Columbia Pictures

'Zombieland: Double Tap' Not As Fresh But Still Has Some Life Left

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

CHICAGO - Zombieland: Double Tap lacks the freshness or the belly laughs of its predecessor, but I was surprised to see that this outrageously overqualified cast has not worn out its welcome. It’s ridiculous that three Oscar nominees and one Oscar winner headline a movie devoted solely to blowing zombies up. But when you employ Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin, you’re going to get some unexpected surprises.

‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ is a Cinematic Poem

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

CHICAGO – What does Quentin Tarantino think about? That question immediately comes to mind when experiencing his latest film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” QT meditates on TV westerns, the summer of 1969 in Los Angeles and the Manson family, and it’s a tone and mood rather than a story. But it works.

Fireworks for the 4th in ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’

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

CHICAGO – “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is remarkably light on its feet considering it takes place in the wake of the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” After the five year period between finger snaps which is now referred to as “the blip,” Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and some of his classmates have returned the same age, while everyone else has gotten five years older.

Boot This Reboot of ‘Men In Black International’

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

CHICAGO – “Men in Black International” is less a reboot than a frantic attempt at CPR for the once viable franchise … which never should have made it to a fourth installment. That’s not to say this is totally unwatchable. But it’s a kind of okay not-that-great-not-that-awful iteration which neither reminds us why we liked the series in the first place nor has much of a reason to exist.

Multi-Dimensional ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

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

CHICAGO – This animated take on Spider-Man gets a little stuck in a web entirely of its own making. Digging deeper into the weeds of the extended mythology of the comics, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” presents not one but at least seven different versions of the character.

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?

Spreading Comic Book Fatigue to Everyone, ‘Venom’ Poisons the Well

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

CHICAGO – I was one of the last sentinels; a conscientious objector in the war against comic book films. The handful of these that come out yearly had yet to weigh heavy on my film soul, especially when so many of the newer ones creating unique experiences, like “Deadpool” and “Thor: Ragnarok”. Even DC films, in all their failure, are products of their time. “Venom” changed all that.

Good vs. Evil Brightly Entertaining in ‘The Dark Tower’

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

CHICAGO – Nobody does good vs. evil archetypes like author Stephen King, and this framework is purposeful in the film adaptation of King’s “The Dark Tower.” The popular book series gets a visual kick through the rendering of director Nikolaj Arcel and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.

‘Rough Night’ is More Than Just a Diamond in the Rough

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

CHICAGO – The idiotic notion in Hollywood (and in the basements of fanboy mothers everywhere) that women can’t be funny is a joke in itself. Women have been forced to prove themselves on the male-dominated comedic circuit and have come out as successful as their male counterparts. “Rough Night”, despite all of its flaws, is just the most recent example of that.

Suspenseful ‘Life’ is Tense, Compelling Science Fiction

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

CHICAGO – Combining the invasion elements of “Alien” with the life-raft-in-space morbidity of “Gravity,” the new film “Life” maintains a grip from the enlightened beginning to the twisted end. Mars is the origin, so the film joins “The Martian” and “The Space Between Us” in sourcing the red planet.

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