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Kenneth Branagh

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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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • 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.

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