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HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Reviews

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.

Blu-ray Review: Even Villainous James Franco Can’t Save Dull ‘Homefront’

Homefront

CHICAGO – Jason Statham has become an amorphous blob in the action genre, but an amorphous blob who is his own archetype, nonetheless. With the “Expendables” movies he began to take the genre torch from Sylvester Stallone, and now working from a script by Stallone in “Homefront”, his Americanization is nearly certified. That being said, watching Jason Statham tattoo a bald eagle on himself might be more enjoyable than his latest addition to a bloated filmography, “Homefront”. That, or staging a debate with Stallone and Statham about gun control.

What to Watch: Feb. 25-Mar. 10, 2014

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

We’re back! Did you survive the Oscars? Are you looking for something to watch on Blu-ray, DVD, or streaming service? We have a few options for you released right at the end of February or the beginning of March, including a couple great animated shows, a Best Picture nominee, an FX sitcom, and a mega-blockbuster. Pick your favorites. All five are worth a look.

Blu-ray Review: Insightful, Candid Steven Soderbergh on New Criterion Release

King of the Hill

Steven Soderbergh’s film “King of the Hill” is an essential one to understanding his career simply for the way it displayed the range we would come to admire in one of our best filmmakers. Soderbergh is one of the most important directors of the last quarter-century, in no small part due to the incredible range he has displayed throughout his career. His current-century work has been defined by an incredible attention to detail but his 3rd and 4th films, “King of the Hill” and “The Underneath,” which is included on this Blu-ray in its entirety, bear the mark of a man still honing his craft. And he’ll be the first to tell you that.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Gravity’ is Elegant, Nail Biting at the Same Time

gravityblucov.jpg

CHICAGO – Some films fundamentally change what you expect from cinema. “Star Wars” (1977), “Jurassic Park” (1996), “Avatar” (2007) all pushed those boundaries. In my first of a whopping eight theatrical viewings of “Jurassic Park” for instance I never once felt the illusion of watching real dinosaurs was interrupted by suddenly realizing how ‘they did it’ I was simply watching real dinosaurs.

What to Watch: Feb. 18-24, 2014

The Americans

What an amazing week for TV fans. As if you didn’t have enough stacking to do with the new, brilliant season of “House of Cards” on Netflix, there are four other full seasons in this week’s What to Watch that you really should watch front to back. And then there’s the still-amazing “Darkman,” a cult classic that perfectly captures Sam Raimi’s skill at controlled chaos. Finally, we have two ’80s horror flicks in one set in “Bad Dreams” and “Visiting Hours.” Check ‘em all out (OK, you can skip the genre stinkers).

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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