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HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-ray Review: Spend New Year’s with the Beales of ‘Grey Gardens’

Grey Gardens

Do you think Albert and David Maysles knew they were creating not just a documentary but launching cultural icons when they filmed the mesmerizing “Grey Gardens,” now available in a Criterion Blu-ray edition? The film about “Little Edie” and “Big Edie,” relatives of American royalty in Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, became a cult phenomenon, inspiring a follow-up (which is included in this release), an award-winning fictionalized version of their story with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, and even a full-length musical.

Blu-ray Review: Fantastic Set For Altman’s Beloved ‘Nashville’

Nashville

When I expressed excitement over the fact that Robert Altman’s stunning “Nashville” was being released in a Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition a few months back, a colleague asked me why I loved the film and I had trouble verbalizing my feelings about Altman’s sprawling, brilliant tapestry of characters. Watching the excellent new documentary about the making-of the film on the Criterion release makes it clear that I’m not alone.

What to Watch: Dec. 17-31, 2013

Ain't Them Bodies Saints

And so 2013 ends with one final What to Watch to carry you through to 2014. Have some gift card money burning a hole in your wallet? Want something to stream while your family bickers over the holiday? Just need a break from it all? Here are the latest and greatest new releases, listed in the order we’d put ‘em on an Amazon wish list.

Blu-ray Review: Great Release of ‘Mary Poppins’ Tied to ‘Saving Mr. Banks’

Mary Poppins

Disney knows how to cross-promote better than anyone in the business. With “Saving Mr. Banks” hitting theaters and earning Oscar buzz for Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, it makes total sense to re-release “Mary Poppins” on Blu-ray. If you’re not familiar, “Banks” is the story of the making of “Poppins” and fans of the new film will love the opportunity to check out what resulted from this mostly true story.

Blu-ray Review: Fascinating Satire of ‘Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion’

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

Elio Petri’s “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion,” winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and Grand Prize at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival, has been inducted into the Criterion Collection, the most important series of Blu-ray releases on the market. This is such a unique, bizarre film, one that I wasn’t familiar with until this release, which continues to prove that Criterion isn’t just a great company for known classics like Robert Altman’s “Nashville” but some films that may have fallen through the cracks of cinema history as well.

Blu-ray Review: Riveting ‘Prisoners’ Connects Even on Repeat Viewing

Prisoners

Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” seems to have been lost in the awards season conversation and that’s a shame. Not only is Richard Deakins’ cinematography some of the best in his career but Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman’s emotional work here deserves more credit than it’s been getting. Newly released on a gorgeous Blu-ray (with, sadly, scant special features), “Prisoners” is the kind of adult drama that seems certain to pick up more fans on the home market. It’s really worth your time.

What to Watch: Dec. 10-16, 2013

Argo

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.

What to Watch: Nov. 24-Dec. 9, 2013

The Canyons

Sorry, What to Watch took a turkey day break as last week was really light on new product worth mentioning. This week? Pretty much the same but we don’t want you to miss us too badly. Here’s five recent Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming releases that may have caught your attention on new release shelves lately, ranked in the order we’d add them to our holiday wish list.

Blu-ray Review: Cornetto Trilogy Now Available in One Set

The World's End with Simon Pegg

The three comedies made by writer/director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg & Nick Frost — “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” and “The World’s End” — have become collectively known as The Cornetto Trilogy and Universal has been collectively smart enough to release them in one edition, complete with Ultraviolet versions of each beloved film. “The World’s End” is also newly available on Blu-ray and DVD, sure to find legions of loyal fans this holiday season. I like but don’t love “End,” finding it the least satisying of the three films but consider that criticism as coming from someone who adores both “Shaun” and “Fuzz.” There’s still a lot to like here, especially if you want to buy all three.

Blu-ray Review: Ozu’s ‘Tokyo Story’ Gets Criterion Remaster

Tokyo Story

It’s not surprising that filmmakers led the way in the reappraisal of Ozu’s beloved “Tokyo Story,” which recently ranked #3 on the Sight & Sound poll of all-time best films and was remastered for a Criterion Blu-ray/DVD combo pack release now in stores. Ozu’s film is such a perfect blend of realism and conscious filmmaking. What I men is that it clearly strives to be about relatable, believable human behavior and yet one can also so clearly see the techniques which Ozu uses (or lack thereof given his never-moving camera) to achieve such realism.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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