HollywoodChicago.com DVD Reviews

DVD Review: First Seasons of ABC’s ‘GCB,’ ‘Missing,’ ‘Scandal’

Scandal

CHICAGOABC/Disney has released three of their Spring 2012 mid-season shows on DVD in time for, well, to say goodbye to two of them and catch up on the third. The releases for “GCB” and “Missing” could have been labeled “Complete Series” as ABC pulled the plug on both shows but Shonda Rhimes’ “Scandal” is being given another chance to find a larger audience in the Fall. All three sets are well-loaded with special features.

DVD Review: Stellar Eighth Season of HBO’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Curb S8

CHICAGO – There was little on television in 2011 that was funnier than the razor sharp eighth season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” recently released by HBO Home Video in a 2-disc DVD set. The set is light on special features and stupidly not available on Blu-ray but the show itself is spectacular.

DVD Review: ‘A Necessary Death’ is Daring Debut From ‘The Last Exorcism’ Director

A Necessary Death

CHICAGO – Daniel Stamm’s “A Necessary Death” was such a conversation starter on the film festival scene that it essentially served as the calling card that got its director the job helming the excellent and underrated “The Last Exorcism.” In many ways, “AND” is a better film. It’s a challenging work that uses a taboo subject in daring ways and is clearly the work of a talent to watch. It’s also finally available on DVD after years of being held back from the market (it was first released in 2008). Don’t miss it.

DVD Review: Latest Seasons of USA Hits ‘Burn Notice,’ ‘White Collar’ ‘Fairly Legal’

Burn Notice S5 Mid

CHICAGOUSA and TNT have battled for Summer dominance and they’re both set to bring back several of their biggest hits in the coming weeks. Timed to get fans even more excited for the USA stable, Universal and Fox have released the most recent seasons of hits “Burn Notice,” “White Collar,” and “Fairly Legal” today and all should satisfy hardcore fans even if it is a bit surprising that none of them are being released in HD.

DVD Review: Incredible Fourth Season of AMC Hit ‘Breaking Bad’

Breaking Bad: S4

CHICAGO – In a great year for television, one that saw the premieres of “Game of Thrones” & “Homeland” and amazing seasons for “Louie,” “Community,” “Parks & Recreation,” and much more, one might think that it would be tough for a TV critic to choose the best show of 2011. It was incredibly easy. Nothing topped the fourth season of “Breaking Bad,” one of the best single seasons of television in the last twenty years and now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

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.

DVD Review: Only Season of ‘The River’ Hints at What Could Have Been

The River

CHICAGO – I had some notable problems with ABC’s “The River,” saying in my review of the series premiere, “…while the show has effective moments of horror, they never quite build the way you want them to in a cohesive piece due to the creators feeling the need to get at least one major scare between every break.” Watching where the show went with the first season DVD, hitting stores this week, I stand by my criticisms (I have problems with every episode) but I kind of wish that the creators had been given time to iron out their kinks. The fact is that there simply isn’t enough programming on network TV that one could call daring and while I think “The River” was flawed it was undeniably unlike anything else in your DVR.

DVD Review: Surprising Hit ‘Chronicle’ Cleverly Plays with Timeless Themes

Chronicle with Dane DeHaan

CHICAGO – With great power comes great responsibility. Since the invention of the written word, authors have been playing with the idea that power leads to problems as it is man’s inherent nature to use that power to satisfy his own needs. Superhero fiction is based on it (good guys use their power for good, villains use it for evil). A lot of sci-fi is based on it. And the smash hit “Chronicle” (over $120 million worldwide with 10% of that as its budget), recently released on DVD and Blu-ray, cleverly plays with these themes in a way that feels new. The DVD offers nothing notable in terms of special features so one should probably expect a special edition to be released to coincide with the in-production “Chronicle 2.”

DVD Review: Criterion Offers Great Insight Into ‘Being John Malkovich’

Being John Malkovich

CHICAGO – Only The Criterion Collection can do a film like “Being John Malkovich” justice. Not only has the film held up remarkably well since its 1999 release (and even somes somewhat ahead of its time given our ability to invade the privacy of celebrity more than ever) but Criterion has assembled a stellar collection of special features that display that unique sense of personality that Spike Jonze’s debut film embodies for its fans.

DVD Review: Laura Linney Carries ‘The Big C: The Complete Second Season’

Big C S2

CHICAGO – Showtime’s “The Big C” is a sporadically brilliant show that somehow still has not clicked into place as the truly great comedy it could have been. Despite my issues with the often-pretentious, self-aware writing, there’s one thing that no one can complain about regarding this Emmy-nominated show — the cast rules. Laura Linney gives easily one of the most engaging performances on TV and she’s ably assisted by a truly strong ensemble.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Prodigal Daughter, The

    CHICAGO – One of the open secrets of Chicago is its horrible racist past, which remains like an echo. Playwright Joshua Allen has been exploring this theme in his Grand Boulevard Trilogy – the last chapter talking place during the infamous 1919 race riots – in Raven Theatre’s “The Prodigal Daughter.” For tickets and info, click TPD.

  • Michael Shannon and Travis A. Knight, Red Orchid's TURRET

    CHICAGO – When in the presence of a powerful acting force like Michael Shannon, the depth of performance is emotional and passionately essential. He co-leads with Travis A. Knight in Red Orchid Theatre’s World Premiere of Levi Holloway’s “Turret,” just extended to June 22nd at the Chopin Theatre.

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