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Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde Resurrects Horror in ‘The Lazarus Effect’

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

CHICAGO – Psychological horror films are the best tweaks, because they remind us of our fears, and where are fears are rooted. The strange combination of science, religion and a blockbuster performance by Olivia Wilde creates an atmosphere of dread and weirdness in “The Lazarus Effect.”

‘Third Person’ an Intriguing Yet Foreseeable Labyrinth

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

CHICAGO – Don’t you hate it when you figure out where a film is going long before it gets there? That could be a problem with “Third Person,” but writer/director Paul Haggis (“Crash”) also adds enough secrets to chew on and enough multiple pathways to explore. Enter at your own risk.

Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ is Masterful Commentary on Connection

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

How do we connect with other people? Why do we often push away those we need and stay with those we don’t? Why do we hold on to relationships long after they have stopped working? Is a physical relationship with no intellectual or emotional component somehow more valuable than one that can never be person-to-person but engages on a deeper level? And how do the ways we deal with love and loss impact the way we look at the rest of the world?

Director Ron Howard Delivers a Meticulous ‘Rush’

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

CHICAGO – Defining the glory days of any sport is often centered on personal rivalries. The 1970s – notable for stand-offs like John McEnroe and Björn Borg – had a similarly contentious rivalry between Formula One car racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, portrayed in Ron Howard’s “Rush.”

Olivia Wilde Shines in Joe Swanberg’s Excellent ‘Drinking Buddies’

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

CHICAGO – Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies” has been billed as the Chicago writer/director’s breakthrough largely due to the star power on display in the cast list but the film works not merely because of the notable talents of its cast but a new maturity and wisdom displayed by its creator.

Nothing Magical About ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’

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

CHICAGO – It’s this simple – “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” just isn’t funny. Sure, there are a few laughs here and there and some of the supporting cast works but the leads are woefully miscast and most of the jokes hit with all the awkward silence of a Bennigan’s tableside magician who guesses the wrong card.

Deadly Dull ‘The Words’ Has Nothing to Say

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

CHICAGO – It may seem like easy bait for a critic but the quote whores supplied a dozen or so words for the mysterious ads for the new drama “The Words” and so I’d like to play their little game. I have a few words of my own – “Dull.” “Inert.” “Pretentious.” “Uninteresting.” “Inconsistent.” “Craptastic.” Put those on your ad.

Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks in Moving ‘People Like Us’

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

CHICAGO – “People Like Us” is an old-fashioned tearjerker with everything that phrase implies. It’s undeniably manipulative and sentimental but it’s also somewhat refreshing to see a drama that isn’t laced with irony, cynicism, or some form of postmodern commentary on the genre. “People Like Us” is a film that wants you to be moved; it wants you to cry; it wants you to feel something.

‘In Time’ With Justin Timberlake Fails to Build on Clever Idea

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

CHICAGO – Andrew Niccol has delivered complex, daring science fiction before, most notably in his scripts for “The Truman Show” and “Gattaca.” Sadly, “In Time” will never be mentioned in the same breath with those films. This is a one-idea film and that one idea is poorly executed. With some of the cheesiest, surface-level dialogue of the year, a complete lack of chemistry between the leads, and some of the choppiest action editing of the year, “In Time” is a near disaster.

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.

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