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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

Skater Boy Culture Takes Center Stage in Cult Director Van Sant’s ‘Paranoid Park’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – For “Paranoid Park,” cult director Gus Van Sant returns to high school, which is the setting of his previous chilling look into the Columbine incident in 2003’s “Elephant”. Though not as successful as “Elephant,” “Paranoid Park” evokes a dream-like meditation on the trials and extreme tribulations of a skateboarding teenage boy trying to find his way.

With Surreal Madness, Strange Boys Play ‘Funny Games’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – Imagine a film with no redeeming or uplifting emotional qualities with evil that tortures the soul, squirm-inducing narrative elements and a relentless anxiety that practically has us – like the characters in the film – screaming for mercy. Imagine also that this film is excellent.

‘Sleepwalking’ Has Exactly That Potential Effect on Moviegoers

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.5/5CHICAGO – When done improperly, there’s nothing more embarrassing than actors playing against their type or social class. There is a subtlety to channeling the lower middle or the working class beyond dressing down or developing a bad hairstyle. “Sleepwalking” is the type of film that gets it wrong and just gets worse as it tries harder.

Dr. Seuss’ ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ Heard Loudly Into Instant Children’s Classic

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – One of Dr. Seuss’ most famous storybooks has finally been granted life with its self-titled animated feature “Horton Hears a Who!,” which involves a morally righteous elephant, philosophical timbre and Dr. Seuss’ ingenious lyrical rhymes.

Filled With Political Blackmail, ‘The Bank Job’ Pays Dividends

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – Done properly, the classic heist or caper film is a welcomed genre of suspense-filled locations, stereotyped experts and the big cash payoff. Based in speculative part on the true story of a robbery in a vital London safety deposit vault, “The Bank Job” adds the spice of political intrigue as an underlying factor to the actual crime.

‘Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day’ as Rare as Boobs Without Silicone in Hollywood

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – Character comedies that actually have some depth and fun are as rare as boobs without silicone in Hollywood. “Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day” reaches these heights with a sensibility of an old studio picture with stylized glamour, lovable rogues and at the center the great Frances McDormand as the title character taking a chance in 24 sparkling and event-filled hours.

Despite Potty Humor, ‘CJ7’ Crosses Into Cliché to Reveal Alien Lassie

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5CHICAGO – Stephen Chow, who directed “Shaolin Soccer” and “Kung Fu Hustle,” brings us his latest eccentricity in the form of the kid-oriented film “CJ7”. Slapstick antics, sarcastic humor and excessively absurd characters are simply a few of Chow’s cinematic trademarks and “CJ7” is no exception to his design.

Oscar-Winning ‘The Counterfeiters’ a Bravely Told Gem From Depths of Nazi Germany

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – “The Counterfeiters” is a historical gem bravely told from the depths of Nazi Germany. An opening scene of a dismal sea sets the tone of Stefan Ruzowitzky’s historical jewel with a sense of despair that raises curiosity to the physical level.

Academy Award-Nominated ‘City of God’ Spawns Evocative Brazilian Slum Film ‘City of Men’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – The plight of the people in the hard-hitting Brazilian film “City of Men” is akin with its plight to make you aware it even exists. This can be said about many great films that’ll touch you and leave you better than you were before despite not having the luxury of omnipresent advertising.

Gondry’s Cinematic Breakthrough ‘Be Kind Rewind’ Proves Again He’s an Artistic Goliath

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – Michel Gondry’s latest cinematic breakthrough “Be Kind Rewind” grants passage into his magical imagination and proves yet again he’s one of today’s artistic giants.

‘The Signal’ Sports Plenty of Style, Little Substance in Sci-Fi Twist on Torture Porn

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5CHICAGO – In the last several years, the horror genre has become hot because of its return on investment. The strategy is to market the hell out of the scare factor, get a good opening weekend (which usually takes care of the filming costs several times over) and make sure the blood spatters well. There is no need for pricey star power because the “star” is always the quality kills.

Horror Master George A. Romero Reveals Veteran Zombie Lock in ‘Diary of the Dead’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – Master horror filmmaker George A. Romero is back for the fifth installment of his “Dead” series as what began with 1968’s “Night of the Living Dead” has fast-forwarded to “Diary of the Dead”. This time, Romero takes on the modern soul deadening of staring at screens and includes the constant navel gazing of videotaping, computers and the instant playback that has become our lives.

Despite Offering Tantalizing Possibilities, ‘Jumper’ Weakened By Formulaic Clichés

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3/5CHICAGO – As a distinct premise, “Jumper” offers tantalizing possibilities. The ability to transport yourself from one location to another with simple mind control is a cool rule of the world. While the film speaks to some of the far-reaching potential of the power, it also follows story formulas that weaken it.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Cherilyn Sarkisian… yes, that is her birth name… is the redoubtable Cher, and it’s perfect timing for her to have a jukebox musical tribute. “The Cher Show,” covering three eras/songs of the six-decade career of Cher, opens for a Chicago preview before its Broadway run, from June 12th through July 25th, 2018.

  • 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.

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