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.
CHICAGO – Watching Philip Seymour Hoffman perform, now that he has passed on, is a bittersweet reminder of his ability and power to embody his deeply felt characters. He does it again in one of his last roles, adding his special brand of acting to the messy story within the gritty noir drama, “God’s Pocket.”
CHICAGO – Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is no longer the most popular person in the room. Time, depression, alcoholism, and the changing politics have altered this character, once such a vital force of human nature. Remember the days when everything Don said hit with the client? When he could juggle secret pasts and multiple mistresses? One of the most prominent arcs of “Mad Men” overall has been how that Don is fading away as the ’60s head toward the next decade.
CHICAGO – It may feel like the bloom is off the rose a little bit for “Mad Men” as the AMC hit has seen some of its acclaim stolen by other cable hits like “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” and “The Walking Dead.” And yet this is still a great show with yet another stellar Blu-ray season release from Lionsgate. Complete with commentaries and interesting special features, this release is in keeping with the stellar first four season releases for this multi-Emmy-Award winner.
CHICAGO – It’s an evening typical of so many American homes. Tom Bergeron’s smarmy voice fills the air as televised pratfalls are accompanied by the mechanical laughter of a studio audience. A father chuckles and winces at the mindless spectacle while relaxing on the couch with his children. His wife, on the other hand, remains restless. She fails to find any sense of comfort in the nightly routine.
CHICAGO – The long-awaited return of AMC’s four-time Emmy Best Drama winner “Mad Men” is finally here and there seems to be more doubt than ever before. Will the 17 months since a new episode hurt the show creatively? Can “Mad Men” stay as culturally important and creatively consistent this far into its run or will it start to struggle?
CHICAGO – “The Adjustment Bureau” was a surprising success in a season full of them (“Hanna,” “Source Code,” “Win Win,” more), earning strong reviews and breaking $100 million worldwide. That may not seem like a blockbuster for Matt Damon but when one considers that this is an existential, sci-fi, noir, romantic action movie, it doesn’t exactly scream obvious financial success. And it’s the kind of film that I suspect will grow in esteem over the years as its fans share it with their friends. A great Blu-ray release with excellent supplemental material doesn’t hurt.
CHICAGO – George Nolfi’s “The Adjustment Bureau,” starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, is a nearly-great movie, a rare piece that merges romance and science fiction into something that is at-times mesmerizing.
CHICAGO – “Iron Man 2” with returner Robert Downey Jr. and newcomer Scarlett Johansson does what it can within the confines of what it has to do. The Hollywood machine has trained us to have certain expectations for blockbuster sequels and “Iron Man 2” neither deviates nor blazes new territory.
CHICAGO – The third season of the highly acclaimed and award-winning “Mad Men” was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of AMC and Lionsgate. Not only does TV simply not get much better than this hit drama but the show also continues a pattern of exceptional Blu-ray releases with perfect video, audio, and an unbelievable amount of special features.
CHICAGO – Television doesn’t get much better than “Mad Men” and the Blu-Ray release that brings home the second season, recently nominated for several Emmy Awards, is quite simply one of the best HD TV home releases yet produced. With perfect video and audio and an unbelievable amount of special features, “Mad Men: Season Two” is a must-add for any collector of great television.