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Nicole Kidman

Sprightly Bear Tale ‘Paddington’ is Good Fun

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

CHICAGO – It may prove hard to recall an era of talking creatures in live-action movies before the napalm hellfire of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” or “The Smurfs.” But, lest we forget, “Babe” has more Academy Awards than “The Master.” Arriving at the coy and wise time of the film year where expectations are either golden or underneath the barrel, talking bear Paddington arrives stateside as a well-behaved throwback to brighter days for a simple genre, with an efficient sense of humor and a few globs of vision, too.

‘Before I Go to Sleep’ Not Worth Remembering

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

CHICAGO – “Before I Go To Sleep” is a lobotomized amnesiac thriller that sure hopes its audience can’t remember “Memento.” It presents its promising concept as a slow, poorly paced potboiler that is packed with unpleasantness.

Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman on Track in ‘The Railway Man’

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

CHICAGO – One of the hidden implications of World War II was the suffering of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) from the millions of soldiers who survived the horrors of that war. The difficulties associated with PTSD are communicated with honor by Colin Firth in “The Railway Man”

Thought-Illuminating, Mind-Blowing ‘Under the Skin’

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

CHICAGO – Imagine a stranger taking a journey around the landscape of their destiny. That only begins to describe the audacity and power of director Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin.” Scarlett Johansson creates a character of undeniable mystery and truth, a stranger in a strange land.

Mia Wasikowska Finds Trippy Mystery in ‘Stoker’

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

CHICAGO – There is cause and effect in life, and there are times when random acts of circumstance rinses it all away. Those emotions are realized in the strange yet compelling composition of the new film “Stoker,” featuring Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode.

Nicole Kidman is Unique in Fluttery ‘The Paperboy’

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

CHICAGO – With all the steamy heat, and the thick, gluey southern accents from mostly non-southern actors, the audience for “The Paperboy” might need to wear lawyer-like suspenders and flap a funeral home fan to take it all in. The sweaty new film features Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey and John Cusack, all chewing the scenery.

Horrendous ‘Trespass’ With Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman

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

CHICAGO – Joel Schumacher’s “Trespass” represents a new low for the often divisive and (lately) horrendous director of such gems as “The Number 23,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Bad Company,” “8MM,” “Batman & Robin,” and “Batman Forever.” The film is getting a very-brief theatrical release before essentially going straight-to-DVD, leading a few industry watchers to question if perhaps one of the stars had it in his or her contract that the film had to run in movie houses. Unless you have a similar contract requiring you see it, avoid at all costs.

Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston Hit Career Lows in ‘Just Go With It’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.5/5.0
Rating: 0.5/5.0

CHICAGO – If you have a masochistic desire to see unlikable morons on a vacation you probably can’t afford, check out one of the worst movies in a long time, Adam Sandler’s horrendous “Just Go With It.” This is the kind of unmitigated disaster that had a group of critics trying to determine if it was Sandler’s worst film EVER. So, imagine your least favorite Sandler joint (may I suggest “Little Nicky” or “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”) and know that this one is arguably even more unbearable.

Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart Avoid Melodrama in Moving ‘Rabbit Hole’

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

CHICAGO – John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole” tells a story not uncommon to cinema in its exploration of the emotional minefield that comes after the loss of a child but it does so with such restraint and humanity that it sets itself apart. With some of the best performances of the year from Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and Dianne Wiest, this is one of the strongest dramas of the awards season.

Star-Studded ‘Nine’ With Daniel Day-Lewis Delivers Grand Musical Spectacle

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

CHICAGO – Rob Marshall’s highly anticipated “Nine” isn’t quite the complete piece that it could have been, but its flaws are easy to overlook in favor of the spectacle of old-fashioned, pure entertainment. It is what so many musicals are remembered for being: a series of memorable moments, the toe-tapping sum of which makes a missed beat or two easier to overlook.

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  • Punk Punk

    CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


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