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 – There are a lot of “Art of the Film” books released over the course of a year. They’re designed for hardcore fans or those with a lot of expendable income and no desire to feature books of actual paintings on their coffee table. Most of them are either mediocre or totally worthless. They’re cheap tie-ins designed to appease fans in a way that registers just above a Happy Meal toy but costs much more. “Elysium: The Art of the Film” is not a cheap tie-in. This is an expertly produced volume that makes one appreciate the detailed work that went into Neill Blomkamp’s #1 film more than mere propaganda.
CHICAGO – “Elysium” is a blunt instrument. It contains all the subtlety of franchise-killer “Terminator: Salvation.” Where Neill Blomkamp’s “District 9” was surprisingly sleek and refined given its low budget and rookie creator, the follow-up proves that more is very often less.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated sci-fi “Elysium” with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster from the director of “District 9”!
CHICAGO – Why doesn’t “Carnage” live up to its pedigree? With a certified genius like Roman Polanski behind the camera, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play as its source, and a cast in which three of the only four roles are played by actors who have won Oscars, one might have expected this to be a creative home run. It’s not. It’s a decent rental and there are some strong performances, but it’s not quite what it should have been. And a mediocre Blu-ray release from Sony does nothing to change that opinion.
CHICAGO – One of the great privileges of reporting film and television on HollywoodChicago.com is the opportunity to interview the performers, directors and legends that create movie and TV content.
CHICAGO – Roman Polanski may not seem to be the first choice for a film about culture clashes in New York City but he has notable experience with dramas with only a few characters in a few locations (“Knife in the Water,” “Cul-de-sac,” “Death and the Maiden”).
CHICAGO – If there was one film this year that I wished had found a wider audience more than any other it is definitely Jodie Foster’s “The Beaver,” a daring, challenging piece that would have had an uphill battle at the box office even if the personal life of its star, Mel Gibson, hadn’t made that climb even steeper.
CHICAGO – What does it take to crawl out of a hole so deep that you can no longer see the sky? For some people, depression isn’t just a bad mood or an off day, it is as debilitating as a disease, and it can kill.
CHICAGO – The Oscar-winning actress and director Jodie Foster is primed for a major 2011 with the release of her controversial “The Beaver” this week and a starring role in Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” later this year. She recently sat down with us to talk about her excellent new film, the one that inspired her in the first place, if she watches her old films, and much more.
CHICAGO – Few films have held up as well as Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver,” one of the best films of its era that has recently been released in a stunning Blu-ray special edition, the best HD release of the year to date. With fantastic special features, a stunning transfer, and a film that offers something new every time you see it, “Taxi Driver” is the definition of a must-own.