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DVDs for December 10, 2013

despicable me 2

Despicable Me 2

Lovable villain Gru (Steve Carell), his three cute daughters, and all his squeaky yellow minions are back for more in Despicable Me 2. Since Gru is now a non-evil father, the action comes from Gru being recruited into the Anti-Villain League. And since Gru has already learned to love kids, he learns to love a lady agent named Lucy who is nearly as nutty as he is. Great fun for the whole family, though not as brilliant and original as the first one. Read my full review for more.

Buy Despicable Me on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

fast and furious 6

Fast and Furious 6

In case you haven’t heard already, Paul Walker, one of the stars of the Fast and Furious series, has died in a car crash (not on set), so this will likely be the last one which features him unless the studio goes ahead with his half-filmed part in #7. In this sequel, the usual crew of fast driving thieves bands together to stop the head of a fast-driver mafia in exchange for a pardon for all the things they did in their other films. It’s the same constant physics-less action as the previous films, but if you buy it on DVD the studio will donate to Paul Walker’s charity.

Buy Fast and Furious 6 on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

day of the doctor

Day of the Doctor

Calling all relatives and friends of Doctor Who fans: this is what you’re getting them for Christmas. Recently shown only in theaters and on BBC, there will be a sizeable number of fans who haven’t seen it yet (unless they have the internet and slightly loose morals). Anyway, it stars two doctors (David Tennant and Matt Smith) as well as a third half Doctor in a giant episode that cuts back and forth from the 1500s and today and has cameos from old doctors and favorites. Too confusing for a newbie, but a massive nerdgasm for people who are already fans.

Buy Day of the Doctor on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

battle of the year

Battle of the Year

When I hear the words Battle of the Year, I think of war. Or maybe boxing. What I do not think about is dancing. But that’s what this movie is about. It’s your standard sports movie. There’s a team. Other teams keep beating them. They want to win, so they drag some grouchy retired person (Josh Holloway) back into the sport. Said grouch is hard on them but makes them bond as a team, then they try their hardest and either win or lose depending on which lesson they’re supposed to learn. Only reccomended for So You Think You Can Dance fans.

Buy Battle of the Year on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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DVDs for December 3, 2013

wolverine

THE WOLVERINE

Otherwise known (by me) as Wolverine Goes to Japan to distinguish it from the other standalone Wolverine movie from 2009, which wasn’t that great. Wolverine Goes to Japan, however, is pretty awesome, largely because it keeps things simple. Wolverine turns to a Japanese mutant for help after his healing powers are stolen as part of a ploy to take over a major Japanese corporation. It only loses points in my book by referencing X-Men: The Last Stand, which should be forgotten once and for all. Read my full review for more.

Buy The Wolverine on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

city of bones

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

I really enjoyed the Mortal Instruments book series, and for a book adaptation, the movie is surprisingly okay. The story centers around a teenage girl who discovers that she belongs to an ancient race of demon hunters after her mom is kidnapped by bad guys. There’s lots of action, a well rounded main character, and some cool mythology. However the plot was a bit confusing, the boyfriend character was kind of odd looking, and my favorite character Alec was pushed into the background. Read my review for a full rundown or just watch it yourself. Book reading is optional but recommended.

Buy City of Bones on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

smurfs 2

Smurfs 2

Ugh, I used to watch The Smurfs as a kid even though I didn’t really like them. As an adult, I don’t just find them annoying and stupid but also sexist, pervy, and unfunny. In this second film, Smurfette (the ONLY female smurf in a community of several generations) is kidnapped by the wizard Gargamel so she can use a magic smurf-making spell (sex?) to turn his evil anti-Smurfs into real Smurfs for… some reason related to magic. But since Smurfette FOR SOME REASON has always felt “different” from other Smurfs she might not want to go home. Ick. Watch The Muppets instead.

Buy Smurfs 2 on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

drinking buddies

Drinking Buddies

This movie looks like a light, fun comedy about two best friends (Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson) who work at a brewery together and COULD have a thing were it not for the fact that they’re both in long term relationships (with Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick respectively). However it’s more of a funny-awkward dramedy with inappropriate flirting and breakups than a flat out comedy and things don’t work out as perfectly as they would in a true rom com, so if you’re planning on renting it, just keep that in mind. But for quirky indie true-to-life dramedy people? Perfect.

Buy Drinking Buddies on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Frozen Review

poster from the Walt Disney Pictures film Frozen

Disney has been taking a lot of flak lately for how old fashioned their Princess line is. The princesses are too white. Too pink. Too rich. Too blonde. Too skinny. Too hung up on finding a man, etc. None of it, however, seems to have made a dent in their bottom line, so we can expect them to continue making princess movies (albeit with the odd concession to reality) until the end of time. The latest is Frozen.

A lonely Norse princess teams up with a hermit, a reindeer, and a snowman to talk her superpowered sister into unfreezing their kingdom.

As with the last two princess movies, Brave and The Princess and the Frog, Disney has attempted to be more modern with Frozen, but at the same time they’ve tried to hearken back to the old days by making it a musical. The result is cute and funny, but I just didn’t feel like it worked as a story.

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Trailer Reviews for November 29, 2013

FROZEN



It looks cute and funny and everything, but what is it ABOUT? I hate it when animation trailers do this. They spend so much time on all their funny jokes and cute little characters and forget to explain what the hell is going on. So it’s supposed to be summer and everything is frozen. And it has something to do with that girl’s sister… so she must be freezing things… but what the hell for? And what’s her sister supposed to do about it? I mean, I’ll see it, because look what else is playing this week, but still, this is a bad trailer.

HOMEFRONT



Everything in this trailer is utterly ridiculous. Bullying that obvious, boy vs girl, in a school these days? A mom flipping out over it so bad that she calls her drug dealing… whatever… and sics him on the girl’s dad? A meth dealer continuing to harass a guy HE KNOWS WAS A DEA AGENT who just wants to be left alone, thereby ensuring that this guy and/or the DEA will rain fire on his ass? And to top it all off, they claim that no one in town likes this guy or his kid, yet somehow they’re all at her birthday party! Dumb dumb dumb. Anyway, I don’t even need to see it, they showed the entire thing in the trailer.

PHILOMENA



This looks hilarious! I want to see it, but we’re not getting it, so I’ll probably have to wait for the DVD. I’ll be mad if it turns out that her son’s a corrupt politician jackass who doesn’t want to see her, though, especially if I have to wait all that time. I know it doesn’t SEEM like that kind of movie, but it’s possible. It’s based on a true story.

THE ARMSTRONG LIE



“Losing = death.” Well, isn’t that dramatic. I just can’t drum up the energy to give a crap. I mean, I don’t like sports at the best of times, but I find it especially ridiculous when people lie, cheat, steal, backstab, etc. just so they can claim they’re the best at something. I mean… how insecure do you have to be? No way would I pay this issue enough attention to watch a whole movie about it.

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Trailer Reviews for November 22, 2013

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE



I really like the first two books in this series – especially this one because the character of Gale and his obvious suitability to Katniss isn’t so easily dismissed. But the movie version of the first one was disappointing. Drably colored and jerkily filmed, it took away from the important story and the (mostly) good acting (sorry Josh Hutcherson). There’s a new director this time. Obviously he hasn’t done anything about the grey-on-grey color palate. There’s a chance he didn’t give the camera to a palsy sufferer and tell them to shoot the whole movie 3 inches from Jennifer Lawrence’s face, but I can’t really tell. Trailers are all so frenetically cut anyway. I guess I’ll have to see the whole movie to find out.

DELIVERY MAN



I thought this movie looked funny in its original French version. With Vince Vaughn…. slightly less funny. I’m just not a fan of his. And he plays the same character every time – the everyman slacker who’s bitter and sarcastic but somehow ends up with a girlfriend anyway. BUT I will probably see this movie at some point. Why? Because Chris Pratt. I mean, how long did he have to sit there with a straight face and let a little girl slap him to get that scene down? The kids seem okay too, though most of the boys look more like they could be Chris Pratt’s kids than Vince Vaughn’s. Especially the coffee shop kid with the tie.

NEBRASKA



I think the idea of an old guy walking to Nebraska to claim winnings from a bogus sweepstakes accompanied by his skeptical son is funny. I also think Will Forte can be funny. But, watching the trailer… I worry that the movie will be slow and boring. A lot of talking heads. So I’ll probably pass it by.

DAY OF THE DOCTOR



This will also be on TV if you’ve got BBC, but if you don’t and you’re a big Doctor Who fan, you should know that on Saturday, a lot of theaters will be showing it on the big screen. In 3D. So break out your Tom Baker scarves and your Matt Smith bow ties and nerd it up with fellow fans. I won’t be going, though, as I’m not a fan of the new Doctor Who and the only doctors it really features are Matt Smith (#11), David Tennant (#10), and John Hurt (#8.5 sort of). My favorite is #8: Paul McGann.

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DVDs for November 19, 2013

planes

Planes

“Happy almost birthday, Kat! To make up for all the Twilight I’ve given you the past 4 years, here’s some planes!” – Love, The Universe. Yes, I know that Planes is essentially just a mashup of Cars 1 and Cars 2 but with planes, but I DON’T CARE. Cute planes race against other cute planes and there’s a cameo by Iceman and Goose as little fighter planes with eyeballs. And an aircraft carrier wears a hat. What more could you possibly want from a children’s movie ?? Check out my full review for more of me gushing over vehicles in hats.

Buy Planes on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

worlds end

The World’s End

I love the Pegg/Frost/Wright trio, but this movie was kind of a letdown. The story follows a group of guys who meet up (even though most of them don’t want to) to finish a pub crawl they didn’t get through as high schoolers. And their town is taken over by robot aliens in a Stepford Wives crossed with Bodysnatchers way. There seemed to be more arguing and fighting than jokes and the ending was a total downer (I guess I should have expected that, with a title like The World’s End), so I’d rate it as my least favorite of theirs, but still better than most comedies. Read my review for more.

Buy The World’s End on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

paranoia

Paranoia

This movie does have a point about how hard it is for young people to make their way in the workplace these days but does not do a good job in getting us to sympathize with Liam Hemsworth, mostly because he’s a little selfish, a little whiny, and his ideas aren’t nearly as revolutionary as he likes to think… and neither are the trade secrets he’s trying to steal from his boss’s rivalswhile undercover as a rich dude. It’s not very thrilling or surprising, so if you’re looking for a movie about industrial espionage I recommend Cypher instead. Read my full review for more.

Buy Paranoia on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

2 guns

2 Guns

Just in case you haven’t seen enough buddy cop movies, here are Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in another one. Denzel is a DEA agent and Mark is Army Intelligence (for some reason) and neither knows who the other is until everyone else in the world decides to kill them and they have zero other people to turn to for help in taking down their targeted cartel. I mock, but I actually liked 2 Guns. It was mildly comedic (not as funny as The Other Guys but not as depressing as Savages) and the action sequences were unique enough to make me take notice. Check it out.

Buy 2 Guns on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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DVDs for November 12, 2013

man of steel

Man of Steel

Superhero movies are a major gravy train right now, with Marvel getting a LOT more gravy than poor DC. Green Lantern was a flop but this new Superman reboot struck the right chord. Superman as a lonely spaceman with crazy powers he has to keep hidden… until more spacemen show up wanting to terraform the planet he currently enjoys living on. Granted, half the earth gets destroyed anyway in the battles, but I think that was at least half the draw for most people. It’s no Batman Begins or Lois and Clark, but it’ll do. Check out my full review for more.

Buy Man of Steel on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

turbo

Turbo

Some animated movies seem silly at first glance but are actually clever and funny, and some just stay silly. Turbo is among the permasilly. The premise is that a snail (voiced by Ryan Reynolds, of all people) is exposed to nitrous oxide and somehow becomes a) fast enough to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and b) admissible in the Indianapolis 500 despite not being a car or indeed a large enough object for other drivers to avoid running over. Dumb dumb dumb. Maybe you can get past it, but I can’t. Kids will have an easier time of it, mostly because they’re used to things not making sense.

Buy Turbo on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

dear dumb diary

Dear Dumb Diary

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Dear Dumb Diary books, they’re the girl version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but with a main character who’s less of a total jackass. This is a good quality kids’ film for a made-for-TV effort – it’s better than the Wimpy Kid movies – but it has the same problem in that it doesn’t really have a plot, just a string of school-related events. It’s also a little disturbing that the characters all look like they’re cute little 9-year-olds but dress and act like they’re 17 and about to dance back-up in a music video, but I guess the kids all do that these days.

Buy Dear Dumb Diary on DVD.

prince avalanche

Prince Avalanche

This is a weird little remake of an Icelandic film. It’s a character-based comedy-drama about two guys who spend the summer of 1988 painting lines down a Texas highway with a jeep and a wheelbarrow. Paul Rudd and Emilie Hirsch both play a little different than their character types (Rudd is less of a straight-man comedian, Hirsch is less of a surly teenager) but if you ask me, the real star of the movie is their dorky overalls. There’s a LOT more talking than action, but it’s an okay movie. If you like quirk and minimalism, it should appeal to you.

Buy Prince Avalanche on DVD on Blu-Ray.

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Thor: The Dark World Review

poster from the Marvel Studios film Thor the Dark World

Thor isn’t my favorite superhero. He’s not even my favorite Avenger. But when I’m ranking my favorite standalone films, Thor’s come second only to Iron Man’s. Why? Two reasons: hilarity and scienceyness. Thor was hilarious in the first half and then mostly gave way to smashing and arguing, and when I saw the trailer for The Dark World I was worried it would be ALL smashing and arguing.

Thor enlists his untrustworthy brother Loki’s help when dark elves try to unleash a weapon that will turn the universe into dark matter.

Luckily, my fears were completely unfounded. Thor: the Dark World was peppered with jokes and fun scienceyness all the way through, which officially makes it even better than the first film. I loved it and if you’re into sci-fi or action comedies, I think you will too, even if you haven’t seen Thor or The Avengers.

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Trailer Reviews for November 8, 2013

THOR: THE DARK WORLD



Thor! Hey buddy! Good to see you again! Any chance you’re gonna take a few minutes in this movie to stumble over some hilarious Earth customs? I’d love to be able to add something like ‘Thor Goes to the Grocery Store’ or ‘Thor Uses an ATM’ to my list of potential Marvel picture book plotlines. No? You plan on smashing things and arguing with Loki for two straight hours? Yeah, that’s what the trailer looked like. I just thought I’d ask. I’ll still come, of course. Because there’s Team Thor/Jane/Loki. But in the future, if you want to throw in a little more ‘myeh myeh,’ I’ll be really happy.

KILL YOUR DARLINGS



Ugh. Please, no more Beat Poets! They’re so pretentious and annoying! And the stories about their lives are always so messed up and depressing. I’m sorry, Daniel Radcliffe, you’re very good. But there’s no way I’m seeing this movie.

THE SUMMIT



Looks cool. It’s like the Into Thin Air for K2. They make it seem like there’s a big conspiracy but then one of the reviewer quotes describes it as a cliffhanger… I hope she meant literally because I don’t want to see it if they don’t at least decide on a theory as to what happened to everyone.

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Ender’s Game Review

poster  from the Summit Entertainment film Enders Game
Apologies for the late review. I’ve been having problems with my home internet connection.

As a space-battle obsessed kid, I was a big fan of Ender’s Game. I even read the sequels, though most of them were too religious/political for my liking. Orson Scott Card’s opinions on religion and politics also threatened to ruin this movie because they pissed off potential ticket buyers.

To save humanity from a second alien invasion, a young prodigy trains to lead an attack fleet by playing war games.


If you’re are a fan of Ender’s Game or space battles but not a fan of Orson Scott Card’s opinions, you should know that boycotting the movie won’t hurt him. He was paid off for the rights long ago, so your money will go to the studio to encourage them to make more movies about space battles. Which they should, because this one is pretty awesome.

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