HollywoodChicago.com Arts & Entertainment News
CHICAGO – Few comedies from the ’80s are as beloved and rewatchable as “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” a surprise hit that produced multiple sequels and legions of fans. It’s probably playing somewhere on cable right now and will be for another three decades. However, in those cable airings, you won’t get to see the feature-length documentary, “Inside Story,” about the making of the film featuring new interviews with nearly all of the major players from Chevy Chase to Harold Ramis to Jane Krakowski. If you’re a comedy fan, the Blu-ray is worth picking up just for that special feature alone.
CHICAGO – It may not be a beautiful film but the latest attempt at cashing in on the “Twilight” craze, Richard LaGravenese’s “Beautiful Creatures,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is surprisingly good-looking. The young leads show a lot more life than typical YA fare, the supporting cast is truly stellar, and the script from the author of “The Fisher King” and this weekend’s “Behind the Candleabra” has some interesting ideas about religion, fate, and maturity. It’s too long by some stretch and too many of the same ideas are hit repeatedly but when the supporting cast, including three Oscar winners, is allowed to do what they do best, it’s damn pretty to watch.
CHICAGO – In the annals of bad parenting portrayed on film, the heroine of Bryan Wizemann’s 2011 indie drama is a special case indeed. Though we watch helplessly as she makes countless bad decisions guaranteed to send her young daughter to intensive therapy, we don’t regard her a sinister figure on the order of Monique’s monstrous matriarch in “Precious.” Our gaze is one of empathy.
CHICAGO – When mixing parenting responsibility, the separation of those parents and a legal system that cannot address the farce of human retaliation, the results become “What Maisie Knew.” Julianne Moore portrays a rock star, and the mother to the title character.
“Epic” is the best-looking 3D animated film since “How to Train Your Dragon”. From the very first scenes, it has a mesmerizing visual palette as the natural world comes to life in a way reminiscent of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar.” It’s gorgeous. Sadly, the lurching, generic script doesn’t live up to the look of the film but it’s worth seeing just for the memorable visuals.
HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 5 Blu-ray, DVD Combo Packs to ‘Side Effects’ With Channing Tatum, Rooney MaraSubmitted by HollywoodChicago.com on May 23, 2013 - 12:03pm.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Combo Pack with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 5 free Blu-ray and DVD combo packs up for grabs for the home release of “Side Effects” starring Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara!
CHICAGO – “How did you know the car would be there to break my fall?” Everything you need to know about the current tone of the “Fast & Furious” franchise exists in that line. Not only are these people superhero enough to leap through the air from one vehicle to another but this is a world in which automobiles are designed to BREAK falls. It’s ridiculous, insane escapist entertainment, and while the bloated running time and less-exciting setting makes “Fast & Furious 6” a slight step down from the more well-paced “Fast Five,” it’s still a damn fun ride that’s sure to please the audience out to see a sixth installment of vehicular man-sanity.
CHICAGO – They could have called it “Undercover No-Boss”. FOX’s very unusual “Does Someone Have to Go?” is a new, Summer reality offering about workplaces that need shaking up and get their upheaval by turning the employees into bosses. Every week, the staff will be empowered by a series of exercises, and, ultimately, have to answer the title question - Is the best route of action for the company to let one of their employees go?
CHICAGO – With a lazy, over-plotted story, and a cast that are desperately going through the motions, “The Hangover Part III” is the latest example of a contract obligation disguising itself as a movie. Writer/director Todd Phillips sluggishly pounds out another one, with simply no originality.
CHICAGO – Can it still be called “Rookie Blue” in its fourth season? Should they change it to “Experienced Blue”? The irony of the fourth season premiere of ABC’s strong Summer hit, a Canadian import like “Flashpoint” and “Motive,” is that the reason it works is because the cast seems so comfortable in these roles. They’re far more entertaining, likable, and believable than a lot of modern cop shows and I think it’s the people, not the situations, that has made “Rookie Blue” a hit.
CHICAGO – I usually avoid this kind of hyperbole but I adore the best of Studio Ghibli and know their entire catalog well and so I feel I can say it — “My Neighbor Totoro” is one of the best family films of all time. Hayao Miyazaki’s gentle variation on “Alice in Wonderland,” has everything that we identify with Ghibli, including a respect for nature, magical sense of fantasy, and importance of family.
CHICAGO – I find it fascinating that “Fringe,” the show that always seemed to be on the bubble for renewal and was always included in articles about low-rated programming, appears to be one of the most influential on the Fall 2013 season. FOX has two new dramas in the Fall and they’re both from “Fringe” alum — J.J. Abrams’ “Almost Human” and Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman’s “Sleepy Hollow”. They’re clearly looking for, believe it or not, the next “Fringe.” For while the smart sci-fi drama never found a huge audience on TV, it found an incredibly loyal one on Blu-ray, On Demand, iTunes, etc. and those fans can now complete their collection with a bittersweet but complete fifth and final season release.
CHICAGO – “Mama” isn’t exactly an original piece (it borrows heavily from horror archetypes, particularly those that turned Asian horror into a trend) but it isn’t always the originality of the composition but how well it’s played that matters. “Mama” is, mostly, well-played. The atmosphere brought to it by director Andy Muschietti, the character depth provided by Jessica Chastain, the brilliant touch of producer Guillermo Del Toro — “Mama” deliveres. Mostly. Some decisions made in the CGI department are disappointing but there’s still a lot to like here. Definitely worth a rental.