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 – “Guardians of the Galaxy” returned to the top of the box office this weekend, and Michael Rooker – as Yondu Undonta – was a vital part of the film. Rooker also was in Chicago recently, to promote the Illinois Department of Transportation video campaign, “The Driving Dead,” which refers to TV’s “The Walking Dead.”
CHICAGO – “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is a gleeful Star Wars knockoff dressed up in Marvel Comics clothing. It occupies the same universe as Marvel’s other properties, but its tone is decidedly sillier. It has a spirit more akin to the later joke heavy installments of the Star Trek franchise or low budget exploitation mogul Roger Corman’s “Battle Beyond The Stars” than the ponderous pontificating of “Thor.”
CHICAGO – Brutal. That’s the word for the third season of “The Walking Dead.” It’s just brutal. Like the second season of the mega-hit show, the third sagged a bit in the middle (although not as deeply as the neverending Shane-Dale debates of chapter 2) and the finale was a bit disappointing, but the unpredictability of the season kept viewers on their toes and ratings high.
CHICAGO – “I thought it would be interesting to write the story of the superhero who wasn’t super at all,” says writer/director James Gunn on his behind-the-scenes featurette on the underrated “Super,” an imperfect film with more than enough interesting ideas and strong performances to justify a look now that it’s on Blu-ray and DVD.
CHICAGO – Proving yet again that they know how to keep fans happy with their downloadable content, Activision and Treyarch have released another excellent batch of multiplayer maps for their mega-hit “Call of Duty: Black Ops.” The DLC named “Call of Duty: Black Ops — Escalation,” available exclusively on the Xbox, includes four new maps and a new zombie adventure named “Call of the Dead” that would be worth the $15 price on its very own.
CHICAGO – Michael Rooker, who grew up in Chicago as a developing actor and had his first breakout role in the locally filmed “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” is currently featured in the audacious new film “Super,” starring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page.
CHICAGO – A much darker cousin of Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass” by way of “Taxi Driver,” James Gunn’s “Super” is a tonally inconsistent comedy that nevertheless features one of my absolute favorite performances of the year so far and enough interesting ideas to warrant a look. If only those ideas were shaped into something a bit more coherent. “Super” could have lived up to its title.
CHICAGO – Twenty-three years after it was made, and nineteen years after its limited theatrical release, “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” is as potent and relevant as ever. Filmmaker John McNaughton, along with writing partner Richard Fire, proved that true horror is found not in manufactured scares that jolt the audience like a theme park ride, but in the corrupted mind and soul of an evil being.
CHICAGO – As the 2008 awards season kicks into high gear, it’s a good time to catch up with one of the most acclaimed and nominated films of seventeen years ago, Oliver Stone’s “JFK” in a classy and well-packaged Blu-Ray edition from Warner Brothers.