HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

‘Robin Hood’ is a By-the-Book Waste of Cinema Energy

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

CHICAGO – No one in the movie-going universe was pining for another Robin Hood remake. No. One. Yet, with the story in public domain and some overseas cash to spend, here we are. Taron Egerton (“Kingsman” series) takes on the title role, with support from Jamie Foxx.

Fight for Redemption in the Rocky Universe of ‘Creed II’

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

CHICAGO – In the EIGHTH exploration (wow) for the story of boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) – that began way back in 1976 – the son of his first opponent, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), must settle an old score and seek redemption for himself and those around him in “Creed II.”

The Friendship Page of Black & White in ‘Green Book’

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

CHICAGO – In the original sin of racism in America, structured in the societal relationship between whites and African Americans, there had to be small steps before there were larger ones. In 1962, a black piano virtuoso and his white Italian New Yorker driver toured through the Deep South and developed a friendship, in the new film “Green Book.”

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Goes Deeper into Harry Potter World

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

CHICAGO – “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is like the “Joey” of film franchises, a spinoff which only exists because of its tangential connections to a better (and more beloved) property. But since this is our only current filmed connection to the “wizarding world of Harry Potter,” it’ll have to do.

‘Boy Erased’ Thrives On Empathy, Lacks Overall Conviction

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

CHICAGO – America is facing a confusing time of crisis, again. There are giant groups of people who are ready to hate other people for biological traits that can’t—and don’t need to—be changed, like skin color, sexual orientation, and race. “Boy Erased” adds to the national dialogue by showing the devastating effects this type of mentality can have inside our own families, and how to prevent it.

Story Spins Out of Reach for ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’

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

CHICAGO – There is nothing wrong with revisiting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. That tattoo has made beaucoup bucks in book and film forms (both foreign language and Americanized versions), and Claire Foy taking over for Rooney Mara in the title role is seamless. So why the totally lackluster story? Is this a narrative source problem?

He’s a Not-So-Mean-One in Remake of ‘The Grinch’

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

CHICAGO – They should have left well enough alone, didn’t anybody learn anything from the trainwreck of the Jim Carrey live-action-as-The-Grinch? Apparently not. A more kid friendly and modern animated version of “The Grinch” opens six weeks before Christmas, and already I want to return it.

A Star is Re-Examined in ‘Making Montgomery Clift’

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

CHICAGO – Montgomery “Monty” Clift was an enigma as a “movie star” from the minute his image reflected from the silver screen. Dark and intense, he exhibited a inner ferocity that was unmatched from any other actor of his era, including Marlon Brando. Because of the enigma, his persona has often been mischaracterized, and he died young in his mid-forties. His nephew Robert Anderson Clift seeks to revitalize the authentic Monty in the new documentary “Making Montgomery Clift.”

‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is Beautiful, But Broken

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

CHICAGO – Film has always felt like a much more accessible way to get cultured than, say, going to watch a play or opera. Watching a foreign film can educate you about the world and history as well as any play. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” promised that kind of experience, but your time is better served catching the actual ballet at a local theater instead.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was Destined to Celebrate Queen

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

CHICAGO – The lyric “And now it’s ‘Easy Come/Easy Go/Little High/Little low” from the song/movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” might just be the best description of this rock band biopic. The high is the celebration of the band Queen and its unforgettable lead singer Freddie Mercury, and it is enough to get through the story “lows.”

Growing Up Fast in the Skateboard Life of ‘Mid90s’

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

CHICAGO – Character actor Jonah Hill has just scored behind the camera. As writer/director of a authentic look back at the “Mid90s” he went back to his inner source of growing up in that 1990s time, skateboarding with his buds and experiencing the teenage life. The story never blinks, as the teens are authentic and the situations they get in even more so.

Sub Movie ‘Hunter Killer’ is Absurd and Entertaining

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

CHICAGO – The United States military as superheroes has never gotten a better workout than in “Hunter Killer,” the title that sounds like a Halloween-themed movie, but it’s a style of submarine that seeks to adjust our geo-political balance. Gerard Butler is the commander hoping to prevent World War 3.

Rebooted ‘Halloween’ Sequel Offers Nothing New in 2018

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

CHICAGO – At this point, the “Halloween” franchise is looking as tattered and tired as Michael Myers old William Shatner mask… fraying around the edges and on the verge of falling apart. The 2018 “reboot” sequel brings back former scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, along with original Michael Myers, Nick Castle.

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  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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