Movie Review

Now On VOD: 'Birds of Prey' Soars High Above Our Expectations

CHICAGO – Comic book fatigue is real, and not just because there is an embarrassment of riches in screened content but because more than a few of them take the predictable approach. That’s what sank films like “Justice League” and “Suicide Squad”, and used to threaten the future of the DC cinematic universe, but no longer. I’m happy to report that “Birds of Prey” is no lame duck.

Film Review: ‘The Invisible Man’ is a True Heart Pounding Thriller

CHICAGO – When I think of “The Invisible Man” the first thing I think of is the special effects… and that’s largely what it’s been about … from Claude Raines initial portrayal of “The I Man” in the 1930s, all the way through more modern takes like Kevin Bacon in the thriller “Hollow Man” (2000).

Film Review: ‘The Call of the Wild’ Offers Only Tame Adventure

CHICAGO – “The Call Of The Wild” is an old fashioned story with some expensive and unnecessary technological upgrades. Foregoing man’s best friend in reality, the film replaces the featured dog with an entirely digital creation … which I can’t say was an improvement.

Film Review: ’Sonic the Hedgehog’ is Fast & Furry But Not Funny

CHICAGO – It may be damning with faint praise, but I can assure you that “Sonic the Hedgehog” is no longer the stuff of nightmares. The-Island-of-Dr-Moreau-like creation which seemed half human and half hedgehog in the film’s first trailer, has been replaced by something more akin to the Sonic we know from video games and cartoons. He’s cute. He’s fast. But he’s not particularly funny.

Film Review: ‘Bad Boys for Life’ Are Just Too Old For This

CHICAGO – “Bad Boys For Life” shows that maybe Will Smith isn’t too old for this kind of sh*t, but Martin Lawrence certainly is. This third installment comes 17 years after “Bad Boys II,” and 25 years after the original film unleashed director Michael Bay on an unsuspecting public.

Film Review: 'Zombieland: Double Tap' Not Fresh But Still Has Some Life

CHICAGO - Zombieland: Double Tap lacks the freshness or the belly laughs of its predecessor, but I was surprised to see that this outrageously overqualified cast has not worn out its welcome. It’s ridiculous that three Oscar nominees and one Oscar winner headline a movie devoted solely to blowing zombies up. But when you employ Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin, you’re going to get some unexpected surprises.

Film Review: Visual Beauty Can't Cover Up Cultural Vagueness in 'Abominable'

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CHICAGO – The changing view on yetis goes to show just how different my childhood was from kids growing up today. Back in my day, yeti’s were elusive creatures meant to be feared, much like Big Foot or Loch Ness. Films like “Smallfoot” and “Abominable” are paving the way towards acceptance were we ever to encounter a yeti, but the latter is more of a step back than forwards.

Film Review: Zellweger's Star Power Single-Handedly Saves Stale 'Judy'

CHICAGO – Even before I figured out my own sexuality, Judy Garland’s status as a gay icon was known to me. I wouldn’t understand why until much later in my life, but sure as the sky was blue, the city was emerald, and the brick road was yellow, I knew I was a friend of Dorothy. Heartbreakingly, “Judy” paints a bleak portrait of the star, but never takes a look at the bigger picture.

Film Review: 'Hustlers' Is Flashy But Empty Stripper Crime Caper

CHICAGO – This striper crime caper is flashy, buffed to a high gloss, and more entertaining and watchable than it has any right to be. But it’s never quite as smart, or layered as it seems to think it is. Constance Wu from “Crazy Rich Asians” stars as the proverbial stripper with a heart of gold, Destiny.

Film Review: Finding One’s Self in ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’

CHICAGO – There is something so lovely about a film that unfolds slowly, until the moment occurs when a multi-layered story occurrence takes the breath away. “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is such a film, portrayed with a magic subtlety by Cate Blanchett, one of the finest film actors working. She lives a life that is broken, but not in ways we suspect.

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