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.
CHICAGO – The plays of William Shakespeare, influencing culture and morality for over 400 years, continue to open themselves up to new interpretations and settings. Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in a film version adaptation of “Coriolanus,” set against the modern day machinations of politics and war.
CHICAGO – The Blu-ray release for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2” is one of those wonderful circumstances in which this critic finds the home release more remarkable than the theatrical. I had some issues with the final film, although would still certainly recommend it, especially if you’ve made it this far, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize that the Blu-ray is among the best of the year.