Sorry, What to Watch took a turkey day break as last week was really light on new product worth mentioning. This week? Pretty much the same but we don’t want you to miss us too badly. Here’s five recent Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming releases that may have caught your attention on new release shelves lately, ranked in the order we’d add them to our holiday wish list.
CHICAGO – What is the remedy for the holiday blues? How about a dose of “Liza with a ‘Z’!” The sparkling and funny “We Three Lizas” is back for the holiday season from About Face Theatre of Chicago, just in time for the lights and tinsel. Danielle Plisz, Mark David Kaplan and Bethany Thomas play the three title Liza Minellis, with a deft direction by Scott Ferguson.
CHICAGO – It’s difficult to comment upon a documentary like “The Ghosts in Our Machine,” as it advocates an important issue regarding our very nature – the relationship we have with our food and the animals that provide that food. However, the structure of the film and the centerpiece photographer profile obscures the point of view.
CHICAGO – With a packed house, an electric atmosphere, a new video display board and a number of cast members from TV’s “Chicago Fire” present, the Midwest Independent Film Festival ‘Best of the Midwest’ Awards took place on Tuesday, December 3rd, at The Underground night club in Chicago. The documentary ‘Sole Survivor’ – directed by Ky Dickens – won Best Feature Film.
CHICAGO – On Tuesday, December 3rd, the Midwest Independent Film Festival will award their “Best of the Midwest” honors with a ceremony at The Underground Nightclub in Chicago. The evening will be hosted by Festival Director Mike McNamara, and nominees include “The Kings of Summer,” directed by Justin Vogt-Roberts, “Sole Survivor,” directed by Ky Dickens and “Be Good,” directed by Todd Looby.
CHICAGO – One of the oddest feats of the early millennium was a five year odyssey by endurance athlete Serge Roetheli, who set out to run across five continents – in the equivalent of one marathon a day – with his wife Nicole following along via motorcycle. The film of this journey is “The 25,000 Mile Love Story,” directed by John Davies.
CHICAGO – On November 27th, “The Book Thief” opened everywhere across the country. The film was adapted from a popular novel by Markus Zusak, and involves a book loving girl navigating the horrors of the Holocaust during World War II, living in a foster home in Berlin. Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush portrays her foster parent, Sophie Nélisse is the girl and Brian Percival (“Downton Abbey”) directed the film.
CHICAGO – Although “Philomena” sounds like a faraway land, it actually is a name of a real Irish lady, who lost her son through a Catholic adoption service that was designed to hide her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Judi Dench portrays the title character as an older woman, with Steve Coogan as the reporter trying to help locate the son for her.
CHICAGO – Sylvester Stallone is a difficult man to comprehend, unless if doing a thesis on male menopause. The one time screenwriter of gritty soul pictures like “Rocky,” “Paradise Alley” and “First Blood” is spending his later years pumping out undistinguished boom-boom pictures like “Homefront.”
CHICAGO – “Philomena” is not a state of being or location. It is the name of a woman whose child was taken away, through Catholic adoption services in Ireland during the mid 20th Century. Judi Dench portrays that woman in a modern context, and her costar is notable British comedian – and co-screenwriter of the story – Steve Coogan.
CHICAGO – One of the more unique independent films that worked the festival circuit in 2012 and ’13 was the drama “Mr. Sophistication.” The main character was Ron Waters, a comedian described as “Richard Pryor’s protegé.” Actor Harry Lennix took on the character, breathing in both the drama of the show business story and the particular style of stand-up.