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CBS Films

‘The Sense of an Ending’ Ponders a Vague Mystery

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

CHICAGO – “The Sense of an Ending” is a highfalutin title, automatically putting most folks into book club mode. It is adapted from a novel, and the narrative has the same page turning-type rhythm. An old man, portrayed by Jim Broadbent, is encountering his past, while his current situation remains untenable.

Boston is Strong Again in Reliable ‘Patriots Day’

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

CHICAGO – In the context of history, and the way information is consumed these days, the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013 seems both like yesterday and a long time ago. Director Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day” is the first film account of that horrid week, and features Mark Wahlberg.

An Unnatural Approach to Romance in ‘What If’

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

CHICAGO – “What If” is a really bad title, but that is the least of the film’s concerns, apparently, as the old can-man-and-women-be-friends canard rears its indecisive but predictable head (snicker). This time it’s interpreted through Harry Potter and Elia Kazan’s granddaughter, if this is to be believed.

In Youth, It’s Good to Be ‘The Kings of Summer’

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

CHICAGO – Real summer movies shouldn’t be about superheroes or overwrought science fiction, it should be about long days working that trigger in the animal soul that awakens a sun-warmed spirit. Writer Chris Galletta and Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts crown “The Kings of Summer.”

Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt Flounder in ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’

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

CHICAGO – Often when novels with quirky titles get made into films, all that is left of the quirk is the name on the cover. That is exactly what has happened to “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” a tome authored by Paul Torday, and reduced to torpid blandness by director Lasse Hallstrøm.

Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer Wallow in Aptly Titled ‘Beastly’

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

CHICAGO – The main problem with “Beastly,” a modern high schooler retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” is that the outcome is known (Beast will learn lessons, become handsome again). That leaves only the way it gets to that end for creating story. This film cannot find its way.

Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton Are Redemptive in ‘Faster’

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

CHICAGO – The Action Film is getting a bit creaky, relying more on computer generated eye candy than character or plot. It is refreshing to experience a film like “Faster,” featuring Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton, because it is an action film that means something, and puts its inhabitants on a path to their own salvation.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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