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Neil Patrick Harris

High-Level Acting, Broad Themes in ‘Gone Girl’

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

CHICAGO – How can a sudsy, Lifetime TV Movie-type plot capture the resonance of our current information age? By twisting it by the ears and having gutsy, high-level performances. “Gone Girl” is a marvelous invention of media satire, celebrity culture and the perfect casting of Ben Affleck.

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Suffers Because Seth MacFarlane Casts Himself

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

CHICAGO – A feature-length comedy is a daunting undertaking. But being consistently funny for 2 straight hours is like climbing Mount Everest blindfolded with no arms while taking selfies using your feet.

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Goes in All Directions

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

CHICAGO – Two observations regarding Seth MacFarlane: one, he is a hilarious writer and voiceover talent. Two, he isn’t as good as a comic leading man, on screen and in live action. Those two elements clash brightly in the overlong but funny “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”

‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ Wins with Foodimals, Overemphasizes Humans

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

CHICAGO – I was paying attention to the movie. Correction: I was mostly paying attention to the movie. It was challenging to ignore my angry, empty stomach and fully enjoy the food coma that is “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”. Just don’t make the same mistake I did and eat before you do.

‘A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas’ Delivers Holiday Laughs

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

CHICAGO – “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” delivers exactly what fans should expect from it and even a bit more, as the actors who play the stoner icons have gotten noticeably better at their craft and the production team behind the film has gone all out in a quest to throw as many jokes as possible at the viewer in a barrage of attempts at hilarity.

Star-Studded Cast Makes For Good ‘Company’

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

CHICAGO – Though I’ve often entertained the notion of attending an opera or sporting event at a local theater, I just can’t seem to bring myself to pay the admission. No filmed footage, however intimate and detailed, can truly capture the visceral energy of a live performance. No matter how close a camera can zoom in on the action, it still provides the worst seat in the house.

Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer Wallow in Aptly Titled ‘Beastly’

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

CHICAGO – The main problem with “Beastly,” a modern high schooler retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” is that the outcome is known (Beast will learn lessons, become handsome again). That leaves only the way it gets to that end for creating story. This film cannot find its way.

‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ Tastes Right For All Generations

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

CHICAGO – Proving that you should never judge an animated film by its cover or its typically predictable brethren, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is a very funny comedy with one of the best voice casts in years, an enjoyable visual aesthetic, and even a heartwarming message that doesn’t come off over-cooked.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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