Spike Walters

De-Glamorizing Nicole Kidman Can’t Save ‘Destroyer’

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

CHICAGO – If you are in a particular frame of mind you can kinda see why someone thought “Destroyer” would be a good idea. It’s got an Academy Award winner, doing a physical transformation, and has a hard-boiled detective story. All of these elements in the right hands could have added up to awards show adulation.

‘Vice’ Proves It’s Okay to Laugh at Dick Cheney

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

CHICAGO – “Vice” is an occasionally very funny attempt to demystify the life and legacy of former Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney. Using some of the same gimmicks and narrative trickery he employed to great effect in “The Big Short,” writer/director Adam McKay goes deep into the weeds to try to explain how Cheney made it to the second highest office in the land.

Multi-Dimensional ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

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

CHICAGO – This animated take on Spider-Man gets a little stuck in a web entirely of its own making. Digging deeper into the weeds of the extended mythology of the comics, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” presents not one but at least seven different versions of the character.

‘Anna and The Apocalypse’ is UnDead on Arrival

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

CHICAGO – Arriving a few years too late after the great movie mashup craze, “Anna and The Apocalypse” is a zombie Christmas musical. The signature (and only) joke is that teens are dancing and singing amid the blood, guts, and gore spurting in gushers around them. But it’s less a feature film and more akin to a late run episode of “Glee,” when its creators had clearly run out of any ideas.

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Goes Deeper into Harry Potter World

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

CHICAGO – “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is like the “Joey” of film franchises, a spinoff which only exists because of its tangential connections to a better (and more beloved) property. But since this is our only current filmed connection to the “wizarding world of Harry Potter,” it’ll have to do.

Rebooted ‘Halloween’ Sequel Offers Nothing New in 2018

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

CHICAGO – At this point, the “Halloween” franchise is looking as tattered and tired as Michael Myers old William Shatner mask… fraying around the edges and on the verge of falling apart. The 2018 “reboot” sequel brings back former scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, along with original Michael Myers, Nick Castle.

‘Night School’ Can’t Get to a Passing Grade

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

CHICAGO – “Night School” is the latest undistinguished product to come off the Kevin Hart assembly line. If you’re a fan of Hart’s motormouthed and hyperactive small time schtick, you’ll find that this will just barely passed the test. But if you’re not, this movie won’t change anyone’s mind.

‘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.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Little Women: The Musical

    CHICAGO – The story of “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott, has been an American institution since its publication in 1869. The story of four girls-to-little-women during the American Civil War, with their indomitable mother holding down the household while their father is away in the war, was a perfect candidate to become a Broadway musical. The Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo) is currently presenting a brilliant adaptation of that musical for the storefront stage, and its emotion, music craft and energy is nothing sort of a triumph… this small theater company that could does it again. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the The Strawdog Theatre in Chicago through February 9th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

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