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‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ Relies on Second-Hand Wonder

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

CHICAGO – It’s been five years since the last Harry Potter film, and for fans eager to scratch that itch for a dreamworld of magic again “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” will probably suffice. It’s this story’s tangential connection to the Harry Potter universe that is its biggest asset – but the film unfortunately can’t muster up much wonder on its own.

Tom Hanks is Solid, But ‘Sully’ Never Really Soars

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

CHICAGO – “Sully” is a solid effort from Director Clint Eastwood, but it never really soars the way its supposed to. It’s a good story, helped immeasurably by Tom Hanks low key performance, but it feels unnecessary. The problem may be that the story of the pilot who pulled off the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” is so well known, the movie can’t really add anything to it.

Sandra Bullock Bombs in Bad ‘Our Brand is Crisis’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.5/5.0
Rating: 0.5/5.0

CHICAGO – This misbegotten political satire shows almost as much contempt for its audience as its characters do for the politicians they’re supposed to be helping. This movie thinks it is smartly cynical, but it’s about as smart as a Larry the Cable Guy routine at a Donald Trump rally. Hate is not a big enough word for how I felt about this movie. I loathed, detested, scorned, despised, and abhorred this Hollywood abomination, that is so full of its own smug satisfaction it can’t see how dumb it really is.

Johnny Depp is Ghoulish in Mob Saga ‘Black Mass’

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

CHICAGO – “Black Mass” is a well crafted, if somewhat conventional crime tale. It won’t win any awards, but it’s entertaining enough. The story of real life Boston crime boss “Whitey” Bulger has no shortage of juicy details, and while the saga of this mob boss slash FBI turncoat falls short of greatness, Johnny Depp turns him into an otherworldly presence.

‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Just a Big Screen Bore

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

CHICAGO – Director Guy Ritchie’s big screen version of the 1960’s spy show “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” is a colossal waste of time for all involved. The original show was never all that good to begin with, but this film is never able to clear that admittedly low bar, or even replicate any of the TV show’s small pleasures.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is All Kinds of Awesome

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

CHICAGO – While “Mad Max: Fury Road” isn’t quite in the same league as director George Miller’s masterpiece “The Road Warrior,” it’s learned all the right lessons from that action classic. It’s a cinematic adrenaline machine that puts the pedal to the metal and rarely lets up.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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