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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

‘WALL-E’ Earns Accolade as 2008’s First Perfect Film, One of Best Pixar Films Ever

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0
(rarely perfect)

CHICAGO – While perfection can be characterized in many ways, there’s only one way to define perfect in the world of film: a picture that has everything you could ask for with nothing you could cut. Though this is a highly unlikely proposition, “WALL-E” has become 2008’s first perfect film and one of the best Pixar projects of all time.

The Poor in China on River Without a Paddle in Documentary ‘Up the Yangtze’

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

CHICAGO – China is on the world’s mind. The once-mysterious communist “enemy” is now the economic friend of all the essential profiteers.

There’s a defining joke told in the new documentary “Up the Yangtze” about American and Chinese businessmen going traveling on a river. They come to a fork in the journey with the signs “socialist” and “capitalist” illustrating the next turn.

In ‘Get Smart’ Lifeless Retread, Steve Carell Can’t Fill Don Adams’ Shoe

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

CHICAGO – Observing the new “Get Smart” film, which is based on the 1960s TV sitcom of the same name, is to note how much has changed since the Cold War ended.

KAOS and CONTROL – the U.S. and Russian spy agencies that square off in the movie – seem like relics of another era.

Uproarious, Talent-Packed ‘The Love Guru’ a Script of Destiny From Funnyman Mike Myers

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

CHICAGO – Commendably co-written by Mike Myers (who also wrote characters for 2002’s “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and 1999’s “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me”), you know lines like “sheket bevakasha” came directly from his bowels.

‘When Did You Last See Your Father?’ a Family Affair Between Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent

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

CHICAGO – With Father’s Day upon us, what better time to take in a film about a dysfunctional relationship between a father and a son?

The tongue-tying title “When Did You Last See Your Father?” is a true story exploring the secrets and lies over a lifetime of dealing with dad and a son’s bitterness when confronting everything during the time of a patriarch’s death.

The Need For Each Other Transcends Politics, Resentment in Absorbing ‘The Edge of Heaven’

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

CHICAGO – As we sit here in the U.S. embroiled in the presidential elections and summertime, the rest of the world simmers within its own unique problems.

What about Germany and Turkey? Director and writer Fatih Akin answers this question in the film “The Edge of Heaven” through several distinct characters who symbolize relations between the countries.

Julianne Moore Pushes Freudian Implications to Limit in True Story of ‘Savage Grace’

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

CHICAGO – The national acting treasure Julianne Moore never shies away from a performance challenge.

From her memorable exposure in Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts” to her willingness to go all the way in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights,” Moore has proven that true vulnerability in a role requires the ability to bare – and bear with – all.

M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Happening’ a Creepy, Paranoid Ride Through Today’s Environment

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Trying to understand the thought process of writer and director M. Night Shyamalan is akin to analyzing Jell-O. What keeps it wiggling and what binds it together?

“The Happening,” which is his latest creepy film, is a modern cautionary tale ripped from the collective sensibilities of life after Sept. 11, 2001 and the status of human beings in their interaction with today’s environment.

‘The Incredible Hulk’ Indeed Jacked Up on CGI Roids, But Medusa’s in His Face

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

CHICAGO – Technology has done double-edged service and disservice to the legendary Hulk superhero character from Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics.

In peering at the CGI-created ripped body of nothing remotely reminiscent of Edward Norton, the 2008 film iteration of “The Incredible Hulk” has a leg light years up on Lou Ferrigno’s character in the 1978 television series of the “The Incredible Hulk”.

Tepidly Paced ‘The Duchess of Langeais’ a Costume Drama Lacking the Dramatic

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

CHICAGO – Honoré de Balzac is a famous French writer from the post-Napoleonic age who focused on the societal mores with a sense of realism that hadn’t been seen in literature until that point. He reveled in the oblique moral ambiguity of the human condition.

Adam Sandler is White Ladies Man in Judd Apatow’s ‘You Don’t Mess With the Zohan’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – In the relatively anemic anthology of recent Adam Sandler flops, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” hangs above with comedic charm and a nonsensically amusing plotline. The story is divisively intermingled with racial and ethnic sensitivities between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Relax, Float Upstream With Mike Judge Assemblage ‘The Animation Show 4’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – With its passionate mix of creativity and computers, this modern golden age of animation proceeds to entertain and astound with each passing year. Mike Judge – the preeminent creator of cartoon legends “Beavis & Butt-Head” and “King of the Hill” – presents his latest compilation of the worldwide best in animated short films.

Set in Tel Aviv, New Israeli Film ‘Jellyfish’ Shines With Virtue, Veracity

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – It has been a banner year so far for the Israeli film industry. Following the American debuts of “The Band’s Visit” and “Beaufort,” we now have the stunningly composed and heart-rending “Jellyfish”.

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  • 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 3rd, 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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