CHICAGO – This 26-image slideshow contains a selection of ABC-provided red carpet arrival images from the 84th Annual Academy Awards, which were handed out on February 26th, 2012 on ABC. Celebrities featured include Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Nick Nolte, Shailene Woodley, Rooney Mara, Michelle Williams, Meryl Streep, Berenice Bejo, Natalie Portman, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lopez, and many more.
CHICAGO – Jar Jar Binks is back, and George Lucas has him in 3D. Yes, the re-release of 1999’s “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace,” takes advantage of the new 3D technology.
CHICAGO – This summer saw the release of two movies that were basically just appetizers for next year’s full meal in Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” — “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Both were surprisingly well-received although both fall short of being considered among the best Marvel movies (“Iron Man,” “X-Men: First Class,” “Spider-Man 2”) in part by virtue of so obviously being set-ups for something yet to come. “Thor” works best when one considers where this franchise will go in “Thor 2” and “The Avengers” but is merely average when judged on its own. It’s a decent movie with a decent Blu-ray release that promises more-than-just-decent material to come.
CHICAGO – Anyone who’s witnessed the wonderfully incoherent trailers for “Hesher” is bound to be curious about the film’s true nature. Why does Joseph Gordon-Levitt have a raised middle finger tattooed on his back and why is he jumping off a flaming diving board half-naked? Is this all part of a tongue-in-cheek stunt or do the filmmakers actually harbor serious intentions?
CHICAGO – David Gordon Green’s “Your Highness” still makes me sad. Not only am I giant fan of nearly everyone involved but the concept of a pot-fueled riff on the fantasy-adventure films more popular in the ’80s is a great one. And yet, even watching it again on Blu-ray and DVD, “Your Highness” just sinks, deflating my like a leaky balloon. I’m gonna go cry now.
CHICAGO – Natalie Portman gets betrayed by a seriously flawed screenplay in the melodrama “The Other Woman,” formerly called and based on a book called “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.” After playing film festivals in 2009, the Don Roos’ film is finally getting a Blu-ray and DVD release to capitalize on Portman’s fame from winning the Oscar for “Black Swan.” Despite typically-strong work by the multi-talented star, the movie’s a tonal mess with an inconsistent screenplay that the strong central performance cannot save.
CHICAGO – Animated Marvel Features and Lionsgate very purposefully released a straight-to-DVD Thor movie this month to try and cash in a bit on the success of the summer blockbuster “Thor” with Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman. With some of the same characters, enemies, and locations, the animated version plays not unlike a Saturday morning cartoon version of what you just saw in theaters. Potential viewers under twelve should find enough action here to not consider their time wasted, but anyone older will surely be a a bit bored.
CHICAGO – “Hesher” ends with a middle finger and I shot one right back to the screen. Rarely has a film so completely misunderstood the grieving process and played faux tough in an attempt to be edgy instead of heartfelt. Like a knock-off of Chuck Palahniuk produced by people raised only on Sundance films, “Hesher” is a mess.
CHICAGO – I have become nearly exhausted by writing reviews about the modern decline of the romantic comedy, the genre most in need of a complete overhaul. Most of them nowadays are horrendous. So, no one is more surprised than this critic to say that “No Strings Attached” with Ashton Kutcher & Natalie Portman, now available on Blu-ray and DVD, isn’t bad. It’s no genre classic, but it’s an enjoyable comedy on a Saturday night.
CHICAGO – When big-budget films set their sights on being the next Hollywood blockbuster, they’re almost always built on a formulaic groundwork of proven ingredients.