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Winona Ryder

Dull ‘Homefront’ Can’t Get Action into an Action Movie

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

CHICAGO – Sylvester Stallone is a difficult man to comprehend, unless if doing a thesis on male menopause. The one time screenwriter of gritty soul pictures like “Rocky,” “Paradise Alley” and “First Blood” is spending his later years pumping out undistinguished boom-boom pictures like “Homefront.”

Great Michael Shannon Performance Can’t Thaw ‘The Iceman’

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

CHICAGO – Another great Michael Shannon performance should come as no surprise as everything he touches lately seems to be interesting, from “Take Shelter” to “Boardwalk Empire” to letters written by batshit crazy sorority girls. However, his increasingly impressive ability can’t save “The Iceman,” a misguided, clichéd hitman flick that careens tonally and doesn’t really justify its existence. It doesn’t work as thriller or as drama, serving as little more than a performance piece for its talented star.

‘Frankenweenie’ is Visually Rich, But Lacks Monstrosity

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

CHICAGO – The immersion that is possible in modern animated films is so rich now that it is practically reality. “Frankenweenie,” the newest puppetry-style film from director Tim Burton, is heroically painted onto the screen’s canvas, but the limp retelling of the Frankenstein movie myth doesn’t live up to the visual tone.

Vince Vaughn, Kevin James Seek Trust in Uneven ‘The Dilemma’

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

CHICAGO – In many ways, “The Dilemma” is director Ron Howard’s most daring film. Leaving behind the usual brightly lit, good/evil morality tales, Howard weaves a narrative basket filled with infidelity, gambling addiction, blackmail and mistrust. This is Opie on the dark side, with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James along for the journey.

Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Darren Aronofsky Stage Mesmerizing ‘Black Swan’

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

CHICAGO – Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” pulses with the kind of energy and life that we only see from cinema a few times a year. With creative expression rarely seen in American film and one of the best performances by an actress that you will ever see, “Black Swan” is a film that resonates for hours and even days after you see it. You won’t easily shake this masterpiece. And you won’t want to.

Pure Summer Entertainment Lives on in J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek’

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

CHICAGO – It will be a stunning surprise if the summer of 2009 produces another slice of movie entertainment as satisfying and well-made as J.J. Abrams rollicking “Star Trek” reboot, a film that not only delivers on high expectations but shatters them by clicking on every single level.

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  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 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.

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