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Corey Stoll

Matthew McConaughey is All That Glitters in ‘Gold’

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

CHICAGO – The relish that Matthew McConaughey displays in creating his latest character in “Gold,” a Willy Loman-type mining exec who is looking for his biggest score, is most of the reason to experience the film. However, there isn’t exactly a motherlode when it comes to the story.

Old Hollywood Glamour in Woody Allen’s ‘Café Society’

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

CHICAGO – In the 1930s, the contrast between the world of Hollywood movie sparkle and the rest of a Depression-era America was as different as peasants and kings. Writer/director Woody Allen captures this dichotomy with an East Coast/West Coast tale of one family in “Café Society.”

Johnny Depp is Ghoulish in Mob Saga ‘Black Mass’

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

CHICAGO – “Black Mass” is a well crafted, if somewhat conventional crime tale. It won’t win any awards, but it’s entertaining enough. The story of real life Boston crime boss “Whitey” Bulger has no shortage of juicy details, and while the saga of this mob boss slash FBI turncoat falls short of greatness, Johnny Depp turns him into an otherworldly presence.

A Perfect Paul Rudd, Michael Peña Bring Often-Overlooked Humor to ‘Ant-Man’

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

CHICAGO – In 1989, Rick Moranis played a scientist father in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” who accidentally shrinks kids to the size of insects. But dating back to a first appearance in 1962, Marvel Comics first published the Ant-Man character. His persona was the superhero alias of the scientist Hank Pym after inventing a substance that allowed him to shrink himself.

Unoriginal, Unfunny ‘This is Where I Leave You’ a Poor Man’s ‘August: Osage County’

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

CHICAGO – Jason Bateman and an all-star cast got me there. The unfunny copycat story left me regretting it. If you don’t start with a solid plot that’s at least somewhat new, it doesn’t matter how many “A”-listers you throw into an ensemble. They’re just individuals doing the best they can with weak material. But the film’s fatal flaw is it can’t figure out who it is – a comedy, drama or dramedy? – and it didn’t do just one thing well.

Liam Neeson Can’t Bring ‘Non-Stop’ in On-Time

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

I’m a sucker for a well-toasted slice of escapism that employs a singular setting to maximum impact. Liam Neeson trapped on a plane with a devious killer who’s trying to extort $150 million from him? Where do line up to buy a ticket? Seriously, this is the kind of Oscar counter-programming that I love this time of year—turn off your mind and take a trip with “Non-Stop”.

‘C.O.G.’ is a Touching Indication of Life’s Crossroads

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

CHICAGO – Finding identity, especially in the post-collegiate twentysomething time of life, is often fraught with accidental circumstance and heartache. The new film “C.O.G.,” adapted from a short essay from author David Sedaris, is a beautifully sensitive comedy about that rocky identity road, portrayed through a youthful and somewhat clueless preppy from Yale.

Jeremy Renner Propels Clever ‘The Bourne Legacy’

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

CHICAGO – Tony Gilroy’s world of double crosses, super spies, and covert government programs returns in the writer/director’s clever expansion of the world he created as the writer of “The Bourne Identity,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.” The Oscar winner doesn’t just offer a traditional sequel, presenting a new leading man and a story that takes place in the same world of international espionage as its predecessors but feels more like a spin-off than a follow-up.

Woody Allen’s Charming ‘Midnight in Paris’ Delights

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

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen and the amazing cinematographer Darius Khondji (“Seven,” “The City of Lost Children”) very purposefully open their new film “Midnight in Paris” with a long series of static shots of the title city before even presenting a cast list. You see, Paris is a cast member in this film. The sun rises, people hustle and bustle through Paris, they sip coffee in cafes, the lights go on at dusk, and the city sleeps.

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  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • 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.

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