CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
CHICAGO – Stephenie Meyer is one of the most famous authors in America, because of the phenomenon of her “Twilight” series of books, and their subsequent film versions. She embarks on a new chapter with “The Host,” which was published in 2008, and has just been adapted to the screen. Meyer made a promotional appearance in Chicago recently with co-stars from “The Host,” Max Irons and Jake Abel.
CHICAGO – Author Stephenie Meyer can’t help herself. Despite breaking out from the “Twilight” saga and creating science fiction in her latest novel, it still features angst-ridden teen romance, which becomes less important versus the bizarre other worldly infiltration in the film adaptation of “The Host.”
CHICAGO – Travis Fine’s “Any Day Now” is an old-fashioned social problem film painted in the broadest of strokes. Fairly early on, the audience is faced with two choices: either resist the film’s assuredly tear-jerking formula or submit to it. Though some critics will always opt for the first choice, regardless of a film’s merits, I’m willing to praise a formula as long as it’s well-executed.
CHICAGO – Some snobby film fans like to use “Titanic” as a punchline almost as if it’s un-cool to love one of the biggest movies of all time. It’s not a “serious” movie, just a popular one. It’s total nonsense. There are awful popular films you can point to but “Titanic” is not one of them. It’s a damn good movie, the definitive modern romantic epic. And people still adore this movie with good reason. It taps into something classic in filmmaking. Last week, Paramount released a beautiful set for the film’s debut on Blu-ray and fans who have been clamoring to own this movie in HD for years will admit that it was worth the wait.
CHICAGO – Proving yet again that he can deliver when he avoids horrendous romantic comedy cliches, Matthew McConaughey does his best work in years in “The Lincoln Lawyer,” but the film doesn’t quite come together like one wishes that it would due to the common traps that befall big screen adaptations of best-selling thrillers.
CHICAGO – All seven season of the Emmy-winning, groundbreaking “The Shield,” easily one of the best programs of the ’00s, have been collected into one absolutely gorgeous set for “The Shield: The Complete Series Collection”. This time of year usually produces several complete series sets to essentially re-sell already available programs to holiday shoppers. This is one of the best.
CHICAGO – There was no better show on television in 2008 than FX’s “The Shield” and the seventh and final season is now available on DVD.