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DVDs for July 8, 2014

bad words

Bad Words

This movie can best be summed up as ‘Jason Bateman swears a lot and is mean to children.’ He plays a 40 year old who attempts to get revenge for a past wrong by winning a children’s spelling bee as an adult. Not only is the premise extremely implausible, I find it difficult to watch movies where there are no sympathetic characters. It’s impossible to feel for a guy who bullies and intimidates little kids so mercilessly, even if some of the kids themselves are little brats. If you’re looking for something light and funny, you won’t get it here.

Buy Bad Words on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

prisoners of the sun

Prisoners of the Sun

With this cool-looking DVD box and the reference to the Academy Award, you might be fooled into thinking this is a film in the vein of The Mummy: a fun big-budget adventure playing on Ancient Egyptian mythology. But before you run out and get your copy, you should know Roger Christian’s oscar was for set decoration and this movie has a 3.7 rating on IMDB – deservedly. It’s a cheap-looking, cheesy, horror/adventure about a group of no-name actors (plus John Rhys-Davies) who get trapped in what can only be described as a ‘doom pyramid.’

Buy Prisoners of the Sun on DVD.

That’s it for today. It’s another slow week for releases.

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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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Trailer Reviews for July 4, 2014

DELIVER US FROM EVIL



Who buys their kid creepy-ass toys like that? That owl thing was scary even before it started moving on its own. The cop angle on this is cool (if not that original) plus: Eric Bana! I lost interest a little bit when they dropped the cop stuff to focus on the guy’s home life, but perked up again when I saw it was directed by the same guy who did Sinister. That guy knows that the key to a movie actually being scary is to have the audience scouring each frame for the monster… and having it not be there… until it IS. I’ll see this one.

TAMMY



So are we just remaking old Chris Farley movies with Melissa McCarthy now? “Hur hur, look, she’s FAT and DUMB! Hur hur!” Come on. She’s way funnier than this.

EARTH TO ECHO



Speaking of remakes: hello again, E.T.. Can’t say I’m fond of your Super 8 makeover.

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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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How to Train Your Dragon 2 Review

poster from the Dreamworks Pictures film How to Train Your Dragon 2

The only new movie we got at my theater this week was Jersey Boys, and since I couldn’t sit through two hours of Frankie Valley’s horrible voice without driving nails into my ears, I went to How to Train Your Dragon 2. I loved the first one, but didn’t feel it needed a sequel, so I had no idea whether I would be impressed or not.


20-year-old Hiccup clashes with his father over whether it would be better to reason with or hide from the villain who plans to attack their village with a dragon army.

In some respects, I was right. How to Train Your Dragon 2 was not necessary, but it was enjoyable. Like most sequels, Dreamworks made it because there was more money in the franchise, but there are a few new elements to keep the story from getting too stale and the dragons are (of course) still cute.

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DVDs for June 17, 2014

grand budapest hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Tragically, we did not get this in theaters. It’s a Wes Anderson movie (for a lot of people, that’s all I’ll need to say) about a hotel concierge and his buddy the lobby boy who are dealing with the craziness of the hotel’s patrons (art theft, family infighting, the general weirdness of the period between the world wars). For those who know Wes Anderson’s work, it’s more like The Life Aquatic than Darjeeling Limited. For those who don’t, the best way to describe it is ‘quirky.’ Rent or do not rent accordingly.

Buy The Grand Budapest Hotel on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

no clue

No Clue

This is a Canadian noir comedy written by and starring Brent Butt, so if you like his standup (or the TV show Corner Gas, you’ll probably like it). Butt plays a salesman who is mistakenly hired to find a woman’s missing brother and ends up stumbling his way through the usual noir movie cliches. Butt and the other actors play it like it’s a serious noir film that a bumbling coward somehow got caught up in, so if you like fish-out-of-water characters and parodies, you might want to give No Clue a shot.

Buy No Clue on DVD.

joe

Joe

In this deadly serious drama, Nicholas Cage plays an ex-con/labor crew leader who gets involved in the life one of his teenaged employees. Said teen has a typical ‘serious drama’ family (useless mother, traumatized sibling, abusive father) and Nicholas Cage’s character faces a typical ‘serious drama’ choice (act in my own best interests or someone else’s). Whether or not you’ll like it depends on how depressed you want to be afterward and whether you like Nicholas Cage (it’s ‘not’ and ‘no’ for me).

Buy Joe on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

authors anonymous

Authors Anonymous

In this almost-straight-to-DVD comedy, the members of a writing group deal with feelings of jealousy and rejection after one of their number becomes an overnight success. The cast is made up of current and former television actors (including Kaley Cuoco, Chris Klein, Terri Polo, Tricia Helfer, and Dylan Walsh) most of whom play the same type of roles you remember them for. This is the kind of movie written by writers for other writers, but if you’ve got a writer in your life, watching this movie might help understand them better.

Buy Authors Anonymous on DVD.

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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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