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‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ Adds Artistry to Mass Murder

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

CHICAGO – It takes a special kind of film that enthralls the audience so much that they stop caring about the body count and are more concerned with the main character running out of bullets. “John Wick: Chapter 2” offers the same cathartic effect as watching a Nazi get punched but in an infinitely more picturesque package.

Freaky Villains is Where ‘Suicide Squad’ Works Best

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

CHICAGODC Entertainment, feeling the heat from Marvel Studios and the tepid response from “Batman v Superman,” comes back stronger with “Suicide Squad,” an overblown yet psychological comic book film about sociopathic villains who somehow have to save the world.

‘Barbershop: The Next Cut’ Does Their Take on ‘Chi-Raq’

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

CHICAGO – The Barbershop series of films have always prided themselves on following the “Seinfeld Rule” – they are essentially about nothing. But with this go-around – like the recent “Chi-Raq” – the gang at the shop takes on the Chicago neighborhood violence around them, in “Barbershop: The Next Cut.”

‘Selma’ a Powerful Reminder that History Does Repeat

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

CHICAGO – With exquisite timing, the historical docudrama “Selma” will ring in 2015, and adds to the race-oppression-in-America debate that everything old is new again. Set in 1965, it is the courageous story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the ordinary citizens that fought for the right to vote.

Common Delivers Best Work to Date in Problematic ‘LUV’

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

CHICAGO – Assigned the role of World’s Worst Father Figure, Common delivers a performance so compelling that it nearly makes Sheldon Candis’ blood-soaked odyssey worth the trip. Nearly, however, is the key word. For all of it merits, this picture derails into a ditch of heavy-handed implausibility at the precise moment when it should be soaring.

‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ Misses Emotional Connection

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Peter Hedges’ “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” has a warm, gooey center that’s admirable in a family movie way but what’s around it can’t hold together as the lack of focus in the narrative and the rather grating performance from the young man playing its title character causes it to annoy more than entertain.

Fate Doesn’t Fail Them Now in ‘Happy Feet Two’

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

CHICAGO – Dancing animated penguins, a tradition dating back to Disney’s “Mary Poppins” and brought to further life in the first “Happy Feet” movie, finds more stepping pep in “Happy Feet Two.” Robin Williams and Elijah Wood return to lend their vocal talents in this enjoyable sequel.

Hip-Hop Gets Personal in ‘Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest’

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

CHICAGO – Fueling his passion for hip-hop, director Michael Rapaport premieres his new documentary, “Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest”. Proving that show biz never changes despite the category, this is a backstage look at the triumphs, misunderstandings, fall and rise again of the rap group “A Tribe Called Quest.”

Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton Are Just Short of ‘Just Wright’

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

CHICAGO – Romantic comedies are a roving beast in the Movie Zone, one that can never be captured properly time after time, yet never dies either. Queen Latifah and the rapper Common put an interesting and necessary twist on the genre, but still cannot help but fall back on the recurring rom-com clichés that eventually undermines the new film “Just Wright.”

Christian Bale, Sam Worthington in McG’s Disappointing ‘Terminator: Salvation’

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

CHICAGOMcG’s loud-and-annoying “Terminator: Salvation” with Christian Bale and Sam Worthington continues the summer of non-Trek disappointments, delivering nothing but a bloated exercise in CGI overload. With awful dialogue, a ridiculous plot, and mostly uninspired performances, the interesting human element has been drained from the franchise. The machines have won.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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