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Laurence Fishburne

‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is Both Despairing & Disappointing

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

CHICAGO – Dang it, DC Comics and Warner Bros.! Two of my favorite comic book characters get dragged through a dull mud in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” There is a dawn all right, but instead of the bright sun over the horizon, it’s a full mooning to the fans who anticipated the film.

Direction Proves a Problem For Open Mic Drama ‘Rudderless’

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

CHICAGO – Actor William H. Macy’s directorial debut “Rudderless” is a film of open mic songwriting that tackles a recovery from grief with neat lyrics and easy metaphors. Instead of standing out, Macy has provided another sap’s ballad that has the cuteness of “Kumbaya”, one that aims to please the crowd without challenging emotions, only presenting them.

Steven Soderbergh’s Riveting ‘Contagion’ With Matt Damon

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

CHICAGO – A few weeks ago saw the release of the R-rated “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” a gore-free creature feature that was given the MPAA stamp of 17-plus due to “pervasive scariness.” This week sees the PG-13-rated “Contagion,” a film SO much more pervasively scary than the movie about goblins in a distant mansion because, well, it’s about the fact that the world is pervasively scary.

Fishbone is Red Hot in ‘Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone’

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

CHICAGO – “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone” aspires to be more than an episode of “Behind the Music” and succeeds largely due to the amazing talent of the band it chronicles, the stunning, one-and-only Fishbone. It’s common for a critic to call a great, underrated band influential but Fishbone doesn’t really qualify because what they did was so unique that it’s impossible to copy.

Adrien Brody’s ‘Predators’ Unmemorably Lulls Through the Expected Motions

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

CHICAGO – Good films deliver on their promise. Great films up the ante even more. In this version of the long “Predators” franchise from director Nimrod Antal (“Control,” “Armored,” “Vacancy”) and more-known producer Robert Rodriguez (“Grindhouse,” “Sin City”), we merely see more of the same: just enough to get us by but not nearly enough to make us care.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Harry Lennix, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’

  • King and I, The

    CHICAGO – The venerable musical “The King and I,” by the legendary team of (Richard) Rodgers and (Oscar) Hammerstein, is now 65 years old. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is injecting fresh life into this senior aged play, with a sumptuous new production that is top drawer at every level.

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