Jessica Chastain

‘Dark Phoenix’ Rises Above Typical Comic Book Action

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

CHICAGO – Leave it to Marvel Entertainment to produce another “marvel-ous” take on their angst-ridden superhero characters. The latest X-Men film, called the last of this series, is “Dark Phoenix,” and it contains comic book action that is unprecedented for its originality and sheer power. It’s another winner.

Aaron Sorkin’s Directorial Debut in ‘Molly’s Game’

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

CHICAGO – High stakes poker are for folks who prefer to get their rush of adrenalin from the turn of a card rather than other life risks. The positives, the negatives and everything in between are in “Molly’s Game,” the feature directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing” creator). Let’s walk and talk.

Jessica Chastain is Steadfast as ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’

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

CHICAGO – Jessica Chastain is a memorable and glamorous actress, who continues to challenge herself with in-depth and complex roles. “The Zookeeper’s Wife” is her latest, and her performance outweighs the formulaic based-on-truth story, set during the Holocaust.

‘Miss Sloane’ Thrills Politically, But Drags Narratively

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

CHICAGO – Nothing says the holiday season like a film about lobbying and politics. If you read that sarcastically, you’d be wrong. “Miss Sloane” offers a female spin for an otherwise male dominated political landscape. Most of you are trying to tune out politics after the elections, but this film builds off of that momentum by reminding us how we arrived to that point.

‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ is a Bloated Bore

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

CHICAGO – This new Hollywood fairy tale does have one thing in common with the bedtime stories of old…it may lull you to sleep in the first 30 minutes. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is a special effects extravaganza where the effects aren’t special, the story is thin, and almost all the actors seem to have been allowed or even encouraged to indulge their worst impulses.

Entertaining ‘The Martian’ is a Hollywood Space Opera

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

CHICAGO – It’s all based on science, they told us! “The Martian” is an old fashion feel-good movie about the hard working astronauts and scientists of the good old American space program, trying to rescue a stranded spaceman from Mars, aided by a brave cast of astro-colleagues.

Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac Endure ‘A Most Violent Year’

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

CHICAGO – The effect of violence, centering on the roughest statistical year for it (1981) in New York City history, becomes a flashpoint for the way business has always been done. If someone isn’t intimidating their competitor with lawyers or shady marketing practices, a few hired goons can do the trick. Oscar Isaac takes the beating, both real and metaphorical, in writer/director J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year.”

Christopher Nolan’s Riveting Story Shines Brightest in Imperfectly Cast ‘Interstellar’

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

CHICAGO – It was Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 at 10:15 p.m. Leaving Navy Pier IMAX, I was driving north on Lake Shore Drive – a constantly busy, multi-lane highway that hugs the east of Chicago and separates it from water. What I saw next with fellow staff critic Patrick McDonald might have been normal for 3 a.m., but discussing Christopher Nolan’s new sci-fi “Interstellar” and being the only one on the road in either direction felt otherworldly.

‘Interstellar’ is Supposed to Mean Something, But What?

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

CHICAGO – It is most likely that movie goers were asking the same question of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 1968, but Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” belongs to its own category of what-is-the-meaning, because it tries to combine pseudo-science with psycho-babble, which clashes into meaninglessness. But the visuals are stunning, and there are moments of fulfillment, especially in a big screen IMAX format.

Miscast Crew Spoils Christopher Nolan’s Epic ‘Interstellar’ 

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

CHICAGO – “Interstellar” is easily director Christopher Nolan’s worst film. It contains much of the ambition and striking visuals that have endeared him to audiences, but for large chunks of the movie his own worst tendencies towards bombast, self-importance, and hippy dippy dialogue threaten to overwhelm his dandy space sequences entirely.

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  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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