Walt Disney Studios

Mixed Bag of Marvel Tricks in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

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

CHICAGO – Whew. There is so much going on in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” that you practically need a program to keep up with the players. This mixed bag has overwrought comic book action, head shaking plot points, and the usual Marvel angst that includes some riveting scenes.

‘Monkey Kingdom’ is a Disappointing Destination

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

CHICAGO – Disney has always imported a bit of its cutesy narratives into its nature films. The best ones seem to spring organically from the images on-screen and it becomes easy to forget the contrivances and get swept up in the story. In the lesser entries, these attempts to impose a Hollywood story structure on the lives of wild animals only highlight how artificial they all are.

New Twist to Inspiring Sports Story in ‘McFarland, USA’

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

CHICAGO – Sports stories are made for the underdog, and it is the conduit for many immigrants and minorities to break through to the American Dream. “McFarland, USA” takes that idea and runs with it, as a high school cross country team of Mexican immigrants head towards the finish line.

‘Big Hero 6’ is Sorely Lacking the Charm Component

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

CHICAGO – “Big Hero 6” is a dark revenge thriller masquerading as a kids movie. Walt Disney Studios takes a few pages from its corporate cousin Marvel, while creating this new animated adventure. It has its moments, but not quite enough of them to make this anything more than a minor entry in the Disney legacy.  

‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ Not Worth the Trip

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

CHICAGO – “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is as manufactured and flavorless as a frostbitten Lean Cuisine. However as the impresario of a Michelin-starred Restaurant in the south of France, Helen Mirren implores her staff that food is not an old tired marriage, it is a passionate affair. It’s ironic that the film containing that speech is such a limp, forgettable piece of Oprah endorsed uplift with not one genuine emotion to be had.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ a Gleeful Space Romp

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

CHICAGO – “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is a gleeful Star Wars knockoff dressed up in Marvel Comics clothing. It occupies the same universe as Marvel’s other properties, but its tone is decidedly sillier. It has a spirit more akin to the later joke heavy installments of the Star Trek franchise or low budget exploitation mogul Roger Corman’s “Battle Beyond The Stars” than the ponderous pontificating of “Thor.”

‘Million Dollar Arm’ Misses the Strike Zone

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

CHICAGO – “Million Dollar Arm” harkens back to a period of shameless family friendly schmaltz that used to play to families in theaters and then run in perpetuity on “The Wonderful World Of Disney” on television. But this treacly baseball drama throws nothing but balls.

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