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‘Life During Wartime’ Provides Haunting Coda to ‘Happiness’

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

CHICAGO – Todd Solondz’s 1998 masterpiece, “Happiness,” is the darkest American comedy ever made. It’s so brutal and uncompromising that it calls into question the very definition of comedy. When one character explains to her sister that she isn’t laughing at her, but with her, the sister responds, “But I’m not laughing.” Solondz isn’t laughing either.

Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg Partner in Cop Farce ‘The Other Guys’

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

CHICAGO – While a cop film take-off is filed under the fish-in-a-barrel category, writer/director Adam McKay manages to spin some absurd gold threads into the thin blue cloth. In other words, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are damn funny in this all-in cop farce, with enough familiar co-star support to prop up the whole enchilada.

Forged in Myth, Nicolas Cage Shines in ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’

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

CHICAGO – The fantasy action epic has joined the animated film as the go-to genre for summer films. Disney joins the fray with “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” featuring magic, special effects action and a deep mythology, spiced with Nicolas Cage doing a slightly warped version of a King Arthur-era apprentice for Merlin the Magician.

Oliver Stone Lends Another Point of View in ‘South of the Border’

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

CHICAGO – Oliver Stone, bless him, still has a fire in his belly to tackle controversial subjects and shine a light into the dark corners that the American media skitters away from on a daily basis. Part travelogue, part enlightenment and all Stone, “South of the Border” is eye-opening documentary on the South American people revolution.

Annette Bening, Julianne Moore Out in the Light With ‘The Kids Are All Right’

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

CHICAGO – It is Hollywood that is often ahead of the social curve, expressing in art what most people can’t fathom in real life. “The Kids Are All Right” is that type of consciousness, depicting a committed lesbian couple – played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore – coming to grips with transitions occurring with their kids.

Director M. Night Shyamalan Too Talky, Murky in ‘The Last Airbender’

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

CHICAGO – The choices that M. Night Shyamalan makes in the progress of his filmography have become as perplexing as his early mysteries. “The Last Airbender,” featuring Dev Patel from “Slumdog Millionaire,” is an adaptation of a previous animated series, and although aimed at kids in the end seems tentative and…aimless.

Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz Meet Cute in High-Octane ‘Knight and Day’

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

CHICAGO – Whenever there is a audacious and entertaining action thriller like “Knight and Day,” how do the characters stay so calm? Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise are shot at, nearly blown up, asked to drive and leap around like lunatics, yet remain perfectly white-toothed calm. A normal human reaction would be ‘Oh my gaaaaaaaaaawd!”

Josh Brolin, Megan Fox Dash Between the Explosions in ‘Jonah Hex’

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

CHICAGO – Delving deep into the comic book lexicon, the latest page-to-film adaptation is “Jonah Hex,” featuring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich. Hex is a scarred bounty hunter whose primary job seems to be saving America, when he isn’t in the midst of or causing things to blow up real good.

Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith Are Kickin’ it in Remake of ‘The Karate Kid’

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

CHICAGO – Despite any resistance that must have been felt in remaking the quasi-classic 1984 film “The Karate Kid,” veteran Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith put their best kicking feet forward and spin some new cloth out of the old material. In resetting the location and putting in some surreal modern touches, this remake mostly succeeds.

Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley Are Scientists Creating a ‘Splice’ of Life

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

CHICAGO – The science of existence gets trickier everyday, and it doesn’t help when humans start creating their own competition. The new film “Splice,” featuring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, explores the current trend of genetic research, while at the same time paging Dr. Frankenstein.

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  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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