Movie Review

Film Review: Exploring an Inverse Superman Makes ‘Brightburn’ Shine

Brightburn

CHICAGO – The opening to the 1950s “Adventures of Superman” TV series includes the words “strange visitor from another planet.” But because Supes had used his subsequent powers for good, he eventually was found not so strange. What if, however, he had been evil, and used his powers destructively? The new film “Brightburn” speculates on such a phenomenon.

Film Review: ‘Aladdin’ Remake Doesn’t Live Up to Animated Source

CHICAGO – The Walt Disney Studio (cash) obsession with turning their animated film hits to live action movies continues this Memorial Day weekend with “Aladdin,” which adapts the 1992 classic. What worked in 2018 with “Beauty and the Beast” falls flat with this title, because the animated version plays better.

Film Review: ‘John Wick 3 Parabellum’ is More Bang For Your Buck

John Wick 3 Parabellum

CHICAGO – I must admit that upon initial viewing, I didn’t care much for the original “John Wick” film. Coming as it did in the post “Taken” wave of old guy revenge thrillers, I found it to be stylish but supremely silly nonsense, since it was the death of puppy as the spark that lit the fuse. However as time has gone by, John Wick has grown on me.

Film Review: ‘Poms’ Stumbles and Fumbles Through a Stale Routine

CHICAGO – There is an undeniable amount of skill and talent that goes into cheerleading. I happen to be rhythmically challenged so I am in awe of anyone, regardless of age, who can keep a beat while doing any sort of choreography. “Poms” promised to keep in step with a fresh premise, an all-star cast, and a new perspective on this tried-and-true genre but it tumbles along the way.

Film Review: Predictable, Unfunny ‘The Hustle’ Has No Game

Hustle, The

CHICAGO – As the “Oceans Eight” remake of last year proved, it is simply not enough to redo a film and flip the gender focus. Anne Hathaway may be the kiss of death for this genre, as she appeared both in O8 and the current “The Hustle,” which in turn is a remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (1988). Rebel Wilson, doing what Rebel Wilson does, portrays her sidekick.

Film Review: ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ is Family Fun for All

CHICAGO – Let’s face it. If you’re not already obsessed with Pokémon, or the parent of someone who is, you’re not likely to land in a darkened theater with “Detective Pikachu” on the marquee. But for any newbies who happen to walk in, there are a few pleasures in this big budget kid friendly blockbuster.

Film Review: History & Culture Co-Exist in Exemplary ‘The White Crow’

White Crow, The

CHICAGO – In any ear for pop culture, the name Rudolf Nureyev is well known. A Soviet Russian-born ballet virtuoso nicknamed “Lord of the Dance,” RN lived large until he died, of complications due to AIDS at age 54 in 1993. But before that, he was born into poverty, danced into fame, and historically defected to the West in 1961. “The White Crow,” a new film directed by Ralph Fiennes, tells his story.

Film Review: 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile' Unfortunately Lives Up to Its Name

CHICAGO – Hearing the details of tragic stories, we often find it hard to understand how they got into that situation in the first place, especially since all the red flags are so obvious to us. “I’d never be so dumb,” we tell ourselves.

Film Review: ‘Long Shot’ Awkwardly Combines Politics & Romance

CHICAGO – “Long Shot” is a bit of a hybrid that can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Is it a political satire, or is it another in a long line of Seth Rogen stoner comedies with a little rom com thrown in for good measure? It’s a little of both, with the shaggy dog stoner comedy the dominant form … making it a somewhat jarring and incongruous fit with the more political elements of this comedy.

Film Review: ‘UglyDolls’ is Animated Fun For Kids and Everyone Else

CHICAGO – The animation formula, for entertaining both kids and adults, is to never make the story too serious, and “UglyDolls” gets it right. The obvious moral lesson of “accepting yourself” is covered with great animating, memorable characters, peppy songs, and a sly sense of humor. In essence, made for the whole family.

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