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Kenneth Branagh

‘Cinderella’ Finds New Magic in Old Fairy Tale

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

CHICAGO – In the years since “Shrek,” the fractured fairy tale has become Hollywood’s default approach. We’ve been treated to so many irreverent and increasingly labored treatments of storybook characters, that Walt Disney Pictures’ new live-action “Cinderella” comes off as relatively fresh by comparison.

Character Reboot ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ Pales as Compared to Masterful Predecessors

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

CHICAGO – It’s been 12 years since we’ve seen Tom Clancy’s masterful, Jason Bourne-esque character Jack Ryan in 2002’s “The Sum of All Fears” (led by Ben Affleck), which itself was a character reboot. We first saw Jack in 1990’s “The Hunt For Red October” as Alec Baldwin and then twice in the body of Harrison Ford with 1992’s “Patriot Games” and 1994’s “Clear and Present Danger”.

High-Level Reboot for ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’

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

CHICAGO – Actor Chris Pine should use the term “Rebooter” as his middle name. After taking on the Captain Kirk role in the “Star Trek” series, he now is the latest to portray CIA super spy as “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” a literate and pulse racing adventure directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Michelle Williams is Luminous in ‘My Week With Marilyn’

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

CHICAGO – Bringing the popular culture past back to life in a movie is always a tricky proposition. No matter what, there are always inevitable comparisons to the real thing. They don’t come any more really famous than Marilyn Monroe, and Michelle Williams takes on a portrayal that exemplifies, honors and humanizes the iconic star in “My Week with Marilyn.” 

Despite Loveless Love Story, ‘Thor’ Deserves Your Popcorn-Flick Dollar

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

CHICAGO – When big-budget films set their sights on being the next Hollywood blockbuster, they’re almost always built on a formulaic groundwork of proven ingredients. While these films often lose points for much of the same and little of the new, plunking a mighty $150 million into the production “Thor” has found a way to be both formulaic and successful.

Bryan Singer’s ‘Valkyrie’ With Tom Cruise Mistakes Morose For Intense

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

CHICAGO – Tom Cruise can be a powerfully vibrant actor in the right material but he’s horrendously miscast in Bryan Singer’s “Valkyrie,” a decision amplified by poor direction that drains this true story of an assassination attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler of its inherent power.

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  • Sherlock Holmes with David Arquette (teaser)

    CHICAGO – Different isn’t bad and might be great, but you’d better have an irrefutable reason to change what was never broken. Campy being the only word to accurately convey this alternate-reality version of Sherlock Holmes with an original script, writer Greg Kramer and director Andrew Shaver try too hard to be different without ever figuring out why.

  • Merry Widow, The

    CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.


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