CHICAGO – Browsing Dostoyevsky titles with consideration for proper roles for Mark Wahlberg, one might expect the Beantown hero to take on an adaptation of “The Idiot” before anything like “The Gambler.” After all, while Wahlberg has proven to be a diverse screen force - one who has well-grown past his Funky Bunch days - he often leans towards goofy men, or at least goofy men in goofy movies.
PARK CITY, Utah – This is the last batch of Sundance reviews I’ve got to offer. A tad late, but I couldn’t let these films go uncommented on, especially with their special offerings for those who seek them out. I hope that each of these films finds an audience.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated comedy sequel “Horrible Bosses 2” starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis!
CHICAGO – It’s unlikely that you’ll see a more visually striking American animated film in 2013 than Fox and Blue Sky Studios’ “Epic,” a film that was written off by many critics and audience members in its May release but that has more going for it than your average family fare. Now available on Blu-ray and DVD, “Epic” frustrates in the way that it too often falls back on storytelling crutches that we’ve seen before but the movie looks great at every turn. It’s the kind of animated flick that’s designed to show off your new Blu-ray player and accompanying HD TV. The special features are disappointingly thin but the movie deserved a bigger audience that it is likely to find on Blu-ray.
CHICAGO – Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies” has been billed as the Chicago writer/director’s breakthrough largely due to the star power on display in the cast list but the film works not merely because of the notable talents of its cast but a new maturity and wisdom displayed by its creator.
CHICAGO – There was a point in “We’re the Millers” when the story fell off the table like a Slinky from a mountaintop. It’s as if other writers took over from a far superior dark comedy, and injected “heart” and middle age “stripping.” This all adds up to a difficult 110 minutes of lost life time.
“Epic” is the best-looking 3D animated film since “How to Train Your Dragon”. From the very first scenes, it has a mesmerizing visual palette as the natural world comes to life in a way reminiscent of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar.” It’s gorgeous. Sadly, the lurching, generic script doesn’t live up to the look of the film but it’s worth seeing just for the memorable visuals.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 family movie 4-packs (a total of 120 tickets!) up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new film “Epic”!
CHICAGO – Will Ferrell makes several new proclamations loud and clear: he’s a comic dream-team duo with Zach Galifianakis in “The Campaign,” punching a baby and then a dog are seriously funny and real-life politics should take a lesson from this over-the-top smear campaign.
CHICAGO – The summer of the R-rated comedy, which was SO clearly inspired by the success of “The Hangover” and its sequel, was an interesting case of the law of diminishing returns. If you over-saturate a market, critics and viewers will turn away. By the time that “The Change-Up” and “30 Minutes or Less” thudded into theaters, we all remembered why they don’t make that many R-rated comedies in a year any more — most of them are dumb. Looking back on the trend, two films stand out as the R-rated comedies of Summer 2011 — the widely-beloved (and a bit overrated) “Bridesmaids” and Seth Gordon’s very-funny and consistently-entertaining “Horrible Bosses,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.
CHICAGO – Rarely have so many talented comedians been sucked into a more depressing morass of bad comic timing and worse writing than in the dreadful “A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy,” a movie with a bunch of people I like making a comedy I really, really hate. This movie knows nothing about friendship, sex, or, most importantly, comedy.