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Tribal Side of Drug Trafficking in ‘Birds of Passage'

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

CHICAGO – One of the overriding characteristics in the movies, when it comes to drug traffickers, is the stereotypical image of a fat and corrupt cartel leader who usually have machine gun wielding henchmen and bikini clad groupies. “Birds of Passage” goes back to the business of the drug trade, but it is about the families that controlled the territorial borders during that key era, and the basis of that control in ancient tribalism.

‘Transit’ is an Absorbing Thriller with a Perplexing Conclusion

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

CHICAGO – What if a new fascism were to sweep the land, and affects Paris, as it did in World War 2? “Transit” postulates on that very theory and creates a paranoid atmosphere that is stunningly real, but brings that emotion to a conclusion that I believe is redundant, and pretends to be deeper than it is.

Imagination is the Key to Charming ‘Wonder Park’

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

CHICAGO – Most animated films depicting the “family” often includes a parallel lesson about togetherness or some such domestic symbolism. In “Wonder Park,” the lesson is how the spark of imagination can keep a childhood alive. When that spark is temporarily dosed, the destination of the title also suffers.

1970s Caper Film in Enjoyable ‘Finding Steve McQueen’

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

CHICAGO – The “caper” film, AKA the heist film, is one of the old reliable genres in the movies, and usually involves a gang of mismatched thieves. “Finding Steve McQueen” goes all the way back to the 1970s to spotlight a based-on-truth burglary that involves Tricky Dick himself, President Richard M. Nixon.

Julianne Moore is a Ringing Sensation in ‘Gloria Bell’

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

CHICAGO – The sheer ordinariness of life is not fodder for most dramatic films … the popcorn munchers generally turn out for something more high concept. But in Exhibit A, there is “Gloria Bell,” in which Julianne Moore portrays the title character in a series of ordinary extraordinary events.

Brie Larson as ‘Captain Marvel’ is Not as Marvel-ous

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

CHICAGO – Since the Marvel cinematic universe began over a decade ago with “Iron Man,” it’s shown an amazing talent for consistency. While only a few installments have surpassed their comic book origins to become great examples of the genre – and great stories in general – Marvel hasn’t had many out and out clunkers either (possible exception, the second Thor movie).

Familiar Scares of ‘Greta’ Has Too Many Plot Holes

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

CHICAGO – Admittedly, horror films are not my thing. I find them redundant, pandering and more reliant on gore rather than story. “Greta” is somewhat of a thriller horror film, about an older lady stalker preying on a younger New York City woman, but it had both a seen-it-before and unreliable plot.

Satisfying Emotion in ‘How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World’

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

CHICAGO –All fiery things must come to an extinguishing point, and the “How to Train Your Dragon” animated film series concludes with its third entry, subtitled “Hidden World.” To finish things up the creators turn on the Dragon power, there are literally thousands of them flamed up and ready to go.

Relatable Togetherness Highlight 2019 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

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

CHICAGO – The relationships in our lives affect who we are, whether they are momentary or long term. Interestingly, like the Oscar nominated Live Action shorts, the Animated Short Film nominees have that similar connective themes in four of the five stories. Family relationships, son-to-mother, mother-to-daughter, daughter-to-father and parents-to-child, are explored in poignant and expressive ways. The Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago are currently showing all the shorts in one program. Click here for more information.

Sequel Surprisingly Surpasses the First Film in ‘Happy Death Day 2U’

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

CHICAGO – At some point, we’ve all experienced deja vu. Sure, it could just be because we lead a monotonous, predictable life, but I’d personally welcome the idea of something supernatural at play over the more practical explanation. That’s exactly what “Happy Death Day” introduced, and it was a hilarious slasher take on “Groundhog Day”, and luckily the sequel, “Happy Death Day 2U”, adds to the experience.

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  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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