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Woody Harrelson

Great Cast Can’t Find Truth in False Plotting of ‘Out of the Furnace’

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

One overriding thought dominated my time with Scott Cooper’s stunningly disappointing “Out of the Furnace” – I just don’t care. When I wasn’t picking apart the gigantic plot holes in the narrative, I was marveling at the overheated characters who have been crafted from cliché instead of the real world.

Entertaining, Complex ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

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

CHICAGO – Second acts to incredibly popular and entertaining mainstream fare can be a tough prospect. For every “The Dark Knight,” there are too many films like “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” – works that essentially just repeat what audiences fell in love with instead of trying to expand on the world of their predecessors.

Story of ‘Now You See Me’ a Bit Misdirected

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

CHICAGO – Boasting a big star ensemble cast, and themes of magical realism and misdirection, “Now You See Me” is an overdone, too-clever-for-its-own-good fantasy with some entertaining tricks. Jesse Eisenberg and Isla Fisher join veterans Woody Harrelson and Morgan Freeman in the magic mix.

Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell in Fun ‘Seven Psychopaths’

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

CHICAGO – Is there room for vengeance if you believe in Heaven and Hell? How do we suppress our need for moral and even physical justice if we believe that violence leads to damnation? Is there a chance to…oh, never mind. Let’s just blow someone’s brains out. That’s essentially how “Seven Psychopaths,” the clever new action comedy from Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”) works in that it has a number of interesting ideas that aren’t fully developed even if the movie is fun enough to be considered a sin.

Jennifer Lawrence in ‘The Hunger Games’ Delivers for Fans

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

CHICAGO – What is remarkable about the book phenomenon known as “The Hunger Games” is how rich, literary and symbolic the series is, considering they are for a “young adult” audience. Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson and Josh Hutcherson bring the characters to life.

Spectacular ‘The Hunger Games’ Lives Up to High Expectations

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

CHICAGO – Gary Ross’ “The Hunger Games” is a spectacular piece of blockbuster entertainment, a movie that should connect across all demographics from those who have never heard of the book to those who have shrines to Katniss and Peeta in their closets. It is more than mere Hollywood adaptation, it is a work of art on multiple levels with fantastic technical elements and some of the best performances in a work of science fiction in years.

Sirens Flash Red For Woody Harrelson in ‘Rampart’

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

CHICAGO – The “thin blue line” is a police term. It represents the designation between the protection the police provides and the anarchy that is on the other side of that protection. The cop that Woody Harrelson portrays in “Rampart” crosses that line repeatably, formulating his own retribution.

Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake Try ‘Friends With Benefits’

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

CHICAGO – It seems that carnal canoodling without strings attached seems all the rage in romantic comedies these days. The twentysomething set, having seen their share of divorces and break-ups, prefer the Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis method in “Friends with Benefits.”

Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg Deliver Action, Laughs With Great ‘Zombieland’

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

CHICAGO – The horror/comedy “Zombieland” is one of the few 2009 films to honestly deserve the overused phrase “thrill ride.” From the opening shots to the best post-credits tag in years, “Zombieland” attempts nothing but pure fun and completely delivers.

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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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