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2014 Sundance Diary, Day 3: Comedies with an Edge

I’ve only seen three movies since my last dispatch — Sundance is about finding the time to write whenever you have it and it just comes earlier today than it did yesterday — but one was a true gem. So I’ll be brief.

Blu-Ray Review: Steve Carell’s Final Season of ‘The Office’

The Office: S7

CHICAGO – Very few 2011 programs were as hit-and-miss as NBC’s “The Office.” I don’t think anyone involved with the program would argue that it was this sometimes-great comedy’s best year but there were still great moments throughout and Steve Carell’s departure from the program that turned him into a superstar was handled with incredible humor and grace. The season may not have been the show’s best, but it was still one of the better comedies on TV. See for yourself with the seventh season, recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.

Blu-Ray Review: Proudly Crude ‘Hesher’ Annoys Instead of Enlightens

Hesher Blu-Ray

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?

Blu-Ray Review: Ellen Page, Rainn Wilson in Clever ‘Super’

Super

CHICAGO – “I thought it would be interesting to write the story of the superhero who wasn’t super at all,” says writer/director James Gunn on his behind-the-scenes featurette on the underrated “Super,” an imperfect film with more than enough interesting ideas and strong performances to justify a look now that it’s on Blu-ray and DVD.

Blu-Ray Review: Unfunny ‘Peep World’ Wastes Spectacular Comedic Cast

Peep World Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – “Peep World” plays like the pilot for a failed sitcom that will never end. The running time clocks in at a mere 79 minutes, but the ordeal feels so much longer. One can imagine the canned laughter on TV Land appreciating these gags, which are embarrassingly lame. It’s not long before the miserable, ashen-faced characters begin to mirror the audience.

Film Review: Loathsome ‘Hesher’ With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman

Hesher
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

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.

Interview: Actor Michael Rooker is Feeling Just ‘Super’

CHICAGO – Michael Rooker, who grew up in Chicago as a developing actor and had his first breakout role in the locally filmed “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” is currently featured in the audacious new film “Super,” starring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page.

Film Review: James Gunn’s Memorable ‘Super’ With Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page

Super
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – A much darker cousin of Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass” by way of “Taxi Driver,” James Gunn’s “Super” is a tonally inconsistent comedy that nevertheless features one of my absolute favorite performances of the year so far and enough interesting ideas to warrant a look. If only those ideas were shaped into something a bit more coherent. “Super” could have lived up to its title.

Blu-Ray Review: Another Great Season of NBC’s ‘The Office’

The Office S6 BD

CHICAGO – The news of Steve Carell’s departure from NBC’s “The Office” after this upcoming season led to much debate as to whether or not the incredible sitcom could survive without its award-worthy star. That discussion probably won’t end until a replacement is named to run Dunder-Mifflin but you can check out the great sixth season, now available on Blu-ray, to form your own opinion.

Blu-Ray, TV Review: ‘The Office’ Never Better With Amazing Blu-Ray, Season Premiere

The Office Season Six Premiere

CHICAGO – The Blu-Ray release of the fifth season of “The Office” is a thing of beauty. It is one of the best comedy on Blu-Ray releases to date, not only because the show has arguably never been better but because everything about the season set has been crafted with the fan’s best interests in mind. After you watch the very funny season premiere tonight, go back and pick up a must-own Blu-Ray set.

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  • Happy Christmas

    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.

  • reno 911 front.png

    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.

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