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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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  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

  • reno 911 front.png

    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.

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