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 – The master animator and film legend Hayao Miyazaki (“Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”) announced his retirement after his latest film, “The Wind Rises.” He is often called “Japan’s Walt Disney,” but there is more to him then that, a soul and a mystery that is revealed in the stages of his animated art, and his contribution to artistic culture will continue to influence for generations to come. “The Wind Rises” is nominated for Best Animated Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.
CHICAGO – Believe it or not, it’s already time to start holiday shopping, which means it’s the time of year that studios release lavish gift sets for their most beloved films. No one is better at this holiday season product design than Warner Bros., who has released great Limited Edition sets for “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factor,” “Ben-Hur,” and the “Harry Potter” films in recent years. The first one this year is one of the best I’ve seen, a gorgeously packaged and beautifully accompanied collection for “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” including awesome physical collectibles and 90 minutes of new special features.
CHICAGO – Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a unique dichotomy. Part independent and part mainstream film actor, he’s managed to succeed as both. And with this Friday’s release of “Don Jon,” add to that list a first-time writer and director. But none of it could have been without Christopher Nolan.
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 “Don,” which is the first film written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt!
CHICAGO – Joseph Gordon-Levitt presented the winners on Saturday evening, January 26, 2013 for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Past winners of the Grand Jury Prize for Drama include “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Winter’s Bone,” “Precious,” and “American Splendor.” This year’s winners are listed below.
CHICAGO – I heard from a lot of people during the recent year-end season of top ten lists, critics awards, and Oscar predictions that one of the films I needed to catch up with that was underrated was David Koepp’s “Premium Rush,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. The movie has hardcore fans. I don’t quite get the most adamant of those fans. It’s an OK flick, a decent rental with strong pacing, impressive stunts, and a great cast, who elevate a pretty mediocre script.
CHICAGO – I clearly loved “Looper” as evidenced by my initial review, interview with Rian Johnson, placement of Emily Blunt on my Best Supporting Performances of 2012 piece, and putting it #9 on my Best of 2012. Watching it again in glorious HD, I had a surprising thought given all of the above — I may have underrated it.
CHICAGO – There is an argument that Steven Spielberg is the most “American” of directors, at least in his generation. He deftly and brilliantly teams up with playwright Tony Kushner and actor Daniel Day-Lewis to humanize and realize our 16th president in “Lincoln.”
CHICAGO – Rian Johnson’s “Looper” is going to blow your mind. The third film from the director of “Brick” and “The Brothers Bloom” (as well as episodes of “Terriers” and “Breaking Bad”) is a highwire act of time travel action and human drama.
CHICAGO – One of the hottest actors of 2012 is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Fresh off his triumph in “The Dark Knight Rises,” comes a new performance in the science fiction film, “Looper,” in which he co-stars with Bruce Willis. The movie is the second collaboration with writer/director Rian Johnson, after “Brick” in 2005. Read our review of the film here and come back for an interview with writer/director Johnson.