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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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  • Merry Widow, The

    CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.

  • Black White Love Play

    CHICAGO – The love story of a prominent Chicago celebrity couple becomes the basis for a metaphoric and tuneful celebration about courage and coming together. “The Black White Love Play: The Story of Chaz & Roger Ebert” – written and directed by Black Ensemble Theater’s Jackie Taylor – portrays the film critic and the civil rights lawyer in their time, but also creates an atmosphere of emotion through song, sorrow and jubilation.


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