CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
CHICAGO – There’s some wonderful alternate universe where the excellent “50/50” received the Oscar recognition it deserved last week and it at LEAST notched a Best Original Screenplay nomination while the performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick, and Anjelica Huston were considered for their categories. Then again, in that universe at least half the Oscar nominations were different and at least one of the Best Picture nominees was never made. The point is that Jonathan Levine’s daring cancer comedy got screwed. Catch up with it on Blu-ray or DVD and see if you agree.
CHICAGO – A&E’s “Bag of Bones” is a mess. There are elements that work but a source material that doesn’t exactly translate to the mini-series form along with a mediocre script by Matt Venne and generic direction by Mick Garris add up to an experience that’s disjointed and inconsistent. There was a time when a Stephen King mini-series was an event – “The Stand,” “It,” even “Storm of the Century” – but what’s so disappointing about “Bag of Bones” is how inconsequential the whole thing feels.
CHICAGO – Jonathan Levine’s “50/50” is a daring blend of buddy comedy, light romance, family drama, and, oh yeah, cancer movie. The tightrope act of a script by Will Reiser is elevated in remarkable ways by one of the best ensembles of the year, led ably by the great Joseph Gordon-Levitt, doing career-best, Oscar nomination-worthy work.
CHICAGO – As a character in Syfy’s version of “Alice” says, “Does this look like a kid’s story to you?” Excepting, of course, the beloved Disney version, there have actually been a number of takes on “Alice in Wonderland” arguably made more for adults than children. Two such versions from very different eras have been released on Blu-ray and DVD to coincide with the theatrical dominance of Johnny Depp & Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”. Can’t get enough of Alice and The Mad Hatter? Pick up one or both of these.
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
CHICAGO – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s influential graphic novel “Watchmen” may have not made the impact that we all expected it to in theaters, but it is a film and book that still has legions of fans. Fan of the book or the movie or both should take a look at the interesting “Tales of the Black Freighter,” a companion piece that fills in the world of “Watchmen” and is now available on Blu-Ray.