Sorry, What to Watch took a turkey day break as last week was really light on new product worth mentioning. This week? Pretty much the same but we don’t want you to miss us too badly. Here’s five recent Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming releases that may have caught your attention on new release shelves lately, ranked in the order we’d add them to our holiday wish list.
CHICAGO – The 1957 novel “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, was a missile across the bow of American social conventions, and a precursor to the radical 1960s. For over fifty years, it has eluded a film adaptation, until director Walter Salles (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) found the way to capture it.
CHICAGO – One of most important counterculture novels in American literature history is “On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac. First published in 1957, the film rights were purchased at the time, but it took over fifty more years to get it onto the screen. Director Walter Salles (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) took on the adaptation.
CHICAGO – David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, features four of the most interesting performances of 2011 and is certainly a conversation piece in the themes that writer Christopher Hampton has chosen to explore. I still wish it had more of the actual “danger” of Cronenberg’s early work but there’s more to like here than I first thought, especially in what was brought to the material by those cast to deliver it.
CHICAGO – There are glimpses of actual danger in David Cronenberg’s divisive “A Dangerous Method” with Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, and Keira Knightley, and the film has a lingering power as it’s easy to roll around your brain and contemplate its themes, but I wanted a bit more actual risk to the filmmaking. Easily the masterful director’s most straightforward work in some time (possibly ever), this is a worthwhile piece that nonetheless disappoints in the context of the rest of his filmography.
CHICAGO – Anyone who’s read Cormac McCarthy’s phenomenal 2006 novel, “The Road,” has already, in a sense, seen the movie. McCarthy’s deceptively simple, mesmerizing poetry produced such vivid and unforgettable images in the minds of his readers that a cinematic adaptation seems almost redundant.
CHICAGO – The first words we hear are those of the beguiling elf Galadriel, whose ethereal voice haunts an empty screen while declaring, “The world is changed.” And so it had in December 2001, when Americans were reeling from 9/11, and more eager than ever to escape into a fantasy where moral certainty was never in doubt, and pure-hearted heroes clung to the belief that there was still good in the world, and it was worth fighting for.
CHICAGO – The long-delayed and highly-anticipated adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” has moments of stark beauty and a typically fantastic lead performance from Viggo Mortensen, but the film ultimately misses its mark as a whole piece, coming off numbing its bleak, repetitive view of the end of the world instead of inspiring emotionally or creatively.
CHICAGO – I expect “Appaloosa” to be one of the more hard-to-get movies at your local video stores for the next few months. It’s the kind of movie - action-driven and widely missed in theaters - that does very well on the home market. Renters will find an old-fashioned Western that may not transcend its genre but will certainly provide more than enough entertainment on a snowy winter’s eve.
CHICAGO – Actor Jason Isaacs greeted the HollywoodChicago.com lens on the red carpet for “Good” on Oct. 29, 2008 on the closing night of the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival.
CHICAGO – Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen posed for a HollywoodChicago.com red-carpet portrait on Oct. 29, 2008 prior to receiving a career achievement award at the U.S. premiere of “Good” on the closing night of the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival.