What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
CHICAGO – There’s a reason why the terms “Christian” and “filmmaker” don’t seem to go together. Pictures that push religious agendas tend to sacrifice complex plots and characters in favor of amplifying its message. These films fail not only as entertainment but as quality storytelling. Whenever an aspiring artist attempts to speak for a group rather than oneself, it’s almost always a recipe for tediously preachy dreck.
CHICAGO – Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz” is a beloved book that spent 43 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and sold over 1.5 million copies. I haven’t read it. But I have to believe that it worked on its fans in a way that Steve Taylor’s film simply cannot. This is clearly a personal story, one that touched people by relating to issues they’ve grappled with in their own lives. By taking Taylor’s memories and turning them into cinema, the ability to touch has been removed another degree of separation and the resulting film is a misstep, the kind of work that thinks it’s saying something important but feels more pretentious than precious.
CHICAGO – The 47th Chicago International Film Festival wrapped on Oct. 20, 2011 with a spectacular showing of the new film “The Artist”. Over the past two weeks, HollywoodChicago.com has been covering the red carpets and publishing exclusive portraits of the stars and directors.