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.
There’s a fine line between old-fashioned and stale. Some will look at “Chicago PD,” NBC’s spin-off of “Chicago Fire” from mega-producer Dick Wolf, and say that it’s the kind of tried-and-true cop show that they don’t really make that often any more. I would say there’s a reason they don’t make them any more.
CHICAGO – There are times when the third season premiere of AMC’s “The Killing” shows the signs of a program that was resurrected from the dead. The series was axed by AMC after a controversial end to the first season and disappointing second one.
CHICAGO – It might seem silly to buy a Christmas movie in February but “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas” is not your typical holiday flick. And Warner Bros. wisely recognizes that these movies have never done well in theaters but dominate on the home market. In fact, “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” barely made a dent at the box office but was such a huge hit on the home market that it spawned two sequels.
CHICAGO – “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” delivers exactly what fans should expect from it and even a bit more, as the actors who play the stoner icons have gotten noticeably better at their craft and the production team behind the film has gone all out in a quest to throw as many jokes as possible at the viewer in a barrage of attempts at hilarity.
CHICAGO – Is there a script doctor in the house? ABC is in dire need of one. How could the network possibly greenlight “Combat Hospital” in light of its recently botched, strikingly similar effort, “Off the Map”?
CHICAGO – Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In” was one of the most divisive choices on my ten best of 2010. I stand by it in every way, especially after checking out the great Blu-ray from Overture and Anchor Bay. With a spectacular HD transfer and some great special features, this is the best horror release of a season packed with them as the Halloween 2010 films start to hit the home format.
CHICAGO – Whenever two power players in the world of cinephiles come together, it creates a critical buzz and such was the case when it was announced that The Criterion Collection had chosen Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line” for induction in their world-renowned series of DVDs and Blu-rays.
CHICAGO – Michael Winterbottom’s “The Killer Inside Me” provoked such a strong response after its Sundance Film Festival premiere that the auteur behind “A Mighty Heart,” “9 Songs,” and “24 Hour Party People” was shunned by a crowd that typically embraces challenging films. What turned them? Check out Winterbottom’s daring film with Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, and Simon Baker, now on Blu-ray and DVD.
CHICAGO – Believing all remakes are pointless is as narrow-minded as suggesting that they’re all worthwhile. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Like a fantastic cover version of an amazing song, there can be room for more than one cinematic interpretation of the same story.
CHICAGO – Michael Winterbottom’s ’50s-era neo-noir “The Killer Inside Me” creeps up on you in the creepiest possible way. Just as I was ready to write it off, I ended up caving in to its charms, or lack thereof. This film often seems as utterly cuckoo as its central antihero, and that’s what makes it so darn mesmerizing. Sure, it’s sort of a mess, but boy is it engrossing, with a strong emphasis on the gross.