Brian Tallerico

Perfect ‘Before Midnight’ Captures Truth of Romance

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

CHICAGO – Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” brilliantly captured the live-in-the-moment romanticism of youth, that time in our 20s when anything was possible before the dawn. “Before Sunset” depicted romance in a time when potential turns into actuality in our 30s, how we need to grab that chance at happiness before time runs out at twilight.

Horrendous ‘After Earth’ Insults Entire Planet

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – The “sci” in M. Night Shyamalan’s sci-fi blockbuster “After Earth” clearly stands for Scientology and not science. There’s nothing remotely approaching honest science in this boring, preachy, horrendously made film that occasionally looks good but has nothing more worthwhile to say than a pamphlet trying to get you to convert to a cult. “Danger is real. Fear is a choice.

‘Shadow Dancer’ with Clive Owen is Tense IRA Thriller

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

CHICAGO – Would you betray your cause and the rest of your family tree for the safety of your son? Such is the nightmarish question that Collette must answer in James Marsh’s tense, complex “Shadow Dancer,” a slow-burn thriller that may be a bit too slow at times but builds in power by the final reel. It is On Demand now and opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, May 31. It’s worth seeking out.

Gorgeous Visuals Lift Mediocre Script of ‘Epic’

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

“Epic” is the best-looking 3D animated film since “How to Train Your Dragon”. From the very first scenes, it has a mesmerizing visual palette as the natural world comes to life in a way reminiscent of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar.” It’s gorgeous. Sadly, the lurching, generic script doesn’t live up to the look of the film but it’s worth seeing just for the memorable visuals.

Formula Takes Another Lap in ‘Fast & Furious 6’

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

CHICAGO – “How did you know the car would be there to break my fall?” Everything you need to know about the current tone of the “Fast & Furious” franchise exists in that line. Not only are these people superhero enough to leap through the air from one vehicle to another but this is a world in which automobiles are designed to BREAK falls. It’s ridiculous, insane escapist entertainment, and while the bloated running time and less-exciting setting makes “Fast & Furious 6” a slight step down from the more well-paced “Fast Five,” it’s still a damn fun ride that’s sure to please the audience out to see a sixth installment of vehicular man-sanity.

‘Alyce Kills’ Takes Viewers Down Rabbit Hole to Horror

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

CHICAGO – Long-delayed stateside, premiering On Demand, stupidly retitled (it was and still should be just “Alyce”), Jay Lee’s twisted trip down the rabbit hole of sanity, “Alyce Kills,” was not high on my list of anticipated films. Much to my surprise, “Alyce Kills” is a riveting slice of weird, a tale that reminds me of great films like “Repulsion” and “May” more than most of the junk that falls through the genre cracks and ends up in a similar launch pattern.

Aaron Eckhart Gets ‘Erased’ in ‘Bourne’-esque Thriller

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

CHICAGO – Two talented stars – Aaron Eckhart & Liana Liberato (“Trust”) – do a remarkable job of finding the depth in paper-thin, clichéd dialogue and generic contrivances but they can’t quite pull “Erased,” now available On Demand and opening in Los Angeles tomorrow, from its B-movie trappings. If you’re a spy thriller fan or love the perpetually underrated (and in need of a better agent) Eckhart, you may be surprised. Everyone else has a better alternative this weekend.

Sarah Polley’s ‘Stories We Tell’ Resonates For All Viewers

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

CHICAGO – Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell” may seem deceptively simple or even boring in concept. At its core, it’s a film about a talented filmmaker and actress investigating her family’s past and her own lineage. Where Polley’s work goes from mere family movie to something much greater is in how she uses her own quest for answers to illuminate why & how we tell stories in the first place, especially in the form of film.

Trip to Katie Aselton’s ‘Black Rock’ Lacks Purpose

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

CHICAGO – I really admire the girl power approach to the thriller genre in Katie Aselton’s surprising genre effort, “Black Rock,” but the admirable effort doesn’t change the fact that the movie just doesn’t feel fully fleshed out nor does it play to the strengths of its filmmaker. The what-if scenario that incites the action of “Black Rock” is captivating but Aselton and co-writer/husband Mark Duplass don’t build on that scenario enough to make the venture successful overall.

Great Michael Shannon Performance Can’t Thaw ‘The Iceman’

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

CHICAGO – Another great Michael Shannon performance should come as no surprise as everything he touches lately seems to be interesting, from “Take Shelter” to “Boardwalk Empire” to letters written by batshit crazy sorority girls. However, his increasingly impressive ability can’t save “The Iceman,” a misguided, clichéd hitman flick that careens tonally and doesn’t really justify its existence. It doesn’t work as thriller or as drama, serving as little more than a performance piece for its talented star.

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