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Trailer Reviews for July 11, 2014

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES



Planet of the Apes is a one-off for me. It was good for that one surprise at the end of the first one (I won’t say what it was in case you haven’t seen it) and the brief ‘ha ha, those are monkeys that act like people’ aspect of the premise. It’s not something I want to keep seeing movies about, even if they’ve upgraded from monkey suits to CGI and hired Gollum to animate them. Also, I think the title for this one and the one that came before it (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) should be switched around. It would just make more sense.

BEGIN AGAIN



Once was a film with a very simple (too simple, really) story that was carried on the strength of its soundtrack… or mostly that one song: “Falling Slowly.” I liked Once enough to check out another John Carney film but I do hope the “rejected rockstar girlfriend meets rejected agent” story is stronger than the storyline in Once.

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Deliver Us From Evil Review

poster from the Sony Pictures film Deliver Us From Evil

This week I refused to see Tammy on the grounds that it’s just a giant fat joke. I also rejected Earth to Echo, because I saw E.T. and have no desire to watch a remake starring annoying modern kids. Deliver Us From Evil didn’t look all that special either, but it had three things to recommend itself by: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, and Sinister.

A police officer with a talent for finding trouble turns to a renegade priest for help tracking down a painter possessed by evil.

I was expecting hot guys and some good scares from this movie, but I only got one out of two. Eric Bana and Edgar Ramirez were still worth the ticket price, but writer/director Scott Derrickson failed to recreate the “I am about to chew my own fingers off” tension levels I remember so well from Sinister.

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Repost – Funniest Canadian Movies

All the DVDs releasing today are old/B movies and TV shows (or anime) so here’s a repost of an old article I did on Canadian comedies. Happy Canada Day!

As you probably already know, I don’t usually go out of my way to see Canadian movies just because they’re Canadian. Maybe that makes me a bad Canadian. Maybe it just means I’ve got high standards. At any rate, that doesn’t mean I never watch any Canadian movies. In fact, some of my favorite comedies of all time were written and filmed right here in Canada with all or mostly Canadian casts and crews. I’ve listed them for you here, just in case you feel like renting something that will make you snort your stronger-and-therefore-better Canadian beer out of your nose at your Canada Day party. Comedy is notoriously subjective, so if you’ve got different favs why not list them in the comments? Bon viewing!

#5. Men With Brooms

Curling is an inherently silly sport, if you ask me. You don’t even have to be physically fit to play it professionally. Add in Paul Gross as the leader of a team consisting of a drug dealer, a mortician, and a guy with the world’s lowest sperm count, Scandinavian villains who wear silver pants, and a dead coach’s ashes packed inside a piece of sporting equipment, and it gets even funnier. Plot wise it follows the ol’ sporting standard: misfit team, come from behind victory, the captain wins the girl, etc. but with any luck you’ll be laughing so hard at their ridiculous antics that you won’t even notice.

Buy Men With Brooms on DVD.

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#4. Gunless

Yes, it’s Paul Gross again, but with good reason. Gunless is a hilarious Western about an American gunfighter who ends up in Canada, where there’s no guns, gunfighting, duelling, or wonton violence allowed. Suddenly he has no idea what to do with himself. Maybe he should fall in love! Or build a windmill! His clashes (or lack of clashes, if you will) with the local populace are funny, but the best part is the dumbass Mountie character and his much smarter Native “sidekick.” It would have rated higher on the list if it weren’t for some stumbling around in the story department.

Buy Gunless on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
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#3. A Dog’s Breakfast

This one is a little harder to find because it was an off-season vanity project filmed using favors called in from crew of Stargate Atlantis but it’s totally worth the extra effort. David Hewlett plays a dysfunctional recluse whose major relationship is with his dog. He receives an unwanted visit from his makeup artist sister (Hewlett’s real sister) and her soap actor boyfriend (Paul McGillion, also of SGA), whom he hates and accidentally succeeds in killing. His Telltale Heart-style efforts to hide the body are cripplingly funny, but even better are the hilariously cheesy sci-fi soap clips. Oh, and how’s this for a fun fact: I actually met him!

Buy A Dog’s Breakfast on DVD.


#2. Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy

A spin-off from the popular sketch comedy series Kids in the Hall, Brain Candy follows the story of a mostly inept scientist working for a pharmaceutical company that treats pills like candy and spends money making parties within parties for their more important guests. He accidentally discovers a drug that traps people in their happiest memories while trying to cure depression. Each of the “kids” plays about eight different characters and the whole thing is totally insane yet brilliantly satiric. Everything from the rose colored glasses grandmas wear to view their families to drug companies’ preference for money over safety is fair game.

Buy Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy on DVD.


#1. Bon Cop Bad Cop

Forget Canada, Bon Cop Bad Cop is one of the funniest movies made anywhere. An Ontario/Quebec co-production, it’s about an English cop and a French cop who have to team up to solve the hockey-related murder of a man who was found draped over the “Welcome to” sign at the border between the two provinces. Whether they’re giving a lesson on conjugating French curse words while stuffing suspects into the trunk of their car or arguing in two languages over who’s fault it is that they just blew up a house full of marijuana, the jokes are smart, crude, and hilarious. This is the sort of movie you have to watch several times because you couldn’t stop laughing long enough to hear all the jokes.

Buy Bon Cop Bad Cop on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

Update: Since writing this a few years ago, I’ve seen a few others worth an honorable mention: The Grand Seduction, and The Right Kind of Wrong.

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A Fake Review of Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers was dumb. I huffed and snorted so much during Transformers 2 that despite all the noisy explosions, by brother still had to tell me to shut up. Transformers 3 was perhaps the worst of all, in that it was so mediocre I didn’t even enjoy tearing it apart. There was no chance of me going to see Transformers: Age of Extinction, is the point I’m trying to get at. But since it was the only new movie playing this week at my theater, I present you this in lieu of a review.

Transformers Age of Extinction

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Trailer Reviews for June 27, 2014

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION



NO. Making one of the robots a dinosaur DOES NOT MAKE IT LESS DUMB.

THEY CAME TOGETHER



You had me at “from the creators of Wet Hot American Summer.” Seriously, you can’t go wrong with Paul Rudd or Amy Poehler. Put them together and you could get away with murder… ing the romantic comedy genre! (hur hur)

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DVDs for June 24, 2014

winters tale

Winter’s Tale

I’d have waited until February to release this. Nobody wants to be reminded of winter in the summer, plus it’s the kind of epic love story that people always buy for each other for Valentine’s Day. Oh well. The movie itself is soppy but watchable. It’s part historical fiction set in early 1900s New York and part angels vs demons magical fairy tale/love story. Colin Farrell plays a thief with a magical horse who falls in love with a dying woman then wakes up in the present day to help some little girl with cancer. Read my review for more.

Buy Winter’s Tale on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

300 2

300: Rise of an Empire

If you thought a movie where everybody dies couldn’t possibly have a sequel, you haven’t seen Hamlet 2… or tried to get between a studio and a giant pile of money. Rise of an Empire is basically the same as 300, in that bare chests and slow motion droplets are the stars of the movie and the story consists of some Greeks planting themselves between an army of insane monsters and their homeland. If you like action, this is the movie for you. If you like character, content, or story, pick something else. Literally anything else.

Buy 300: Rise of an Empire on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

enemy

Enemy

In this drama/thiller, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a boring college professor who goes to a show and meets an actor who’s basically a more exciting version of himself (existentially and literally) and ends up stalking the guy/going crazy (as you do). Actors love to stretch their wings by playing two roles in the same movie, but if you want to watch a movie like that, pick Moon instead of this one. It’s less boring (read: not boring), stars Sam Rockwell, and it has an actual story, whereas this one is more of a metaphor.

Buy Enemy on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

blood ties

Blood Ties

At this point, they could release a movie about two brothers/friends on opposite sides of the law and have it be the greatest movie in the history of movies and I would still refuse to see it because these ‘oh noes, do we choose principle or family?’ stories are a dime a dozen. This one stars Clive Owen as the criminal brother and Billy Crudup as the cop brother and it’s the 70s. That’s the only thing that sets it apart from We Own the Night, Mission Park, Line of Duty, Ganga and Yamuna, etc. etc. etc. Randomly select one from the list, or just skip them all and watch something more upbeat.

Buy Blood Ties on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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22 Jump Street Review

poster from the Columbia Pictures movie 22 Jump Street

I don’t normally like ‘dumb guy’ comedies, but I have a friend who likes to make me go to them. Sometimes they stink. Sometimes they surprise you. 21 Jump Street was one of the ones that surprised me. It was a remake and it had Jonah Hill, but in places it was smart enough to qualify as a satire. I chose to see the sequel because I was hoping lightning would strike twice.


Two former undercover high schoolers are sent to college to track down the supplier of a new designer drug.

I spent 26 hours teaching five-year-olds how to camp in between seeing this movie and writing this review, so I wish I could say ‘yeah, it’s funny’ and go have the nap I’ve been craving for 25.5 hours. But I have to be more professional than that (because… reasons?) so I’ll tell you that lightning did strike twice: I went into it with doubts and was surprised by how good it was.

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Trailer Reviews for June 13, 2014

22 JUMP STREET



21 Jump Street was a comedy I worried would be too dumb for me, but it turned out to be both hilarious and smart. Major points went to it for making fun of the fact that it was a remake. This trailer shows the same level of self awareness. It also made me smile, though the red band trailer is funnier.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2



I loved the first How to Train Your Dragon. It was pretty much a perfect movie. But I felt like when it was over, it was done. It didn’t need a sequel. Any attempt to lengthen the story with another movie would just seem tacked-on. And this trailer hasn’t convinced me otherwise. But Dreamworks has money to make, so I guess we’ll be seeing these for a while until eventually they end up straight-to-video like Land Before Time 27.

THE DOUBLE



Wasn’t there just a movie about two Jake Gyllenhaals? Is this a trend now, that actors don’t feel challenged unless they’re playing against themselves? I’m not a fan of even one Jesse Eisenberg and this movie looks boring and weird. Weird in a way that’s meant to be funny but fails to elicit more than an awkward ‘heh’ from me. I’m skipping it.

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DVDs for June 10, 2014

jack ryan

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

This is the first Jack Ryan movie not based on any of Tom Clancey’s novels, and it shows. It’s a lot less politically sophisticated than the previous Jack Ryan films and a lot more confused in terms of who the Jack Ryan character is and what he can do. Though the filmmakers have tried to update the series by bringing it into the present day, it still feels like a Cold War movie, mostly because the Russians are the bad guys and digital data is treated like hard copy. Rent it if you’re looking for a generic action movie or check out my full review.

Buy Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

nonstop

Non-Stop

Speaking of generic movies, Non-Stop, a generic thriller about a sky marshall trapped on a plane with a terrorist, also releases this week. It’s a good premise for a contained space thriller, but they ruined it by spending most of the movie texting and by having everyone think that the hero was the villain, which made the plot seem convoluted. If you’re looking at Liam Neeson’s picture on the box and thinking it will be like Taken, think again. There’s only one good fist fight in the whole movie. Read my review for more.

Buy Non-Stop on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

cosmos

Cosmos

Judging from the amount of pseudoscientific bullsh** and outright lies being shared by people on my Facebook news feed, a lot more people need to watch this documentary series. It does for physics, astronomy, and ecology what BBC’s Planet Earth did for geography and biology – it makes you want to hear about science. Whether you failed every science class in school or you’re a Popular Science subscriber, TV presenter/real actual scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson has something new to say to you. And it looks pretty. Check it out.

Buy Cosmos on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

devils knot

Devil’s Knot

And now for a non-generic thriller: Devil’s Knot is based on the true story of a trio of teens accused of murdering three little boys as part of a satanic ritual. The film delves into the horror of the murders as well as the controversial aspects of the case, raising the question of whether the teens really killed anyone or if the town is just out to get them for being weird. If you’ve seen the documentaries the film probably won’t offer anything new, but if you’re coming to it fresh you’ll find it really interesting. Check it out.

Buy Devil’s Knot on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Trailer Reviews for June 6, 2014

EDGE OF TOMORROW



This movie looks awesome and stupid at the same time. Dying every day and waking up to do a big battle over again until you get it right? Awesome. The suits they wear in said battle? Stupid. They’re clunky and they offer no protection at all (I guess if you just keep waking up again it doesn’t matter if you get shot?) Their only purpose seems to be as a framework for hoisting their massive, ridiculous guns.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS



Again, I do and I don’t want to see this movie. I’m sure it’s cute and romantic and meaningful, but one or both of them is dying, so there’s no getting around the fact that it’s going to be really f***ing depressing. So I guess the question is: do I want to be sad all weekend?

CHEF



To me, Jon Favreau will always be the guy who made Iron Man hilarious and awesome. But who’s to say he couldn’t make independent dramedies about cooking awesome and hilarious as well?

TRACKS



I’m pretty sure Robyn Davidson is who they were making fun of in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, when the lady dragging the little blinking light would run by. It’s an inspiring story and Mia Wasikowska is a great actress, but I feel like this movie will have to work really hard not to be boring. Struggling alone makes for a compelling autobiography, but put it on screen and it’s just a woman squinting at the horizon.

WOLFCOP



This movie was some sort of Cineplex contest winner. I’ve been seeing ads for this for months. Looks pretty funny. Maybe I’ll see it someday. Our theater’s not currently on the Wolfcop list.

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