.” Santa Claus and the gang are taken into the modern era, but the cheeky lads/lasses at Aardman can’t help but throw in a bit of whimsy and heart.

Ang Lee’s ‘Taking Woodstock’ Lays Down Too Mellow a Vibe to Be Memorable

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

CHICAGO – More about the vibe surrounding the three days of peace and love that would become the most influential festival in history than the actual music itself, Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock” is a frustrating drama with individual elements that work but a cinematic set list that is ultimately disjointed and unsatisfying.

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  • Happy Christmas

    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.

  • reno 911 front.png

    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.

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