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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.

‘The Magnificent Seven’ is How the Western Was Lost

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

CHICAGO – The appeal of Westerns was mostly lost on me when I was younger. The tales of these hypermasculine wanderers, answering every problem with a gun, never appealed to me. When I got older, I discovered their messages of honor and self-defense against corruption. The genre proved it could be more than one-liners and shootouts, but “The Magnificent Seven” set out to be only that.

‘When the Bough Breaks’ is in Need of Repairs

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

CHICAGO – Popular nursery rhymes are told to children as a way to calm them, but also as some kind of cautionary tale. Most of us could hear the melody and be able to sing the words along with it. This predictability is both its greatest strength and weakness, but the predictability that is the nursery cautionary tale in “When the Bough Breaks” is anything but a strength.

‘Don’t Breathe’ is a Terrifying Sensory Experience

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

CHICAGO – The horror genre can be a complex creature. The great films can show you the difference between ‘horror’ and ‘terror’. Some horror is all shock and no substance, while terror can be all fear, but no shock. The difference between them is so nuanced that only a skilled director, like Fede Alvarez, can show you the difference in his latest film, “Don’t Breathe.”

‘Sausage Party’ is a Hard R-Rated Raunchy Good Time

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

CHICAGO – First things first. Don’t let the fact this is animated fool you, “Sausage Party” is most decidedly, definitely, absolutely NOT FOR CHILDREN. This is a hard R-rated Seth Rogen raunch fest that may induce nightmares for more sensitive viewers and contains images of animated debauchery that can not be unseen. But it is inventively profane, with more on its mind than just animated f-bombs.

Approach of ‘Money Monster’ is Pure Fraud

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – In our society there is one eternal truth…the rich will ALWAYS win, that’s one of the reasons that they are rich. So when “Money Monster” attempts to take them down a peg with a ridiculous fantasy story, it’s as fraudulent as what they pretend to be fighting. An oligarch watches this, and laughs at us.

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.

‘The 5th Wave’ Crashes, Then Slowly Dissipates

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

CHICAGO – Is there ever an end to the Young Adult Dystopia genre (“Hunger Games,” “Maze Runner,” etc.)? Or are we cursed with the end of the world every year, if it weren’t for those meddling kids? “The 5th Wave” is the latest adaptation, and if you haven’t read the source novel, good luck following it.

Not Too Many Good Reasons to Experience ‘The Walk’

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

CHICAGO – I am not opposed to dramatic retellings of true events from history, but I think the drama should at least be as entertaining as a PBS documentary on the same subject. “The Walk” tells the true story of a French wire walker and the twin tower World Trade Center in the mid-1970s…when he strung a wire between them, and then proceeded to walk from one tower to the other without a net more than a thousand feet in the air.

Drac Pack Still a Drag in ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’

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

CHICAGO – For the younger set unable to experience the mystique of Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein in their original creations, “Hotel Transylvania 2” may prove to be an introduction to the legendary bloodsucker and his band of movie monsters – and for that Adam Sandler deserves a stake through his heart.

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  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • 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.

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