Forest Whitaker

1970s Caper Film in Enjoyable ‘Finding Steve McQueen’

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

CHICAGO – The “caper” film, AKA the heist film, is one of the old reliable genres in the movies, and usually involves a gang of mismatched thieves. “Finding Steve McQueen” goes all the way back to the 1970s to spotlight a based-on-truth burglary that involves Tricky Dick himself, President Richard M. Nixon.

Science of the Human Condition Makes an ‘Arrival’

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

CHICAGO – The film genre of aliens from other planets is as old as the movies. But it hasn’t been told as boldly and humanely as the new film “Arrival.” Its theme is communication, and how this interaction relates to the concept of the life cycle. Yes, it’s lofty, but it is also edge-of-the-seat engaging.

Alternate American Dream Played Out in ‘Dope’

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

CHICAGO – If you’re lucky enough, you’ll never know what it’s like to grow up in a poor American neighborhood. But what if the notions of such societies are flipped on its ear, and what if the message draws attention to our current perceptions of race? This is what the new film “Dope” conveys.

Ramshackle, Rickety ‘Taken 3’ is Far Too Predictable

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

CHICAGO – “Taken 3” is more a brand extension than a movie. Seven years after “Taken” turned Liam Neeson into an unlikely action star, “Taken 3” shows this series has completely run out of gas. The novelty of the hulking Oscar-nominee beating bad guys to a pulp wore off a long time ago, and “Taken 3” puts Neeson through the most pedestrian set of paces yet. It says something when the operative word of his first scene is “predictable.” Neeson only says it a half dozen times.

Great Cast Can’t Find Truth in False Plotting of ‘Out of the Furnace’

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

One overriding thought dominated my time with Scott Cooper’s stunningly disappointing “Out of the Furnace” – I just don’t care. When I wasn’t picking apart the gigantic plot holes in the narrative, I was marveling at the overheated characters who have been crafted from cliché instead of the real world.

Family Emotions Uplift ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

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

CHICAGO – In one of the more intriguing ways to frame the 1960s civil rights movement, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” places the context of that African American struggle through the filter of family dynamics, focusing on the father as a butler in the White House, through six presidents.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is Back in ‘The Last Stand’

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

CHICAGO – With enough hair plugs, bronzer and hormone injections to float a rejuvenation clinic, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back from his political meanderings and is an action star once again in the shoot-’em-up “The Last Stand.” Johnny Knoxville lends some comic relief.

Jude Law, Forest Whitaker Misfire With Awful ‘Repo Men’

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

CHICAGO – Reminiscent of vastly superior work by David Cronenberg and Paul Verhoeven but with none of the directorial skill apparent in the films of those two talented men, “Repo Men” with Jude Law and Forest Whitaker is a total disaster possibly unmatched in the careers of its talented stars.

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