Robert De Niro
CHICAGO – They often say that a movie is written three times - on paper, on film, and in the editing bay. Look no further for this truth than the deleted scenes from “Silver Linings Playbook,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. While some of the scenes are fun and allow Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro more chances to shine, I would argue that all 26 minutes of them were correctly cut. If they hadn’t been, the movie’s not an Oscar winner.
CHICAGO – “The Big Wedding” begins with Robert De Niro performing a particular love making maneuver on Susan Sarandon, and is caught in the act by Diane Keaton. What could have happened in a cutting-edge indie feature in 1981 is the basis of a lame bit in 2013, and so it goes for the rest of the film.
CHICAGO – “Brazil” is more than a movie. The story behind the film’s tumultuous production and release became nearly as essential to its history and arguably more so than the film itself. The special feature on the new Criterion release, “The Battle of Brazil” is a fascinating examination of expectation, ego, and commerce vs. art that all movie fans must see. And, of course, the movie is an undeniable sci-fi masterpiece.
CHICAGO – A mother trying to protect her son from an assassin, a man who coordinates lap dances for a living, a woman whose dreams have died, a gambler betting on his son, and two people at the heart of Abraham Lincoln’s fight to end slavery and the Civil War — 2012 certainly offered a wide array of memorable supporting characters in motion pictures.
CHICAGO – It’s funny that a movie with the word “Playbook” in its title is so clearly about how those of us who think we know exactly where life is taking us are merely kidding ourselves. Like so many of us, the hero of “Silver Linings Playbook,” Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper), has a plan to find happiness, to find his silver lining.
CHICAGO – The 48th Annual Chicago International Film Festival has announced four new additions to this year’s schedule, including David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook.” The comedic drama has garnered immense praise on the festival circuit and is currently one of the top Oscar contenders. It will screen at 7pm Wednesday, October 24 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St.
CHICAGO – We get a lot of Blu-rays and DVDs in the HollywoodChicago.com office of films that come straight to the format that we don’t think are really worth our time or yours. The less said about them, the better. And yet every once in awhile, something passes through the USPS that seems like it might draw more attention that the typical straight-to-DVD junk. An action movie with two Oscar winners and gritty style? Sounds like a perfect late summer rental? “Freelancers” is very far from perfect.
CHICAGO – “Red Lights” is a mess. And yet it’s also not messy enough. Rodrigo Cortes follows up his vastly superior “Buried” with this supernatural tale filled with plot contrivances that would make M. Night Shyamalan call bullshit. Still, he does so with a direct, straightforward style when a bit less polish would have given it the character it’s missing.
CHICAGO – Writer/director Rodrigo Cortes really broke through with the award-winning “Buried,” starring Ryan Reynolds. He returns this week with a very different thriller called “Red Lights,” starring the great Cillian Murphy, who joined Mr. Cortes recently in Chicago for a discussion about “2001,” working with Robert De Niro, and the complexity of audience expectations.
CHICAGO – Warner Brothers has been unleashing catalog titles on Blu-ray at a rate that would strain the bank account of pro athletes. Every week lately sees a wave of movies that have never been on Blu-ray before joining the HD revolution. This quartet is particularly varied with one timeless classic, an underrated performance from an underrated actor, and two moderate action movies. Pick your favorite. My order of preference is as follows: