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Kate Winslet

Woody Allen Has Run Out of Ideas with ‘Wonder Wheel’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Woody Allen emptied out his junk drawer of discarded script ideas and somehow managed to convince Kate Winslet to star in it. That’s the gist of the latest “serious Woody” entry in the Oscar winner’s long running career. Woody Allen has had some timeless triumphs, but lately he’s been more about quantity than quality.

There is Little Beauty to Be Found in ‘Collateral Beauty’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Charles Dickens once said, “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Seeing the trailer for “Collateral Beauty,” it’s obvious this is the theme of the film, but it is also the theme of this review. My “blessing” to you is the foresight not to waste your time with this film.

Expansive ‘Steve Jobs’ is a Marvel of a Movie

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

CHICAGO – You don’t need CGI, entire cities being turned to rubble, or an army of assembling Avengers to make a great movie. All you need is a good story to tell and a team of people talented enough to tell it. Writer Aaron Sorkin, and Director Danny Boyle are just the right people to make “Steve Jobs” because their finished project positively springs to life on the screen.

Shortage of Spark Makes ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ a Second-String Effort

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

CHICAGO – “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” does nothing to change the “Divergent” series status as an off brand Young Adult epic. As we’ve seen with “The Hunger Games,” these Young Adult franchises can be lots of fun and be faithful to their source material. But “Insurgent” has the same problem as the first two “Harry Potter” films – it’s too faithful, coupled with a dearth of inspiration behind the camera.

‘Divergent’ Wastes Talented Cast on Joyless Adaptation

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

CHICAGO – Despite the best efforts of a game Shailene Woodley and likely future star Theo James, Neil Burger’s “Divergent,” based on the hit book by Veronica Roth, is a joyless, soulless, humorless dud. It is repetitious to the point of parody, never feels like it exists in anything approximating reality, and, like so many “Hunger Games” wannabes, forgets that it’s the characters of that franchise that matter and not the goofy machinations of the plot.

‘Labor Day’ Provides Meaning to Romantic Tension

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

CHICAGO – There is a real power when the right filmmaker connects with the right performers. What appears on the surface to be a slight and well-worn story, gains a decided psychological edge. “Labor Day” features Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, and writer/director Jason Reitman.

Emotionally Galvanizing ‘Titanic 3D’ Transcends Unnecessary Conversion

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

CHICAGO – It takes more than expensive effects, super-sized egos and exhaustive marketing campaigns to seduce the world. For all of its visual splendor, James Cameron’s “Avatar” has already evaporated from most moviegoers’ memories. Its derivative romance and preachy messages were stretched so thin that they failed to achieve any resonant impact.

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.

Steven Soderbergh’s Riveting ‘Contagion’ With Matt Damon

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

CHICAGO – A few weeks ago saw the release of the R-rated “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” a gore-free creature feature that was given the MPAA stamp of 17-plus due to “pervasive scariness.” This week sees the PG-13-rated “Contagion,” a film SO much more pervasively scary than the movie about goblins in a distant mansion because, well, it’s about the fact that the world is pervasively scary.

Great Performances Wasted in Sterile ‘Revolutionary Road’

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

CHICAGO – Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) refuse to believe that they’re like everyone else in the 1950’s suburbia of Sam Mendes’ frustrating “Revolutionary Road”. They may go to the same jobs and travel in the same social circles, but, unlike the bored housewives and husbands around them, they haven’t given up on their dreams.

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