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 – Actor William H. Macy’s directorial debut “Rudderless” is a film of open mic songwriting that tackles a recovery from grief with neat lyrics and easy metaphors. Instead of standing out, Macy has provided another sap’s ballad that has the cuteness of “Kumbaya”, one that aims to please the crowd without challenging emotions, only presenting them.
Film News: New Chicago Film Critics Association Series ‘Film with a View’ Presents ‘Almost Famous’ on Oct. 3, 2012Submitted by PatrickMcD on October 2, 2012 - 3:33pm
CHICAGO – The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) will begin their new series, “Film with a View,” on this coming Wednesday, October 3rd, at the Studio Movie Grill in Wheaton, Illinois, starting at 7:30pm. Admission is only one dollar. The first feature will be “Almost Famous” (2000), the rock movie directed by Cameron Crowe. CFCA member Erik Childress of eFilmCritic.com will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward.
CHICAGO – Sometimes a film is so good that it casts a shadow over all the other pictures that have the misfortune of sharing striking similarities. HBO’s star-studded adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book, “Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves” does its titular subject matter justice—but not nearly as well as J.C. Chandor’s “Margin Call.”
CHICAGO – Over a decade ago, Jill & Karen Sprecher made waves on the indie scene with “Clockwatchers” and “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing” but then virtually disappeared. They’re back with another arthouse piece, a “Fargo”-esque black comedy called “Thin Ice,” starring Greg Kinnear, Billy Crudup, Alan Arkin, and more. The strong ensemble makes the relatively weak script (as presented…more on that later) easier to take as the film skates over some treacherous rough patches but never falls through.
CHICAGO – As the Oscars are almost upon us, several studios have been releasing Academy Award juggernauts of the past like “Raging Bull,” “Dances With Wolves,” and “The Color Purple.” Consider the re-release of “Almost Famous,” in its “Untitled” form exclusively at Best Buy, an ugly duckling cousin of these releases. Yes, it won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (well-deserved) but it missed out on nods it should have received in multiple other categories. Yes, I’m still angry. “Almost Famous” is one of the best films of the ’00s and has held up beautifully since its release just over a decade ago.
CHICAGO – Despite its flaws, the often-beautiful “Eat Pray Love,” starring Julia Roberts, works because it refuses to talk down to its audience. This is the rare “chick flick” that treats its demographic with respect, never becoming the sentimental or manipulative dreck that so many other filmmakers would have delivered from Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoirs.
CHICAGO – On paper, Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies” looked like it would be a clear contender for end-of-the-year consideration but it has been largely forgotten, only a few months after its release. The cold, dense film didn’t register strongly enough with critics or audiences and it looks like it could disappear without much fanfare. What I think is more likely is that Mann’s dark, complex film will slowly get the recognition it deserves on the home market and it starts with this Blu-Ray release.
CHICAGO – Despite the serious problems I had with Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen,” it was a Blu-Ray and DVD title that I was highly anticipating. With the film’s detailed production level, lengthy running time, and broad scope, it would seem to be tailor-made for a loyal home audience. Whether you like the film or not, that audience is getting screwed.
CHICAGO – Was John Dillinger an Adolf Hitler-level criminal mastermind or a modern-day Robin Hood superman? In the authentic reality portrayed by the god-like Johnny Depp in the Chicago-filmed “Public Enemies,” he’s a little bit of both for blockbuster filmmaker Michael Mann.
CHICAGO – Just a day after the red-carpet Chicago premiere of the Chicago-filmed “Public Enemies,” Universal Pictures has released to us 36 high-resolution production stills from the highly anticipated film. “Public Enemies” stars Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Channing Tatum, Leelee Sobieski, Billy Crudup, Emilie de Ravin, Giovanni Ribisi and Stephen Dorff from director Michael Mann (“Miami Vice,” “Collateral,” “Ali,” “Heat” and “The Last of the Mohicans”).