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
It's not bad, but not particularly the best outing for anyone involved.
Posted Oct 25, 2018
In the Loop (2009)
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.
Posted Oct 24, 2018
24: Redemption (2008)
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.
Posted Oct 22, 2018
Grey Gardens (2009)
Whatever problems I had with the script for "Grey Gardens" are completely offset by the stunning performances by Lange and Barrymore.
Posted Jul 24, 2018
A crisp document of the life and times of ALT...
Posted Jun 20, 2018
You Don't Know Jack (2010)
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.
Posted Jun 7, 2017
Masterfully marrying new with nostalgia, this is the one we've been waiting for.
Posted Dec 16, 2015
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.
Posted Sep 26, 2015
Meet The Patels (2015)
"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.
Posted Sep 15, 2015
The Gift (2015)
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.
Posted Aug 10, 2015
Ricki And The Flash (2015)
"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.
Posted Aug 7, 2015
"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.
Posted Jul 28, 2015
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.
Posted Jul 23, 2015
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.
Posted Jul 20, 2015
The Gallows (2015)
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.
Posted Jul 12, 2015
Magic Mike XXL (2015)
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.
Posted Jul 1, 2015
Jurassic World (2015)
"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.
Posted Jun 14, 2015
San Andreas (2015)
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.
Posted May 29, 2015
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
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.
Posted May 15, 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
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.
Posted May 1, 2015
Furious 7 (2015)
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.
Posted Apr 3, 2015
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.
Posted Mar 9, 2015
The Last 5 Years (2015)
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.
Posted Feb 22, 2015
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
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.
Posted Feb 14, 2015
Seventh Son (2015)
"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.
Posted Feb 8, 2015
Black Sea (2015)
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.
Posted Feb 1, 2015
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.
Posted Jan 24, 2015
American Sniper (2015)
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.
Posted Jan 18, 2015
Into the Woods (2014)
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.
Posted Dec 24, 2014
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.
Posted Dec 17, 2014
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?"
Posted Nov 23, 2014
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.
Posted Nov 7, 2014
You can't stop watching the demented, sociopathic, narcissistic but refreshingly blunt Jake Gyllenhaal in the razor-sharply written and visually exquisite "Nightcrawler".
Posted Oct 31, 2014
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.
Posted Oct 24, 2014
The Best Of Me (2014)
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.
Posted Oct 17, 2014
Dracula Untold (2014)
"Dracula Untold" is an artificial glorification lacking reason for the retelling. Even Dracula's wife outshines him in her supporting role.
Posted Oct 11, 2014
A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)
While neither genre breaking nor a 2014 standout film, Liam Neeson nonetheless makes you want him yet again as your dad.
Posted Sep 21, 2014
This Is Where I Leave You (2014)
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.
Posted Sep 19, 2014
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.
Posted Aug 22, 2014
Into The Storm (2014)
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.
Posted Aug 10, 2014
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.
Posted Jul 26, 2014
Life Itself (2014)
"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.
Posted Jul 6, 2014
Life Itself (2014)
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.
Posted Jul 4, 2014
The Fault In Our Stars (2014)
"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.
Posted Jun 6, 2014
"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.
Posted May 31, 2014
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
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.
Posted May 24, 2014
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.
Posted May 17, 2014
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.
Posted May 3, 2014
"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.
Posted Apr 12, 2014