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 – There are very few recurring weak points in the CBS lineup. They’ve been dominating total viewers for years with mega-hits like “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory.” But there is one thing they haven’t been able to figure out — something to partner with “TBBT.”
CHICAGO – “The Goodwin Games” is bad, bad, bad. You know a show is likely to be awful when a network cuts back the order and buries its premiere in a time of year when most people are getting outside or going to see Summer blockbusters. While the networks are busy promoting Fall 2013 at Upfronts, who cares about a new show that won’t make it more than two months? And yet there is sometimes reason for hope that a network executive just missed the humor and is actually burying a hidden gem. Hope dies at “The Goodwin Games” and I wish they had buried it deeper.
CHICAGO – Pardon the clichés for a minute. I can’t help myself. Dax Shepard’s “Hit & Run” doesn’t just lose the drag race. It doesn’t just blow a flat tire or run out of gas. Think of all the Shalit-esque puns you can about a disastrous experience in a car and apply them to this lurching mess of five or six movies that aspires to be Tarantino-esque but completely misses its mark.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the new comedy “Hit & Run”!
CHICAGO – Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” was one of my favorite films of 2011 and, no, nothing has changed in the last 12 weeks. The window between theatrical release and Blu-ray has become so small that there’s not even time really to allow a film to age or change between a film review and a Blu-ray review. “The Descendants” was great a few months ago. And it’s still great.
CHICAGO – If one looks solely at the central male characters, it can seem remarkably easy to classify Alexander Payne’s movies under the subgenre heading of “mid-life crisis comedies”: Jim McAllister (“Election”), Warren Schmidt (“About Schmidt”), Miles (“Sideways”), and now the memorable protagonist of his stellar new dramedy “The Descendants,” Matt King.
CHICAGO – Shailene Woodley has an enviable – and relative to real-life, a truly fictional – role as George Clooney’s daughter in the upcoming film, “The Descendants,’ directed by Alexander Payne. The bright-star actor, also known for “The Secret Life of the American Teen,” was recently in Chicago promoting the film.
Blu-Ray Rating: 1.5/5.0
CHICAGO – It can be so easy to waste multiple hours, even days with great video games, and yet it is sometimes unbearable to sit through 90 minutes of the cinematic adaptation of the same concept. Such is the case with the abysmal “Max Payne,” yet another in a long line of video-game-to-screen disasters that continue to prove how little Hollywood thinks of gamers.