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John Hawkes’ Honest Work Just Saves ‘The Sessions’

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

CHICAGO – Sometimes an actor can deliver on so many levels at once that it makes flaws of a film easier to overlook. I’ll admit that while watching “The Sessions,” I was so caught up in the honest, true performance from the great John Hawkes that I didn’t consider many of the film’s dramatic failings until I began to consider my review. Hawkes’ work here is that good that it carries one away on a wave of emotion that dismisses critical thought. The film around him could have been better but you’re unlikely to realize that while you’re watching it.

Emotional Journey For Maria Bello, Michael Sheen in ‘Beautiful Boy’

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

CHICAGO – The family unit, now in a constant battle with technology, changing morality and a fracturing social structure, comes under psychological siege in the mortally sad but ultimately compelling “Beautiful Boy,” featuring Maria Bello and Michael Sheen.

Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton Are Redemptive in ‘Faster’

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

CHICAGO – The Action Film is getting a bit creaky, relying more on computer generated eye candy than character or plot. It is refreshing to experience a film like “Faster,” featuring Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton, because it is an action film that means something, and puts its inhabitants on a path to their own salvation.

Christian Bale, Sam Worthington in McG’s Disappointing ‘Terminator: Salvation’

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

CHICAGOMcG’s loud-and-annoying “Terminator: Salvation” with Christian Bale and Sam Worthington continues the summer of non-Trek disappointments, delivering nothing but a bloated exercise in CGI overload. With awful dialogue, a ridiculous plot, and mostly uninspired performances, the interesting human element has been drained from the franchise. The machines have won.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Spike Heels Stage Play

    CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).

  • 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.

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