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 – “Cars 2” is an unequal Pixar blend for adults and kiddies that never evolves into the storytelling success of its predecessor. The film, which draws thematic elements from “The Bourne Identity,” “Beverly Hillbillies” and “Transformers,” is a Honda needing a body shop as compared to the pristine Ferrari that was “Cars”.
CHICAGO – Baseball is a game made for the romantic hyperbole of otherwise stoic men. The appreciation of the game is often passed from Dad to son, so just in time for Father’s Day along comes two great baseball films, the Billy Crystal directed “61*” and the “When it Was a Game” collection.
CHICAGO – Da Super Fans were out in force on a spectacular Saturday night at the Park West in Chicago, as the TBS Network’s “Just for Laughs” Festival presented “Da Bears Movie Dat Wasn’t.” George Wendt, Joe Mantegna, Horatio Sanz and Da Coach, Mike Ditka, provided the hilarity.
CHICAGO – I am an unabashed defender of nearly everything that David Mamet has ever made and the arrival of another one of his films under the Criterion banner makes for a special occasion in this critic’s household. The new release of Mamet’s “Homicide” (1991) is a must-own for fans of one of the most important playwrights of the last fifty years and an underrated filmmaker as well.
CHICAGO – Chiwetel Ejiofor (pronounced choo-ih-tell edge-o-for) has been a stalwart film actor ever since his dramatic debut in Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad”. Since then, he has been a go-to character actor for directors as diverse as Spike Lee, Woody Allen and Stephen Frears.