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 – Nicholas Winding Refn’s “Drive” made perfect use of its director’s ultra-stylized, hyper-violent aesthetic in that it became a commentary on the superficial world of moviemaking and crime and the place that they often intersect. It’s a great film. On the other end of the spectrum is Refn’s follow-up, a film that’s practically a quasi-sequel in that it again features Ryan Gosling as a stolid, nearly-silent hero. However, the end result couldn’t be different in terms of quality. Not only does “OGF” get buried in its style but it loses all semblance of anything worth giving a damn about at all. I don’t mind movies that are overly stylish. In fact, I often defend them. But there’s no defending something this boring.
CHICAGO – Ruben Fleischer’s “Gangster Squad” is a steak devoid of juice. It has all the trappings of an effortlessly enjoyable genre exercise, but it doesn’t bring a single fresh idea to the table. It goes through the usual motions of a standard gangster picture while giving each overqualified member of its ensemble exactly one note to play. And they’re all exceedingly familiar notes, conveying a tune so familiar even Sam would refuse to play it again.
CHICAGO – Derek Cianfrance’s masterful “The Place Beyond the Pines” is a complex, epic piece of storytelling about the ripple effect of crime through families and across generations. Drastic action does not exist in a vacuum. It influences generations below and those impacted by their parent’s decisions.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly recommended “The Place Beyond the Pines”!
CHICAGO – The first image that surfaced of Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines,” was that of a bleached blonde, tattooed Ryan Gosling seated on a motorcycle. For many viewers, that would be enough to earn their ticket, yet Cianfrance’s brooding epic is bound to give them far more than they bargained for. Some may feel betrayed, others will be hooked.
CHICAGO – I know it’s only January but Ruben Fleischer’s “Gangster Squad” is sure to be one of the most disappointing films of 2013. Look at that cast! Look at them playing caricatures and doing absolutely nothing of interest! “Gangster Squad” is a total mess and absolutely none of it has to do with notorious reshoots after the shooting in Aurora that pushed the flick back four months.
CHICAGO – “Drive” will surely be one of the most remembered and beloved films of 2011, no matter what Academy members (who notoriously snubbed the film except for one lone tech nod) may think. And so it is disappointing that the Blu-ray edition from Film District and Sony is surprisingly light on special features. The film itself looks (and especially sounds) incredible and, considering it was my #2 for 2011, is well worth a pick-up, but you can presume that this is a placeholder for a Special/Ultimate/Collector’s Edition inevitably down the road.
CHICAGO – One of the more surprising choices this week by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was to cite the Adapted Screenplay for George Clooney’s “The Ides of March,” recently released on DVD and Blu-ray. The Ryan Gosling-led drama has some strengths, but it’s script is the weakest element of the film. The sheer force of talent of the people who bring it to life may have led some to believe it’s better than it actually is. See for yourself.
CHICAGO – The Hollywood Foreign Press Association may have done nothing as soul crushing as the nominations for “Burlesque” and “The Tourist” last year but it’s not for lack of trying. Here are their ten biggest offenses, followed by the full list of nominees for this year’s Golden Globes.
CHICAGO – Yesterday, we brought you some of the most engaging and memorable supporting performances of 2011. As much as I love some of the acting work in that feature, it’s nothing compared to the talent on display below.