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HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

‘When the Bough Breaks’ is in Need of Repairs

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

CHICAGO – Popular nursery rhymes are told to children as a way to calm them, but also as some kind of cautionary tale. Most of us could hear the melody and be able to sing the words along with it. This predictability is both its greatest strength and weakness, but the predictability that is the nursery cautionary tale in “When the Bough Breaks” is anything but a strength.

Tom Hanks is Solid, But ‘Sully’ Never Really Soars

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

CHICAGO – “Sully” is a solid effort from Director Clint Eastwood, but it never really soars the way its supposed to. It’s a good story, helped immeasurably by Tom Hanks low key performance, but it feels unnecessary. The problem may be that the story of the pilot who pulled off the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” is so well known, the movie can’t really add anything to it.

Excellent ‘Little Men’ Exposes Humanity Disrupted

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

CHICAGO – Deep down, because of our profound connection to what makes us human, we attempt to interpret the doing of the right thing. But in a society of property, somebody lives on it and somebody is run off it. This theme, combined with an adolescent friendship, emerge in “Little Men.”

‘Morgan’ Takes Out Intelligence in Artificial Intelligence

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

CHICAGO – There is nothing like the feeling of watching a completely immersive sci-fi film that delivers the complexity of technology in a modest package, and uses elements of nature to create a beautiful contrast. Unfortunately, “Morgan” doesn’t deliver on the enlightenment it promises.

Strong Cast Turns on ‘The Light Between Oceans’

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

CHICAGO – In the early 1970s, “Love Story” was all the rage, with its catchphrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Just as sudsy, and with its own catchphrase, is “The Light Between the Oceans.” The film, set in the early 20th Century, salvages a by-the-numbers tale with fine performances.

‘Don’t Breathe’ is a Terrifying Sensory Experience

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

CHICAGO – The horror genre can be a complex creature. The great films can show you the difference between ‘horror’ and ‘terror’. Some horror is all shock and no substance, while terror can be all fear, but no shock. The difference between them is so nuanced that only a skilled director, like Fede Alvarez, can show you the difference in his latest film, “Don’t Breathe.”

Remake of ‘Ben-Hur’ Can’t Find Right Tone or Pacing

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

CHICAGO – In most cases, remaking a classic film is a fool’s errand that will end in disappointment for everyone involved. The greatest pitfall is the inevitable comparison between the two films. This form of cinematic suicide is becoming more prominent as cash grabs attempt to revive still relevant films. There are few stories that can and should be resurrected, but “Ben-Hur” is not among them.

Fulfilling Emotion & Sumptuous Animation Awaits in ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

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

CHICAGO – In our short lives, what do we most need? It’s a hard question to answer sometimes, but the new animated film “Kubo and the Two Strings” does a memorable job of answering the query. The journey of Kubo, like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” leads to a place where he needs to go.

‘War Dogs’ Fires Blanks in a Sorry Attempt at Satire

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

CHICAGO – “War Dogs” is an insufferable, self important, and heavy handed attempt at satire that can’t stop congratulating itself for all the big truths it’s blowing up, bro. “Old School” and “Hangover” director Todd Phillips fancies himself an auteur, but here it seems like he’s imitating David O Russell imitating Martin Scorsese.

‘Equity’ Tells a Story of Women in High Finance

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

CHICAGO – The key moment in “Equity” is early in the film. The main character was asked at a seminar why she got into high level finance. She paused for a second, and said “money.” The gals can be just as greedy as the guys, and their stakes in that greed can be just as exploitable.

‘Sausage Party’ is a Hard R-Rated Raunchy Good Time

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

CHICAGO – First things first. Don’t let the fact this is animated fool you, “Sausage Party” is most decidedly, definitely, absolutely NOT FOR CHILDREN. This is a hard R-rated Seth Rogen raunch fest that may induce nightmares for more sensitive viewers and contains images of animated debauchery that can not be unseen. But it is inventively profane, with more on its mind than just animated f-bombs.

Unexpected Lessons for the Student of ‘Indignation’

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

CHICAGO – America was a very different place in 1951, and there are very few people around to tell us about it. That is why reminders of the more confining social order that existed back then is necessary, and is expressed in the film “Indignation.” This is an adaptation of a recent Philip Roth novel, and he was able to articulate the era.

Freaky Villains is Where ‘Suicide Squad’ Works Best

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

CHICAGODC Entertainment, feeling the heat from Marvel Studios and the tepid response from “Batman v Superman,” comes back stronger with “Suicide Squad,” an overblown yet psychological comic book film about sociopathic villains who somehow have to save the world.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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