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Bill Nighy

‘Their Finest’ is British Filmmaking at Its Finest

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

CHICAGO – In a combined BBC Films, Welsh Government and Pinewood (London) Pictures production, the British-based “Their Finest” pairs England’s history with authentic and passionate romance, to create a sly and funny riff on propaganda films and the British movie industry during the early days of World War II.

Charming ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ Bucks Botched Sequel Trend

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

CHICAGO – Motivated by financial necessity, sequels often mitigate business risk and satisfy studio executives by riding on the coattails of a previous fan base with brand equity. But business aside, to moviegoers the follow-up product so often feels like it “wasn’t nearly as good as the first” or didn’t need to return at all.

Slushy ‘About Time’ Still Says All You Need is Love

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

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Richard Curtis is somewhat of a love guru. Fresh on the heels of the tenth anniversary of what is now his classic Christmas movie, “Love Actually,” comes his latest ode to amore. It’s about life, passion and – oh yeah – a little time travel. It’s “About Time.”

‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ Has Some Fee-Fi-Fo Fun

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

CHICAGO – The trend of taking ancient fairy tales – “Hanzel and Gretel” and “Snow White,” for example – and converting them into computer generated mega-pictures is peculiar, and glaringly profitable (no “rights” to buy). The latest, “Jack and the Giant Slayer,” has some fun up the beanstalk again.

‘Total Recall’ Remake Should Be Wiped From Your Memory

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Paul Verhoeven’s “Total Recall” has been run through a machine and turned into a personality-less, numbing exercise in CGI action with a complete lack of any characters worth giving a damn about and a totally wasted opportunity at social commentary. Sure, seeing Jessica Biel fight Kate Beckinsale while Colin Farrell punches a robot in a speeding space elevator has something inherent that appeals to the 12-year-old boy in me but that doesn’t make it filmmaking. No, filmmaking and Len Wiseman are two things that don’t really go together.

Judi Dench Checks Into ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

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

CHICAGO – Seven desperate souls are taking risks to save some part of their world, which describes both “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and “The Avengers.” Which will win the box office war? The “heroes” of the Marigold residence include Judi Dench, Tom Wilkerson, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Dev Patel.

Loud, Boring ‘Wrath of the Titans’ Deserves Godly Vengeance

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – 2010’s “Clash of the Titans” was a surprising box office smash, making almost $500 million worldwide. That kind of money demands a sequel, but what to call it? “Clash of the Titans 2” wouldn’t be exciting enough but it should sound similar. How about “Smash of the Titans”? “Flash of the Titans”? “Bash of the Titans”? They ultimately settled on “Wrath of the Titans,” although “Trash of the Titans” or “Crap of the Titans” would have been more accurate.

Aardman Studios Offers a Merry ‘Arthur Christmas’

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

CHICAGO – Aardman Studios, the creators of the irrepressible “Wallace & Gromit” and the witty “Flushed Away” is back with another animated holiday treat, “Arthur Christmas.” Santa Claus and the gang are taken into the modern era, but the cheeky lads/lasses at Aardman can’t help but throw in a bit of whimsy and heart.

Johnny Depp Spins Animation Gold in Hilarious ‘Rango’

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

CHICAGO – When we first see the chameleon named Lars (Johnny Depp), soon to be ‘Rango,’ he is doing acting voice exercises. He is basically warming up a film that is a real hoot, and has wonderful heart.

‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ is the Darkest, Loneliest Potter Film Yet

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

CHICAGO – While “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is the most murky and forlorn Potter film yet, its most grave battle is the internal question between the corporate and creative types. Did the splitting of a single finale film into two parts truly improve on its ability to impart this grand tale or was it purely for financial reaping? From what we see in part one of the seventh film in this franchise, it turns out the answer is a lot of both.

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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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