CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
CHICAGO – Few character actresses have proven to be as effortlessly versatile as Piper Laurie. Her Oscar-nominated turns as Paul Newman’s alcoholic lover in Robert Rossen’s 1961 classic “The Hustler” and Marlee Matlin’s estranged but loving mother in Randa Haines’s 1986 drama “Children of a Lesser God” offer a mere sample of her remarkable range and magnetic screen presence.
CHICAGO – Two of cinema’s most iconic actors appeared on Blu-ray new release shelves this week with excellent HD transfers and hours of special features for 50th Anniversary Editions of Paul Newman’s “The Hustler” and John Wayne’s “The Comancheros.” History has well-documented that the Newman is one of the best films from one of the form’s best actors. The Wayne film may have a more niche audience but they’re surely be satisfied with a very solid release.
CHICAGO – “Hesher” ends with a middle finger and I shot one right back to the screen. Rarely has a film so completely misunderstood the grieving process and played faux tough in an attempt to be edgy instead of heartfelt. Like a knock-off of Chuck Palahniuk produced by people raised only on Sundance films, “Hesher” is a mess.