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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

Magic & Creativity is Formula for ‘Dave Made a Maze’

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

CHICAGO – When the magnificently creative film “Dave Made a Maze” begins, it seems like another Millennial generation stab at micro budget filmmaking, with a claustrophobic set and extreme archetypes instead of characters. But then the “exploration” of the title maze starts, and suddenly “Dave” becomes a marvel of invention, tribute, hilarity and even truth.

Un-Buddy-Like Violence in ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’

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

CHICAGO – One day I would like to meet a professional assassin. Are they as quippy and biblical as Samuel L. Jackson? This tired movie occupation is trotted out again, this time pairing Jackson with Ryan Reynolds, in an overwrought and ultra-violent buddy comedy, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.”

Individualism in ‘Menashe’ Challenges the Tribe

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

CHICAGO – We all belong to something, be it a family, workplace, congregation or (expansively) a tribe. But within all that belonging is a sometimes nagging feeling of being an outsider. There is not a human being in existence that hasn’t felt that way, and a new film expresses that feeling in “Menashe.”

Story in ‘Wind River’ Gets Scattered in the Breeze

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

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Taylor Sheridan is a deep thinker regarding humanity in these United States. In the third film of his “American Frontier Trilogy” – after “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” – he goes to the Wyoming Native American reservation, for a unwieldy story titled “Wind River.”

‘The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature’ is in the No-Fun Zone

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

CHICAGO – Anyone showing up to the “The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature” will know exactly what they’re going to get… it’s a late summer sequel to an animated movie you may be surprised was successful enough to warrant a sequel at all, much less a theatrically released one.

HollywoodChicago.com ESP, En Español: ‘The Dark Tower' y 'Wind River'

CHICAGO – Cada semana, HollywoodChicago.com le traerá las criticas de las películas que hemos visto y que están saliendo esa semana, pero en español. HollywoodChicago.com ESP no sólo representa HollywoodChicago.com Espanol, sino también Esta Semana en Peliculas. Esta semana haremos un viaje a una tierra extranjera para salvar al mundo (‘The Dark Tower’), y luego investigamos un crimen en una tierra extranjera para tratar de salvar a una comunidad (‘Wind River’).

Good vs. Evil Brightly Entertaining in ‘The Dark Tower’

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

CHICAGO – Nobody does good vs. evil archetypes like author Stephen King, and this framework is purposeful in the film adaptation of King’s “The Dark Tower.” The popular book series gets a visual kick through the rendering of director Nikolaj Arcel and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.

HollywoodChicago.com ESP, En Español: ‘Atomic Blonde,’ ‘Detroit,’ y ‘Dunkirk’

CHICAGO – Cada semana, HollywoodChicago.com le traerá las criticas de las películas que hemos visto y que están saliendo esa semana, pero en español. HollywoodChicago.com ESP no sólo representa HollywoodChicago.com Espanol, sino también Esta Semana en Peliculas. Esta semana haremos una gira de guerra a través de la historia de la Segunda Guerra Mundial (‘Dunkirk’), a la Guerra Fría (‘Atomic Blonde’) y a la zona de guerra en casa (‘Detroit’).

‘Detroit’ is Stark, Blunt & Honest U.S. History

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

CHICAGO – It has become clear to anyone who is making an observation about authority and “order” in America, that for certain people it comes with a severe price. “Detroit” explores an incident within the 1967 riots there, when white police officers raided a hotel and perpetuated crimes of their own.

‘City of Ghosts’ Puts Citizen Faces on Syrian Crisis

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

CHICAGO – Syria has become a distant place, disconnected from the wider world through civil war and extreme sociopolitical instability, including the takeover of some regions by ISIS (the Islamic State). “City of Ghosts” looks at Raqqa, a Syrian city with the iron boot of ISIS on their necks, and the citizens who risk their lives to tell that story to the world.

Strong Performance Makes ‘Lady Macbeth’ a Cogent Character Study

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

CHICAGO – Separating a performance from the rest of the film is usually an easy task. One may be stronger than the other, or vice versa, but either way, they can be judged individually and as a whole. “Lady Macbeth” proves to be that rare character study where a single performance (from breakout actress Florence Pugh) not only makes the film but essentially is the film.

Heroics of ‘Dunkirk’ Portrayed Ardently & Humanely

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

CHICAGO – War is hell, even in “The Good War.” The early days of World War II were a desperate time for the British, and the events of “Dunkirk” were largely about loss, yet mostly about inspiration. Director Christopher Nolan gives his film a grand cinematic treatment, evoking an era that has mostly faded away.

Despite One Premise, Laughs Are Plenty in ‘The Little Hours’

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

CHICAGO – It occurred to me in assessing “The Little Hours” that the basic premise is somewhat like “The Beguiled” – a man is taken in, rooster-like, into a henhouse where there are women with “needs.” Except this time, instead of a girl’s boarding school, it is a 14th Century nunnery. Get thee to it, if thou wants to laugheth.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Everybody, Brown Paper Box Co

    CHICAGO – When is the last time a stage play, based in an intimate setting, made you think about your life, death, and the destiny inherent in both? “Everybody,” staged by Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo), is such a play, and the energetic aura and sense of surprise that the show contains is soul soothing wonder. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago run through August 12, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

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