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 – Though British author Neil Gaiman’s six-part, three-hour miniseries “Neverwhere” first aired in 1996, it feels like a relic from a much earlier period in television’s past. Before digital technology enabled small-screen dramas to appear visually indiscernible from major film productions, in-camera effects and handcrafted sets were the norm. It’s inspiring to observe just how much can be achieved on a shoestring budget.
ATLANTA – Sometimes human tragedy hits dramatically, but other times it subtly, imperceptibly, alters the intrinsic fibers of everyday life in undetectable ways. That is the premise behind Scott Hicks’ film “The Boys Are Back.” It is the story not of death, but of the strategy human beings devise to cope, to defend and to protect themselves against pain and loss.