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Following ‘Pan’s Labyrinth,’ ‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’ Regresses From Best to Worst For Guillermo del Toro

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

CHICAGO – Hellboy is plugged as the world’s brawniest, kitten-loving superhero. While that paradox is supposed to be both funny and action packed, “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” from famed writer and director Guillermo del Toro falls flat on the funny front and instead winds up on the funny farm.

Superhero Film ‘Hancock’ With No Superhero Ancestry Proves Bold But Deadly Decision

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

CHICAGO – With superhero films as hot in 2008 as psychedelics were in the 1960s, the new blockbuster superhero film “Hancock” fits in with the label but without any of the ancestry.

Director Guy Maddin Contemplates His Canadian Hometown in Dreamlike ‘My Winnipeg’

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

CHICAGO – The distinct, gauzy style of director Guy Maddin has created unique cinematic prisms to look through including his depression-era meditation in “The Saddest Music in the World”.

In his latest film, which is a documentary of sorts, Maddin explores his own life through his hometown of Winnipeg in western Canada.

1960s-Era James Bond is Skewered in New Spoof ‘OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies’

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

CHICAGO – The heroic nature of the James Bond series of films begs several questions about his representation of western world power.

For one, just who did he act for and what was he fighting against? The new French film “OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies” attempts to answer this question through a subtle and sporadically funny satire, a skewering of the Bond image and geopolitics in the 1960s.

‘Wanted’ With Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy Concocts Curving Bullet in Gluttonously Entertaining Blockbuster

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

CHICAGO – With curving, clinking and kissing bullets, “Wanted” indeed does Chicago proud. And Angelina Jolie sells it. And Morgan Freeman is ominous. And in his body of work, James McAvoy – the star of this orgasmic summer blockbuster – becomes a man.

‘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.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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