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Unfunny ‘Masterminds’ is a Complete Waste of Talent

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

CHICAGO – Tick…tick…tick. That is the sound of your life frittering away, if you choose to experience the 94 minutes, that feels like two weeks, for “Masterminds.” The film that has virtually no laughs – in categorizing itself as a comedy – and is an almost criminal waste of some decent comic talent.

Olivia Wilde Resurrects Horror in ‘The Lazarus Effect’

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

CHICAGO – Psychological horror films are the best tweaks, because they remind us of our fears, and where are fears are rooted. The strange combination of science, religion and a blockbuster performance by Olivia Wilde creates an atmosphere of dread and weirdness in “The Lazarus Effect.”

Story Choices Aside, Heart Matters in ‘Black or White’

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

CHICAGO – As race issues continue in the news, in the wake of Ferguson and “I Can’t Breathe,” the movies exhibit an extraordinary piece of timing with the new film “Black or White.” Oscar winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer participate in a story of family and healing.

‘Beyond the Lights’ Has a Respect for Storytelling

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

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Gina Prince-Bythewood, the creator of the cult favorite “Love & Basketball,” is back with another original story that she created, an intimate and romantic perspective on a singer on the path to nowhere, despite superstar-level fame. Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars as that singer in “Beyond the Lights.”

‘The Best of Me’ is the Worst of Formulaic Romance Novelist Nicholas Sparks

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

CHICAGO – What do you see in the compilation image below?

Yes, it’s nine films based on books by romance novelist Nicholas Sparks. But look more closely. “Message in a Bottle” opened his can of worms in 1999 and 2002’s “A Walk to Remember” could only say it was based on a best-selling novel.

‘The November Man’ a Stealthy Late-Summer Spy Thriller

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

CHICAGO – “The November Man” is better than its bland title and late August release date would suggest. It’s no gem, but it gets as far as it does almost solely on the strength of Pierce Brosnan’s breezy performance as an ex-CIA agent called back into duty for one last job.

Emotion of ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ in ‘Earth to Echo’

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

CHICAGO – Oh those meddling kids, they can’t keep their noses out of anything, and for one lost space alien that’s a good thing. “Earth to Echo” is a wonderfully mastered combination of “found footage” composition and a Spielbergian-style encounter with an extra-terrestrial.

Richly Complex ‘Oculus’ is Also Scary as Hell

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

CHICAGO – The effect of horror works in five basic ways. There’s the sense of Dislocation where the lead character suddenly loses bearing, becomes unsure of what where or even who they are. Next is Dread, which is the sense that something awful is coming.

Stereotypical ‘3 Days to Kill’ Tonally Uneven

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – As a director, Kevin Costner comes across as a patient guy who waits for the right material to come along. Considering the last movie he helmed is a little over ten years old (“Open Range”), one might also consider him picky too. As an actor, it feels like Costner woke up one recent morning and thought, “Hey, I should do a handful of movies in a row. I’m not getting any younger!”

‘The Family’ Whacks Obsession with Mafia Movies

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “The Godfather” saga, “Goodfellas,” “Donnie Brasco,” “The Departed” – the list of America’s obsessive adoration of organized crime and mafia movies goes on and on. Finally, one film comes along to virtually kill the genre, the almost-unwatchable “The Family.”

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