What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
Billy Bob Thornton
CHICAGO – There was a time when it looked like not only would Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton be one of our great actors but possibly a threat behind the camera as well. Everyone knows the impression of his character from “Sling Blade” but many forget that he directed it as well. He followed that up with the flawed but ambitious and interesting “All the Pretty Horses.”
CHICAGO – The last two “Shrek” movies — “Shrek the Third” and “Shrek Forever After” — were such worthless affairs that I was somewhat dreading their spin-off adventure, “Puss in Boots.” It didn’t help that I never found Antonio Banderas’ wide-eyed kittie with a sword nearly as charming as the rest of the world apparently did. So it was much to my surprise that I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed “Puss in Boots,” a clever, fun romp for all ages.
CHICAGO – In our latest documentary edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: DVD, we have 5 DVDs up for grabs for the home entertainment release of “My Run,” which is narrated by Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton!
CHICAGO – After his underrated breakthrough from wrestling into acting, “The Rundown,” we all expected Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to be the next macho action stars like the icons we grew up with — Sly, Ahnuld, Bruce Willis, and more. But the action market shifted to more average-looking heroes (like Nic Cage & Shia LaBeouf) and The Rock took a left turn into family fare like “The Tooth Fairy” and “Race to Witch Mountain.” “Faster” looked like a return to the genre in which he would have been a mega-star in 1988. Sadly, the result is a dull, boring affair that’s nowhere near as much fun as its title or premise might suggest.
CHICAGO – In our latest action/thriller edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 25 admit-two passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of the new film “Faster” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton!
CHICAGO – You won’t find the kind of diversity that exists in HollywoodChicago.com’s Blu-Ray Round-Up too many places online. Where else can modern sci-fi mingle with quarter-century-old genre product and hang out with Oscar winners and slapstick comedies? Nowhere.
CHICAGO – “Eagle Eye,” the second collaboration between new star Shia LaBeouf and director D.J. Caruso after the surprise success of “Disturbia,” isn’t nearly as successful a diversion, stretching the very concept of suspension of disbelief to the breaking point.
As we’ve been reporting here, “Eagle Eye” – a DreamWorks picture staring Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson and Billy Bob Thornton – has been filming at various locations across Chicago over the past two weeks.
We! Are! Terrorist Cell!: We already told you about Billy Bob Thorton being cast in “Eagle Eye,” which is shooting now in Chicago and is directed by D.J. Caruso.