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Kristin Scott Thomas

Interview, Audio: Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’

CHICAGO – Gary Oldman has been generating memorable film portrayals since he broke through in the 1980s. From Sid Vicious (“Sid and Nancy”) to Lee Harvey Oswald (“JFK”) to Jim Gordon (Dark Knight Series), Oldman is a consummate actor. That is expressed in his latest role, as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”

Film Review: Mediated Performances Highlight Alternative Story of Charles Dickens’ Personal Life

The Invisible Woman
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

After years of enlivening adapted work in front of the camera and on the stage, only recently has the prolific actor Ralph Fiennes taken to directing films; in 2011 he gave the world a version of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus,” which included the odd treat of watching Gerard Butler espouse the Bard’s words from his mouth, and a sporadically-lauded performance from Vanessa Redgrave.

Blu-ray Review: Wasteful Style of Boring ‘Only God Forgives’

Only God Forgives

CHICAGO – Nicholas Winding Refn’s “Drive” made perfect use of its director’s ultra-stylized, hyper-violent aesthetic in that it became a commentary on the superficial world of moviemaking and crime and the place that they often intersect. It’s a great film. On the other end of the spectrum is Refn’s follow-up, a film that’s practically a quasi-sequel in that it again features Ryan Gosling as a stolid, nearly-silent hero. However, the end result couldn’t be different in terms of quality. Not only does “OGF” get buried in its style but it loses all semblance of anything worth giving a damn about at all. I don’t mind movies that are overly stylish. In fact, I often defend them. But there’s no defending something this boring.

Film Review: Robert Pattinson Drains Life From Misguided ‘Bel Ami’

Bel Ami
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Robert Pattinson is such a divisive actor. While he’s clearly one of the most popular young stars in the world thanks to his work in the “Twilight” films, he has yet to prove to most people that he can really act. While some who have seen David Cronenberg’s upcoming “Cosmopolis” claim that this will be the film that finally allows Pattinson to break out of the franchise that has defined him, we’re stuck with something far lesser for now, the misguided and depressing “Bel Ami,” a film that does nothing to help the critical reputation of the man otherwise known as Edward Cullen.

Film Review: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt Flounder in ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

CHICAGO – Often when novels with quirky titles get made into films, all that is left of the quirk is the name on the cover. That is exactly what has happened to “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” a tome authored by Paul Torday, and reduced to torpid blandness by director Lasse Hallstrøm.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’

CHICAGO – In the second HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our new social giveaway technology, we have 40 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new comedy/romance film “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”!

Blu-ray Review: Oscar Favorites ‘Cold Mountain,’ ‘The English Patient,’ ‘Shakespeare in Love’

Shakespeare in Love

CHICAGO – There have been a series of catalog releases so far this year (releases that aren’t exactly new but weren’t available in HD before) and there are many exciting ones still to come (Universal has an amazing slate of releases scheduled throughout the year). 2012 is going to be the year in which you complete your collection. You may want to include one of the three recently-released Lionsgate/Miramax movies to celebrate Oscar season. These were some of the Academy’s most beloved.

Blu-ray Review: Mélusine Mayance Mesmerizes in ‘Sarah’s Key’

Sarah's Key Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Sometimes one performance can bolster the impact of an entire production. That’s certainly the case with Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s overlooked adaptation of Tatiana de Rosnay’s bestseller. Though the picture’s marquee name is Kristin Scott Thomas, her character merely provides a modern framework for the real story, set during the massive 1942 deportation of Jewish civilians from France.

Film Review: ‘The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch’ is Cliché Drowned in French Style

The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – From what I understand, the name Largo Winch is a household one in Europe. While it may mean nothing here, a French spy thriller with a name like “The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch,” based on a European comic book, might sound like the perfect alternative for arthouse movie goers looking for something different this holiday weekend. Sadly, from the very beginning, “Largo Winch” feels like nothing different at all. It’s surprisingly generic, clichéd, and often dull, with only a few set pieces and dashes of French style to separate it. Far from a complete disaster, but forgettable in nearly every way.

Film Review: ‘Sarah’s Key’ Unlocks the Ever-Present Past

Sarah's Key

CHICAGO – The old saying, “those who cannot remember the past is doomed to repeat it” applies succinctly in “Sarah’s Key,” a Holocaust film with a French twist. Kristin Scott Thomas plays an American journalist who uncovers the facts in a less-remembered incident that reverberates to now.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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