Hope Davis

Film Review: Contemporary Society is Caught Online in ‘Disconnect’

Disconnect

CHICAGO – “Disconnect” is a punch in the gut, the backlash of our current technology, and a film that could have happened yesterday. It is a trenchant cautionary tale, warning us about the excesses of every blinking screen and “smart” device that supposedly is making our lives easier, but can just as easily become instruments of destructive. It is about how we live now.

Blu-ray Review: Kids Will Like ‘Real Steel,’ Adults May Be Bored

Real Steel with Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly and Dakota Goyo (main page)

CHICAGO – For pre-teen boys, a movie about fighting robots probably can’t possibly be too long. For their parents, guardians, or babysitters, the fact that “Real Steel” is a ridiculously-overlong 127 minutes is worth noting. The film plays like gangbusters to eight-to-twelve year old boys (and the PG-13 rating is silly given the general lack of non-robot violence) but wears out its welcome for pretty much everyone else. There are things to like here, but not enough to overcome its bloated personality.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Mildred Pierce: The Collector’s Edition’

Mildred Pierce

CHICAGO – I must admit that I am of the school that thinks that “Mildred Pierce” is one of the best things that has ever played on television. It is art of the highest caliber, featuring one of the best performances in the history of the form and were it eligible it would have been in my top ten films of 2011. It’s that good. And the “Collector’s Edition” of the award-winning series lives up to that title, marking the first time that HBO has ever released a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack and weighing the production down with special features. It’s the first must-own of 2012.

DVD Review: ‘A Summer in Genoa’ Finds Michael Winterbottom in Top Form

A Summer in Genoa DVD

CHICAGO – At age 50, Michael Winterbottom is still one of the freshest talents on the block. His ability to reinvent himself is almost unparalleled at a time when many of the world’s most respected filmmakers go to the same well once too often. Granted, some of Winterbottom’s experiments pay off more than others, but when they succeed, they do so on a grand scale.

TV Review: Kate Winslet, Todd Haynes Elevate ‘Mildred Pierce’ to Masterpiece

CHICAGO – When HBO announced that they were producing a six-hour mini-series version of the James M. Cain (“Double Indemnity”) novel “Mildred Pierce” to star Kate Winslet and be directed by Todd Haynes, cinephiles everywhere let out an audible gasp.

DVD Review: Second Season of HBO’s Brilliant ‘In Treatment’

In Treatment S2

CHICAGO – “In Treatment” is something of a TV miracle. It is a drama that focuses solely and purely on how what we say is as important as what we do. With real-time therapy sessions that play like mini-plays, “In Treatment,” the second season of which is now available on DVD, is far and away one of the best shows of the last several years. It’s a major commitment of time and emotion but it gives more than it takes.

TV Review: Michael Sheen, Dennis Quaid Shine in HBO’s ‘The Special Relationship’

The Special Relationship

CHICAGO – Writer Peter Morgan and actor Michael Sheen have collaborated once again to tell another chapter of the political life of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In “The Special Relationship,” the award-winning writer focuses on the dynamic between the leader and another of the most notable figures of the last century, President Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid). Great performances elevate what is a relatively minor piece when compared to “The Queen”.

TV Review: Sophomore Season of ‘In Treatment’ is Riveting, Rewarding Drama

In Treatment
HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 5.0/5.0
Television Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Quick - What’s the best show on television right now? “Lost” has its fans but I think that show’s taken a slight dip in the new season, as has the increasingly too silly “30 Rock”. People love “Burn Notice,” “Big Love,” and “Damages,” but they’re done for the year. After Sunday, there is one clear answer. The best show on television is HBO’s “In Treatment”.

Blu-Ray Review: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ensemble Make Trip to ‘Synecdoche, New York’ Worthwhile

Synecdoche, New York
HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – With one of the most ambitious screenplays of 2008 and one of the most talented ensembles in years, “Synecdoche, New York,” now on Blu-Ray, is a must-see for fans of Charlie Kaufman’s earlier screenwriting work (“Adaptation,” “Being John Malkovich,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) and the incredible ensemble, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, and Michelle Williams.

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