HollywoodChicago.com

HollywoodChicago.com is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Adam Fendelman, Brian Tallerico, Jon Espino
Rating Title/Year Author
3/5 Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe (2011) Brian Tallerico It's not bad, but not particularly the best outing for anyone involved. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
5/5 In the Loop (2009) Matt Fagerholm Iannucci's film is a smashing satire for our politically challenged times, but beyond that, it's also a magnificent verbal comedy, the joy of which is nearly impossible to describe in a family-friendly review. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2018
24: Redemption (2008) Brian Tallerico It's still a dark and brutal program, but there has clearly been a creative reassessment of the show. It's the kind of self-awareness that could resurrect a series that looked like its popularity might be sliding away. EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2018
Grey Gardens (2009) Brian Tallerico Whatever problems I had with the script for "Grey Gardens" are completely offset by the stunning performances by Lange and Barrymore. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2018
The Gospel According to André (2017) Patrick Mcdonald A crisp document of the life and times of ALT... EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2018
You Don't Know Jack (2010) Brian Tallerico Ultimately, there's little wrong with You Don't Know Jack and the performances alone make it worth seeing, but it's a good film that never quite rises to great. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2017
4.5/5.0 Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Adam Fendelman Masterfully marrying new with nostalgia, this is the one we've been waiting for. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2015
4.0/5.0 Sicario (2015) Adam Fendelman One of the best films of 2015, "Sicario" does more than just lift the dirty, clandestine rug on the Mexican drug war. It poses harrowing moral questions many of us are too nervous to be asked let alone prepared to actually answer. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2015
4.0/5.0 Meet the Patels (2014) Adam Fendelman "Meet the Patels" dares to buck the traditional documentary film formula. Its unscripted story bridges the cultural divide with a cinéma vérité style that Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock can learn from. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2015
3.5/5.0 The Gift (2015) Adam Fendelman An "R"-rated warning of the dangers of childhood bullying, Australian actor Joel Edgerton's tense directorial debut shows promise for both the modern psychological thriller genre and for himself as a legitimate filmmaker. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2015
2.0/5.0 Ricki and the Flash (2015) Adam Fendelman "Ricki and the Flash" is an uninspired story from an Oscar-winning screenwriter who used her influence to tell an inspired-by story about her no-name mother-in-law rather than a real unknown musician who deserved it. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2015
2.5/5.0 Vacation (2015) Adam Fendelman "Vacation" attempts to recreate the charm of the classic with actors who know how to read the lines but don't embody the characters. And they're forced to speak within a lazily written story that doesn't add enough to justify coming back. EDIT
Posted Jul 28, 2015
2.0/5.0 Pixels (2015) Adam Fendelman The epitome of an idea that far outweighs its execution, "Pixels" is a bittersweet blunder that had all of the elements to be geeky great but ends up being cheesy mediocre. I could literally feel its potential, but the film ultimately fails to realize it. EDIT
Posted Jul 23, 2015
4.0/5.0 Ant-Man (2015) Adam Fendelman Thanks to a perfectly cast leading role by Paul Rudd​ and a hilarious supporting choice in Michael Peña​, "Ant-Man​" is a much funner-than-expected summer blockbuster that's as kid-friendly as it gets for the superhero genre. EDIT
Posted Jul 20, 2015
3.5/5.0 The Gallows (2015) Adam Fendelman Despite the production power of the trite Blumhouse horror machine, "The Gallows" harnesses real originality from new filmmakers (in a genre that's been lacking it) and effectively creates genuine scares because of it. EDIT
Posted Jul 12, 2015
2.0/5.0 Magic Mike XXL (2015) Adam Fendelman Showing little differentiation from a substanceless soft porn with cheesy dialogue and a non-existent story, the nichely entertaining "Magic Mike XXL" treats you like you're a dumb monkey just wanting a jiggling banana. EDIT
Posted Jul 1, 2015
4.0/5.0 Jurassic World (2015) Adam Fendelman "Jurassic World" doesn't buck blockbuster trends. Rather, it cleverly plays into them. More than a visual feast to marvel at, its new Indominus villain leaves us with a human lesson to heed: there's a price to pay for overmeddling with nature. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2015
2.5/5.0 San Andreas (2015) Adam Fendelman When the story is as weak as the film's fault lines and the character development never develops, the problem with blowing $100 million mostly on special effects is all you're left with is unintelligent disaster porn. EDIT
Posted May 29, 2015
4.5/5.0 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Adam Fendelman The epitome of a badass thrill ride and what a reboot should really be, I'll patiently wait another 30 years for someone to achieve what George Miller has pulled off here. EDIT
Posted May 15, 2015
4.0/5.0 Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Adam Fendelman Hitting society's central nervous system through the real fear of AI gone horribly rogue, this complete sequel package weaves together a rich story, rousing special effects and the sacrificial duality of being a superhero versus the layman. EDIT
Posted May 1, 2015
4.0/5.0 Furious 7 (2015) Adam Fendelman A tactful and touching legacy for Paul Walker, "Furious 7" is a relentlessly action-packed thrill ride that actually has a story, too. Its fun is propelled by characters you give a frick about even if you've never called yourself a franchise fan before. EDIT
Posted Apr 3, 2015
4.0/5.0 The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) Adam Fendelman Often motivated by financial greed, many sequels satiate businesspeople while disappointing moviegoers. But "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" manages to buck the often-botched sequel trend with yet another naturally charming film. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2015
4.0/5.0 The Last Five Years (2014) Adam Fendelman Telling the tough truth instead of being lied to with a glamorized version of theatre through rose-colored glasses, "The Last Five Years" establishes Anna Kendrick as a serious singer through Jason Robert Brown's naturally flowing, unpretentious music. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2015
2.0/5.0 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) Adam Fendelman Beneath its curious surface, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is an uninformed and unrealistic "romance" set in the BDSM world that dangerously dramatizes sexual violence and glamorizes domestic abuse. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2015
2.0/5.0 Seventh Son (2014) Adam Fendelman "Seventh Son" wastes a promising cast with unfocused and incoherent story decisions, unusual-but-not-in-a-good-way acting, unfortunate choices with gender roles and one-sided depiction of people with color. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2015
2.5/5.0 Black Sea (2014) Adam Fendelman While "Black Sea" physically dives deep, the story is shallow, the character's motivations are irrational and the drama is forced. The star of the film is the old, rickety submarine and the tension only she provides. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2015
4.0/5.0 Cake (2014) Adam Fendelman More than just a vehicle for awards, "Cake" features an overdue, career-growing, award-worthy, emotionally honest role for Jennifer Aniston anchored by a patient script written by real humans about real humans. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2015
3.0/5.0 American Sniper (2014) Adam Fendelman Entertaining, tense and thrilling, "American Sniper" devolves into glorification -- sugarcoating the truth and creatively changing details to assure we see the hero Chris Kyle was without most of the much darker anti-hero he also was. EDIT
Posted Jan 18, 2015
3.5/5.0 Into the Woods (2014) Adam Fendelman Neither Hollywood nor purely Broadway, Disney's big-screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods" finds an imperfect but charming, family-friendly home on Hollyway. EDIT
Posted Dec 24, 2014
3.5/5.0 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) Adam Fendelman One of Hollywood's best in splitting up the cinematic cellular DNA of one story into three, Peter Jackson is a master of mitosis. He now concludes a trilogy in traditional too-long but epic fashion after spending 513 screen minutes on only 445 pages. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2014
2.5/5.0 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (2014) Adam Fendelman Weak source material split into two films for no creative advantage only results in a disappointing artistic decision ruled by financial greed. The film anti-climatically makes us wait and leaves us asking: "For what?" EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2014
4.0/5.0 Interstellar (2014) Adam Fendelman Marrying the brains of "Inception" with the epic splendor of "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" asks vastly important brain-scratching questions, inspires your forward thinking and treats you to one hell of a mind-altering thrill ride. EDIT
Posted Nov 7, 2014
4.0/5.0 Nightcrawler (2014) Adam Fendelman You can't stop watching the demented, sociopathic, narcissistic but refreshingly blunt Jake Gyllenhaal in the razor-sharply written and visually exquisite "Nightcrawler". EDIT
Posted Oct 31, 2014
1.0/5.0 Ouija (2014) Adam Fendelman I don't blame the actors or filmmakers for "Ouija" being the worst horror film of 2014. It's the 11 narcoleptic producers who Hollywood's allowing to slap together this same tired formula. No wonder they're too lazy to make a horror film actually scary. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2014
1.0/5.0 The Best of Me (2014) Adam Fendelman The worst Nicholas Sparks film of the nine based on his novels, this is the epitome of disingenuous, manufactured and manipulative. The salt on the wound of an already bleeding heart is that the young adults outshine our artificial "A"-list lovebirds. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2014
2.0/5.0 Dracula Untold (2014) Adam Fendelman "Dracula Untold" is an artificial glorification lacking reason for the retelling. Even Dracula's wife outshines him in her supporting role. EDIT
Posted Oct 11, 2014
3.0/5.0 A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) Adam Fendelman While neither genre breaking nor a 2014 standout film, Liam Neeson nonetheless makes you want him yet again as your dad. EDIT
Posted Sep 21, 2014
2.0/5.0 This Is Where I Leave You (2014) Adam Fendelman The film's fatal flaw is it can't figure out who it is and do just one thing well. In the end, "This is Where I Leave You" is a failed comedy, a forgettable drama and a poor man's "August: Osage County" copycat. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2014
3.0/5.0 Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) Adam Fendelman Sex sells, but this film-noir sequel makes you feel dirty if you're left thinking that's enough. And if you count how many bullets are fired and compare it to how many holes you can shoot through its plot lines, the latter outnumbers the former. EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2014
2.0/5.0 Into the Storm (2014) Adam Fendelman After overprioritizing its special effects and being barren of a story and characters who make you care, all you've got here is an exotic Lamborghini on the outside with a lawnmower engine failing to chug it along. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2014
2.5/5.0 Hercules (2014) Adam Fendelman The second the film cleanly wraps up with nowhere else to go, you move about your life. Perhaps all you might question later is what his bushy beard is made from. Then you'd have your first laugh once learning that it came from yak testicle hair. EDIT
Posted Jul 26, 2014
4.5/5.0 Life Itself (2014) Adam Fendelman "Life Itself" pulls you in not only as a fly on the wall but as a guest at his family's dinner table. The film isn't afraid of showing pain and doesn't apply makeup on Roger's degenerating face or about his story as a whole. EDIT
Posted Jul 6, 2014
Life Itself (2014) Brian Tallerico Up to the end, Roger was passionate about everything in his life - his wife, his family, his friends, and the movies. And Life Itself captures that passion. It's not just a eulogy but a celebration. EDIT
Posted Jul 4, 2014
4.0/5.0 The Fault in Our Stars (2014) Adam Fendelman "The Fault in Our Stars" returns us to the rare, gender-crushing ingredients in "The Notebook". It figures out how to put a guy and a girl together and actually release in them natural chemistry instead of artificially forcing them to feel it. EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2014
2.0/5.0 A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) Adam Fendelman "Django Unchained" already recently nailed it. By contrast, "A Million Ways to Die in the West" is an attempted copycat -- messily comprised of some comedic hits but more misses -- that we just didn't need. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2014
4.0/5.0 X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) Adam Fendelman Blockbuster films so often blow so much of their budget on special effects but think of the plot as an afterthought. This one dares to reverse that mistake by investing heavily in its writing and allowing CGI to perfectly complement it. EDIT
Posted May 24, 2014
2.5/5.0 Godzilla (2014) Adam Fendelman Except for the clear purpose of cashing in on yet another "Godzilla" remake, everything is happening for no reason. Worst of all, what is ensuing misses and even mocks the reason why Ishirô Honda originated 1954's Godzilla in the first place. EDIT
Posted May 17, 2014
4.5/5.0 Locke (2013) Adam Fendelman Expensive Hollywood trickery often is superfluous filler for a film that is otherwise too weak at its very core. Character and story matter most, and "Locke" only needs one man in one car to keep you mesmerized for 85 straight minutes. EDIT
Posted May 3, 2014
3.0/5.0 Oculus (2013) Adam Fendelman "Oculus" wins with what it does inside its own mind, which incites yours without needing gore to bring about fear. But the most glaring problem is it doesn't need to be a "ghost story" to get you there. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2014
4.0/5.0 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Adam Fendelman If the original is anything to applaud, the sequel usually isn't. And even more rarely is the sequel actually better. But with this near-perfect comeback, we don't see so much of it coming, we enjoy nearly all of it and we can't ask for very much more. EDIT
Posted Apr 6, 2014