CHICAGO – There are good movies, there are bad movies, and then there are the movies that are just strangely non-existent. The Kevin James comedy “Here Comes the Boom,” recently released on DVD and Blu-ray, falls into that gap in-between. The movie has a good heart but it’s so predictable that its complete lack of real humor leaves it just bland. There’s nothing horribly wrong with “Boom” but there’s nothing to praise either. It is mediocre in every way and will appeal to only hardcore fans of James or MMA.
CHICAGO – Perhaps acknowledging that his status amongst Hollywood muckrakers has diminished in recent years, Oliver Stone follows up his toothless Bush biopic and needless “Wall Street” sequel with a wholly inconsequential yet thoroughly diverting little thriller. It’s pure trash that also happens to be Stone’s most compulsively watchable effort since 1995’s “Nixon.”
CHICAGO – Seeing the words “Happy Madison Production” on any film means a broad, unfunny and formulaic comedy is about to emerge – usually with company founder Adam Sandler. Although “Here Comes the Boom” has some of those dulling elements, it’s Kevin James who is sincere and motivated as a cage match fighter.
CHICAGO – Aardman’s Animation “The Pirates! A Band of Misfits” is a wonderfully clever slice of family entertainment that’s probably second to only “ParaNorman” when it comes to the best animated cinema of 2012. Sony has treated the film and its fans very well with an extras-packed special edition of the Peter Lord film that comes with a spectacular short film, 3D version, UltraViolet edition, and more. It’s one of the best family Blu-rays on New Releases shelves right now.
CHICAGO – Director Oliver Stone sees a controversy, and comments on a controversy, in his own distinctive cinematic style. The new film “Savages” is no exception, taking on the U.S./Mexican marijuana wars, with performances by Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek and John Travolta.
CHICAGO – Oliver Stone is back! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new Oliver Stone film “Savages”!
CHICAGO – “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” has that incredible Aardman energy and elegance of works like “Wallace & Gromit” and “Chicken Run” along with some of the best voice work you’ll hear in an animated film all year.
CHICAGO – Blu-ray allows for an interesting reassessment of perceived failures as titles that haven’t been available on the next-gen format hit HD for the first time and one can see if perhaps history has been kinder to a near-miss than critics were upon its release. When I heard that “54” and the director’s cut of “Reindeer Games” were hitting Blu-ray (one can only assume the latter is tied to the collector’s edition of Ben Affleck’s “The Town” that hit last week), I wondered if their reputations as disasters were unearned and looked forward to reappreciations. They’re both still a mess.
CHICAGO – The last two “Shrek” movies — “Shrek the Third” and “Shrek Forever After” — were such worthless affairs that I was somewhat dreading their spin-off adventure, “Puss in Boots.” It didn’t help that I never found Antonio Banderas’ wide-eyed kittie with a sword nearly as charming as the rest of the world apparently did. So it was much to my surprise that I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed “Puss in Boots,” a clever, fun romp for all ages.
CHICAGO – Jane Campion and Julie Taymor are two of the most fascinating directors in modern cinema. They are unafraid to take major gambles, and their audacity has occasionally caused their projects to derail. But on a good day, they are capable of achieving artistic transcendence on a grand scale, as evidenced in Campion’s 1993 masterwork, “The Piano,” and Taymor’s 2002 gem, “Frida.”