HollywoodChicago.com Movie Reviews

‘Little’ Squanders Its Comedic and Social Potential in an Attempt to Play It Safe

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

CHICAGO – After a typical late night, deep dive of the internet, I found something terrifying. Around the 60’s, creating dinners in Jello were popular for some reason. Although I liked every individual ingredient, seeing the way they fit together was a less than appetizing. Watching “Little” reminds me of this experience except after the film, I was left with a bland, spiceless taste in my mouth.

‘Hellboy’ Maintains Energy Just by Being Hellboy

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

CHICAGO – The latest film reboot is “Hellboy,” and it cruises based on the viability and popularity of its title character. David Harbour takes the reins from Ron Perlman in portraying the demon, and although it’s bogged down by the story, the latest iteration works because the character is so weirdly appealing.

An Obsessive Couple’s Journey in ‘Ash is Purest White’

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

CHICAGO – Obsessive love is a movie story staple, and “Ash is Purest White” puts a Chinese point-of-view on this strange phenomenon. This is a coupling in the background of organized crime and a changing China, and their success and failure is based on the events surrounding them as much as their devotion to each other.

Terrible Messaging in ‘The Best of Enemies’ Ruins a Serviceable Film

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

CHICAGO – According to my YouTube history, unlikely animal friendships would likely be in my top 10 most watched videos, alongside DIY home projects and finding out if that sharp pain means I’m dying. Something as simple as a cat and dog being bffs is adorable, but unlike what “The Best of Enemies” would have you believe, two naturally opposing forces don’t always need to play nice.

HollywoodChicago.com ESP, En Español: 'Shazam!' y 'The Best of Enemies'

CHICAGO – Cada semana, HollywoodChicago.com le traerá las criticas de las películas que hemos visto y que están saliendo esa semana, pero en español. HollywoodChicago.com ESP no sólo representa HollywoodChicago.com Espanol, sino también Esta Semana en Peliculas. Esta semana, nos sobrecargamos y canalizamos a nuestro héroe interior con “Shazam!”, y luego tomamos un viaje al pasado con una historia real que tiene un mensaje dañino con “The Best of Enemies”.

‘Shazam!’ is a Paint by Numbers Superhero Movie

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

CHICAGO – The former Captain Marvel (story below) is now “Shazam!,” and has his own film in the DC Comics universe. Zachary Levi portrays the title character, now with a new origin to go along with his new name. Speaking of that, no new ground is broken in this pretty standard foster-kid-makes-good hero epic.

Historical Drama is Fortified by Technique in 'Sunset'

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

CHICAGO – History is made when you’re often busy making other plans. That is ardently illustrated in “Sunset,” a drama set early in the second decade of the 20th Century in the on-the-brink-of-revolution capital of Budapest, Hungary. A retail store is the town’s centerpiece, plus there is a mysterious woman associated with that store, until she isn’t.

HollywoodChicago.com ESP, En Español: ‘The Beach Bum,’ ‘Dumbo’ y ‘Sunset’

CHICAGO – Cada semana, HollywoodChicago.com le traerá las criticas de las películas que hemos visto y que están saliendo esa semana, pero en español. HollywoodChicago.com ESP no sólo representa HollywoodChicago.com Espanol, sino también Esta Semana en Peliculas. Esta semana, tomamos un viaje lleno de drogas con “The Beach Bum”, luego veremos si el nuevo “Dumbo” alcanza nuevas alturas y cerramos el día con “Sunset”..

‘The Beach Bum’ is a Sharp Stick Satire by Harmony Korine

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

CHICAGO – The beach life is the paradise that most Americans aspire to, and either get it when they’re not ready or when they’re too old. The off-kilter director Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers) presupposes all of the life through Matthew McConaughey, in an incredible tour de farce called, appropriately, “The Beach Bum.”

Tim Burton’s Version of ‘Dumbo’ is Disappointingly Glum

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

CHICAGO – For reasons which remain unexplained, Walt Disney Studios and director Tim Burton have decided to weigh down the sweet story of a flying elephant with a whole pachyderm’s worth of pathos. The animated original clocked in as one of Disney’s shortest full length animated features. But the live action version drags us through nearly an extra hour’s worth of post-World War One misery.

‘The Aftermath’ is Strained & Illicit Romance During War

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

CHICAGO – One of the roots of the sexual revolution in America was World War II (as it was the roots of many social movements). The stakes of life and death in an instant motivates the softest of puppy love to passion. “The Aftermath” takes that time honored emotional intensity into a right-after-the-war romance.

Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Gets Bogged Down in Conventionality

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

CHICAGO – Like his first film, “Get Out,” writer/director Jordan Peele creates a horror/thriller filled with symbolism and laughs. Unlike “Get Out,” “Us” is awash in overly concentrated plot points, a reliance on lesser references and an ending that can be seen from outer space. It’s not sophomore “jinx,” but more like the sophomore “over think.”

Tribal Side of Drug Trafficking in ‘Birds of Passage'

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

CHICAGO – One of the overriding characteristics in the movies, when it comes to drug traffickers, is the stereotypical image of a fat and corrupt cartel leader who usually have machine gun wielding henchmen and bikini clad groupies. “Birds of Passage” goes back to the business of the drug trade, but it is about the families that controlled the territorial borders during that key era, and the basis of that control in ancient tribalism.

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