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Gael Garcia Bernal

Visual Excellence Aside, ‘Coco’ is Just So-So

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

CHICAGO – “Coco” bears all the visual hallmarks of the Pixar Studio at its best, however its story bears the more recent symptoms of creative exhaustion. In this story, a young boy named Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) aims to follow his heart and pursue music, but toe tapping tunes have been strictly forbidden in his home.

‘Neruda’ Turns the Biography Film Into Fine Art

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

CHICAGO – “In me nothing is extinguished or forgotten…” is a single line from a poem by Pablo Neruda (“If You Forget Me”), and succinctly describes the film tribute to him, written by Neruda’s fellow Chilean countryman Guillermo Calderón, and directed with grace by another Chilean, Pablo Larrain.

Taut, Witty ‘No’ Celebrates Unorthodox Marketing of Freedom

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

CHICAGO – The controversy swirling around Pablo Larraín’s Oscar-nominee “No” is typical of the outrage garnered by many a historical drama. Since the film focuses solely on one crucial segment of the activism that ousted Chilean dictator Pinochet during the 1988 plebiscite, some viewers will complain that not every hero in the tale is represented. Of course, that’s what encyclopedias are for.

Kate Hudson Reveals Hell in ‘A Little Bit of Heaven’

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

CHICAGO – Kate Hudson portrays a dying woman in “A Little Bit of Heaven,” and the film is so annoying that her extinguishment can’t come fast enough. The film insults both living and dying, and virtually everything in between, and brings along Lucy Punch, Kathy Bates, Gael Garciá Bernal, Peter Dinklage and Whoopi Goldberg for the funeral.

Will Ferrell Experiments with Surreal ‘Casa de mi Padre’

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

CHICAGO – Will Ferrell can never be accused of sitting on his comic laurels, nor repeating himself. “Casa de mi Padre” is a complete set-in-Mexico Spanish language film, including Ferrell’s dialogue. Although uneven, it delivers such a peculiar vibe that it can’t help but be admired, at least for the effort.

‘Even the Rain’ Takes Preachy Approach to Powerful Story

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

CHICAGO – Actress-turned-filmmaker Icíar Bollaín has an important story to tell in her fifth directorial feature, “Even the Rain.” The film is drenched in self-importance, nearly all of it justifiable. Historical events are eerily and poignantly re-enacted against a fascinating modern backdrop, drawing parallels between past and present corruption. It’s regrettable that this great idea was given such a workmanlike execution.

Vanessa Redgrave Shines in ‘Letters to Juliet,’ But Romantic Leads Bore

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

CHICAGO – I want to live in the alternate universe where Vanessa Redgrave’s Claire is the lead of “Letters to Juliet” and the two vapid dorks who trail her on a journey of lost love can learn a lesson or two but never take the spotlight. Sadly, such is not the case with this Amanda Seyfried and Christopher Egan vehicle, a romantic drama entirely stolen from its young stars by a timeless actress.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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