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DVDs for May 15, 2012

One for the Money

I didn’t get a chance to review this one with pictures, but I would have liked to, because it was terrific. It’s based on the first of a series of Janet Evanovich novels about a woman who becomes a bounty hunter and is tasked with bringing in her pain in the ass ex-cop ex-boyfriend (so kind of like Bounty Hunter, but actually good). The plot is action packed (AND it makes sense – bonus) and the dialogue is hilarious. Even if you’re not a Katherine Heigl fan you should like her in this role because she’s spunky rather than bitchy.

Buy One for the Money on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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The Devil Inside

This movie purports to be some sort of Blair Witch style fake documentary expose about how the Vatican sweeps certain demonic possessions on the rug but it’s really just a tired rehash of everything we’re already seen in movies like The Exorcist and The Rite. It follows a woman (with a camera crew) who goes to the Vatican’s exorcism school to learn more about her mother’s possession and enlist some rogue exorcists to help her, which of course goes horribly wrong. You can trust me that it’s not worth your time or you can read my full review for more details.

Buy The Devil Inside on DVD.
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The Grey

In the last few years, Liam Neeson has stopped taking challenging roles and started beating on people for money. This movie is new and different, because instead of beating on PEOPLE for money, Liam is beating on WOLVES for money. I wish I was kidding, but The Grey is actually about a bunch of guys who survive an Arctic plane crash and trek through some woods filled with wolves who want to kill them. If you want to see Liam fight fake looking wolves with tiny broken airline liquor bottles taped to his knuckles, rent this. If not, congratulations on having good taste.

Buy The Grey on DVD or on Blu-Ray.


Chronicle

I was trying to decide whether to feature this movie or Albert Nobbs here, and I figured if you’re on the internet, you’re probably younger than the middle aged people who prefer period dramas like Albert Nobbs and would therefore rather hear about Chronicle, a found-footage horror/sci-fi movie about some teenagers who get superpowers and use them to misbehave. One of them even becomes evil. It’s not up my street but it is a neat idea – something different in the found footage genre – so check it out, especially if you’re a misbehaving teenager.

Buy Chronicle on DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack.

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Trailer Reviews for April 20, 2012

THE LUCKY ONE



Normally I wouldn’t touch a Nicholas Sparks movie with a 10-foot pole, but I’ve actually read the book for this one, and it doesn’t end in some horribly contrived tragedy scientifically designed to induce weeping and/or vomiting like the rest of his books (normally I wouldn’t touch a Nicholas Sparks novel with a 10-foot pole either, but this one had a soldier in it and I was bored). So the story is okay (probably, unless they changed it) but unfortunately, Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling have the same unfortunate “naughty teacher boning 12-year-old student” dynamic that Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet had in Titanic even though Schilling is only three years older than Efron in real life. I’m determined to support Zac Efron’s efforts to be a grown-up, however, so I have to see this movie. I think it could be okay. I hope it is. I’ll find out soon.

CHIMPANZEE



Don’t forget, it’s Earth Day this weekend, so pack up the kids and drive your gas-guzzling SUV down to the movie theater, which probably uses as much power in an hour as the average housing development uses in a day, and stuff your faces with chemically processed foods while you watch a film about nature and try to convince yourself that means you’re helping the environment. If you see Chimpanzee you actually will be helping a little, because Disneynature is donating some of their opening weekend ticket sales to help the chimps, who, I think we can all agree, are really freaking cute. Especially when they’re orphans who get adopted by big cranky old man chimps. Yup, your little hairless pink chimps should love it.

THE HUNTER



This movie bills itself as a film festival darling, but it’s the same tired old story that they trot out as the motivating factor for badass from The Punisher to video game player-characters like Max Payne and Kratos from the God of War games. “I’m a man who’s adept at violence but I’m completely harmless and innocent until a TERRIBLE TRAGEDY befalls my wife and/or daughter and now WOE TO ANYONE WHOM I PERCIEVE TO BE GUILTY IN THE INCIDENT!” And we’re supposed to support this guy when all he’s doing is sharing the misery with everyone else. Like the soldier in the trailer says: “What happened to you could happen to me” and it will, in three seconds, when our amoral blank-faced hero pumps him full of lead. Well I’m tired of it, so even if this movie wasn’t an extended exercise in screen speed reading I’d still skip it.

THE BULLY



The theater employees have been wearing pink t-shirts in support of bullying (actually in support of ANTI bullying, but let’s not split hairs) which is probably why this film, which is a limited release, is making the rounds. You might think that with all the “zero tolerance” and “anti-bullying” talk you’ve been hearing from schools, youth groups, supper camps, sports teams, and clubs that this is a movie about a dead issue, but I still see kids getting bullied all the time, so I guess it’s not quite dead yet. What I wonder is how they managed to film of bullies in action. Hidden cameras? Bullies are usually pretty crafty around adults.

KEYHOLE



The blurb for this movie (which is a limited release) makes it sound like torture porn horror movie, but the trailer does not bear that out. For one thing, it’s loaded with cheesy music. For another, it’s got Kevin MacDonald hamming it up (for those of you who don’t know, Kevin MacDonald is one of the Kids in the Hall). And it’s in black and white, giving it a goofy retro noir feel. I don’t know what that reaching for the toilet handle prophecy was all about, but it’s probably no more bizarre than the rest of this movie. I’m not sure if I’d want to see it. I mean, it’d be a cool gimmick for a short film but two hours of it would probably get annoying. Heck, I wanted to stop watching the trailer before it was halfway through.

COMIC CON IV – A FAN’S HOPE



Ah, Morgan Spurlock. You’re back, are you? And hanging out at Cons. There’s a con near where I live that I go to every year and everything I see in this movie is an amplified version of what I see there – the people who buy too much stuff, the people who design insane costumes and must have no free time ever, the nerds who just want to nerd out with other nerds, and then there’s the people like me who are trying to get established in something. So I probably don’t need to watch this movie, but if you’ve never been to a con, you should. You’ll find it totally fascinating.

And yes, it took me a minute but I did notice the title is playing off Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope. I guess that makes me one of the nerds they’re talking about in this film.

THINK LIKE A MAN



My first reaction to the title: “think like a man” is: “oh, so… not?” but I don’t think that’s what they were going for. And by “they” I mean “some people who are not Tyler Perry.” I know that the poster of a bunch of African American couples crammed together makes it look like a Tyler Perry film, but you can tell that it’s not because his name is neither in the title nor plastered all over the poster. The trailer gets off to a bad start by opening with a scene that looks like it was lifted out of a sports movie for 12 year olds. It goes downhill when they progress to a falling out of bed joke. But the idea… the idea I like. It’s a bit like Down With Love. Though I still think that NOT thinking is how you would go about thinking like a man.

HARD CORE LOGO 2



Hard Core Logo was a Spinal Tap-like mockumentary about the self-destruction of a punk band and is widely regarded as one of the best Canadian films ever. So naturally, they waited sixteen years to make a sequel. It probably took them forever to write the script because they weren’t working off a novel this time. It’s hard to make a sequel to a film where the main character dies, so things necessarily have to get a little Hamlet 2 to make it work, which I guess is where the possession angle (which makes it sound like a low budget horror movie) comes in. I really don’t like documentaries or mockumentaries where the filmmaker is in the film and narrating, though, so I’ll probably just ignore this film as surely as its predecessor.

THE ODDS



Ugh, not only are they irritating teenagers, but they’re irritating teenagers addicted to gambling, which makes them extra unlikeable. I’ve never seen the appeal of gambling, so I’m completely unable to get into a movie where all the tension rides on the outcome of bets made for money. Teenage loan sharks are even less appealing. Pit a loan shark against a gambler in a game of poker? Extra no thanks. I won’t be seeing this movie.

Also, if you live in Sydney (Nova Scotia, not Australia), on Thursday at 7pm the Cape Breton Film Series people are showing Kid with a Bike, a sweet Belgian drama about a kid who is fostered by a young hairdresser after his father abandons him. Check out the trailer on their website to see if you want to go.

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DVDs for April 17, 2012

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

I didn’t get a chance to do a full review of Ghost Protocol, but it was so awesome that I made it #5 on my list of best movies of 2011. The plot is your standard “oh no – the terrorists are trying to buy nuclear weapons” scenario combined with the “special operators cast off by their government” gimmick that was so popular last year. But the characters were all funny, the gadgets were totally cool, the stunts were amazing (especially when Tom Cruise climbs the high rise), and it’s set mostly in Russia, so you should definitely rent it.

Buy Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Shame

Yes, it’s true – the movie featuring Michael Fassbender’s junk is now available to buy. This is a great opportunity for all those people who wanted to look at Michael Fassbender’s junk but didn’t want to be seen going into an NC-17 theater, because you don’t even have to show your face to order off Amazon. Then it will come right to your door in nondescript packaging and you can LOOK AT MICHAEL FASSBENDER’S JUNK ANY TIME YOU WANT! For those of you who actually care about the plot, it’s about a guy who hates himself because he’s addicted to sex and tries to hide it from his visiting sister. And it’s not hot. At all. It’s sad and pathetic. But still… there’s junk.

Buy Shame on DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack.
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Frozen Planet

Just in time for Earth Day here comes Frozen Planet, a BBC documentary series in the Planet Earth vein about life at the poles. It features superawesome footage of all the cutest animals from cold places, including polar bears, emperor penguins, harbor seals, snowy owls, and orca whales along with stunning scenery of crazy ice and snow formations. It’s narrated by BBC go-to guy David Attenborough. This is the kind of film that would be perfect to watch in school, with a youth group, or with your kids, because grown ups will be fascinated too.

Buy Frozen Planet on DVD or on Blu-Ray.


Born to be Wild

Also releasing just in time for Earth Day is Born to be Wild, a feature length IMAX documentary about people who rescue and release orphaned orangutans and elephants. It’s narrated by Morgan Freeman (the American go-to narrator). There’s a pretty heavy OH MY GOD YOU GUYS, THE ANIMALS ARE DYING AND IT’S ALL OUR FAULT!!! message beating you over the head here, but I guess some people need it to be that obvious. It’s pretty dang cute, so if you can ignore the in-your-face-ness you’ll probably enjoy it. Kids, of course, will looooove it because it’s got baby monkeys.

Buy Born to be Wild on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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DVDs for April 10, 2012

Iron Lady

Meryl Streep won an Oscar for her role as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, and if you watch it, it’s easy to see why. She’s uncannily accurate as one of Britain’s toughest, longest serving, and most controversial modern Prime Ministers. Using dementia as a framing device, the movie hits the high and low points of her career (clashes with unions, Ireland, Falklands War, etc.) so if you’re curious about Thatcher or you’d like to bone up on 20th Century British history, this is a great movie to see, whether or not you agree with her politics. Check out my review for more detail.

Buy The Iron Lady on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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The Darkest Hour

This movie, which is about a handful of young people who are trapped in Moscow during an invasion by invisible energy-sucking aliens, kind of flew under everyone’s radar, which is a shame, because it’s really cool. The alien invasion disaster thing has been done before (several times this year), but the fact that the aliens are invisible and attracted to energy gives it a unique edge and really ramps up the tension. Plus its set in Russia, which makes it inherently more interesting than yet another disaster movie set in New York or L.A. This is a must-rent if you like action or horror.

Buy The Darkest Hour on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
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Into the Abyss

Werner Herzog impressed me with Rescue Dawn, but his documentaries just don’t do anything for me. They’re boring and awkward and they try to be so “deep” that they end up being kind of a joke. I actually laughed at Cave of Forgotten Dreams because of how worked up everyone was getting over the cave paintings. This movie involves a real guy on death row and the people he hurt, but by wrapping the whole thing in sentimentality and manufacturing deep connections to the universe, it loses its power. Watch The Life of David Gale instead.

Buy Into the Abyss on DVD or on Blu-Ray


Witches of Oz

This is the DVD version of a SyFy miniseries that carries on (sort of) from The Wizard of Oz. It’s rather like Hook in that Dorothy is now a grown up who has forgotten her childhood adventures but she’s got to remember if she wants to stop the witches from taking over New York City. As you might expect, it’s pretty campy, the writing isn’t great, and neither is the acting, but it does feature some marginally famous people, like Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, and Lance Henrikson, so you might want to give it a shot anyway if you’re bored.

Buy The Witches of Oz on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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DVDs for April 3, 2012

War Horse

Don’t believe the hype that claims this movie is one of the best of 2011. I went to it fully expecting to be moved but I just… wasn’t. Sure it looks pretty, but because it mostly follows a horse who has no facial expressions rather than the farmer boy who’s trying to find him and rescue him from being in World War I, it’s hard to get emotionally invested. Not that it doesn’t try hard to wring emotions from you, because it does. It tries really, really, hard. It just didn’t work on me. Maybe it will work on you if you have a thing for horses. Check out my full review for more details.

Buy War Horse on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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We Bought a Zoo

Every year the pipes are clogged with quirky family comedy dramas about reconnecting and/or grieving the loss of a parent. So far, this is the only one where the family in question buys a wildlife park. If you’re thinking it’s in the talking animal vein like Zookeeper, you’re wrong. The animals don’t talk, sign, or do anything non-animal. This movie is all about the people adapting to their new lives in a zoo. There’s your obligatory cast: the struggling parent, the cute little girl, the cranky teen, and the local love interest. You pretty much know where this is going, so rent it if you like the formula.

Buy We Bought a Zoo on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
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Tyrannosaur

Just to let you know: the DVD box for this movie is lying to you. There are no actual tyrannosaurs in this movie, in fossil form or otherwise. It’s actually about a man with a lot of buried anger (see what they did there? That’s called a METAPHOR). Anyway he’s angry but he meets a woman who works in a charity shop. She’s nice to him for no reason and there’s hope that he can maybe be a little bit less angry. And they’re Irish. So if you like character dramas with accents that may or may not end in total disaster, this is the movie for you. If you like dinosaurs, this is not the movie for you.

Buy Tyrannosaur on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
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Being Elmo

How often do you think about the fact that there is a hand up Elmo’s butt? If you’re like me, the answer is probably: as little as possible. But there is a hand, and it’s attached to a person named Kevin Clash who makes his career out of puppeting and voicing Elmo. And this movie gives you a chance to meet him. Whether this will ruin Sesame Street for you forever, I don’t know. “Will I be able to look at the puppet afterward and still ignore the hand?” is something you’ll have to ask yourself. But it is a fascinating movie about a fun job that hardly anyone knows anything about, so I’d recommend you watch it.

Buy Being Elmo on DVD.
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Trailer Reviews for March 9, 2012

JOHN CARTER



Taylor Kitsch must be on a big dumb blockbuster kick, because not only did he agree to be in this movie, he’s also going to be in the extremely dumb board game based movie Battleship later on this year. The trailer for this doesn’t start off too bad. Victorian England – always cool. Waking up in a strange place to the accompaniment of mysterious music – okay, I’m liking it, it’s kind of like Stargate … then WHOOPS now he’s in the same stupid armor and skirt and waving a sword around like every ancient Greece/Rome action movie ever. Why bother setting it on Mars, then, if it’s just going to be the same thing? We can just as easily call the aliens monsters and get on with the swashbuckling. And of course his name has to be John. One more unimaginative name from a (paradoxically) unimaginative movie to add to the list. Not impressed.

A THOUSAND WORDS



LOL, how addicted to caffeine are we as a people that we would automatically accept that an expectant father’s first priority when his wife is in labor is to run into Starbucks for a coffee? Or is this bad writing? I’m not really sure, because although the whole “you only have so many words left and then you die” thing is a ridiculous comedy setup, so was “you can’t lie anymore” and “you have to switch bodies with your teenage daughter,” and I liked both Liar Liar and Freaky Friday. I guess it all depends on how well Eddie Murphy can carry the movie. I know he’s taken a lot of flack lately for movies like Daddy Day Care and Norbit, but he’s still a funny guy. Remember Beverly Hills Cop? But since his main hilarity delivery method is talking, I dunno… we’ll have to see.

I AM BRUCE LEE



I’m not a big Bruce Lee fan. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever even seen one of his movies (I know, I know, I’m a bad person, blah blah blah). But even if I was a fan, I still don’t think I’d go for this movie. I mean, it’s supposed to be about Bruce Lee, but all they really show is celebrities talking about how awesome Bruce Lee is. There’s like one old interview of Bruce Lee to warrant the title. Where are the interviews with Bruce Lee historians? With his apprentices and co-workers and family members? Where’s the info about who Bruce Lee was outside of his movies? Not in this trailer, that’s for sure. Therefore I can’t trust this movie to be more than a two hour geek-out by Bruce Lee acolytes.

FRIENDS WITH KIDS



This one’s only a limited release, but I don’t see why. It’s got Maya Rudolph and Kristin Wiig, who are fresh off the success of Bridesmaids, plus Jon Hamm of the very popular TV show Mad Men, plus it’s a romantic comedy coming out at a time when the only other vaguely romantic movies still in theaters are The Vow (yawn) and Wanderlust, which is more of a straight comedy. So how could this movie not make money? I can only assume they will release it more widely later, because it looks cute and funny and I want to see it. Sure, it’s a dumb idea, but aren’t all romantic comedies based around a dumb idea? (let’s have them get married through a computer glitch! No, emails!) And anyway, I want to see Adam Scott get the girl after Amy Adams unjustifiably ditched him in favor of Matthew Goode in Leap Year (which was terrible, don’t watch it).

THE SILENT HOUSE



“It will tear them apart…” the trailer said. “I hope you mean literally,” I thought, “because this is another one of those family dramas where everyone screams at each other in foreign languages about how they have no career goals and they want to sleep with their gardener, I’m going to scream.” Luckily, it is a horror movie, but even though it’s based on a true story, it’s still nothing new. Oooh they’re trapped in a house, scary. The only really crazy thing is that it’s filmed in one shot, which seems impressive at first, but you have to wonder, why would they do that? And doesn’t this mean that they can’t edit out flubbed lines and bad shots without doing the whole thing over? Yes, that’s exactly what it means. This could lend it a Blair Witch kind of immediacy, but we’ll have to see.

SALMON FISHING IN YEMEN



I looked at the title of this one and assumed it was one of those small time foreign dramas and that I wouldn’t have to talk about it, but nope, I was wrong. It’s got Ewan McGregor in it, therefore it automatically warrants consideration. That’s how The Awesome List works. And Ewan McGregor is on it for good reason – he very rarely chooses movies I don’t like. I mean, look at this movie. It’s hilarious. They’re going to trap like a million salmon and take them to Yemen for a vacation because the government wants a positive news story. It sounds downright… plausible. Leave it to the British. Anyway, I want to see it. When can I see it, oh overlords of movie chosingness from the theater head office?

Also, if you live in Sydney (Nova Scotia, not Australia), on Thursday at 7pm the Cape Breton Film Series people are showing Like Crazy, one of those dramas about how enduring young love is. You can check out the trailer review here and see if you want to do.

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Act of Valor Review

poster from the Bandito Brothers film Act of Valor

This week’s choice of movie was a no brainer. As I mentioned, I have a crippling weakness for actioney real life jobs, so if you’ve got a movie, documentary, or biography about a fighter pilot or a UN police officer or a rescue diver, I’m so there. Act of Valor was exciting in trailer form because it’s sort of a hybrid of all three: movie, doc, and bio, with a made up story based on true events starring both real SEALs and actors.

A team of Navy SEALs tangle with South American drug cartels, Somalian smugglers, and religious extremists to stop a smuggler/terrorist team from executing a terror attack in the United States.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie. All movies say they’re new and different but this one seemed like it actually would be. Now that I’ve seen it, however, I have to report that watching Act of Valor was not the unique experience I was hoping for. In fact, it felt exactly like watching my brother play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. I’m not sure if this reflects well on Call of Duty or badly on Act of Valor.

Read More

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Trailer Reviews for February 24, 2012

GONE



What is it, like, the rule now that all thriller trailers have to contain at least 95% of their important plot points just so no one will be surprised when they actually go to see it? The one thing they haven’t done is show the serial killer who took her sister, which pretty much means it has to be one of the cops who refuses to listen to her. Or Amanda Seyfried’s second personality or something, because really though, how the hell does she get all that from one empty bed? She knows what happened right down to the motivation of the person who took her sister and in what time frame she will be killed. Isn’t that a little suspicious? No wonder Michael Pare and company don’t believe her. Clearly she’s either crazy or she watches too much CSI… or both.

WANDERLUST



I love Paul Rudd and will watch pretty much anything with him in it. Paul himself never disappoints but I’m often disappointed by the movie AROUND him. Our Idiot Brother wasn’t really that great and we won’t even talk about Dinner for Schmucks. I have a feeling this movie will fall into that category. Why? Because there’s a toilet joke in the trailer. Toilet jokes are at the bottom of the barrel as far as humor is concerned. Also, wasn’t his character in the last movie George as well? (No, that was How Do You Know… I guess he just looks like a George). I have to admit, though, the R. Kelly joke was really funny. If there wasn’t a more interesting movie coming out this week, I might go see it just because of that.

ACT OF VALOR



Yes! You guessed, it! THIS is the more interesting movie! I have a major weakness for actioney real life jobs and reading Navy SEAL biographies made me want to watch a really good documentary about them. The problem was that there are only like two that aren’t 1980s propaganda videos, and they’re incredibly difficult to find. This isn’t a really real movie, it’s like a fake movie, based on reality, starring real people who are really not actors (except for that one guy I recognized from a TV show)… sort of like Reality TV I guess, or those re-enactments of airplane crashes they always do on Mayday. All movies SAY they’re new and different but I think this one actually is. I couldn’t believe it when I found out that this movie was actually coming to our theater ON OPENING NIGHT. (Maybe somebody over there really is reading my complaints). I’m so there!

GOON



They should have called this movie “Stiffler Plays Hockey.” It’s got the same “hockey=violence” angle that Score! had, but where Score was trying to get everyone to revert to hockey for hockey’s sake (and a few musical numbers) this is taking a more Colbert Report angle. Still critical, but from a totally over-the-top positive perspective. I hate hockey. I hate Stiffler. I hate people punching other people in the face and calling it a sport. And yet… and yet… I think I want to watch this movie! I mean, Liev Schreiber is in it (dear Autocorrect: stop turning “Liev” into “live”), and the girlfriend is funny. I won’t see it NOW, of course. I’m seeing Act of Valor this week. But someday I’ll pick up the DVD.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN



You’ve probably heard of this movie already because it’s created such a buzz at festivals and there are interviews with the director and lead actor (who’s a total hipster) in the preshows for February. And now you’ll get to see it, supposing your theater gets it. The trailer doesn’t tell you much, other than that Kevin was apparently one of the Children of the Corn who was accidentally adopted out to the suburbs and that his mom may or may not also have issues. To be honest, you don’t get a lot from the blurbs, either. Kevin is weird. He does something bad. Go to the movie to see what is is. That’s about the gist of it. But you know, I don’t think I will. I think I’ll just let someone else tell me what the big shocker is all about.

THE FLOWERS OF WAR



Christian Bale must have been nostalgic for his Empire of the Sun days, because he has returned to World War II China, but this time someone else is the child caught up in the crazyness of war and he’s a weird old man with a scraggly beard. It’s uncanny! They even have the high-pitched child choir singing part, though the plot is more along the lines of Shooting Dogs because they’re trapped in a building surrounded by an invasion force and protected by like one white guy. Having said all that, though, I still want to see it. Who am I kidding? It’s Christian Bale in a World War II movie. There was never any doubt.

GOOD DEEDS



Don’t confuse this movie with Mr. Deeds. They both feature a main character named Deeds, but Mr. Deeds was a stupid Adam Sandler movie and the Good Deeds is a stupid Tyler Perry movie. If you’re a fan trite romantic dramas made by people who like to plaster their names all over everything (Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds as directed by Tyler Perry, written by Tyler Perry based on a thought once had by Tyler Perry, starring Tyler Perry and his massive ego) then you’ll love this movie, even though it seems that Tyler Perry cannot act. The rest of you should just go watch Maid in Manhattan.

DONOVAN’S ECHO



Normally, Canadian movies don’t interest me. (Yes, yes, I’m a bad Canadian. Can we move on?) But this one intrigues me. I always like to see a slightly different spin on the sci-fi time travel/chaos theory stuff that worked so well in The Butterfly Effect. I’m not sure I really understand what it is that they’re saying is happening here – did he have deja vu for thirty straight years or is it once a year that he gets it? Does he imagine the same disaster each year or a different one? Is it like one premonition a year type deal? Anyway, I’m willing to invest a an hour and a half of my time to find out… in six months when the DVD arrives in my town.

Also, if you live in Sydney (Nova Scotia, not Australia), on Thursday at 7pm the Cape Breton Film Series people are showing Cafe de Flore, which is a trippy Quebecois love story. You can watch the trailer on their website and decide if you want to go.

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Trailer Reviews for February 3, 2012

BIG MIRACLE



Awww, whaleses! Okay, they’re not the cute Free Willy kind of whales, they’re the weird barnacley kind, but I want to get all weepy over saving the animals, so Big Miracle, you had better not suck like Dolphin Tale or I’m going to be mad! Actually, I know it’s going to be at least okay. How do I know that? Because they gave away the entire plot in the frigging trailer. This is SLIGHTLY more acceptable when it is based on a true story, but still – there needs to be a school of trailer making where the first lesson is: DO NOT GIVE AWAY THE WHOLE PLOT! You’re making an ad, not a Reader’s Digest condensed book.

CHRONICLE



I was looking at the upcoming movies list and thinking “Chronicle… which one is that again?” So I looked up the trailer and just the cover image reminded me: “Oh yes, it’s that high school movie where douchebags get superpowers. No thanks.” Like regular douchebags aren’t bad enough, now we’ve got to go and give them superpowers. As if the subject matter wasn’t a dead giveaway, you can tell it’s aimed at youngsters because they don’t give you a date or anything, they just peddle their Facebook page and Twitter account, like what we really need is to sit through MORE advertising to find out when we can see it. Also, I don’t know what my theater’s website has been smoking, but it thinks this movie stars Milla Jovovich and Ryan Phillippe instead of a bunch of nobody teenagers (attention Empire Theaters: the Chronicle you’re thinking of is still in pre-production).

THE WOMAN IN BLACK



Ah! And here we have another fine example of Daniel Radcliffe trying to be a grown-up (remember the naked horse thing? Me either. I’m pretty sure I blocked it.) I was buying it surprisingly well until they got to the part about him having a son and my brain went: “NOPE!” If you ignore the still-too-babyfaced factor, though, this movie looks pretty frigging scary. I have no idea what’s supposed to be going on, but perhaps that’s for the best. At least they’re not giving the entire thing away. Although you’ve got to ask the eternal horror movie question: if the house is really that bad, why doesn’t he just leave? Because he has no survival instinct, of course.

ALBERT NOBBS



I love it when movies overturn gender stereotypes, but I just can’t figure out why this character would want to disguise herself as a man. Does she self-identify as a man or does she just REALLY want to be a waiter? What does she get out of it? She might be a man but she’s still “under” the housekeeper in the hotel’s servant heirarchy. You would think that if she was going to go to all that trouble she’d at least want to disguise herself as a gentleman. I also have no clue how “Albert” thinks he can pull off a marriage without his wife finding out he’s not really a dude. Actually, I’m lying. I know exactly what he’s thinking. He’s thinking: “I’m Glenn Close, and I really want to win an Oscar.” If she wants to have a chance these days she has to play someone really out there, like a woman disguised as a man disguised as a waiter looking for a wife. And just to make it a little more confusing, this Hubert Page character sAlbert’s forced to share a room with looks almost exactly like Albert. No, I think this movie it a little too nonsensical and mercenary, even for me.

PINK RIBBON INC.



Every once in a while I like to mix things up with a good documentary about how things are crappy and we don’t even realize it. Super Size Me, Waiting for Superman, and Inside Job all caught my eye this way, and so has Pink Ribbon Inc. For a while I’ve been growing more and more turned off by the pink toilet paper and pink fruit cups and pink Sharpie markers and all the other products they’ve come out with, ostensibly to promote breast cancer research but mostly, it seems, to jump on the bandwagon and make some money on it. So yeah, I want to see this movie. I want to see where these billions of dollars are going and whether they’re actually getting close to a cure or helping survivors or what.

KEVIN SMITH: LIVE FROM BEHIND



I hate Kevin Smith’s movies, so I don’t care about his live Q&A thingy, but some of you out there probably like him, so I’ll let you know he’s doing a thing tomorrow (Thursday) if you want to see it. Here’s the trailer. My work here is done.

Also, if you live in Sydney (Nova Scotia, not Australia), on Thursday at 7pm the Cape Breton Film Series people are showing French Immersion, a bonkers comedy about how French people and English people hate each other. You can watch the trailer on their website and decide for yourself if you want to see it.

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The Devil Inside Review

poster from the film The Devil Inside
This Friday was Friday the 13th, so it only seemed appropriate to go to a horror movie. Unfortunately, the only horror movie playing was The Devil Inside, which I rejected last week because it seemed too much like The Exorcist. Nothing’s changed between then and now, except for the fact that stacked against this week’s offerings: Joyful Noise and Contraband, The Devil Inside seemed downright appealing (though still exactly like The Exorcist).

A young woman goes to Vatican City, where two rogue priests offer to help her possessed mother, who killed three people during an exorcism in the 1980s.

Now that I’ve seen the whole movie, I realize that my assessment of it being like The Exorcist wasn’t completely accurate. In fact, it rips off a number of different movies, including The Last Exorcism, The Blair Witch Project, and The Rite. So it’s nothing new, but I’m still glad I saw it instead of Contraband.

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