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.
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CHICAGO – “Walking with Dinosaurs” depicts the magnificent titular creatures in stunning realism and 3D vision, and then proceeds to give them line readings with the equivalent sophistication of Archie comics. This adds up to an educational film with a long, dull journey ahead.
CHICAGO – When you’ve got a movie as controversial among its core audience as J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness,” why would you court even more with a frustrating Blu-ray release pattern, one that essentially tries to milk the people who like the film for as much cash as conceivably possible?
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CHICAGO – The anticipation of experiencing the rebooted crew of the starship Enterprise now may overwhelm any creative team’s ability to deliver to that anticipation. “Star Trek Into Darkness” piles on the space war excess, while lessening the savory humanity and memorable characters.
CHICAGO – J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness” is like a really solid mid-season episode of a great TV series. Entertaining, for sure, but lacking the energy of a premiere or the stakes of a finale. It leaves fans wondering what’s next in the franchise, which will surely make Paramount happy, but doesn’t stand on its own like the truly great part twos (“The Dark Knight,” “The Empire Strikes Back”).
CHICAGO – “Priest,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is one of those films which suffers greatly by comparison to the works that clearly inspired it. On the level of character and storytelling, this thing is a derivative mess. You’ll never once give a damn about anything that’s happening, especially when the action slows down and the paper-thin dialogue kicks in. On the other hand, the film is surprisingly stylish and has a visual aesthetic that’s greatly enhanced by Blu-ray. It looks great on the surface. Just don’t examine it too closely.
CHICAGO – The cure for the Recovering Catholic may be obtained in the new film “Priest.” Both symbolic and kick-ass, Priest has a parallel universe that includes the ubiquitous vampire, but with the bonus of their opponents being highly trained Catholic priests.
CHICAGO – They say you can learn as much from a bad movie as you can from a good one. If that’s true, what’s the lesson to be taken from the extremely boring and misguided “Red”?
CHICAGO – We’re riding the critically acclaimed wave of the just-released “Star Trek” film from J.J. Abrams starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Eric Bana, Anton Yelchin, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Leonard Nimoy, Bruce Greenwood, Ben Cross and Winona Ryder with an extremely exciting edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film!