Blog Archives

The Fifth Estate Review

poster from the Walt Disney Pictures film The Fifth Estate

I was looking forward to this movie. Not because of Wiki Leaks, though. I only vaguely remember it from when it was in the news years ago. It wasn’t really the friendship story, either. I mean, I enjoyed The Social Network, which had a similar dynamic, but that wasn’t enough to tempt me away from 12 Years a Slave. So: confession time. The reason I chose The Fifth Estate was to see Rush‘s Daniel Bruhl in action again.

A German computer programmer gets drawn into a friend’s plan to solicit and release confidential documents in the name of public transparency.

Luckily, The Fifth Estate is a story about people (Julian Assange and Daniel Berg) more than a story about a thing (Wiki Leaks). The script kind of winds the characters up and lets them go, and the result is almost as wrenching as Anakin and Obi-Wan fighting in a river of lava. I loved it.

Read More

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Trailer Reviews for October 18, 2013

FIFTH ESTATE



Sorry, Fifth Estate movie, but that title doesn’t make me think of Wiki Leaks. It makes me think of CBC documentaries (for those of you who are not Canadian, our national broadcasting corporation runs an investigative documentary series called The Fifth Estate). Why didn’t they just call it Wiki Leaks, I wonder? Everyone knows what that is. Title issues aside, it looks exciting. Lies! Spies! Getting chased! Best friends fighting! Whee! It’s like The Social Network crossed with Mission Impossible (the first one). I didn’t follow the real Wiki Leaks story that closely so I don’t know how it ends (yay ignorance!) Plus, after Daniel-Bruhl-as-Niki-Lauda totally knocked me over, I’d watch (almost) anything with him in it (FYI – he’s the Wiki Leaker who’s not Benedict Cumberbatch).

12 Years a Slave



Oh no! This looks really good too! Not as exciting, of course, but more moving. Life sucked for slaves across the board, but I imagine it would be a lot worse if you knew what it was like to be free beforehand. There’s got to be legal rules/policing on that sort of thing, even back then.
And there’s GOTTA be a happy ending (if there isn’t, I will be mad). So I guess the question is: do I want to be moved or excited? I also have to choose between Chiwetel Ejiofor/Michael Fassbender and Daniel Bruhl. That’s a tough call. And between Benedict Cumberbatch and…. Benedict Cumberbatch (I guess his movies come in Cumberbatches – hur hur). Maybe I’ll save this one for next week.

CARRIE



Nope. This was a movie that did NOT need a remake. The book was very creepy. The original movie was very creepy. The only thing they can really improve on is the special effects, which tends to damage the story. Too many things flying around, not enough character. My money will go elsewhere.

ESCAPE PLAN



I have a couple of questions for this movie. This is a huge prison with many inmates. Who built it? Who paid for it? Who works in it? How to they manage to kidnap and imprison high profile baddies without one anybody’s friends/family finding out about the prison and demanding their friend/family member’s release, a la Guantanamo Bay? If you’re going to break the law that obviously, wouldn’t it make more sense (and be a lot cheaper) to just kill all these guys? Especially when it comes to the PROFESSIONAL PRISON BREAKER. If I could get past that (I probably couldn’t) it looks like it could be an okay movie… except for that vegetarian line. That doesn’t even make any sense, but at least they didn’t say ‘girl.’

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Trailer Reviews for October 9, 2013

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS



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

THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG



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

ROMEO AND JULIET



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

MACHETE KILL



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

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

DVDs for October 8, 2013

after earth

After Earth

In this far-future science fiction survival movie, father/son team Will and Jaden Smith play a father/son team of Rangers, which are a type of alien monster fighter. The alien monsters sense fear, so after their ship crash-lands on an Earth populated by monsters and other human-killing organisms, the son much learn to suppress his fear to save his dad. It’s nice to look at and it works very well as a coming-of-age movie, but I would have liked to see more background on why Earth became so deadly and where the monsters came from. Check out my full review for more

Buy After Earth on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

hangover 3

The Hangover Part III

My friend had to buy my ticket to get me to go see this movie. That’s how enthusiastic I was about seeing it. I liked The Hangover but thought Part 2 was more of a remake than a sequel. With this film, they took things in a different direction. No one’s mysteriously missing and no one lost their memory – Doug has been kidnapped by a gangster and the pals are forced to pull off a heist to get him back. I appreciate the effort, but it just didn’t work for me. Even the jokes weren’t all that funny. Fans and non-fans will probably both be disappointed. Check out my full review for more.

Buy The Hangover Part III on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

purge

The Purge

There are so many generic one-word horror titles with creepy faces on the cover that it took me a minute to remember which one this was when I saw it on the list. It has an interesting (if ridiculous and unlikely) premise: that in the future American life is perfect and peaceful because for one night of the year all crime is legal. The movie follows the story of a family that shelters a stranger and ends up having their home invaded by a masked mob. Despite the fact that the premise would never really work, it could have been chilling. Unfortunately, it was dragged down by bad writing and genre cliches.

Buy The Purge on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

much ado

Much Ado About Nothing

This movie is basically a massive nerdgasm for Joss Whedon fans. It’s Shakespeare’s original romantic comedy play (sort of half) updated to modern times (costumes and setting yes, characters and dialogue no) starring some of the most popular actors in the Whedonverse – Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Fran Franz, Sean Maher, etc. Also, it’s in black and white and was filmed in secret over 12 days on a lark while they were in the middle of The Avengers. Shakespeare fans and kids trying to avoid their assigned reading should watch the Kenneth Branagh version. Only Whedon fans will properly appreciate this.

Buy Much Ado About Nothing on DVD on on Blu-Ray.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Gravity Review

poster from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Gravity

Being lost and alone is something that almost everyone is afraid of, which is why horror movies about being lost in forests, houses, desert islands, oceans, and space ships have all done so well. As we saw with Open Water, however, it can be a challenge to make sure there’s enough for the lost people to do without resorting to convenience. If Gravity was going to have a problem, I imagined that would be it.

Two space astronauts find themselves struggling for survival in space after their shuttle is destroyed by orbital debris.

And while its true that Gravity does occasionally rely on luck (both good and bad) and it does play fast and loose with science, it doesn’t matter, because you’ll be too busy gnawing off your own fingers in agonized tension to get picky over details. Seriously, I’ve never been so wound up by a movie in my life.

Read More

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Trailers for October 4, 2013

GRAVITY



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

RUNNER RUNNER



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

PARKLAND



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

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

DVDs for September 24, 2013

iron man 3

Iron Man 3

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

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

unfinished song

Unfinished Song

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

Buy Unfinished Song on DVD.

kings of summer

Kings of Summer

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

Buy Kings of Summer on DVD.

redemption

Redemption/Hummingbird

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

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

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Prisoners Review

poster from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Prisoners

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

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

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

Read More

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Trailer Reviews for September 20, 2013

BATTLE OF THE YEAR



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

PRISONERS



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

ADORE



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

COPPERHEAD



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

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

DVDs for September 17, 2013

world war z

World War Z

I know a lot of people hate this movie, largely because it has very little to do with the book it’s based on, but I really like it. Not many horror movies manage to scare me, but this one did. It’s loaded with tension as the main character tries to get his family out of a zombie-riddled city and then track down the disease’s origins and cure (I’m a sucker for epidemiology stories). The zombies are much scarier than regular zombies – they pile like ants and react to sound. Watch it with the lights on or read myfull review first.

Buy World War Z on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

the east

The East

The East is a boring title that tells you nothing about the movie and makes it difficult to get relevant search results on Google, so let me make it easy for me. This is a dark thriller about a woman who gets hired by a security company to infiltrate a group of anarchists who are launching guerrilla attacks against the company’s sleazy big-business clients. She kind of falls down the rabbit hole and ends up questioning whose side she should be on (especially when she meets the hot ringleader – Alexander Skarsgard). It’s pretty good. Check it out.

Buy The East on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

scenic route

Scenic Route

I have to laugh at this one. The DVD box makes it look like a quirky comedy, like ‘oh, haha, this dude went on a road trip and ended up with dirty clothes and a goofy haircut’ but if you watch the movie or the trailer, it’s obvious that it’s a serious psychological horror/thriller about a pair of guys who come unhinged after their truck breaks down in the desert. I don’t know about you, but I’d have preferred the first scenario. Still, there is the Josh Duhamel factor, and it’s not bad for what it is.

Buy Scenic Route on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

disconnect

Disconnect

This is a drama/thriller, but it should really be classed as a public service announcement and shown in schools, because it’s all about the different ways you can totally screw yourself over by posting too much online. Cyberbullying, sexual exploitation, scams, stalking, and just generally spending so much time digitally connected that you forget to have a life in the real world – it’s all in here, each issue presented as a different subplot in an ensemble drama. There have been a couple of ‘online dangers’ issue movies, but this is the best one so far.

Buy Disconnect on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Page 5 of 10« First...«34567»...Last »

SUBSCRIBE TO ZE EMAILS

Subscribe to Ze Feeds

Archives

More Ads By Google

Links by Google