CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).
CHICAGO – The distinct and strangely alluring style of director Wes Anderson is on opulent display in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” In what is an eccentric, European style fairy tale, Anderson creates a legend that is forged in his signature, along with the performances of a brilliant cast.
After years of enlivening adapted work in front of the camera and on the stage, only recently has the prolific actor Ralph Fiennes taken to directing films; in 2011 he gave the world a version of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus,” which included the odd treat of watching Gerard Butler espouse the Bard’s words from his mouth, and a sporadically-lauded performance from Vanessa Redgrave.
CHICAGO – It’s been 20 years since “Schindler’s List” became a critical and commercial phenomenon, winning Best Picture and Best Director for the first time in the legendary career of its beloved filmmaker, Steven Spielberg. Since then, it’s become something more divisive in certain critical communities, with many writers choosing to hold it up as an example of Spielberg’s weaknesses in terms of sentimentality and cinematic manipulation.
CHICAGO – James Bond is the world’s most enduring super spy, beginning with Ian Fleming’s classic spy novels, up to a celebration of 50 years in the movies. Daniel Craig returns as Bond, James Bond in the latest film ‘Skyfall,’ which blends familiar 007 actions with psychological transitions.
CHICAGO – “Skyfall” is a gorgeous, action-packed, superbly structured piece of modern filmmaking. It is not only one of the best James Bond movies in the five-decade history of the beloved character but it’s one of the best action movies of the last decade. Sam Mendes’ film is smart, sexy, dangerous, and, most stunningly of all, beautiful.
CHICAGO – I’ll never forget the moment I became a fan of Ralph Fiennes. It was while watching the behind-the-scenes documentary on the “Prince of Egypt” DVD. He was voicing the scene where his character, Ramses, shouts at Moses across the Red Sea. As he stood next to the mic, Fiennes’ entire body underwent a transformation, as if he were summoning a storm that coursed through his veins. He then let out the sort of howl that could easily part water.
CHICAGO – 2010’s “Clash of the Titans” was a surprising box office smash, making almost $500 million worldwide. That kind of money demands a sequel, but what to call it? “Clash of the Titans 2” wouldn’t be exciting enough but it should sound similar.
CHICAGO – James Bond fans finally have a first look at the new film ‘Skyfall,’ even if it isn’t much. A photo, released today by Sony Pictures, shows Daniel Craig (who is playing Bond for the third time) holding a gun as he appears to be looking out a window that reflects some type of neon lights.
CHICAGO – There have been a series of catalog releases so far this year (releases that aren’t exactly new but weren’t available in HD before) and there are many exciting ones still to come (Universal has an amazing slate of releases scheduled throughout the year). 2012 is going to be the year in which you complete your collection. You may want to include one of the three recently-released Lionsgate/Miramax movies to celebrate Oscar season. These were some of the Academy’s most beloved.