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 – It’s a weird week at the video store (do they still have those?) or in the New Releases section of your favorite Video On Demand service. There’s some real junk that we’ll get to (“The Internship”) along with some flicks that are just too good not to break out into their own special Blu-ray reviews (“Before Midnight,” “The Conjuring” — both must-sees). And then there’s a unique array of catalog releases and TV seasons. Those could easily fall through the cracks if not for the informative What to Watch. All of these are new to Blu-ray, some for the first time and some in anniversary/special editions. At least one will grab your attention.
CHICAGO – It’s that time of year, the one in which you have to decide if you’re willing to think outside of the tie box when it comes to getting your pop something for Father’s Day. Another pair of socks? Or how about something he’ll appreciate? A movie? A TV series? A box set?
CHICAGO – “Clint Eastwood: 20 Film Collection” is a great Father’s Day gift that’s nonetheless a bit difficult to describe. It’s not exactly a greatest hits collection of its legendary star since it’s missing some of his most iconic films and includes some of his most notable failures.
CHICAGO – “Trouble with the Curve,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, opens with Clint Eastwood talking to his unresponsive cock and then kicking a chair across the room. He’s in full ornery old man mode in this movie that features talented people working with a script that doesn’t allow any of them to actually use their talents.
CHICAGO – Clint Eastwood keeps going and going. His reputation as an actor is secure in a long career, and his power as a director is Oscar worthy. His ability to recognize a limp script? Not so much, if “Trouble with the Curve” is a gauge. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake are along for the pitch.
CHICAGO – Baseball gets the metaphor-for-life treatment once again in “Trouble with the Curve,’ starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout estranged from his daughter (Adams) and seeks redemption in both arenas of his life. Making his directorial debut is Robert Lorenz, who has worked with Eastwood since “Bridges of Madison County.’
CHICAGO – It’s that time of year again when studios look deep into their catalogs and pull out a few lucky titles for potential consumers to give dear old dad on Father’s Day. What got the HD upgrade for the 2012 holiday? Warner Bros. has released one underrated gem and two mediocre “manly movies” in “A Perfect World,” “Blood Work,” and “U.S. Marshals.”
CHICAGO – With all due respect to Damián Bichir, George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Gary Oldman and Brad Pitt, I believe that the three best lead performances by an actor in 2011 were entirely overlooked by the Academy. None of the five Oscar nominees quite managed to top Michael Shannon in “Take Shelter,” Michael Fassbender in “Shame” or Leonardo DiCaprio in “J. Edgar.”
CHICAGO – Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” is one of the most influential movies on my decision to become a film critic. And yet, as most people are, I was concerned that perhaps I viewed the film through the rose-colored glasses of perspective. Was it as good as I remembered? Does it hold up? Hell yes it does and it’s never looked better than it does on the stunning new transfer from Warner Brothers for its 20th anniversary Blu-ray.
CHICAGO – Much of history is determined by the petty quirks and strange psychosis of “great leaders.” J. Edgar Hoover, FBI director for 48 years, worked hard to hide his very nature by squelching the nature of others – enemies, friends and perceived enemies. Leonardo DiCaprio is Hoover in “J. Edgar.”