Spike Walters

Unsettling & Unpleasant ‘Smile’ is Also Deadly … Boring

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.5/5.0
Rating: 0.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Smile is unsettling and deeply unpleasant … its whole reason for being is to be unsettling and deeply unpleasant. And in that regard, it worked. I was uncomfortable sitting in a theater as these images flashed across the screen. But you know what else I was? Bored. The first kill happens around the 15 minute mark, and I know that because I was already checking my watch at that point.

Dynamic Florence Pugh Captivates in ‘Don’t Worry Darling’

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

CHICAGO – A sure hand behind the camera and a dynamic performance from Florence Pugh help “Don’t Worry Darling” pull off an extremely difficult balancing act. This isn’t a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it inspires the kind of impressions and ideas that you will still be talking about a week later.

Baz Luhrman’s 'Elvis' is a Hanka Hunka Burning Drudge

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

CHICAGO – Director Baz Luhrman’s “Elvis” has plenty of suspicious minds, but precious little mystery as his trademark excess fails to breathe new life into the tired legacy of the King. No amount of montages, quick cuts, and odd music choices can obscure the fact that we don’t see anything here that even the casual Elvis fan doesn’t already know.

Intelligence Extinct in Dopey ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’

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

CHICAGO – Intelligence goes extinct in this supremely dopey sixth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. Not even the reunion of original stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum can counteract the law of diminishing returns and a lack of focus behind the camera as the film turns Dino after Dino into a deadening drumbeat of dull destruction.

Mechanical ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

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

CHICAGO – “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” proves that more Doctor Stranges do not necessarily equal more fun. And more so than other comic book adventures, this seems like a cog in the Marvel machine first, and an adventure in its own right a very distant second.

Law-Abiding ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’

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

CHICAGO – The elements of the Fantastic Beasts franchise that work at all are the ones most closely connected to the larger world of Harry Potter that enchanted the hearts and minds of millions in the first place. In “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” it’s ostensible main character Newt Scamander demoted to supporting character while Dumbledore is front and center.

‘The Batman’ with Robert Pattinson is On Its Way Up

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

CHICAGO – Since I was no fan of of director Zack Snyder’s take on the Caped Crusader – “Batman v Superman” and “The Justice League” being some of the worst superhero movies ever to sputter onto the big screen – as far as I was concerned the franchise had nowhere to go but up.

Peter Dinklage Leads Perfectly Serviceable ‘Cyrano’

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

CHICAGO – This is no small feat, but “Cyrano” works as well as it does because it puts a couple of new spins on the material while keeping the essence of this tale … which is seemingly as old as time. For those not paying attention during high school literature classes, Cyrano De Bergerac is a gallant hearted hero and actor who is in love with the maiden Roxanne, who happens to be his best friend.

'Marry Me' Works With Owen Wilson & Jennifer Lopez

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

CHICAGO – I’ll admit that based on the ubiquitous trailers, The latest attempt for Jennifer Lopez to reclaim the throne as Queen of the Rom-Com seemed like the sort of enterprise meant to make you bury your face in your hands. So I was pleasantly surprised to find “Marry Me” is just innocuously bad, not egregiously bad… and with the state of rom-coms these days that’s something of an accomplishment.

Ass Kicker of the Wrong Kind is Downfall of ‘The 355’

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

CHICAGO – There’s something to be said for a well done ass kicker in January that provides an entertaining distraction from the ice and snow outside. “The 355” is not it, offering a typical quick cutting action thriller that plods along in the most formulaic and least exciting manner possible. There’s nothing in this movie that hasn’t been done to death already.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com audio review of the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” the first film of one of the most successful film franchises in movie history, spun off from the original breakthrough sci-fi TV series of the 1960s. Beam me up.

  • A League of Their Own 2022

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on The Eddie Volkman Show with Hannah B on WSSR-FM (Star 96.7 Joliet, Illinois) on September 2nd, reviewing the new TV series “A League of Their Own,” a parallel universe adaptation of the popular 1992 film, now streaming on Prime Video.

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