Universal Pictures

Relentlessly Action-Packed ‘Furious 7’ Actually Has a Story, Too

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

CHICAGO – I’ve never classified myself as a “Fast & Furious” franchise fan. Nor have I been a hater. I’ve fallen somewhere in between – willingly watching the popcorn flicks but then quickly going about my life as fast as the furious action ended. Until “Furious 7”…

Wham Bam Pass the Popcorn, Man For ‘Furious 7’

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

CHICAGO – The “Fast & Furious” franchise of films has probably one of the strangest evolutions in action history. What began as a rebellious street race movie, has morphed into a sort of superhero saga. “Furious 7” amps up that element of it, creating a mythic and magical “Kingdom of F&F Cars.”

Beneath its Curious Surface, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ a Dangerous Menace to Society

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

CHICAGO – Strike one of far too many: “Fifty Shades of Grey” author Erika Leonard (better known as E.L. James) has never lived the BDSM lifestyle. And therefore, nor should she be writing about, romanticizing and profiteering on it. On a $40 million budget, the film earned $30.2 million on its opening Friday and is on track for a record-breaking international weekend grab of $158 million.

Following a Two-Year Delay, ‘Seventh Son’ Should Have Been Shelved

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

CHICAGO – I can’t decide which is worse: the “fake deep talk” from Jeff Bridges in “Seventh Son” or the “angry whisper talk” from Eddie Redmayne in “Jupiter Ascending,” which also opened on Friday. Both speech impediments are ugly fish out of water, both films are getting punished by critics and both are underperforming at domestic box offices.

Story Won’t Go All the Way in ‘The Boy Next Door’

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

CHICAGO – There was a different kind of vibe coming from the thriller “The Boy Next Door,” different than what is expected when hearing “Jennifer Lopez as teacher caught in a scandal with a student.” But for every piece of original thinking, there was a fear of making it too different.

‘Dumb and Dumber To’ Too Dumb to Be Funny

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

CHICAGO – “Dumb And Dumber To” is an exercise in diminishing returns. Jim Carrey and The Farrelly Brothers expend twice the effort for less than a third of the laughs. It benefits greatly from the enormous well of goodwill created by the original’s inspired idiocy. But one can only suspend disbelief for so long and this sequel has problems that the warm glow of nostalgia can’t solve.

The Worst Horror Film of 2014, ‘Ouija’ is ‘Mama’ From 11 Narcoleptic Producers

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Out of respect for the filmmakers and actors, I don’t walk out on films. I hold true to that even when I know in the first 10 minutes the film’s not for me. Perhaps the second act could surprise me. Maybe the whole film is a flop but it redeems itself with shock and awe in the last 5 minutes.

Artificially Glorified ‘Dracula Untold’ Lacks Reason for Being Retold

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

CHICAGO – For moviegoers, each new film is a chance to escape, feel, fear, cry, be thrilled or laugh. Filmmakers and actors want you to experience this range of emotions, but producers and investors care most about the film making money. That’s why Hollywood is scared of truly original stories. Originality is an unknown without a built-in fan base.

‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’ Solidifies Desire for Liam Neeson to Be Your Dad

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

CHICAGO – I don’t know about your dad, but mine – love him as I do – isn’t Jason Bourne, James Bond or Bryan Mills. At the age of 62, Liam Neeson somehow still kicks ass as Bryan Mills in “Taken” and fans everywhere love riding every minute of his butt-kicking thrill rides.

Liam Neeson in Forgettable ‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’

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

CHICAGO – Liam Neeson still looks good being a badass, but “A Walk Among The Tombstones” is a vehicle unworthy of his particular set of skills. It’s not a tightly constructed thriller like “Non-Stop,” and it lacks the sheer over-the-top ludicrousness of “Taken 2.” This is largely a by-the-numbers jalopy that can best be called forgettable.

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