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Vera Farmiga

‘At Middleton’ Never Reaches Its Star Power Potential

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

CHICAGO – Since the world has been clamoring for a film about high school seniors touring a liberal arts college, “At Middleton” fills the bill, and throws in a symbolic midlife liaison between characters portrayed by Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga, tripping across their own “life campus.”

Effective ‘The Conjuring’ Captures the Sum of All Fears

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

CHICAGO – True scary movies have a couple of things going for them – the source of the scare and the psychology of the scare. The source provides the “boo,” the audience provides the interactive psychology. “The Conjuring” is a true scary movie.

Denzel Washington Lives in Boring ‘Safe House’

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

CHICAGO – “Safe House” is so overly familiar that you not only will think that you’ve seen it before and know exactly where it’s going before it gets there, but you will also barely remember having seen it once it’s over. It’s cinematic fast food – relatively streamlined but also not difficult to make for anyone involved, generally bad for you, and totally forgettable. It’s all so, well, “Safe.”

Vera Farmiga Wrestles Religion in ‘Higher Ground’

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

CHICAGO – The subject of religion in America is rarely portrayed honestly in the movies, with its power to both inspire or offend. Vera Farmiga makes her directorial debut and plays the lead character in the religious-themed “Higher Ground.”

Keanu Reeves Sleepwalks Through ‘Henry’s Crime’

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

CHICAGO – Keanu Reeves is the sort of actor who succeeds in spite of himself. His best work remains in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when he specialized in playing hazy-brained man-children, the best of which may have been Tod Higgins, the goofy race car driver in Ron Howard’s timeless 1989 comedy, “Parenthood.” Reeves transcended the silliness of his character with a performance of disarming warmth.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan Star in Thrilling ‘Source Code’

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

CHICAGO – Duncan Jones announced his arrival on the sci-fi scene with such authority with the excellent “Moon” that genre fans were naturally concerned about a sophomore slump. Worry no more. “Source Code” may first feel like a more traditional thriller but it’s clearly cut from the same cloth as “Moon” in that it takes the impossible and makes it human, even spiritual. Like the best sci-fi, “Source Code” is both entertaining and thought-provoking. It’s a great slice of entertainment that you’ll want to relive as soon as it’s done playing.

Oscar-Worthy ‘Up in the Air’ Gels With Shrewd Script, Fresh Faces, Unpredicted Realism

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

CHICAGO – Director Jason Reitman is becoming like a fine wine. He’s maturing with age, tasting newer with each sip and leaving an aftertaste that makes you think you’ll savor what’s next.

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  • Bad Words

    Looming over “Bad Words” is the potential it could have had, as is, were it released ten years ago. With its focus of R-rated behavior poking at the projected innocence of children, along with the couple of chromosomes that keep Bateman’s Trilby from being a Vince Vaughn character, this movie is certainly a product of the comedies that have sculpted out the manchild story in the past decade.

  • Winter's Tale

    The theatrical poster for “Winter’s Tale,” after promising that “It’s not a true story, it’s a love story,” made a large demand from its viewers at the bottom: “This Valentine’s Day, Believe In Miracles.” While there is indeed a difference between filmmaking and marketing, it is hard to not imagine writer/director Akiva Goldsman whispering “believe in miracles” into the ear of every executive who helped “Winter’s Tale” come to life, immediately after throwing glitter on them.

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