HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

‘BlackKkKlansman’ is a Spike Lee Joint That Burns

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

CHICAGO – Director Spike Lee has hit the motherlode in good timing of the kind that says “Everything Old is New Again.” His overview in the true story of a black man that went undercover within the Klu Klux Klan in the 1970s nicely mirrors our current president’s divisiveness in the incendiary “BlacKkKlansman.”

‘Generation Wealth’ Tells Us What We Already Know

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

CHICAGO – When it comes to really being rich, what do we already know? Money doesn’t buy happiness. Family and friendship connections are more important than accumulation. Yet those simple lessons keep being broken up by the excess of more, the values of which are in the documentary “Generation Wealth.”

‘Christopher Robin’ is a Story That Should Have Remained Untold

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

CHICAGO – Yeesh. Who woulda thunk that the fine people at Walt Disney Studios would throw the “legend” of Winnie-the-Pooh into a live action “sequel,” with absolutely no life… including the computer generated dead-eyed stuffed machinations of the famous animals. Yet, here we are with “Christopher Robin,” featuring Ewan McGregor in the title role.

‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ Didn’t Need the Spy Part

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

CHICAGO – It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a film completely stolen by a supporting character, but Kate McKinnon in “The Spy Who Dumped Me” managed to do just that… which was fortunate because the “spy” part of the story is a seen-it-before kill and gun fest that felt like the first draft of a James Bond knock-off.

Fun and Uproarious ‘Teen Titans Go! To the Movies’

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

CHICAGO – If a good laugh is golden, then “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is worth its weight. Although the meta-make-fun of superhero movies have already been done almost to death (Deadpool?), the Titans have been doing it on the Cartoon Network since 2013, and take it to a new level in their movie adventure.

Tom Cruise Outruns Time in ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout'

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

CHICAGO – By any reasonable account, Tom Cruise should be entering into a phase in the “Mission Impossible” series not unlike the latter James Bond films of Roger Moore… appearing in closeups and letting the stuntmen do the rest. However, Cruise continues to outrun the ravages of time, and his stunts only seem to get crazier in the sixth film, “Mission Impossible: Fallout.”

The Artist’s Obsession in ‘Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti’

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

CHICAGO – The art masters, and the masterpieces they have created, become a background culture in our lives… even if we don’t necessarily know the artist. Paul Gauguin is one of those painters-as-cultural-influencer, and a vital point in his artistic life is told in the film “Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti.”

Awkward & Difficult is Played Out in ‘Eighth Grade’

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

CHICAGO – We’ve all been there. Depending on what school structure you lived through, everyone had issues in “Eighth Grade.” Writer/director Bo Burnham puts those universal issues in a modern context (social media, online video), and portrays them through a girl struggling to belong while navigating the choppy waters of adolescence. It’s difficult, awkward and representative.

Director Eugene Jarecki Crowns Elvis Presley ‘The King’

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

CHICAGO – Elvis Presley, besides being one of the most famous entertainers of the 20th Century, does symbolize to an extent what can happen to icons when they turn towards certain directions in a career. Director Eugene Jarecki has created an amazing documentary about Elvis called “The King,” that uses his rise and decline as a symbol for the American Dream.

The Tumbling Delicacy of Life in ‘Blindspotting’

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

CHICAGO – How can we understand the day-to-day factors of men and women who continued to be judged by their skin color, economic circumstances, difficult jobs or gender fluidity, if we are not any of those categories? Our art can help us, as given a great example in the new film “Blindspotting.”

‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ is a Bubbly Musical

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

CHICAGO – I give in. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” the sequel to the much derided “Mamma Mia,” is a bubbly, frothy here-come-the-good-times musical that fits summer like a glove. The flashback format will also answer all the burning questions that were left unanswered from the first film, and the cast includes Cher!

Excess & Dwayne Johnson is How ‘Skyscraper’ Works

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

CHICAGO – The Dwayne Johnson formula is what it is, as it seems for about three to five films a year. A disaster strikes, but the Johnson character has loved ones among the victims, and in his background (military, police, mercenary) there is enough expertise to rescue them. “Skyscraper” is the latest.

Pungent & Trippy Satire in ‘Sorry to Bother You’

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

CHICAGO – If the film “Get Out” was a shot across the bow in satirizing black and white skin relationships, then “Sorry to Bother You” is a freaking Tomahawk missile. It’s about the time, the space and the state of the human race, which comes to a crescendo of wild and untamed proportions.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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