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Liev Schreiber

Warm ‘Fading Gigolo’ Has Odd Romance, Woody Allen

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

CHICAGO – How do you make a Woody Allen style film? You hire Woody Allen to act in it. Writer, director and lead actor John Turturro channels the soul of Allen’s films by creating a strange and romantic scenario with different types of relationships, including one with Woody himself in “Fading Gigolo.”

Profiling Transforms ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’

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

CHICAGO – Given the recent media coverage of the Boston bombings, the issue of profiling – judging a individual as suspect based on religion or appearances – is an ongoing problem. Director Mira Nair explores profiling in the context of September 11th in “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.”

Hard to Wrap Head Around Misguided ‘Mental’

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

CHICAGO – Despite boasting the talented efforts of the always-great and tragically underrated Toni Collette, P.J. Hogan’s “Mental,” opening this weekend in Chicago, is a tonal mess. It’s a bewilderingly strange movie, the kind of thing that one might write off as being lost in translation from its Australian origin before realizing it wasn’t that funny there either.

Seann William Scott Skates Through Funny ‘Goon’

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

CHICAGO – Seann William Scott gives a surprisingly engaging, even sweet performance as the title character in the brutal, raunchy hockey comedy “Goon,” written by “Superbad” scribe Evan Goldberg and comedy actor Jay Baruchel. This “Slap Shot meets Fight Club” is a definite must-see for hockey fans but feels a little too slight for everyone else. Still, there’s a lot to like here, especially for those who want an interesting alternative On Demand (it’s already available there and opening in Chicago theaters today, March 30th, 2012).

‘Salt’ With Angelina Jolie Suffers From Lack of Flavor

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

CHICAGO – Perhaps the creators of “Salt” took the potential double meaning of its title a bit too seriously because the film has been overloaded with one flavor at the expense of the variety that could have turned this well-done action movie into something a bit more memorable. Angelina Jolie is great and the film is undeniably expertly made but it’s also shockingly lacking in personality or moments to make it register as more than just an extended chase scene.

Jude Law, Forest Whitaker Misfire With Awful ‘Repo Men’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Reminiscent of vastly superior work by David Cronenberg and Paul Verhoeven but with none of the directorial skill apparent in the films of those two talented men, “Repo Men” with Jude Law and Forest Whitaker is a total disaster possibly unmatched in the careers of its talented stars.

Ang Lee’s ‘Taking Woodstock’ Lays Down Too Mellow a Vibe to Be Memorable

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

CHICAGO – More about the vibe surrounding the three days of peace and love that would become the most influential festival in history than the actual music itself, Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock” is a frustrating drama with individual elements that work but a cinematic set list that is ultimately disjointed and unsatisfying.

Hugh Jackman Rocks in ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine,’ But Movie Falters

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

CHICAGO – How did Wolverine get to Northern Alberta, Canada, where he makes his first appearance in a bar cage match in Bryan Singer’s “X-Men”? And what about all those flashbacks to his dark past and the experiments that turned him into a legend?

Edward Zwick’s ‘Defiance’ Drains Strength From Powerful True Story

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

CHICAGO – Ed Zwick’s “Defiance” is a dramatically inert film that misses the mark by allowing its director to play up his notable weaknesses as a filmmaker.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bad Words

    Looming over “Bad Words” is the potential it could have had, as is, were it released ten years ago. With its focus of R-rated behavior poking at the projected innocence of children, along with the couple of chromosomes that keep Bateman’s Trilby from being a Vince Vaughn character, this movie is certainly a product of the comedies that have sculpted out the manchild story in the past decade.

  • Winter's Tale

    The theatrical poster for “Winter’s Tale,” after promising that “It’s not a true story, it’s a love story,” made a large demand from its viewers at the bottom: “This Valentine’s Day, Believe In Miracles.” While there is indeed a difference between filmmaking and marketing, it is hard to not imagine writer/director Akiva Goldsman whispering “believe in miracles” into the ear of every executive who helped “Winter’s Tale” come to life, immediately after throwing glitter on them.

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