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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

Ellen Page’s ‘Smart People’ Only as Scholarly as Zealous Senior in High School

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5CHICAGO – I’m flummoxed. I know “Smart People” was supposed to be comedic drama with a splash of romance. Instead, I have been misled. It’s not a comedy. It’s not a tragedy. It’s not even a tragicomedy.

Ignoring Old Show-Business Rules, Rolling Stones Brightly ‘Shine a Light’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3/5CHICAGO – In The Beatles versus The Rolling Stones debate (which no one under 40 would have), I’m decidedly in the corner of the Fab Four. I do acknowledge, however, the sheer stamina and staying power of The Rolling Stones.

Despite Stylistic Inconsistency, George Clooney’s ‘Leatherheads’ Feels Good

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3/5CHICAGO – George Clooney’s latest film, “Leatherheads,” brings light-hearted, screwball antics and slapstick blunders to the screen with a romantic tale that tells how professional football came to be.

Veteran Michael Caine Makes ‘Flawless’ Sparkle, Reveals Great Crime Behind Great Fortune

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – As this year of heist films set in London continues (“The Bank Job” was last month), “Flawless” does adhere to the rules of successful application of this genre.

Sundance Winner ‘Teeth’ Bites Right to Point of Men’s Greatest Sexual Fear

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – In one of the great light bulb ideas that could only happen in association with making movies, along comes “Teeth” to bite us in the – well, to bite us hard. Writer and director Mitchell Lichtenstein has fashioned a one-of-a-kind horror epic (based, of course, on a Japanese film) that at the same time tangles with significant social and cultural issues.

Academy Award-Nominated ‘Beaufort’ Ponders Question of Why We Fight

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – History eludes us. It’s what happens when we’re busy making other plans. In his new film “Beaufort,” director Joseph Cedar turns his lens toward the history and misery of a Mideastern soldier’s outpost eight years ago that was both defended and attacked while highlighting the human element that has to endure when protecting the territory of warfare.

Brazillian Indie ‘The Year My Parents Went on Vacation’ a Tender Window to the World

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – Film is often at its best when it offers a “window to the world” or surprising and personal stories about other countries and cultures dealing with issues that life in the U.S. never imagines. “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation” is a meticulous, fascinating and tender story of Brazil in 1970 when revolution was in the air and the World Cup was the hope of bringing a country back together.

‘Snow Angels’ an Essential Examination of Yin, Yang in Our Vulnerable Lives

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – Staying sane is truly an edge-of-the-knife proposition. We are all the sum of our past environments, our present circumstances and our future worries. The sludge that is generated by such a mixture becomes the psyche that’s ready to interact with other psyches we deem important or are forced to be around through family or commerce.

The Wizard of Oz is America in Immigration Film ‘Under the Same Moon’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – The immigrant “crisis” in the United States is discussed mostly in political generalities as if those seeking a better life are subhuman. “Under the Same Moon” focuses on the real faces of these people through a 10-year-old Mexican boy who risks everything in a journey to reunite with his mother in Los Angeles.

Israeli Directorial Debut ‘The Band’s Visit’ Built on Series of Bittersweet, Exquisite Moments

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5/5CHICAGO – When we speak of conflicts between people or ideologies, there’s a tendency for broad categorization. Who are the liberals or the conservatives? What type of people make up the Israelis or Palestinians? Who are the people of color and who are white?

‘Wild Ocean 3-D’ in IMAX Offers Breathtaking Cinematography, Profound Message

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4/5CHICAGO – “Wild Ocean 3-D” – an unforgettable nature documentary playing now in IMAX at Chicago’s Navy Pier – dives to the depths of the ocean and through the vastness of the sea with breathtaking 3-D cinematography and a profound message for all mankind.

Skater Boy Culture Takes Center Stage in Cult Director Van Sant’s ‘Paranoid Park’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – For “Paranoid Park,” cult director Gus Van Sant returns to high school, which is the setting of his previous chilling look into the Columbine incident in 2003’s “Elephant”. Though not as successful as “Elephant,” “Paranoid Park” evokes a dream-like meditation on the trials and extreme tribulations of a skateboarding teenage boy trying to find his way.

With Surreal Madness, Strange Boys Play ‘Funny Games’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – Imagine a film with no redeeming or uplifting emotional qualities with evil that tortures the soul, squirm-inducing narrative elements and a relentless anxiety that practically has us – like the characters in the film – screaming for mercy. Imagine also that this film is excellent.

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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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