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 – When Universal started their wave of 2012 catalog Blu-ray releases to celebrate their anniversary, good movie nuts immediately started to consider what could be the next announcement in that collection. Near the top of everyone’s dream list? Steven Spielberg’s timeless “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.”
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CHICAGO – At a time when even the US Congress can’t work together to solve a problem, Ken Kwapis’ ham-fisted cinematic “Kumbaya” session, “Big Miracle,” feels especially cheap. It’s the latest stinker to solidify the theory that a stamp of approval from Heartland Truly Moving Pictures is the equivalent of a scarlet letter for any viewers desiring to be truly moved.
CHICAGO – Whale of a tale (chuckle), no other headline writer has thought of that. “Big Miracle” is a family movie with Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell, Ted Danson and the voice of Ronald Reagan, that will not have adults seeking the emergency exits. It’s about whales.
CHICAGO – Out of all the franchises recently resurrected on the small screen, “Charlie’s Angels” is perhaps the least necessary. Does the world really need yet another rehash of the hit ’70s show that has been hailed for its female empowerment but was mainly popular because of its scantily clad female ensemble?
CHICAGO – Wes Craven’s “Scream” is one of the most influential horror films of all time. And it’s one of the best of its era. The film has held up remarkably well in the fifteen years since it was released and is a must-own for fans of the genre, especially with an extras-laden Blu-ray release timed to coincide with the upcoming April 15th release of “Scream 4.” The sequels are inferior but more worthwhile than average horror sequels. Why not own ‘em all?
CHICAGO – It’s far from a perfect comedy but considering the amazingly-broken state of the romantic comedy genre, the wasteland of horrendous films that have continued to give talentless stars like Katherine Heigl a career, “Going the Distance,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is a surprisingly-effective flick. A somewhat-bizarre blend of “dude humor” with typical genre cliches may turn some viewers off but this flick is two things most romantic comedies aren’t — romantic and funny.
CHICAGO – Drew Barrymore no doubt is working hard to become Queen of the Romantic Comedy. She has done over ten of them, more if you count “Bad Girls.” (kidding) When recycling themes even the best of them can get redundant when seeing the same actress involved. “Going the Distance” is not even among the best of them.
CHICAGO – The personal life of an entertainer shouldn’t be of any entertainment value, regardless of how celebrity gossip columns and the paparazzi would like to convince the general public otherwise. Who cares if two famous people have chemistry if it doesn’t show up onscreen?
CHICAGO – Nanette Burstein, known mostly for her excellent documentaries “The Kid Stays in the Picture” and “American Teen,” makes her narrative feature film director debut with the comedy “Going the Distance,” with Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate and Jim Gaffigan.