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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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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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Trailer Reviews for October 25, 2013

This is the big week when Empire Theaters becomes Cineplex, so if you live in Atlantic Canada, whether or not your theater opens Thursday or Friday or not for a while may be up in the air. I’m excited to start spending my Scene points, but it does make finding out what’s playing this week a little tricky, as the schedule’s not up. As far as I can tell, these are the movies that are likely to be playing.

ALL IS LOST



I don’t care what all those quotes in the trailer say, this movie looks BORING. One guy alone at sea wasn’t even that interesting when it was Life of Pi, and that guy had a tiger to contend with. Don’t get me wrong, survival at sea makes for a great story. But I think I would like it better as a book.

THE COUNSELOR



Nope. No thanks. And double ‘no’ on the Cormac McCarthy factor. I think Michael Fassbender is great, but even he’s not going to be enough to save this movie for me. This guy has everything – great love, great job, great house so he decides: what the hell – let’s smuggle some drugs! I would find it impossible to sympathize with a guy like that. Plus McCarthy’s books are all depressing as hell.

JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA



I think the studios all got together and decided to release only movies that I would hate this weekend. I can’t stand these movies where they go out in public and act like a**holes just to film bystanders’ reactions. Also, they ripped off that beauty pageant scene from Little Miss Sunshine.

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DVDs for October 15, 2013

pacific rim

Pacific Rim

Before I saw Pacific Rim, I wouldn’t have said it was possible to love and hate a movie at the same time. I loved the damaged characters who became stronger by pairing up to pilot a giant robot, and the giant robot vs monster fighting was cool, but there were just too many ridiculous, impossible things and not enough secondary females – seriously, it was like the movie took place in the aftermath of a virus that wiped out all the ladies. (Lady virus + space monster attack, a double whammy) And yet – I still enjoyed it. Check out my full review for more.

Buy Pacific Rim on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

the heat

The Heat

I love The Heat. It’s a comedy dominated by female characters (which you hardly ever see) and it doesn’t get bogged down in sex and toilet humor (like Bridesmaids). It’s smart, witty, and action packed enough to appeal to anyone, even guys who don’t give a crap about gender equality. It pairs a smug know-it-all (Sandra Bullock) with a brash nutcase (Melissa McCarthy) in a drug case simply because no one else will work with either of them. Check out my full review for more or just go right out and see it. It’s great fun.

Buy The Heat on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

shrek the musical

Shrek: The Musical

I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t another straight-to-DVD holiday special tied to a popular animated franchise. It’s a Broadway-to-DVD recording of a stage show adapted from a popular animated franchise. I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible to put a computer animated movie on stage, especially one starring a green ogre, a talking donkey, and a huge purple dragon, but it’s amazing what they can do with makeup and anamatronics these days. Little kids will LOVE it and it retains enough of the movie’s cleverness to appeal to parents as well. Check it out.

Buy Shrek: The Musical on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

the colony

The Colony

This movie is like a Day After Tomorrow featuring the Reavers from Serenity/Firefly. It’s years after the apocalypse and people are living underground in colonies. One colony receives a distress signal from another, sends a team out to investigate, and ends up in the middle of a Dead Space video game, complete with blood all over the walls (poor Laurence Fishburne – he never seems to catch a break). It’s pretty good, as horror movies go. It falls into some of the usual cliches (esp. characters and decision making) but it’s not bad enough to pass over.

Buy The Colony on DVD on on Blu-Ray.

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Trailer Reviews for October 9, 2013

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS



I know this is supposed to be a big movie, but I’m feeling pretty meh about it. If there’s no actor I like in a movie (I’m not a Tom Hanks fan, scream about it all you want but you’re not going to change my mind), then I need to at least be learning something. What it’s like in another country, how a person might react to a situation, or even just how the plot turns out. But I don’t really feel like this movie has any surprises for me. The plot is obvious. There’s a ship. It’s taken over by pirates. The captain tries to protect the crew. Navy SEALs descend on them. The end. I’ve already seen movies about how it sucks when you’re poor and sometimes you have to steal to survive even if you’re a good person. I already know how SEALs operate. And I’ve seen plenty of movies about heroic ordinary people. And I hate hostage situations. So I think I’m going to skip this one.

THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG



I guess after four months, it’s okay to tell you that I’ve seen this movie already. I was in the test audience when they screened it in Toronto in June. As soon as they handed me the flyer, I knew I wanted to see it, and not just because of Ryan Kwanten. I loved the idea of a girlfriend spilling all her bile about him in a blog which became a book and a talk show phenomenon, because let’s face it – it could happen. There’s no privacy these days. People air all their dirty laundry online, and some of it has other people in it. Plus it just plain looked funny. I loved it, and I’ll (finally) be able to write a review for you this weekend.

ROMEO AND JULIET



Ugh, why? There are thousands of stories in the public domain. There are dozens of other Shakespeare plays (most of them happier than this one) and only a handful of them ever get made. Why can’t they make something else? I’m so sick of endless remakes in general and of Romeo and Juliet in particular. It’s just so soppy and depressing. I’d see Right Kind of Wrong Again (I’d PAY to watch Leap Year again) before I went to this movie.

MACHETE KILL



Okay, so I saw the poster for this and I was all set to say I’d never see it, then I actually watched the trailer and saw how intentionally ridiculous it was. He can’t be electrocuted, has a knife in his iPhone, and fights ladies with machine-gun corsets. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of action movies are ALMOST as goofy, but when you play it up intentionally it can be really funny. I thought Shoot ‘Em Up was great. I probably wouldn’t pay ten bucks to see it in theater, but someday I’ll give it the old Netflix try for sure.

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Trailers for October 4, 2013

GRAVITY



I’m really looking forward to this movie. I think it could be really scary. Which is weird, because I didn’t think Open Water was anything but boring, and this is essentially the same setup: two people. Lost. Featureless landscape. Running out of something (in this case air, in Open Water, it was the energy to keep swimming). So why is it more interesting? Well space, obviously, is much prettier and deadlier than the ocean. Also, with the things crashing into other things, it looks like there’s more action – like the characters have something to do besides float around and talk about how screwed they are. But I guess we’ll see if they managed two whole hours of interesting.

RUNNER RUNNER



Okay, if this guy’s too poor to pay his tuition, where does he get the money to fly over and confront the online poker site owner? Also, if he’s so smart, why doesn’t he have a scholarship? And why doesn’t he realize online gambling is a dumb way to get tuition money? And why can’t he pull his head out of his ass for long enough to think that maybe confronting an international criminal could be dangerous? I don’t think this guy is very smart at all. I think he’s just smart enough to convince himself he’s an invincible genius, which of course leads to nothing but trouble. Also, they stole that crocodile scene from Romancing the Stone. A good showing, Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, but I’m not interested.

PARKLAND



Americans are obsessed with the Kennedy assassination. I can’t even count how many books and movies I’ve read/seen pushing some sort of insane conspiracy involving everything from the CIA to aliens. It’s refreshing to see a movie that’s NOT trying to push a conspiracy theory but just trying to illuminate the little-known people on the periphery of the event who would have been affected just as much as the big players. Like Zac Efron the baby-faced doctor trying to put a man’s blown-off head back together while the entire world looks over his shoulder. I’d watch it.

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DVDs for September 24, 2013

iron man 3

Iron Man 3

A lot of people are upset with Iron Man 3 for not having much Iron Man in it, but it was always Tony Stark (not Iron Man, per se) that held my interest (and no, not just because he’s hot!) In Iron Man 3, we get a lot of Tony without the suit as he tries to bounce back from a terrorist attack that took out his house and avoid the glowy blowing-up people who are suddenly turning up out of nowhere. I liked it better than Iron Man 2 but not quite as much as Iron Man. You can read my full review or just go ahead and watch it. It’s great.

Buy Iron Man 3 on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

unfinished song

Unfinished Song

On the opposite end of the film spectrum from loud, smashy Iron Man 3 is Unfinished Song, a quirky comedy-drama about a crotchety old man (Terence Stamp) who joins a choir to honor his dead wife’s wishes and recover a relationship with his son. It’s just as good as Iron Man 3, but in a different way. Specifically in the way that it will make you cry happy inspired tears no matter how often you tell yourself it’s not affecting you. Rent it if you’ve been wishing someone would release a music-based feature that didn’t have any back flips in it.

Buy Unfinished Song on DVD.

kings of summer

Kings of Summer

Also on the ‘didn’t cost 5 bjillion dollars to film’ end of the spectrum is Kings of Summer, a coming-of-age comedy/drama about three boys who break free of their parents and spend the summer living off the land in a cabin they built in the woods. Kings of Summer has a lot of company in the indie coming-of-age story genre, as this type of movie is cheap to film and everyone (even grown ups) can relate. Kings of Summer isn’t as annoyingly anti-adult as some of them, so if you’re a Stand By Me fan (or a teenager) you should enjoy it.

Buy Kings of Summer on DVD.

redemption

Redemption/Hummingbird

In this crime/thriller/action/drama, Jason Statham showcases his inability to be anything other than an unstoppable badass. He starts out as a homeless vet and ends up as some sort of avenging angel roaming the organized crime world freeing the downtrodden. It tries to have depth and emotion and stuff, and though the tone is kind of noir-y, there’s still Jason Statham to contend with, whose face displays all the emotion of a brick. Not enough action for the shoot-em-up crowd and not enough emotion for the gritty drama crowd, this movie ends up not being for anyone but Statham fans.

Buy Redemption/Hummingbird on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Prisoners Review

poster from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Prisoners

Serious dramas don’t make it through to my theater very often. We’re usually brimming over with dopey kids movies, meatheaded action franchises, and dumb comedies and there’s no room for anything intelligent. So when I heard that we were getting Prisoners on its opening weekend, I had to go. Me and about half of my town, because not only was it a serious drama, it looked like a GOOD serious drama.

A distraught father takes things into his own hands when he feels like the police aren’t doing enough to recover his missing daughter and her friend.

I watch a lot of Criminal Minds and CSI and other murder shows, so you can trust me when I tell you that this is a good one. It’s well-acted, well-written, and while I did figure out some of its secrets well in advance of the characters, there were a few crucial things that I missed which made it riveting all the way to the end.

Read More

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Trailer Reviews for September 20, 2013

BATTLE OF THE YEAR



At first I was watching this trailer thinking: didn’t they make this movie already? Wasn’t it the last Step Up sequel? And then it morphed into the cheer boot camp from Bring it On, but with acrobatic dancing, and I thought: okay, that’s something at least. And then the punchable kid from the Red Dawn remake came on screen and I thought: NOPE. Not even if you paid me.

PRISONERS



Wow, this seems like such a deadly serious movie… until Jake Gyllenhaal shows up with his shirt buttoned dorkily all the way to his neck and announces his name is Detective Loki. ‘Hi guys! Detective Norse God of Mischief here to save the day!’ In all seriousness, though, it’s an excellent trailer. It sets up the drama well but it doesn’t give away the whole thing. I feel like I need to see the movie because I want to know – did Paul Dano take the girls? Where are they? Are they alive? How far is Hugh Jackman going to go?

ADORE



This was me reading the blurb for this movie: “A pair of childhood friends and neighbors fall for each others’s sons….Oh gross! Say it isn’t so!” I was marginally comforted to watch the trailer and find that the sons are in their 20s, but still, I don’t think I’ll go. Apart from the ick factor, it looks kind of boring.

COPPERHEAD



I like war movies and period dramas but this one looks kind of boring too. Not the subject matter. That’s interesting. People fighting with their friends and family over whether they should be fighting against their friends and family. But everyone in the movie seems to be moving around at half speed and talking like they don’t really care what they’re saying. That’s boring.

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The Family Review

poster from the Relativity Media film The Family

It was a lean week again for movies, and though I didn’t really want to spend my hard earned money on either of the offerings – Insidious 2 and The Family – I couldn’t keep making up reviews forever, so I accepted an invitation to see The Family. The trailer was mildly funny but led me to believe that most of the comedy would come from wonton violence and that half of France would be demolished in the final shootout.

A family of New York mobsters who snitched on the higher ups hide out in small town France as part of a witness protection program.

While The Family wasn’t as much of a free-for-all on bodily harm as Luc Besson’s last movie ( Taken) it was still more than I could handle without getting annoyed. Also, it was boring in places, the characters weren’t all that likeable, and the plot is full of contrivances. Oh, and they do murder half of France in the end.

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