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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

More Action, Less Enjoyment in ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’

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

CHICAGO – The giant robot film genre is in trouble. It wasn’t enough that “Transformers” has ground it to dust, but now the “Pacific Rim” sequel is going the same direction. There is action-a-plenty in the followup to Guillermo Del Toro’s fun and light first film, that lightness is missing in “Pacific Rim Uprising.”

Chaos of Power in Hilarious ‘The Death of Stalin’

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

CHICAGO – If you want a film to take your mind off the current American power structure, that at the same time provides some truth to the situation, you won’t do better than “The Death of Stalin.” A monster comedic cast – including Steve Buscemi and Jeffrey Tambor – is assembled for this hilarious farce.

‘Love, Simon’ is a Palatable Queer Film Entry That Leaves Us Wanting

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

CHICAGO – Anyone who has ever held a big secret knows that the weight of it is usually worse than the secret itself. The only thing worse than that is when the secret you’re holding back is your true self. “Love, Simon” explores the all-too-familiar, high school coming of age story, but with the added complication of coming to terms with your sexuality and identity.

‘7 Days in Entebbe’ is Surprisingly Effective

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

CHICAGO – What would you expect from an event subject that has been already rendered four times on film, and deals with terrorism, hijacking and government negotiation? “7 Days in Entebbe” contained all of this, and yet still maintained a separate energy and cinematic artistry. In many ways, it’s one of the most surprising films of the young year.

Alicia Vikander Has a Case of the Runs in ‘Tomb Raider’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Movies based on video games are almost never good… even the best ones only ascend to the level of “barely watchable.” By that measure, “Tomb Raider” can be considered a modest success since it didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out. I have to confess I never saw either of the first two films with Angelina Jolie, but after watching this I’m not actually clamoring at the bit to catch up.

Helen Mirren Takes Another Ride in ‘The Leisure Seeker’

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

CHICAGO – Helen Mirren keeps establishing herself as an international treasure with each new role. She is the prime motivator in the new film “The Leisure Seeker,” about a retired couple taking one last spin in their RV, which takes its nickname from the title of the film. Along the way secrets are revealed and the devastation of dementia is exposed, but the story never gets too serious or heavy handed.

‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Can’t Smooth Its Bizarre Fabric

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

CHICAGO – Although I am an admirer of Oprah Winfrey, it’s unfortunate that the best way to describe “A Wrinkle in Time” – with her role as goddess problem solver – is Worst. Episode. of. Oprah. Ever. The film, based on a novel from 1962, caves into effects over cohesiveness or story.

Keep Your Eye on Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Red Sparrow’

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

CHICAGO – It is movie star time for JLaw (Jennifer Lawrence) in ‘Red Sparrow,’ because her performance transcends the muddy plot, and her charisma – even with the lowest of low key characters – creates an interest in her thought process, even as she muddles through the story.

Vigilante Overkill Defines Ultra-Violent ‘Death Wish’

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

CHICAGO – Man, talk about bad timing. With the Stoneman Douglas shootings still making news, America will now entertain itself with a vigilante doctor shooting anything he sees? Yeesh. Bruce Willis is game in the watchable-but-ultra-violent “Death Wish.”

Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams Score on ‘Game Night’

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

CHICAGO – A game cast elevates what is otherwise a bit of a ho hum affair in the action comedy “Game Night.” Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are a middle class couple hosting weekly game nights with a group of good friends. But when Bateman’s competitive venture capitalist older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to town, he promises to take game night up a notch.

Consider the Meaning of Life Force in ‘Annihilation’

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

CHICAGO – Alex Garland, the standout creator/director of “Ex Machina,” is back with “Annihilation,” another science fiction story. And like the previous film, it explores implications of a sci-fi event, in this case an outer space incident that restructures a cellular code, that ends up destructive.

‘Early Man’ is Unabashedly Freaking Hilarious

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

CHICAGO – Humor flows from one individual, and reaches another. Whether the receiver laughs or not is subjective, based on experiences and worldview. It can be agreed, however, that animator Nick Park (“Wallace & Gromit”) is hilarious, and he’ll make the world laugh in “Early Man.”

All Forms of Heroism Available in ‘Black Panther’

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

CHICAGO – The fortune of the latest Marvel Studios superhero epic, “Black Panther,” lies in its solid foundation in African mythos and intelligent storytelling. And with Ryan Coogler (“Creed”) as director, there are still major confrontations and battles, intertwined into the soul.

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