Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Things We Lost In The Fire

Directed by Susanne Bier

Starring Benecio Del Toro, David Duchovny, Halle Berry

Release Date October 19, 2007

Despite a stellar cast, this weepy drama goes nowhere and is excting as watching paint dry inch by inch. At one point, one of the characters, Brian's daughter, asks Jerry (Del Toro) if he thinks he is in a movie, a "sad one"; my brain hurt when I wondered how the screenwriter felt pride upon giving the world that "spectacular insight" into a family grieving the loss of a husband and father. I'd avoid this movie, it's a real snoozer.

Rating: * * of 5

Click here to buy Things We Lost in the Fire Things We Lost in the Fire [Blu-ray]

Dead Snow

Død snø (original title)

Directed by Tommy Wirkola

Starring Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Jenny Skavlan, Jeppe Beck Laursen, Lasse Valdal.

Release Date June 19, 2009

Splatterfest with a touch of black comedy, Dead Snow is a manic horror movie set in the Swiss mountains where a group of college students are attacked by...Nazi zombies. That's right, it had to happen sooner or later. Dead Snow is a zombie film that gleefully embraces the horror genre so much that one character points out how many horror movies have the "cell phone doesn't work rule" right when it happens on screen. At times, the film does stray from trying to be too gory dark humor and gets into more serious moments, but then there's a scene where a zombie gets its' head smashed in, gooey brains and all. Not a perfect zombie movie, but an entertaining one.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy Dead Snow Dead Snow [Blu-ray]
Poster from http://www.wikipedia.org/

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shock Treatment

Directed by: Jim Sharman

Starring: Jessica Harper, Cliff De Young, and Richard O'Brien

Release Date: October 13, 1981

"you need a little...oooh! Stock Treatment/You're jumping like a real live-wire"

Whether it's called a sequel or a companion piece to the cult hit Rocky Horror Picture Show, here comes Shock Treatment: where DTV is Denton, USA: the world's largest 24-hour tv channel. Definitely ahead of its' time, Shock Treatment is a broad, black comedy definitely for fans of RHPS. Also, if you enjoy The Truman Show, Brazil, or Videodrome, you'll certainly enjoy this crazy rock opera about the obession of television.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy Shock Treatment (1981)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The A-Team (2010)

Directed by Joe Carnahan

Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel

Release Date: June 11, 2010
Set up for a crime they didn't commit, four U.S. Rangers band together to rise from the ashes and catch those responsible. A fun, action-paced adventure that blends comedy, action, and espionage into a rousing two-hour romp.

Adapted from the cult 1980's show of the same name, "The A-Team" contains the origins of the four members meeting in Mexico, getting framed in Iraq, and getting revenge against those that framed them. Director Joe Carnahan does a great job with the stunts (despite using a heavy ammount of CGI in the process). The cast does a great job: Liam Neeson is having a blast as team leader Col. John "Hannibal" Smith, Bradley Cooper delivers a great cocky performance as "Faceman", Sharlto Copley is a hoot as "Howling Mad" Murdock and "Rampage" Jackson is pretty awesome as B.A. Baraccus. The only downside is Patrick Wilson as CIA Agent Lynch gets a tad too over the top at times. A fun, enjoyable action flick.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy The A-Team The A-Team (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Män som hatar kvinnor (original title)

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist

Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev

Release Date: Feb 27, 2009

In 1966, 16 year-old Harriet Vanger disappeared without a trace. 40 years later, her uncle Henrik is tormented by her supposed death. Now, the aged billionaire and CEO of Vanger Concern hires Mikael Blomkvist, a disgrced journalist, to look over all the evidence to find out what truly happened to Harriet. Simultaneously, hacker and troubled genius Lisbeth Salander shadows Mikael over her computer and then joins him on the case of Harriet Vanger. Which of the Vanger clan had to do with young Harriet's disappearance? What dark secrets does Lisbeth hide? Adapted from Stieg Larsson's novel of the same name, The girl with the dragon tattoo is a masterful story of suspense, drama, and murder. While the film does eliminate some of the subplots or combine two characters into one, it does a great job of adapting Larsson's novel. Also, the performances are fantastic, especially from Noomi Rapace as Salander. Do yourself a favor and see this movie before it's remade in America, retitled "That Chick with the body art" and has a soundtrack featuring The Jonas Brothers.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5

Click here to buy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (paperback)

Click here to buy The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [Blu-ray]

Toy Story 3

Directed by: Lee Unkrich

Starring the voices of: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusak, John Ratzenburger, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton and Ned Beatty

Release Date: June 18, 2010

"Return of the Astro-nut!"- Hamm (Ratzenberger) talking about Buzz (Allen)

15 years ago, Pixar introduced the world to toy box full of interesting characters and a new perspective on playtime. Now, the toys face a new dilemma when their owner Andy is leaving off to college and the toys are most likely on their way to the trash bin. Therefore, some of the toys have decided to stow away in a donation box to a local preschool, where the toys assume they will have the time of their lives again. At first, things with LotsoHugginBear (Ned Beatty) and his group of toys seem well, but Woody (Hanks) still wants to get his group back to Andy before he leaves for college in two days.

Pixar continues to make glorious films that cannot withhold the glee and delight of children and adults alike. The story of Woody, Buzz and Andy's toys continue to move one to sorrow and remorse, especially when the toys feel neglect from their owner being too old to have playful adventures when he was a young child. If there are two themes to Toy Story 3, they are when parents have to see their grow up and trying to stave off growing up. However, parents with young children be warned that this final movie in the Toy Story trilogy is quite dark. Also, look out for the usual Pixar "cameos" and a special shout out to Pixar's favorite "competitor", Hayao Miyazaki.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

Click Here to buy Toy Story 3 Toy Story 3 [Blu-ray] Toy Story 3 (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

Friday, June 18, 2010


Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloe Moretz

Based on the mini-series by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.

Release Date: April 16, 2010

It's not a bird, it's not a plane, it's Kick-Ass the movie! Based on the comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., Matthew Vaughn brings their deconstruction of a fan boy wanting to be a real superhero to the big screen.Dave (Aaron Johnson) lives a boring life; no girl, no popularity, nothing. Until one day, he decides to become a superhero to help the downtrodden and fight crime: then gets hit by a car. Meanwhile, a mysterious figure who dresses like Batman is terrorizing Gangster Frank D'Amico, with a young girl in tow. This movie is made for comic fans; it both loving mocks and embraces the comic book world. There are tons of references to comic books, from Steve Ditko-era Spider-Man comics, to Scott Pilgrim (There's even a refernce to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). The casting is top notch, from Johnson as geeky Dave/Kick-ass, Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl, to Nicolas Cage as Damon/Big Daddy and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D'Amico/Red Mist. The movie also brings up interesting ideas about standing up to crime and real villainy vs comic book villainy. If you're not abhorred by over-the-top action/language, go see Kick-Ass.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

Click Here to buy Kick-Ass Kick-ass Bluray Single Disc Edition Kick-Ass (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) NEW Kick-ass - Kick-ass: Limited Edition Coll (Blu-ray)

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Gary Oldman, Winonna Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins, and Cary Elwes

Release Date: November 13, 1992
Adapted from the novel, Francis Ford Coppola visualizes one of literature's greatest villains for a new generation. The cast is fantastic, from Gary Oldman playing sympathetic villain Dracula, Winona Ryder as lovestruck Mina Murray/Harker, to Anthony Hopkins as Abraham Van Helsing. While the film does have one or two snags (such as the "werewolf" costume) the film does a great job of capturing a gothic mood and playing up the more romantic aspects of Dracula while remembering the horror and darkness of the story.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5

Click Here to buy Bram Stoker's Dracula (Collector's Edition) Bram Stoker's Dracula [Blu-ray]


Directed by Steven Speilberg

Starring: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, and Bob Hoskins

Release Date: December 11, 1991

London: 'Pirate' lawyer Peter Banning has returned to see his children kidnapped and a note to reclaim his children signed "Hook". Now, Banning (Robin Williams) must rediscover his youthful days as Peter Pan if he wants to reclaim his children from his old nemesis, Captain Hook (Hoffman). This is a fantastic adventure, full of whimsy, comedy,and a lot of heart. Also, it doens't hurt that Spielberg crafts Neverland as a gigantic playground, full of amazing sets and brillliant designs (such as Hook's pirate ship). The casting is superb, from Wiliams playing Banning as a man trying to discover who he is, who he was, and how to be a good father to his kids, Juila Roberts (having a gleeful performance as Tinker Bell), and Dustin Hoffman as the vllainous, boastful Captain James Hook.

Rating: * * * *1/2 of 5

Click Here to buy Hook

Iron Man 2

Directed by Jon Favreau

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Gweneth Paltrow, and Mickey Rourke

Release Date: May 7, 2010 (U.S)

What is a man's legacy? How will the world remember Tony Stark? The Sequel picks up six months after the first movie, Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, has become even more famous and infamous, every one wanting to praise him or hold him down and hand over the Iron Man armor. Soon, tony's world gets bigger as he soon finds himself in the crosshairs of two dangerous men: rival industrialist Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), and vengeful Ivan Dranko (Mickey Rourke). Will Tony rise out of his self-destructive chaos, pick up the pieces of his life, and come to the rescue?

This is a fun, action packed comic-book movie with snappy dialogue, great performances, and better action sequences. Also, the performances are great from the returning cast (Downey as Stark and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts) and those introduced in the sequel: Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard as James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Mickey Rourke as Ivan Dranko, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, and Samuel L. Jackson as Col. Nick Fury. I liked Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman, but there were certain aspects of her character I missed from the comics. If you enjoyed the first movie, you'll certainly love the sequel. Also, there are several refernces to other Marvel comic characters and a post credits scene, so keep your eyes peeled.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy Iron Man 2 (Single-Disc Edition) 
Iron Man 2 (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Iron Man 2 (Single-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray] 
Iron Man 2 (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

Get Him To The Greek

Directed by Nichollas Stoller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Elizabeth Moss, Sean "P.Diddy" Combs
Release Date: June 4, 2010

"I'm a motorist!"-Aldous Snow (Russell Brand)

In 2008, Jason Segel wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall, where his character found out his girlfriend cheated on him with famous rock and roller, Aldous Snow ( Russell Brand). Now, Nicholas Stoller brings Snow his own spin-off in Get Him to the Greek, where Snow has forgone his sober life style and gone back to hard partying/drinking/heavy drug use/sexual depravity. After his latest album, "African Child", becomes the biggest bomb in years, Snow is in dispair and has recluded back to hard partying in London. Aaron (Jonah Hill) is a young intern at an LA record company who is also in need of a hit, so CEO Sergio (Sean Combs) sends him off to London to collect Snow to perform at the Greek Theater in three days time for the rocker to recapture his glory and the record company to get good publicity.

First off, Jonah Hill was a suppporting character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and plays a completely different character in Get Him to The Greek: where is the explination? Was that his cousin in Hawaii? Second, for anyone curious, I found the story in Get... to be good, but not as fulfilling or complete as Forgetting Sarah Marshall; there's a story, but it appears there may be some missing subplots found when he movie get to Blu Ray. Still, it's a hilarious comedy with some killer performances from Brand and Combs; Elizabeth Moss is good, but she's mostly to serve as the faithful girlfriend waiting back in LA which is too lacking for an actress of Moss' talents. Jonah Hill starts off very irritating but does get better.
A hilarious road movie with some great tunes.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy Get Him to the Greek (Single-Disc Edition) Get Him to the Greek (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) Get Him to the Greek (2-Disc Unrated Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]

Lawrence Of Arabia

Directed by David Lean

Starring: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guiness, Omar Shariff, and Anthony Quinn

Release Date: December 16, 1962

"A Man can make his own destiny"-T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole)
Visually stunning, an epic mastepiece about one man's devotion to forge his own path, and the destruction that plagues him. Director David Lean captures a magnificent account of T.E. Lawrence's personal account of his experiences in Arabia as a British soldier. The casting is stupendous, from O'Toole as the titular character, Omar Sharif as Ali, and Alec Guiness as Prince Faisal. Lawrence of Arabia is a powerful film, wit great performances, a stunning story, and moments that are impressive to behold.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

Click Here to buy Lawrence of Arabia (Single Disc Edition) Lawrence of Arabia (Collector's Edition, 2 discs) - DVDLawrence of Arabia [Blu-ray]

(Poster from http://www.wikipedia.org/)

The Girl Who Played With Fire

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist

Directed by Daniel Alfredson

Release Date: July 2, 2010

Traveling abroad for a year, antisocial hacker Lisbeth Salander has returned to Stockholm wanted for the murder of three people, including her guardian, Nils Bjurman. Believing his friend to be innocent, investigative journalist Mikael Blombkvist searches for the true killer and uncovers a shocking truth between the killer and Salander. Like the predecesor, The Girl who played with fire is a fast-paced adaptation of Steig Larsson's novel that streamlines most of the story, although in this adaptation many subplots are removed: Salander's trip to Caribbean, Milton Security's private investigation on the murders, and Salander's history with Paolo Roberto (who actually appears in the film a himself). However, despite the omission of several secondary characters, the story remains as strong as the performances from the cast.Michael Nyqvist sells his performance as Mikael "Kalle" Blombkvist, Lena Endre makes a strong supportive performance as Erika Berger, and Noomi Rapace continues to be fantastic as Lisbeth Salander.

Rating: * * * *  of 5