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Trailer Reviews for April 12, 2013

REVOLUTION



I’ve been seeing trailers for Revolution for months, but I’ve never seen this one before. While the other trailer mostly focused on the fact that Rob had discovered that pollution was a problem and had gone on to make a movie about it to inspire people to change, I never really got the sense from it that he had anything new to say. This trailer, however puts us on to the fact that the oceans (which are a massive carbon dioxide sink) are nearing their capacity and that when they tip over the edge, they could take everything else with it. Apart from in Gwynne Dyer’s book Climate Wars, I don’t recall any popular authors or filmmakers talking specifically about the oceans with regard to environmentalism and I’d like to know more. For that reason, I’ll probably see this movie.

42



I feel like I’ve seen this movie already. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been seeing the story of Jackie Robison through the extremely well-produced (and popular) Canadian Heritage commercials. It basically condenses this film into a one minute sound byte and focused on the most important point to Canadians – that the city of Montreal (where he played for the Royals before going to Brooklyn) supported him when American cities were finding excuses to shut their ballfields to him. Perhaps this movie can fill in some interesting factual details (or, you know, not… this is a Hollywood movie after all, not a documentary) but I’m not a fan of the rap soundtrack on the trailer. It clashes with the historical period. I might skip this one.

SCARY MOVIE 5



I have a confession to make. I’ve seen all the Scary Movie films, and I think most of them are funny (okay, okay, all of them… except for Scary Movie 4). I actually own Scary Movie 3. I wasn’t thrilled by the first trailer I saw, but this one makes me want to see it more. It focuses more on the actual horror movies it spoofs (Mama, Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Evil Dead, etc) and less on spoofing Inception, which is pushing the definition of horror a little (okay, a lot… okay, so they chased the definition right into science fiction). I’ll probably watch this movie too. And I’ll probably like it. But this isn’t the kind of movie you pay $12 to see in theaters. I’ll wait for it to come out on DVD.

THE COLONY



It’s a shame we’re not getting this one. I like Kevin Zegers and the plotline is like The Day After Tomorrow crossed with Event Horizon (complete with Laurence Fishbourne in charge). Both of those movies gave me the heebie jeebies. The problem, of course, is that they gave away the entire thing in the trailer, so now what’s the point of going to see it in theaters?

TRANCE



I don’t like heist movies. I don’t like movies that try to mess with your head regarding what’s real and what’s not real. I don’t like it when all the characters in a movie are criminals or when those criminals get free rein to wreak violence and mayhem. So why am I thinking about seeing this movie? Because it’s a Danny Boyle movie, and I always think I won’t like Danny Boyle movies, but then I see them and I think they’re fantastic. Unfortunately we’re not getting this one in my town either.

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Trailer Reviews for April 5, 2013

EVIL DEAD



Yes, I know the original Evil Dead from the 80s is a sort of accidental cult classic, and no, I don’t care that they’ve rebooted it and replaced Bruce Campbell with a girl no one’s ever heard of. I’m going to judge this movie on its own merits. I kind of have to, since it’s the only new movie coming out this week and I haven’t seen the original (yes I’m a deprived child yadda yadda). The trailer’s a pretty good one as far as horror movies go – they give you the basics (there’s a book – don’t read it) and then just bombard you with scary scenes for two minutes so you don’t have enough information to guess the end or even who’s going to die. When I see this, I’ll be totally surprised by everything that happens, which is how I like it.

JURASSIC PARK 3D



Like I said, there’s nothing else NEW coming out this week. But if I wasn’t seeing a movie for the purposes of reviewing it… yeah, I might pay $14.50 to see Jurassic Park again in 3D. I don’t really care about the 3D part – Jurassic Park was freaking awesome on the big screen the first time around, largely because of the sound – all the dinosaur roars played loud enough to make your lungs rattle. It’s amazing how well the special effects have held up, too, even in the current ‘we can make anything from CGI’ era. Anyway, I won’t be going, but at least I won’t yell at them for releasing it – or you for handing over more money.

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DVDs for April 2, 2013

nerd alert

Avengers Boxed Set

Nerd alert! If you’re a big Avengers fan and you don’t get have all the Blu-Rays or 3D Blu-Rays, now’s your chance to get them all together in a SHIELD briefcase with a Tesseract (glowy blue cube). Note that there are no DVDs in this set but there is a bonus disc full of extra scenes and featurettes, plus replica dossiers. For those who need a run down on the movies: Avengers: pretty good, Captain America: really good, Thor: terrific, Iron Man: awesome, Iron Man 2: less than, and Incredible Hulk: kind of forgettable.

Buy The Avengers Super Nerd Set on briefcase.

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hitlers children

Hitler’s Children

I wasn’t originally planning to talk about anything other than the Avengers super nerd boxed set this week, but then I saw Hitler’s Children. It’s a lesser known German documentary (subtitled in English) about the descendants of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle: people like Goering and Himmler. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have everyone associate you with genocide despite the fact that you thought your family was totally normal until the shades were suddenly pulled away, you’ll find this fascinating. I sure did.

Buy Hitler’s Children on DVD.
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dirk gently

Dirk Gently

And finally, if you enjoy detective and police procedural shows, this little known British television series might be up your street. It will be even more up your street if you like clever satire, madcap plotlines, and zany characters, as this is a Douglas Adams adaptation (he of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame). Dirk is the eccentric, insolvent proprietor of a ‘holistic’ detective agency, who relies on the universe’s inherent interconnectedness to solve crimes of a more peculiar nature than you might see on Sherlock or CSI. Check it out if you can find it.

Buy Dirk Gently on DVD.

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The Host Review

poster from the Chockstone Pictures film The Host

I’m not a fan of Stephenie Meyer but I do like science fiction. After the Twilight debacle, my friend assured me that The Host was much better. And it did seem to be at first. Invasion of the Body Snatchers as a romance is at least an interesting (and somewhat original) idea. I read about thirty pages and then got bored – mostly she just sat around talking to herself in her head. So when I heard there was a movie, I had to see it just to find out how they could make it work.

An alien consciousness implanted in a struggling human girl comes to value humans for themselves rather than as vessels.

The surprising thing about The Host for me was that it did mostly work. It’s still a Stephenie Meyer story though, so most of it’s about LURV and how LURV is the answer to everything. But it wasn’t horrible like Twilight thanks to the fact that the actors could act, which saved a lot of otherwise dopey scenes.

Read More

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Trailer Reviews for March 29, 2013

THE HOST



Though I think the Twilight books are terrible, I do think that Stephanie Meyer’s other book (her ONE other book) has an interesting premise – a human trying to coexist in her own head with an alien consciousness. The problem is that I can’t get through the book. I read about 30 pages and didn’t want to go any further. The trailer for the movie version looks pretty interesting. Humans vs alien car chases, sci-fi laser effects, and best of all: they can’t spend the whole time inside her head with the two of them just talking back and forth. It could be funny to watch her struggle with herself on screen like there are two cartoon characters in her brain fighting for control over her puppet strings. Yeah there’s a love story, but it’s already better than Twilight just by not having any sparkling vampires, so I might give it a chance.

G.I. JOE RETALIATION



The first G.I. Joe reboot only made it to #5 on my worst movies of the year list, so if The Host turns out to be ‘typical’ Stephenie Meyer (i.e. #1 worst movie) this sequel might actually turn out to be better. It’s going to be dumb, though. That much is a given. But it’s a fun kind of dumb. The first one was dumb. The trailer is dumb. The plot is a ripoff of the good X-Men movies and every commando movie made in the last two years (oh noes! The government has turned on us! Whatever shall we do?!) Bruce Willis is (yet again) THE ONLY MAN THAT CAN SAVE US. Even though they’re Awesome Team G.I. Joe Commandos or whatever. Ninjas on ropes fight with swords and never think to CUT EACH OTHER’S ROPES. So I guess you have to ask yourself which is better: potentially terrible or definitely dumb?

SPRING BREAKERS



I could hardly even FIND a green band version of the trailer for this movie to embed in this article, so that should tell you a lot about this movie. A better title might have been ‘James Franco pervs on some teenagers in bikinis who have a tenancy to make bad life decisions.’ And no, I’m not talking about how they pick their clothes – I’m talking about their decision to ROB A BANK and BECOME INVOLEVED WITH DRUG DEALERS. It’s like Girls Gone Wild crossed with Blow but ‘legitimate’ because it’s ‘fiction.’ FYI though if your teenage sons want to go see it, you should probably say no. The whole thing reads like a desperate ploy by former Disney actresses to break out of the ‘good girl’ mold.

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Futuredaze Anthology now available!

futuredaze-cover-final

A few days ago a really cool anthology that I have a story in came out. It’s called Futuredaze and all the stories in it are science fiction stories for teenagers. You don’t see a lot of short science fiction for teens, so that’s why the editors made it.

My story is called “Me and My Army of Me” and it’s about a fifteen year old boy who uses his mad science skillz to gather enough versions of himself to fight back against the school bully. It’s even got funny little stick figure cartoon diagrams! (did you know I drew cartoons? I draw cartoons)

You can check out the Futuredaze website for more info on the other authors and their stories (some of them are famous!). I only just got my copy so I haven’t read them yet, but I’m sure they’re FABULOUS.

You can click here to find out where you can get a copy. Chapters has it, Amazon has it in Canada, the UK, and the USA, and there are other sellers worldwide who carry it. Paper copies are only $14.95. And the Kindle edition is a couple bucks cheaper if you’re one of those technology people.

Anyway, here’s a cool trailer for the book so you can see if you want one. Clearly these people are way better at photoshop than me….


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Trailer Reviews for February 22, 2013

DARK SKIES



So, there’s a family. They move into a new house. They start hearing weird noises. Their kids start doing weird sh**. They call in an expert who tells them they’re all screwed. Stop me if you’ve heard this before (about a million times). Also, thanks, pseudo-Exorcist freaky-sh** expert character, for giving away the ending of the movie in your one sentence of dialogue. Aliens are going to take the family. There. Now you don’t even have to watch this movie. You can save your $11.50 and pretend you’ve seen it by watching any other utterly generic haunted house movie, but with a picture of that green alien stoners always put on their t-shirts taped up next to the TV screen. So much for being connected to Insidious. This trailer didn’t even make me jump once.

SNITCH



Wow, what a wealth of excellent choices we have this week: utterly generic haunted house movie or utterly generic action movie. What annoys me most about this is how stupid the son is. Has he never been to an airport? YOU NEVER ACCEPT PACAKGES TO DELIVER. EVER. The fact that he is so stupid makes me not care at all whether his mistakes land him in jail, so I can’t get behind his father’s lawless blood soaked rampage in the name of freeing said dumbass deadbeat son. Also, I’m pretty sure you can’t reduce sentences for your family members by digging up information that they SHOULD TELL THE POLICE ANYWAY about other lawbreakers. And I’m really sure any drug dealer with more than a single living brain cell would be instantly suspicious of convenient muscled hero types showing up offering them services. Geez, if they know his wife and daughter, a quick Google search will turn up the son too. These people are all idiots. I think I’d rather see the bad horror movie.

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DVDs for February 19, 2013

argo

Argo

I love Argo, which is a dramatization of the true story of a CIA rescue during the Iranian hostage crisit. It pairs a hilarious first half, where a CIA agent played by Ben Affleck dives into the craziness that is Hollywood to craft a cover story for his rescue mission, with an unbearably tense second half where the Iranians get closer and close to figuring out who he is and catching him before he can make off with the embassy workers. Ben Affleck really did a great job directing. It’s a shame he didn’t get an Oscar nod for it. Check it out or read my review for more.

Buy Argo on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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sinister

Sinister

I’m pretty jaded, so horror movies that scare other people tend to elicit little more than a few sarcastic comments from me. Sinister is pretty cookie cutter – a crime writer brings his family to stay in the house of a murdered family… which (quelle surprise) turns out to be haunted. But, as I discovered, cookie cutter plots don’t necessarily mean not scary. I jumped quite a few times watching this movie, and it was largely due to the directing (well done, Scott Derrickson). So if you want a horror movie that really will actually freak you out a bit, see this one. Read my review for more.

Buy Sinister on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
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battlestar

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome

I used to complain a lot about Battlestar Galactica because they spent too much time yelling at each other and having political campaigns when they should be blasting robots to kingdom come. And… it’s like someone was listening. Blood and Chrome is the pilot for a new, action-oriented Battlestar series (that’s not getting made… sorry). It follows William Adama as a young recruit in the First Cylon War. It’s awesome, but you don’t need to buy the DVD. You can watch it all for free on YouTube, where it was released (officially) in 12 minute installments.

Buy Blood and Chrome on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

anna karenina

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina is a famous Russian novel about some aristocrats having an affair. It’s quite long, which is why many high school and college students will be watching this movie instead. But be warned, if you’re not interested in opulent and unreal lifestyles, parties, and dancing, you’ll probably bored by this movie. I can’t even recommend it to fans of director Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation, because the love story isn’t righteous and happy but sordid and tragic. You may also have trouble drumming up sympathy for the characters, who are varying degrees of horrible.

Buy Anna Karenina on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

skyfall

Skyfall

I forgot to do a DVD article last week (blame my snowpocalypse induced shoveling coma) so I’ll briefly also mention the only movie worth mentioning from last week: the latest James Bond. It sucks – it’s contrived, forgetful, lacking in cool technology, and steals plot points from other movies (named Mission: Impossible and Home Alone. It is better than Quantum of Solace, but everything is better than Quantum of Solace. If you must watch a gritty, Daniel Craig take on Bond, make it Casino Royale. At least that one made sense. Read my review for more detail.

Buy Skyfall on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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We’re Making a Movie! (hopefully)

I complain about other people’s movies often enough that it’s only fair for them to have an opportunity to complain about mine. I’ve written a handful (okay… a lot) of screenplays and one (a short one) called iBrain, which is about a couple who are fighting over whether or not it’s a good idea to have an iPhone in your brain, is just about to be under production in Toronto courtesy of my brother Dennis and his pals at the Blue Flame Collective.

The problem is that making movies costs money and none of us have any. We’re hoping that by begging a few bucks off everyone we know, we can raise enough through Indigogo to actually make this thing happen.

So if you’ve got a pocket full of change and you think the project my brother and Oliver are pitching in the video below is something you want to see, go to the iBrain Indigogo page and chip in your lunch money. You’ll get presents out of it, AND you’ll get to see your name in the credits. How cool is that??

Even if you also have no money, you can still help by putting the word out to your friends and liking the iBrain Facebook page.

Thanks for watching!

iBrain – Indiegogo Video 2 from Dennis Nicholson on Vimeo.

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DVDs for January 8, 2013

Dredd

I wasn’t a fan of the Sylvester Stallone version of Judge Dredd but I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed this one. The plot was simple – a by-the-book future cop and his psychic rookie partner take on a drug lord while locked in a huge apartment building. The characters are pretty simple too – Karl Urban never so much as exposes the upper half of his face. So why did I like it so much? Because it was clean and uncluttered. And a lot of stuff got shot up. Read my review for more.

Buy Dredd on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie is the full length stop-motion animated version of an old Tim Burton short film where the young Victor Frankenstein brings his beloved dog back to life and causes havoc in the town. It’s pretty good, but the message is a little confused (Is messing with death bad or not? Is it ok to discriminate against reanimated corpses or not?) and there are some subplots that seem kind of shoehorned in because they don’t make sense alongside the rest of it. Read my review for more.

Buy Frankenweenie on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
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House at the End of the Street

Since Jennifer Lawrence is kind of an it-girl now, there will probably be a lot of people watching this movie just to see her. It’s not that bad. It’s about a girl and her mom who move in next door to a boy (Max Theriot) with a murdered family. But you should know that it’s more of a slow building thriller than a horror movie, so if you’re expecting a madman running around with a bloody knife, you’ll be disappointed. You should also know that climactic plot twist is pretty obvious to anyone with more than a single functioning brain cell.

Buy House at the End of the Street on DVD or on Blu-Ray.


Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden

If you’re really excited to see Zero Dark Thirty, the movie about the CIA officers and Navy SEALs who went after Osama Bin Laden, and you’re too impatient to wait three days for it to come out, then good news! This terrible TV movie is about the same thing! And it comes out today! Sure it stars one of the vampires from Twilight. Sure it’s boring as hell. Sure the performances all sound like they were phoned in via a bad Skype connection. But you’ll see the story three days early. That’s all that matters, right?

Buy Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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