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Émilie Dequenne

Blu-ray Review: The Dardennes’ ‘La Promesse,’ ‘Rosetta’ Arrive on Criterion

La Promesse and Rosetta Blu-ray

CHICAGO – When a film has gotten viewers so invested in a character’s plight that it prompts them to shout at the screen, it’s clear that they are in the hands of a master filmmaker. Consider the legendary stories from the initial theatrical run of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” when audiences found themselves screaming at Vera Miles to not investigate the fruit cellar, where her imminent doom appeared to be waiting.

‘The Girl on the Train’ Favors Character Study Over Social Commentary

Girl on the Train, The

CHICAGO – Here’s a film that pulls off the tricky feat of moving quickly while taking its time. Like its rollerblading protagonist, “The Girl on the Train” is constantly on the move, hurtling headfirst into a series of interlocking relationships. Yet the director, André Téchiné, is less interested in his story’s destination than he is with the journey his characters take, and the various circumstances that lead them to make life-altering, often inexplicable choices.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    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.

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