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 – Great television often comes from a “what would you do” premise. What would you do if you were one of the few survivors of the crash of Flight 815? What would you do if you were unable to provide for your family other than to cook meth? What would you do if the zombie apocalypse became reality? There’s great storytelling potential in putting viewers in fantastic situations and then grounding them in reality.
CHICAGO – There is such a unique array of DVD titles this week that we couldn’t just let them get buried on our desk like so many minor titles do over the year. At least one of these has to be of interest to you. Maybe even the Dane Cook movie.
CHICAGO – Ensemble films, with their multiple stories and characters, can be a challenging delicate balance. Emphasize one story over another and an audience starts to wonder why the neglected subplot is even in the film. “Answers to Nothing” generates this reaction with all their narrative threads, in a movie that lacks any kind of cohesion.
CHICAGO – After two increasingly rocky seasons, ABC’s soulless reboot of Kenneth Johnson’s ’80s miniseries and subsequent TV show “V” was finally cancelled. It ended the sci-fi serial on a tragic cliffhanger that was very much in keeping with the show’s status as a muddled downer. Though some fans have signed petitions to get the show renewed on a different network, it’s doubtful that “V” will garner a large audience outside of Comic Con conventions.
CHICAGO – Here’s the sort of self-important primetime drama that tries so hard to be a bona fide event that it quickly grows irrelevant.
CHICAGO – Why do so many modern TV dramas fail? I suspect that part of the reason lies in the fact that a lot of these shows bend over backwards to be a major television event before they’ve earned that right. They cloak themselves in faux commentary merely so they can become mechanical fodder for water cooler discussion the morning after. That’s why the vast majority of new TV dramas might as well be called, “The Event.”
CHICAGO – With its fifth season Blu-Ray release, “Lost” continues to make a case as the TV series with the most remarkable season DVD sets alongside award-winning season sets for shows like “24” and “The Simpsons”. With a technically flawless presentation and unique, in-depth special features, these sets perfectly balance an appeal to casual fans while also satisfying the hardcore one.