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 – If you didn’t see the DC Entertainment splash screen when this “Red 2” sequel kicks off with the fake death of one of its usual suspects, you wouldn’t mind that the rest of the film feels nothing like a comic book movie except for its animated transitions between scenes.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated sequel “Red 2” starring Bruce Willis!
CHICAGO – Let’s everybody say it together, “the key to great animation is a great story.” This has to be the motto for Pixar Animation – now part of Disney. Their latest, “Monsters University,” is a prequel with a heart, soul and attention to what makes this type of entertainment work.
CHICAGO – With the larger-than-life acting tics that have invaded most of Al Pacino’s performances in the last twenty years, it seemed inevitable that the actor was the only person who could possibly play a notable loon like Phil Spector. In tonight’s HBO movie named after the legendary producer, Pacino chews the scenery as one would expect but it’s Helen Mirren who steals the piece from the Oscar winner.
CHICAGO – In this HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 25 pairs of run-of-engagement, guaranteed, anytime movie passes up for grabs for “Hitchcock” starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife!
CHICAGO – The great director Alfred Hitchcock had morphed to legend rather than a man, so it’s interesting that two films have recently been released about his all-too-human foibles. The feature film, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as the director, gets inside the man’s relationships in “Hitchcock.”
CHICAGO – Graham Greene’s haunting 1938 crime novel doesn’t deserve to be uttered in the same breath as Stephenie Meyer’s tween phenomenon, “Twilight.” Yet in the hands of British filmmaker Rowan Joffe, Greene’s masterwork loses its theological intrigue and becomes a self-conscious melodrama fueled by two grim lovers who could be dead ringers for Bella Swan and Edward Cullen.
CHICAGO – It’s little surprise that Jessica Chastain has received so much attention during this year’s awards season. Thanks to a series of release date delays, six of her films were released in 2011, each featuring an entirely different role for the strikingly versatile actress. From her slapstick pratfalls in “The Help” to her ethereal grace in “The Tree of Life,” Chastain displayed a remarkable range that has made it impossible for moviegoers to tear their eyes away from her.
CHICAGO – Risk-taking visionaries are always exciting to watch in action, even when their gambles don’t quite pay off. Yet while the recent projects tackled by Julie Taymor have sported great promise on paper, their externalized metaphors often work against the material she’s aiming to enhance. In her Beatles musical “Across the Universe,” soldiers were seen carrying the Statue of Liberty into Vietnam while singing, “She’s so heavy.”
CHICAGO – Watching the premiere of NBC’s “Prime Suspect” again, I was struck by something undeniable — this feels like a TNT show. Yes, we’ve officially reached the point where basic cable is influencing network TV more than the other way around.