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Focus Features

Ewan McGregor Needs More Seasoning in 'Beginners'

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

CHICAGO – When the matriarch of a family dies, the void can create dynamic shifts or imbalance for those left behind. Pair that turmoil with the announcement that a surviving father is gay, and the atmosphere is created for the new film “Beginners.”

Saoirse Ronan Rocks in Joe Wright’s Riveting ‘Hanna’

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

CHICAGO – You won’t be able to take your eyes of Saoirse Ronan in Joe Wright’s action film “Hanna,” a visceral thrill ride that’s likely to be a more satisfying experience than most of the action blockbusters that will fill the multiplex as the temperatures rise. With an A-list cast and incredible production values, “Hanna” is a speeding train. Hop on and hold on tight.

Mia Wasikowska, Judi Dench Float on ‘Jane Eyre’

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

CHICAGO – Film adaptations of classic literature are often lose-lose scenarios. The ardent admirers of the source often sour on what is left out, and the average filmgoer might wonder what the fuss is about when experiencing a truncated interpretation. There is obvious passion behind the latest adaptation of “Jane Eyre,” with performances that follow that lead.

Channing Tatum, Roman Empire Land in ‘The Eagle’

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

CHICAGO – In ancient times, history was at the end of a sword point and edge of the world. “The Eagle” tells of a Roman Empire battle in those times, and Channing Tatum plays a general bent on restoring his family name.

Sofia Coppola’s Lyrical ‘Somewhere’ Nearly Finds Meaning in Nothing

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

CHICAGO – Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” is her most lyrical film, a work that feels not unlike Gus Van Sant’s “Last Days” or “Elephant” in its liberal use of long takes, huge gaps in dialogue, and real-time scenes that seem to go nowhere. It is a minimalist mood piece and that mood is the melancholy that comes with the realization that you’ve accomplished very little of real significance and your daily routine is nothing more than varying cycles of self-fulfillment.

‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’ Coasts on the Charm of its Cast

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

CHICAGO – Though “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is the third feature film from Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, it’s the duo’s first picture that feels like it was made by first-time filmmakers. While their previous two features, “Half Nelson” and “Sugar,’ were entrenched in documentary realism and exuded the assurance and nuance of master filmmakers, this latest effort feels oddly programmed for mainstream consumption.

George Clooney Does it Italian Style in Excellent ‘The American’

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

CHICAGO – What if the most dangerous and pursued assassin in the world began to develop a flaw in his delivery, due to the vulnerability of simple human contact? Where does religion, carnality and love fit in that connection? George Clooney plays that assassin-type in “The American,” holed up for one more job, the job that might answer both of those questions.

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