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 – Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, has so much of what the other 2013 Summer blockbusters were missing. There was a disturbing sense of familiarity this year. Even the decent ones like the “Iron Man” and “Star Trek” sequels felt like things we had seen before. “Pacific Rim” returned wonder and spectacle to the world of the blockbuster and the result was Del Toro’s best English-language film. It’s a blast.
CHICAGO – Leave it to the wondrous auteur, director Guillermo del Toro, to push the boundaries of giant science fiction epics simply by paying homage to their predecessors. The grand, glorious embrace of “Pacific Rim” leaves no stone of cult film fun unturned.
CHICAGO – “Frankie Go Boom” is a comedy about deplorable people who commit heartless acts and expect us to laugh at them. It casts the hugely lovable Chris O’Dowd as the most loathsome schlub ever to materialize on the big screen since Josh Gad’s wretched comic relief in “Love and Other Drugs.” And it puts Ron Perlman in drag but fails to give him a single laugh-worthy line. What a misfire.
CHICAGO – Jordan Roberts “3, 2, 1… Frankie Go Boom” is available On Demand in advance of its October theatrical release and it’s likely to be enticing to fans of the mega-hit “Sons of Anarchy” (which premiered this week to record-setting numbers) and those looking for a new comedy as the multiplex is crowded with horror and action movies. The raunchy comedy feels like a cousin of the Judd Apatow brand without the same degree of timing but the likable cast goes a long way to getting one over the screenwriting speed bumps.
CHICAGO – The Shakespearian tragedy that is “Sons of Anarchy” ascends to a new level of drama in the strong first two episodes of the fifth season as the writers pick up close to where they left off in the brilliant fourth year of one cable’s biggest hits. With fantastic guest stars like Jimmy Smits and Harold Perrineau, “Sons of Anarchy” seems likely to top even last year’s impressive numbers.
CHICAGO – The third season of “Sons of Anarchy” was an absolute mess, the kind of misguided, repetitive disaster that can sometimes kill a great show. And yet the creators and team behind this hit FX series completely bounced back in season four, recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. With more emphasis on the dark family secrets of Clay (Ron Perlman), Gemma (Katey Sagal), and Jax (Charlie Hunnam), “Sons of Anarchy” arguably reached its peak this season and I expect the upcoming fifth season (come back Tuesday for a review) to top even this one. Catch up before getting back on your ride.
CHICAGO – If Fox Faith’s target audience was comprised of atheists, the studio might have churned out this deeply shallow thriller about religious fundamentalism. Though hate-spewing cult leaders like Fred Phelps deserve to be reviled, the vast majority of fictional films about extremism come off as profoundly simple-minded. Like Kevin Smith’s “Red State,” this picture sidesteps its provocative subject matter in favor of routine clichés.
CHICAGO – FX’s hit series “Sons of Anarchy” has become the most watched program in the history of the network. The season four premiere of the show had 6.5 million viewers watching when it premiered and added another 3 million in its encore plays. The 9.5 million total viewers for the one episode included 6.3 million adults from 18-49 years old.
CHICAGO – There have been some very cool TV on Blu-Ray releases lately that we wanted to make sure you, our loyal readers, knew about, including “Life After People,” “Lie to Me,” and “Sons of Anarchy”.