CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
CHICAGO – This upcoming Halloween will give you dozens of options in theaters and on Blu-ray to choose from for your scary dollar. You may have dismissed Wes Craven’s latest entry in the most influential franchise of the last twenty years. Don’t. Sure, the “Scream” movies are over the hill, more so than I think The Weinstein Company expected as evidenced by the pathetic box office returns (less than 50% of the last “Scream” movie and less than $100 million worldwide (the first three broke $150), but this is a fun genre flick. If you wrote this movie off in theaters, you might be surprised to learn that it’s worth a rental.
CHICAGO – Wes Craven’s legendary franchise returns this weekend with a decade since its last installment and to a genre that has been almost entirely bereft of creativity since its director started to lose his prominence as one of its best. Can “Scre4m” rejuvenate the slasher genre like the first film did or will it fall victim to the rule that horror sequels almost always suck?
CHICAGO – Only a few short weeks ago, I sat through the two-hour shrug-fest that is Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock” and lamented how so many of the film’s interactions between parents and the younger generation were played for cartoonish laughs instead of striving for the haunting poignancy of the director’s 1997 family drama “The Ice Storm.” Well, upon viewing Derick Martini’s “Lymelife,” I determined that the cliché is true: Be careful what you wish for.
CHICAGO – Derick Martini’s “Lymelife,” starring Rory Culkin, Kieran Culkin, Alec Baldwin, Jill Hennessy, Emma Roberts, Timothy Hutton, and Cynthia Nixon is a dramatic slice of nostalgia for its co-writer/director.