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DVDs for January 28, 2014

rush

Rush

Rush is the first of two movies where Daniel Bruhl knocked my socks off. He and Chris Hemsworth play Niki Lauda and James Hunt, a pair of real-life 1970s Formula One drivers competing for the championship in an era where safety comes a distant second to driving really fast in a tank full of flammable liquid. You can read my review for more. Once you’ve watched Rush (and you should) check out another of this week’s DVD’s: 1: a Formula One documentary on the drivers who changed the face of the sport by pushing for safety measures.

Buy Rush on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

fifth estate

The Fifth Estate

Coincidentally, here’s the second movie where Daniel Bruhl knocked my socks off! In this one he plays computer hacker Daniel Berg opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks. The story follows their friendship and falling out as Wikileaks rises from obscurity to international fame and controversy. It’s based on Daniel Berg’s book, so it’s not Julian Assange’s favorite movie in the world, but it’s definitely worth checking out. You can read my review for more.

Buy Fifth Estate on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

last vegas

Last Vegas

Last Vegas is essentially a tamer, old-man version of The Hangover where three crochety retirees (Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, and Robert DeNiro) meet their suave pal (Michael Douglas) in Las Vegas for his bachelor party (he’s marrying a much younger woman). After they’re mistaken for mobsters, suddenly they can have anything they want. The question is: what do they want? I really liked it – I thought it was sweet and funny. If you prefer your comedy crude, stick with The Hangover.

Buy Last Vegas on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

meatballs 2

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

If you want something totally weird and different to watch with your kids, choose these movies. Flint Lockwood, the inventor from the previous movie, returns with his friends to his old town to find that his food-making machine is creating hilarious and menacing hybrid food-animals (hippo potatoes, shrimp chimps, mosquito toast, etc). Kids will love it because it’s wacky and colorful. You’ll like it because it’s a) actually funny and b) not the same cliched princess crap all over again. Check it out.

Buy Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Trailer Reviews for January 17, 2013

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT



I’m looking forward to this movie. I like Chris Pine. I liked the other Jack Ryan movies (especially The Sum of All Fears) and I don’t mind that they’re departing from the Tom Clancy source material (I find his books too dense and technical anyway). He’s a little more James Bond-y than he used to be, but that could be a good thing. The James Bond movies have moved away from James Bond-y ness and into the realms of grittiness and shaky cam, so there may be niche there to be refilled. Actually, now that I watch the trailer again, I’m thinking it’s more complicated and mysterious (more Mission Impossible) than James Bond. If it plays its cards right, it could become my second favorite spy franchise.

THE NUT JOB



I do not like that purple squirrel’s voice. It’s too deep and harsh for a light family film about squirrels stealing nuts. Also, if I wanted to see a movie about animals planning an elaborate operation, I’d watch Chicken Run or The Fantastic Mr. Fox.I know it’s a kids’ movie, but this trailer didn’t even make me laugh once. Cliched movie dialogue doesn’t automatically become funny just because it’s being delivered by a squirrel.

DEVIL’S DUE



So she’s possessed by her devil baby? That’s interesting I guess. But the trailer took all the life out of the idea for me. They showed everything except for the very end, which I’m assuming will be along the lines of The Exorcist. And can I just say: enough with the found footage. I’m tired of the contortions the characters have to go through just to explain why they’re filming every horrible thing that happens to them, just so the movie can look cheap.

RIDE ALONG



Stop talking and show me the damn trailer! Also, WHY is that lovely woman dating that immature loser? That’s another thing I’m tired of! Beautiful, intelligent, well-to-do women in movies who are dating lazy, unattractive morons for no other reason than ‘the plot demands it.’ The trailer was three minutes long, yet I saw no hint of a redeeming quality that might make me believe those two were in a relationship. So no, even though I like buddy cop movies and even sometimes movies where the main character is an idiot, I will not see this movie.

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Trailer Reviews for December 20, 2013

First of all: apologies! I had a snow day from work yesterday and completely forgot about the trailer reviews. Second of all: Huzzah! Saving Mr. Banks gets a wide release this week so I can finally see it!

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES



Like Napoleon Dynamite, Anchorman is one of those movies that people either find hilarious or painful. I fall into the latter category. I don’t laugh when people make asses of themselves in a movie. I cringe. Anchorman was so awful and unfunny to me that I didn’t even make it 20 minutes into into the movie before I had to turn it off. And I NEVER turn movies off Well, sometimes I do. But they have to be REALLY bad. Even the trailer for this one made me want to crawl under a rock, so James Marsden or no James Marsden, I’m skipping this one for sure.

AMERICAN HUSTLE



This movie has a lot of actors I like in it. Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper (well, okay, I only like him sometimes). Logic states that I should be chomping at the bit to see it, but I’m not. For one thing, this trailer gives me very little idea of the plot. It’s got something to do with a con job. And for another thing – it’s about conning people, and I don’t like stories where criminals are the main characters and we’re supposed to be hoping for them to screw somebody over. I will only consider it if the person getting screwed is worse than they are (i.e. they deserve it). But the trailer didn’t tell me that was the case, so I’m not going.

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS



This trailer makes the movie seem like a Disney Nature documentary with dinosaurs, but don’t be fooled. Watch any of the TV spots like this one and you get the truth: it might be in 3D, it might have nice computer animation, but it’s still loaded with the same awful nasal voices, unfunny cliches, and poop jokes that they slap on all second rate kids’ movies. Little kids will be impressed with the looks, but if you want a good STORY about dinosaurs, rent them The Land Before Time (the first one).

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS



Strike One: Cohen Brothers
Strike Two: Struggling musician
Strike Three: Laconic pace which is sure to bore me
But then again: Helloooo, Garrett Hedlund. Hai kitteh! I like Carey Mulligan. And that’s not a bad song.
I might rent it later on.

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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.

Read More

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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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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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Trailer Reviews for November 1, 2013

ENDER’S GAME



Ender’s Game movie! Woot! I know Orson Scott Card’s jerky behavior has turned a lot of people off this movie, but as the rights holder, he would have been paid yonks ago for this film, so I can’t see how not seeing it will hurt him. Also, I really want to see it. Yeah, Ender is too old. Yeah, there aren’t enough girls in it. Yeah, the sequels are too political and/or religious. But THIS one was awesome because THIS one was about little kids fighting GIANT SPACE BATTLES, which is 95% of what went on in my imagination as a child (FYI, there are still a lot of space battles going on in there). So I have to see it. Seeing it in real life is JUST TOO AWESOME. Who wants to come with me?

LAST VEGAS



Ooh, sorry Last Vegas, you look funny. Morgan Freeman especially, you crack me up. But you’re no competition on Ender’s Game weekend. Come back and see me in a few weeks… or maybe not. Thor: The Dark World comes out next week and after that we’ve got The Book Thief followed by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. On second thought, Last Vegas, thanks for the entertaining trailer. I will see you on DVD.

FREE BIRDS



Okay, that tiny spherical bird was adorable. But… does this movie involve time travel? Because it kind of looks like it involves time travel. It is way too easy to mess up time travel mechanics, especially when you don’t care about them – you’re just doing it for kiddy laughs. Plus it doesn’t even look that funny. If I want to watch a movie about game birds who want to be free, I’m going to put in my Chicken Run DVD.

ABOUT TIME



Now this one I’m upset about. I love Love Actually and I was really looking forward to seeing this movie. (Yes yes, I know I was just railing about time travel in non-science fiction movies, but since it’s so important to the plot here it must have internal consistency). It looks really sweet. In a funnier, less depressing Time Traveler’s Wife sort of way. But not only is it releasing opposite Ender’s Game, my theater’s not even getting it. Boo

ALL THE WRONG REASONS



Well hello, another Canadian film I might actually watch! (And no, not just because Cory Montieth is dead) Because Kevin Zegers. Because main character with one arm. Because firefighters. Because no touchy. And because hilarious behind-the-scenes Zellers action. Now… all I need is for it to come here.

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB



I used to be able to stomach Matthew McConaughey, but now every time I see his face on screen I have this urge to knock his smirking mug into next week. I know it’s a moving topic and all, but did it have to be him?

DIANA



Part of me is like: ooh! Secrets and drama! But the other part feels like this movie is too much like one of those tabloid tell-alls – full of things that are none of my business.

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