Magnolia

British Import ‘Alan Partridge’ With Steve Coogan is Just Plain Silly

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

CHICAGO – Before earning Oscar nom validation for his “Philomena” screenplay last year, British comedian Steve Coogan led a separate life as Alan Partridge, a dopey media personality who symbolized the danger of empowering clowns like him with a microphone, whether on a news program, a late night show, or in a radio booth.

‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’ Perfectly Blends Comedy With Gore

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

CHICAGO – Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine may be unknown performers to a majority of readers – they’re far from household names – but to the right audience, the people who might be interested in something called “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil,” they RULE.

Change Comes in ‘Page One: Inside The New York Times’

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

CHICAGO – Will my kids read newspapers? It’s a question that I’ve asked myself multiple times over the years, more so as so many of them have been closed down by the explosion of technology that demanded change. With more and more people getting their news through new delivery systems, what will happen to institutions like The New York Times?

‘Oscar Shorts 2011’ Features a Few Memorable Highlights

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

CHICAGO – Has there ever been a consistent shorts program that delivered 5-star quality from start to finish? By their very nature, programs of short films seem destined to offer something more of a mixed bag and the unusual nominees selections of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences typically makes up a series of average shorts with a few highlights. This year is no different.

Ryan Gosling Cannot Save Disjointed ‘All Good Things’

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

CHICAGO – Having loved Andrew Jarecki’s “Capturing the Friedmans” and having recently named Ryan Gosling the best actor of his generation for his year-best work in “Blue Valentine,” I was psyched to fall for their collaboration on the true-crime thriller “All Good Things.” Sadly, my anticipation quickly turned to disappointment as this muddled work lurched toward a bizarre conclusion. Gosling and co-stars Kirsten Dunst and Frank Langella don’t do anything wrong here but the movie is such a mash-up of tones, fiction, and reality that it never comes together into anything coherent.

Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington Nearly Save ‘Night Catches Us’

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

CHICAGO – “They’re all around us. Ghosts. They’re everywhere.” People don’t talk like that. Especially kids. Especially not after a major revelation about their dad. It just doesn’t feel real. And that’s the problem with “Night Catches Us,” a well-intentioned drama with strong performances that somehow can’t find the realism at the heart of its story. Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington nearly rescue the piece but it just doesn’t come together into anything memorable enough to recommend.

Excellent ‘Monsters’ Finds Humanity in Creature Feature

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

CHICAGO – “Monsters” is a unique take on the giant creature genre that focuses more on the people below than the aliens above. Gareth Edwards’ highly-buzzed film could easily be read as a parable for life in an increasingly-dangerous, post-9/11 world and that ambitious subtext alone makes it one of the more intellectually captivating genre films of the year but it’s also shockingly-touching.

‘Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer’ Recounts Political Saga

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

CHICAGO –“He was going to be our first Jewish President.” This uncredited sound bite from the opening of “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer” may sound like an exaggeration but the great Alex Gibney makes the case that it is not hyperbole and that the public pedestal-knocking that happened to the former Governor was more important than you probably think. Arguably the best year in the history of the documentary continues with another strong film from one of our best non-fiction filmmakers.

Set in Tel Aviv, New Israeli Film ‘Jellyfish’ Shines With Virtue, Veracity

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – It has been a banner year so far for the Israeli film industry. Following the American debuts of “The Band’s Visit” and “Beaufort,” we now have the stunningly composed and heart-rending “Jellyfish”.

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