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.
William H. Macy
CHICAGO – Sam Rockwell does no wrong. He takes parts in movies major (“Iron Man 2”) and minor (“A Single Shot,” now available On Demand and opening theatrically in limited release this Friday, September 20, 2013) and makes decisions that other actors wouldn’t even consider. He is so completely, believably in the moment.
CHICAGO – It’s a shame how box office numbers play such a large factor in Oscar votes. Just imagine if “The Blind Side” was a flop. Sandra Bullock wouldn’t have been allowed within a billion miles of the Oscar podium. If Ben Lewin’s “The Sessions” was given a fair shot with audiences, it would’ve easily brought its star, John Hawkes, an Oscar nomination.
CHICAGO – The significant HollywoodChicago.com show business interviews of 2012 – eclectic, independent and varied – flowed throughout the year from the perspectives of Matt Fagerholm, Brian Tallerico and Patrick McDonald. All three contribute to this year-end survey of the 15 Best Interviews of 2012.
CHICAGO – Sometimes an actor can deliver on so many levels at once that it makes flaws of a film easier to overlook. I’ll admit that while watching “The Sessions,” I was so caught up in the honest, true performance from the great John Hawkes that I didn’t consider many of the film’s dramatic failings until I began to consider my review.
CHICAGO – Sure to be one of the best performances of 2012 is John Hawkes as Mark O’Brien, a polio victim who lived on his own and was a poet, despite no movement from his neck down, and confined for most of the day in an iron lung. Ben Lewin wrote the screenplay and directed the extraordinary story of “The Sessions.”
CHICAGO – You’re going to be reading a lot about “The Sessions” in the coming weeks as it expands from its already-successful art house run and weaves through an awards season in which it will likely be nominated more than once. John Hawkes leads the film as man who lives in an iron lung and longs to feel human contact.
CHICAGO – Not to be outdone by HBO, who renewed their Sunday hit “Luck” yesterday, Showtime gave season renewals today to their impressive slate of Sunday shows — “Shameless,” “House of Lies,” and “Californication.” All three have done remarkably well in the ratings as the two veterans have improved on previous season numbers and “House of Lies” has done very well in its first few freshman frames.
CHICAGO – Universal’s three-disc set for the incredibly-influential “Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy” is one of the best multi-film sets of the season, a glorious combination of stellar HD transfers, incredible audio tracks, amazing new & old special features, and films that have held up remarkably well over the years. “Jurassic Park” gets nowhere near the credit it deserves either as pure entertainment or as a film that would massively influence works to come. Hopefully, this set will go some way to correct those mistakes and introduce the films to a new generation.
CHICAGO – Proving yet again that he can deliver when he avoids horrendous romantic comedy cliches, Matthew McConaughey does his best work in years in “The Lincoln Lawyer,” but the film doesn’t quite come together like one wishes that it would due to the common traps that befall big screen adaptations of best-selling thrillers.
CHICAGO – Michael Connelly is one of the most successful thriller writers alive, winning nearly every major award possible for his genre.