CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
CHICAGO – Keanu Reeves has been in a lot of dogs over the years, but rarely has he left such a high body count while avenging one of them. “John Wick” is a brutal revenge thriller where Reeves is a ex-mob enforcer who goes on a murderous rampage leaving blood on every doorstep to avenge the death of his dog. Despite that chuckle-inducing premise, “John Wick” isn’t the dog I expected, but then again that’s not saying much.
CHICAGO – “Ramona and Beezus” may not be the perfect film that Beverly Cleary fans hoped for when they fell in love with these characters but it is successful on its own terms in its refusal to talk down to its pre-teen audience and through the massive future star-power of its talented young stars. I admittedly have a soft spot for any film that places teachers on a higher pedestal than businessman and effectively teaches young viewers to stick to their creative visions. It’s flawed, but “Ramona and Beezus” works.