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Leslie Mann

It Hurts Trying to Laugh at ‘The Comedian’

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

CHICAGO – Mention this possibility…Robert De Niro portrays an aging stand-up comic who once had a popular sitcom in the 1980s…and 99% of filmgoers are in. Add that he beds a woman 25 years his junior, does community service, roasts Cloris Leachman and becomes a reality show host, and suddenly 80% of that 99 are out. That’s just part of the over-extension and dread in “The Comedian.”

Shapeless ‘How to Be Single’ is Dreadfully Unfunny

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

CHICAGO – Rebel Wilson’s raunchy and vulgar schtick is now way past its freshness date, but she’s the only one able to elicit any chuckles in this otherwise woebegone women-behaving-badly, anti-romantic comedy, “How to Be Single.”

Tartan Prancer – Yes, a Fictional Albanian Car – Steals the Otherwise Borrowed Show in ‘Vacation’

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

CHICAGO – Retreads from classics are often as weary as having to write that they are almost never as good as the original. And here we go again with the Ed Helms-led “Vacation,” which fails to capitalize on the beloved Chevy Chase film “National Lampoon’s Vacation” from 1983.

Sharpness Wears Down to Dull in ‘The Other Woman’

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

CHICAGO – Cameron Diaz has a firm grasp on her … image. She has carefully transitioned throughout her career from ingenue to comedienne to voiceover to the new film “The Other Woman.” But what begins as a sharp revenge comedy collapses into a bonding-sticky-sweet dullness.

‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ Hindered by Extra Sidekick

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

CHICAGO – Talking dogs have been around for decades in animated movies and television shows, especially the anthropomorphized kind. From the superhero antics of Underdog to the biting sarcasm from the likes of Brian from “Family Guy” - take your pick and you can find a dog to your liking. I always took a shine to Mr. Peabody, the intelligent and resourceful beagle with a penchant for puns.

Sofia Coppola Captures Cult of Celebrity in ‘The Bling Ring’

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

CHICAGO – We live a celebrity-driven culture that not only easily dismisses when its celebutantes get DUIs but practically sees the occasion as a rite of passage. We follow gossip websites to the degree that we know the schedules of people who are famous just for being famous better than we know our family’s.

Judd Apatow’s ‘This is 40’ Clutters Truth with Cliché

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

CHICAGO – Judd Apatow’s “This is 40” is a true disappointment, a comedy that purports to say something honest and insightful about approaching middle age in the ‘10s but blurs truth by smothering it in contrivance and cliché. Strong work from Leslie Mann and Albert Brooks rescue the project from complete disaster but the largely-unfunny and almost entirely disingenuous script mark this as the talented Apatow’s most notable misfire.

Fun, Brilliant ‘ParaNorman’ Delivers For All Audiences

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

CHICAGO – “ParaNorman” is not only the best animated film of 2012 by a large margin but it’s better than anything that came out last year as well. The latest stop-motion gem from LAIKA (who made another one of the best animated films of the last several years in “Coraline”) is smart, funny, scary, imaginative, and, most surprisingly of all, moving. Don’t miss it.

Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds Buried Under ‘The Change-Up’

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

CHICAGO – “The Change-Up” is an undeniable mess, as any movie that opens with a grown man getting baby crap projected into his mouth would be (and that’s just the beginning), but one of the worst scripts of the year is saved from the depths of comedy hell by a talented cast headlined by the typically-restrained Jason Bateman playing against type.

Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor Make Unique Couple in ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’

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

CHICAGO – John Requa and Glenn Ficarra’s “I Love You Phillip Morris” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival nearly two years ago and was released internationally so long ago that it’s out on DVD in most markets around the world. After financial difficulties plagued the first company intent on stateside distribution, the movie sat on a shelf and most of us assumed it would be making its U.S. debut on a round shiny disc.

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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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