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Ann Dowd

There is Little Beauty to Be Found in ‘Collateral Beauty’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Charles Dickens once said, “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Seeing the trailer for “Collateral Beauty,” it’s obvious this is the theme of the film, but it is also the theme of this review. My “blessing” to you is the foresight not to waste your time with this film.

Sandra Bullock Bombs in Bad ‘Our Brand is Crisis’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.5/5.0
Rating: 0.5/5.0

CHICAGO – This misbegotten political satire shows almost as much contempt for its audience as its characters do for the politicians they’re supposed to be helping. This movie thinks it is smartly cynical, but it’s about as smart as a Larry the Cable Guy routine at a Donald Trump rally. Hate is not a big enough word for how I felt about this movie. I loathed, detested, scorned, despised, and abhorred this Hollywood abomination, that is so full of its own smug satisfaction it can’t see how dumb it really is.

Earnest ‘Gimme Shelter’ Needs More Truth

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

CHICAGO – The balancing act between reality and drama in based-on-truth narratives is as delicate as walking the high wire. Pour in too much drama, and a story can feel like a soap opera. “Gimme Shelter,” although earnestly and achingly performed, has that sudsy protocol.

Rooney Mara, Jude Law Star in Steven Soderbergh’s Thrilling, Stellar ‘Side Effects’

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

CHICAGO – Steven Soderbergh has given interviews in which he claims that his latest film, the fantastic “Side Effects,” will be his last. As much as I have my doubts that this is true, it makes more sense after viewing the thriller starring Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum. It plays like a proof of the auteur theory; like a “Greatest Hits” of Soderbergh’s career.

Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan in Mediocre ‘Bachelorette’

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

CHICAGO – “Bachelorette,” now playing On Demand (and doing quite well on that format) and opening in theaters tomorrow, is a modestly successful comedy with some very talented stars stuck with an incredibly inconsistent script. The performers do their best and there are some scenes that work but the overall piece is remarkably forgettable, reminding viewers of “Bridesmaids” and “The Hangover” while failing to match either in terms of laughs.

Stunning ‘Compliance’ Will Rattle You For Days

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

CHICAGO – Craig Zobel’s “Compliance” has provoked outbursts, walk-outs, and altercations at screenings since it first premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Why? What does this unsettling film tap in viewers to get them as fired up as any movie in years?

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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