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‘Peppermint’ Offers Nothing New in Revenge Genre

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

CHICAGO – When a revenge film gets a bit stale, as they tend to do, the best way to pass the time is to start counting how many people are indiscriminately killed. “Peppermint,” which has the former “Alias” star Jennifer Garner going back to an action mode, had 36 (give or take) quality kills, with the last one taking the longest between executions.

‘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.

Aaron Sorkin’s Directorial Debut in ‘Molly’s Game’

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

CHICAGO – High stakes poker are for folks who prefer to get their rush of adrenalin from the turn of a card rather than other life risks. The positives, the negatives and everything in between are in “Molly’s Game,” the feature directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing” creator). Let’s walk and talk.

‘Their Finest’ is British Filmmaking at Its Finest

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

CHICAGO – In a combined BBC Films, Welsh Government and Pinewood (London) Pictures production, the British-based “Their Finest” pairs England’s history with authentic and passionate romance, to create a sly and funny riff on propaganda films and the British movie industry during the early days of World War II.

‘The Space Between Us’ Falls Into a Black Hole & Dies

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

CHICAGO – You know you’re in trouble when the opening scene of a film inspires forehead slapping levels of incredulity. And that’s just the beginning of what I felt while watching “The Space Between Us,” another entry in the long line of would-be weepies about young lovers torn apart, usually by class or disease. The film desperately wants to be a millennial love story for a generation, and has plenty of faults but precious few stars in its tale of literal star-crossed lovers.

Edge Ebbs & Flows in ‘The Edge of Seventeen’

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

CHICAGO – “The Edge of Seventeen” does attempt to do some different things with the growing-up-too-soon teenager soap opera – it throws in a authentic parent, contemporary sex issues and truthful awkwardness. But it can’t help being too heroic, and too “everything’s all right.”

Strong Cast Makes ‘Bad Moms’ Good for Some Laughs

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

CHICAGO – “Bad Moms” is another raunchy women behaving badly comedy that never met a curse word it didn’t like. But I’ll say this for ‘Bad Moms,’ it’s rebellion comes from a relatable place. What parent hasn’t wondered if they were in some way failing their children in some way by failing to live up to our pinterest levels of perfection?

Social History is Revitalized in ‘Free State of Jones’

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

CHICAGO – The United States is still fighting the Civil War, which ended in 1865. The rebellious South has never completely given away its anger and sorrow for the changes the war has wrought on them. These larger themes are examined historically in the new film, “Free State of Jones.”

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