HollywoodChicago.com DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Delightful Score Bolsters ‘Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best’

Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best DVD

CHICAGO – Amiable charm compensates for scattershot laughs in Ryan O’Nan’s directorial debut, “Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best.” There’s an undercurrent of tangible warmth that reverberates beneath O’Nan’s awkward assemblage of quirky gags and self-consciously clever dialogue. Though I spent much of the film on the fence, it eventually won me over.

DVD Review: Masterful ‘The Wise Kids’ Avoids Stereotypes, Opts for Honesty

The Wise Kids DVD

CHICAGO – There was no film in 2012 that moved me more deeply or left me feeling more exhilarated than Stephen Cone’s achingly personal masterpiece, “The Wise Kids.” It’s the sort of film that I’ve been hoping to see get made for quite some time. Whereas so many films about people of faith rely on condescending stereotypes to push a contrived agenda, Cone’s picture is humanistic in every sense of the word.

DVD Review: Hysterical ‘Archer: The Complete Season Three’

Archer S3

CHICAGO – You should buy the third season of “Archer,” just released on Blu-ray and DVD, if just for the season premiere, “The Man from Jupiter,” featuring an absolutely amazing guest performance from Burt Reynolds. Actually, that is the fourth episode of this season as the three-part “Heart of Archness” aired three months earlier and kicks off this DVD. Whatever you call it, it’s hysterical. In a crowded field that includes former titans like “Family Guy,” “South Park,” and “The Simpsons,” “Archer” is the funniest animated show on TV.

DVD Review: ‘The Qatsi Trilogy’ Still Has Power to Mesmerize

The Qatsi Trilogy

CHICAGO – Godfrey Reggio’s “Koyaanisqatsi,” “Powaqqatsi,” and “Naqoyqatsi” comprise one of the most fascinating trio of documentaries in the history of the form and whoever works at Criterion that decided to collect these landmark works into one Blu-ray and DVD box set deserves a raise. Not only is eash film lovingly restored for the release and accompanied by hours of special features but being able to fully appreciate “The Qatsi Trilogy” as one body of work is something all film fans should experience.

DVD Review: Fascinating ‘The Story of Film: An Odyssey’

The Story of Film: An Odyssey

CHICAGO – Music Box Films’ DVD presentation of Mark Cousins’ challenging and often fascinating “The Story of Film” is a perfect gift for the movie lover in your family who would truly appreciate going to a film class but doesn’t have the access, time, or money. It isn’t a perfect class (but it’s hard to imagine even the best professor in the world not stumbling a few times with such a vast scope of coverage) but this fifteen-hour journey from 1895 to today is a fascinating dissection of not just the men and women who innovated the art form but how our understanding of film history has long been incomplete.

DVD Review: Fifteenth Season of FOX Hit ‘The Simpsons’

The Simpsons: S15

CHICAGOTV on DVD has been shaped by Twentieth Century Fox and their releases for “The Simpsons,” one of the best shows in the history of television. It makes a certain degree of sense that one of the longest-running and most beloved programs in history would get the most detailed and elaborate DVD releases but the producers of “The Simpsons” always go above and beyond, as they have again with “The Simpsons: The Complete Fifteenth Season.”

DVD Review: ‘The Incredible Mel Brooks’ Offers Timeless Comedy

The Incredible Mel Brooks

CHICAGO – Mel Brooks is an indisputable genius and his comic mastery gets a perfect tribute in the 5-DVD-and-1-CD set from Shout Factory, “The Incredible Mel Brooks,” a treasure trove of rare clips, old TV shows, appearances, and recollections from one of comedy’s greatest writers. This is a fantastic set, a perfect gift for the comedy fan in your family.

DVD Review: Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Rashomon’ Redefined Cinema

Rashomon

CHICAGO – The Criterion Collection has had a long relationship with Akira Kurosawa fans, releasing several of his films in the past, including “The Seven Samurai,” “Yojimbo,” and “Ran.” They have chosen “Rashomon” as the latest in their line of films to upgrade for Blu-ray and re-released on Criterion DVD. We got the latter and it’s another beauty.

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.

DVD Review: Stunning Power of ‘The Invisible War’ Will Floor You

The Invisible War

CHICAGO – There have been a lot of good movies in 2012 but very few truly stellar ones. Near the top of the list when people ask me what I consider the best films of 2012 is the year’s best documentary, Kirby Dick’s stunning “The Invisible War,” a film that says so much about where we are as a nation. It both reveals a horrible, shameful part of our country’s military and the heroic people trying to stop it. It’s now on DVD and it’s truly a must-see.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • Joe Turner's Come and Gone Goodman Theatre

    CHICAGO – The late playwright August Wilson left a gift to the world in the form of his “American Century Cycle,” a series of plays each individually set in a decade of the 20th Century, focusing on the black experience. Chicago’s Goodman Theatre presents Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” now through May 19th, 2024 (click here).

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