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Zoe Kravitz

‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ Delivers the Usual Laughs

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

CHICAGO – “The LEGO Batman Movie” is more of a parody than the laugh-out-loud hijinks of the surprising “The LEGO Movie,” but the legend of The Bats is ripe for a good skewering, and the movie has a lot of fun doing it. Will Arnett reprises the voice as the title character, with Zach Galifianakis taking on the antics of The Joker.

‘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.

Alternate American Dream Played Out in ‘Dope’

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

CHICAGO – If you’re lucky enough, you’ll never know what it’s like to grow up in a poor American neighborhood. But what if the notions of such societies are flipped on its ear, and what if the message draws attention to our current perceptions of race? This is what the new film “Dope” conveys.

An Adrenaline Junkie’s Dream, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ a Badass Bass Haven

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

CHICAGO – It’s “the greatest action movie ever made,” so says the television commercials (which means it’s true). And it’s buoyed by other quotables galore including “what a lovely day!,” “from mastermind George Miller,” “pulse pounding,” “heart wrenching” and “teeth grinding”. While these words are actually true, though, the film doesn’t need them to sell it.

‘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.

‘Divergent’ Wastes Talented Cast on Joyless Adaptation

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

CHICAGO – Despite the best efforts of a game Shailene Woodley and likely future star Theo James, Neil Burger’s “Divergent,” based on the hit book by Veronica Roth, is a joyless, soulless, humorless dud. It is repetitious to the point of parody, never feels like it exists in anything approximating reality, and, like so many “Hunger Games” wannabes, forgets that it’s the characters of that franchise that matter and not the goofy machinations of the plot.

‘After Earth’ Proves M. Night Shyamalan’s Checkmate With Mismatched Smith Family

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

CHICAGO – Oscar accolades are a godsend, but so are they an affliction. They’re the ultimate vote of respect from your industry, but then you’ve got to keep being as genius as they thought you were. In M. Night Shyamalan’s case, it’s all gone downhill since his 1999 smash-hit “The Sixth Sense,” which was nominated for six of these portly golden statues.

Horrendous ‘After Earth’ Insults Entire Planet

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

CHICAGO – The “sci” in M. Night Shyamalan’s sci-fi blockbuster “After Earth” clearly stands for Scientology and not science. There’s nothing remotely approaching honest science in this boring, preachy, horrendously made film that occasionally looks good but has nothing more worthwhile to say than a pamphlet trying to get you to convert to a cult. “Danger is real. Fear is a choice.

Jodie Foster is Wicked, Wicked Witch With Furious Vengeance in ‘The Brave One’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3/5CHICAGO – Jodie Foster reinvents herself and plays a vigilante flung galaxies out of character in “The Brave One,” which opened on Friday.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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