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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

Despite its Title, ‘The Strangers’ Actually a Familiar Repeat of Horror Film Conventions

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5CHICAGO – Poor Liv Tyler. She’s stuck in a remote vacation home with nothing but the blank-stare acting of Scott Speedman to “save” her. What’s a rock daughter who becomes an actress to do? First, she shouldn’t sign onto yet another version of the couple-in-terror cliché.

After 19 Years, ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ Phenomenally Exhumes Venerated Roots

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – After such a long respite from the beloved film progression, I was initially just as skittish about seeing Harrison Ford back in the Indy saddle as I was watching Sylvester Stallone back in the ring in “Rocky Balboa” in his 2006 comeback and then again in 2008 in his “Rambo” return.

‘The Witnesses’ Bear the AIDS Burden of a Time Less Remembered

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – While Paris, France in 1984 probably wasn’t as romantic as the Paris in several of its other lionized eras, it existed just the same. As portrayed in “The Witnesses,” it was an age that may have been more uncertain than the others based on a melting pot of inhabitants who immigrated to the City of Lights in search for a new life.

‘Body of War’ Confronts Grisly Realities of U.S. War Mistakes in Iraq

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – They are invisible in the current war, which has lasted longer than World War II. It’s the soldier in Iraq who fights on – in the face of public apathy at home – and who carries out the decisions of an administration that has chosen to hide their caskets in death.

Packed With Picturesque Majesty, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’ Fights Nobly For ‘PG’ Rating

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – For the life of me, I couldn’t exorcise it from my head. Amid all the splendor of such a picturesque film, this one question was like a gnat I couldn’t swat: “Is this really rated ‘PG’?” Indeed, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” is rated “PG”. But that didn’t come without great scrutiny and much editing.

Star-Crossed Lovers Create Road to Ruin in ‘Before the Rains’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – By its very nature, colonialism is bad karma waiting to happen.

You are a sovereign nation with weaponry and a desire for treasure. While you invade and take over a country with that treasure, it also comes with a society you don’t understand. You stir in religious dogma, native slavery and the defiling of lands and create an evil stew that’s ripe to boil over.

‘Speed Racer’ Condemns Franchise Dignity, But Delivers Sensorial Explosion

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5CHICAGO – While Hollywood slapped “PG” on the hotly anticipated “Speed Racer” to line its pocketbooks with the widest hodgepodge of people (ahem: kids) everywhere, those same kids will leave the theater with that lollipop nearly sucked to the stick but then yanked away with confusion.

‘Iron Man’ Sits Indisputably in Club of Highest-Rated Superhero Movies of All Time

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – Move over, Superman. This lush, high-octane playboy never tasted so good.

Robert Downey Jr. fittingly opens “Iron Man” with a cocktail in hand and all the arrogance in the world. As the story goes, his conceit is indeed respected as Earth is his oyster both for the playing and for the taking.

Director Uwe Boll Pukes Out Another Opus of Insufferable Screen Time in ‘Postal’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.5/5CHICAGO – At the Chicago screening of “Postal” for critics, director Uwe Boll introduced his new film as a personal “The Kentucky Fried Movie” attacking the heart of America. Boll – a German national – has produced several “B”-grade movies in both Germany and the U.S.

Tepid Con Job Spoils Sexual Intrigue in ‘Deception’ With Ewan McGregor

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2/5CHICAGO – Despite its timid title, “Deception” has all the right ingredients for a decent tale of mystery: a strong premise, sound acting and the famous femme fatale. It even starts with a promising conviction: How does a background player in life deal with initiation into a secret society?

‘Deal’ is No Big Deal as Career of Burt Reynolds Fades Away

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1/5CHICAGO – Poor Burt Reynolds. As the No. 1 box-office star from 1978 to 1982, he revived his film career in 1997 with “Boogie Nights”. Since then, he has had the long, slow decline of “B” movies and bad remakes. Reynolds even tainted his own legacy by participating in the horrible 2005 redo of “The Longest Yard”.

Considering Sore Subject Matter of ‘Chapter 27,’ ‘Why?’ is Only Plausible Reaction

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2/5CHICAGO – As a contemporary of the John Lennon assassination in 1980 and an ardent admirer of the late Beatle, I had a hard time figuring out the reasons for making the film “Chapter 27”.

‘The Visitor’ Works Out America’s Demons Following Sept. 11, 2001

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – “The Visitor” is a subtle film. Created by the unique talent of writer and director Thomas McCarthy – who also generated the equally subtle world of “The Station Agent” – this new work explores the nature of who belongs where.

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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 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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