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2014 Sundance Diary, Day 3: Comedies with an Edge

I’ve only seen three movies since my last dispatch — Sundance is about finding the time to write whenever you have it and it just comes earlier today than it did yesterday — but one was a true gem. So I’ll be brief.

Blu-ray Review: HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’ Rivets, Frustrates at Same Time

The Newsroom

CHICAGO – Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, drives me crazy. The HBO drama can be so thematically dense and brings up subjects too often missing from the national conversation but it can also be so frustratingly self-important and deluded in its vision of the way real people operate. Do you give it credit for the topics it raises or smash it for the heavy hand with which they’re delivered? I have high hopes that season two will iron out some of the problems (stories of reshot episodes indicate that Sorkin heard his critics) but I’m still torn on how to feel about season one.

Blu-ray Review: Raunchy Hockey Comedy ‘Goon’ is Surprising Fun

Goon

CHICAGO – Seann William Scott (“American Reunion”) does the best work of his career in the raunchy hockey comedy “Goon,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. Co-written by “Superbad” writer Evan Goldberg and co-star Jay Baruchel, this is a clever little sports comedy that should find a loyal audience on the home market.

Film Review: Seann William Scott Skates Through Funny ‘Goon’

Goon
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Seann William Scott gives a surprisingly engaging, even sweet performance as the title character in the brutal, raunchy hockey comedy “Goon,” written by “Superbad” scribe Evan Goldberg and comedy actor Jay Baruchel. This “Slap Shot meets Fight Club” is a definite must-see for hockey fans but feels a little too slight for everyone else. Still, there’s a lot to like here, especially for those who want an interesting alternative On Demand (it’s already available there and opening in Chicago theaters today, March 30th, 2012).

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘Goon’ With Sean William Scott

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the new ice hockey comedy “Goon” starring Sean William Scott!

Blu-ray Review: Woody Allen’s Exquisite, Romantic ‘Midnight in Paris’

Midnight in Paris

CHICAGO – At times, Woody Allen’s new film releases stink like an old glove, and thankfully there are times when they fit like an old glove. His latest is “Midnight in Paris,” just released on Blu-ray and DVD. This is classic romantic Woody, set in the City of Lights, and featuring Owen Wilson taking on the Allen persona. It’s also featured in my Top 10 Films of 2011.

Film Review: Woody Allen’s Charming ‘Midnight in Paris’ Delights

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen and the amazing cinematographer Darius Khondji (“Seven,” “The City of Lost Children”) very purposefully open their new film “Midnight in Paris” with a long series of static shots of the title city before even presenting a cast list. You see, Paris is a cast member in this film.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ Bursts With Special Features

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

CHICAGO – Edgar Wright’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” may have been (incorrectly) perceived as a box office bomb but a large cult grew around the film before it was even released and it’s a following that will only grow stronger with the fantastic Blu-ray release, a disc filled with more special features than even the most hardcore fan of the movie could have hoped for. The movie is still a bit flawed but it plays well at home and I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is when a top-notch studio like Universal treats a loyal film following with the respect they deserve.

Film Review: Ambition, Ingenuity Win Fight of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’

CHICAGO – Working from the graphic novels by Brian Lee O’Malley, Edgar Wright and Michael Cera deliver one of the most unique films of the year in the comedy/romance/comedy/video-game/pop-art/action/musical “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” You won’t see anything like this again for a long time.

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  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    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.

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