HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

Melodrama Mire in ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

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

CHICAGO – Everyone’s favorite city-flattening radioactive reptile, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” gets stuck in a mire of third-rate-TV-network domestic melodrama in this disappointing follow up to the thrilling 2014 reboot. But before I roar about the many ways this misbegotten miscreant messes up, let’s throw a few pebbles of praise.

Elton John Bio ‘Rocketman’ Doesn’t Deliver

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

CHICAGO – As a wee lad, one of the first records I bought was Elton John’s Greatest Hits. The album was magnificent, each song expressing the very emotion it sought to deliver. With that basis in mind, I approached John’s biopic “Rocketman” with a hope of deliverance. It felt flatter than a pancake under a steam roller.

Exploring an Inverse Superman Makes ‘Brightburn’ Shine

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The opening to the 1950s “Adventures of Superman” TV series includes the words “strange visitor from another planet.” But because Supes had used his subsequent powers for good, he eventually was found not so strange. What if, however, he had been evil, and used his powers destructively? The new film “Brightburn” speculates on such a phenomenon.

‘Aladdin’ Remake Doesn’t Live Up to Animated Source

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

CHICAGO – The Walt Disney Studio (cash) obsession with turning their animated film hits to live action movies continues this Memorial Day weekend with “Aladdin,” which adapts the 1992 classic. What worked in 2018 with “Beauty and the Beast” falls flat with this title, because the animated version plays better.

‘John Wick 3 Parabellum’ is More Bang For Your Buck

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

CHICAGO – I must admit that upon initial viewing, I didn’t care much for the original “John Wick” film. Coming as it did in the post “Taken” wave of old guy revenge thrillers, I found it to be stylish but supremely silly nonsense, since it was the death of puppy as the spark that lit the fuse. However as time has gone by, John Wick has grown on me.

‘Poms’ Stumbles and Fumbles Through a Stale, Familiar Routine

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

CHICAGO – There is an undeniable amount of skill and talent that goes into cheerleading. I happen to be rhythmically challenged so I am in awe of anyone, regardless of age, who can keep a beat while doing any sort of choreography. “Poms” promised to keep in step with a fresh premise, an all-star cast, and a new perspective on this tried-and-true genre but it tumbles along the way.

Predictable, Unfunny ‘The Hustle’ Has No Game

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

CHICAGO – As the “Oceans Eight” remake of last year proved, it is simply not enough to redo a film and flip the gender focus. Anne Hathaway may be the kiss of death for this genre, as she appeared both in O8 and the current “The Hustle,” which in turn is a remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (1988). Rebel Wilson, doing what Rebel Wilson does, portrays her sidekick.

‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ is Family Fun for All

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

CHICAGO – Let’s face it. If you’re not already obsessed with Pokémon, or the parent of someone who is, you’re not likely to land in a darkened theater with “Detective Pikachu” on the marquee. But for any newbies who happen to walk in, there are a few pleasures in this big budget kid friendly blockbuster.

History & Culture Co-Exist in Exemplary ‘The White Crow’

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

CHICAGO – In any ear for pop culture, the name Rudolf Nureyev is well known. A Soviet Russian-born ballet virtuoso nicknamed “Lord of the Dance,” RN lived large until he died, of complications due to AIDS at age 54 in 1993. But before that, he was born into poverty, danced into fame, and historically defected to the West in 1961. “The White Crow,” a new film directed by Ralph Fiennes, tells his story.

'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile' Unfortunately Lives Up to Its Name

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

CHICAGO – Hearing the details of tragic stories, we often find it hard to understand how they got into that situation in the first place, especially since all the red flags are so obvious to us. “I’d never be so dumb,” we tell ourselves. “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile” takes us through how easy it is to miss something that we’ve never truly seen.

‘Long Shot’ Awkwardly Combines Politics & Romance

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

CHICAGO – “Long Shot” is a bit of a hybrid that can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Is it a political satire, or is it another in a long line of Seth Rogen stoner comedies with a little rom com thrown in for good measure? It’s a little of both, with the shaggy dog stoner comedy the dominant form … making it a somewhat jarring and incongruous fit with the more political elements of this comedy.

‘UglyDolls’ is Animated Fun For Kids and Everyone Else

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

CHICAGO – The animation formula, for entertaining both kids and adults, is to never make the story too serious, and “UglyDolls” gets it right. The obvious moral lesson of “accepting yourself” is covered with great animating, memorable characters, peppy songs, and a sly sense of humor. In essence, made for the whole family.

Journey to Conclusion is the Thrill of ‘Avengers: Endgame’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – When it comes down to this, and the creators do it right, there is no more satisfying conclusion than “Avengers: Endgame.” Admirers of this magnificent Marvel (Studios) Universe story will get everything they want. It is the “Gone with the Wind” of superhero epic films.

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