Roman Polanski

DVD Review: Criterion Captures Horror Classic in ‘Rosemary’s Baby’

Rosemary's Baby

CHICAGO – Any film fan that hasn’t seen Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby” has not yet completed Movies 101. The fact is that this work is a reference point for so many others that anyone who loves cinema simply must see it to understand the form. Roman Polanski’s 1968 adaptation of Ira Levin’s hit book is a near-perfect example of urban horror, the scary story built around the idea that any door in any apartment building could be hiding pure Hell. It’s the latest addition to The Criterion Collection and a fantastic choice by the brain trust at the company that chose to include it.

Blu-ray Review: Fantastic Release for Timeless Classic ‘Chinatown’

Chinatown

CHICAGO – There are a few movies that I absolutely adore — the ones that come to mind when people ask me what I think are the best films ever made. More often than not, they are the films that first shaped the way I look at cinema when I first moved past the New Releases section at the video store to the classics of the medium. One such film is Roman Polanski’s stunning “Chinatown,” a film that has lost absolutely none of its timeless power in its recently-released Blu-ray restoration complete with new special features and interviews. It may sound cliched, but “Chinatown,” especially in HD, really looks like it could have come out last year. And it would have been the year’s best movie.

Interview: Columbia College Chicago Alumnus Sean J.S. Jourdan to Helm Noir Pic ‘Teddy Boy’

Sean J.S. Jourdan Teddy Boy Interview

CHICAGO – There’s been a mix-up. Distraught couple Jakob and Helene were not expecting to host a kid for the local tennis tournament this year, and yet James has mistakenly shown up anyway. Mourning the loss of their son, the couple suddenly begins to relive their past as the tennis star engages in a charade that threatens to culminate in certain disaster.

Blu-ray Review: Roman Polanski’s ‘Carnage’ with Jodie Foster Just Misses

Carnage

CHICAGO – Why doesn’t “Carnage” live up to its pedigree? With a certified genius like Roman Polanski behind the camera, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play as its source, and a cast in which three of the only four roles are played by actors who have won Oscars, one might have expected this to be a creative home run. It’s not. It’s a decent rental and there are some strong performances, but it’s not quite what it should have been. And a mediocre Blu-ray release from Sony does nothing to change that opinion.

Film Review: Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz Shine in Roman Polanski’s Surprisingly Average ‘Carnage’

CHICAGO – Roman Polanski may not seem to be the first choice for a film about culture clashes in New York City but he has notable experience with dramas with only a few characters in a few locations (“Knife in the Water,” “Cul-de-sac,” “Death and the Maiden”).

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Cul-de-sac’ From Masterful Director Roman Polanski

Cul-de-sac

CHICAGO – Whatever you may think about Roman Polanski as a human being (or a criminal for that matter), it is simply undeniable that he is one of our best living filmmakers. From “Repulsion” to “Chinatown” to “The Pianist” to “The Ghost Writer” — he’s a master of the form, one of my absolute favorite directors of all time. One of his lesser-known works (that would be the best film of many other director’s entire careers but arguably doesn’t even rank top ten for Polanski) is the tense, taut “Cul-de-sac,” given the special edition treatment this week by The Criterion Collection.

Film Review: Liam Neeson Fails to Find Missing Identity of ‘Unknown’

CHICAGO – “Unknown,” the latest thriller to attempt to turn Liam Neeson into an unusual choice for an action star (a la “Taken” and “The A-Team”), is one of those films that nearly works but falls just short of its audience’s expectations. The elements are there — a (mostly) strong ensemble, an interesting concept, an intriguing location, a promising director — but the film never comes together because the script needed one more rewrite that it just never received.

Blu-Ray Review: Roman Polanski’s Brilliant Thriller ‘The Ghost Writer’

CHICAGO – Roman Polanski’s name has drawn a lot of media attention in 2010 due to his continued international legal problems but the controversy regarding his real life has overshadowed the fact that he recently made one of the best films of his career, the tragically underrated and straight-up brilliant “The Ghost Writer,” a must-see now that it’s on Blu-ray and DVD.

Blu-Ray Review: Roman Polanski’s ‘Repulsion’ More Riveting Than Ever

Repulsion

CHICAGO – I unabashedly adore “Repulsion”. A lot of Roman Polanski’s work in the ’60s and ’70s - “Repulsion,” “The Tenant,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” - stand as influential films in why I became a film critic and lover of movies in general. So, a Criterion edition of “Repulsion” is kind of a wish-list dream made reality. It lives up to my high expectations.

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