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Spike Walters

‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’ is Movie Magic

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

CHICAGO – “The House With The Clock In Its Walls” is a surprisingly restrained and endearing haunted house pic for kids just getting rid of their training wheels. It’s all a spooky atmosphere with cobwebs galore, creaking doors, a stained glass window which changes on its own, and a library of books which at times resemble the avifauna predators from the Hitchcock classic “The Birds.”

‘The Predator’ is the Best Sequel Reboot of the Series

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

CHICAGO – By the standards of Predator sequels, “The Predator” is easily the best of the bunch. But that’s a depressingly low bar to clear… kind of like saying you got the nicest looking “Yugo” on the lot. Coming 31 years after Arnold Schwarzenegger battled the original “one ugly mother f**ker,” this reboot brings the space alien with the heat seeking vision to the suburbs.

‘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.

Tom Cruise Outruns Time in ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout'

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

CHICAGO – By any reasonable account, Tom Cruise should be entering into a phase in the “Mission Impossible” series not unlike the latter James Bond films of Roger Moore… appearing in closeups and letting the stuntmen do the rest. However, Cruise continues to outrun the ravages of time, and his stunts only seem to get crazier in the sixth film, “Mission Impossible: Fallout.”

‘The First Purge’ is Nothing But Tedious Trash

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

CHICAGO – I saw the original “The Purge” five years ago, but missed the other two installments. Let me say that nothing in the new prequel “The First Purge” makes me want to make up for lost time and catch up. The setup is the same… one night of legalized violence each year where the citizens are allowed to do whatever they want without the fear of prosecution.

‘Incredibles 2’ is a Sequel That Returns for Fine Fun

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

CHICAGO – If you liked Pixar Animation’s original “The Incredibles” of 14 years ago, then you’ll find a lot to like with this sequel, which puts these “supers” back in their suits for another go around to save the world. The action in “Incredibles 2” picks up almost immediately after the original film left off.

Sandra Bullock & Heist Crew Con Us in ‘Ocean’s 8’

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

CHICAGO – In “Ocean’s 8,” a diamond necklace at the Met Gala isn’t the only thing getting ripped off. This all female knock off provides a reasonable facsimile of a facsimile of the original’s suave swagger, but doesn’t have anything else to go on. “Oceans 11” is a movie that never should have gotten a sequel, much less become some kind of a franchise.

Story is Just a So-So for ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’

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

CHICAGO – “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is one intergalactic space adventure that sadly never makes the jump to light speed. The end result Is not awful, it’s not great, it’s just kinda okay… it slavishly attends to the beats hinted at in the original trilogy without offering much in the way of surprises, or freshness.

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.”

Charlize Theron in ‘Tully’ Turns Mom Into Martyr

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

CHICAGO – “Tully” is a deeply weird motherhood fantasy snuck inside the friendly-but-distancing screenwriting constructs of another pseudo ironic story by Diablo Cody. Charlize Theron plays Margo, a mother of two kids with a third due any day, struggling with the sacrifices she’s made for motherhood.

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