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Steve Coogan

‘Despicable Me 3’ Reemerges as Despicably Dull

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

CHICAGO – This is it. The point where Gru and his Minions went from mildly irritating to excruciating. The series will undoubtedly entertain the children it’s intended for, my twins probably would have liked it if they had been able to come. But pity the poor parents who have to sit through another film full of Minion fart noises… which seems to last for roughly three whole days.

Life Reveals Itself Through Courses in ‘The Dinner’

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

CHICAGO – There is a peculiar and particular morality in the maneuverings of “The Dinner,” a multi-course meditation on how a tragic incident can split both opinion and family. Everything in the present situation has a below-the-surface past that festers like an unhealed wound, constantly causing pain.

‘The Secret Life of Pets’ Neuters Promising Cast

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

CHICAGO – A promising voice cast of comedy greats is effectively neutered in the blasé animated family film “The Secret Life Of Pets.” It doesn’t have the multi-layered story of the best Pixar movies – or even the “Despicable Me” films – to satisfy both kids and grownups. The bigger it tries to be, the more exhausted it seems.

Nothing of Substance in Cute, Fluffy ‘Minions’

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

CHICAGO – They’re cute, they talk like babies, and they already have “brand recognition.” In what feels like a product exercise rather than a movie, “Minions” extends its story from the dawn of time to 1968. Did we need that much back story? The voices of Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm star.

British Import ‘Alan Partridge’ With Steve Coogan is Just Plain Silly

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

CHICAGO – Before earning Oscar nom validation for his “Philomena” screenplay last year, British comedian Steve Coogan led a separate life as Alan Partridge, a dopey media personality who symbolized the danger of empowering clowns like him with a microphone, whether on a news program, a late night show, or in a radio booth.

Life’s Other Plans at Full Disclosure in ‘Philomena’

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

CHICAGO – Although “Philomena” sounds like a faraway land, it actually is a name of a real Irish lady, who lost her son through a Catholic adoption service that was designed to hide her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Judi Dench portrays the title character as an older woman, with Steve Coogan as the reporter trying to help locate the son for her.

Same Formula in Weak Sequel ‘Despicable Me 2’

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

CHICAGO – Oh those wacky Minions. We just never know what those little yellow guys in “Despicable Me 2” will do, because they simply DO EVERYTHING! They sing, fart, burp, perform parodies and handle hazardous materials. More than comic relief, they are all-purpose story coverage.

Sins of Modern Parenting Are ‘What Maisie Knew’

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

CHICAGO – When mixing parenting responsibility, the separation of those parents and a legal system that cannot address the farce of human retaliation, the results become “What Maisie Knew.” Julianne Moore portrays a rock star, and the mother to the title character.

Zoe Kazan Illuminates Fascinating Fable of ‘Ruby Sparks’

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

CHICAGO – Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris return to the spotlight this week with their first film since the award-winning “Little Miss Sunshine” and they completely defy the sophomore slump, delivering a smart, fascinating, fun gem in the spectacular “Ruby Sparks.” Buoyed by one of the best screenplays of the year courtesy of one of our most interesting young actresses, “Ruby Sparks” is a clever romantic fantasy that works on nearly every level.

Paul Rudd Makes a Difference as ‘Our Idiot Brother’

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

CHICAGO – Advertised deceptively as a comedy, the new film “My Idiot Brother” has a Zen-like quality that is surprising, and oddly captivating, but cannot sustain itself and eventually runs out of steam. Paul Rudd plays the brother to three errant sisters, portrayed by Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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