CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
CHICAGO – If stories of Prince Charmings and the liberation from wicked stepmothers are fairy tales, than “In Secret” is the stuff of nightmares, where marriage is not just a prison sentence, but an unlucky life is as well. Based on the novel “Therese Raquin” by Emile Zola as published in 1867, this film’s element of ownership may be considered an artifact in 2014. But thankfully this adaptation earns its own pertinence, as a dark period thriller with real doses of hormonally fueled bad decisions.
CHICAGO – Take this with a giant grain of salt but FX’s “American Horror Story: Coven” shows incredible promise in its premiere episode tonight, setting a number of creative plates spinning in directions that could be fascinating. Why the salt? Well, “American Horror Story: Asylum” started with similar promise and quickly became cluttered and unfocused.
CHICAGO – When we got to the end of FX’s excellent “American Horror Story” and nearly all of the characters were dead, a natural question arose — what the Hell do they do for season two? Welcome to “American Horror Story: Asylum,” a completely new tale with some of the same ensemble from the first season but a new setting, new characters, and new story but the same goal — to rattle your senses and put you on edge in the middle of the week.
CHICAGO – FX’s “American Horror Story” was one of the most addictive programs of 2011 (and my choice for the 7th best) and that season is finally here in time to catch up before the October 17th premiere of the second season of Ryan Murphy’s Emmy-winning hit. So creative, so edgy, and so mesmerizing, “AHS” is just daring storytelling, further evidence that FX is giving talented people freedom to express themselves in ways that other networks just are not.
CHICAGO – I feel like a bit of a confession is necessary to frame my opinion of the truly awful “The Vow.” Lest you think this is just some cynical male critic, I like “The Notebook” and “The Lake House.” I even kind of like “Dear John” and didn’t hate “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” Yes, I’m a cheeseball when the cheese is well-done. I wanted to like “The Vow.” There’s nothing to like here unless you find taking talented, charming actors and making them deadly dull likeable.
CHICAGO – “The Vow” was “inspired by true events.” The end credits even showed the real couple of those events. Given the actual film, it’s likely that inspiration came in the form of “making stuff up,” as Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum were opposite to any reality in this illogical, strangely cold romance.
CHICAGO – In our latest set and filmed in Chicago edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 30 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new film “The Vow” starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum!
CHICAGO – The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards premiered tonight, celebrating the best acting performances of the year. The awards are voted on by the members of the Screen Actors Guild, (apparently) making the awards more meaningful to the winners as they were chosen by their peers.
CHICAGO – Ryan Murphy (“Nip/Tuck,” “Glee”) returns to the network that turned him into a star with this week’s premiere of the highly-anticipated “American Horror Story,” a new FX series that mixes sex with the supernatural to create something truly unique. The show’s very existence feels like it could be inspired by HBO’s “True Blood” (another show with horror and sex).
CHICAGO – Two of HBO’s most acclaimed and beloved programs of the last year just hit DVD and both packages are worth the pick-up for anyone who considers themselves a serious collector of TV on DVD - “Flight of the Conchords: Season Two” and “Grey Gardens”. Both were nominated for multiple Emmys, standing among the best television of 2008 and 2009.