Universal Pictures

‘As Above/So Below’ Scrapes Bottom of Barrel

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.0/5.0
Rating: 0.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “As Above/So Below” is strictly the pits. It’s a found footage horror film set in the Paris catacombs that defies logic, and relentlessly keeps digging itself into a hole until it’s dragged everyone in the audience down with it. It’s a movie that starts at stupid and then somehow proceeds to get progressively dumber and dumber, until it’s completely nonsensical and insane – and not in a good way. It’s quite simply the longest 90 minutes I’ve spent in a theater all year.

James Brown Bio ‘Get On Up’ Stuck in a Funk

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

CHICAGO – “Get On Up” contains one dynamite performance trapped in a frustratingly mediocre movie. James Brown’s life and music offer a wealth of material to work with, but that doesn’t necessarily adhere to the conventions of a formulaic musical biopic.

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.

‘The Purge: Anarchy’ Can’t Decide What it Wants to Be

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

CHICAGO – “The Purge: Anarchy” is a cake-and-eat-it film. On one hand there is a monotonous display of firepower, courtesy of a suspension of laws for one night a year, but it also wants to temper this lawlessness with indictments of government, the rich and the law itself.

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Suffers Because Seth MacFarlane Casts Himself

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

CHICAGO – A feature-length comedy is a daunting undertaking. But being consistently funny for 2 straight hours is like climbing Mount Everest blindfolded with no arms while taking selfies using your feet.

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Goes in All Directions

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

CHICAGO – Two observations regarding Seth MacFarlane: one, he is a hilarious writer and voiceover talent. Two, he isn’t as good as a comic leading man, on screen and in live action. Those two elements clash brightly in the overlong but funny “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”

Funny But Familiar Trip to Frat House in ‘Neighbors’

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

CHICAGO – I have a high tolerance for Seth Rogen, but he begins to show some signs of creative exhaustion in “Neighbors,” a raunchy frat house comedy that’s never quite as funny as it should be. Rogen’s onscreen persona here comes dangerously close to schtick.

‘Endless Love’ Remake Feels Like Endless Slog

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

CHICAGO – It’s Valentine’s Day movie remake weekend! Hot on the heels of the “About Last Night” redo, comes our love, our “Endless Love” – and it’s interesting that the film doesn’t use that song at all, not even for a hip-hop version. That’s just one of many problems in a remake that doesn’t generate any heat or dramatic conflict, unless you wonder if a rich woman will ever write another best seller.

The Gang Happily Reunites in ‘The Best Man Holiday’

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

CHICAGO – Like a black “Big Chill,” the gang from the 1999 essential film “The Best Man” reunite to see old friends, celebrate the season, open old wounds and bury the past in a surprisingly serious yet emotionally spiritual sequel “The Best Man Holiday.”

Slushy ‘About Time’ Still Says All You Need is Love

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

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Richard Curtis is somewhat of a love guru. Fresh on the heels of the tenth anniversary of what is now his classic Christmas movie, “Love Actually,” comes his latest ode to amore. It’s about life, passion and – oh yeah – a little time travel. It’s “About Time.”

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