Jon Espino

The Tone-Deaf, Formulaic Approach Murders 'The Little Things'

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

CHICAGO – There are over 500 episodes of “Law and Order” but I’m not about to embarrass myself publicly by revealing just how many of those I’ve seen; let’s leave it at “a lot.” In the age of binge television, I know I’m not the only one that has taken a deep dive into the show and other long-running shows like it, but I know we can all agree why we continue watching them: they keep things fresh.

Firth and Tucci Deliver Stellar Performances in 'Supernova'

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

CHICAGO – Stars are a concept that I don’t think I will ever understand. Giant celestial bodies of gas and fire that burn and shine with an unimaginable intensity. Their spherical appearance masks a double-edge that can both bring and sustain life, or out-right end it. Love is much the same way, simultaneously nurturing us up until the moment it isn’t. Although Supernova doesn’t take us on the incredible interstellar adventure its title suggests, the grounded, emotional journey is still otherworldly.

Now On VOD: 'Birds of Prey' Is No Lame Duck and Soars Beyond Expectations

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

CHICAGO – Comic book fatigue is real, and not just because there is an embarrassment of riches in screened content available, but because more than a few of them take the same 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.

Visual Beauty Can't Cover Up Cultural Vagueness in 'Abominable'

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

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.

Zellweger's Star Power Single-Handedly Saves Stale 'Judy'

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

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.

HollywoodChicago.com ESP, En Español: 'It Chapter Two' y 'Official Secrets'

CHICAGO – Cada semana, HollywoodChicago.com le traerá las criticas de las películas que hemos visto y que están saliendo esa semana, pero en español. HollywoodChicago.com ESP no sólo representa HollywoodChicago.com Espanol, sino también Esta Semana en Peliculas.

‘The Farewell’ Greets with Cultural, Emotional Exploration

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

CHICAGO – We all have those family stories that seem just so uniquely ours that it is hard to believe anyone could actually relate to them. Stories that, at the time, don’t seem like anyone else would even understand. Lulu Wang proves in “The Farewell” that all it takes is a little empathy, a skilled storyteller, and a group of talented people to bring any story to life.

Horror is Worth a Visit in 'Annabelle Comes Home'

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

CHICAGO – There is such an unnerving quality to older dolls, which is why they lend themselves so perfectly to horror stories. There’s just an unsettling feeling when looking at their static expression, usually plastered with a permanent smile that gives me terrible flashbacks to when I worked retail. Oddly enough, “Annabelle Comes Home” similarly elicits familiar feelings of terror but channels it through an 80’s horror homage.

Less Black Magic, More Black Mirror is a Success in 'Child's Play'

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

CHICAGO – There are some fears in this world that seem irrational to us. Like a fear of clowns or the fear of using an elevator. Horror films are at the core of some of these fears, with the truly great ones creating new things to fear. The “Child’s Play” franchise may have had its roots in psychopathic soul transfers, but the update focuses on the ghost in the machine.

'The Dead Don't Die' Offers Full-On Horror Homage But Little Else

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

CHICAGO – Before Jordan Peele, before Mike Flanagan, before James Wan, and especially before all of Blumhouse, there were other masters of horror who paved the way for the filmmakers we know today. The Carpenters, the Cravens, and the Argentos of the world helped turn horror into the thriving genre it is today. Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die” openly acknowledges this with their love letter approach to the genre itself.

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  • Young Rock
    HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 5.0/5.0
    Television Rating: 5.0/5.0

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Scott Thompson on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on February 18th, 2021, reviewing the new TV series “Young Rock,” Tuesdays on NBC-TV.

  • What Did Clyde Hide?

    CHICAGO – What is one of the greatest survival instincts of the pandemic? Creativity. The Zoom web series “What Did Clyde Hide?” is the result of a creative effort from Executive Producer/Show Runner Ruth Kaufman, Producer Sandy Gulliver and Director Sean Patrick Leonard. Kaufman and Leonard talk about the series, naturally, via Zoom.

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