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 – Although a post graduate degree in space/time continuum studies may be necessary for maximum enjoyment, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” still delivers a comic book wham-bam, and the series continues its exploration of recent history through the prism of a mutant universe.
CHICAGO – It seems mean to pick on a movie for being merely entertaining. But when that film is part of the Lord of the Rings canon such criticism is fair. Peter Jackson manages to thrill here via some stunning action, and a truly memorable CGI Smaug. But Bilbo’s point of view seems lost in all the action, other characters and subplots. Clearly Jackson and Fran Walsh want The Hobbit to feel connected to their breathtaking Lord of the Rings trilogy but The Hobbit just doesn’t feel intimate enough. The second film in the trilogy is more entertaining but only marginally more moving.
Peter Jackson and Bilbo Baggins find their groove in the entertaining “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” an improvement over “An Unexpected Journey” in every single department.
CHICAGO – I had notable problems with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” when it premiered in theaters but they were softened a bit when I saw it on Blu-ray and not in 3D nor 48 frames per second, two effects that I believe actually hurt the world designed by Peter Jackson in these films in that they make it look less artistic and faker than the standard HD image. Now I’m here to flop back again to the disappointed side with the extended edition of the film, one that runs WAY too long for a flick that was already too short.
CHICAGO – Can we end this 48fps nonsense now? Having seen “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 3D/48fps, I found the film artificial and boring. At home, in traditional, flat HD, the movie works so much better.
CHICAGO – Twice as many frames per second and another dimension only serve to amplify the notable flaws of Peter Jackson’s truly disappointing “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” a bloated, dull mess of a film that meanders when it should move and stumbles when it should run.
CHICAGO – The exciting trailers for next year’s blockbusters just keep coming. Only a few days after “The Dark Knight Rises” had its first full length trailer released, Peter Jackson’s long awaited prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy finally has a trailer.
CHICAGO – In an ironic twist of movie fate, “Kick-Ass” director Matthew Vaughn, the man once assigned the role of directing “X-Men: The Last Stand” will direct the next installment in the mega-franchise, “X-Men: First Class,” to be released on June 3rd, 2011.
CHICAGO – Patrick McGoohan was ready to quit. After playing secret agent John Drake in over eighty episodes of the British TV show “Danger Man” (known in the US as “Secret Agent”), McGoohan was clearly in need of a change. Luckily, his script editor George Markstein had a great idea up his sleeve.
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
CHICAGO – One of the biggest movies of the summer is sure to be Ron Howard’s “Angels & Demons,” the sequel to 2006’s massively successful “The Da Vinci Code,” a Tom Hanks film that left most critics cold but ended up making a stunning quarter-of-a-billion dollars worldwide by the time its theatrical run ended. Before you talk to the “Angels & Demons,” catch up on your mythology with “The Da Vinci Code: 2-Disc Extended Cut” on Blu-Ray.