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 – The incredibly talented men and women who make up the cast of “A.C.O.D.” make the relative failure of its script easier to bear. Just hearing brilliant actors like Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara at each other’s throats or watching remarkably likable stars like Adam Scott and Mary Elizabeth Winstead figure out their relationship has enough charm to get one from lights down to credits roll. And the first hour of “A.C.O.D.” is pretty damn funny, allowing one to hope that it will develop into something truly memorable. For some reason, the theme of Sundance comedies this year (“In a World…,” “Afternoon Delight,” and this one) is non-endings as “A.C.O.D.” can’t follow through on its clever set-up.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new comedy “A.C.O.D.” (“Adult Children of Divorce”) starring Adam Scott!
CHICAGO – Jill Soloway’s Sundance Award-winning “Afternoon Delight” is such a frustrating near-miss. There will be some slight spoilers in this review. Because I can’t figure out how to express my issues with the film without mentioning one major point although it doesn’t spoil the action of the final act, just how Soloway chooses to get there. It’s only one plot point but it’s later in the film than I usually give anything away but it also completely destroys the believability of what came before and so can’t go unmentioned. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
CHICAGO – Not only have I been a longtime fan of great children’s films like those produced by Disney and Studio Ghibli over the years but I’m now a parent and absolutely adore the feeling of passing along my favorite films like “Spirited Away,” “Dumbo,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Toy Story” along to my little ones. My children will never see “Escape From Planet Earth.” As someone who not only sees nearly every animated film in his profession but has a new appreciation for them given my being a parent, I feel qualified to say this is one of the worst children’s films of the last decade. It’s aggressively annoying with awful character design and a screenplay that is clearly trying to teach children a lesson about boredom.
CHICAGO – Disney’s hit “Wreck-It Ralph,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, fits one of the most important criteria for a parent considering picking up a kid’s movie to own — replay value. As anyone with kids can tell you, if you buy something, you best be ready to watch it over and over and over again. And “Ralph” holds up surprisingly well. I’m still a little surprised it received the level of acclaim it did with some even suggesting it should win the Oscar (we all know that should have been “ParaNorman”) but it’s a good movie to throw on if your kids need a distraction with a good message. And the Blu-ray includes the Oscar winner for Best Animated Short, the great “Paperman.”
CHICAGO – The more one is familiar with the art of improv, the more one is bound to fall head over heels in love with the mockumentaries of Christopher Guest. Working from a mere scene outline, Guest and his ensemble of top-drawer comedians bring a colorful assortment of richly eccentric oddballs to life. Their ad-libbed dialogue is infinitely funnier than scripted punchlines since it emerges organically from their character’s own warped worldview.
CHICAGO – As the stars, presenters and award recipients gathered at the Chicago Film Critics Awards on February 9th, they took some time out to mix with the media at a pre-show press conference. Jane Lynch, Paul Sorvino, Joe Piscopo, Nadine Velazquez, Regina Taylor and the other award winners offered their perspectives.
CHICAGO – It was a night to celebrate film, filmmakers, movie stars and the Chicago “school” of film criticism. The annual Chicago Film Critics Awards took place on February 9th in front of a packed house at the Muvico Theater in Rosemont, Ill. Mark DeCarlo of “Windy City Live” was the host, and celebrity appearances included Jane Lynch, Paul Sorvino, Joe Piscopo, Nadine Velaquez and Regina Taylor.
CHICAGO – The nostalgia of the old video game arcade comes to life in a charming and fun way in the new Disney film, “Wreck-It Ralph.” One of the strengths is the precise selection of celebrity voices used to animate the rollicking characters. John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch are part of the familiar voice cast.
CHICAGO – The kids of “Glee” are back a little early this year as FOX has released the third season of the hit musical comedy earlier than the wave of TV-on-Blu-ray releases that are about to hit stores. This season was a bit of a letdown after the first two, earning much fewer Emmy nominations and sliding pretty far in the ratings. And the Blu-ray release feels like a step down from previous years as well. True fans will be happy but newcomers should obviously start with seasons one or two.