Universal Pictures

‘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.”

Director Ron Howard Delivers a Meticulous ‘Rush’

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

CHICAGO – Defining the glory days of any sport is often centered on personal rivalries. The 1970s – notable for stand-offs like John McEnroe and Björn Borg – had a similarly contentious rivalry between Formula One car racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, portrayed in Ron Howard’s “Rush.”

Uninspired ‘R.I.P.D.’ is a Reminder of Better Movies

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

CHICAGO – Did everyone see “Men in Black”? Or the film’s two sequels? They you saw “R.I.P.D.,” which unfortunately for the production team has “rip” in the title, because the film is a lazy rewrite and rip-off of “MiB.” Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds are the protectors assigned in this one.

Same Formula in Weak Sequel ‘Despicable Me 2’

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

CHICAGO – Oh those wacky Minions. We just never know what those little yellow guys in “Despicable Me 2” will do, because they simply DO EVERYTHING! They sing, fart, burp, perform parodies and handle hazardous materials. More than comic relief, they are all-purpose story coverage.

‘Mama’ is Everything Classic Horror Should Be

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

CHICAGO – Occasionally, along comes a filmmaker who completely understands what makes a horror film work. “Mama,” the debut of co-writer and director Andy Muschietti, contains creepy children, psychological ramifications, clueless victims and deep mystery. This is both scary and a thriller.

‘Pitch Perfect’ Succeeds By Making Fun of Itself

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

CHICAGO – When we last saw Anna Kendrick, she was the mid-twentysomething girlfriend of cop Jake Gyllenhaal in “End of Watch.” This week, she reverts back to freshman year in college, portraying a rebellious D.J. and songstress in the not-taking-themselves-seriously “Pitch Perfect.”

Oliver Stone’s ‘Savages’ Harpoons Drug War Absurdities

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

CHICAGO – Director Oliver Stone sees a controversy, and comments on a controversy, in his own distinctive cinematic style. The new film “Savages” is no exception, taking on the U.S./Mexican marijuana wars, with performances by Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek and John Travolta.

Darkly Comic Jason Segel in ‘The Five-Year Engagement’

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

CHICAGO – There are some major laughs in “The Five-Year Engagement,” good old fashion you-can’t-breathe laughs. But it is also dark and serious at times, and makes some surprising contemporary statements regarding coupling. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt portray the engaged couple.

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