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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

Great Performances Wasted in Sterile ‘Revolutionary Road’

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

CHICAGO – Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) refuse to believe that they’re like everyone else in the 1950’s suburbia of Sam Mendes’ frustrating “Revolutionary Road”. They may go to the same jobs and travel in the same social circles, but, unlike the bored housewives and husbands around them, they haven’t given up on their dreams.

Bryan Singer’s ‘Valkyrie’ With Tom Cruise Mistakes Morose For Intense

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

CHICAGO – Tom Cruise can be a powerfully vibrant actor in the right material but he’s horrendously miscast in Bryan Singer’s “Valkyrie,” a decision amplified by poor direction that drains this true story of an assassination attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler of its inherent power.

Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes Make ‘The Reader’ a Worthwhile Adaptation

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

CHICAGO – Two of the best actors working in film today, Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet, offer enough to make “The Reader” a cinematic book worth reading, even if it’s not the masterpiece it could have been with a few different choices by its director and writer.

Clint Eastwood Idles With Caricature Over Character in ‘Gran Torino’

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

CHICAGO – With his second film in just a few months, Clint Eastwood makes one of his biggest missteps of his illustrious career as one of the more esteemed American directors in the history of the medium.

‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ With Keanu Reeves Falls Flat in Every Way

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

CHICAGO – “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is about an alien visitor’s decision to wipe out the human race. And, if an interstellar race actually gets to see this film, it would be hard to blame them for wanting to clean house on planet Earth.

Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Ensemble Save ‘Frost/Nixon’ From Soulless Direction

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

CHICAGO – Peter Morgan’s play “Frost/Nixon” was a searing portrait of two men trying their best to change their image and their future. It was a head-to-head battle between a celebrity interviewer whose reputation was on a steady decline and the man credited with bringing shame to the White House.

‘Nothing Like the Holidays’ Does Nothing to Stand Out From Christmas Movie Crowd

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

CHICAGO – When it was still called “Humboldt Park” and was probably more closely related to Chicago’s thriving Hispanic neighborhood, Alfredo De Villa’s “Nothing Like the Holidays” was probably a lot more interesting than the cookie-cutter dramedy that ended up on the big screen.

Despite Smothered Direction, ‘Doubt’ Brings Out Best in Performers

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

CHICAGO – The inherit drama of a Catholic priest accused of molesting an African American boy during the 1960s would be enough to make for an interesting film on its own. In “Doubt,” this is one of the less-explored themes writer and director John Patrick Shanley examines.

Sean Penn’s Oscar-Possible Harvey Milk Puts Face to Gay Rights in ‘Milk’

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

CHICAGO – Just as Tom Hanks put a face to AIDS in 1993’s “Philadelphia,” Sean Penn has now put a face to gay rights as Harvey Milk in the new Gus Van Sant true-story film “Milk”.

‘Australia’ With Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman Gets Lost in Own Cinematic Outback

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

CHICAGO – Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and newcomer Brandon Walters star in Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia”: a sweeping, grand epic in the tradition of “Gone With the Wind” that gets away from its talented director, the writers he worked with and the team he hired to film his passion project.

Robert De Niro, Director Barry Levinson Wade Through Hollywood’s Mud in ‘What Just Happened?’

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

CHICAGO – In his long and distinguished career, Robert De Niro has probably seen it all when it comes to Hollywood excesses and quagmires. Given that experience, he seems the perfect choice to portray an aging film producer and power broker whose influence is on the decline.

Like a Bad ‘Law & Order,’ ‘Righteous Kill’ With Al Pacino, Robert De Niro Lacks ‘Heat’

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

CHICAGO – Last fall, Francis Ford Coppola made the comment that Al Pacino and Robert De Niro (along with Jack Nicholson) had lost their ambition. Coppola essentially said they have been phoning in their performances and picking safer movies. “Righteous Kill” could be the case study to that argument.

In Purely Exploiting Gratuitous Violence, Paul W.S. Anderson’s ‘Death Race’ Remake Kills All Comedic Value

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

CHICAGO – While 2008’s “Death Race” makes no secret about being a remake of 1975’s “Death Race 2000” with David Carradine as the title character Frankenstein and Sylvester Stallone as his archrival Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, what’s perhaps less obvious but still clear is how the film steals from others.

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  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through April 29th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cold War

    CHICAGO – Local filmmaking is thriving, thanks to the many creators who choose to make independent movies in Chicago. Co-directors Stirling McLaughlin and J. Wilder Konschak (also writer) brought their cast and crew to the Windy City to make their comedy, “Cold War.” The film made its digital debut on April 6th, 2018, and will be available on iTunes, Google Play, FandangoNow, Amazon, Vudu and more.

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