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.
CHICAGO – Diablo Cody’s directorial debut, “Paradise,” now available everywhere On Demand and released this Friday in some markets theatrically, is an unmitigated disaster. It’s the most tonally inconsistent film of 2013, a flick that fluctuates wildly from broad satire to manipulative drama to something altogether indescribably bad.
CHICAGO – How does one attempt to review a picture that has a 5-star opening act, a 2-star finale and several flashes of brilliance amidst a middling midsection? Are the good parts worth savoring despite the overarching flaws? In the case of Bobcat Goldthwait’s scathing yet softhearted satire on American idiocy, the answer is a resounding yes..
CHICAGO – Embarrassments both mortifying and tragic are viewed through a cathartically hilarious and disarmingly humanistic lens in the cinema of Bobcat Goldthwait.
CHICAGO – Jason Reitman took more risks with “Young Adult” than any film in his career. The fact that those risks paid off with a film that’s ultimately less satisfying than “Juno” or “Up in the Air” is not the point. I love to see such a talent as Reitman trying something as risky as a film with a completely loathsome protagonist for which no redemption is asked or offered. And Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt simply rock in two of the best performances of their individual careers. I think Diablo Cody’s script lets all three of them down to a certain degree, but “Young Adult” is worth at least a rental for the performances alone.
CHICAGO – Instead of trying to fill giant shoes in the shadows of his legendary filmmaker father Ivan Reitman (“Ghostbusters”), Jason Reitman has been successfully blazing his own path of films without message that are designed to incite your thoughts and question your actions.
CHICAGO – Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) isn’t a girl you’d Facebook like. She’s got one too many dark passengers, she’s a repugnant drunk, she likes too much pink, her white dog is too puffy and most would consider it less than Usher cool that she’s throwing herself at a married man she couldn’t bag back in high school. Or is she? And is Mavis so different than you?
CHICAGO – In our latest dramedy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of “Young Adult” from the director of “Up in the Air” (Jason Reitman) and the writer of “Juno” (Diablo Cody) starring Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson!
CHICAGO – ABC reaches a new low with “Suburgatory,” one of the least funny comedies of the fall TV season. It’s only appropriate that the pilot premieres after ABC’s other torturous suburban sitcom, “The Middle,” since neither show seems to have been conceived by a writer willing to step foot outside of the L.A. city limits. Yet while “The Middle” was admittedly likable during its first season, “Suburgatory” tanks in its opening moments.
CHICAGO – I’ve said for two seasons now that Showtime’s “United States of Tara” isn’t as good as it should be, partially because the writing and parts of the ensemble don’t live up to the Emmy-winning work by its stunningly talented star, Toni Collette, but I might have been wrong. The start of season three, debuting tonight, Mar. 28th, 2011 on Showtime, hints at a broader program with a deeper ensemble, but I’m not sure any more that this is a good thing.
CHICAGO – It’s difficult to think of a role better suited for the chameleon-like abilities of Toni Collette than Tara Gregson, a devoted wife and mother struggling with dissociative identity disorder. Every episode holds an element of surprise, since viewers are never quite sure which of Tara’s “alters” will emerge next. Will it be the perky ’50s housewife, the flirtatious teenager or the testosterone-oozing Vietnam vet?