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Morgan Freeman

Waste of Talent, Sequel Energy in ‘Now You See Me 2’

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

CHICAGO – Separately, you love all these movie star icons and funny people – Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, Lizzy Caplan and Dave Franco. Together, they add up to a terrible sequel, “Now You See Me 2.”

‘Ted 2’ is a Funnier Film Than it Deserves to Be

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

CHICAGO – While it’s cruder and it can’t quite match the original “Ted,” “Ted 2” is still funnier than it has any right to be. It is unmistakably a Seth MacFarlane production, and there are a million reasons why this movie shouldn’t work, chief among them a plot that attempts to plop a foul mouthed talking teddy bear into a moralistic legal parable about civil rights. But I can’t deny I laughed throughout, almost despite myself.

‘Dolphin Tale 2’ is Fantastic Family Entertainment

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

CHICAGO – They don’t come along often, the rare fun-for-the-whole-family film. But “Dolphin Tale 2” fits that description perfectly, throws in some idealistic symbolism, and more importantly follows those symbols through to the end.

Scarlett Johansson Packs a Blockbuster Punch in ‘Lucy’

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

CHICAGO – “Lucy” is a piece of high-minded cinematic junk food that manages to be outlandishly weird while still satisfying the lizard brain desires of its audience. It’s a film that knows what’ll get the behinds in the seats, and that appeal can effectively be summed up in one shot. It shows Scarlett Johansson in a tight-fitting white t-shirt walking in slow motion with her bosoms bouncing in unison, carrying two guns and ready to kick some serious ass.

Meditative ‘Transcendence’ Also Artificially Intelligent

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

CHICAGO – The Internet is for real in “Transcendence”, a B-movie with grade-A production quality, loaded with terabyte-size open-ended questions, so long as one can accept it lastly with a scientific mindset. It is a film that perceives technology to be more expansive than a box of wires and computer chips, and actualizes the expanse of the internet as limitless to the realm of spiritual.

39-Minute IMAX Doc ‘Island of Lemurs: Madagascar’ With Morgan Freeman Feels Rushed, Incomplete

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

CHICAGO – It’s challenging to enjoy this film purely for what it is rather than fault it for what it could have been.

“Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” which opened exclusively in IMAX 3D and 2D on April 4, 2014 and is narrated by Morgan Freeman, is only 39 minutes. The film too simply grazes the surface of a complicated problem.

Big Laughs Await in Sly, Fun ‘The LEGO Movie’

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

CHICAGO – The funniest movie in a long while features no human beings, just animated bland faces among interlocking plastic bricks, the toys which inspired the film. “The LEGO Movie” never takes itself seriously, which means huge laughs for the audience.

Story of ‘Now You See Me’ a Bit Misdirected

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

CHICAGO – Boasting a big star ensemble cast, and themes of magical realism and misdirection, “Now You See Me” is an overdone, too-clever-for-its-own-good fantasy with some entertaining tricks. Jesse Eisenberg and Isla Fisher join veterans Woody Harrelson and Morgan Freeman in the magic mix.

Eyegasmic ‘Oblivion’ With Tom Cruise Wins Your Optics, But Loses Your Brain

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

CHICAGO – “Oblivion” is a Pyrrhic victory that wins its battle, but loses the overall war. While this is the kind of visual production value you’d expect on a $120 million budget, an ostentatious steak dinner in the special effects department never makes up for a story that tastes more like cheap ramen noodles.

Gerard Butler Stars in Violent, Stupid ‘Olympus Has Fallen’

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

CHICAGO – Antoine Fuqua’s “Olympus Has Fallen” (or “Die Hard in the White House”) is a stupid, exploitative movie that wants to be “Call of Duty: Black Ops” in film form but ends up more like one of its countless, ineffective rip-offs. There are moments of goofy, B-movie fun (certainly more of them than in the much-worse “A Good Day to Die Hard”) but not enough to get over the brutal nonsense that makes up most of this action flick.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Harry Lennix, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’

  • King and I, The

    CHICAGO – The venerable musical “The King and I,” by the legendary team of (Richard) Rodgers and (Oscar) Hammerstein, is now 65 years old. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is injecting fresh life into this senior aged play, with a sumptuous new production that is top drawer at every level.

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