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.
CHICAGO – Here comes “The Judge,” here comes “The Judge.” That 1960s catchphrase gets new meaning in the film featuring Robert Downey Jr. and veteran Robert Duvall, in a angry generational face-off that makes little sense and provides a stiff courtroom drama that felt like bad TV.
CHICAGO – The 2014 and 50th Chicago International Film Festival kicks off this week on October 9th, and had a Chicago Red Carpet preview on October 5th with the new film “The Judge,” starring Robert Downey Jr. and directed by David Dobkin.
CHICAGO – There was a time when it looked like not only would Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton be one of our great actors but possibly a threat behind the camera as well. Everyone knows the impression of his character from “Sling Blade” but many forget that he directed it as well. He followed that up with the flawed but ambitious and interesting “All the Pretty Horses.”
CHICAGO – While normally I’d never think the date I screened a film was newsworthy, being subjected to “Jack Reacher” on Dec. 13, 2012 turned out to put even a therapist into therapy. The very next day, well, just two words: Sandy Hook.
CHICAGO – It pains me to say this — HBO’s “Hemingway & Gellhorn” is a complete mess, a film littered with awful directorial decisions, built on a misguided screenplay, and featuring performances that range from mediocre to downright horrendous. I’m as big a cheerleader for HBO and their line of original films as you’re likely to find but this is one of the worst.
CHICAGO – What do Robert Duvall and Melissa Leo have in common? They both have won an Oscar and they both cashed a paycheck for the fake virtuous hack job called “Seven Days in Utopia.” For Duvall especially, maybe the mortgage payment is due on the vacation home.
CHICAGO – There are few Westerns more iconic than the original “True Grit.” Ask a hundred people to name the first Western that comes to mind and I firmly believe that “True Grit” will be one of the most-mentioned films. It is beloved enough that Joel and Ethan Coen have remade it into an already award-winning drama that will be released this week with Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and Hailee Steinfeld. Catch up with the original on Blu-ray before you see the new film.
CHICAGO – It’s the time of year when critics and Oscar pundits like to take a look back at the performances of the last twelve months and pick out the ones most deserving of special citation. As every critics group in the country prepares to unveil their choices for the cream of the acting crop, we thought we’d offer a guide to who they should reflect upon, first in the lead actor and actress categories and then, later this week, in the supporting ones.
CHICAGO – What could possibly drive a man into such a deep pit of despair that he would choose to break from society and take on the life of a hermit?
CHICAGO – The legend of a 1930s country hermit – part folk tale, part exaggeration and some truth – comes to life through director Aaron Schneider and the great Robert Duvall in the new film “Get Low.” Also featuring Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek, this character driven drama is a pastiche of secrets, regrets and redemption.