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1970s

Tom Cruise in ‘American Made’ Never Gets Off the Ground

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

CHICAGO – Tom Cruise was once a Top Gun, but his newest film “American Made” never really takes off. It wants to be a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction kind of satire where commercial airline pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) winds up getting involved in the Iran Contra Affair and the Medellín drug cartel, but it never creates an enthralling place or story.

'Free Fire' Knows That Happiness is a Warm Gun

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – In a film that had a sassy, arbitrary perspective on its own flipped-out story, “Free Fire” sought to out-Quentin Tarantino in freaky funny characters and ammo-splurging gun battles. Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) took an ensemble cast to rarified heights of insult comedy, revenge dynamics and bullets that hit the bone.

Searing ‘Last Days in Vietnam’ Documents Vital History

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

CHICAGO – It has been nearly 40 years since the Vietnam War truly ended, with the desperate events during the Fall of Saigon. “Last Days in Vietnam” is a brilliant new documentary that puts it all in perspective, the final surreal folly of America’s nightmarish involvement in the Vietnam War. Director Rory Kennedy – the youngest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy – generates a precise and gripping document that lingers long after it has been experienced.

Director Ron Howard Delivers a Meticulous ‘Rush’

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

CHICAGO – Defining the glory days of any sport is often centered on personal rivalries. The 1970s – notable for stand-offs like John McEnroe and Björn Borg – had a similarly contentious rivalry between Formula One car racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, portrayed in Ron Howard’s “Rush.”

Effective ‘The Conjuring’ Captures the Sum of All Fears

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – True scary movies have a couple of things going for them – the source of the scare and the psychology of the scare. The source provides the “boo,” the audience provides the interactive psychology. “The Conjuring” is a true scary movie.

‘The Source Family’ Reveals a Communal Past

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

CHICAGO – What did you do during the 1970s, Daddy? After this Father’s Day, many adult kids might be asking that question after seeing “The Source Family.” This documentary is about a commune that began in California (naturally) in the 1970s, even after the infamous Manson Family.

Truth Trumps Fiction Again in ‘Searching for Sugar Man’

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

CHICAGO – The old axiom “truth is stranger than fiction” is proved again in the unique story of a pop troubadour from the 1970s named Rodriguez, who produced two searing albums and then disappeared into oblivion. Unknown to the artist, he became huge in South Africa. The odd hope of Rodriguez is chronicled in “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Halle Berry Expresses All Roles in ‘Frankie and Alice’

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

CHICAGO – The stunning looks of Halle Berry is always the lead whenever the entertainment media considers her. But in “Frankie and Alice,” she reminds us of why her career continues to flourish and why she is a Best Actress Oscar winner.

Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning Rock Out 1970s Style in ‘The Runaways’

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

CHICAGO – Joan Jett rocks and her 1975 roots are on display in a movie bio about her first band, “The Runaways.” Kristen Stewart portrays Jett and Dakota Fanning takes on the band’s troubled lead singer, Cherie Currie.

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  • 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).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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