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Trailer Reviews for July 6, 2012

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN



Dear Spiderman (sorry The Amazing Spider-Man),
Movies do not come out on Monday. Movies come out on Friday – or, occasionally, at midnight on Thursday. I know some of them have been sneaking out on Wednesdays, but these are badly behaved movies and you are the worst of the lot. Please stick to the rules or I will have to get angry. Having said all that, I’m going to see you because even though the cameras that filmed the last Spider-Man movie are barely cool yet, Andrew Garfield is still a better Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire. Lawn furniture would be better at playing Peter Parker than Tobey Macguire, though, so I’m reserving judgment on the rest until Sunday.

SAVAGES



Ooh, drugs and violence among criminals, two of my least favorite subjects for movies! I like Taylor Kitsch, but lately he’s been picking a lot of movies that I don’t like, so I don’t think he’ll be making it onto my Awesome List anytime soon. With all the drug running and the shooting and the rocket launchers and the dangling timeclock of the kidnapped girl, this seems more like a first person shooter game than a movie. I have no desire to see it.

KATY PERRY: PART OF ME



I am not a teenaged girl or a gay man. I don’t even really like pop music. Mostly I switch stations when boppy stuff like Katy Perry comes on. And yet…. I am weirdly interested in seeing this movie. Maybe it’s that Katy Perry seems like a nice person. Maybe it’s that every concert scene looks like a bad acid trip. Or maybe it’s that I want to see where they’re going with the “100% Christian” atmosphere comment – did it hold her back or (*gag*) inspire her? Oh, I won’t see it in theaters of course, especially not in 3D. Or probably rent it… or keep it on if it’s on TV… okay so I don’t want to see it that badly, but I didn’t hate the trailer. That’s something, right?

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED



Hey, it’s that dorky guy from the movie I forgot about. What’s up, dorky guy? Honestly, I think I will forget this movie exists too. The time travel is probably a metaphor for something and even if it’s not, it’s obvious from the trailer that they don’t actually do it (if they do it at all) until the end of the movie, probably to save money or something. It’s just not reaching out to grab me. Annnnd I’ve already forgotten about it. What movie??

CROOKED ARROWS



Hmm, I was not aware that lacrosse was a Native American sport. In fact, I wasn’t aware anyone actually played it except for that one girly dude from American Pie. I was also not aware that Brandon Routh was (at least partly) Native American. You learn something new every day. So let me get the plot of this film straight – Brandon Routh is a sleezy businessman who wants to exploit his heritage for money and the only way they’ll agree to it is if he coaches the lacrosse team? It’s like Hard Ball but missing the point. And they’re going to do it to the music of Chumbawamba, whom no one has heard from since like 1995. Sounds promising. Actually, it sounds just like every other sports movie ever made.

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DVDs for May 29, 2012

Man on a Ledge

I’m admittedly biased here, seeing as how Sam Worthington is on my Awesome List, but I’m going to tell you to rent this movie anyway because it’s cool. It’s about a guy (Sam) who was wrongfully convicted of a heist and threatens suicide on a ledge as a distraction while his buddies (one of whom is Jamie Bell, who is also awesome) actually pull off a heist to prove that the guy they’re stealing from is a big fat liar. And of course the policewoman who is sent to talk him down ends up on his side, because who wouldn’t? Anyway, what more could you want??

Buy Man on a Ledge on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

.


Gone

This movie is stupid. You don’t even need to get that far into it before you can figure that out for yourself. The story goes that a woman (Amanda Seyfried) was kidnapped by a serial killer years ago and escaped, but nobody believes her for the sole reason that the movie needs this to happen in order to function, because obviously no police/hospitals/etc. are allowed to be that stupid in real life. Anyway her sister is kidnapped, again no one believes her (despite the fact that the sister is demonstrably not there) and she has to face her kidnapper again alone. Ho hum.

Buy Gone on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
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Goon

Fighting is my least favorite part of hockey, so of course it’s the part that movies always seem to focus on. Add Seann William Scott, the guy I hated from the American Pie movies and stir in Jay Baruchel, the irritating nerd from Trotsky, and you’ve got a perfect storm of things I don’t want to watch packed into one movie. I dunno, maybe the story of a bar bouncer who can’t even skate bashing in heads in a series of bloody fight on the way to hockey glory appeals to you, but it doesn’t to me, so I’m going to tell you to skip it.

Buy Goon on DVD or on Blu-Ray.


Coriolanus

If you liked Baz Luhrmann’s take on Romeo + Juliet and also 300, then you stand a decent chance of liking Coriolanus. It’s based on one of Shakespeare’s bloodier plays about a Roman hero-turned-douchebag who gets kicked out of Rome after his policies cause a riot. He sucks up his pride (sort of) and joins forces with his enemy for the purposes of revenge on Rome. It looks modern in a former Soviet Republic sort of way but the language is Shakespeare all the way. Pretty cool if you can get through it without the Cliff’s Notes.

Buy Coriolanus on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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The Avengers Review

poster from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

The first of the summer blockbusters is here! (unless you want to count The Hunger Games, in which case, the second of the summer blockbusters is here!) Marvel has been winding us up for this movie ever since Iron Man 2 so The Avengers was going to have to be pretty freaking awesome to live up to all the hype, especially considering how good Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America were. And to be honest, the trailer didn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Six superheroes butt heads when they are forced to team up against a demigod with plans to lead an alien army against the earth.

The “alien army taking over the earth” thing has, quite frankly, been done to death, but with Joss Whedon (otherwise known as God to all nerdkind) at the helm and half of the population of my awesome list in the cast, I had to believe The Avengers was more than it seemed. And I’m sad to say that it wasn’t. It was funny (Joss-style), it was action-packed, but it was also a little disappointing.

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Trailer Reviews for March 30, 2012

WRATH OF THE TITANS



This movie poses an interesting dilemma, because while I wasn’t very impressed with Clash of the Titans, I am impressed with Sam Worthington, and he says this one will be better because he’s got more character to work with. Perseus is now a retired monster killer and father. The trailer is too impressed with its own landscapes, explosions, monster battles, and Marilyn Manson Eurythmics covers (I know – WTF??) to give much hint of how Perseus feels about everything (much like the entire last film) so I just don’t know. Sam’s position on the awesome list means I have to go to the movie but it doesn’t mean I have to review it, so I may shunt this to a Tuesday cheap night viewing and check out Mirror Mirror instead. I’m not exactly keen on the Greek/Roman sword and skirt bloodbaths anyway.

MIRROR MIRROR



Every now and then it happens that two studios put out movies on the same thing in the same year. It happened with asteroids and volcanoes and betrayed commando teams and now it’s happening with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Except this time one of the movies (Mirror Mirror) is really goofy and the other (Snow White and the Huntsman) is really dark. I have to say I’m intrigued. It would be interesting to compare the two, anyway. Both could go off the rails rather easily. Snow White is obviously the main character but I have a feeling Julia Roberts is going to steal the show in this version. Perhaps its for the best – there are fart sound effects, squeaky voices, and Snow White seems kind of bland and boring. Yes, picking between this and Wrath of the Titans will be tough, but not in a good way.

SERVITUDE



If you liked Waiting, you should probably just go ahead and watch that DVD again, because this movie seems like a lamer copy. Poor Dave Foley – after all that time on Kids in the Hall this is what it comes to.

Also, if you live in Sydney (Nova Scotia, not Australia), on Thursday at 7pm the Cape Breton Film Series people are showing Restless, an quirky teenage love story between a guy with a ghost pal and a cancer patient. You can check out their website to see the trailer for it.

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Trailer Reviews for March 16, 2012

21 JUMP STREET



Hmm. What we have here is a dilemma. I really like Channing Tatum, but I can’t stand Jonah Hill. Ultimately the awesome list wins out over the “I frikkin’ hate you” list, but will it be enough for me to enjoy the movie? Or will they just cancel each other out like matter and anti-matter and leave me watching a blank screen for two hours? I think I might like it. It’s a little bit Never Been Kissed, but with cops… and no kissing. Or, if you want, like the 80s TV show, except they’re smart enough to poke fun at the fact that neither of those guys look even remotely like they could still be in high school. That’s the factor – the intelligent satire factor – that could push it over the edge into enjoymentland for me. Since there’s nothing else coming out this week, I guess I have no option but to find out.

JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME



I know I said there’s nothing else coming out this week, but what I meant was ALMOST nothing. This is a limited release, so for most of us there really will be nothing else. Anyway, underachieving adult children who still live at home with their parents and are depressed that they haven’t achieved their wild dreams is a popular subject for movies these days, probably because most of the people who are going to these movies are adult children who still live at home with their parents and are depressed over not being able to achieve their wild dreams. I don’t have any desire to see this movie, mostly because it seems boring and it reminds me of people I know.

Also, if you live in Sydney (Nova Scotia, not Australia), on Thursday at 7pm the Cape Breton Film Series people are showing A Dangerous Method, an insane/boring drama about two therapists who can’t seem to keep their hands off a patient. You can check out the trailer review here and see if you want to go.

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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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Trailer Reviews for January 20, 2012

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE



Why is this movie called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? It must be referring to when the planes hit the towers or something. The problem is: with a title like that, I expected it to be one of those annoying indie movies about couples having issues that never really go anywhere. It wasn’t until I saw the trailer that I got interested in seeing it. With the boy hunting down a mystery left by his dead dad, it seems like this movie could be what I was hoping Hugo would be. It’s got a bit of a Billy Elliot feel to it (makes sense – same director) so I’ve got my fingers crossed. I think I’ll like it. That would be (almost) a first – me agreeing with the real critics!

HAYWIRE



This movie looks like it was supposed to come out during that glut of action movies from two summers ago where spec ops soldiers kept getting betrayed. It has the exact same premise as The Losers, The A-Team, and The Expendables, and if we look forward, the GI: Joe sequel. Were all these movies part of a class assignment or something? You would think that somewhere along the line secret organizations would learn not to try and kill highly trained agents. It never ends well. Ordinarily I wouldn’t bother with this movie at all – been there, seen that – especially since everything (fights, dialogue, etc) seems so laconic. BUT it’s got three people from my awesome list in it (Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, and Channing Tatum) so it gets a triple free pass. So I don’t know if I’ll review it (maybe I just did) but I have to see it. It’s the Awesome Law.

RED TAILS



Here’s another movie that’s straddling the line between interest and disinterest for me. On the pro side, there’s fighter planes, World War II, and it’s made by Lucasfilm. On the con side, it’s basically just Tuskegee Airmen with CGI added to it. Lawrence Fishburne was in Tuskegee Airmen. You just can’t improve on Lawrence Fishburne (sorry, Cuba Gooding Jr.) This is the kind of movie you just need to see, though, especially if you haven’t seen Tuskegee Airmen. Too many war movies are all “yay happy war time heroes!” and gloss over the fact that these same heroes were telling other potential heroes (black people, women, etc) to take a long walk off a short pier. Plus: fighter planes!!

UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING



Though I prefer the “predator” genre of vampire stories to the “shiny sparkle” genre, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never seen any of the Underworld movies. Maybe it’s because the wolves are so ugly. Why can’t they look wolfier? I’d make up for it by seeing this one, but a) there are three other better movies also coming out this week that I’d rather see. And b) it looks a little too much like the Resident Evil movies, which are of course abominable. She was captured for only twelve years and that was enough time for the entire world to change so much that she doesn’t even recognize it? Get real. I know it’s the technology age and everything but things don’t change that fast. Also: “where is Michael?” more like “who is Michael!”

SHAME



Everyone’s all atwitter about this movie because apparently you get to see Michael Fassbender’s junk, but that’s not why I’m going to be really incredibly uncomfortable watching it. It’s because it’s I find it painful to watch people embarrass themselves, and people with addictions are always pushed into embarrassing themselves in movies. Maybe that’s why I don’t like addiction movies. (In case you didn’t figure it out from the trailer, Michael Fassbender’s character has a sex addiction). Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, Michael Fassbender is awesome, so I have to see all of his movies. Even ones that make me uncomfortable and contain his junk (it’s none of my business what your junk looks like, Michael Fassbender!) At least I won’t have to see it in theaters. Ours will never get it since it’s rated NC-17.

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY



At one point, I tried to read the John LeCarre novel this movie was based on. It was so boring I couldn’t even finish it. My friend Angella claims it was so boring she couldn’t even START it. This does not bode well for the film version. Don’t be fooled by the mention of a mole and the tense music in the trailer. This movie will bore you to tears. You see, John LeCarre writes “realistic” spy novels, which means that three quarters of the story is taken up by writing reports and letters and people having conversations. No amount of famous people (this movie has Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, and Ciaran Hinds) can save a movie in which nothing really happens. My dad will like it, but you won’t.

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New Year’s Eve Review

poster from the New Line Cinema film New Years Eve

As weird as it was to see a movie about New Year’s when everyone’s thinking about Christmas, and as underwhelmed as I was by Valentine’s Day, I chose to see New Year’s Eve this week because my only other option was The Sitter. So read this review and file the information away for that period between Christmas and New Year’s, when everyone’s actually thinking about what to do on the big day. With an ensemble movie like this, it’s almost impossible to write a good logline. The closest you can get is:

A bunch of people (who are kind of sort of vaguely connected to each other sometimes) have trouble with relationships on New Year’s Eve.

It’s really easy to make a bland ensemble movie, because with so many characters it can be hard to balance character development, screen time, and plot payoffs. Love Actually, the Christmas movie that started the recent holiday ensemble trend, managed it really, really well. Valentine’s Day, on the other hand, did not. I expected New Year’s Eve to be more of the same, because it was the same writer (Katherine Fugate) and director (Garry Marshall). But I was pleasantly surprised to find it was much, much funnier.

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The Thing (2011) Review

poster from the Universal Pictures film The Thing 2011

I have not seen the original The Thing, which is the way I usually like it when I’m trying to review remakes. The tendency is to assume that the new one is just lazily leeching off the older one’s success, so it’s better to go in fresh and evaluate it on its own merits. But in fact this new The Thing is not a remake. It’s actually a prequel with the same name as the original. What?? Whatever. It has essentially the same plot as the original, anyway, as that’s generally how things go with horror “sequels” – change the setting or characters and repeat.

A team of Norwegian scientists in Antarctica accidentally release a murderous frozen alien life form that can hide among them by imitating human tissue.

This is a very scary premise, and I was genuinely unnerved by The X-Files season one episode “Ice,” which borrowed from the original Thing. I had great hopes for this movie, especially since Joel Edgerton, a recent addition to my Awesome List, was in it, but despite the promising premise, it turned out rather blah. Not bad, but not that good, either.

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The Debt Review

poster from the Miramax Films movie The Debt

Yay! I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie for months, and now it’s finally here. It’s just a shame that it came out on the same day as Apollo 18, the OTHER movie I’ve been waiting to see for months. But it was no contest picking which one to see this week. Sam Worthington always beats not Sam Worthington, since he’s on the Awesome List. Of course, it also helped that the movie itself looked really interesting. Sort of like Munich but with a World War II connection.

A trio of Mossad agents in 1997 find their past coming back to haunt them when a book is released about their 1966 mission to capture the notorious Surgeon of Birkenau.

Before you ask, no, The Debt is not based on a true story or even a book. It’s based on an Isreali film from 1997 called Ha-Hov. The Surgeon of Birkenau is not real either, though he is obviously based on Josef Mengle (often referred to as the Butcher of Birkenau) who performed some of the same medical experiments on concentration camp victims that are attributed to the Surgeon in this movie. The fact that it’s made up doesn’t take much away from the movie, though. It’s still tense, fascinating, and heartrending.

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