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Michael Shannon

‘Man of Steel’ is Strong, But Not Completely Heroic

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

CHICAGO – Place the Superman legend into the hands of director Zack Snyder (“Watchmen”) and storyteller/producer Christopher Nolan (“Dark Knight”), and old Supes is bound for a makeover in “Man of Steel.” When it works, it’s adds to a legend’s richness. When it doesn’t, it is less than hero.

‘Man of Steel’ Soars Visually But Lacks Humanity

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

CHICAGO – From the CGI-heavy attack on Krypton that opens Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” to its soaring finale, I had the same reaction -– where’s the “Man half? Snyder’s attempt to reboot the Superman legacy with the loving assistance of David Goyer and Christopher Nolan of “The Dark Knight” fame gets the superhero part but misses the humanity at the core of this legendary character.

Great Michael Shannon Performance Can’t Thaw ‘The Iceman’

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

CHICAGO – Another great Michael Shannon performance should come as no surprise as everything he touches lately seems to be interesting, from “Take Shelter” to “Boardwalk Empire” to letters written by batshit crazy sorority girls. However, his increasingly impressive ability can’t save “The Iceman,” a misguided, clichéd hitman flick that careens tonally and doesn’t really justify its existence. It doesn’t work as thriller or as drama, serving as little more than a performance piece for its talented star.

Jeff Nichols’s ‘Mud’ Will Cause Cinephiles’ Hearts to Swell

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

CHICAGO – Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the precise moment when one falls in love with a movie. Other times, it’s as effortless and intuitive as the day one stumbles upon a soul mate. That moment struck me like a bolt of lightning early on in Jeff Nichols’s “Mud,” the most richly satisfying and purely enjoyable moviegoing experience I’ve had thus far in 2013.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Peddles Clichés in ‘Premium Rush’

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

CHICAGO – We’re looking for cowboy heroes in America, and a new film contends that the urban bike messenger could represent that long lost persona. This unlikely theory is the basis for “Premium Rush,” and it features Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Aasif Mandvi and Dania Ramirez.

Michael Shannon Mesmerizes in Moody ‘Take Shelter’

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

CHICAGO – It starts with a clap of thunder. Fierce winds cause the once serene landscape to shiver with unease. When the rain comes, it’s the color of motor oil. All it takes is a single glance at the looming gray clouds overhead to realize that the impending storm could be capable of anything. It’s enough to rock a level-headed man to his very foundation.

Story Too Broad to Execute in ‘Machine Gun Preacher’

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

CHICAGO – When one movie has an ex-con, drug retribution violence, his religious conversion, his building of a church, his preaching, his trip to Southern Sudan in Africa, his opening of an orphanage and his family, then it’s too big a story to tell. Therein lies the challenge for “Machine Gun Preacher.”

Josh Brolin, Megan Fox Dash Between the Explosions in ‘Jonah Hex’

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

CHICAGO – Delving deep into the comic book lexicon, the latest page-to-film adaptation is “Jonah Hex,” featuring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich. Hex is a scarred bounty hunter whose primary job seems to be saving America, when he isn’t in the midst of or causing things to blow up real good.

‘My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done’ Inspires Genuine Head-Scratching

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

CHICAGO – When David Lynch came to Chicago for an “Inland Empire” screening back in 2007, he offered memorable advice to a moviegoer baffled by his work. He said that his audience should meditate not on the “intellectual experience” provided by his films, but the emotional ideas that they conjure.

Touching ‘The Greatest’ With Carey Mulligan Transcends Melodrama

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

CHICAGO – The surprisingly good “The Greatest” opens and closes with two very different car rides — one silent and mournful and one loud and full of laughter; one on the way from death and one on the way to life. They are bookends for a well-performed tearjerker of the kind that mostly transcends its melodramatic set-up to become something genuinely moving.

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  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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