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Eyegasmic ‘Oblivion’ With Tom Cruise Wins Your Optics, But Loses Your Brain

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

CHICAGO – “Oblivion” is a Pyrrhic victory that wins its battle, but loses the overall war. While this is the kind of visual production value you’d expect on a $120 million budget, an ostentatious steak dinner in the special effects department never makes up for a story that tastes more like cheap ramen noodles.

Werner Herzog Towers Over Miscast ‘Jack Reacher’ Star Tom Cruise in Five Mere Scenes

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

CHICAGO – While normally I’d never think the date I screened a film was newsworthy, being subjected to “Jack Reacher” on Dec. 13, 2012 turned out to put even a therapist into therapy. The very next day, well, just two words: Sandy Hook.

Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough Have Fun in ‘Rock of Ages’

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

CHICAGO – Although the jukebox musical needs an available pasture to be put out onto, the new film “Rock of Ages” – based on the Broadway stage play – improves on that genre by having a little fun and lots of tongue-in-cheek. Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand rock the cashbox.

‘Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ Rocks Your Holiday

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

CHICAGO – Brad Bird proves that he can make the leap from Pixar to action with one of the best genre films of the year, the adrenalized “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.” Proving there is a way to make a big budget franchise installment that feels vibrant, alive, and like more than just a pathetic retread of what has come before (unlike this year’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Sherlock Holmes” entries), “Ghost Protocol” delivers with breakneck pace and stellar action choreography. This movie wastes little time – it’s a lean, mean, action machine.

Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz Meet Cute in High-Octane ‘Knight and Day’

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

CHICAGO – Whenever there is a audacious and entertaining action thriller like “Knight and Day,” how do the characters stay so calm? Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise are shot at, nearly blown up, asked to drive and leap around like lunatics, yet remain perfectly white-toothed calm. A normal human reaction would be ‘Oh my gaaaaaaaaaawd!”

Bryan Singer’s ‘Valkyrie’ With Tom Cruise Mistakes Morose For Intense

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

CHICAGO – Tom Cruise can be a powerfully vibrant actor in the right material but he’s horrendously miscast in Bryan Singer’s “Valkyrie,” a decision amplified by poor direction that drains this true story of an assassination attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler of its inherent power.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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