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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.

One Sequel Too Many For Sarah Jessica Parker, ‘Sex and the City 2’

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

CHICAGO – “Sex in the City 2” has very little sex and even less city. That is the least of its sins. This bloated, directionless semi-narrative take the familiar foursome – Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis – into unfamiliar geographic territory, but with no dramatic arc there is simply nothing there.

Annette Bening, Naomi Watts Lack the Connection in ‘Mother and Child’

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

CHICAGO – “Mother and Child,” with an all star cast of Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits and Kerry Washington, is mindful of its subject matter, that rare and elusive connection between a mother and their offspring. However, the film has difficulties when the characters become inconsistent with their past backgrounds after that connection is introduced.

Love Story of ‘Kites’ Soars as a Marvel of Modern Moviemaking

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

CHICAGO – One of the most provocative and unusual films this year, or any year, is an amazing production from India entitled “Kites.” American director Brett Ratner (”Rush Hour”) was so taken by this film, that he agreed to edit the original (or remix) for the U.S. presentation. Both versions will be will be in the marketplace for a limited release.

Will Forte, Kristen Wiig Explode a Megaton Bomb in ‘MacGruber’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.5/5.0
Rating: 0.5/5.0

CHICAGO – In a parallel universe, perhaps a version of “MacGruber” exists that actually understands that comedy should be funny…oh what a beautiful world that would be. Here in this astral plane Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe and Val Kilmer, plus the writers, director and craft services obviously conspired to create a movie bomb that no one could diffuse.

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.”

Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett Forge an Epic Adventure in ‘Robin Hood’

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

CHICAGO – “T’wang!” is the the sound of an archer’s arrow going right into the center of the summer movie kick-off season. Director Ridley Scott, Cate Blanchett, Max Von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac and Russell Crowe – in the title role of “Robin Hood” – offer a compelling story, plenty of action and an epic quality to the oft-told legend.

Haunting ‘Lourdes’ Revels in the Poetry of Ambiguity

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

CHICAGO – Most films about faith seem artistically limited by their spiritual subject matter. Some religiously devout filmmakers are so fixed in their beliefs that they lack the ability to perceive life with the complexity necessary to create resonant art. A perennial classic like Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” may have magnificent scope and spectacle, but it has all the dramatic depth and nuance of a Bible card.

‘The Good, The Bad, The Weird’ Favors Spectacle Over Story

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

CHICAGO – “Any guess what’s going on?” asks Zhang Qi, the befuddled leader of the Tri-Nation gang, as he observes a nearby train erupting into utter chaos. This line earns the first big laugh in Kim Ji-woon’s breathlessly entertaining “The Good, The Bad, The Weird,” precisely because it mirrors the thoughts of audience members during the film’s delirious opening sequence.

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