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Michelle Monaghan

‘The Best of Me’ is the Worst of Formulaic Romance Novelist Nicholas Sparks

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

CHICAGO – What do you see in the compilation image below?

Yes, it’s nine films based on books by romance novelist Nicholas Sparks. But look more closely. “Message in a Bottle” opened his can of worms in 1999 and 2002’s “A Walk to Remember” could only say it was based on a best-selling novel.

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.”

Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan Star in Thrilling ‘Source Code’

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

CHICAGO – Duncan Jones announced his arrival on the sci-fi scene with such authority with the excellent “Moon” that genre fans were naturally concerned about a sophomore slump. Worry no more. “Source Code” may first feel like a more traditional thriller but it’s clearly cut from the same cloth as “Moon” in that it takes the impossible and makes it human, even spiritual. Like the best sci-fi, “Source Code” is both entertaining and thought-provoking. It’s a great slice of entertainment that you’ll want to relive as soon as it’s done playing.

Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis Are an Odd Pair in Funny ‘Due Date’

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

CHICAGO – There is a strong temptation to lead this review with “Hey, ‘Due Date,’ ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ just called, they want their plot back,” but this Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis star vehicle drives on its own strange vibe, part road trip and part comedy that depends on suspension of all reality. Yet it mostly works.

In ‘Gone Baby Gone’ Directorial Debut, Ben Affleck Matures Into Polished Auteur

Rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – It wasn’t that long ago when Ben Affleck was an unknown. Fortune eventually smiled upon him and along came quality performances in independents and an Academy Award for screenwriting.

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  • Book of Merman, The

    CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.

  • Men, Women & Children with Kaitlyn Dever

    CHICAGO – In “Men, Women & Children,” director Jason Reitman not-so-audaciously reflects onto viewers their world of silent screens and awkward impersonal interactions. As many stories (“Don Jon,” “Disconnect”) have taken on the torch of showing how we are, gasp! — connected to the world yet disconnected from those close to us — Reitman’s tale is just another one for the batch.

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