Sorry, What to Watch took a turkey day break as last week was really light on new product worth mentioning. This week? Pretty much the same but we don’t want you to miss us too badly. Here’s five recent Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming releases that may have caught your attention on new release shelves lately, ranked in the order we’d add them to our holiday wish list.
CHICAGO – I love Brad Anderson and the vision he showed in films like “Session 9,” “Transsiberian,” and his amazing episode of “Masters of Horror,” “Sounds Like.” He’s also done great work on television on shows like “Fringe” and “Boardwalk Empire.” And so while it seemed clear that “The Call,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, was little more than a director-for-hire gig, there was no denying they hired a really talented director. Sadly, even Anderson can’t save a remarkably boneheaded script that exploits more than scares and really falls apart in a final act that needed a full rewrite. Halle Berry gives it her all but this just doesn’t work.
CHICAGO – There’s a large part of me that wants to wholeheartedly recommend and embrace “Cloud Atlas” for two reasons. One, it’s based on arguably the best book of the millennium so far, David Mitchell’s stunning masterpiece. And if more people see the movie, more are likely to read a book that everyone should experience.
CHICAGO – “The Call” rises above the usual crime drama for a couple of reasons. First, it is a thriller that runs at a breakneck speed, using the driving culture of Los Angeles in a cat-and-mouse chase. Secondly, it symbolically emphasizes the plight of women, and honors their empowerment.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “The Call” starring Halle Berry from the director of “The Machinist”!
CHICAGO – Halle Berry has had a career of diverse and award-winning roles, and takes on another provocative character in the new movie, “The Call.” Her co-star in the film is Morris Chestnut, a versatile lead and character actor with films as varied as “Boyz n the Hood’ and “The Best Man.” They both honor the acting craft.
CHICAGO – Not all great works of literature make great works of film. David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” is a masterpiece but Tom Tykwer, Andy & Lana Wachowksi’s “Cloud Atlas” is definitely not. It is an ambitious work with many of Mitchell’s fascinating ideas about the ripple effect of emotion through time left intact but it is a work that frustrates as often as it thrills.
CHICAGO – By now, you’re surely aware of the general hatred for Garry Marshall’s horrendous ensemble romantic comedy “New Year’s Eve.” HollywoodChicago.com said ““New Year’s Eve” is so garish and manipulative that it doesn’t really qualify as a film – it’s a product, no more an actual movie than a Hallmark card is a piece of poetry.”
CHICAGO – Poor Halle Berry. Apparently ravishing good looks, fine acting chops and an Academy Award for Best Actress aren’t enough to earn decent roles in Hollywood. Since her triumphant turn in 2001’s “Monster’s Ball,” Berry has had only two big screen roles that managed to hint at her gifts as an actress. Yet “Things We Lost in the Fire” and “Frankie & Alice” were largely ignored by critics and audiences.
CHICAGO – “New Year’s Eve” is so garish and manipulative that it doesn’t really qualify as a film – it’s a product, no more an actual movie than a Hallmark card is a piece of poetry. It is corporate junk at its worst, so shallow that it’s almost remarkably thin, as if director Garry Marshall were trying to win a contest for lack of subtlety.
CHICAGO – Breaking through to the next level of name recognition in the acting field is the goal of all performers. Adrian Holmes, currently featured in the Halle Berry film, “Frankie and Alice,” is currently making his breakout move.