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 – “Elysium” is a blunt instrument. It contains all the subtlety of franchise-killer “Terminator: Salvation.” Where Neill Blomkamp’s “District 9” was surprisingly sleek and refined given its low budget and rookie creator, the follow-up proves that more is very often less.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated sci-fi “Elysium” with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster from the director of “District 9”!
CHICAGO – “Opinions are antithetical to a clear chain of command.” Well, Mr. Cliched Submarine Movie Character, allow me to break the chain — “Phantom” is a dull excuse for a movie. Supposedly “Inspired by True Events,” this tale of a rogue Russian sub that almost started World War III features a super-talented cast and more strong performances to add to the resumes of the great Ed Harris & William Fichtner but it’s just a snooze as Director Tom Robinson produces more tedium than tension before getting to his ridiculous finale.
CHICAGO – In trying to revive the Western film genre, Walt Disney Pictures is also reviving the “Pirates of the Caribbean” formula – extreme action, intrigue, flamboyant characters and Johnny Depp. Add a dash of a familiar American legend – “The Lone Ranger” – and it’s summer movie time.
CHICAGO – NBC’s “Crossing Lines,” premiering with a two-part pilot on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 8pm CST, was blatantly created for an international audience. It’s a product of a French production company, filming largely in the Czech Republic with an international cast. Designed for sales in as many markets as possible around the world, it’s a financial consideration more than a creative venture, and it’s a boring one at that. Don’t bother.
CHICAGO – One goes into a 3D film called “Drive Angry” with Nicolas Cage with different expectations. Just as you don’t judge “Piranha 3D” on the same scale as “The King’s Speech,” “Drive Angry” should be judged on what it sets out to do — offer ridiculous, over-the-top, B-movie entertainment. On that level, it works.
CHICAGO – Muscle cars, kick-ass dudes and foxy ladies have been staples of the grindhouse since Detroit had a pulse. Nicolas Cage joins that parade in the over-the-top road picture called “Drive Angry 3D,” lest we mistake it for the 2nd dimension.
CHICAGO – In our latest action/thriller edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 25 admit-two passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of “Drive Angry 3D”!
CHICAGO – “Date Night” is one of the few word-of-mouth hits of 2010; a film that started off reasonably well at the box office but hung around the top ten for months after its release, turning it into an undeniable comedy success. The comedy starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey opened in second place but dropped so slowly that it almost made $100 million (a huge amount for a movie like this one and plus another $50 million internationally). The movie’s loyal fans will love the excellent Blu-ray release from 20th Century Fox.
CHICAGO – Very few shows have plummeted as far from their peak to their ignominious end as did Fox’s once-great “Prison Break”. For proof, look no further than the misguided “Prison Break: The Final Break,” what is essentially a straight-to-DVD epilogue at least here in the United States.