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 – FOX started the season last night with the season premiere of “Bones” and series premiere of “Sleepy Hollow,” and they continue their effort to fill your DVR with the return of “New Girl” & “The Mindy Project” tonight, preceded by the series premieres of “Dads” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
CHICAGO – Say the words “San Diego Comic-Con” to a certain comic geek subculture and suddenly heart rates are up and anticipation is in the air. The documentary maker Morgan Spurlock (“Supersize Me”) seeks to capture that feeling in “Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope,” with help from Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, Stan Lee, Thomas Jane, Josh Whedon, Seth Green and Matt Groening.
CHICAGO – Sometimes all a film needs is a bad title to repel audiences. “Mars Needs Moms” is based on the Berkeley Breathed picture book of the same name, which derived its own title from the 1966 film, “Mars Needs Women.” Even as an obscure homage, the title falls flat, and most certainly could’ve been replaced. Yet that’s not the only reason why this woefully overlooked film became one of the biggest box office bombs in history.
CHICAGO – Is it wrong to say that I prefer the three “Robot Chicken” specials that spoof the “Star Wars” franchise more than the prequel trilogy? Heck, I enjoy the “Family Guy” trilogy of “Star Wars” take-offs more, so I suppose that’s not surprising. In all seriousness, these are very funny specials and the latest was recently released on Blu-ray with an abundance of special features. Don’t miss it.
CHICAGO – “Mars Needs Moms” is an animated epic that takes its time to build toward the message, but the path to that real emotion is decorated with spectacular imagery and sprightly comedy. It’s Mom, apple pie and motion capture technology.
CHICAGO – The opening crawl of “Family Guy: It’s a Trap!” jokingly suggests that the viewer should lower his expectations since the writers had totally run out of steam by this point and were pressured by Fox into doing a spoof of “Return of the Jedi” to close out their “Star Wars” trilogy, now released in one Blu-ray set known as “Laugh It Up, Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy.”
CHICAGO – Nearly thirty episodes of Sunday night FOX animated hits “American Dad!” and “Family Guy” were recently released on DVD in extras-packed volumes and we couldn’t let these excellent releases fly by without a brief review. It’s unlikely that anyone is jumping into their collections of either show this late in the game, so the question is will they satisfy fans who already purchased the first four volumes of “American Dad!” or the first seven of “Family Guy.” Fans won’t be disappointed.
CHICAGO – Culturally insensitive, disgusting, violent, vile, and shockingly unfunny, “Old Dogs” is the kind of embarrassment for which stars, writers, and directors should be forced to do community service. If someone delivered a product this awful to you at a restaurant, you wouldn’t have to pay for it and you could probably sue. Those of you who paid to see it in theaters, should consider a class action case. The rest of you should just avoid it like you would a dog turd on the sidewalk.
CHICAGO – It probably found its way under a few trees this Christmas, but if you have a gift card burning a hole in your wallet and are a fan of “Family Guy” without the latest straight-to-DVD release from Seth MacFarlane and his talented team then you should definitely use your holiday credit on the “Star Wars” (or, more specifically, “The Empire Strikes Back”) spoof “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Darkside”.
CHICAGO – Who would have guessed that some of the best “Star Wars”-related material of the ’00s would be produced by Seth Green? And yet, there’s no denying that a lot of what Green delivers with “Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II” is smarter than a majority of the product coming out of the Lucas machine. Check out the special, now on DVD, and see for yourself.