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 – You get the sense that a writer for the new “RoboCop” felt very proud of himself when he coined the cheeky word “robophobic” as a play on a current cultural hot button. The Samuel L. Jackson moment of self-fulfilled glory reminded me of the rest of the plot that was missing.
CHICAGO – Let’s get this out of the way first – Abbie Cornish is simply great in David Riker’s “The Girl,” opening this weekend in Chicago at the AMC River East 21. She’s genuine, believable, and emotional resonant in ways that make this critic truly wish she would get more great roles (go rent “Bright Star” for further proof of her immense talents). Having said that, “The Girl” only barely works. Too much of the dialogue feels forced and the situations purposefully manipulative for it to fall on the right side of the soap opera-drama spectrum. There’s a heartfelt tenderness for this troubled character on Riker & Cornish’s part but it comes at the expense of realism or any serious answers to the questions raised by the film.
CHICAGO – Is there room for vengeance if you believe in Heaven and Hell? How do we suppress our need for moral and even physical justice if we believe that violence leads to damnation? Is there a chance to…oh, never mind. Let’s just blow someone’s brains out. That’s essentially how “Seven Psychopaths,” the clever new action comedy from Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”) works in that it has a number of interesting ideas that aren’t fully developed even if the movie is fun enough to be considered a sin.
CHICAGO – Madonna’s “W.E.” completes a trilogy of lackluster Oscar bait released last year by the Weinstein Company. Each film squandered potentially fascinating subject matter by upstaging it with pointless framing devices. Imagine if the majority of “Titanic” followed Bill Paxton on his self-centered quest for the diamond. That would surely have amounted to the most boring three-hour epic in history.
CHICAGO – It’s easy sport to disregard a director when the name attached to that title is Madonna, the famous pop star. “W.E.” is a story about fame in another era, and Madonna’s understanding about fame in general – and its dark underside – actually made her the right choice to handle such a story.
CHICAGO – “Limitless” is a fun, clever riff on the timeless tale of a man who wanted the world but didn’t know the price. From Faust to Icarus to “The Lawnmower Man,” we’ve long been fascinated with the idea that not only is it possible to have it all but that those who do will pay greatly for the privilege. With the best work of Bradley Cooper’s career, stylish direction, and clever storytelling, “Limitless” is a great rental, now available on Blu-ray, DVD, iTunes, and wherever else you like to download new releases.
CHICAGO – We’ve seen a lot of overly stylized films based on video games and comic books but rarely has there been a movie more derivative of other mediums yet not actually based on one than Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch,” a movie loathed by dozens of major critics (and defended by our very own Patrick McDonald) and recently released on Blu-ray and DVD in a 17-minute longer extended cut.
CHICAGO – It’s a pleasure to see the comic book film done right, especially with the visionary guidance of director Zach Snyder (”300”). “Sucker Punch” is an amazing treat, a feast of eye candy and incredible adventure.
CHICAGO – If you’re not easily susceptible to vertigo and can survive the intro cut scene, “Limitless” proceeds to treat you to one part thrill ride and one part exercise in ridiculousness.
HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Chicago Passes to Zack Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’ With Vanessa HudgensSubmitted by HollywoodChicago.com on March 17, 2011 - 1:35pm
CHICAGO – In our latest fantasy/action edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 30 admit-two passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of the new film “Sucker Punch” from “Watchmen” and “300” director Zack Snyder!