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Patrick McDonald

‘The Witnesses’ Bear the AIDS Burden of a Time Less Remembered

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – While Paris, France in 1984 probably wasn’t as romantic as the Paris in several of its other lionized eras, it existed just the same. As portrayed in “The Witnesses,” it was an age that may have been more uncertain than the others based on a melting pot of inhabitants who immigrated to the City of Lights in search for a new life.

‘Body of War’ Confronts Grisly Realities of U.S. War Mistakes in Iraq

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – They are invisible in the current war, which has lasted longer than World War II. It’s the soldier in Iraq who fights on – in the face of public apathy at home – and who carries out the decisions of an administration that has chosen to hide their caskets in death.

Star-Crossed Lovers Create Road to Ruin in ‘Before the Rains’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – By its very nature, colonialism is bad karma waiting to happen.

You are a sovereign nation with weaponry and a desire for treasure. While you invade and take over a country with that treasure, it also comes with a society you don’t understand. You stir in religious dogma, native slavery and the defiling of lands and create an evil stew that’s ripe to boil over.

Tepid Con Job Spoils Sexual Intrigue in ‘Deception’ With Ewan McGregor

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2/5CHICAGO – Despite its timid title, “Deception” has all the right ingredients for a decent tale of mystery: a strong premise, sound acting and the famous femme fatale. It even starts with a promising conviction: How does a background player in life deal with initiation into a secret society?

‘Deal’ is No Big Deal as Career of Burt Reynolds Fades Away

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1/5CHICAGO – Poor Burt Reynolds. As the No. 1 box-office star from 1978 to 1982, he revived his film career in 1997 with “Boogie Nights”. Since then, he has had the long, slow decline of “B” movies and bad remakes. Reynolds even tainted his own legacy by participating in the horrible 2005 redo of “The Longest Yard”.

Considering Sore Subject Matter of ‘Chapter 27,’ ‘Why?’ is Only Plausible Reaction

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2/5CHICAGO – As a contemporary of the John Lennon assassination in 1980 and an ardent admirer of the late Beatle, I had a hard time figuring out the reasons for making the film “Chapter 27”.

‘The Visitor’ Works Out America’s Demons Following Sept. 11, 2001

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – “The Visitor” is a subtle film. Created by the unique talent of writer and director Thomas McCarthy – who also generated the equally subtle world of “The Station Agent” – this new work explores the nature of who belongs where.

‘Zombie Strippers’ an Intentionally Killer ‘B’ Movie That Loves the Skin It’s In

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – As the title implies, “Zombie Strippers” has everything and more. How many films about strippers who are zombies also quote the bible and Friedrich Nietzsche? This film is loads of fun because it has loads of everything.

Ignoring Old Show-Business Rules, Rolling Stones Brightly ‘Shine a Light’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3/5CHICAGO – In The Beatles versus The Rolling Stones debate (which no one under 40 would have), I’m decidedly in the corner of the Fab Four. I do acknowledge, however, the sheer stamina and staying power of The Rolling Stones.

Veteran Michael Caine Makes ‘Flawless’ Sparkle, Reveals Great Crime Behind Great Fortune

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – As this year of heist films set in London continues (“The Bank Job” was last month), “Flawless” does adhere to the rules of successful application of this genre.

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