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Visual Excellence Aside, ‘Coco’ is Just So-So

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

CHICAGO – “Coco” bears all the visual hallmarks of the Pixar Studio at its best, however its story bears the more recent symptoms of creative exhaustion. In this story, a young boy named Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) aims to follow his heart and pursue music, but toe tapping tunes have been strictly forbidden in his home.

Johnny Depp Stays Afloat in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’

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

CHICAGO – The “Pirates Of The Caribbean” series has undergone a strange transformation over five films. The first film was better than any movie “based on a theme park ride” then it had any business being. But now in its fifth film voyage, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” bears a closer resemblance to the ride now more that ever.

Flawless ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a New Classic

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

CHICAGO – Do not doubt the power of live action to create a new atmosphere of joy and…dare I say it…beauty. The re-imagining of the animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” is everything that the previous was and much more. It packs a true and emotional wallop that follows through to the end.

Discover the 2017 Oscar Short Film Nominees

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

CHICAGO – One of the more overlooked set of nominees at Academy Awards time is two categories for Best Short Film – Live Action and Animated. The 2017 nominees are packaged as two presentations that are currently screening in Chicago at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema.

Strong Cast Turns on ‘The Light Between Oceans’

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

CHICAGO – In the early 1970s, “Love Story” was all the rage, with its catchphrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Just as sudsy, and with its own catchphrase, is “The Light Between the Oceans.” The film, set in the early 20th Century, salvages a by-the-numbers tale with fine performances.

Sweetness & Light is the Character of ‘The BFG’

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

CHICAGO – One observation…when ‘The BFG” was written in 1982 by iconic children’s author Roald Dahl, little did he know that acronyms would become the way we talk. When I first saw that title, I wondered what that “F” stood for. It’s “Friendly,” by the way, which is perfect for this film.

‘Finding Dory’ Essentially Finds Its Sweet Spot

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

CHICAGO – Pixar’s sequel to its underwater animated tearjerker “Finding Nemo” isn’t quite in the same league, but “Finding Dory” is satisfying all the same. This time the story focuses on Marlin and Nemo’s forgetful friend Dory, as she searches for the family she can’t quite remember.

‘The Jungle Book’ is a Technical Marvel Missing Some Magic

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

CHICAGO – While Disney Studios’ new live action version of “The Jungle Book” is an improvement over the 1967 animated version, it’s more of a technical marvel than magical fable. And it’s unable to completely transcend the earlier version’s limitations.

Shining Restoration of Jean Cocteau’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

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

CHICAGO – One of the legendary films in cinema history is Jean Cocteau’s “La Belle et La Bete,” also known to generations as “Beauty and the Beast.” The restored re-release is touring the country, and in Chicago it’s currently at the Gene Siskel Film Center, and Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com will lead a discussion of the film there on Monday, April 11, 2016.

‘Inside Out’ is a Loving Masterwork of Pixar Animation

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

CHICAGO – It starts with the imagination, and the story that comes from that lightning inner creativity. Nobody, it seems, does it better than Pixar Animation, and they are taking it all to a new level. For your consideration, and in a perfect world a candidate for Best Picture, “Inside Out.”

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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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