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Matt Damon

Odd Times at the Cinema with ‘The Great Wall’

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

CHICAGO – Taking a concept higher than the Wall that inspired it, and mostly succeeding, “The Great Wall” gets a nod as one of the oddest stories in a long time. Pre-supposedly based on a “legend,” it brings Matt Damon into ancient China to help battle lizard monsters at the Great Wall. Book it.

Matt Damon is Fighting Mad in Tense ‘Jason Bourne’

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

CHICAGO – To come back to a character that everyone thought he had left behind, Matt Damon needed the right creative team. He got it again in co-writer (with Christopher Rouse) and director Paul Greengrass, and together they fashioned a paranoid spy tale in the rat-a-tat “Jason Bourne.”

Entertaining ‘The Martian’ is a Hollywood Space Opera

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

CHICAGO – It’s all based on science, they told us! “The Martian” is an old fashion feel-good movie about the hard working astronauts and scientists of the good old American space program, trying to rescue a stranded spaceman from Mars, aided by a brave cast of astro-colleagues.

Christopher Nolan’s Riveting Story Shines Brightest in Imperfectly Cast ‘Interstellar’

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

CHICAGO – It was Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 at 10:15 p.m. Leaving Navy Pier IMAX, I was driving north on Lake Shore Drive – a constantly busy, multi-lane highway that hugs the east of Chicago and separates it from water. What I saw next with fellow staff critic Patrick McDonald might have been normal for 3 a.m., but discussing Christopher Nolan’s new sci-fi “Interstellar” and being the only one on the road in either direction felt otherworldly.

‘Interstellar’ is Supposed to Mean Something, But What?

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

CHICAGO – It is most likely that movie goers were asking the same question of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 1968, but Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” belongs to its own category of what-is-the-meaning, because it tries to combine pseudo-science with psycho-babble, which clashes into meaninglessness. But the visuals are stunning, and there are moments of fulfillment, especially in a big screen IMAX format.

Miscast Crew Spoils Christopher Nolan’s Epic ‘Interstellar’ 

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

CHICAGO – “Interstellar” is easily director Christopher Nolan’s worst film. It contains much of the ambition and striking visuals that have endeared him to audiences, but for large chunks of the movie his own worst tendencies towards bombast, self-importance, and hippy dippy dialogue threaten to overwhelm his dandy space sequences entirely.

‘The Monuments Men’ Has Been Drained of Personality

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

George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” is processed cheese. It is a film that has been rewritten, edited, and refined until it has lost all sense of purpose or identity. There’s no flavor left. It is a film that defies genre; not quirky enough to have a comedic personality despite a cast that almost always supplies edge and not engaging enough to work as drama or thriller.

Journey to ‘Elysium’ Lacks Sci-fi Smarts

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

CHICAGO – “Elysium” is a blunt instrument. It contains all the subtlety of franchise-killer “Terminator: Salvation.” Where Neill Blomkamp’s “District 9” was surprisingly sleek and refined given its low budget and rookie creator, the follow-up proves that more is very often less.

Gus Van Sant’s ‘Promised Land’ Breaks Promise to Audiences

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

CHICAGO – When a Gus Van Sant picture works well, it can be as rousing as “Milk” or as thrillingly experimental as “Elephant.” Few filmmakers have straddled the mainstream and independent realms with such success (Steven Soderbergh would be another). But when a Van Sant film fails, it often fails spectacularly, as proven by “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” and that notoriously pointless “Psycho” remake.

Matt Damon Closes Deal in ‘We Bought a Zoo’

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

CHICAGO – Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo” is an undeniably manipulative crowd-pleaser but there’s something about being manipulated in such an expert manner that makes the tugging on the heartstrings easier to take. We know what we’re in for when we buy a ticket for a movie about children grieving the loss of their mother, endangered animals, and the healing process through talking to tigers. Most movie goers are smart enough not to expect a deep dose of subtlety.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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