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Maya Rudolph

‘The Happytime Murders’ Shoots Its Wad Too Early

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

CHICAGO – The most noteworthy feature of the puppet-noir comedy “The Happytime Murders” is its use of felt and fluff for nefarious ends, and while that’s not exactly new, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work. But the movie shoots its wad early, and doesn’t have much imagination after that beyond turning silly string into a bodily fluid.

Melissa McCarthy is the Charming ‘Life of the Party’

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

CHICAGO – Melissa McCarthy is a comedic force to be reckoned with, able to wring laughs improbably out of the stingiest of material. She always manages to find the funny, which helps elevate everyone around her, and so she slips easily in the durable friendly constructs of the campus comedy in “Life Of The Party.”

‘The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature’ is in the No-Fun Zone

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

CHICAGO – Anyone showing up to the “The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature” will know exactly what they’re going to get… it’s a late summer sequel to an animated movie you may be surprised was successful enough to warrant a sequel at all, much less a theatrically released one.

Blissful Anarchy in ‘My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea’

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

CHICAGO – In animation, the real innovators who evolve the artform are the risk takers who stamp their own inspiration on those cartoon images. Director Dash Shaw is one of those breakthroughs, who creates a work of anarchistic art in “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea.”

Beyond Being Trippy, ‘Inherent Vice’ is a Difficult Trip

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

CHICAGO – Interpreting the ambling and sonic prose of author Thomas Pynchon has eluded filmmakers until now. Director Paul Thomas Anderson takes a whack at “Inherent Vice,” and although much of the film has his usual eminent vision, as a whole it makes for difficult sledding.

‘Big Hero 6’ is Sorely Lacking the Charm Component

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

CHICAGO – “Big Hero 6” is a dark revenge thriller masquerading as a kids movie. Walt Disney Studios takes a few pages from its corporate cousin Marvel, while creating this new animated adventure. It has its moments, but not quite enough of them to make this anything more than a minor entry in the Disney legacy.  

B-Level Story Sinks Finely Animated ‘The Nut Job’

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

CHICAGO – It feels like when any studio besides Disney or Pixar does an animated film with celebrity voices, there is a little less lacquer on it. What the other two remember, and others forget, is that it starts with a script. All the toon landscapes in the world can’t fix a dull story.

Light, Speedy ‘Turbo’ is a Great Race for Kids

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

CHICAGO – Summer vacation means summer animated movies, and nothing will give the kids more of a break than rooting for a snail that becomes as fast as an Indy race car. Why not put him in the Indianapolis 500? Ryan Reynolds is the voice of that miracle mollusk named “Turbo.”

‘Grown Ups 2’ is the Worst Comedy Since 2010’s Loathed ‘Grown Ups’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.0/5.0
Rating: 0.0/5.0

CHICAGO – There’s a time and a place where overacting is acceptable – musicals, children’s plays, Broadway – but there’s nothing worse than using it all the time in every wrong place.

For a Real Summer Movie, Go ‘The Way, Way Back’

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

CHICAGO – Nothing evokes the time, sights and smells of summer like the getaway resort. The long days, the mystery of night, the first crush and the summer job are all brought back in the soapy yet fun “The Way, Way Back,” featuring Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney.

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