CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Joel David Moore
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 30 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new thriller “The Guest” starring Dan Stevens from the director of “V/H/S” and “V/H/S/2”!
CHICAGO – There may be little LESS scary in horror than a CGI shark. From the very first scene of “Shark Night,” one knows they’re in movie-watching trouble. A personality-less drone in a bikini gets tossed around a seemingly placid lake by an unseen shark. One can’t tell what the hell is going on. There’s no shots below the surface (not really to build tension but because this movie is inexplicably PG-13). And there’s no fear, tension, or actual interest. From here, it’s much of the same. Dull, dull, shark attack, dull, shark attack, end. Throw this one back in the water.
CHICAGO – I was SO with “Chillerama” when it started. The concept is right in my wheelhouse as I’ve long been a fan of B-movies, having been raised on the works of Roger Corman, Troma, and the writing of Joe Bob Briggs. If “Chillerama” can’t appease me, it’s unlikely to work for anyone. Bad news. Despite its best intentions and clever foundation, the execution here is just off, resulting in a hit-and-miss film that does way too much of the latter half of that equation.
CHICAGO – “Shark Night 3D” is at the top of the food chain when it comes to the people-so-stupid-they-lack-basic-survival-skills category of horror thrillers, and has so many wrong elements it nearly swings back to be right.
CHICAGO – In April, Fox released one of the best Blu-rays of the year for James Cameron’s “Avatar,” an edition that proved that the film would still work even without the theatrical benefits of 3D or IMAX. It was one of the most impressive-looking HD releases in history but the lack of special features made clear that a double dip was on its way. Seven months later, Fox unveils the “Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition” and it is simply amazing.
CHICAGO – Is Adam Green the next great horror director? There are many fans of the genre who love to make the case of the current-and-future importance of Green, pointing to films like “Frozen,” “Spiral,” and, most of all, “Hatchet” as their evidence. To some, including this horror junkie, the jury is still out. Watching Green’s breakthrough film, now available on Blu-ray, it’s easy to see what people adore about Green and what he still needs to work on.
CHICAGO – When “Avatar” played in theaters, many viewers wondered how it would look at home without the benefit of 3D or IMAX to help propel the awe of the experience. The recently-released Blu-ray should settle any arguments.