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 – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 100 pairs of advance-screening tix up for grabs to the “Mary Poppins” backstory “Saving Mr. Banks” with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks!
CHICAGO – Two of the performances most disturbingly missing from the line-up that will be read at the Academy Awards on Sunday are Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain’s in the stunning “Take Shelter,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. Jeff Nichols’ film is a stirring, moving drama about not just the potential end of the world but the impact of mental illness and the anxiety of the modern era in which our job, our family, and our friendships are more fragile than you might ever think.
CHICAGO – It starts with a clap of thunder. Fierce winds cause the once serene landscape to shiver with unease. When the rain comes, it’s the color of motor oil. All it takes is a single glance at the looming gray clouds overhead to realize that the impending storm could be capable of anything. It’s enough to rock a level-headed man to his very foundation.
CHICAGO – When one movie has an ex-con, drug retribution violence, his religious conversion, his building of a church, his preaching, his trip to Southern Sudan in Africa, his opening of an orphanage and his family, then it’s too big a story to tell. Therein lies the challenge for “Machine Gun Preacher.”
CHICAGO – Gerard Butler is movie star good looking, that is very apparent when meeting him. What wasn’t expected was his keen insight, passion and perspective on taking on a challenge and playing a true-life Pennsylvania preacher, who ends up helping children in the most corrupted areas of the Southern Sudan in Africa, in “Machine Gun Preacher.”
CHICAGO – What do Robert Duvall and Melissa Leo have in common? They both have won an Oscar and they both cashed a paycheck for the fake virtuous hack job called “Seven Days in Utopia.” For Duvall especially, maybe the mortgage payment is due on the vacation home.
CHICAGO – Most audiences missed one of the most charming romantic comedies of the last year during the holiday rush and the start of the new year. Joel Hopkins’ “Last Chance Harvey” isn’t perfect but it’s a surprisingly effective heart-tugger, anchored by fantastic performances from its Oscar-winning stars, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. Catch up on DVD.
Television Rating: 3.5/5.0
CHICAGO – The revolving door of casting in the world of “Law & Order” continues this month when Jeff Goldblum joins the cast of USA Network’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” as the new partner for Detective Megan Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson). The season kicks off with a well-paced and intriguing episode featuring the old cast on Sunday, April 19th, 2009 and the new member joins the squad a week later.