May 2012

Film Review: ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ Dwarfed By Comatose Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron

CHICAGO – If you can stomach forgiving the film’s uneven acting, inconsistent pacing and a higgledy-piggledy script that feels like it’s still in draft mode, just zero in on the only newsworthy question about “Snow White and the Huntsman”: Who are those “dwarves”?

Film News: Gene Siskel Film Center, CFCA to Hold ‘Castles in the Sky’ Retrospective

Castles in the Sky Retrospective

CHICAGO – Fans of the legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and his magnificent Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli, have a cinematic treat in store this summer. The Chicago Film Critics Association has teamed up with the Gene Siskel Film Center at 164 N. State St. to present “Castles in the Sky”: a 15-part retrospective showcasing the studio’s best work to date.

Film Review: ‘I Wish’ is Moving Portrait of a Broken Home

I Wish
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Hirokazu Koreeda is one of the most interesting and acclaimed international filmmakers alive and his latest drama is one of lingering power, a film that moves a bit too slowly for its own good but has remarkable cumulative strength by its emotional finale. “I Wish” is about those days in which scope is subjective. The smallest things – physical and emotional – can be given life-changing importance. And a kid can convince himself that a miracle can happen.

‘I Wish’ is Moving Portrait of a Broken Home

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Hirokazu Koreeda is one of the most interesting and acclaimed international filmmakers alive and his latest drama is one of lingering power, a film that moves a bit too slowly for its own good but has remarkable cumulative strength by its emotional finale. “I Wish” is about those days in which scope is subjective. The smallest things – physical and emotional – can be given life-changing importance. And a kid can convince himself that a miracle can happen.

TV Review: Interesting Behind-the-Scenes Drama of Ballet Company in ‘Breaking Pointe’

CHICAGO – It’s like “Black Swan” meets “The Real World”! While that pitch line may seem a bit silly, it does get to the heart of The CW’s new reality series, “Breaking Pointe,” a modest offering that seems unlikely to register at all in the ratings (as few CW shows do lately) but should work for its target audience.

Interview: ‘50/50’ Director Jonathan Levine Appears at CineYouth Festival in Chicago

CineYouth Festival 2012

CHICAGO – Thursday, May 31st, marks the beginning of the CineYouth Festival, sponsored by the Chicago International Film Festival. And what better way to kick it off than with a Q&A featuring director Jonathan Levine, coming off of his 2011 hit film, “50/50.” The appearance will take place at the AMC River East 21 Theater in Chicago.

Film Review: Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Delights with Clever Tale of Young Love

CHICAGO – Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” is a true delight — a fun, clever, and, of course, whimsical tale about the days when love seemed worth running away from home over and getting a scout badge meant the world.

Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Delights with Clever Tale of Young Love

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” is a true delight — a fun, clever, and, of course, whimsical tale about the days when love seemed worth running away from home over and getting a scout badge meant the world. Easily Anderson’s best film since “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Moonrise” is arguably the most tonally consistent film he’s made to date, a thoroughly enjoyable endeavor that one would have to be pretty cynical to dismiss entirely.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Perfect Sense’ Offers Drab Yet Touching Metaphor for Death

Perfect Sense Blu-ray

CHICAGO – For a film that promises steamy scenes between two stars who share a fearlessness for performing in the nude, “Perfect Sense” is a doozy of a downer. It’s a fine showcase for the oft-underutilized talents of Ewan McGregor and Eva Green, but the plot is one slow descent toward doom that leaves viewers with very little to contemplate besides the sickening tragedy of death.

Blu-ray Review: Amazing ‘Sherlock: Season Two’ Works For Everyone

Sherlock S2

CHICAGO – It’s official. After season two of BBC’s and Masterpiece’s amazing “Sherlock,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, I can stand by my thoughts after season one and make them clear — this is the best embodiment of Sherlock Holmes since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put pen to paper. With brilliant screenwriting, clever direction, perfect design, and simply spectacular performances, this isn’t just a great TV on Blu-ray release. If these three 90-minute films had played in theaters instead of on PBS, they’d all be in my top ten as far as the best movies of the year to date.

Tom Sizemore Tries For Overdue Comeback with ‘Cellmates’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – I’ve always rooted for Tom Sizemore. Without question, if real-life addiction hadn’t derailed his career, he would be one of our more interesting actors. Go and rent “Natural Born Killers,” “Heat,” and “Saving Private Ryan” if you think I’m wrong. I think about what Sizemore might be doing if he could work with modern masters again like the Coens, Scorsese, or Tarantino.

Blu-ray Review: Amanda Seyfried Disappears Into Worthless ‘Gone’

Gone

CHICAGO – Remember when Amanda Seyfried was the next big star? When she was delightful in “Mamma Mia” and dramatically engaging on “Big Love”? When we were excited that she would work with an auteur like Atom Egoyan? Here are we are, not too long after she was the it girl, and she continues to make bad career decision after bad career decision. “In Time” was disappointing but “Gone,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is a different kind of suck, the kind of movie that barely makes a dent and would have been better served as a Lifetime TV Movie of the Week. Heck, most of those are better.

Interview: Director Olivier Nakache on Truth in ‘The Intouchables’

CHICAGO – One of the great international films from France, which had nine nominations at The 2012 Cesars – the French equivalent of the Oscars – is the intimate relationship film “The Intouchables.” Focusing on a handicapped man and his caregiver, it was created by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache.

Blu-ray Review: Terrible ‘This Means War’ Denies Its Obvious Romantic Subtext

This Means War Blu-ray

CHICAGO – McG’s “This Means War” could’ve been an interesting comedy if it had actually been about the undeniable love between its two male leads. Not since Lynn Shelton’s “Humpday” has a film so blatantly portrayed the homoerotic tendencies within close male friendships. Yet by denying its own subtext, the film is ultimately as clueless and insufferable as its one-note characters.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 5 Free ‘Safe House’ Blu-rays With Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds

Safe House Blu-ray with Denzel Washington

CHICAGO – In our latest action-packed thriller edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Blu-ray, we have 5 Blu-rays up for grabs for the highly anticipated home entertainment release of “Safe House” starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds!

Video Game Review: ‘Resistance: Burning Skies’ Expands Hit Franchise to PlayStation Vita

CHICAGO – The “Resistance” franchise never gets enough respect. 2011’s third chapter was one of the most underrated games of last year and critics already seem to be picking apart the Vita debut of the series, “Resistance: Burning Skies.”

Blu-ray Review: Long Overdue ‘Lethal Weapon Collection’ is Spectacular Package

Lethal Weapon

CHICAGO – With surprisingly little fanfare, the “Lethal Weapon Collection” has finally been released stateside (after being available for some time overseas) and it’s a fantastic package with at least two films that have held up more spectacularly than you probably remember and some great special features.

TV Review: Comedy Central’s Raunchy, Ridiculous ‘Workaholics’ Returns For Third Season

CHICAGO – “Workaholics” has seriously grown on me. Oh, it’s still amazingly stupid TV but I have to admit that I was surpised at how much I welcomed the return of three man-children who Beavis and Butthead would probably fire. Only “Workaholics” could start their third season with an episode called “The Business Trip” and make it about a bad acid “trip.” Hallucinate with “Workaholics” and start your Summer right.

Interview: David Newell Recalls Memories of ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’

David Newell Interview

CHICAGO – From the 1950s to the early 2000s, Fred Rogers found new and innovative ways to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of children around the world. He never talked down to his viewers on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” he held conversations with them. His compassionate care for his audience was not faked for the cameras. He was one of the nicest people ever to be involved in show business.

Box Office News: ‘Men in Black 3’ Dethrones ‘The Avengers’ From Top Spot

Men in Black III

CHICAGO – Perhaps to avoid the scorching heat, a lot of people went to the movies this Memorial Day weekend and two films dominated the marketplace. “Men in Black 3” finally dethroned the champ with an impressive $55 million over the three days (and $70 million over the holiday four-day weekend) compared to the $36.8 million brought in by “Marvel’s The Avengers.” The Will Smith - Tommy Lee Jones flick is definitely a hit but it has a ways to go to approach the $1.3 billion worldwide already amassed by one of the biggest films of all time. (For the record, “Men in Black 3” has already made $203 million worldwide.)

Video Game Review: ‘Max Payne 3’ is Gaming as Cinematic Immersion

CHICAGO – So what’s Max Payne been up to since we last saw him all those years ago? No, not since the horrendous 2008 movie. The movie just doesn’t exist folks. Take a deep breath. It’s been nine years since the last gaming incarnation of Payne. The long wait to the release of “Max Payne 3” has seen some things change and some stay the same.

DVD Review: Clever First Season of MTV Hit ‘Teen Wolf’

Teen Wolf: Season One

CHICAGO – Having suffered through countless knock-offs of the “Twilight” and “True Blood” phenomena, I was kind of dreading MTV’s “Teen Wolf.” Haven’t we been here before? And way too often? So I’m more surprised than anyone to report that this “Buffy”-esque drama/comedy/horror show is pretty damn good. It’s not as landmark as the Joss Whedon creation that so clearly inspired it but it’s much closer than anyone could have predicted in terms of quality. Funny, smart, and often quite clever, check out “Teen Wolf: Season One,” now on DVD.

TV Review: HBO’s Disappointing ‘Hemingway & Gellhorn’ with Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman

CHICAGO – It pains me to say this — HBO’s “Hemingway & Gellhorn” is a complete mess, a film littered with awful directorial decisions, built on a misguided screenplay, and featuring performances that range from mediocre to downright horrendous. I’m as big a cheerleader for HBO and their line of original films as you’re likely to find but this is one of the worst.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: ‘Gone’ Blu-rays, DVDs Plus Amanda Seyfried-Signed Poster

Update: 5:23 p.m. on May 29, 2012: Prizing quantities changed per studio update
CHICAGO – In our latest psychological thriller edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 3 Blu-rays or DVDs up for grabs for the home entertainment release of “Gone”! One grand-prize winner will also score an Amanda Seyfried-signed “Gone” mini poster!

Film News: Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’ Wins Top Prize at Cannes Festival

CHICAGO – After receiving eight previous prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, German filmmaker Michael Haneke became the first person in history to win the Palme d’Or twice within a mere three-year period. Haneke snagged the top prize at Cannes for “Amour,” a widely praised drama about an elderly couple whose love is challenged by the physical frailties of age.

Exclusive Slideshow: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Tumbler, Bat-Pod at Chicago Tumbler Tour

| Image 1 of 12 |

CHICAGO – Along with our exclusive video of the official “The Dark Knight Rises” Tumbler being revved to the max at the film’s Tumbler Tour in Chicago on May 25, 2012, feast your eyes on HollywoodChicago.com’s exclusive photos of the Tumbler and Bat-Pod!

Film Review: Story Lets Down Chloe Grace Moretz in Stupid ‘Hick’

Hick

CHICAGO – It’s understandable that people from the Southern or rural United States would criticize the general media. With films like “Hick,” which generally portray them as idiots or sociopathic, there is no balance or honest characterizations. Chloe Moretz, Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne and Alec Baldwin add their take on it all.

Exclusive Video Batgasm! Official ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Tumbler Revved to the Max!

CHICAGOHoly Batgasm! Exclusive! Photos schmotos. Sure, we have those of the official “The Dark Knight Rises” Tumbler and Bat-Pod at Chicago’s Navy Pier on May 25, 2012 as part of the film’s Tumbler Tour. What you really want, though, is to hear that beast of a machine rev its freaking brain out.

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