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.
CHICAGO – Susanne Bier’s “In a Better World” has stuck with me. After seeing it in theaters five months ago, I was a little hard on the film due to the fact that it beat out so many great ones for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, including “Dogtooth,” “Incendies,” and the film that most people thought would win, “Biutiful.” I still question that decision, but this is a stronger film than I first gave it credit for — a bit more shallow and cut-and-dry than it should have been but a dramatically satisfying rental, now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
CHICAGO – Susanne Bier’s “In a Better World” was a surprising winner at the Academy Awards when Best Foreign Language Film was announced, leading many to wonder what could have beaten the critically-acclaimed “Dogtooth” or “Biutiful,” which clearly had a lot of love considering its Best Actor nomination. “In a Better World” must have been pretty great, right? Yes and no. It’s a better film than a few of the Academy’s recent decisions (“Departures” comes to mind), but also nowhere near as complete a film as a number of alternate choices. This category is still a mess, as proven by the win for this interesting but ultimately a bit too shallow examination of revenge and parenthood.
CHICAGO – Was there really any need to remake “Brothers,” the 2004 Danish drama directed by Susanne Bier? Not only was the film nearly flawless, but its riveting emotions and themes resonated on a universal level that transcended any cultural boundaries. Just because a war film is set in a different country or a different time period doesn’t mean the modern-day American soldier won’t be able to relate to it.
CHICAGO – The transition from hot young actor to the domestic picket fence is about ten years and a shadowy crow’s foot. One day you’re a galaxy queen, superhero and Donnie Darko, next you’re playing house in “Brothers.”
CHICAGO – FOX recently sent over the details on their post-baseball coverage including the series premiere of “The Wanda Sykes Show,” the special “Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show,” a week-long “The Simpsons”-themed on-air scavenger hunt November 9th through the 15th, and synopsis information for the hit shows they have planned for the sweeps period including “House,” “Glee,” “Bones,” “Fringe,” and “Lie to Me”.
CHICAGO – FOX announced their fall premiere dates this morning and the network should start off with a skip in its step with “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Glee” kicking off the season on Wednesday, September 9th.
CHICAGO – The networks announce their fall schedules this week and Eliza Dushku fans will be happy that her on-the-bubble show from TV genius Joss Whedon, “Dollhouse,” got a last minute reprieve from the TV gas chamber and will be on the FOX fall schedule. While “Dollhouse” made the cut, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” was shown the door.