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Alexander Skarsgard

Adolescence Boldly Drawn in ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’

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

CHICAGO – Real boldness, real truth, is hard to fine in teenage stories. The confusing and hormonal time is often trivialized, or used as a prop for unlikely situations. “Diary of a Teenage Girl” pulls no such punches, in a tale of a 15 year old girl having her first love affair – with a 35 year old man.

‘The Giver’ Takes Too Much From Young Adult Formula

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

CHICAGO – “The Giver” must have seemed a lot newer back when it was written than it does now. The Newberry Medal winning, middle school staple predates many other Young Adult series about oppressive big brother-ish societies. But its filmed adaptation, coming on the heels of “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games,” can’t help but feel like it’s riding their coattails.

Opportunity For Insight Wasted in ‘The East’

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

CHICAGO – Brit Marling is an undeniably smart, forward-thinking writer/actress in that she refuses to succumb to gender stereotypes and tries to chart her own way through the independent film movement. If this is true, and I still believe it is, why did “The East,” in which she stars and which she co-wrote, end up so frustratingly melodramatic? Why was the opportunity for true commentary or even character development within this fascinating world discarded in favor of an awkwardly-staged and poorly-written love story laden with genre tropes? I so wanted to like “The East,” but it never pointed me in the direction where I could do so.

Sins of Modern Parenting Are ‘What Maisie Knew’

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

CHICAGO – When mixing parenting responsibility, the separation of those parents and a legal system that cannot address the farce of human retaliation, the results become “What Maisie Knew.” Julianne Moore portrays a rock star, and the mother to the title character.

Contemporary Society is Caught Online in ‘Disconnect’

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

CHICAGO – “Disconnect” is a punch in the gut, the backlash of our current technology, and a film that could have happened yesterday. It is a trenchant cautionary tale, warning us about the excesses of every blinking screen and “smart” device that supposedly is making our lives easier, but can just as easily become instruments of destructive. It is about how we live now.

Despite Rihanna, Peter Berg’s ‘Battleship’ Lands as One of the Best Popcorn Flicks Ever

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

CHICAGO – “Battleship” certainly could simplistically be reduced to a 131-minute propaganda piece of why you might want to enlist in the U.S. Navy – that is, if Earth had to ward off lizard-like creatures from a deep-space solar system we can only reach by slingshotting a highly amplified “What’s up, aliens?” broadcast to them.

Lars Von Trier’s Mesmerizing ‘Melancholia’ Turns Depression Into Art

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

CHICAGO – Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia” is a mesmerizing, haunting portrayal of the world-shattering force of depression from a filmmaker who has first-hand knowledge of the debilitating disease. With career-best work by Kirsten Dunst and some of the most confident filmmaking from its controversial director, this is one of the best films of 2011, a stunningly original examination of that which is completely out of our control.

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