CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
CHICAGO – In January 2013, The New York Times wrote a scathing, fascinating piece about the tumultuous production of Paul Schrader’s “The Canyons.” The narrative was essentially that star Lindsay Lohan was so difficult on set that it derailed the directorial work of the writer of “Taxi Driver” in ways that would make a reality TV producer pull out his check book to buy the footage.
CHICAGO – Not everything should be filet mignon. Sometimes you just want a greasy, delicious cheeseburger. Now imagine eating ten of those cheeseburgers in a row. Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete” starts as a wonderful gore-fest but falls victim to its creator’s inability to realize he doesn’t need to answer to every violent vision he can dream up. The film is proof that even extremely over-the-top films can be monotonous in that their one tone is “ARGH!”
CHICAGO – As a contemporary of the John Lennon assassination in 1980 and an ardent admirer of the late Beatle, I had a hard time figuring out the reasons for making the film “Chapter 27”.