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James Marsden

‘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.

‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ Defies Pattern of Comedy Sequels

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

Comedy sequels are SO rarely worthwhile. Most good comedy is dependent on being fresh, new, and unpredictable – words not commonly uses to describe sequels. For every “Wayne’s World 2,” there are a dozen films of the caliber of “Ghostbusters 2,” “Arthur 2,” and “Caddyshack II” – movies that are so bad that they almost diminish the legacy of their predecessors.

Mark Wahlberg Steals Unexpected Comedic Spotlight Amid ‘2 Guns’ Bromance

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

CHICAGO – While you wouldn’t normally compare the new action/comedy “2 Guns” with the comedy “I Love You, Man,” really the only difference between what Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington are doing now versus what Paul Rudd and Jason Segel did in 2009 is that “2 Guns” uses crime as the means by which two grown men fall in love with one another.

Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan in Mediocre ‘Bachelorette’

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

CHICAGO – “Bachelorette,” now playing On Demand (and doing quite well on that format) and opening in theaters tomorrow, is a modestly successful comedy with some very talented stars stuck with an incredibly inconsistent script. The performers do their best and there are some scenes that work but the overall piece is remarkably forgettable, reminding viewers of “Bridesmaids” and “The Hangover” while failing to match either in terms of laughs.

Frank Langella Shines in Delightful Sci-Fi Comedy ‘Robot and Frank’

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

CHICAGO – Frank’s world is fading before his eyes. With his wife gone and his children all grown up, Frank lives a reclusive existence, though he doesn’t seem to be in particular need of company. His memory may be fading, but his instincts as a retired cat burglar are still ever-present. He can’t helping stuffing a few soap figurines into his pockets while casually browsing through a store.

‘Hop’ is a Limp Skip, Jump For Russell Brand

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

CHICAGO – A definitive cinematic exploration of the Easter Bunny story is precisely what the world is missing. Right? Anyway, the folks behind “Hop,” featuring the voice of Russell Brand as the rascally rabbit, has produced this heretofore missing piece of the film canon.

Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence Are Stiff in Tepid ‘Death at a Funeral’

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

CHICAGO – When some of the funniest comedians in the business – Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan – can’t deliver a absurdist comedy about family secrets, then there truly is “Death at a Funeral.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Spike Heels Stage Play

    CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).

  • Book of Merman, The

    CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.

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