Nate Parker

‘The Birth of a Nation’ Depends on its Own Piety

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

CHICAGO – “The Birth of a Nation” has been making news since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early this year. Taking place before the American Civil War, this incendiary look at a real slave rebellion in the deep South does pack a punch, but its approach isn’t completely successful.

‘Beyond the Lights’ Has a Respect for Storytelling

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

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Gina Prince-Bythewood, the creator of the cult favorite “Love & Basketball,” is back with another original story that she created, an intimate and romantic perspective on a singer on the path to nowhere, despite superstar-level fame. Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars as that singer in “Beyond the Lights.”

Liam Neeson Can’t Bring ‘Non-Stop’ in On-Time

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

I’m a sucker for a well-toasted slice of escapism that employs a singular setting to maximum impact. Liam Neeson trapped on a plane with a devious killer who’s trying to extort $150 million from him? Where do line up to buy a ticket? Seriously, this is the kind of Oscar counter-programming that I love this time of year—turn off your mind and take a trip with “Non-Stop”.

Richard Gere Symbolizes U.S. Morality in ‘Arbitrage’

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

CHICAGO – The concept of crime and punishment is a goalpost that is constantly being moved. Justice becomes an discretionary circumstance, sold to the highest bidder. These are just a view of the happy themes in the new film “Arbitrage,” featuring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Brit Marling.

Spike Lee Returns to Brooklyn in Controversial ‘Red Hook Summer’

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

CHICAGO – “I ain’t pawning my responsibility off as a parent and saying she’s in God’s hands.” What a powerful line. The idea that religion has been used as a crutch, an excuse for communities who preach that God will save their young ones when they need to do their part is a passionate and powerful one.

World War II-Era Tuskegee Airmen Fly in ‘Red Tails’

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

CHICAGO – The courage of the Tuskegee Airmen cannot be denied. The all African American World War II fighter pilot squadron not only braved battle, but also the virulent prejudice of the 1940s. The new film “Red Tails” chronicles the circumstance of that squadron, with a sappy and overlong treatment.

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  • Importance of Being Earnest, The, Strawdog Theatre

    CHICAGO – Just in time for Pride Month, Strawdog Theatre Co. presents an updated staging of the Oscar Wilde classic, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Strawdog policy … the tickets are FREE (donations encouraged), but you must put in a reservation by clicking EARNEST.

  • Prodigal Daughter, The

    CHICAGO – One of the open secrets of Chicago is its horrible racist past, which remains like an echo. Playwright Joshua Allen has been exploring this theme in his Grand Boulevard Trilogy – the last chapter talking place during the infamous 1919 race riots – in Raven Theatre’s “The Prodigal Daughter.” For tickets and info, click TPD.

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