John C. Reilly

'Ralph Breaks the Internet' is a Mature, Bittersweet Heart-breaker

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

CHICAGO – The internet we know today is a fairly young invention full of some of the greatest conveniences known to man, but also some of the greatest distractions and nuisances currently in our lives. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” embodies just that, and while it doesn’t quite reach the high score of its predecessor, the maturity and wisdom displayed in it more than makes up for it.

Despite One Premise, Laughs Are Plenty in ‘The Little Hours’

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

CHICAGO – It occurred to me in assessing “The Little Hours” that the basic premise is somewhat like “The Beguiled” – a man is taken in, rooster-like, into a henhouse where there are women with “needs.” Except this time, instead of a girl’s boarding school, it is a 14th Century nunnery. Get thee to it, if thou wants to laugheth.

Rousing Adventure Awaits in ‘Kong: Skull Island’

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

CHICAGO – King Kong is a wholly generated creature of the movies. Ever since the gorilla legend came to life on screen way back in 1933, he has appeared in countless official remakes, cheap exploitation flicks and now as a symbol of American overreach. He still rules in “Kong: Skull Island.”

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ a Gleeful Space Romp

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

CHICAGO – “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is a gleeful Star Wars knockoff dressed up in Marvel Comics clothing. It occupies the same universe as Marvel’s other properties, but its tone is decidedly sillier. It has a spirit more akin to the later joke heavy installments of the Star Trek franchise or low budget exploitation mogul Roger Corman’s “Battle Beyond The Stars” than the ponderous pontificating of “Thor.”

Voice Cast Delights in Wonderful ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

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

CHICAGO – The nostalgia of the old video game arcade comes to life in a charming and fun way in the new Disney film, “Wreck-It Ralph.” One of the strengths is the precise selection of celebrity voices used to animate the rollicking characters. John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch are part of the familiar voice cast.

Funny, Political ‘The Dictator’ with Sacha Baron Cohen

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

CHICAGO – Ali G, Borat, Bruno and the Stationmaster Guy in “Hugo” is now “The Dictator.” Sacha Baron Cohen puts on another character mask and produces his usual style of cheap laughs with a surprising sense of political sharpness. Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley go along for the ride.

Midnight Show Vibe in ‘Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie’

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

CHICAGO – The midnight movie show, popularized by “Rocky Horror,” always needs new candidates. The raunchy, hit-and-miss “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” is fresh midnight meat, stamped with “love” from Tim Heidecker and Eric Warheim of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim (”Tom Goes to the Mayor”).

Oedipus Wrecks Tilda Swinton in ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’

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

CHICAGO – The mother and son relationship is perhaps one of the most complicated ever invented. In giving birth to an opposing gender, the woman must then deal with a maturation process foreign to her own, with all the potential psychosis attached. Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller play the game in “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”

Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz Shine in Roman Polanski’s Surprisingly Average ‘Carnage’

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

CHICAGO – Roman Polanski may not seem to be the first choice for a film about culture clashes in New York City but he has notable experience with dramas with only a few characters in a few locations (“Knife in the Water,” “Cul-de-sac,” “Death and the Maiden”). He knows how to build character tension through interaction – the games people play with words.

‘Terri’ Paints Honest Portrait of Adolescent Alienation

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

CHICAGO – Nothing says “Official Selection at Sundance” quite like an obese teen grappling with an angst-ridden existence. There have been countless pictures centering on young, plus-size protagonists, though few feel three-dimensional. Tracy Turnblad and Claireece Precious Jones aren’t people so much as they are symbols of survival in the face of adversity. It’s easy to root for them, but it’s more than a little difficult to believe in them.

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  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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