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Jamie Bell

Film Review: ‘Snowpiercer’ a Problematic But Wild Ride Dystopia

Snowpiercer

CHICAGO – Travelers. We are travelers in this life, and metaphorically we’re mostly in coach, but sometimes manage to get some first class treatment. What if all this traveling were confined to one vehicle? Imagine a future world contained in a constantly traveling train, and the premise for “Snowpiercer” realizes a one-of-a-kind dystopia.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Man on a Ledge’ Jumps Into Convoluted Abyss

Man on a Ledge with Sam Worthington

CHICAGO – “Man on a Ledge” wants to be “Dog Day Afternoon” for the ’10s recession (it’s not coincidental that a man screams “Attica!” at one point). A tale of a man screwed by a corrupt system who stages a complex heist and galvanizes the people of New York in the process could have worked so well. There are great actors and great ideas here. And there’s also the most convoluted, ridiculous, and poorly written script that I’ve suffered through in a very long time.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ Looks Great, Feels Hollow

The Adventures of Tintin

CHICAGO – Being a Steven Spielberg super-fan, I looked forward to being able to re-appreciate “The Adventures of Tintin” with a beautiful HD picture and, I hoped, some special features to enhance my opinion of a film that I found pretty seriously flawed in theaters. Well, the HD transfer is a beauty — the film looks just as good as its 3D theatrical presentation — but the film is still flawed and the special features are lackluster. In theaters, it was a near-miss and my opinion has not changed on Blu-ray.

Film Review: Spielberg’s Disappointing ‘The Adventures of Tintin’

CHICAGO – Being a huge Steven Spielberg fan and a pretty big aficionado of Peter Jackson (who produced) as well, I was pretty psyched to see what these two undeniable geniuses could do in the world of motion-capture animation with their collaboration on the adaptation of the hit Herge cartoon “The Adventures of Tintin.”

Blu-Ray Review: Mia Wasikowska in Stellar Adaptation of ‘Jane Eyre’

Jane Eyre

CHICAGO – “Jane Eyre” is a story that has been adapted multiple times but rarely with the grace, dignity, and level of quality as Cary Joji Fukunaga’s excellent 2011 take on the timeless Charlotte Bronte novel. With impeccable production values that never smother the piece in the musty quality that so often pervades modern period pieces, “Jane Eyre” is an effective, beautiful piece of work. It’s a surprisingly strong drama that deserves a much-wider audience on Blu-ray and DVD.

Blu-Ray Review: Channing Tatum Fails to Take Flight in ‘The Eagle’

The Eagle Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – It’s safe to say Kevin Macdonald is a filmmaker more skilled in documentaries (“One Day in September,” “Touching The Void”) than he is in scripted narratives (“The Last King of Scotland,” the forgotten “State of Play” remake). His experience in nonfiction work is certainly reflected in the realism of his production design, but it doesn’t translate to his stories, which often take a shallow approach to real-life subjects.

Film Review: Mia Wasikowska, Judi Dench Float on ‘Jane Eyre’

Jane Eyre

CHICAGO – Film adaptations of classic literature are often lose-lose scenarios. The ardent admirers of the source often sour on what is left out, and the average filmgoer might wonder what the fuss is about when experiencing a truncated interpretation. There is obvious passion behind the latest adaptation of “Jane Eyre,” with performances that follow that lead.

Interviews: Mia Wasikowska, Director Cary Fukunaga on ‘Jane Eyre’

CHICAGO – According to IMDB, there are over 20 film and TV versions of the Charlotte Bronte novel, “Jane Eyre.” Director Cary Fukunaga (”Sin Nombre”) and lead actress Mia Wasikowska (”Alice in Wonderland”) take on the latest remake of the literary legend.

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  • Happy Christmas

    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.

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    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.

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