Category: "Reviews (New Releases)"

Chicago Critics Film Festival: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review

Has the light-hearted coming-of-age cancer drama become a “thing?”

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

The task of bringing together Earth’s mightiest heroes took Joss Whedon into uncharted territory with 2012’s “The Avengers,” and, despite the weight of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on his shoulders, the results were staggeringly entertaining. The task of making a sequel to that ground-breaking, monumental event film, however, and being expected to deliver on par […]

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American Sniper Review

Stories of American soldiers — their bravery in the field, their struggles to return to civilian life — have been well documented by Hollywood. The first thing to think about, therefore, is what makes each a necessary or unique story to tell. “American Sniper” tells of the life and years of service of Chris Kyle, […]

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Whiplash Review

Jazz music and psychology create a furious cinematic swell in Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash,” a striking breakthrough effort that will have toes tapping and pulses racing. Centered on a 19-year-old aspiring Jazz drummer pushed to his limits for better and for worse (usually worse) by a merciless instructor, “Whiplash” tells a simple story of how far […]

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The Interview Review

When major theater chains decided not to show “The Interview” because of terrorism threats from North Korean hackers, Hollywood saw an unparalleled degree of hype surrounding a film that otherwise would’ve received a moderate spotlight at best. But while news buzz for this comedy about a TV host and his producer being recruited to assassinate […]

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The Imitation Game Review

Biopics have become so commonplace today that they often lack the prestige they carried 10-20 years ago. So when one stands out, it deserves an extra bit of recognition and praise, and “The Imitation Game” is one such film, commanded by a fascinating performance from Benedict Cumberbatch.

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Into the Woods Review

How I’ve never seen a stage version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” is still a head-scratcher. My high school theatre department put on the twisted fairy tale the year after I graduated (much to my disappointment) and it has eluded me ever since. The point, excuse my digression, is it’s very rare for me […]

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review

Did Peter Jackson really just conclude his second Middle Earth trilogy? His take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” was a completely exhausting adventure that in many ways feels like seven films, not three, while “The Hobbit” trilogy feels exactly like it is on paper: one straightforward adventure broken into three parts. “The […]

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Birdman Review

Washed up celebrities, surrealism, truth and the theatre converge into an extraordinary film from Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Amores Perros,” “21 Grams”), a master of weaving multiple story lines together tackling dark but powerful themes about human nature and love. “Birdman” does not veer from these themes, but it is a dramatic structural shift for Iñárritu; […]

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Review

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1″ takes a drastic turn from the previous two entries of North America’s biggest active movie franchise, but any fan of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy could tell you that was coming; what doesn’t change is the series’ devotion to character-driven drama. In fact, it takes center stage.

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Foxcatcher Review

“Foxcatcher” is anything but a wrestling drama. Although based on the true story of Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz and his brief years of training under multi-millionaire John du Pont, “Foxcatcher” expands well beyond the wrestling ring into the minds of two men longing to find greatness.

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Interstellar Review

If Christopher Nolan wasn’t already the most daring filmmaker of the 21st century, “Interstellar” seals the deal. Somehow, the “Dark Knight Trilogy” and “Inception” director manages to package theoretical physics, space-time travel and a doomsday scenario all in one film that even when it doesn’t make sense, still strikes several nerves both in terms of […]

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Gone Girl Review

Directors don’t become synonymous with genres as often as they used to in Hollywood’s Golden Age, but play the word association game with “David Fincher” and you’re bound to hear “thriller” come up. There’s little doubt that if you’re producing an intense, dark, mystery-driven film, Fincher’s your first choice, and he proves it yet again […]

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The Maze Runner Review

Young adult sci-fi adaptations have run rampant since “The Hunger Games,” and “The Maze Runner” is the latest attempt to copy that model and hook the same audience. James Dashner’s tale of young boys trapped in a glade surrounded by a giant maze is much simpler than “Hunger Games,” so while it can’t achieve anywhere […]

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Boyhood Review

Calling “Boyhood” “unlike anything you’ve ever seen” is stating the obvious, yet there is almost no other way to describe it in as many words. Making a film over the course of 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater has transformed everything we know about filmmaking, in some ways challenging the very definition of […]

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