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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

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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