Ray Liotta

More Risqué ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ Doesn’t Dare to Trailblaze Again

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

CHICAGO – Sex sells, sure, but the film-noir sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” makes you feel dirty if you’re left thinking that’s enough.

Nine years since the visually groundbreaking, avant-garde hit “Sin City,” Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s biggest mistake with their next incarnation is replacing the first film’s bloodthirsty impact with too much nudity.

‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ Breaks No New Ground

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

CHICAGO – When the first “Sin City” (2005) was released – based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller – the conversion of a film to a noir-like comic book atmosphere was pioneering. The sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” has heightened that look, but this time has much less to say.

Muppets Still Know How to Entertain in ‘Muppets Most Wanted’

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

CHICAGO – There is a comfort, like a favorite drink in a childhood mug, about Jim Henson’s legendary Muppets and their standard of entertainment and humor. It’s brilliant that Walt Disney Studios continues to understand what makes them work, producing their latest, “Muppets Most Wanted.”

Great Michael Shannon Performance Can’t Thaw ‘The Iceman’

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

CHICAGO – Another great Michael Shannon performance should come as no surprise as everything he touches lately seems to be interesting, from “Take Shelter” to “Boardwalk Empire” to letters written by batshit crazy sorority girls. However, his increasingly impressive ability can’t save “The Iceman,” a misguided, clichéd hitman flick that careens tonally and doesn’t really justify its existence. It doesn’t work as thriller or as drama, serving as little more than a performance piece for its talented star.

Crime, Fatherhood Intersect in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

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

CHICAGO – Derek Cianfrance’s masterful “The Place Beyond the Pines” is a complex, epic piece of storytelling about the ripple effect of crime through families and across generations. Drastic action does not exist in a vacuum. It influences generations below and those impacted by their parent’s decisions.

Metaphor is Message in Violent ‘Killing Them Softly’

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

CHICAGO – If there ever was an industry that deserved a good metaphor bashing, it would be the financial sector. “Killing Them Softly” does a hit-over-the-head with the symbolism, but at the same time delivers a gritty and literate parable, featuring Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta.

Channing Tatum Stars in Inconsistent ‘The Son of No One’

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

CHICAGO – Director Dito Montiel and star Channing Tatum were once tagged with the label of the hot new debut artistic partnership. 2006’s great “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” introduced both men to the world and it felt like it could be the calling card for a creative team to someday rival Scorsese and De Niro.

Spirituality, Zac Efron Overcome Plot Holes in ‘Charlie St. Cloud’

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

CHICAGO – The rise of Zac Efron has been one of the more interesting movie stories of the past year. Fresh from his notable role in “Me and Orson Welles,’ Efron takes the lead in “Charlie St. Cloud,” with veteran actors Ray Liotta and Kim Basinger. This journey into afterlife issues highlights some nice acting chops from Efron.

Seth Rogen Delivers in Controversial, Hilarious ‘Observe and Report’

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

CHICAGO – The hysterically misleading TV spots for Jody Hill’s “Observe and Report” make it out to look like another broad comedy that might even have a cute romance between stars Seth Rogen and Anna Faris. There’s nothing cute or predictable about “Observe and Report”. And that’s precisely why it works.

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