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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was Destined to Celebrate Queen

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

CHICAGO – The lyric “And now it’s ‘Easy Come/Easy Go/Little High//Luttle Low” from the song/movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” might just be the best description of this rock band biopic. The high is the celebration of the band Queen and its unforgettable lead singer Freddie Mercury, and it is enough to get through the story “lows.”

Growing Up Fast in the Skateboard Life of ‘Mid90s’

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

CHICAGO – Character actor Jonah Hill has just scored behind the camera. As writer/director of a authentic look back at the “Mid90s” he went back to his inner source of growing up in that 1990s time, skateboarding with his buds and experiencing the teenage life. The story never blinks, as the teens are authentic and the situations they get in even more so.

Sub Movie ‘Hunter Killer’ is Absurd and Entertaining

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

CHICAGO – The United States military as superheroes has never gotten a better workout than in “Hunter Killer,” the title that sounds like a Halloween-themed movie, but it’s a style of submarine that seeks to adjust our geo-political balance. Gerard Butler is the commander hoping to prevent World War 3.

Rebooted ‘Halloween’ Sequel Offers Nothing New in 2018

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

CHICAGO – At this point, the “Halloween” franchise is looking as tattered and tired as Michael Myers old William Shatner mask… fraying around the edges and on the verge of falling apart. The 2018 “reboot” sequel brings back former scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, along with original Michael Myers, Nick Castle.

'First Man' is Reverential to Moon Landing Mission

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

CHICAGO – There were several “firsts” for humankind in our civilization and technology breakthroughs, but until 1969 no person had even stepped on a planetary surface other than on earth. Neil Armstrong was that man, and he is portrayed by Ryan Gosling in a respectful overview of that Apollo 11 mission in “First Man.”

Spreading Comic Book Fatigue to Everyone, ‘Venom’ Poisons the Well

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

CHICAGO – I was one of the last sentinels; a conscientious objector in the war against comic book films. The handful of these that come out yearly had yet to weigh heavy on my film soul, especially when so many of the newer ones creating unique experiences, like “Deadpool” and “Thor: Ragnarok”. Even DC films, in all their failure, are products of their time. “Venom” changed all that.

Lady Gaga Characterizes the Title ‘A Star is Born’

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

CHICAGO – Stefani Joanne Angelina Gemanotta, also known as Lady Gaga, is the only reason to see the latest iteration of ‘A Star is Born.’ The luminous stage presence that propelled her to music superstardom is present in her major film debut, taking the female lead reins from Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand.

Gilda Radner Becomes Live Again in ‘Love, Gilda’

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

CHICAGO – It’s always something, as the great Gilda Radner often said (through her character Roseanne Roseannadanna), and the documentary “Love, Gilda” is about all her somethings… her childhood, the early comedy days, the rise through “Saturday Night Live” and her succumbing to the dread disease of cancer. She had it all, did it all, but as always “it” could not save her, and eventually us.

Keira Knightley is Ahead of Her Times as ‘Colette’

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

CHICAGO – The maturation of Keira Knightley… from ‘Bend it Like Beckham” to “Pride and Prejudice” to the current “Colette,” has had the actor delivering an evolving depth and purpose to her roles. The latest is a fantastic overview of an ahead-of-her-time French novelist, as the rest of society tried to catch up.

‘Night School’ Can’t Get to a Passing Grade

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

CHICAGO – “Night School” is the latest undistinguished product to come off the Kevin Hart assembly line. If you’re a fan of Hart’s motormouthed and hyperactive small time schtick, you’ll find that this will just barely passed the test. But if you’re not, this movie won’t change anyone’s mind.

Fate of a Nation is Contemplated in ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’

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

CHICAGO – You might think that “Fahrenheit 11/9,” the latest advocate documentary from provocateur Michael Moore, is all about Donald Trump and his diffident administration. But that’s not the whole thing, which is the strength of the film. Moore goes back to hometown Flint, Michigan, and other places in the USA, which exposes the symptoms rather than the Trump disease.

‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’ is Movie Magic

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

CHICAGO – “The House With The Clock In Its Walls” is a surprisingly restrained and endearing haunted house pic for kids just getting rid of their training wheels. It’s all a spooky atmosphere with cobwebs galore, creaking doors, a stained glass window which changes on its own, and a library of books which at times resemble the avifauna predators from the Hitchcock classic “The Birds.”

Entertaining ‘A Simple Favor’ Can’t Maintain Its Mojo

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

CHICAGO – As the secrets are revealed in “A Simple Favor,” filtered through the witty and entertaining directorial style of Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”), the story moves with charm and energy for three-quarters of its running time. But as the mystery gets solved, the conclusion doesn’t live up to the promising beginning.

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  • Stephanie Buxbaum

    CHICAGO – In the history of “Reality TV” there has been periods of up-and-down popularity, shows that have been around seemingly forever (“Big Brother,” “Amazing Race”) and spinoffs to new styles like “documentary series” as networks like the National Geographic Channel emerged. In all those permutations, producer Stephanie Buxbaum has experienced it all, and has the career and stories to prove it.

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

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