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 – The remake of the 1986 Chicago-based movie, ‘About Last Night,’ has potential for a thematic redo. That opportunity seems squandered in this 2014 version, as the focus is just on casting and crudeness, as practiced by co-stars Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant and Regina Hall.
CHICAGO – The path to this year’s remake of the 1986 film “About Last Night” starts right here in Chicago, based on the original 1974 stage version, “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” by David Mamet. Two co-stars in the remake – Michael Ealy and Regina Hall – visited the source city to talk about their version.
CHICAGO – Ricky Jay is a fascinating character. He went from a staple of late night TV on shows like “Dinah Shore” and “The Tonight Show” to a notable collaborator with David Mamet, co-starring in most of his films, to an author and performer on Broadway. The man is one of the true living masters of his chosen art form – magic. As one might imagine, getting behind the curtain of this particular wizard proves difficult for “Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay” but the film about him remains an entertaining bio-doc regardless of the fact that the bio portion really only stays within its subject’s profession.
CHICAGO – Very few films from 1963 have the timelessness of Akira Kurosawa’s perfect thriller “High and Low,” a daring piece of tension-building work that takes place almost entirely in one room and in real-time. With people like Martin Scorsese, Mike Nichols, and David Mamet circling a potential remake for years, it’s no wonder the film was chosen for the Blu-ray upgrade this month by Criterion. It’s a classic from one of the form’s best directors.
CHICAGO – I am an unabashed defender of nearly everything that David Mamet has ever made and the arrival of another one of his films under the Criterion banner makes for a special occasion in this critic’s household. The new release of Mamet’s “Homicide” (1991) is a must-own for fans of one of the most important playwrights of the last fifty years and an underrated filmmaker as well.
CHICAGO – Chiwetel Ejiofor (pronounced choo-ih-tell edge-o-for) has been a stalwart film actor ever since his dramatic debut in Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad”. Since then, he has been a go-to character actor for directors as diverse as Spike Lee, Woody Allen and Stephen Frears.