Oscar Isaac

Despite Sandy Start and Trope Pitfalls, 'Dune' Could be the Next 'Star Wars'

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

CHICAGO – Everything has ‘potential’ and in examining that you reveal a little bit about yourself. Seeing the ‘potential’ in something is inherently an exercise in optimism because you take what you see and understand that it could do or be better. Criticism is also a key component when it comes to discussing ‘potential’ because without a critical eye you can’t see beyond what is to see what could be.

‘The Addams Family 2’ is Pure Torture for Old & Young

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

CHICAGO – Sometimes sequels serve as a cinematic do-over, a second chance to fix what they got wrong the first time. Other times, they offer a chance to build on the bones of a good story and make it better. But all too often, they’re lazy cash grabs to half forgotten films where no one seems to have learned any lessons from the first outing …

Consider the Meaning of Life Force in ‘Annihilation’

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

CHICAGO – Alex Garland, the standout creator/director of “Ex Machina,” is back with “Annihilation,” another science fiction story. And like the previous film, it explores implications of a sci-fi event, in this case an outer space incident that restructures a cellular code, that ends up destructive.

‘Suburbicon’ is the Cinematic Equivalent of a Soccer Mom

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

CHICAGO – Having lived in both the suburbs and in major cities throughout my lifetime, I can say without hesitation that the suburbs tend to be dull, boring and bereft of creativity. To be fair, it’s not their fault since they’re built for efficiency and with placidity in mind. “Surburbicon” is made in much the same way, becoming the one thing a film shouldn’t be: boring.

Love Attempts to Infiltrate Horror in 'The Promise'

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

CHICAGO – So much of civilization’s story is lost in the mist of “winners write the history,” and even as recently as 100 years ago there are instances of world history that is not generally taught. “The Promise” is set during the World War I period, and has a love triangle in the midst of a little known genocide.

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ is a Marvel Entertainment Gem


Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – In doing “comic book” movies right, Marvel Entertainment has established a formula of decent back stories, complex villainy and probable scenarios. In continuing to tell a history of the second half of the 20th Century in “X-Men Apocalypse,” they also add a historical parallel universe that works.

‘Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens’ is the One We’ve Been Waiting For

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

CHICAGO (No Spoilers!) – I felt privileged on Tuesday morning. Not just to be a Chicago film critic, but to be a movie lover. Film critics and movie lovers alike wade through scores of yawners hoping for one or two masterpieces that remind us why we fell in love with the experience of watching a film in the company of people we like. Just in time to close out 2015, we’re met with the rare opportunity to take part in moviemaking magic once more.

There are Future Consequences in ‘Ex Machina’

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

CHICAGO – The title “Ex Machina” is a play on Deus ex machina, the stage/scenario term meaning god from the machine, or the basic happy ending. By cutting out the “Deus” in the phrase, the film is left with just the machine, and the humans.

Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac Endure ‘A Most Violent Year’

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

CHICAGO – The effect of violence, centering on the roughest statistical year for it (1981) in New York City history, becomes a flashpoint for the way business has always been done. If someone isn’t intimidating their competitor with lawyers or shady marketing practices, a few hired goons can do the trick. Oscar Isaac takes the beating, both real and metaphorical, in writer/director J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year.”

Love is Impossible in Alluring Period Horror ‘In Secret’

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

CHICAGO – If stories of Prince Charmings and the liberation from wicked stepmothers are fairy tales, than “In Secret” is the stuff of nightmares, where marriage is not just a prison sentence, but an unlucky life is as well. Based on the novel “Therese Raquin” by Emile Zola as published in 1867, this film’s element of ownership may be considered an artifact in 2014. But thankfully this adaptation earns its own pertinence, as a dark period thriller with real doses of hormonally fueled bad decisions.

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  • Midnight Mass

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Scott Thompson on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on October 21st, 2021, reviewing the new miniseries “Midnight Mass,” currently streaming on Netflix.

  • Chicago Party Aunt

    CHICAGO – The funny meter of Netflix went off the scale last week, as the animated series “Chicago Party Aunt” made its debut on September 17th. What began as a Twitter account by comic actor Chris Witaske (who also provides his voice talent) has morphed into the cartoon adventures of Aunt Diane Dumbowski, her nephew Daniel, and an array of familiar Chicago-isms and characters.

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