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Laurence Fishburne

‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ Adds Artistry to Mass Murder

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

CHICAGO – It takes a special kind of film that enthralls the audience so much that they stop caring about the body count and are more concerned with the main character running out of bullets. “John Wick: Chapter 2” offers the same cathartic effect as watching a Nazi get punched but in an infinitely more picturesque package.

Story Can’t Match Eye-Popping Visuals of ‘Passengers’

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

CHICAGO – The use of science fiction for all kind of stories is one of the hottest go-to genres for Hollywood today. “Passengers” is a love story, and adds the visual glory of modern special effects…but the soapy tale of a star-crossed (literally) couple is problematic and cliché ridden, and breaks at the end with heroics that are shoehorned into the rest of the scenario.

‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is Both Despairing & Disappointing

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

CHICAGO – Dang it, DC Comics and Warner Bros.! Two of my favorite comic book characters get dragged through a dull mud in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” There is a dawn all right, but instead of the bright sun over the horizon, it’s a full mooning to the fans who anticipated the film.

Direction Proves a Problem For Open Mic Drama ‘Rudderless’

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

CHICAGO – Actor William H. Macy’s directorial debut “Rudderless” is a film of open mic songwriting that tackles a recovery from grief with neat lyrics and easy metaphors. Instead of standing out, Macy has provided another sap’s ballad that has the cuteness of “Kumbaya”, one that aims to please the crowd without challenging emotions, only presenting them.

Steven Soderbergh’s Riveting ‘Contagion’ With Matt Damon

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

CHICAGO – A few weeks ago saw the release of the R-rated “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” a gore-free creature feature that was given the MPAA stamp of 17-plus due to “pervasive scariness.” This week sees the PG-13-rated “Contagion,” a film SO much more pervasively scary than the movie about goblins in a distant mansion because, well, it’s about the fact that the world is pervasively scary.

Fishbone is Red Hot in ‘Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone’

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

CHICAGO – “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone” aspires to be more than an episode of “Behind the Music” and succeeds largely due to the amazing talent of the band it chronicles, the stunning, one-and-only Fishbone. It’s common for a critic to call a great, underrated band influential but Fishbone doesn’t really qualify because what they did was so unique that it’s impossible to copy.

Adrien Brody’s ‘Predators’ Unmemorably Lulls Through the Expected Motions

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

CHICAGO – Good films deliver on their promise. Great films up the ante even more. In this version of the long “Predators” franchise from director Nimrod Antal (“Control,” “Armored,” “Vacancy”) and more-known producer Robert Rodriguez (“Grindhouse,” “Sin City”), we merely see more of the same: just enough to get us by but not nearly enough to make us care.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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