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HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-ray Review: ‘Haunter’ Does More Than Simply Haunt

Haunter-Stephen-McHattie.jpg

CHICAGO – Director Vincenzo Natali’s name always gets my attention. You always get the sense tha the’s trying to do something new. He first came to prominence with “Cube” (1997), which is a gorily stylistic bit of cheap psychological horror masquerading as science fiction. “Nothing” (2003) put two men in a literal void reminiscent in some ways of the classic and surreal Chuck Jones Looney Tune “Duck Amuck”. “Splice” (2009) offered an updated Frankenstein myth mixed with sexual politics and a critique of profit-driven genetic engineering.

What to Watch: Feb. 11-17, 2014

The Returned

We’re a little light on quantity at What to Watch this week but not on quality. And our newest contributor, Dave Canfield, has already handled today’s release of “All is Lost,” a film you really should add to whatever queue allows you to see quality films. When you’re done with that, pick one of these five. OK, four. Ignore “Diana.” Please.

Blu-ray Review: Feeling of Timelessness in ‘La Vie de Bohéme’

La Vie de Boheme DVD

CHICAGO – What is amazing about the texture of this 1992 film version of the 1848 Henri Murger novel, “La Vie de Bohéme,” is that it looks like it could have been filmed during the French New Wave period of the late 1950s/early ‘60s. The Criterion Collection offers a stunning new Blu-ray transfer of a now classic adaptation.

Blu-ray Review: ‘All is Lost’ Finds Heart & Soul of One Man’s Journey

All is Lost

CHICAGO – All is lost. It’s is a phrase uttered by countless adventurers across human history. It speaks of resignation and despair. We hear it in voiceover during PBS documentaries when the narrator reads someone’s diary or letter to explain the last little bit of a fellow human’s final stand against nature or the ardors of travel.

What to Watch: Feb. 4-10, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club

While there is a likely Oscar-winner, a massive box set from HBO, and some true crowd-pleasers in this week’s What to Watch, it’s a bit of a downer compared to some more recent jam-packed weeks of Blu-ray and streaming greatness. We also couldn’t find an On Demand title this week worth mentioning, although Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, hits DirecTV On Demand this Thursday and you can bet we’ll be there to check it out before a March theatrical release. Until then, rent or buy something below.

What to Watch: Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2014

Rush

We’re back! After a week off in Park City, What to Watch is back with 8 movies for you to check out at your local Blu-ray shop or download on your favorite streaming service. Some great variety this week, including a fantastic On Demand debut starring Elijah Wood & John Cusack, a few classics, and a couple of current Oscar nominees.

Blu-ray Review: Teen Movies Don’t Get Better Than ‘The Spectacular Now’

The Spectacular Now

We are surrounded by fiction about teenagers that treats both its subjects and its target audience like idiots. So few filmmakers understand the problems and emotions of young people that when a film as great as “The Spectacular Now” comes along (my #13 of 2013), it’s a small miracle. Reminiscent of the best of Cameron Crowe, James Ponsoldt’s adaptation of Tim Tharp’s novel (from a script robbed of an Oscar nod by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber) is a fantastic drama about a kid realizing that he may be peaking in high school. The Blu-ray is well-accompanied by a fantastic commentary from Ponsoldt, 20 minutes of deleted scenes, and featurettes.

Blu-ray Review: Don’t Miss Remarkable Honesty of ‘Short Term 12’

Short Term 12

Short Term 12” is a special film. If through some true miracle, Brie Larson’s name is announced on Oscar nominations morning, that sound you hear is me screaming in childish glee. She certainly deserves it for this daring, honest piece of work, one that dares to suggest that there are numerous ways to stop the emotional bleeding. It could be rap, it could be art, it could be taking a bat to a car, or it could be love. Destin Cretton won the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Filmmaker and it was one of this year’s winners of which I was most proud we were recognizing. This is a special movie.

What to Watch: Jan. 14-27, 2014

Enough Said

We’re breaking form this week and going alphabetical instead of preference order because of the INCREDIBLE diversity of product available for you to rent, buy, or stream over the next ten days. How does someone really compare “Sunrise” to “You’re Next”? Why bother?

Blu-ray Review: Neon Brilliance of Michael Mann’s Influential ‘Thief’

Thief

Michael Mann’s “Thief” is a crime movie that’s more about the criminal than his illegal acts. It’s about a man who has been torn down to nothing who slowly puts pieces back into his life, like a love affair and a family, only to learn that he has to give all of them up for his own safety. It’s a fascinating film, stunning in its technical acumen and with stellar performances from James Caan, Tuesday Weld, and Robert Prosky (making his film debut). It’s also a great inclusion in The Criterion Collection, perfectly remastered and with some interesting interview insights.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

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