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.
I’m a sucker for a well-toasted slice of escapism that employs a singular setting to maximum impact. Liam Neeson trapped on a plane with a devious killer who’s trying to extort $150 million from him? Where do line up to buy a ticket? Seriously, this is the kind of Oscar counter-programming that I love this time of year—turn off your mind and take a trip with “Non-Stop”.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening passes up for grabs to the new suspense thriller “Non-Stop” starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore!
CHICAGO – I wanted to like Julian Schnabel’s “Miral” for so many reasons. I think Schnabel (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “Before Night Falls”) is not only one of our most interesting filmmakers but he’s redefining what one should expect from a biopic. I love the supporting cast — Hiam Abbass, Alexander Siddig, Willem Dafoe, more. I want Freida Pinto to be more than that pretty girl from “Slumdog Millionaire.” Despite my high hopes, this is Schnabel’s least effective film, a startling misstep that both bites off more than it can chew and still finds a way to be his least passionate work.
CHICAGO – It’s unlikely that there will be a more A-list cast in a more frustrating film this entire year than on display in “The City of Your Final Destination.” Not only does it include a reunion of the great director James Ivory with star Anthony Hopkins (who appeared in the director’s “Howards End” and “Remains of the Day”) but it features two of my favorite actresses alive, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Laura Linney. And yet, the only word I can think of to describe the film is “disappointing.”
CHICAGO – Although “City of Your Final Destination” is not the latest installment of the Rube Goldberg-inspired splatter series, it does seem to be populated with the walking dead. The only similarity shared between the “Final Destination” franchise and this picturesque drama is an overwhelming abundance of tedium, generated by a plot that often seems as stagnant as its listless characters.