What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
CHICAGO – Defining the glory days of any sport is often centered on personal rivalries. The 1970s – notable for stand-offs like John McEnroe and Björn Borg – had a similarly contentious rivalry between Formula One car racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, portrayed in Ron Howard’s “Rush.”
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated “Rush,” which is based on a true story and stars Chris Hemsworth from Ron Howard!
CHICAGO – Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies” has been billed as the Chicago writer/director’s breakthrough largely due to the star power on display in the cast list but the film works not merely because of the notable talents of its cast but a new maturity and wisdom displayed by its creator.
CHICAGO – It takes a special sort of filmmaker to hit it big without compromising any artistic principles. This month marks a career high for Chicago’s own DIY trail-blazer, Joe Swanberg, whose microbudget gems have influenced everyone from Lynn Shelton (“Touchy Feely”) to Lena Dunham (“Girls”).
CHICAGO – Some comedies improve when they climb down off the big screen and take up residence on the small one. Perhaps it’s just that we’re more forgiving at home then we are when we’re paying a fortune for tickets, parking, and popcorn. Or we’re just more accustomed to bad comedy writing on TV. However, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” one of the more notable box office flops of 2013 so far (it couldn’t crack $23 million TOTAL) is not one of those better-at-home comedies. It’s still a stunniningly flat, boring piece of work and the scant special features do nothing to improve it.
CHICAGO – It’s this simple – “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” just isn’t funny. Sure, there are a few laughs here and there and some of the supporting cast works but the leads are woefully miscast and most of the jokes hit with all the awkward silence of a Bennigan’s tableside magician who guesses the wrong card.
CHICAGO – The companies behind Alex Kurtzman’s “People Like Us” had no idea what to do with their crowd-pleasing melodrama, arguably releasing it at the worst possible time of the year for a tiny movie to not get swept away by bigger blockbusters. The result was a dud in theaters but should get strong word-of-mouth on the home market, helped amply by a stellar Blu-ray/DVD release.
CHICAGO – It may seem like easy bait for a critic but the quote whores supplied a dozen or so words for the mysterious ads for the new drama “The Words” and so I’d like to play their little game. I have a few words of my own – “Dull.” “Inert.” “Pretentious.” “Uninteresting.” “Inconsistent.” “Craptastic.” Put those on your ad.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “The Words” with an all-star cast including Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Dennis Quaid and J.K. Simmons!
CHICAGO – “People Like Us” is an old-fashioned tearjerker with everything that phrase implies. It’s undeniably manipulative and sentimental but it’s also somewhat refreshing to see a drama that isn’t laced with irony, cynicism, or some form of postmodern commentary on the genre. “People Like Us” is a film that wants you to be moved; it wants you to cry; it wants you to feel something. Some audiences will be turned off by the blatant melodrama but the honest approach works for me and the strong performances from the cast clearly enlivened by the material elevates it beyond processed cheese.