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 – Korean cineastes know the name Kim Ki-duk. While Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy,” “Stoker”) and Bong Joon-ho (“The Host,” “Mother”) may get more international attention, anyone who has seen “3-Iron” or “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring” knows that Kim is an important international filmmaker. While his recent output hasn’t been as well-received as those early ‘00s arthouse hits, “Pieta,” opening in some markets this Friday and now playing On Demand, is a return to form.
CHICAGO – There is cause and effect in life, and there are times when random acts of circumstance rinses it all away. Those emotions are realized in the strange yet compelling composition of the new film “Stoker,” featuring Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode.
CHICAGO – Movies don’t get much weirder than “The Housemaid.” And I mean that in a good way. Mostly. The extreme Gothic elements of this twisted thriller work even if the ludicrous finale somewhat falls apart on recollection. “The Housemaid” opens this week at the Music Box Theater in Chicago after playing the International Film Festival in October 2010.
CHICAGO – Our film critic Matt Fagerholm may have felt that “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” valued style over substance to a fault (read his review) but this critic still holds it as one of the best films of the year; a joyful cavalcade of modern action and spaghetti western archetypes that’s unlike anything else released in 2010. Don’t miss this excellent movie now that it’s on Blu-ray.
CHICAGO – Park Chan-wook’s “Vengeance Trilogy” stands as one of the most essential cinematic achievements of the new millennium and should be seen anyone who dares call himself a movie fan. The three thematically linked films (although not sequels in a traditional sense) — “Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance,” “Oldboy,” and “Lady Vengeance” — have been collected in a gorgeous, extras-packed, simply spectacular release from Palisades Tartan that is now available to all after a limited exclusive deal with Best Buy for the last few months. If you haven’t already, buy it. Now.
CHICAGO – The masterful young director of “Memories of Murder” and “The Host,” two of the best films of the ’00s, has done it again with the incredible thriller “Mother,” opening in Chicago tomorrow, March 26th, 2010. He recently called over to discuss his new film and its inspirations, along with upcoming work with “Thirst” director Park Chan-wook and even a sequel to “The Host”.
CHICAGO – Easily one of the most interesting and original films of 2009, “Thirst” deserves at least the basic Blu-Ray treatment being given nearly every theatrically released film in the current market or, failing that, at least a special edition DVD. Instead, Focus/Universal has gone the baffling route of releasing a bare bones disc featuring only the film. The movie itself is great enough to warrant a look, but that’s in spite of its home release.