'Ouija' is no horror game changer

I can't help wondering what Hasbro executives were thinking in licensing the company's Ouija board property to Universal Pictures. Just how many copies of this seance-themed novelty item – suitable for players age 8 and up who might be looking to commune with the dead on family game night — were they hoping to sell? A horror movie that practically opens with a shot of someone throwing the infernal thing into a fireplace is not exactly the best commercial.

Keanu Reeves takes his licks in 'John Wick'

Keanu Reeves just turned the big 5-0, but he can still tussle with the best of them. And he needs to in the title role of "John Wick," an action flick in overdrive. The movie is what you'd expect from two stunt-choreographers-turned-directors (David Leitch and Chad Stahelski), with the addition of a few fun flourishes.

Murray delights as curmudgeonly 'Vincent'

If we were going to be curmudgeonly about it – and “St. Vincent” is, after all, a movie about a curmudgeon – we’d focus on the one major flaw in the film, and not on its pleasures.

‘Best of Me’ is the worst

The lame “The Best of Me” is the worst of romantic novelist Nicholas Sparks. It’s soppy swill masquerading as drama that even for Sparks is more nauseating than usual. And poor James Marsden (“X-Men”),  Michelle Monaghan (“True Detective”) and Gerald McRaney (“Deadwood”), all trapped inside a mawkish mess that required a pair of screenwriters to put forth. It’s a double dose of treacle. Too bad Marsden couldn’t use his mutant ability as Cyclops to launch an optic force blast all over the movie and save us all.

'Men, Women & Children' doesn't click

If ever there was a movie that needed a window to be opened, a blast of fresh air to be let in, it's Jason Reitman's "Men, Women & Children."

'Book of Life' celebrates death

It's not surprising that a companion art book to the new animated film directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez and produced by Guillermo del Toro has already been released. Steeped in Mexican folk art and inspired by that country's holiday the Day of the Dead, "The Book of Life" is a visually stunning effort that makes up for its formulaic storyline with an enchanting atmosphere that sweeps you into its fantastical world, or in this case, three worlds.

Halloween happenings in McHenry County and beyond

The following events are taking place for Halloween in the area. To list your event, visit

‘Fury’ a barrage of heavy-handedness

The relentless barrage of heavy-handedness in David Ayer’s World War II tank drama “Fury” begins immediately. A lone horseman approaches on the grim horizon of a foggy, corpse-strewn battlefield. Out of the muck leaps a man who pulls the rider down and savagely bludgeons him in the eye.

'Dracula Untold': of bat-men and caped crusaders

For a tantalizing half hour or so, it actually seemed like the underlying idea of "Dracula Untold" – an origin story drawing its DNA from superhero flicks, not monster movies – might go somewhere. Unfortunately, in its search for fresh blood to rejuvenate the desiccated corpse of Bram Stoker's hero, long since drained of narrative power, it goes places it shouldn't.

'The Judge' doesn't know when to end

By the time big-city lawyer Hank Palmer admits, out loud, “I’m not a pleasant person,” halfway through “The Judge,” we’re already well aware of that. Played in a slightly clipped manner, but otherwise close to perfection, by Robert Downey Jr., Hank is a self-absorbed jerk who turned his back on his family and hometown years before, and since developed a reputation for being very good at his job, which many people refer to as “winning cases of people that are guilty.”

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