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 – Very few directors have known how to utilize a star more effectively than the way Pedro Almodovar has turned Penelope Cruz from a gorgeous face into one of our best working actresses. Just the two films she’s made recently with Pedro - “Volver” and the new-to-DVD “Broken Embraces” - would earn her that title. “Broken Embraces” may not be perfect Pedro but sub-par Almodovar is still required viewing for all cineasts.