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’s something about “Puncture” that feels like it should work. It’s easy to see why someone thought this true tale of a troubled man who realizes he has been presented with immense responsibility would make an engaging film, but the fact is that having an interesting true story doesn’t always translate to riveting drama. Despite the interesting facts of the legal and personal drama at its core, “Puncture” is surprisingly flat (no pun intended) and, even with a very-good lead performance, isn’t memorable enough to recommend.
CHICAGO – James Gray’s highly underrated and tragically underseen “Two Lovers” will undoubtedly find a loyal and loving audience on Blu-Ray. Joaquin Phoenix’s totally obnoxious behavior overshadowed what is arguably the best performance of his career in this ’70s-esque drama about a man caught between what he has and what he wants.
CHICAGO – How many men have missed out on a great relationship because they were chasing a romantic vision largely of their own making? James Gray’s excellent “Two Lovers,” the film that Joaquin Phoenix has notoriously been promoting in a style similar to that of Andy Kaufman, is a wonderful character-driven drama about a man caught between what he has and what he wants.