Emma Stone

'Zombieland: Double Tap' Not As Fresh But Still Has Some Life Left

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

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.

A Hilarious Combination of Crass and Class in ‘The Favourite’

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

CHICAGO – Looking through auteur Yorgos Lanthimos’ filmography, you’ll recognize a style that combines both visual beauty and narrative absurdism. The Lanthimos effect, or Lanthimo-nium as I like to call it, elevates any piece of work to such a high degree that often times the meanings go over our heads. In his most mainstream effort to date, “The Favourite” will likely become your favorite of his works.

‘Battle of the Sexes’ Parallels a Fight That’s Going on Today

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

CHICAGO – Since the time of early hominids, there has been a battle raging with your side being chosen before you’re even born. It all began when men claimed they were superior to women, forcing women to fight for the right at equality. Unfortunately, it remains as alive in the 70’s, when “Battle of the Sexes” takes place, as it is now.

‘La La Land’ Will Create Love for Musicals Again

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

CHICAGO – “La La Land” has the spirit of an old time “Singin’ In The Rain”-type Hollywood musical, but this is no throwback or revival. It brings that spirit into the modern age and gets it to live, breathe, and thrive once again. It’s a beautiful technicolor spectacle that celebrates the whimsy of musicals, while finding a way to translate it credibly and wonderfully to the modern age.

Deep Thoughts, Shallow Characters in ‘Irrational Man’

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

CHICAGO – At this point in his stellar career, what is fascinating about Woody Allen is basically what he thinks about. He is a successful, family-stable, millionaire filmmaker with mortality issues. In “Irrational Man,” he ponders the existential question of “what lights the spark of life?”

Unusual, Passionate ‘Aloha’ is Deeply Resonant

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

CHICAGO – Films with major movie stars that take real chances on story formula are rare. “Aloha” is one such example, and produces considerations that are way off the beaten path. Is it an allegory? An absurdity? An homage to 1960s paranoia? Only writer/director Cameron Crowe knows for sure.

Michael Keaton Soars in Mesmerizing ‘Birdman’

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

CHICAGO – There are parts of “Birdman” that are absolutely breathtaking, in dialogue, performance and visual acumen. Even its subtitle, “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” has a wonderful payoff. Michael Keaton provides an Oscar worthy performance as the title character.

‘Magic in the Moonlight’ is Woody Allen By the Book

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

CHICAGO – After last year’s powerful “Blue Jasmine,” writer/director Woody Allen’s trajectory seemed destined toward another film masterpiece, but “Magic in the Moonlight” isn’t it. Colin Firth and Emma Stone are an unlikely pairing in this seen-it-before-Woody film trifle.

Big Spectacle, Small Heart in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

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

CHICAGO – For a film with so much eye candy that it threatens ocular diabetes, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is decidedly low in story rhythm and energy – even with a villain named Electro. The story also has the “three villain syndrome,” which allows for a lack of focus and heart.

‘The Croods’ Rip a Funny Page Out of Pre-History

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

CHICAGO – Good cartoons know that we’re in on the joke, that all the surreal actions will satisfy our basic funny bone. Great cartoons give us a little bit more, an empathy or a story that really goes beyond expectations. “The Croods” is a great cartoon, and a wonderful achievement in animation evolution.

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