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HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-ray Review: Martin Scorsese’s ‘The King of Comedy’ Crosses Generations

The King of Comedy

Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

Blu-ray Review: 2013 Hollywood Disaster ‘47 Ronin’ Rescued by Mediocrity

47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

Blu-Ray Review: Worth Getting Lost in ‘A Field in England’

A Field in England (teaser)

CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Inducts Bergman’s ‘Persona’ Into Collection

Persona

Few films have ever been as dissected and analyze as Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona”, recently released on Criterion Blu-ray for the first time with new special features. It’s somewhat ironic that so many people have spent so much intellectual energy on a film that Bergman admits came to him at a point of low health almost in a dream. In fact, “Persona” somewhat becomes less interesting to me as it’s dissected, much like Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.” or Malick’s “Tree of Life”. They are distinctly emotional, symbolic pieces and perhaps they should just be appreciated as such instead of such analysis of “what they mean.” However you choose to appreciate one of Bergman’s most influential films, you should do so with the Criterion edition from this day forward.

What to Watch: March 25-April 11, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

What to Watch is back in two-week form this time around, hitting the most important Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming offerings from both March 25th and April 1st. No April Fool’s Day jokes here. We’re above that. Sorta. What you will find is one of the best movies of last year, a fantastic comedy series, a foreign film you really should see, and further proof that John Cusack is merely slipping into straight-to-DVD oblivion like that damn horse in “The Neverending Story”. Pick one of the six. What the Hell, pick two.

Blu-ray Review: Office Comedy ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ Has a Case of the Mondays

Welcome to the Jungle

CHICAGO – Without rescue of a creative joke in sight, “Welcome to the Jungle” eventually devolves into an unsavory mash of “The Office” meets “Lord of the Flies”. Adam Brody’s Chris Myers is the lead character in a cube monkey’s generic fantasy, of which this film treats with a checklist. The attractive and amiable office mate (played by Megan Boone of Chicago Film Critics Festival favorite “Leave Me Like You Found Me”) is to be wooed, a manchild boss (Rob Huebel) is to be dethroned from his ego, and a world of freedom is to be revealed for those who have imprisoned themselves to 9-5 pressures.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Best of Bogart Collection’ Highlights Four Must-Owns

Casablanca

There are handful of actors who will forever be ingrained in the canon of film history. John Wayne, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, James Dean, Gregory Peck, to name just a few. One of the most iconic actors of all time, Humphrey Bogart, gets his own four-movie Blu-ray collection this week. This is the kind of release that usually hits near Father’s Day. Get your shopping done early this year.

Blu-ray Review: Gorgeous Journey of Oscar-Winning ‘The Great Beauty’

The Great Beauty

We love to go on and on when the Academy gets it wrong, especially in the notoriously flawed Documentary and Foreign Language categories. And so we should give them a pat on the back when they get it right. Yes, “Blue is the Warmest Color” deserved more attention but my vote still would have gone to Paolo Sorrentino’s masterful “The Great Beauty,” released today on Blu-ray and DVD from The Criterion Collection. It’s one of the best films of the last several years; a mesmerizing ode to the diversionary quality of excess. Don’t miss it.

What to Watch: Mar. 11-24, 2014

American Hustle

An Oscar winner, a major Oscar nominee, two more pieces of Oscar bait, and a few movies that never got anywhere near Oscar. Welcome to What to Watch. We don’t play favorites. Oh, wait, yes we do. You should definitely rent or buy the titles on this first page. The second page is more optional.

Blu-ray Review: ‘George Washington’ Re-Release Recalls Introduction of Great Director

George Washington picture.jpg

CHICAGO – Before “Snow Angels”, “Prince Avalanche”, or even “The Sitter”, director David Gordon Green flexed his film school muscles in his unabashed inauguration, “George Washington”. Eying its body, the 2000 film shares qualities other first-timers huff when trying to be taken seriously by the arthouse crowd. Especially with the films that were assuredly motivated by Green’s work like 2012’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, “George Washington” celebrates storytelling instruments like whimsical young voiceover, shots that are equally distinct & questionable, and the raw potential of non-actors.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

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