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 – Horror writers and directors have been afraid of the dark since the start of the genre. Sadly, that fear of blackness has never translated to film as successfully as one would hope. There’s an inherent problem in watching a movie about darkness in that it can never make that fear fully real unless it goes to complete black screen. The latest entry in this flawed subgenre is Brad Anderson’s “Vanishing on 7th Street,” a minor work from a major director.
CHICAGO – From Heath Ledger’s searing portrayal of The Joker in “The Dark Knight” to Sean Penn’s riveting embodiment of Harvey Milk in “Milk,” 2008 has been an excellent year for on-screen performances.