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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

Bottom Line is ‘Blockers’ Has Some Decent Laughs

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

CHICAGO – Comedy is purely subjective, and the new film ‘Blockers’ sets out to prove it, by expectorating joke after joke in all categories of sophistication. Physical pratfalls, witty asides, gross-out, sex, nudity, drugs, surrealism and more are all on the humor buffet, so pick, choose and laugh, as they pile it on.

‘A Quiet Place’ Will Make You Wish You Had a Quiet Place to Hide

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

CHICAGO - Terror and fear take several forms. Sometimes it’s something as simple as spiders or snakes or even an incompetent president. Other times it can take the form of natural states, like darkness. Horror films channel our fears, but the great ones give us something new to fear. “A Quiet Place” lures us in with the safety of silence, only to reveal the monsters hiding within.

Armie Hammer Sits for Geoffrey Rush in ‘Final Portrait’

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

CHICAGO – Paris in the 1960s seems to be a place where anything was possible. “Final Portrait” is an indication of this, as Armie Hammer portrays a Mad Men style American critic (what!) in 1964, who sits for a portrait painting by eccentric artist Alberto Giacometti, portrayed with relish by Geoffrey Rush.

For Better or Worse, ‘Ready Player One’ is Nostalgia at its Purest

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

CHICAGO – Just in time for Easter, there’s a film filled with enough Easter eggs to drown a small country. “Ready Player One” is a “Where’s Waldo” of mostly 80’s pop culture references that are meant to trigger our (and especially filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s) sentimental, nostalgic cores by bombarding us with reminders of our childhood. These trips down memory lane are fun until they’re not.

‘Leaning Into the Wind - Andy Goldsworthy’ Profiles the Artist and His Muse

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

CHICAGO – The British artist Andy Goldsworthy is a true “outsider” artist, because many of his works are rooted in the grown-and-death cycles of the great outdoors. He is described as a sculptor, photographer and environmentalist, but many of his art creations use materials available in any wooded area, based on a connection to nature combined with a creative soul. This is profiled in the second film about him from the same director, “Leaning Into the Wind - Andy Goldsworthy.”

Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’ is Inventive Delight

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

CHICAGO – Fans of director Wes Anderson will find plenty to love in his second stop motion animated feature (after “Fantastic Mr. Fox”), entitled “Isle Of Dogs.” It’s an immersive and intricately detailed story set in Japan, and features a dizzying array of visual gags, along with Anderson’s trademark whimsy.

More Action, Less Enjoyment in ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’

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

CHICAGO – The giant robot film genre is in trouble. It wasn’t enough that “Transformers” has ground it to dust, but now the “Pacific Rim” sequel is going the same direction. There is action-a-plenty in the followup to Guillermo Del Toro’s fun and light first film, that lightness is missing in “Pacific Rim Uprising.”

Chaos of Power in Hilarious ‘The Death of Stalin’

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

CHICAGO – If you want a film to take your mind off the current American power structure, that at the same time provides some truth to the situation, you won’t do better than “The Death of Stalin.” A monster comedic cast – including Steve Buscemi and Jeffrey Tambor – is assembled for this hilarious farce.

‘Love, Simon’ is a Palatable Queer Film Entry That Leaves Us Wanting

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

CHICAGO – Anyone who has ever held a big secret knows that the weight of it is usually worse than the secret itself. The only thing worse than that is when the secret you’re holding back is your true self. “Love, Simon” explores the all-too-familiar, high school coming of age story, but with the added complication of coming to terms with your sexuality and identity.

‘7 Days in Entebbe’ is Surprisingly Effective

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

CHICAGO – What would you expect from an event subject that has been already rendered four times on film, and deals with terrorism, hijacking and government negotiation? “7 Days in Entebbe” contained all of this, and yet still maintained a separate energy and cinematic artistry. In many ways, it’s one of the most surprising films of the young year.

Alicia Vikander Has a Case of the Runs in ‘Tomb Raider’

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

CHICAGO – Movies based on video games are almost never good… even the best ones only ascend to the level of “barely watchable.” By that measure, “Tomb Raider” can be considered a modest success since it didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out. I have to confess I never saw either of the first two films with Angelina Jolie, but after watching this I’m not actually clamoring at the bit to catch up.

Helen Mirren Takes Another Ride in ‘The Leisure Seeker’

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

CHICAGO – Helen Mirren keeps establishing herself as an international treasure with each new role. She is the prime motivator in the new film “The Leisure Seeker,” about a retired couple taking one last spin in their RV, which takes its nickname from the title of the film. Along the way secrets are revealed and the devastation of dementia is exposed, but the story never gets too serious or heavy handed.

‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Can’t Smooth Its Bizarre Fabric

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

CHICAGO – Although I am an admirer of Oprah Winfrey, it’s unfortunate that the best way to describe “A Wrinkle in Time” – with her role as goddess problem solver – is Worst. Episode. of. Oprah. Ever. The film, based on a novel from 1962, caves into effects over cohesiveness or story.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • ThroatPunch

    CHICAGO – The provocative title of Sharon Krome’s new stage play, “ThroatPunch,” does not contain that particular fight technique. But it does have standout performances by the three person cast, as they make their way in Chicago, circa 1983, amid their emerging twentysomething punk rock attitude. The World Premiere of the show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through June 3rd, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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