CHICAGO – Actress Katie Chang is in the high school graduating Class of 2013. But in a sense, she has already graduated to the big time with her lead role in director Sofia Coppola’s new film, “The Bling Ring.” Chang portrays Rebecca, the leader of a gang of teenage burglars who rob the homes of celebrities, including Paris Hilton.
CHICAGO – The generally-likable and amiable TNT law dramedy “Franklin & Bash” returns tonight in a slightly new iteration designed to build buzz by adding a bit of sizzle to the show. Heather Locklear joins the cast, the boys move to a beach house that allows for a lot of shirtless shots and bikini parties, and one of the guys may even have a gorgeous love interest.
CHICAGO – The summer movie season has barely begun, and I’m already sick to death of the apocalypse. It seems to have pervaded every mainstream genre, from action-packed thrillers to raunchy comedies. I’ll take a hilarious mess like “This Is the End” over grim sci-fi junk like “Oblivion” and “After Earth” any day, simply because it delivers its cautionary message with tongue-in-cheek exuberance.
CHICAGO – Sony knows that AMC’s “Breaking Bad” has one of the most loyal fan bases in television and so have released increasingly impressive Blu-ray and DVD season sets of the Emmy Award-winning program. The latest, the first half of the fifth season that aired in Summer 2012, comes with EIGHT HOURS of special features, including an exclusive scene, deleted scenes, and star-filled commentaries on every single episode. It’s one of the most impressive TV releases of the season for arguably the best show on TV.
CHICAGO – The creator behind the provocative new documentary “Dirty Wars” is veteran investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, and he is unafraid to reveal the dirt on the perpetual conflict under the heading of the war on terror. Scahill is not a stranger to controversy, and his insertion into the film’s narrative is part of the story itself.
CHICAGO – When critics talk about the most influential films of the ’70s, they too often forget a little flick that became a phenomenon, Robert Clouse’s “Enter the Dragon,” recently released in a gorgeous box set with a new HD transfer, new special features, and new collectible items. Bruce Lee’s most beloved work still influences the Martial Arts genre today and gave birth to an entire cultural shift as cinema, particularly action films, became more influenced by Asian styles. The Blu-ray is a beauty with new special features about the making of and importance of “Dragon” that even those who have seen the flick a hundred times on cable will find enlightening.
CHICAGO – Every element of “Jack the Giant Slayer,” released today on Blu-ray and DVD, feels like a subpar version of something done better in a superior film. There’s the epic scope and final siege of a “Lord of the Rings” film. There’s the reimagined fairy tale not unlike “Alice in Wonderland” or “Oz the Great and Powerful.”
CHICAGO – Who are we to believe any more? On one side is a corporate information media, desperately trying to sell soap in between their boardroom agendas. On the other, is the massive and barely sourced repository called the internet. Between those two is the documentary “Pandora’s Promise.”
CHICAGO – Originally called “Fairytale,” “The Haunting of Helena” will be available on VOD tomorrow, June 18, 2013, before a very limited release on June 21, 2013. It’s a generic, mediocre horror flick with a few effective images and some interesting thematic play in the second act that is, sadly, totally underdeveloped.
CHICAGO – The absolution of marriage is difficult enough without having the specter of the “arranged” situation within a religious tradition. A new Israeli film, “Fill the Void,” explores the issues and answers within these arrangements, as the modern world pushes against Orthodox Hasidic Judaism.