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Sam Riley

'Free Fire' Knows That Happiness is a Warm Gun

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

CHICAGO – In a film that had a sassy, arbitrary perspective on its own flipped-out story, “Free Fire” sought to out-Quentin Tarantino in freaky funny characters and ammo-splurging gun battles. Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) took an ensemble cast to rarified heights of insult comedy, revenge dynamics and bullets that hit the bone.

Hard to Find a Point to ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

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

CHICAGO – Having not read this best-selling source novel, I had a hard time understanding the point of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.’ Amazingly, it falls short as both a zombie movie and a satire of the original Jane Austin “Pride and Prejudice” story, which was its only achievement as a final result.

Neil Jordan’s ‘Byzantium’ Feels Drained of Passion

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

CHICAGO – I’ve rarely said this about Neil Jordan movie – in fact, maybe never – but I was bored during his latest, the vampire drama “Byzantium,” a movie with an intriguing cast and interesting story but little in the way of passion, emotion, dread, or the other intangibles needed to make a horror film like this effective.

Visceral ‘On the Road’ Honors a Great American Novel

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

CHICAGO – The 1957 novel “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, was a missile across the bow of American social conventions, and a precursor to the radical 1960s. For over fifty years, it has eluded a film adaptation, until director Walter Salles (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) found the way to capture it.

‘Brighton Rock’ Remake Fails to Justify its Existence

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

CHICAGO – Rowan Joffe’s long-gestating remake of “Brighton Rock” (the 1947 noir classic was based on the beloved book by Graham Greene) raises the question least-desired in one of these situations – why bother? Sure, the story is a nifty little tale of a rising criminal undone by his own avarice and the love of a girl and the cast assembled for the remake is an undeniably talented ensemble.

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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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