On Screen & Beyond

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DVD MOVIE REVIEWS

Reviews of movies on DVD - short and to the point, without giving away the story, from On Screen & Beyond!

 

BOONVILLE REDEMPTION

BOONVILLE REDEMPTION stars Pat Boone, Ed Asner, Diane Ladd and Richard Tyson! An incredible cast and a well done story for the whole family set back in the days of the wild west. Be sure to check our interview with Pat Boone and hear him talk about the film! Available November 8.

 

TWINKLE TOES LIGHTS UP NEW YORK

TWINKLE TOES LIGHTS UP NEW YORK is an animated film that follows a young teen girl as she tries to make her dreams come true in New York City! Available April 5.

 

HERO QUEST

HERO QUEST shines with an all-star cast with Milla Jovovich, Sharon Stone, Whoopie Goldberg and Joe Pesci! This animated film follows a ten year old boy who sets out to save his mother and fellow villagers when their homes are taken over. Family fun! Available March 8.

 

ROOM

ROOM is the Oscar Nominated film which stars Oscar winner Brie Larson in a critically aclaimed film and emotional movie about a mother and son who risk it all to escape from captivity. This is definitely a movie not to miss! Available March 1 on Blu Ray and DVD.

 

LIFE

LIFE is a bio pic about the legendary James Dean. The incredible cast includes Robert Patterson, Joel Edgerton and Ben Kingsley. Don't miss this film that will draw you in and leave you wanting more! Availble March 1 on DVD.

 

WEAPONIZED

WEAPONIZED is another action-packed thriller to come our way starring Tom Sizemore, Mickey Rourke and more! After a terrorist attack, a push for bio-mechanical weapons leads to intrigue and action that action lovers will eat up. Available March 1 on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD.

 

THE MIDNIGHT MAN

THE MIDNIGHT MAN is a lively thrill ride as an assasin who feels no pain, suddenly feels pain and he has to adapt to this new pain. The film takes you through the night as he tries to complete the missions he was assigned and..... no spoilers here...you'll have to see it. Available March 1 on DVD and Digital HD.

 

EXTRACTION

EXTRACTION stars Bruce Willis as a retired CIA operative who is kidnapped by terrorists and his son sets out to rescue him. Filled with action, the film keeps you on the edge of your seat with Kellan Lutz as the son. Fun and thrilling movie! Available on February 23.

 

LOVE THE COOPERS

LOVE THE COOPERS has an all-star cast which includes Alan Arkin, Diane Keaton, Marisa Tomei, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Amada Seyfried and Olicia Wilde! Quite a cast and tho it is loaded with talent, the film doesn't quite draw you in as you would hope, but still a fun watch as a family gathers and mayhem results! Available on Digital HD February 2 and on Blu Ray, DVD and On Demand on February 9.

 

SOCIOPATHIA

SOCIOPATHIA follows a prop maker for movies who leads a very different and evil life and we witness her decline throughout the film when she meets a new producer. Interestingly this blood-splashing film includes a complete black & white version of the film for a totally different feel to the film! check them both out and see! Available February 9.

 

THE LAST WITCH HUNTER

Vin Diesel kicksass in THE LAST WITCH HUNTER as only he can! He battles evil to save mankind in this action packed adventure that you don't want to miss! Available January 12 on Digital HD and on February 2 on BluRay, DVD and On Demand.

 

COOTIES

COOTIES is a zombie comedy and I must say, it made me laugh! It is a lot of fun! Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson star in this film that makes zombies of students who ate in the school cafeteria caused by a food virus and a group of misfit teachers set out to survive! Check it out, but don't eat in the cafeteria! Available December 1.

 

WAR PIGS

WAR PIGS has an all-star cast including Dolph Lundgren, Luke Goss and Mickey Rourke, as a band of misfits during World War 2 who set out to capture a Nazi super weapon. This one is a well made, action packed war film! Be sure to check out our interview with Luke Goss. Available December 1.

 

AMERICAN ULTRA

Jesse Eisenberg and Kriten Stewart star in the action packed AMERICAN ULTRA! Eisenberg plays a guy who learns he is a CIA sleeper agent who can do things he never knew (or cared) he could do...the ultimate weapon. He and his girlfriend head out on an adventure you will never forget! Lots of fun! Available on Digital HD on November 10 and On Demand, Blu Ray & DVD on November 24.

 

SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY

Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Will Forte, Cybil Shepard and Richard Lewis star in this screwball comedy that follows the cast and crew of a Broadway production and how their lives intermingle. Available on Blu Ray. DVD and Digital HD on November 3rd. Rated R.

 

THE GIFT

THE GIFT stars Jason Bateman in a thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. THE GIFT has so man twists and turn, you may not know where you are going! Bateman does a great job in this film as a guy who meets up with an old class mate and the terror begins! Don't miss this one! Available October 27 on Blu Ray, DVD and Digital HD. Rated R.

 

THE VATICAN TAPES

THE VATICAN TAPES is a chilling story of good verses evil, that will surely raise the hair on the back of your neck! Exorsism has never been so scary! Micheal Pena and Olivia Taylor Dudley star in a story of the coming of the Antichrist. Available October 20, 2015.

 

DARK PLACES

Charlize Theron stars in DARK PLACES, a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat as a woman has to deal with the death of her family and she was the survivor of the brutal killings. Now she must deal with the truth. Based on a best seller, it features an all star cast including Chloe Grace Moretz and Christina Hendricks. Available October 6.

 

 

DOPE

DOPE is a coming-of-age comedy that follows a High School senior who is into old school rap. What follows is a smart story that takes you away as he trys not to lose his chane of getting into Harvard and features music by Pharrel. Available on September 29 on Digital HD and on October 13 on Blu Ray and DVD.

 

 

COP CAR

In COP CAR, two young boys are hunted by a corrupt sheriff played by Kevin Bacon. The boys have something he wants back...his cop car! Kevin Bacon once again shows the range of his acting ability with flying colors. Just the right amount of action to keep you on the edge of your seat! Available on Digital HD on August 14 and on Blu Ray & DVD on September 29th.

 

LOVE & MERCY

LOVE & MERCY tels the story of Beach Boy co-founder Brian Wilson...and it does it amazingly! Paul Dano and John Cusack both give strong performances as Wilson! Many don't realize the problems that Wilson went through in his life. Beach Boy fans, music fans and movie lovers will enjoy this film! Available September 15th on Blu Ray & DVD and on Digital HD earlier on August 25.

 

THE AGE OF ADALINE

Blake Lively stars in THE AGE OF ADALINE as a woman who has an accident and she no longer ages. It brings a nice mix of science fiction and romance to the screen. Harrison Ford also is in the film as...well you'll have to see the movie! Makes a nice date night film! Available August 25th on Digital HD, September 4 On Demand and September 8th on BluRay and DVD.

 

VENDETTA

Dean Cain shows his tough side as a detective who gets himself imprisioned to avenge the killing of his wife by a prison inmate. Can he survive behind bars? Can he get his revenge? Find out in the action thriller, VENDETTA! Available August 18th on DVD, BluRay and on Digital HD.

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF MARILYN MONROE

THE SECRET LIFE OF MARILYN MONROE brings the rollercoaster life of one of the most famous actresses of film to the forefront. The film has Susan Sarandon as her mother and Kelli Garner as the star herself, Marilyn. This is an engaging movie! Available August 18th on DVD.

 

CHILD 44

CHILD 44 is a riveting film the stars Tom Hardy as a Soviet secret police officer who ends up looking into some child murders and ends up finding more than he bargined for. This on definetly keeps you on the edge of your seat! Available July 21 on Digital HD and on August 4 on Blu Ray & DVD.

 

BARELY LETHAL

BARELY LETHAL has a cast that includes Hailee Steinfeld, Jessica Alba and Thomas Mann. The film is a fun teenage spy movie that the family will enjoy! Hailee's character longs to be a 'normal' kid and she takes drastic measures to try and make it happen! Available on August 4.

 

TOOKEN

If you liked AIRPLANE and other spoof movies, then you will love TOOKEN. Yes it is one dumb joke after another and yes you will laugh. I spoofs the TAKEN series of films and does it well. TOOKEN is just a fun movie! Available July 7.

 

THE WRECKING CREW

THE WRECKING CREW is a very well done documentary that tells the story of a group of studio musicians that played the music for many of the biggest hits and artist od the 60's and 70's. From the Beach Boys, Sinatra, Sonny & Cher, The Association, The Monkees, The Byrds and many more, they all used the Wrecking Crew as they became known as and the film is filled with great music! Available June 16.

 

BEYOND THE REACH

Michael Douglas shines in BEYOND THE REACH as he plays a rich business man who is going into the desert with a guide to do some game hunting. After an accident occurs, things get worse in this tense film. Very enjoyable film! Available June 16.

 

IF YOU BUILD IT

IF YOU BUILD IT is an interesting film that follows a group of high school students, who live in one of the poorest areas in North Carolina, and their instructors who work against the odds to improve their community and their lives. Available June 23.

 

MORTDECAI

MORTDECAI stars Johnny Depp in the title role as a bumbling art expert who is dragged into finding a stolen art piece. The film reminds me of the old slapstick films of Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau, but it never seems to reach the same level. The cast includes Gweneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor and Olivia Munn. Not a high recomendation, but still watchable for a few laughs. Available May 12.

 

I REALLY HATE MY EX

I REALLY HATE MY EX is a comedy that follows three women who decide they want answers to their broken relationships and decide to kidnap their exes and hold them hostage until the find out why! The story gets even more involved as they share the story in a chat room and millions cheer them on! Available April 14.

 

YELLOW BIRD

YELLOW BIRD follows a bird who is given the task of leading his fellow birds on their migration to Africa after the elder is wounded. Seth Green, Danny Glover and Dakota Fanning lead their voices to this cute story. Available April 7.

 

WILD CARD

Jason Statham stars in WILD CARD. He plays his usual tough guy and gets into fights, etc. Not as much action as other Statham films, but still a watcher. The cast is top notch with Sofia Vergara, Jason Alexander, Stanley Tucci and Milo Ventimiglia. A good evening of entertainment. Available March 31.

 

SON OF A GUN

Prision deals, escape plans, heists and more highlight SON OF A GUN, in which Ewan McGregor gives a wonderful performance. The movie is not fantastic, just a good entertaining movie. A man protects a young man in prison and then wants his help escaping and to help pull of a gold heist...what could go wrong? Available March 17.

 

VICE

VICE is a sci-fi thriller about a resort where guests can live out their fantasies...remenicesent of the old move "Westworld". I wanted to like the film but unfortunately even Bruce Willis could not pull this one out og the dredges. You just never can get involved with the characters. Not a horrible movie, just not as good as it could have been. Available March 17.

 

THE CAPTIVE

THE CAPTIVE stars Ryan Reynolds as a man who tries to unravel the mystery of his daughters disappearance. This one is a movie that draws you in as it spins its tale. Scott Speedman and Rosario Dawson also star. Available March 3.

 

THE DOG WHO SAVED EASTER

Zeus returns (with the voice of Mario Lopez)! THE DOG WHO SAVED EASTER continues the series of films. Don't look for a deep movie here, just a cute dog and story that the family can enjoy with the kids. Elisa Donovan (past guest here on On Screen & Beyond), Dean Cain and Catherine Hicks star. Available March 3.

 

DYING OF THE LIGHT

Nicolas Cage jumps back into action in DYING OF THE LIGHT, his latest action packed thriller! Cage stars as a aging CIA agent who is ordered to retire, but then his arch enemy resurfaces and a personal war breaks out between them. Great action film in which Cage excels! Availiable February 17 on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

 

ADDICTED

ADDICTED is a steamy tale of a woman with the perfect life and who risks it all when she cheats with two men. The movie is an eroctic story plucked from the novel by Zane...the heat turns up on this one! Availiable February 10 on DVD and On Demand.

 

A MOUSE TALE

A MOUSE TALE tells the story of 2 mice who set out to find a magical crystal to save their kingdom. This amimate film features the voice talents of Drake Bell, Miranda Cosgrove, Jon Heder, Cary Elwes, Tom Arnold and Jon Lovitz! Fun film! Availiable February 10.

 

LAGGIES

LAGGIES is a romantic comedy which stars Keira Knightley and Chloe Grace Moretz along with Sam Rockwell. Great cast! Mediocre movie, but not a bad movie, just not as good as I had hoped. Two girls, one 28 the other 16, bond and learn from each other. Availiable February 10.

 

THE HOMESMAN

Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank and Meryl Streep lead an all star cast which also includes James Spader, John Lithgow and Hailee Steinfeld! With a cast like that how can a film go wrong. Not as good as you would think, but THE HOMESMAN still makes for a good western as a drifter helps a woman bring three women across harsh land. Availiable February 3 on Digital HD and On Demand and February 17 on Blu Ray & DVD.

 

MAS NEGRO QUE LA NOCHE

A woman inherits her aunt's dark old mansion and has her three freinds move in with her. When they fail to care for the aunt's beloved cat... all hell breaks lose! This one will put chills down your spine. Availiable January 27.

 

BIG DRIVE

BIG DRIVE is a film based on a Stephen King short story. Great cast with Maria Bello, Olympia Dukakis and rocker Joan Jett! A writer is stranded on a back road and is raped and left for dead by a stranger. When she survives...look out, she sets out for revenge! Availiable January 27.

 

GNOME ALONE

GNOME ALONE stars Austin Powers Mini Me, Verne Troyer as a murderous gnome. It's campy horror fun, not the usual horror fare. A girl is given an amulet by a dying person and now whoever offends her dies a horrible death by the gnome. As I said ...campy! Availiable January 20.

 

A BET'S A BET

If you are looking for a fun movie, look no further than A BET'S A BET. Mena Suvari and Geoff Stults star in this romantic comedy which also includes Kristen Chenoweth, which is always a plus to any film. It is a typical boy meets girl, they dislike each other and end up finding love, but the ride is fun! Availiable January 20.

 

THE EXPENDABLES 3

If you are looking for action, then be sure to check out THE EXPENDABLES 3! This series of movies has more action hero star power than any other film in the history of cinema! Stallone just keeps piling on the stars and increasing the explosions! This time around we get a dose of Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Robert Davi and Wesley Snipes in the mix. Loads of action! Don't miss it! Availiable November 11 on Digital HD and November 25 on BluRay, DVD and VOD.

 

THE KILLER SHREWS

Yes, THE KILLER SHREWS is a cheesy, old sci-fi thiller from 1959, probably made on a shoestring budget....but it's fun!!! James Best who played the sheriff on "The Dukes of Hazard" stars in this film and you can hear him talk about the film in our interview with him in our rerun section! This has all the 50's sci-fi cliches, mutant monsters attacking a group on a isolated island! FUN!!! Available November 11.

 

THE PRINCE

THE PRINCE feature a great cast including John Cusack, Jason Patric and Bruce Willis as an ex underworld guy trys to find his kidnapped daughter with the help of his old partner. Bruce Wilis plays the bad guy in this one and does a good job! Lot's of action! Available October 28.

 

A WOMAN IN FLAMES

A WOMAN IN FLAMES is a 1983 erotic thriller that has been remastered by Film Chest, about a lonely housewife who leaves her possesive husband and has to work as a hooker in Berlin to maintain her high lifestyle! Available October 21.

 

DOC HOLLIDAY'S REVENGE

Eric Roberts, a past guest here at OSB, is one of the stars of DOC HOLLIDAY'S REVENGE along with Tom Berenger in a classic style western tale of revenge. Available on October 7.

 

DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN

DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN is about a reality show that is following a couple through their first pregnancy....but strange things beging to happen and they suspect a possession! It keeps you on the edge of your seat! Available September 30.

 

THE ROVER

Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson star in THE ROVER. Set 10 years after the collapse of society as we know it and a man has his cars stolen by a gang. He then sets out to get back his prized possesion! Available September 23.

 

LOCKE

In LOCKE Tom Hardy plays a successful business man who receives several phone calls while riding in his car that turns his life upside down! This film is unique in it's presentation and is riviting to watch. Not your usual Tom Hardy movie. Available September 12.

 

SUMMER IN FEBRUARY

SUMMER IN FEBRUARY takes us to the brink of World War 1 as a love triangle ensues between two artists and a woman. It's a wonderful love story that stars Dan Stevens of "Downton Abby", Emily Browning and Dominic Cooper. Available September 12.

 

DECLINE OF AN EMPIRE

Academy Award nominee Peter O'Toole stars in DECLINE OF AN EMPIRE. This epic story spans a man's journey to find his friend as empire's battle to rule! One man is now the Emperor and a fellow Emperor has imprisoned his childhood friend. Top notch acting highlights this film. Available September 12.

 

FRANKIE & ALICE

ACADEMY AWARD winner Halle Berry give an amazing performance as a woman with multiple personalities in FRANKIE & ALICE. She is fighting for her life with the help of a psycotherapist, as she fights to stop the voices in her head. Excellent film! Available September 12.

 

WORDS AND PICTURES

Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche and Academy Award nominee Clive Owen highlight WORDS AND PICTURES as two teachers who are an unlikely match, surpisingly find love while they butt heads along the way! A fun movie! Available September 9.

 

MONIKA

MONIKA explodes on the screen as a woman seeks revenge for the murder of her family. The man who she meets gets caught up in the middle of it all and he's not sure what is going on. Lots of action and gun fire! Available September 9.

 

THEY CAME TOGETHER

Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd star in this romantic comedy, THEY CAME TOGETHER as a couple meet and automatically hate each other at first sight. Rudd plays a guy who works for an corporate candy company trying to shut down her small mom and pop candy store. Available September 2.

 

TERRY FATOR: LIVE IN CONCERT

TERRY FATOR: LIVE IN CONCERT brings the comical impersonator ventriloquist to you...and it it a riot! If you can't make it to Vegas to see Terry Fator, you don't want to miss this side-splitting dvd. Filled with all your favorite characters, Terry will leave you rolling in your seat! Available May 20th.

 

IN SECRET

IN SECRET is a riveting film with a top notch cast. Jessica Lange plays the domineering aunt of a girl trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin. The girl sets out on an illicit affair with her husbands best freind and everything breaks loose. This film is filled with suspense and makes for an entertaining evening. Available May 20th.

 

GRAND PIANO

GRAND PIANO is a suspenseful, edge of your seat movie experience! John Cusaack and Elijan Wood star in this intense film about a talented pianist who has stage fright after an agonizing experience and when he goes back to the stage, he finds himself threatened with a note saying if he makes one wrong note he will die. Available May 20th.

 

I, FRANKENSTEIN

I, FRANKENSTEIN is not a bad film, but it is a bad Frankenstein film, barely touching on the classic story. If they had named it something else, people would have enbraced it more, i believe. THe film takes place 200 years after the original Frankenstein came to life. Very good special effects! Available May 13th on BLu Ray, DVD & VOD, May 2 on Digital download.

 

SURVIVAL CODE

SURVIVAL CODE puts us in the future where one town has the last untapped oil, gas and mineral deposits..and every government wants it. The movie has lots of martial arts cage fighting in it as the man in charge of the town fights to save it. Available May 6.

 

DARK HEARTS

In DARK HEARTS, a struggling artist ends up tangled in a web of deception and problems when he meets a sultry singer. The film is an independent film, but it delivers on keeping you on the edge of your seat. Check it out! Available May 6.

 

MAKING THE RULES

SInging sensation Robin Thicke dips his toes into the acting arena with a role along side Jaime Pressley in MAKING THE RULES. Not a bad start, but the film is slow moving and makes us wish for the end. Pressley plays a chef who injures herself and ends up finding love, but she's married. Available May 6.

 

THE LEGEND OF HERCULES

THE LEGEND OF HERCULES once again brings us the story of the half human half god Hercules. Hollywood brings him back every so often, (and will again this yer) but this outing falls short from past films. The film seems to drag and relies on figt scenes to cover the weak plot. Available April 29.

 

BAREFOOT

BAREFOOT is a light hearted romantic comedy that has it's flaws, but still manages to leave you with a feel good ending. Scott Speedman and Evan Rachel Wood star in this story of a gambler and a hospital patient wmbark on an adventure of discovery and love. Available April 22.

 

BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB

BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB is a compelling look at how war effects both sides. How a man can change by the circumstances around him. A rookie military police learns the ropes from a veteran prison guard. After the movie is done, we can only wonder how we would ract in those conditions. Available April 15.

 

MOBIUS

MOBIUS stars Oscar winner Jean Dujardin, and Tim Roth in an exciting and riviting spy thiriller. Filled with twists and turns, the film takes us on a ride into the world of espionage as a international money laundering operation is investigated. Don't look for explosions to cover up things, this is a well planned character led film. Available April 15 on Blu-ray & DVD, VOD and PPV.

 

TODD OLIVER: FUNNY DOG

Todd Oliver was a semi-finalist on "America's Got Talent" and now you can see a recording of his complete show on this new DVD! With his talking dog Irving and the rest of his funny cast of characters, TODD OLIVER: FUNNY DOG is sure to tickle your funnybone! Available April 8.

 

THE APPEARING

THE APPEARING gives you a chill up your spine as visions, disappearances, a creepy old house and more, plague a family when they move to a small town. Dean Cain appears in the film. Available March 25.

 

AGAINST THE WILD

AGAINST THE WILD is about the struggles of a group and their dog after a plane crash as the struggle to survive. It's a cute film, but with the weak acting it struggles to keep the attention of most people. It is a family movie you can all watch together, but it may be difficult to survive yourself. Available March 11.

 

ENEMIES CLOSER

ENEMIES CLOSER is about two men who despite being enemies in the past, must put it all behind them as they must work together as an evil drug lord sets out to get his shipment of drugs and kill them. Jean Claude Van Damme does aadmirable job as his role as the villian. Available March 11.

 

PUNCTURE WOUNDS

A soldier returns from war in PUNCTURE WOUNDS, only to find a war with an evil gang leader at home. Predictable and not much substance in this one...not a horrible film, but not a great film either. Typical Dolph Lundgren movie. Available March 11.

 

THE LAST DAYS ON MARS

A mission to the red planet looking for life finds something far more terrifiying as thy wait to be rescued by another ship. THE LAST DAYS ON MARS is a well acted sci-fi thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat and feels like one of the old style Mars mission monster movies of the past. Available March 4th.

 

HOURS

HOURS is a gripping film starring Paul Walker. At times the film is slow, but it never lets you go. A man brings his wife to the hospital to have their baby just a Hurricane Katrina is about to hit. What happens after keeps you on the edge of your seat and Walker gives an amazing performance as a father out to save his child. Don't miss it! Available March 4th

 

SNOWFLAKE THE WHITE GORILLA

SNOWFLAKE THE WHITE GORILLA is about the world's only white gorilla in a zoo and sets out with the help of a panda to find a magic potion that will make her 'fit in". Kids will enjoy and it has a redeming plot and the talented voice talents of David Spade and Christopher Lloyd! Available March 4th

 

HELLBENDERS

HELLBENDERS is a horror comedy that comes thru with some good performances as exorcists try to lure demons into their body so they can commit suicide and trap the evil demons forever. Not a great film , but fun for a chuckle or two. Available February 18

 

SEAL PATROL

I have to admit, SEAL PATROL was not what I had orginally expected. What I thought was just another war movie about a seal team evolves into an action move with a scifi twist. A Seal team is hired to find a physicist who has disappeared along with all communication with a super secret facility developing alternative energy research. From that point on, all bets are off for this band of seals! Available February 11th.

 

ESCAPE PLAN

ESCAPE PLAN brings together two legends of action films, Stallone and Schwarzenegger, and they still have it! When he is framed and imprisoned, a man sets out to break out of one of the most secure prisons ever built. Great action and the usual snappy dialogue from Sly! Available February 4th.

 

THE INEVITABLE DEFEAT OF MISTER & PETE

There is only one thing to say to describe THE INEVITABLE DEFEAT OF MISTER & PETE....Wow! This is a very moving film and it will leave you emotionally drained by the end, yet you want to finish it. It follows two childern who are trying to stay one step ahead of Child Protective Services as the live on the streets...and as I said be prepared to be drained by the end of the film. Stars Jennifer Hudson. Available February 4th.

 

WINGS

Young kids will get a kick out of and enjoy WINGS. The animation is a bit weak compared to the big studios, but what will come across for the little ones is a fun movie filled with excitment. The voice cast is top notch with Josh Duhamel, HIlary Duff, Rob Scheider, Jesse McCatrney and Tom Skerritt. The story revolves around a young fighter plane trying to become the winner of an airshow competition. Available February 4th.

 

MY DOG THE CHAMPION

MY DOG THE CHAMPION is a heartwarming film about a spoiled boy from the city who ends up in the country and find a friend in an aging dog. Movies about dogs always tug on the hearstrings and this one is no exception. Here is a movie you can gather the whole family around the TV and enjoy together. Available February 4th.

 

THE PRINCESS TWINS of LEGENDALE

THE PRINCESS TWINS OF LEGENDALE falls short when held up to Pixar and Disney animations of late, but kids may still enjoy the movie. The story and the animation are a little weak, but the songs are good. To sisters struggle to unite their kingdom. This one gave me more of a feel of a video game than a movie. Available January 28.

 

BEST MAN DOWN

BEST MAN DOWN is an amusing tale of newlyweds who have to pospone their honeymoon when their bestman dies at thedestination wedding. Twists along the way happen as they set out to bring the body back to arrange his funeral. Justin Long stars as the groom and Jess Weixler as the bride. This one makes for a fun night of viewing! Available January 21.

 

THE VIRGINIAN

THE VIRGINIAN stars country singer Trace Adkins and Ron Perlman in a fim based on the long running TV show which is based on the novel and movie. Westerns are a rare breed now a days but I enjoyed watching this film. Adkins plays a man who was raised by a cattle baron after his parents are killed and now he is learning all is not as it seems. Available January 7

 

FREEDOM FORCE

FREEDOM FORCE is an animated adventure filled with all the things kids will love...time travel, mad scientists, a group of heroic kids and the voice talents of Chirstopher Lloyd and Sarah Michelle Gellar! As I said kids and the young at heart will all enjoy this animated treat, fun for the whole family! Available December 31.

 

THE SECRET VILLAGE

Inspired by real life events, THE SECRET VILLAGE follows a news journalist who sets out to find out what is causing the strange events in a small town. When people start to die, she has tp hurry before she is the next victim! Good for mild suspense. Available December 17.

 

SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT

Film Chest is re-releasing the 70's B-Movie SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT on DVD. Back in the 70's and 80's, drive-in staple was the b-bloody axe muderer movies and this one broke though to become a cult film. It satars classic horror star John Carradine and it follows a man who inherits a house used as an asylum where his grandfather died in a fire, but now he wants to sell it, but an axe welding madman has other plans! available December 10.

 

RED 2

Seldom does a sequel surpass the origingal, but in the case of RED 2, the sequel has far surpassed the original. I loved this movie! Willis, Malkovich, Parker and Mirren all give fun performances and Anthony Hopkins does a great job in a role different than he usually does! Once again the gang is being chased by the government in a non stop action adventure! Available November 12 digitaly and November 26 on DVD/BluRay/VOD/PPV.

 

SAVING SANTA

SAVING SANTA is a fun, animated time traveling adventure were one of Santa's elves accidentally reveals Santa secret workshop location to the wrong guy and sets out to save Santa and fix his mistake. Fun for the whole family with the vioce talents of Tim Curry, Tim Conway, Ashley Tisdale and Joan Collins! Available November 1.

 

LITTLE BROTHER BIG TROUBLE

As we move closer to the Christmas season, the holiday movies are on their way! LITTLE BROTHER BIG TROUBLE is a great way to get the kids in the spirit early this year. Niko sets out to find his little brother, who is missing on Christmas Eve. With the help of his friends and some luck, Niko will try to save the day! a cute film for the whole family! Available October 29.

 

GIRL MOST LIKELY

GIRL MOST LIKELY stars Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening and Matt Dillon in a very enjoyable and fun film. Bening and Wiig both shine in this cute movie about a woman whose life is derailed and she moves back in with her parents. A good film to watch on a cold night as the weather is changing. Available November 5 on Blu Ray and DVD, October 22 on Digital and Video on Demand.

 

PRAYERS FOR BOBBY

Three time Oscar nominated actress Sigourney Weaver shows why she has been nominated three time, with an amazing performance in PRAYERS FOR BOBBY. Based on a real-life story, it follows the struggles a mother has after he son reveals he is gay and how the mother's rejection leds him to suicide and her eventual turnaround to being an advocate for gay and lesbian youths. A powerful film. Available October 15.

 

DRACULA: THE DARK PRINCE

DRACULA: THE DARK PRINCE brings us more of a love story than the traditional bloodsucker movie. Academy Award winner Jon Voight stars a Van Helsing in a film that is filmed in a manner that really sets the mood for the tragic lose of Dracula's murdered wife. He the kidnaps a womwn he believes is his wife reincarnated and it's Van Helsing to the rescue! Not a bad film, but not the usual Dracula film either. Available October 15.

 

LOST AND FOUND

LOST AND FOUND is a wonderous and magical animated gem! It follows a child who finds a penguin at his doorstep and he sets out to get him home safely.... al the way back to the South Pole! Based on the best selling children's book, LOST AND FOUND proves that not all great animation comes from the big studios. It will tug at your heartstrings! Available October 15.

 

COMPLICITY

COMPLICITY starts out like every other movie that has a group of partying kids, until one guest is accused of rape and a group takes matters into their own hands. From there COMPLICTY is a blend of twists and turns as everyone is on edge! This film makes for, overall, good viewing. not perfect, but good. Take a peek! available October 8.

 

TAD: THE LOST EXPLORER

TAD: THE LOST EXPLORER is a fun filled family adventure! It features the voice talents of Cheech Marin and the kids as well as the adults will love Tad as he sets out on his adventure in Peru as he searches for the Lost City of Paititi. TAD is a suprise sleeper that you want to see with the whole family! Don't miss it! Available October 8.

 

EUROPA REPORT

EUROPA REPORT is a low budget sci-fi film that dosen't lok or feel low budget. It follows a crew of astronaunts who head to JUpiters moon Europa when signs of life are found on an unmanned flight. They run into problems, of course! It is a bit slow at times, but still manages to come through with a good sci-fi movie! Check it out! Available October 8.

 

THE FROZEN GROUND

Nicolas Cage, John Cusak and Vanessa Hudgens supply gripping performances in THE FROZEN GROUND. Based on a true story, the film is se in Alaska where Cage plays a State Trooper on the trail of a serial killer and needs the help of one of the killers only surviving victim (Hudgens). ! Available October 1.

 

DEAD BEFORE DAWN

DEAD BEFORE DAWN is a very tongue-in-cheek horror zombie movie, or as they say (Demons and Zombies = Zemons)! The cast takes it over the top and stars Devon Bostick (Wimpy KId films), Martha MacIssac (Superbad) and the always zany Christopher Lloyd. When a group of college kids stir up some demons, everyone who looks in their eyes becomes a zemon and the gang trys to save the world! Available October 1.

 

DISCONNECT

DISCONNECT is an amazing piece of cinema that is right in tune with life today. Jason Bateman steps away from his comedy roles of late and shines in this very riveting movie which also features a great cast. It follows the lives of people who are dependent on the current digital, cyber, mish mash which we all can relate to. DISCONNECT is filled with twists and turns and you don't want to miss this one! Available September 17th.

 

DRIFT

DRIFT is a top notch surf movie based on actual events, following the Kelly Brothers as they launch a surf business in Australia. DRIFT features some spectacular scenery and shows what determination will get you! Sam Worthington stars along side Myles Pollard and Xavier Samuel. Be sure to check this one out! Available September 17th.

 

EMPIRE STATE

EMPIRE STATE features some big names, Dwayne Johnson, Liam Hemsworth and Emma Roberts, but even with this cast the film fails to come through with what you would expect. Liam plays a wanna be cop who works as a security guard for an amored truck company and ends up in a plot to steal money. Based on a true story, It's enjoyable but not as good as it should have been. Available August 30th.

 

ALYCE KILLS

ALYCE KILLS is a bloody delightful suprise! Alyce has problems and even though the story moves along slowly at first, hold on...The ride picks up! Once she gets into the swing of things, Alyce is a treat for slasher movie fans, even though the slash is less than the most, but the story development makes up for that. Available August 20th.

 

VAMPIRE

VAMPIRE adds a modern twist to a classic film creature...the vampire. A mordern day teacher has a secret, he is a vampire and he uses the internet to find his victims. The story moves a bit slow at times, but overall the film comes through with some thrills. This is one you'll want to save for Halloween to watch to get you into the mood. Available August 20th

 

CAT. 8

CAT. 8 is a fun end of the world film which features Matthew Modine and Maxim Roy as leading the way. An experiment to harness the energy of the sun goes bad, the only one that can save us all is a rogue physicist. As I said, it makes for fun viewing and it is available on DVD and BluRay on August 13th.

 

GALLOW WALKERS

GALLOWWALKERS stars Wesley Snips as a gunslinger who is the son of a nun who falls from grace and he is cursed... anyone who dies by his gun returns and he ends up being hunted by a gang of the undead. It will not bring westerns back into fashion, but it does make for entertaining viewing. Available August 6th

 

5 SOULS

5 SOULS has an good basis for the story...a man awakens from a coma and a stranger tells him he must kill five people or he will die. Will he save his own life or sacrifice others? There are some good chills in this film, but the film seems to drag itself down at times. Worth watching. Available August 6th.

 

WAR FLOWERS

WAR FLOWERS features Christina Ricci as a mother of a young daughter who's husband is away fighting the Civil War. Times are tough and the war is moving closer to her home which she is trying to save. She nurses a soldier from the North who was wounded and hid in her home and she starts to have feeling for him. Unfortunately the film moves so slow, that we struggle to accept what is happening before us. It's not a bad film, but be prepared for a slow ride. Available July 30.

 

EVE OF DESTRUCTION

Steven Weber and Treat Williams shine in this sci- fi film. When an experiment to get unlimited energy goes wrong, the quest is on to save the world from total destruction. There is no hiding the fact that I enjoy watching sci-fi movies and EVE OF DESTRUCTION comes through with an entertaining, action packed offering. Be sure to catch this one for a fun time! Available July 16th.

 

THE POWER OF FEW

Christopher Walken has the uncanny ability of making any film step up a few notches and in the case of THE POWER OF FEW, he sucesses once again. Christian Slater also does a fine job in a film which basically revolves around different perspectives of the same twenty minutes in time. Worth a peek! Available July 9th

 

AN AFFAIR OF THE HEART

AN AFFAIR OF THE HEART is a rockumentary featuring Rick Springfield, but it is not your typical rockumentary. It does contain the usual clips of concert performances, but it als has a deeper emotional side. Several fans of Rick are also showcased and follows their journey of how Rick has touched their lives and ultimately, how they touch Rick's life. I highly reccomend AN AFFAIR OF THE HEART. Great music and heart warming! Available July 16 on Blu Ray and DVD.

 

CODY the ROBOSAPIEN

CODY THE ROBOSAPIEN is a fun film that the kids will love! Parents should not look for anything to deep, just a fun movie. A newly developed robot is taken by the head of an evil company! When he escapes. a young boy finds him and they become close friends, then in order to retrive the robot, the head of the evil company kidnaps the boys mom and it's the boy and the robot to the rescue! GAther the family around with some popcorn and enjoy! Available June 25 on DVD.

 

RING OF FIRE

First off, the cast of RING OF FIRE shines! Michael Vartan of "Alias" and Emmy winner Terry O'Quinn of "Lost" lead the cast of this disaster film. An oil drilling company is setting off volcanic eruptions with it's drilling and if they are not stopped, it could set off all the volcanos around the world in "the ring of fire"! Plenty of action! Available June 11.

 

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

Without a doubt, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL has it's work cut out for it with all the inevitable comparisons to the classic WIZARD OF OZ. It definitely falls short. There is no way 50 years from now, that it will be played every year on TV and it will be no more than a vauge memory in the minds of people.

With that said, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL is still a film worth an outing for the family. The acting is weak, but the effects are good. Why Mila Kunis is dressed in tight black leather pants at the beginning of the arrival in OZ while the rest of the inhabitants of Oz are in traditional clothes for that era, I don't know? (Actually I do, but it really makes no sense considering the age group the film is targeted for!)

Overall, you would think that all these years later and with all the technologial advances we have, they could make a film that would match or exceed the classic, but when you ignore the story and character development, you end up with much less.

2.5 Slates

 

BATTLE EARTH

BATTLE EARTH follows a man who enlists in the battle to save the Earth from aliens. HIs team of Special Forces set out to deliver a top secret package as they fly over enemy territory. Will they deliver the package in time to save the human race? Making a good alien invasion film can be hard without lots of money. BATTLE EARTH gives it a shot, but unfortunately falls short. Available May 28.

 

A HAUNTING AT SILVER FALLS

A HAUNTING AT SILVER FALLS is a ghost story that will chill the early teen set and is not bad for the rest of us. The story revolves around an orphan who is haunted by the ghosts of twins tho were murdered and her spiral into trying to prove she is not crazy. Check it out for a scary time with your 10 and above kids! Available May 28.

 

POWER RANGERS SAMURI SIXTH RANGER VOL. 4

Fans of the Power Rangers are a going to be excited for this release. It may not be everyones cup of tea, but Kids seem to enjoy the action. This dvd features the first time the Gold Ranger comes to DVD. Available on DVD and Digital Download on May 14.

 

STRIPPED

STRIPPED has a simple premise...four firends head to Vegas to celebrate a Brithday and set out to find some strippers. It turns out the strippers work for an organ trafficker. Look out! It's a different twist on the usual slasher film, but the poor acting and thin storyline make for a film that just doesn't cut it. No pun intended. Available on DVD on May 14.

 

GAMER 3D

The entertaining film GAMER 3D comes our way on Blu Ray featuring a strong cast with Gerard Butler, Michael C Hall and Kyra Sedgwick. GAMER is set in the future where people are controlled by other people in a reality based tv show type video game where losing brings you the ultimate lose...death. Butler is a top player who wants out and sets out to do just that in this fast paced action film. Gamer makes for entertaining escapism. Available on BluRay & Digital Download on May 7.

 

TEXAS CHAINSAW

The legend of the TEXAS CHAINSAW continues in this sequel to the original 70's cult classic. Gore lovers will probably enjoy this bloodfest while others will turn their heads. Lets face it, the plot of every bloody horror film is basically the same...group of young adults get together and are terrorized by a crazed killer...some die, some don't...end of story....you decide. Available as Digital Download on April 30 and on BluRay/DVD/VOD/PPV on May 14.

 

LEAST AMONG SAINTS

LEAST AMONG SAINTS stars Martin Papazian with strong backing performances from Tristan Lake Leabu, Lara San Giacomo, A.J. Cook and Charles Dutton. A well written story and fine acting make for an emotional film that will tug at your heartstrings. A veteran come homes to a wife who has left him, which throws him into a drinking spiral. He meets a boy who's mother dies and together they learn how to care once again from each other. Available VOD on May 3 and on DVD July 2.

 

HIGHLAND PARK

HIGHLAND PARK is a delightful film with a strong cast featuring Billy Burke (Revolution), Danny Glover, Parker Posey, Rockmund Dunbar and more! The film revolves around a bunch of down and out High School employees, who's numbers come up in a multi-million dollar lottery. Their lives are about to change! I enjoyed this film...good story, characters we grow to care about and at times, laugh with. Now available on Video on Demand.

 

THE COLUMBIAN CONNECTION

THE COLUMBIAN CONNECTION stars Tom Sizemore in a decent action film about a former cop who is framed and jailed, then released to do a suicide job for the DEA. Things go from bad to worse for him, as we are draged into the story. An interesting piece of trivia, Bertie Higgins, who had a hit song called "Key Largo" many moons ago, co-wrote and appears in the film. Available on April 16

 

OOGA BOOGA

OOGA BOOGA takes back to a style of filmaking of the old grindhouse pixs. Stacy Keach stars as a corrupt judge who has his hands in all the shady goings on in the city. When an innocent man is killed by the corrupt cops answering the call to a blotched corner store robbery, he returns to our world as a doll out for revenge. Ooga Booga is corny, campy and fun.

 

THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a comedy starring Steve Carell , Steve Buscemi , Olivia Wilde, and Jim Carey (yes, Jim Carrey!).  Magicians Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton are childhood best friends and headlining at their own Las Vegas show together. After doing the same worn-out routine for ten years, Burt and Anton must find their passion for magic again and think of something fresh to do in order to save their show from being stolen by street performer Steve Gray (played by Jim Carrey).

Not expecting much from this film, I was pleasantly surprised. The cast works well together and there are multiple laugh-out-loud scenes. Even as an adult, magic tricks are often amusing to me, so I found parts of this movie to be just that. Although I agree with the PG-13 rating, be aware that there are a few crude jokes referencing sexual situations.

This movie is not a masterpiece and will not leave you feeling amazed, but if you are looking for a comedy and fun time, this is just that.

2.5 Slates

 

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey centers around the adventures of Shire-loving Bilbo Baggins who joins the quest to recover the erstwhile thriving Dwarf kingdom of Erebor. Convinced/Coerced by Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo becomes part of a motley crew of dwarves led by warrior Thorin Oakenshield to take back their domain seized by the dragon Smaug some years back. In their travels, they encounter orcs, goblins, elves, and stone giants. In this first installment is when Bilbo meets Gollum and gains possession of his “precious.”

Truthfully, in spite of the headline, the Hobbit is not a bad movie at all. In fact, it is actually quite entertaining. This first installment is an engaging story that even non-Tolkien fans can easily follow. Martin Freeman brings an endearing and charming portrayal of the courageous hobbit. Sir Ian McKellen gives his usual impeccable performance as Gandalf the Grey. Director Peter Jackson’s decision to offer a 48 frames-per-second (fps) version is a technical achievement, akin to Avatar’s CGI technology. It solves the blur action scenes can ail from at the regular 24 fps.

Unfortunately for the movie, its predecessors, the Rings trilogy, are a very tough act to follow. Although the film’s strength lies in its exposition, it ultimately suffers from too much of it. Its length, 2 hours and 46 minutes, may be overkill for middling moviegoers. Because the book on which The Hobbit is based was made for kids, the film is ultimately light fare. Not necessarily negative, but middle earth fans may be a bit disappointed if expecting a darker/heavier storyline.

Worth watching? Of course. Remember, it’s been nine years since the Return of the King. And we need our fix. But the movie going journey may not be as unexpected. Reviewed by Derek.

 

THE COLLECTION

Fans of gory movies will hit pay dirt with THE COLLECTION. The film is a never ending bloodbath as a girl is kidnapped and delivered into the bloody hands of a sadistic killer. This movie is targeted to fans of the genre and others will only find it discusting...after they finish throwing up. Available March 26

 

PRESSED

In the movie PRESSED, a man tries to maintain his rich lifestye after losing is high executive job with a firm. He makes a bad decision and ends up owing a drug lord big bucks after two teens steal the money. The film draws you in and holds your attention, which makes for good viewing. Be sure to check out his crime drama available March 12.

 

THE SEVEN YEAR HITCH

THE SEVEN YEAR HITCH is a heartwarming film that has two childhood friends platonically living together for seven years when the girl starts dating a scumbag who promptly asks her to marry him and her living friend finds out the guy is cheating on her. This is a fun film, check it out! Available March 5.

 

MIDNIGHT STALLION

Kris Kristofferson stars in MIDNIGHT STALLION about a struggling farming family who's daughter finds a wild stallion and their lives could change because of it. MIDNIGHT STALLION is a heartwarming film which is good for the whole family to enjoy together. Take a movie night break, gather around the tv and enjoy. Available March 5.

 

A LATE QUARTET

Everyone who knows me knows that I am big advocate for independent films.  I praise any high profile actor who takes a film role for the quality of the script and not for a huge paycheck.  A Late Quartet is one of these rare independent film gems, which chose an amazing cast based on the script.  A Late Quartet focuses on the relationship of the quartet members as their leader, Peter, played by Oscar winner, Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter) is forced to retire when he learns he has Parkinson’s disease.  The other quartet members include Robert, played by Oscar winner, Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote); Juliette, played by two time Oscar nominee, Catherine Keener, (Being John Malkovich, Capote); and Daniel, played by the talented actor, Mark Ivanir (Schindler’s List). Who will take Peter’s position?  Daniel and Robert both want the honor and Juliette is caught in the middle for she is married to Robert but feels Daniel is a better musician. If you love classical music, A Late Quartet is a no brainer but this movie is more than just listening to classical music. It has an outstanding screenplay that deals with human behavior, relationships and loyalty – elements that are often missing in Hollywood Blockbuster films.  Don’t miss this quality “little” indie film! Reviewed by Derek.

3.5 Slates

 

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

It is the time of year again when Hollywood starts releasing its holiday film lineup.  Each year one children's film leads the pack, like "Arthur’s Christmas" in 2011.This year’s choice is "Rise of the Guardians", written for the screen by David Lindsay-Abaire and based on the books of the talented children's author, William Joyce.

In "Rise of the Guardians", Jack Frost, voiced by Chris Pine, slowly wakes up not remembering who he is or that he has magical powers.  When a crisis begins with Pitch Dark (Jude Law), the king of Nightmares, Jack Frost is contacted by the guardians of childhood, a group that includes North (Alec Baldwin), Tooth (Isla Fisher), the silent Sandman and the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman).  Jack must assist in stopping Pitch Dark whose evil plan is to stop children from believing in the Guardians and believe in his nightmares.

The film is directed by Peter Ramsey, who has numerous credits as a storyboard artist on such films as "Fight Club", "Men in Black" and "Independence Day" but Ramsey will go down in history as the first African American director of a major Hollywood animated feature film!

"Rise of the Guardians," rated PG, is a film for the entire family with plenty of action for the little ones and humor for the young at heart. This is my choice for an enjoyable family day at the movies!" Reviewed by Derek

3 Slates

 

ARGO

Ben Affleck stars in and directs Argo, an unceasingly uncomfortable movie.
 
Set in the late 1970s during the early stages of the Iran hostage crisis, Argo is about the plight of six American officials who take shelter in the Canadian ambassador’s house in Teheran after the US embassy is stormed by militant protestors. Because of the mounting possibility of being discovered and killed on the streets of Teheran for the entire world to see, the CIA decides they need to be extricated. Tony Mendez, a CIA “exfiltration” expert played by Affleck, hatches this incredible, out-of-this-world, so-ridiculous-it just-might-work plan to make a fake sci-fi movie called Argo and have the six officials pose as a Canadian film crew out location hunting. In other words, Argo is the ruse to dupe the Iranian revolutionaries and allow the officials safe passage out of Iran.
 
As I mentioned, Argo (the real movie, not the fake one) made me feel uncomfortable on so many levels. It transported me back to when I was 13 years old (do the math) watching the crisis unfold before my eyes on TV. Even my limited understanding of the events at that time made me feel uneasy. Affleck’s masterful storytelling is on display, shuffling from suspenseful and tension-laden moments to hilarious Hollywood scenes with John Goodman and Alan Arkin. Even the comedic moments elicit nervous laughter, not letting the viewer forget for one moment the gravity and severity of the main plot. Affleck’s brooding and skillful performance as Tony is only overshadowed by his superb directing.
 
In spite of the discomfort I felt while experiencing it, Argo is a movie that deserves the highest praise. It tackles an event that is every bit as relevant today as it was back then. If anything, Argo proves that Affleck as a director and storyteller has graduated to the big leagues.
 
4 Slates

 

FRANKENWEENIE

Reviewed by Derek Zemrak. Tim Burton has delivered great works of film including Ed Wood, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.  When I had the opportunity to interview Oscar winner, Martin Landau (Ed Wood) he stated "This is Tim's (Burton) best work".  I would have to agree. Classic Tim Burton is back!  Mr. Landau lends his voice talent to one of the lead characters, Mr. Rzykruski.  As always Mr. Landau is outstanding with a "Vincent Price" type portrayal.

Frankenweenie is a project that Tim Burton started as a short film when he was studying animation at California Institute of Art, 30 years ago.  Burton's stop-motion animation, done in black-and-white, pays homage to the classic Universal Pictures such as Frankenstein and Dracula.  This story is about a boy and his dog that touches the heart as it explores their relationship with a tie in to the classic horror film Frankenstein. John August wrote the screenplay, and has teamed up with Tim Burton several times for: Big Fish, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Dark Shadows.  The detailed, beautifully produced stop-motion animation gives the entire film great depth. This is an award winning and breathtaking venture.  The 3D element did not add anything to the movie, as the beauty of the artwork stands alone in 2D.   When Oscar nominations come around in January, I am sure you will see Frankenweenie at the top of the list for best animation.  I would agree with Mr. Landau that Frankenweenie is one of Tim Burton's greatest projects; not only for its story but also the visual masterpiece he created with strong attention to detail in both the picture and the voices.  In addition to Martin Landau, the voice talent includes: Catherine O'Hara (Beetlejuice, Home Alone), who does three voices in the movie, Martin Short (Saturday Night Live), two-time Oscar nominee Winona Ryder (Little Women, The Age of Innocence) and Charlie Tahan (Charlie St. Cloud).   

Do not miss Frankenweenie on the big screen.  Some movies should be seen in theaters and Frankenweenie is one of them! Also, an added treat for you will be your children exploring the history of classic horror cinema.

4 Slates

 

TAKEN 2

Anyone who likes action packed movies will enjoy Taken 2.  This is the sequel to the 2008 blockbuster "Taken" starring Oscar nominee, Liam Neeson that grossed over $226 million worldwide at the box-office.   Once again Neeson (Schindler's List) plays retired CIA operative, Bryan Mills and his wife, portrayed by Famke Janssen (Taken, X-Men series), are taken hostage by the father of the man who kidnapped Mills' daughter, Maggie Grace (Taken, Lost) in the first movie.  Mills killed the kidnapper and now the father wants him dead.

Taken 2 has all the elements of an intense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Movies are made to remove one from reality if only for a few hours, in this case a short 91 minutes.  I find it unbelievable and at times frustrating to see an individual being shot by six people with machine guns and come out alive, but that is just me and this is a Hollywood story.  It was great to see Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite), the honoree of the 14th Annual California Independent Film Festival Maverick Award this past February reprise his role as retired CIA agent, Casey.

 Taken 2 is predictable and not as solid a film as Taken, but it is still worth the price of admission.  Taken 2 is rated PG13 due to graphic violence, human torture and strong language.

2 Slates

 

THE WORDS

Don’t miss this amazing film!

The Words is the best film I have seen this year.  The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past January where it was purchased by CBS films for a reported 2 million and a guarantee of 1.5 million in print and advertising.  This independent film is about author, Rory Jansen, played by Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, Limitless) whose latest novel is a literary success.   Rory is riding the wave of success.  The problem is – Rory did not write it.  Now amongst all the accolades he has to deal with his secret. 

The cast is amazing and includes Oscar Winner, Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune), Dennis Quaid (Far From Heaven), Zoe Saldana (Avatar) and Olivia Wilde (People Like Us).  All the performances are solid but it is the quality of the screenplay by Brian Klugman and Lee Stemthal that shines on the screen.  When Rory, as a struggling writer, once again needs to borrow money from his dad, Rory says “I need to pay my dues” and his dad responds “No I need to pay your dues”.  Another memorable line: “We all make choices in life but the hardest part is to live with them.”  When dialogue from a film stays with you, the words have meaning and impact that will be heard throughout The Words.

As an independent film, The Words was shot on location in Montreal but was used to depict both New York and Paris, which greatly reduced production cost.   Often times these little gems of movies do not see enormous box office results because of a lack of marketing funds; they rely on word of mouth.  The Words is a film that will make you think of your own life.  People will be talking about the movie for days after seeing it, as they reflect on their own lives and the paths that were chosen along the way.

The Words is a must see – take my “Words” for it!

4 Slates

 

THE CAMPAIGN

You know a political film is going to be funny when it opens up with a Ross Perot statement: “War has rules, mud wrestling has rules - politics has no rules.” The laughs start and continue throughout the movie at a steady pace.  Director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Austin Powers) knows when to deliver comedic timing.  This time it’s Will Ferrell (The Other Guy, Blades of Glory) as career politician, Cam Brady, hitting the campaign trail for re-election to Congress in North Carolina.  Cam’s biggest problem with his campaign is himself.  You see, he does whatever he wants and his team always covers up and picks up the pieces. Two wealthy businessmen in the district, the Motch brothers, (John Lithgow and Dan Arkroyd) decide it is time for a change and support local businessman Marty Huggins, played by Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) to the Republican ticket.  Huggins has his share of issues including owning two “Chinese” pugs and working out at the local Curves, a women’s health club.  So the Motch brothers hire professional campaign manager, Tim Wattley, played by Dylan McDermott (The Practice) to clean up and coach Huggins to political victory.

The Campaign, rated “R”, delivers several funny moments in its 85 minutes of running time including Cam Brady mistakenly punching a baby and even worse punching the dog from The Artist, Uggie.  So if you are looking for a no–brainer comedy look no further than The Campaign.

2 ½ Slates

 

THE BOURNE LEGACY

Some things should not be re-Bourne.  How is it possible to walk away from the three previous Bourne films that grossed over one billion dollars worldwide?   Well do what any good producer would do, produce another Bourne movie.   This time Oscar Nominated actor and Modesto native, Jeremy Renner (the Hurt Locker, The Town) plays CIA agent, Aaron Cross (no more Jason Bourne (Matt Damon). Cross is a “modified” agent fleeing for his life with Dr. Shearing, played by Oscar Winner, Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener). Dr. Shearing is the provider of his enhancement drugs.
 
Bourne Legacy, rated PG13, is not a reboot, sequel or prequel; it is a film of its own.  The problem is that the film does not offer anything new.  How many times have we seen an agent on a single mission in the middle of nowhere? This is the opening scene in Alaska.   Yes, there is plenty of action, fight scenes, numerous dodging of bullets and motorcycle chase scenes.  What is new is that the motorcycle chase goes on too long and it takes place in Manila, Philippines. The action does not deliver the heart–pumping thrills to the audience that the previous Bourne films did.   This is a direct result and vision of a new director in the series, Tony Gilroy (Duplicity, Michael Clayton).  Gilroy wrote all of the screenplays in the Bourne series.
 
2 ½ Slates

 

TOTAL RECALL

First, let’s get something straight.  Total Recall is a “Reboot” for the 1990 film of the same name starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is where Hollywood’s creativity has gone – it now calls “Remakes” – “Reboots”. 
 
In this version, there is no trip to Mars. Instead, people are traveling via the Fall, a huge underground elevator, between the super colonies: the United Federation of Britain and The Colony after World War III.  Bored with his daily routine and life, Douglas Quaid, played by Colin Farrell (Miami Vice, Phone Booth) visits Rekall (note Hollywood’s creative spelling) a company that implants artificial memories into humans.  This is when the non-stop action truly begins.
 
Total Recall is filled with intense, well choreographed fight scenes and amazing CGI  (Computer generated images).  But the film lacks both a story line and development.  In summary, Total Recall would be 90% action and 10% plot. 
 
The ensemble cast delivers solid performances that include the stunning Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, The Aviator, Pearl Harbor), actress model singer Jessica Biel (7th Heaven, The Illusionist), John Cho (Harold & Kumar, Star Trek) and Emmy Award Winner actor Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) like you have never seen him before! 
 
So if you are looking for good, mindless fun at the movies then Total Recall is a good choice.  Plus President Obama makes a brief appearance. Sort of.
 
2 slates

 

DIARY OF A WHIMPY KID

Finally Hollywood has released a kid's film with a positive message - Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. The only other kid film that I remember with such a positive message is "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" in 2008.  Dog Days is the third movie for the #1 best selling series by author Jeff Kinney.  The time is summer vacation and Greg (Zachary Gordon) is up to his old tricks and mischief with his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron).  The film addresses teen issues such as "awkward parent moments", "sibling troubles", "first crush," "telling the truth" and "admitting to your mistakes".  I had the chance to contact Zachary Gordon and ask him a few questions about the movie.  Thank you, Zachary for taking time out of your press tour in New York and Chicago to answer the questions:
1) The film has a very good message for pre-teens & teens - if you make mistakes own up to them.  Do you feel this was an important element of the film?
        (Zachary Gordon) This message definitely was an important part of the film.   My character, Greg, continually messes up and doesn't take responsibility for his mistakes.  All his Dad wants him to do is own up to what he does wrong.  Frank, Greg's Dad, sums it up by telling Greg what his own father, Greg's grandfather, said, "A man who never made a mistake never made anything."  I think that says it all.
2) Friendship is a key ingredient of the movie and the cast's interaction is so natural.  Has the cast developed a friendship over the three Wimpy Kid movies?
       (Zachary Gordon) Some of my best friends are part of my Wimpy family.  We became so close and had so much fun throughout the course of filming the three movies.  Although most of us live in different parts of the country, we try to stay in touch as much as possible through FaceTime - and as for the guys, we play Call of Duty on Play Station Live - that's the best way to stay connected.  The friendships I have made these past few years are what I will remember most about filming these movies.
3) Did you have to really ride the Cranium Shaker?  And if so how many times?
       (Zachary Gordon) There wasn't a ride exactly like the Cranium Shaker (from the book) in Vancouver, so we had to settle for the next best thing.  The amusement park's most terrifying ride was the Revelation, which spins its passengers at 62 miles per hour on either end of its 160-foot propeller like arm.  I love amusement park rides, but the build up to this ride was a bit intimidating.  We were promised iPads if we went on the ride, so it made me think it must be horrific!  On the day we filmed, Robert and I were strapped into the ride, while the crew was setting up cameras and doing other technical stuff (for about an hour) and the anticipation was awful.  So by the time we began, I was more anxious than usual.  Once we rode it, I went on eight more times!  I loved it.  For Robert, who doesn't like amusement rides, once was enough. This is a good movie to enjoy with the whole family.

3 Slates

 

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

The Dark Knight Rises is the third batman film from Oscar-nominated writer- director Christopher Nolan (Inception, Memento).  Once again, Oscar recipient Christian Bale (The Fighter) puts on the bat suit to portray Batman.  It has been four years since The Dark Knight was released and seven years since the first Nolan Batman film Batman Begins.  In The Dark Night Rises, Bruce Wayne must return as Batman after eight years to once again save Gotham City from the evil villain Bane portrayed by actor Tom Hardy (Inception, Star Trek Nemesis).  As with the other Nolan Batman films, The Dark Night is dark, suspenseful, a quality screenplay and has incredible cinematography.  The movie is not for children and I question the PG13 rating, due to the extreme violence, tension, sensuality and language.  The opening scene sets the tone of the film and you know that we will be taking a hair raising rollercoaster ride for the next two hours and 40 minutes.

The entire cast is outstanding and kudus go to Director Nolan.  Oscar Nominee, Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) plays sexy cat burglar, Selina Kyle, who comes in and out of the film.  Selina is intended to be the latest Catwoman but the character is never addressed as Catwoman in the movie.  Other cast members returning to the trilogy include Gary Oldman returning as Police Commissioner Gordan, Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.  Although the cast is outstanding I do not see any Oscar winners in the ensemble cast like Heath Ledger’s Oscar performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

In summary, I would say that The Dark Night Rises lives up to the marketing hype with a suspenseful story that keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire two hours and 45 minutes. An alternative for youngsters who are interested in Batman:  home viewing of Batman cartoons or the classic 1960’s television show.

4 Slates

 

TO ROME WITH LOVE

Woody Allen is back!  Last year he won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “Midnight in Paris.” Now he presents “To Rome with Love” that will probably not win an Academy Award or even be nominated.
 
As with many Woody Allen films, the location is the major part of the story.  In “To Rome with Love,” four unrelated groups of people are vacationing in Rome, Italy. Their stories could be four short films, but Woody Allen makes it all work as one. This kaleidoscopic comedy brings to the screen a well known American architect (Alec Baldwin) reliving his youth; an average middle class man suddenly finding himself Rome’s biggest celebrity (Robert Benigni); a young, recently married couple getting drawn into separate romantic encounters; and an American opera director (Woody Allen) searching for the next greatest opera singer.
 
The ensemble cast is outstanding and includes Alison Pill (Midnight in Paris), Oscar Winner, Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), two-time Oscar Nominee, Judy Davis (A Passage to India), Oscar Nominee, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), and Oscar Nominee, Ellen Page (Juno). The outstanding cast proves that actors love working with Woody Allen.  
 
“To Rome with Love” is not “Midnight in Paris" or "Annie Hall", but it is an enjoyable film and Woody Allen once again lights up the screen.  The witty dialogue in Woody Allen at his best.
 
As a side note, his next project will be filmed in New York and San Francisco, which should be a real treat to see.
 
3 Slates

 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

Okay let’s get this straight “The Amazing Spider-Man” is a remake of the 2002 film “Spider-Man” staring Toby Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Hollywood is producing remakes that are only 10 years old!  Where is the creativity in movie making today?  Well that would be in Independent Films but that is a story for another day.  It is time to untangle the web called “The Amazing Spiderman”.

 In this remake, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, The Social Network), is a high school student struggling to figure out who he is as he deals with why his parents disappeared when he was a young child.  Peter enters a laboratory full of spiders and as he leaves a spider bites him on the back of the neck and voilà “Spiderman”.  The film deals with many issues that teenagers face such as first love, social acceptance, and belonging.  Peter’s first love is Gwen (Emma Stone, Easy A, The Help) and together they confront love, loyalty and secrets.   All super hero movies have a villain and and Spidey’s is scientist, Curt Conners, aka “The Lizard” who is superbly played by British actor, Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1).  I have to say a lizard with a British accent is always more dramatic.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” is a good, enjoyable movie but it does not deliver the “Amazing” factor that “Spider-Man” did 10 years ago.  In 2002, seeing the special effect of Spiderman webbing through the city was “WOW”.  Come on Hollywood it has been 10 years give us something new!

2.5 slates

 

BRAVE

Pixar’s 13th film, entitled Brave, is their first film with a female as the lead heroine – a big step in the motion picture industry. Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men) is the voice of the feisty Medira, Princess of Scotland, who is being forced by her mother the Queen, two time Oscar winner Emma Thompson, to choose a husband. Needless to say, Medira is against this plan for her marriage.  The three guys vying for her love are as humbling as the Three Stooges.  Medira is more skilled in archery, horseback riding and mountain climbing.  What is a princess to do?  Well life takes a turn when a spell is cast on the Queen and Medira must save her mother by breaking the spell.

Brave opens with the breathtaking animation of the Scottish landscape – a feature that has made Pixar Studios unique and you know immediately that you are watching a Pixar movie.  The problem with Brave is the story.  It is not like the sophisticated screenplay past films such as Wall E and Up.  Brave quickly moves into the “Disney” safe zone.  Do not get me wrong – Brave is not a bad movie, it is just not what we have come to expect from the high standards that Pixar has created in their previous13 films. The voice talent in Brave is superior to most animated films including King Fergus (Billy Connolly).

Brave opened #1 in the country this past weekend grossing $66.7 million, which keeps their streak going at 13 movies opening #1 at the box office since Toy Story in 1995.

3 Slates

 

THAT'S MY BOY

A movie is going to be bad when the studio does not have a press screening before the theatrical release because they don’t want any bad press and that is exactly what happened with That’s My Boy.  Adam Sandler has stooped to an all time low, making a “comedy” based on the story of a thirteen year old boy, Donny (Adam Sandler) getting his school teacher pregnant.  After the teacher is sentenced, Donny lives the high life until the money runs out.  Then Donny decides to locate his son, Todd played by Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live) so he can appear on a television show for money.  Do you hear anything funny yet?

The cast includes Oscar winner, Susan Sarandon, Oscar Nominee, James Caan, and, Will Forte (Saturday Night Live). These are all talented actors but not in this film.  It is sad when Vanilla Ice, yes the white rapper from the early 90’s, delivers the best performance of the movie.  That’s My Boy has to be the worst movie of the 21st century.  I thought last year’s Sandler movie Jack and Jill, which won 10 Razzie Awards, was horrendous.  The Razzie Awards are presented each year to the WORST movies of the year, similar to the Oscars for quality films.  Well, we know who will be receiving the Razzies this year, That’s My Boy.  I guess Adam Sandler set his goal to win a few more.

½ Slate for employing people to work on the movie

 

BERNIE

As the old saying goes “Life is stranger than fiction.” Bernie is the proof for this statement, because the film is based on the true story of a murder in the small Texas town of Carthage.  I don’t want to give away the plot because I want you to enjoy the many bizarre twists and turns of this story.  Jack Black (School of Rock) plays Bernie Tiede, the local assistant in the Carthage funeral home and the most loved resident in town.  He is also the person who is involved in everything from singing at the church, directing and performing in the local theater and comforting the locals with any needed support.  This is the best performance of Jack Black’s career. It is a stellar performance when an actor makes you forget all his other roles and pulls you into the character. I predict an Oscar nomination for Black!  Yes, I said an Oscar nomination for Jack Black!
 
The film also stars Oscar recipient, Shirley MacLaine, as Marjorie Nugent, the meanest, wealthiest and most hated person in Carthage.  A special friendship develops between Marjorie and Bernie and where the friendship goes is as strange as these two people.  Matthew McConaughey (Lincoln Lawyer) portrays the local DA, Danny Buck, and his performance is also superb.   The movie is written and directed by Texas native, Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused).   The film cuts to documentary-style interviews with the local people of Carthage to get their opinions of the true events that changed their small town.  These intercuts are effective and enjoyable.
 
If you are looking for a unique film that will leave you at the end saying “really??” then Bernie is the movie for you, as it is one of the best films so far this year.

4 slates

 

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

I promised myself I would not compare Snow White and the Huntsman to this year’s earlier Snow White movie, Mirror Mirror, but I can't help myself. There is no comparison! Snow White and the Huntsman is a far superior film in all aspects from script to cinematography to acting; it is a joy to watch.

Snow White and the Huntsman is an updated script of the classic tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, first written in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm. The opening five minutes of the film sets the tone by showing something new, creative and visually pleasing.

The movie stars Kristen Stewart (Twilight Series) as Snow White. Her performance is mediocre at best. If you want to see Kristen’s acting ability rent the movie "The Cake Eaters". It is worth the rental and you will appreciate her performance. Oscar Recipient, Charlize Theron (Monster), plays the role of the Evil Queen, Ravenna, who killed Snow White’s father. You will hate this queen as evil oozes through her pores, although in a few scenes she was a little exaggerated. Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers) plays The Huntsman. Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), plays the prince. In this version, we learn of Snow White and the prince's childhood friendship. The eight dwarfs (yes eight) are excellent and deliver some of the comic relief. It was a pleasure to see veteran actor and Oscar nominee, Bob Hoskins (Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) light up the screen with his performance as Muir, the lead dwarf. I was disappointed that little people did not portray the dwarfs.

The cinematography is astonishing as it captures the breathtaking landscape of the United Kingdom. The castle is stunning and the dark forest is gloomy. First time Director, Rupert Sanders, created a great mix of fantasy, fairytale and action. Snow White and the Huntsman is grim with a PG13 rating due to the violent battle scenes and the graphic transformation of the Evil Queen. The little ones should stay at home and enjoy Disney's 1937 classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

3 1/2 slates

 

MEN IN BLACK III

The French Author Jacques Ellul would have been so thrilled because Hollywood has found another “Raison d’etre” –the author’s masterpiece translated to “Reason For Being”—to create “Men In Black”. It is Time Travel which pervades the whole film.

The duo, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J (Will Smith), first appeared fifteen years ago when the original film, “Men In Black” was released. “Men In Black 3” comes ten years after the release of “Men In Black 2”.

In this film, in the opening scene, Boris The Animal (played by Jermaine Clement known for “Flight of the Conchords”) escapes from a prison that is located in a lunar space. He, the last survivor of the alien race, is now a threat to the entire human race. He is full of anger and animosity towards Agent K.

Agent K’s visceral mission for Boris to languish in the lunar penitentiary was successful in 1969. Boris, who now has the chance to reverse his misfortune, travels in time to 1969 to kill Agent K. In the meantime, Agent J (Will Smith), in the present time, is bewildered about the disappearance of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones).

The spin is now set in motion. Agent J travels back also to 1969 to meet the young Agent K (played by Josh Brolin). Director Barry Sonnenfield, I feel, does not parlay this sequence successfully in the film. 1969 now becomes the time warp in this parlance. Indeed, there appears to be a reflection of bad recalibration in the script with Agent K’s disappearance.

“Men In Black 3” definitely does not have the panache, excitement and surprises that the original movie, “Men In Black” has. However, it is still a very entertaining movie, and it is worth the jaunt for a pleasurable movie experience. Reviewed by Derek


3 slates

 

THE DICTATOR

Sacha Baron Cohen portrays a tyrant named Admiral General Aladeen, who has been “The Dictator” of the North African country of Wadiya since he was 7 years old. He is the epitome of abhorrent despotism that is the centerpiece of the entire film.

“The Dictator” could be viewed as an allegory of travesty that exemplifies the prancing and preening of a despicable ruler both internationally and domestically. Aladeen, being bellicose, rumbles through chauvinism and egotistical mannerisms of his sexual escapades (that include “Ophra! , Ellen! and Ah-nuld! “) and his proclamation of being the lord of the dictators worldwide. Now, how is this belligerent character parlayed in the film?    The film expresses this absurdity in the expression of farce and satire.

The Admiral General, under the threat of protest for democracy, heads to New York for a speech at the United Nations Assembly (sounds familiar? Remember Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?) and ends up being captured by a US agent and brought back to the streets of Manhattan. In the midst of being lost, he re-emerges as a beardless man with a pink shirt by the name of Allison Burger  He then meets Zooey, played by Anna Faris, who is a vegan feminist and clueless about Burger. He calls her the “Hairy Potter” because of her au naturel armpits. The storyline now aims for the cultural differences between the two individuals.

Cohen’s fans that are familiar with “Borat” and “Bruno” will still be very captivated. One big difference to note, however, is that these two movies have successfully employed the characters’ improvisation into the script. On the contrary, “The Dictator” only has a feeble of this reflection.

Borrowing from the movie, “Forest Gump”, I would say that “The Dictator” is “like a box of chocolates”. The only difference is that you will know what “you’re gonna get” – a very humorous film!
 
2 ½ slates

 

BATTLESHIP

What can anyone expect from toy manufacturer Hasbro when they decided to make a movie based on one of their most popular board games – Battleship? The best way to explain this would be to take the Battleship board game, throw it in the air and let the pieces fall where they may.  This is now a big mess!  The special effects were fantastic, jumpy at times, but the story is silly. It made no sense and was confusing because the aliens attack the Navy at sea in Hawaii.
 
Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) directed and Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) stars as the loser who is told to join the Navy by his Navy commander brother, Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood). Brooklyn Decker (What To Expect When You Are Expecting) is the girlfriend. Other cast members include pop star Rhianna and veteran actor, Oscar Nominee, Liam Neeson. Rhianna should have performed a song for the soundtrack and stayed out of the movie. She was not believable as a Gunners Mate Second Class although she could have gotten a few tips if she had watched Demi Moore in “G.I. Jane.”
 
Overall, if you enjoy sci-fi movies with a lot of special effects you will find this movie enjoyable and a fun ride.  I played the board game as a kid and again as an adult with my son, but it never involved aliens.  I would have preferred a coming of age drama script!
 
1 ½ slates 

 

THE MASTER

THE MASTER has been nominated for 3 Academy Awards. It's one of those films that half the people who see it rave about it and the other half say "What in the world was that?". Ultimately you have to judge for yourself, but the film follows a intellectual who creats a following an the WWII vet who becomes his right hand man. A great case includes Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Laur Dern. It's is worth watching. Available February 26....3 slates

 

K-11

K-11 follows a man as he wakes from a drug haze behind prison walls. There he experiences who rules the roost, sometimes in horrific ways. K-11 is a griping film and has some nice twists to keep you interested. A fine cast compliments the film with Goran Visnjic and Kate Del Castillo in the lead roles. In theaters on March 15 and available on DVD April 23....2.5 slates

 

DARK SHADOWS

Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and a Vampire Soap Opera – Oh my!

“Dark Shadows” is Hollywood’s latest attempt to take a popular television series and bring it to the big screen. This was a gothic soap opera that ran on TV from 1966 to 1971, with a total of 1,225 episodes.   It is interesting to note that originally “Dark Shadows” did not have a vampire story line until Barnabas Collins was introduced as one in 1967. The ratings skyrocketed!

Fast-forward to 2012: What is Academy Award nominated, director Tim Burton’s (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands) interpretation of the vampire soap opera?   A comedy!  Burton has stated that he was a big fan of the television series, running home each day from school to catch the new episode.  Burton would have been eight at the time and I guess at that age, he found “Dark Shadows” a comedy.  Burton cast his favorite; three time Oscar Nominee, Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean, Ed Wood), as the lead, Barnabas Collins, who is solid as the sexy vampire.  Depp can play any role offered to him; he is one of the best actors of our generation and way over due to receive an Oscar!  The ensemble cast includes the beautiful, three time Oscar nominee, Michelle Pfeiffer (Dangerous Liaisons), as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard; the striking Eva Green (Casino Royale), as Collins former girlfriend – a witch who cast a spell on him years ago; and Oscar Nominee, Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children), as the quirky caretaker Willie Loomis.  I am not sure if Burton also ran home from school to watch “The Addams Family” but Dark Shadows was not a comedy.  The film version in my mind is more of a representation of “The Addams Family;” even Barnabas has a little Morticia Addams in him.

It is always an experience to see a Tim Burton film, which needs be seen on the big screen, as he is the master of creative, bizarre cinematography.   No one has his “eye”.  The set decorations and 1970s period piece costumes receive big kudos! “Dark Shadows” is a highly entertaining film with some graphic vampire killings. Anyone who was a true fan of the television series will be disappointed.  The rest of us will find it an enjoyable 113 minutes! Reviewed by Derek.

3 slates

 

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOUR EXPECTING

I have to say I was hesitant about how screenwriters Shauna Cross (Whip It) and Heather Hach (Freaky Friday) were going to adapt the bestseller “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”, from Heidi Murkoff, dubbed by the New York Times as “the pregnancy bible”, into a feature film, but they did it and did it right!  As with the book, the movie addresses all aspects of pregnancy, from miscarriage, adoption, mood swings, emotional breakdowns downs to cankles! 

The film follows five couples through different stages of pregnancy. The ensemble cast including Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks (The 40 Year Old Virgin), Brooklyn Decker (Just Go With It), Matthew Morrison (Glee), Ben Falcone (Bridesmaids), Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock, and Rodrigo Santoro (300), all do an admirable job. However, I would have to say that Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids) was the scene-stealer.  Rebel had several of the funniest lines in the movie, as the eccentric sales girl in the maternity store. One of the best lines was delivered to her boss "Can I take my 15 minutes Facebook break?” 

As with most pregnancies, surprises happen along the way and this screenplay touches on those moments. All pregnancies are different; some easy, some not so easy, some complicated and some tragic.   High praise must be given to the screenwriters as well as the director, Kirk Jones (Waking Ted Devine), for keeping the non-comedic difficult elements in the film. 

It was enjoyable to watch “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” remembering trying to find a banana cream pie at 2:30 a.m. to satisfy my wife’s craving.   All I can say is; thank you Nations for being open 24 hours a day.   I highly recommend this entertaining movie.  Make it a girls’ night out, but this time bring along the husbands, or significant others as everyone will find some exceedingly funny moments to share, remember and rekindle. Reviewed by Derek.

3 slates

 

THE AVENGERS

Is it a marvel and a Marvel?

“The Avengers” is a movie that represents the quintessential ending of a series that has spun over a four - year period.  Superhero aficionados have been waiting for this movie since the release of “Iron Man” in 2008.

“The Avengers” is a film that is inspired by a resonating sound of unity amongst the Marvel Comics Superheroes against an evil with egomaniacal superpower. The film’s plot is rather simplified, but Director and Scriptwriter Joss Whedon, has successfully turned this nuisance to a very engaging, ‘funtastic’ and fantastic pivotal advantage. Quibble no more as it is truly a marvel. These extraordinary creatures have big egos and personas to the nth degree. It is unfathomable that the script and film could be developed with these extremities. This, my fellow avid moviegoers, did not befall overnight. Our quench for thirst, pangs of unbridled curiosity and our incessant need for more superhero movies have been parlayed into a filmic experiment.

Gradually, in the past four years, most of the characters in “The Avengers” have been introduced in a movie especially created for them: “Iron Man”, “Captain America” and “Thor”. Their personas have been richly nurtured and developed by Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth, respectively. Furthermore, showcasing the unrequited love of “Black Widow” (Scarlett Johansson) for “Hawkeye” (Jeremy Renner) adds an ingredient of reality—can love conquer all including disdain and betrayal? The movie then becomes more captivating and intriguing. It even sounds like a box office magnet to me at this point.

Well, “Is it a marvel and a Marvel?” From the financial and creative sides of the equation, it is undoubtedly both. The movie is truly whimsical, imaginative, and magical—even at the box office! Reviewed by Beau

4 slates

 

4 ASSASSINS

4 ASSASSINS brings together 4 paid assassins and questions need to be answered about the last job. Will the hitman, played by Will Yun Lee (Hawaii-Five-0) under question make it out alive? Check out this tense cat and mouse game and find out. 4 ASSASSINS is a well played story on film. Available February 19....2.5 slates

 

THE WHOLE TRUTH

Elisabeth Rohm (Law & Order) stars in THE WHOLE TRUTH, a comedy surrounding a woman whose job is showing criminals going to court how to be presentable to the jury to help them be set free. Things go wrong when she becomes the target of one of those criminals, hilariously played by Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight) as a Russian mobster. THE WHOLE TRUTH is a fun film that's worth watching. Available February 5....2.5 slates

 

ALEX CROSS

Tyler Perry stars in a different role from his usual comedies. He plays a police detective looking at moving to a desk job with the FBI, when a serial killer steps into the picture. Plenty of action and suspense, but I found the first 3rd of the film slow and not really caring about the characters. As the film progresses it does draw you in, but you have to stick with it for the eventual payoff. Available February 5....3 slates

 

THE POSSESSION

I have the opportunity to screen many hooror films and most just go for the shock value and no real storyline. Not so with THE POSSESSION! I really enjoyed this film and gave a real chill down my spine at times. A little girl becomes possesed from a spirit in a box and all hell breaks loose! NIce twists and a good story! I recommend this one...watch it with the lights off. Available January 15....3 slates

 

COUNTERPUNCH

COUNTERPUNCH is based on a true story of a young boxer who ends up in jail. After his release, he works his way back up the ranks for a shot at the title. It's a typical plot for a boxing story, but well done in this film. Here is another one you'll enjoy if you like boxing movies...and even if you don't like boxing movies! Available January 15....2.5 slates

 

THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE

Before MTV's version THE INBETWEENERS, it was a hit British show and THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE is a continuation of the series with the original cast. The movie stands head to toe with the TV show and is one funny film! The boys head out on a trip to a Greek island after they graduate, with no parents, looking for wild days and nights of drinking and women....will they get their wish? Check this one out, it's much better than most teen coming of age films! Available January 8....3 slates

 

UNDERCOVER BRIDESMAID

UNDERCOVER BRIDESMAID is another one of those light hearted, fun films. A female bodyguard is assigned to watch a rich man's daughter who has been getting death treats as her wedding approaches. During the case, she is being distracted by a handsome friend of the groom. A cute film to watch on a date. Available January 15....2.5 slates

 

CUPID

CUPID is a light hearted romp about love. A girl about to give up on finding Mr Right, is given a mission to help another couple fall in love and is promised that she then will find true love. Don't look for anything to deep, just sit back and have fun with it! Available January 15....2.5 slates

 

SEAL TEAM SIX:THE RAID ON OSAMA BIN LADEN

We knew from the moment it happened we knew a movie would be in the works. SEAL TEAM SIX: RAID ON OSAMA BIN LADEN is the first to come our way. They did a good job with this film considering everyone knows the final outcome, but we knew the ending of Titanic and people still watched it. I'm sure the huge budget film coming out soon will overshadow this one, but check it out,,,it makes for interesting viewing. Available January 8....2.5 slates

 

CINDERELLA

The story of CINDERELLA heads to the wild west in this new version of the classic tale. Kids will get a kick out of the pirates (hey, it's a cartoon, of course you can have pirates and their ship in the desert) and the other characters. But the film falls short at times as it moves slow and the characters are a bit strange looking. But as I said, the kids will enjoy it! Available December 26....2 slates

 

ARBITRAGE

ARBITRAGE is a film filled with greed, coruption, affairs, power, money, deceit, cheating...all things that make for a movie that pulls you into the story. Richard Gere stars along side Susan Sarandon and a great cast. Gere plays a Wall Street mogul about to sell his company, that is limping along, before anyone finds out about the problems. Along the way, events happen that makes things worse (of course)! Available December 21....3 slates

 

BUTTER

BUTTER offers up a first class cast in an off beat comedy/ satire! It features an amusing story in a backdrop of butter sculpting...that's right, butter sculping! Much in the style of other off beat films such as "Best of Show", "Butter" is quirky but fun. Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Alicia Silverstone, Ashley Green and Hugh Jackman all give rousing performances as the story weaves it's self through an affair, a competion (Butter sculping) and lies. A film worth watching! Available December 4....3 slates

 

THE EXPENDABLES 2

THE EXPENDABLES 2 is an all out, non stop, kickass movie...period! Check out this cast:Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger! What more can I say? This installment has more action than the first and you don't want to miss it! We know they will make a "3" and I can't wait to see who and what that one will bring for us!. Available November 20....3.5 slates

 

ELFMAN

ELFMAN stars 'Wee Man" from the Jackass films, but don't let that scare families away. It actually is a pretty decent holiday film. An inventor is kidnapped on Christmas Eve and Santa has one of his elves (Elf Man) help find him. It's a fun and heartwarming adventure for the whole family. Enjoy!. Available December 4....2.5 slates

 

THE DOG WHO SAVED THE HOLIDAYS

THE DOG WHO SAVED THE HOLIDAYS features a solid cast with Elisa Donovan, Dean Cain, Gary Valentine, Shelley Long, Michael Gross and the voice talents of Joey Lawrence. The plot may not be Oscar material, but it is a fun romp for the holiday season. Kids will love it and the adults will have a goodtime sharing a family little movie time with them. Take a break from the holiday rush and enjoy!. Available December 4....2.5 slates

 

12 CHRISTMAS WISHES FOR MY DOG

Christmas and dogs always seem to come together in holiday films and it seems Elisa Donovan has done her share of holiday movies with dogs. She stars in this cute film about a woman waiting for her boyfriend to propose...and is disapointed. She also loses her job and meets up with an angel. That's all we'll say, but what ensues makes for a fun holiday film. And be sure to listen to our past interview with Elisa Donovan in our 'Reruns" section of On Screen & Beyond. Available November 27....2.5 slates

 

CHRISTMAS IN COMPTON

At this time of year, there are dozens of new Christmas films that come our way, some are cute, some are good, some are bad. CHRISTMAS IN COMPTON, dispite having a low budget feel, comes through with the goods, with a good cast led by Omar Gooding, Keith David and Eric Roberts. The plot revolves around a Christmas tree lot and a crazy cast of characters. Enjoyable holiday viewing. Available November 27....2.5 slates

 

HIGHWAY

HIGHWAY follows a couple of pot loving guys, out to find "marijuana nirvana". Along the way they end up in some funny situations. Not one of the funniest "stoner" movies, but it does ofer a few chuckles along the way. You'll recognize Erik Estrada in the cast. Available November 13....2 slates

 

THE GHOSTMAKER

THE GHOSTMAKER is a very watchable low budget movie that people who like horror films. A group of friends find an ancient coffin that lets them experience the world as a ghost. As the film moves on, they find that they are being dragged into another world where they are losing control. Not your usual type horror film. Check it out ...if you dare! Available November 13....2.5 slates

 

GUMMIBAR: THE YUMMY GUMMY SEARCH FOR SANTA

GUMMIBAR: THE YUMMY GUMMY SEARCH FOR SANTA is a cute feature length film that has the internet star in his first movie for christmas. Santa is missing and Gummibar and his freinds set out to search for the jolly old elf! I can't see this one becoming a classic, but still enjoyable for the younger set. Available November 6....2.5 slates

 

FIRE WITH FIRE

FIRE WITH FIRE is a fast paced action thriller with a great cast, including Josh Duhamel and Bruce Willis! Duhamel plays a guy who witnesses a double murder and he becomes the next on the list. This one will keep you on the edge of your seat! Available November 6....3 slates

 

JAVIER BARDEM

JAVIER BARDEM 3-FILM COLLECTION features 3 of Bardem's top works, including "No Country For Old Men", "Biutiful" and "Mondays In The Sun". "No Country For Old Men" may be his most popular film, but these other two are no less dramatic. Javier shines in each film! Available November 6....3 slates

 

HIROKIN: THE LAST SAMURI

HIROKIN: THE LAST SAMURI may be a low budget film, but it makes for fun viewing! Set in a post- apocalyptic world where the hero, Hirokin, must fight to survive against an evil ruler! Julian Sands stars as the evil ruler and Wes Bently of "The Hunger Games" plays Hirokin. Check it out for an entertaining evening. Available November 6....2.5 slates

 

CHILLY CHRISTMAS

The Holiday films are starting to hit the video shevles already, as CHILLY CHRISTMAS comes our way. It makes for cute viewing for kids and parents will enjoy a movie they can watch with their kids. Don't look for a deep meaning film, just fun! At this time of year, many of this type of film with dogs flood the market and this one will start getting the kids in the Christmas mood...and yes, they will watch it over and over! Available November 6....2.5 slates

 

MEATLOAF: THE GUILTY PLEASURE TOUR

MEATLOAF: THE GUILTY PLEASURE TOUR dvd captures his recent 2011 tour through Australia and it gives us a look at this music icon who has been rocking out his hits since 1977! Who hasn't sung along with Paradise By The Dashboard Lights at some point! While watching this dvd, you'll feel you had the best seat in the house and of course, it's loaded with great music! Available worldwide November 20....3 slates

 

MADEA'S WITNESS PROTECTION

MADEA IS BACK! Tyler Perry serves up another one of his installment's of his Madea franchise. MADEA'S WITNESS PROTECTION bring out the laugh's as a family in the withess protection plan has been placed into Madea's house and the fun begins. It's one of those wacky movies you just can't help but watch. It may not be the best Madea outing, but it still delivers! Available October 23....3 slates

 

TYLER PERRY'S: I DON'T WANT TO DO WRONG

Funnyman Tyler Perry never seems to stop working. I DON'T WANT TO DO WRONG is a play that was taped live in Atlanta and puts you right in the best seats in the house. Being a play it has a different feel than a movie, but the feel is the thrill of performing live! The plot is about a woman who has to move in with her parents because of hard times and what we get is a play filled with songs, laughter and even a tug on the heartstrings! Available October 23....3 slates

 

LIGHTNING THE WHITE STALLION

LIGHTNING THE WHITE STALLION stars movie legend Mickey Rooney in an enjoyable family film that kids will love. No, it's not as strong a film as Rooney's "National Velvet" or "The Black Stallion", but it is still entertaining. It involves a stolen horse, a young girl in need of an operation and bad guys. Stir it all together and you have this film! Available November 20....2.5 slates

 

EVERYBODY'S FINE

After the death of his wife a man (Robert DeNiro) tries to reconnect with his family, who communicate through his wife. When they all decline to come to a weekend reunion, he sets out to visit them. EVERYBODY'S FINE is a simple and at times touching film about families and relationships. DeNiro does a great job in the role. Have some tissues close by! Available October 16....2.5 slates

 

THE CUP

THE CUP brings us a story based on true events of the Melbourne Cup in Australia. Unlike some based on true events films, The Titanic (we know it sunk, if you didn't know that, sorry!) and Secretatiat (They win the race, again apologies), THE CUP is a story many may not know unless they are a fan of horse racing or from Australia. Without giving away the story, this film pulls you in and does not let go. We feel the ups and downs of the main character. If you are looking for a film that will tug at your heartstrings, this one may be your ticket. The film stars Brendan Gleeson of Harry Potter fame (minus the makeup) and Stephen Curry of The Castle. Available October 16...... 3 slates
 

ELLA ENCHANTED

ELLA ENCHANTED stars Anne Hathaway in a lighthearted fun film for the whole family. It's one of those movies that you just sit back and take it in and let yourself go with it. Kids will get a kick out of it as Ella sets out to keep her secret (she recieved the gift of obedience ar birth) and tries to get it take back now that she is older. Plenty of modern cult refrences and just plain fun! Available October 16....2.5 slates

 

A PRINCESS FOR CHRISTMAS

Christmas is already on it's way, at least in the DVD world! A PRINCESS FOR CHRISTMAS is sure bet if you're looking for a fell-good holiday film. A woman an her sisters children travel to England to see the royal family they are related to, but the royal family never accepted them. Now the grandfather wishes to see the children after their parents died. A heartwarming movie to watch as the days start cooling down and it is filled with beautiful scenery! Available October 16....2.5 slates

 

BACK FROM HELL

With Halloween approaching, you may be looking for a film to send a chill up your spine. Well, BACK FROM HELL may fit that bill for you. A group of friends looking to relax, rent a manor in the countryside and all hell breaks loose! Paranormal occurances, possession and a priest set on exorcising the spirit away makes for chilling viewing! Available October 16....2.5 slates

 

ROBERT CONRAD DOUBLE FEATURE

ROBERT CONRAD is most known for his role on The Wild, Wild West, but he also made his share of movie. This dvd brings us two of those films and they both give us a good amount of action, which was the cornerstone of his role as a badass. Sudden Death was probably my favorite of the two, but both make for good viewing, not his best work but still fun to watch! Available October 16....2.5 slates

 

SOMETHING BIG

SOMETHING BIG is one of those films that is just fun to watch. Dean Martin cruises through the movie in his usual style, with just enough tonge-in-cheek to have us not take it too seriously. Brian Keith adds to the cast and the combination of the two makes it the perfect movie to watch on a rainy day. NOt too much to think about, just plain fun! Available October 9....2.5 slates

 

30 BEATS

30 BEATS follows a group of people in New York as they explore their sexuallity as each persons story mixes with the others. This is a rather slow moving film, which is suprising considering the subject matter and the direction it could have gone. The cast is engaging enough, but I think we could have felt closer to their characters with a little more insight and Jennifer Tilly is always a delight to see on screen! Available October 9....2.5 slates

 

A CAT IN PARIS

A CAT IN PARIS is a beautiful and enchanting work of animation! With the shift in the animation world to bring us computer genterated 3D animation, this film bring us a breath of fresh air! The story follows a cat that works with a cat burgular with a heart by night and lives with a little girl by day. It was nominated for an Oscar and I can see why! We need more of this type of animation! .... Available October 9....3 slates

 

AFTER DUSK THEY COME

When I received AFTER DUSK THEY COME, I thought "Well, here comes another bloody movie trying to see how many gruesome ways they can kill people", but after watching it, I can say, I was pleasantly surprised! The movie does has it's bloody moments, and the constant chewing and gnawing sounds of the creatures is enough to give you the willies, but the movie is quite good! Shipwrecked on an island, a group of people try to escape the hands of a group of man-eating creatures. Available October 2....2.5 slates

 

SHE WANTS ME

Josh Gad stars in SHE WANTS ME as a guy with a dilemma...he's writing a screenplay and has promised his girlfriend the lead role, but his agent wants a famous actress, played by HIlary Duff, to star in it. His problems increase throughout the film with the return of his girlfriend's ex-husband. An entertaining romantic comedy. Available September 25....2.5 slates

 

ANY LAST WORDS

ANY LAST WORDS? mixes the traditional western with a bit of the supernatural. Bat Masterson, left for dead, meets a stranger and he must look back on his life. Not your usual western and at times it's a little slow. The acting is minimal at best by a few of the actors and the sound effects of the rifles firing during a scene when they are trapped in a cabin as indians attack, sounds like cap guns. Available September 25....1.5 slates

 

THE REVENANT

THE REVENANT is a story of a soldier who is ambushed and after being sent home for his burial, comes back to life but he needs fresh blood to survive and decides to help rid the streets of criminals. Wow! Part vampire, part superhero, all out fun! The film stars David Anders (The Vampire Diaries) and he does a good job as the dead guy with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. Along with his buddy played by Chris Wylde, they set out to clean up the city....in their own way! Available September 18.... 2.5 slates

 

LETTING GO

LETTING GO gives us a man who just can't seem to get a break. His "girlfriend" isn't much of a friend, his boss is on him constantly and that's just the beginning...everyone wants something! Dog lovers will get a kick out of the dogs and it's good to see Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch) and Peter Scolari (Bosom Buddies, Newhart) on the screen. Makes for light enjoyable viewing and a quirky look at life. Available September 11.... 2 slates

 

LAST WILL

With a cast that includes Tom Berenger, Tatum O'Neal, James Brolin and Peter Coyote, I must say, I was really expecting more from LAST WILL. The film does OK at keeping your attention, but the spark is missing. The film follows a woman who marries a rich man and his brothers do not accept her, thinking she is a golddigger. When he changes his will making her sole beneficiary and mysteriously dies, the brothers strike back and she sets out to clear her name. Worth looking at, but don't expect too much. Available September 4.... 2 slates

 

GIRL IN PROGRESS

Eva Mendes stars in GIRL IN PROGRESS as a mother coping with life as a single mom, with a daughter trying to growup to fast. Mendes does an excellent job as the mom, as does Cierra Ramirez as the troubled daughter. This is a heart warming comedy about life and what it takes to survive....and an ejoyable fim! Available September 11.... 2.5 slates

 

 

APPROPRIATE ADULT

APPROPRIATE ADULT is a truly mesmerizing piece of cinema. The film is based on a real life story of a serial killer in the UK and will keep you at the edge of your seat the entire time. Emily Watson has a stand out performance as the "Appropriate Adult" who must be with the serial killer as he is being interviewed by police to make sure he is treated fairly. Be sure to catch this one! Available September 11.... 2.5 slates

 

SAFE

SAFE is a none stop thrill ride starring action hero Jason Statham. Never mess with Statham! In this outing, he plays a fighter who gets mixed up with the Russian mob and all I will say is, they picked the wrong guy to cross. Along the way me meets up with a Chinese girl in need of help and it never stops! Action at it's best! Available September 4..... 3.5 slates

 

FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY

FOR LOVE OF MONEY follows two guys from kids in the street to adulthood and their trek into the world of the mob. James Caan does a great job as the tough mobster as does the rest of the cast. There are times when the film moves a little slow, but overall not a bad movie. Available September 4..... 2.5 slates

 

 

BALLET BEAUTIFUL: TOTAL BODY WORKOUT

The best test for a workout video is if it keeps you moviated and you use it for the long run and ultimately, if it works. Time will tell, but my initial viewing of BALLET BEAUTIFUL shows that the it does seem to work well at work on your muscles. As someone who is used to doing crossfit, this DVD does use muscles you may not use everyday (meaning you can get sore muscles after doing the excercises, which is a good thing!) Check it out and see for yourself and hopefully, over time, you will see results! . Available September 4

 

PIRANHA 3DD

PIRANHA 3DD...A sequel to a remake of a 1970's B movie! A tough spot to be in...the remake did ok and actually was fun in a tongue in cheek sort of way. This sequel does not live up to it's predecessor, but still a movie you can watch if you are in the right mind set. David Hasselhoff does his usual stick and Gary Busey enven makes an appearance. Available September 4..... 2.5 slates

 

CHANGING THE GAME

CHANGING THE GAME is a film that I found to draw you in and not let go! It follows the not so easy life of a man from childhood to manhood and all the hardships he encounters on the way. Is the life on the streets much different from life on Wall Street? Fine performances by the cast and a well written script. Be sure to check it out, available August 28..... 2.5 slates

 

THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT

ollowing up last year's comedy smash hit, Bridesmaids, Producer Judd Apatow brings The Five Year Engagement, starring Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Parda) and Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) to the Lamorinda theaters.   This movie is not as creative or original as Bridesmaids or as well written as Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  Jason Segel, wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall and co-wrote The Five Year Engagement with Director Nicholas Stoller.

In the film, Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt) get engaged, but circumstances postpone their wedding dates: The poor old grandparents keep dying off; Violet accepts a post doc program at the University of Michigan; Tom agrees to delay his career as a chef in a San Francisco restaurant to support Violet; and the Michigan weather freezes their relationship as Tom loses a few toes. The engagement and the film go on too long.  We all know the ending, so take us there.  The film has some funny scenes and some not so funny scenes. More editing might have moved the movie along so that it would only have been a Three Year Engagement, resulting in a better pacing of laughs.

2 Slates

 

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

Everyone likes a good horror flick, but this film is a bit different from any other. Almost like any other horror film, the film starts off with a group of college students preparing to go to a cabin in the woods. Throughout the movie, the group of friends are tortured by zombies while in other scenes, you see a group of business people watching and discussing the events taking place. This film shows the audience both sides of a horror film; the victims, and the perpetrators perspectives. Comparing it to other films, it would be a mix between The Hunger Games, a sci-fi film, and Saw.

Being such a strange and different take on horror films, this film is the type that you either love or hate. It’s one of those films that may take a while to sink in and form an opinion on. Reviewed by Katrina

Rate: 2

 

THE LUCKY ONE

Everyone searches for love in different ways and in The Lucky One, Marine, Logan Thibault (Zac Efron, High School Musical, Charlie St. Cloud) returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq, searching for the woman (Taylor Schilling, Mercy) who he believes saved his life in an Iraqi war zone.   Logan found a photo of the woman in a pile of rubble and carried it with him at all times.  Who is she and is she the one for him?

The movie is formulaic - boy finds girl, girl is torn and drama ensues. Efron does a good job as the post-traumatic service man and has established himself as an actor, surpassing being a “Disney Kid”.   Schilling portrays Beth, the woman in the photo who at times reminds me of Mary Stuart Masterson.   The biggest problem with her performance was that she never cried and this is a “Tear Jerker” movie.  When the lead female is unable to cry it quickly drops the tear radar.   The strongest performance comes from the solid veteran actress, Blythe Danner (Meet the Parents) who plays the supportive, loving grandmother to Beth. Blythe Danner is Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother.

The Lucky One is based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John) and directed by Oscar Nominee Scott Hicks (Shine).   When a movie has all this talent you might expect more.  The cinematography captures the southern backdrop that adds to the depth of this  “Chick Flick”.  If you are looking for a movie that requires limited thinking and is formula based, then The Lucky One is for you. Reviewed by Derek

 2 Slates

 

THE NEWEST PLEDGE

THE NEWEST PLEDGE has an interesting storyline that revolves around a baby that is left on the steps of a party hardy frat house and they set out to take care of the baby! Surprisingly, they don't hit all the usual "baby with adult who knows nothing about kids" jokes, so I have to give them credit for that. It's not as funny as it could have been, but it does give some laughs. Entertaining enough for a once over viewing. Available August 28..... 2.5 slates

 

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND stars John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard) and Dylan McLaughlin (Georgian Rules and a past guest on On Screen & Beyond) as two people brought together under unfortunate circumstances and they end up helping each other work through their problems. An inspiring film for the whole family! Be sure to check this one out and get the family together for an enjoyable family movie night. Available August 28..... 2.5 slates

 

TOUCHBACK

TOUCHBACK is on of those movies that draws you in and doesn't let go! Brian Presley, Kurt Russell and Melanie Lynskey give wonderful performances in this touching film. There is plenty of football action, but the main reason the film works is because the most important part of a film was not forgotten...the story!

Presley plays a former high school state champion quarterback, who was injured in the championship game. Now, years later he is down on his luck, I mean this guy can't get a break! That's all I'll tell you, but trust me, this is a very enjoyable movie! Available September 4........ 3 1/2 slates

 

YOU, ME & THE CIRCUS

Making a movie is tough... making a musical is tougher...making a movie musical with a surreal backstory is an almost impossible task! Yet, YOU, ME & THE CIRCUS comes through with flying colors with the help of a strong cast (Anita Briem, Matt Dallas, Melonie Diaz and Ty Hodges, who also directed), a wonderful soundtrack and some poignant moments.

The story follows a couple on the verge of a breakup and the events that follow, mixed in with a surreal circus storyline that follows the couples feelings. A bold move by the writer and the director, but it works! Check it out, available September 4..... 2.5 slates

 

FREELANCERS

FREELANCERS sports some top names in the cast, Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker, Dana Delaney. With that cast you would expect a top notch film, yet it only comes through with a film that is OK but nothing special. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson plays the new partner on the force and he finds the other officers are involved in some shady matters! Check it out, available August 21..... 2.5 slates

 

 

ELEVATOR

ELEVATOR is a little gem that brings a diverse group of people together in an elevator, only to realize that they are stuck and there is a ticking bomb on board! This film keeps you on the edge of your seat, but keeps it light with it's dark humor. Overall, a fun ride! Available August 21..... 2.5 slates

 

 

STALLONE: 3-FILM COLLECTOR'S SET

What is better than a Sylvester Stallone movie?...3 Stallone movies!!! STALLONE: 3-FILM COLLECTION features 3 of Sly as the hero Rambo in RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD, as a sheriff in COP LAND and as prisoner in LOCK UP. Each film is filled with the action and suspense that you expect from a Stallone film. These films may not be his biggest films, but they still give you an adrenaline jolt and the fun you are looking for! Available August 14........ 3 1/2 slates

 

THE THREE STOOGES

Three  Stooges' fans will enjoy the new Farrelly brothers film (Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary)  where modern day cinema meets classic slap stick comedy.  The youngest will laugh out loud as they experience Hollywood nostalgia for the first time.  The movie is broken up into episodes similar to the old television series.  Seeing the three stooges' faces, the classic titling on the screen and hearing that stooges' music, instantly brings a smile to your face.  In the first episode, Moe (Chris Diamantopoulous, 24), Larry (Sean Hayes, Will & Grace) and Curly (Will Sasso, MadTV) are dropped off as babies at an orphanage run by mother superior (Jane Lynch, Glee).  We quickly learn that these three boys are a force to reckon with, as they begin playing practical jokes on the nuns and the other kids at the orphanage.  As the episodes move forward, the stooges get older and the nuns never age.???  Soon the orphanage is facing closure if it does not raise 800,000 dollars.  It is Moe, Larry and Curly to the rescue! The teens will enjoy seeing the cast from MTV's popular hit series Jersey Shore in the movie but the adults will be asking who are they?  Plus why is Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing a nun?

The Three Stooges is not one of the best Peter and Bobby Farrelly movies but it is worth a family day at the theatre.  Don't forget to take along grandpa as he will enjoy the trip down memory lane.

2 slates

 

THE HUNGER GAMES

The Hunger Games centers on the sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen-- played by Jennifer Lawrence-- who lives in the post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem, where North America previously existed. It refers to an annual event where one boy and one girl are chosen from the surrounding area of Panem to compete in a televised battle that only one young person will survive.

The districts of Panem are relegated to live in servitude of the superior and technologically advanced metropolis, Capitol. On the day of reaping, the dictatorial empire mandates that each district provides one male and female tribute aged between 12 and 18, to participate in a fierce battle of “survival of the fittest.”

Indeed, I highly applaud the casting crew for picking Jennifer Lawrence to play the film’s protagonist. Famous for her role in “Winter’s Bone” as the Ozark’s girl, Jennifer has certainly amplified the persona of Ree to a very convincing character of stillness and strength as Katniss. Furthermore, she has effectively projected Katniss’ raw angst of self disclosure with the luminescent alacrity of unfettered impulsion as the stoic heroine of the movie.

As for the direction of the movie, I found myself distracted and needing some aspirin tablets. Director Gary Ross seemingly whips the camera from one angle position to the next without any regard to a moviegoer’s calming viewing experience. One can only assume that he, himself, probably must have been experiencing bouts of nervousness and anxiety whilst filming. To this end, how I wish he could have learned from Katniss’ emblazing gaze of steadfastness!

Overall, the film could either be a feast or famine; boon or bane for our filmic taste buds. It may not coagulate sensibly with our rationale at times; especially, when the youth must provide a form of pugnacious rituals of entertainment.

The movie, for what it is worth, is definitely emotive. The Hunger Games will indeed stoke you!

3 1/2 slates

 

American Reunion

American Reunion is the seventh sequel of the American Pie franchise (four theatrical movies and three direct to DVD films). This film overflows with crude vulgar sexual humor and nudity.   This sequel bears no resemblance to Romy and Michele' s High School Reunion –it is more in the vein of The Hangover.

It was great to see the original cast reunited and the original support cast has some funny cameos.  You feel like you are catching up with old high school friends as well.   The movie moves very quickly delivering a fast paced laugh track in the first hour but it slows to a snail’s pace when the gang finally arrives at the reunion, with too much reminiscing.  You would expect the laughs to continue and not slow down.

The ensemble cast’s performance is as good as it was in the original movie but veteran actors Jennifer Coolidge (Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) and Eugene Levy (A Mighty Wind, Best in Show) steal the show. They are masters of comedic timing and they are not in the movie long enough.

American Reunion will make you laugh out loud as you remove yourself from your daily worries. The movie runs for 113 minutes.  

Two screening tips:

1)   Parents keep the kids at home.  American Reunion is rated R for several reasons.

2)   Stay for the end credits for a few more laughs.

2.5 Slates | reviewed by Derek

 

THE SWORD IDENTITY

THE SWORD IDENTITY brings back the non-stop action packed martial arts movie that has not been around for a while. The plot is about a man out to prove that his sword is invinvible and we are taken on a rollercoaster ride of kung fu action! Available August 14..... 2.5 slates

 

 

WILLIAM AND CATHERINE: A Royal Romance

With all the hoopla that surrounded the Royal Wedding of William and Kate, it's not suprising that this film came out so quickly. Fans of the Royal Couple will enjoy this retelling and dramatization of what lead to their wedding. WILLIAM AND CATHERINE: A ROYAL ROMANCE is done well and features a nice cast. If you didn't get enough of the footage of the wedding, be sure to check out this movie! Available August 7.......3 out of 4 slates!

 

KNOCK KNOCK 2

KNOCK KNOCK 2 is a horror film worth a look at, with plenty of chills to give you an evening of goosebumps! Four friends set out to record an evening in a local haunted house in Hollywood...the film is found, but they never were!! Watch it with the lights out...and keep checking over your shoulder!!!!! Available August 7.......3 out of 4 slates!

 

TOTAL RECALL: The Mind-Bending Edition

TOTAL RECALL: THE MIND-BENDING EDITION on Blu Ray and Digital Download, returns with the original Sci-Fi classic starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone! Arnold is having dreams of Mars and he heads over to a company that will help him recall his memories.,,and trouble ensues! The Blu Ray is filled with extras including a new interview with the director and much more. The new remake will be coming soon, but it willl be hard to beat this original version. Available July 31st. 3 1/2 slates

 

JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME

Jeff, is a 30 year old slacker who lives in his mom's (Oscar winner Susan Sarandon – Dead Man Walking) basement. Jeff, Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), is extremely fond of the movie Signs and believes in following them.  One early morning, Jeff receives a phone call for Kevin, but there is no one named Kevin who lives in the house.  Jeff believes that Kevin is a “sign” that will lead him to his destiny.  Who is Kevin and where will Jeff find him?  Jeff Who Lives At Home is one of the most creative, clever screenplays in years which will make you laugh out loud, think of your own life and even make you cry. The film is written and directed by the brilliant filmmaking brother team of Jay and Mark Duplass (Cyrus) and is enhanced by the superb ensemble cast of Segel, Sarandon, Ed Helms (The Hangover) and Judy Greer (Love and Other Drugs). Follow this sign and go see Jeff Who Lives At Home! Reviewed by Derek

4 Slates

 

21 Jump Street

 

The only similarity to the popular 1980s TV show and this "R" rated Hollywood movie is the title.  The TV show was a teen drama that launched the career of Johnny Depp and this film is an action-packed comedy.  Yes, the movie and the TV show both have two twenty-or-so-year old cops who are assigned to go under cover at a high school, this time played by Jonah Hill ("Superbad") and Channing Tatum ("The Vow").   They learn very quickly that life is safer on the streets. To my surprise, the comedic duo of Hill and Tatum works in this genre that is equivalent to "Superbad" and "Bridesmaids."  "21 Jump Street" is the funniest comedy this year, but to be honest, Hollywood has not provided much competition.  "21 Jump Street" is directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who previously directed "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," and are the executive producers of the hit TV show "How I Met Your Mother."  If you are a fan of vulgar, crude, unsophisticated humor then you will find "21 Jump Street" a real treat. Reviewed by Derek

2 Slates

 

JOHN CARTER

John Carter is a movie concept that has been floating around Hollywood since the 1930s.  The film is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs eleven volume book series, Barsoom.  In development for many years with various studios, the idea has shifted between animation and live action. In 2012, Disney spent a reported 250 million dollars to produce John Carter that opens nationwide this Friday.
 
John Carter, a former confederate captain in the Civil War is transported without explanation to Barsoom (Mars) where the action truly begins. When he arrives, Carter finds himself in the center of Barsoom's own civil war and being a natural leader, Carter takes it upon himself to enter into battle and save the inhabitants of Barsoom.
 
John Carter marks director Andrew Stanton’s live action adventure movie debut.  He previously directed the Pixar animated favorites, Finding Nemo and Wall-E.  Visually the film is breathtaking with spectacular battle scenes and delivers movie goers to a new world, which is why so many of us journey to the movie theatre.  John Carter is worth the price of the ticket! Reviewed by Derek
 
2.5 Slates

 

THE LOVE GUIDE

Parker Posey stars in THE LOVE GUIDE as a hippie-yoga host of a TV show called "Cut The Crap" and she sets out the help a couple find their way back to each other. This romantic comedy is a enjoyable, fun romp making for entertaining viewing! Check it out on July 24........... 2.5 slates

 

 

LOL

  LOL is a surprising film which tells the story of a girl (Miley Cyrus) and her Mom (Demi Moore) and the struggles they encounter. I say surprising because this is not the usual type movie I enjoy, but enjoy it I did. If you are a parent of a teenage girl, sit down with her and watch this film, you just might learn something together. Plus, it has a good soundtrack! Available July 31st. 3 slates

 

THE ARTIST

Oscars have been handed out but it's not too late to see the winners.  The Artist walked away with four Oscars including the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Score.  The Artist is truly a movie treat.   Seeing The Artist will transport you back in time.  At first I thought "a silent, black and white film? Can this be any good? Will people accept it?" Of course, they did and it shows a silent film can "tell" a story just as easy and as good as a "talkie". Don't miss this one for a truely unique experience! Reviewed by Derek

3.5 slates

 

Act of Valor

Combining heart-pumping action with a unique blend of realism, Act of Valor offers viewers a truly captivating experience.  While the action-packed plot line more than supports itself, what sets this production apart is the use of active-duty Navy SEALs as the protagonists.  Though only performing roles in a fictionalized story, the use of active members of the military and state of the art tactics and weaponry provides audiences with a movie experience unlike any other.  While modern films and video games often provide examples of ample artistic license in the military genre, Act of Valor does an admirable job of maintaining the integrity of the SEALs operations and incorporating the emotions that go with them.  Act of Valor provides a vibrant, edge-of-your-seat story seen through a refreshingly different lens.   Great to see Hollywood being creative!  So if you are looking for something new and fresh Act of Valor is for you! Reviewed by Derek

Rated R | 3 slates

 

ARTHUR CHRISTMAS
 
Tis the season!  Now that we are all more stuffed then the delicious turkey that was in the center of your dinning table, it is time to enjoy some holiday movies.  My choice for this year is "Arthur Christmas".  It is fun, original, clever and a real holiday treat for the entire family.  

"Arthur Christmas" takes us on a trip to the North Pole to help explain exactly how Santa Claus makes all the magic happen.  Arthur, Santa's mischievous bubbling son, must complete an important mission to insure this year's Christmas goes off without a hitch and no child is forgotten.

"Arthur Christmas" has something for all ages, starting with a Justin Bieber music video of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." The "you-can-do-it" attitude will have you cheering on Arthur as we all did with Kevin in the holiday classic "Home Alone" and the humor is a bit "Wallace and Gromit", which is a refreshing treat for the adults.   Reviewed by Derek

Arthur Christmas is pure holiday magic!

3 1/2 slate
 

THE MONITOR

  THE MONITOR stars Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) as a mother who leaves her abusive husband and moves into a building where she hopes he will not find her and their child. When she buys a baby monitor so she can keep tabs on her son at night she starts to hear strang noises. This film will bring a chill to your spine as it weaves it tale! Available July 24th. Rated PG | 3 1/2 slates

 

FRIENDS WITH KIDS

Lionsgate brings us a fresh comedy in FRIENDS WITH KIDS! An amazing cast headlines the film, including Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Megan Fox (Transformers) and more! Following a group of friends as they make their way into partenhood, FRIENDS WITH KIDS gives us a chance to laugh a little at how life changes. Don't miss this one! Available July 17 on DVD & Blu Ray.......3 slates


 

DARK NEMESIS

DARK NEMESIS follows a band of soldiers dodging fueding warlords and menacing creatures in a post-apocalyptic world as they attempt to steal the warlords treasure so they can start a new life. The film makes for a fun watch, but the special efects are on the low budget side, so taking that into consideration, you can still have an entertaining evening watching this movie. Available July 10th. 2 Slates

 

MYSTERIA

A washed up screenwriter, played by Robert Miano, falls into a murder investigation and finds he is suddenly writing the best work of his career, but he is being pursued by the police. I have to admit, I love film-noir type films and MYSTERIA fills the bill with a great cast including Danny Glover, Martin Landau, Billy Zane and Michael Rooker! Check it out on July 10th. 2.5 slates

 

 

FLOWERS OF WAR

Christian Bale loses the Dark Knight suit to star in a riveting story set in the backdrop of the Chinese, Japanese war in 1937. FLOWERS OF WAR gives us an American who takes refuge in a church with a group of schoolgirls and prostitutes as they all try to survive the battle going on around them Bale'c character changes as the film progresses in a very emotional film. Be warned, the film has many disturbing scenes of the horrors of war and some may not want to watch, but overall it is a very engaging experience! Available July 10 on DVD & Blu Ray.......3 slates

 

GOD BLESS AMERICA

Bobcat Goldthwait brings us a film filled with blazing guns and violence as a depressed, terminally ill guy (Joel Murray) decides to clean up the world's declining pop culture...one bullet at a time. With the help of a disenchanted high school student (Tara Lynne Barr), they make their point, as does the filmmaker. Interesting film, check it out. 2.5 slates

 

DESERTER

The film DESERTER is about a guy who joins the Foreign Legion and finds the training quite sadistic. He forms a friendship with a fell Legionaire and after surviving basic training, they are sent to fight Arab forces. His feelings slowly start to change as the film progresses. Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) plays a convincing friend of the lead as they form a bond. Based on a true events, DESERTER is worth watching, if only to catch Hardy in an earlier performance. 2 Slates

 

DAWN RIDER

DAWN RIDER brings us a remake of the classic "B" movie of the same name which starred John Wayne...a daunting task to begin with, not that Wayne's version was great, but it was John Wayne! Christian Slater stars as a man who's father is killed during a robbery and he sets out to avenge his father's death. Typical western fare, Donald Sutherland is superb, Slater ok. Not a film that will bring back a slew of Westerns, but entertaining. 2 Slates

 

21 JUMP STREET

The only similarity to the popular 1980s TV show and this "R" rated Hollywood movie is the title.  The TV show was a teen drama that launched the career of Johnny Depp and this film is an action-packed comedy.  Yes, the movie and the TV show both have two twenty-or-so-year old cops who are assigned to go under cover at a high school, this time played by Jonah Hill ("Superbad") and Channing Tatum ("The Vow").   They learn very quickly that life is safer on the streets. To my surprise, the comedic duo of Hill and Tatum works in this genre that is equivalent to "Superbad" and "Bridesmaids."  "21 Jump Street" is the funniest comedy this year, but to be honest, Hollywood has not provided much competition.  "21 Jump Street" is directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who previously directed "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," and are the executive producers of the hit TV show "How I Met Your Mother."  If you are a fan of vulgar, crude, unsophisticated humor then you will find "21 Jump Street" a real treat. Reviewed by Derek

2 Slates

 

THE HUNTER

THE HUNTER stars Willem DaFoe as a mercenary who takes a job with a company looking for one of the last Tasmanian tigers. Along the way, he gets mixed up with two fighting groups and starts to have feelings for the family he is staying with in their farmhouse. DaFoe shines as always and the cinematography is amazing! Available July 3 on DVD & Blu Ray.......3 slates


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SCALENE

For the opening scene, SCALENE takes a bow to Hitchcock! The music, the camera angles and it is all topped of with an amazing performance from Margo Martindale! If you loved her in her Emmy winning performance in "Justified", you will love her in SCALENE as a mother of a mentally challenged son who is out for revenge. A one point in the film you will just say "WHOA!" Be sure to check it out! Available July 31 on DVD & Blu Ray.......3 slates


 

SPRINGTIME IN THE SIERRAS

Film prints only last so long, but they can be restored. Film Chest has been bringing some wonderful classic films back to life and they have done so with the release of SPRINGTIME IN THE SIERRAS starring Roy Rogers. This film features your standard Roy Rogers adventure, singing, riding Trigger, going after the bad guys, more singing and in the end he prevails. The thing is Roy Rogers did it with style! Be sure to check out this Roy Rogers treat! Available June 26.......3 slates

 

IDENTICAL

IDENTICAL, two brothers, one good, one evil...one mesmerizing film! Both brothers fall in love with the same woman and you are drawn into their lives. Look for some twists and turns along the way. A well made film you will enjoy!  Available June 26.......2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

 

ELEPHANT SIGHS

Not all movies are blow em' up, fast cars, aliens and superheros. Some movies actually make you think. ELEPAHANT SIGHS is one of those films. Based on a play (and you get that feeling throughout the film), it starts off slow, but slowly you are pulled into the lives of the characters you see before you. Very well acted by the cast and lead by veteran actor Ed Asner! After the death of a friend, a group of men find a "replacement" to their group, who is totally lost as to what he is doing there. Eventually he, and we, learn what is happening. Available June 12.  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 
DECISIONS
 

To start off, let me tell you DECISIONS features the last performance of late actor Corey Haim. Haim plays a dirty cop out to get money. This is not Haim's best work nor is it his worst. The film is OK and when all is said and done and everything eventually comes together, it attempts to give us a message we can appreciate. Available June 12

2 slates

 

THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS

Film Chest and HD Cinema Classics have an amazing offering for classic film buffs... THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS. This movie is the film debut of legend Kirk Douglas and also stars Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin. The film has been digitally restored and the Blu-ray copy we reviewed was stunning! The storyline is filled with murder, betrayal, love and a top notch cast. Be sure to check out this one for a classic treat!.............2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

HATFIELDS & McCOYS: BAD BLOOD

The movie HATFIELDS & McCOYS: BAD BLOOD retells the reknown story of the long running family feud. The film boost a strong cast with Christian Slate, Jef Fahey and Perry King. This tale seens to be the latest rage with the History Channel and other movie releases. This outing makes for good viewing. Available June 5.. .............2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 
ROGUE RIVER
 

ROGUE RIVER tells the story of a woman whose car has been towed and a stranger who helps her. Bill Mosely plays a very convincing nutcase and the movie gives us shades of the Stephen King film "MISERY" as well as other disturbing movies. Be warned...after viewing this movie, you will never want to get help from a stranger! Available June 5

2 slates

 

GOON

GOON takes us back to the ice rink for some down and dirty hockey action...not real skating and skill hockey, but punching, fighting, bloody hockey, the kind we watched so many years ago with Paul Newman in the classic raunchy hockey movie "Slap Shot". The comparisons are inevitable, the basic none stop fighting when they are on the ice and the thin love story sprinkled on the side. The actors do a good job with the roles and there are a few laughs to be found. Fans of "Slap Shot" will love it! Available May 29.. .............2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 
TIM AND ERIC'S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE
 

If you are a fan of Tim and Eric you will enjoy this movie. If you don't know who they are or are not a fan of them, then this movie will turn you off...big time. Filled with their gross out humor, the film is a loose excuse to make a movie. The plot is, they get a billion dollars to make a move, waste it, fail and then try to pay it back. I'm not sure how much they really got to make this "movie", but I guess 'art' does imitate reality... unfotrunately, you will never get paid back.

2 slates

 

THE FIELDS

THE FIELDS is a suspense thriller based on true events. Cloris Leachman is in the cast as a grandmother, who along with her husband have been given the duty of taking care of their grandson. He is repeatedly warned by his rough talking grandmother, not to go into the cornfield! Guess what? He goes into the cornfield and from there... THE FIELDS is worth watching with some good chills and Cloris! Tara Reid aslo stars. Available April 24.. .............2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

SUING THE DEVIL

SUING THE DEVIL is a film that stars (and is produced by) Malcolm McDowell as Satan. The premise of the movie is a guy decides to sue the devil for trillions of dollars for all the bad things he causes and Satan decides to show up to defend himself. And so begins the trial of the century! McDowell gives his usual quirky and dead on performance. A few of the actor's performances are a bit amateurish, noticable, but it doesn't take away from the film. Overall, an enjoyable faith based film and with McDowell, how can you go wrong! Available April 6 On-Demand.. ......2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

KATE AND LEOPOLD (Blu Ray)

KATE & LEOPOLD stars Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman in a fun romantic comedy which is a joy to watch! It involves time travel, as the Duke of Albany played by Jackman is taken from 1876 and moved into modern times and he finds the girl of his dreams. This is what films are meant to be, a vessel to take us away from our hectic lives and immerse us into the story for a hour or two. Great performances by both Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman. So, sit back, pop this one into the Blu Ray player and enjoy...and the Blu Ray makes it all the better! Available April 10.......... 3 out of 4 slates!

 

BOUNCE

Through tragedy comes romance...that is the basis behind BOUNCE with Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow. Affleck plays a womanizer who through a tragic event meets a woman that he falls in love with. Not your average chick flick movie...a little dark but enjoyable and now on Blu Ray!! Available April 10 ......2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 
WAR HORSE
 

“War Horse” is a cinematic depiction of plundering war experiences in the face of chivalry, trauma, shock, victory, and friendship through the eyes of a vagabond horse in World War 1.
The setting takes us from the idyllic countryside of Devonshire, Southwest England to the trenches of France. It speaks to one’s soul that all beauty becomes an arid wasteland with the sound of barreling gun shots and horror.

Nonetheless, luminescence is not totally lost. It is re-kindled with the film’s rendering of a close friendship that we could nurture with the horses—that, indeed, these massive animals are also capable of providing us warmth and affection, even in bad times.

Director Steven Spielberg has combined all of these elements with great fluidity through Joey, the war horse and the star of the movie. I will not be surprised if Spielberg gets nominated for another Oscar as a director.

A movie that is as poignant as “War Horse” needs to be well – syncopated, and the famous John Williams does not disappoint us with his resounding and highly emotional and uplifting musical score.

Experience a truly amazing film with beautiful cinematography, excellent storyline, a well-orchestrated musical score, and a magnificent directorial achievement. Reviewed by Beau

Rated PG | 3 1/2 slates

 

Renée Zellweger: 4-Film Collection

Renee Zellweger has given us numerous films, been nominated for three Oscars and won an Oscar for the performance in COLD MOUNTAIN. She is not afraid to do roles that are less than a perfectly manicured beautiful woman. RENEE ZELLWEGER: 4-FILM COLLECTION knock one out of the park with BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY, CHICAGO, COLD MOUNTAIN and NEW IN TOWN. All top notch films worthy of being in anyone's collection! Available April 10 ......3 out of 4 slates.

 

Nicole Kidman: 4-Film Collection

Lionsgate brings us another packaging of four films that showcase the talent of Nicole Kidman. This set includes RABBIT HOLE, COLD MOUNTAIN, THE OTHERS and DOGVILLE. From the Civil War, to the mob, these films show exactly what a diverse actress she really is! ! Available April 3 ......3 out of 4 slates.

 

Gwyneth Paltrow: 4-Film Collection

The GWYNETH PALTROW: 4-FILM COLLECTION includes SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, A VIEW FROM THE TOP, BOUNCE and EMMA, each highlighting the incredible talent of Gwyneth Paltrow. Picking a favorite from this list may be hard to do, but SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE would be my pick. Thanks go out to Lionsgate for packing four great films on to one DVD! Available April 3 ......3 out of 4 slates.

 
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL
 

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” is a magnificent action film that is imbued with much episodic parlance of suspense and thrill.

Fast forward to the day, from the third installment of the series, IMF is implicated in a terrorist attack in Russia. The protagonist, disavowed Ethan Hunt (played by Tom Cruise) and his fellow IMF agents will need to be vagrant to stop a major catastrophic nuclear conflagration.  

Moviegoers will be captivated in the edge of their seats with breathless scenes of idyllic geography combined with the landscape of a simplistic plot and well-planned executions. Director Brad Bird, undoubtedly, did a superb job!

The movie, perhaps, is the quintessence of all of the four installments. It is like calligraphy of bespoke tailoring to resurrect Tom Cruise’s fading career. The role may not be that challenging for him as an actor, but it contains the much needed mojo for his sensational celebrity status.

Despite the film’s fantastic rendering, it is also lackluster in the schema of filmic themes. The plot is simple, but it is also this simplicity that could be viewed negatively---agents just going roguish trying to diffuse an uncontrollable maniac.

Overall, I highly recommend the film. One would feast in the great craftsmanship or moving epilogue of entertainment. Reviewed by Beau

3 1/2 slates

 

ANGELS CREST

ANGEL CREST takes us into the world of a small town that has been hit by tragedy. A mersmerizing story which stars Jeremy Piven, Mira Sorvino, Elizabeth McGovern, Thomas Dekker, Kate Walsh and Lynn Collins. The film intricately weaves each characters story together. "TISSUE ALERT"...you will need some by the end of the film! Available April 3.. ......2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

WE BOUGHT A ZOO

I know what you are thinking??? Another stupid zoo animal movie filled with slapstick comedy and fart jokes.  But you are wrong!  'We Brought a Zoo' is a sentimental family film about a family coming together and reconnecting after the untimely passing of their mother.  Based on a true story the film stars Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.  I have to say Damon givings an excellent performance as a recently widowed father of two.  As Benjamin (Damon) struggles with keeping it all together, decides to leave his successful job as a Los Angeles newspaper columnist and purchases a run down ranch away from it all. To his surprise the land includes an dilapidated animal park in disrepair.  Now the family must work together to save not only the zoo but the family.

One central subplot in the film, is the relationship of Ben and his troubled teen son, Dylan played by Colin Ford.  We have seen so many times in movies relationships between father and daughter.  It is nice to see the focus on a father and son relationship for we too have real life issues. Thank you director, Cameron Crowe ('Jerry Maguire',  'Almost Famous') for keeping this in the film.

Surprise yourself with 'We Brought a Zoo'.  You will be glad you did! Reviewed by Derek

 

HUGO
 

Academy Award wining director, Martin Scorese has delivered some of the greatest cinema over the past 40 years including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Departed, but never a family movie, until now with Hugo.  This holiday masterpiece is based on the best selling novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”.

The film takes us to 1931 Paris, where Hugo a 12-year-old boy, is mourning the death of his clockmaker father.  Hugo lives by himself in a train station and must unlock a secret left by is father to enable himself to transform to a safe affectionate place he can call home.  Hugo will entertain adults and children, who are artistically apt with the amazing production values, from the to the set designs to the costumes.  All the detail in the film illustrates how passionate Scorsese was about making this movie.

Hugo is cinematic magic seldom seen in past few years.   Reviewed by Derek
4 slates

 

CARNAGE

As a grown-up man, you would probably remember one or two scuffles at the playground as a kid. If you did, in all likelihood, your dad would have said, "did you hit him good?"; and your mom, in the contrary, would have said "my poor baby - let me make you feel better and ease the pain in your black eye!"

Oh, boy! Has society changed with lawsuits and corrective actions?  This is what “Carnage” is all about--- Parents over reacting !
 
“Carnage” is based on the play, "God  of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza; and it is directed by Roman Polanski.  It is a true art-film shot mainly in one location with a small cast of four.  For a movie that is as compartmentalized as “Carnage” is, and still succeed, the cast has to be stellar and must deliver outstanding performances.
 
This movie definitely has some of the big guns of Hollywood: Jodi Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly.  Also, it deals with the parents’ reaction towards their sons’ confrontation at the neighborhood park.  The overall message is that sometimes, parents have a hard time letting go while the kids just brush the incident off. 
 
The film has some very funny moments, but as a moviegoer, I find it a little claustrophobic and difficult to relate to a single apartment location.  “Carnage” is worth a night-out with your spouse, and you will have a few laughs either at the film or at yourself as a parent! Reviewed by Derek

 

BUZZKILL

BUZZKILL follows a down and out screenplay writer who is about to give up on everything when his latest script is stolen by the "Karaoke Killer" and he is determined to get it back. While doing so, things continue to not go in his favor. Some good laughs and a strong cast highlight this dark comedy with Daniel Raymont, Krysten Ritter, Reiko Aylesworth, Mike Starr, Darrell Hammond and Larry Hankin . Available February 14, 2012  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

MONEYBALL
 

Moneyball is more than just a baseball movie.  Yes, it is about the Oakland A’s amazing season of 2002, when they set the major league record with a 20 game winning streak, but is so much more.  The screenplay, written by Aaron Sorkin, who won the Oscar last year for his screenplay, The Social Network, brings us another compelling script.  It is a well written with excellent performances from Brad Pitt (Billy Beane), Jonah Hill (Peter Brand) and Philip Seymour Hoffman as A’s Manager Art Howe.  Is there anything that Hoffman can’t play?  Hoffman is truly one of the best actors of our time.  

Moneyball will draw you into the statistical analysis of baseball and how the A’s became competitive with the lowest payroll in the major leagues.  In 2002, the New York Yankees had a payroll for over 140 million, compared to the Oakland A’s 37 million.  Another great part of the film is Billy Beane’s relationship with his daughter.  Have a few tissues on hand for the closing scene.

Do not miss Moneyball!  


Rated PG13 | 4 slates Reviewed by Derek

 

50/50
 

50/50 is inspired by a true story. It is a poignant and touching film that enthralls moviegoers with humor, wit and drama, dealing with an extremely herculean topic – CANCER. Director Jonathan Levine applies the elements of realism and symbolism working side-by-side, very effectively, in this film.

In the beginning, the audience will see Adam, played by Jonathan Gordon-Levitt, jogging. This represents good health, great stamina, and endurance. What follows next is an expression of disbelief in life. How could a fit 27-year old man suddenly be affected by spinal cancer?  He then mentions it to his friend, Kyle, portrayed by Seth Rogen, displaying bravado, trying to provide the best re-assurance in the world that his friend will be “okay”.

Adam now sees a young and inexperienced psychologist, played by Anna Kendrick, and one can easily feel the awkwardness between the two characters. At the very least, their scenes, representing “Who is analyzing who?” are definitely indicative that both of them are new to the methods of therapy, and to this life-threatening disease.

Overall, the film conveys that CANCER never ceases to strike our innermost core—our relationships with family and friends and most importantly with ourselves. CANCER will always make us all neophytes and inexperienced. It does not matter. We will always be a “newbie” at the onset of attack!......The film is a must-see!...Reviewed by Derek


Rated R | 3 1/2 slates

 

THE IDES OF MARCH
 

The Ides of March is a film that focuses on the obscurity of the American political process. It tries to dismiss a dogma that the election campaign trail is merely an allegory of promises by the politicos; lest alone, the uncertainty of their fulfillment could be the cynicism that all of us would reflect on, at least once in our lifetime.

Mike Morris, the governor of Pennsylvania, played by George Clooney, is under scrutiny for his political principles and beliefs. He repeatedly professes that he is a politician by the people and of the people. One can easily see that the film depicts a very elegant, seductive, and often provocative candidate and yet ambiguous and elusive in his political thoughts.

Under the trappings of this election campaign trail is a very talented and loyal strategist and advisor, Stephen Meyers, portrayed by Ryan Gosling. Meyers truly believes that Morris is the best answer to America’s difficulties. Moreover, Meyers is definitely not the epitome of a cipher loyalist; but rather, his character effectively represents the innocence lost in the midst of these political upheavals.

The movie, at its best, is entertaining. It does not have the alacrity of an inspirational film; however, it undoubtedly brings about the best known paradigm of politics--it is full of vagueness and abstractions --- the politics of the politics!

R | 3 1/2 slates
 

PUSS IN BOOTS
 

These days, it is rare to find a movie that is very captivating and full of enthrallment, and you are bedazzled and charmed from beginning to its end. This past weekend, I was very fortunate to have experienced this enchanting moment under the spell of a feline charmer, “Puss In Boots”. This movie is very entertaining. If you have not seen it, let me remind you that this movie is for all ages. I can assure you that you will experience laughter at its best.

If you recall, Puss is the popular cat that has made the Shrek franchise “bigger than life” because of his Napoleonic stature. This spinoff is directed by Chris Miller whose filmic task is to bring us back to the roots of Puss when he was abandoned as a kitten in an orphanage to the time when he becomes an astute force with which to be reckoned. It is not a plain vanilla journey for Puss as he has to take the road less travelled with a jail imprisonment. Chris has undoubtedly done a superb job! 

I can bet my boots that this film will be one of the most memorable family films in our lifetime. It would serve as a rite of passage for so many including the older generations of kids at heart. Rated PG

3 1/2 Slates

 

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
 

Just in time for Halloween is the release of Paranormal Activity 3!  We all know Hollywood has been cranking out sequels, pre-sequels and remakes this year like they have lost all the creative bones in their bodies.  But this time Paramount did it right.  I have to say Paranormal Activity 3 is better than the first two.  First of all they hired Catfish filmmaking team Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman to handle the directing.  A little side note if you did not see Catfish last year, take the time to rent it, it is worth the effort!

As a crusader of Independent films, I was interested to see that the first Paranormal Activity grossed over $107 million on a limited production budget of $15,000.  This is almost always cause to start a franchise and milk it.  Paranormal Activity 3 steps up and explains the story of why sisters, Katie and Kristi, are tormented by other worldly presence - going further in establishing facts and answering questions about the characters.  The first two films had you asking “Why them”?  Thank you, Joost and Schulman.  So if you are looking for a good Halloween scare go see Paranormal Activity 3. ...............Reviewed by Derek

2 1/2 Slates

 

THE MIGHTY MACS
 

Everyone loves a Cinderella Story in sports. “The Mighty Macs” is a movie that delivers by telling the glory days of a small Catholic school for women run by nuns, Immaculata College in 1971.  Carla Gugino plays Cathy Rush who becomes the women's basketball coach of the Macs.  Compounding the situation, the gym burnt down, they have no equipment, and do not have the administration’s support from the Reverend Mother St. John, portrayed by Oscar Winner actress, Ellen Burstyn.  St. John is preoccupied with keeping the college open.

While it appears the Macs don’t have a prayer, all hope is not lost, as Rush finds plenty of support from the nuns....one becomes the assistant coach, and the rest become the booster club for the team.  Rush eventually pulls it all together and leads the Macs to three straight national championships.  

A real family movie that is both entertaining and inspirational!  Another amazing thing is the movie is rated “G”!  Not many movies receive a “G” rating these days, so let’s show Hollywood that the Lamorinda area supports more family films by taking the entire family to see “The Mighty Macs” an award winner at the 2010 California Independent Film Festival!  Rated G ....Reviewed by Derek

3 slates

 

CHATEAU MEROUX

CHATEAU MEROUX is a romantic comedy about a young woman who inherits a vineyard and attempts to run it rather than to fold, as her devious neighbor played by the always enjoyable Christopher Lloyd. The cast does a fine job in a film that is your standard: will they, won't they type romcom. An enjoyable movie to relax too. ......2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

BLACKTHORN

BLACKTHORN stars Sam Shepard as Butch Cassidy in his golden years. Time has passed and he yerns to leave his exile in Bolivia and return to his family in the US. He encounters an adventure he has not seen for years. There you have the premiss of the film and Sam Shepard does a great job in his role a Butch. The film is a bit slow moving, yet still engaging and filled with beautiful scenery.  Not a great western, but still a good film. 2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

THE DEBT
 

The Debt epitomizes the captivating interwoven thrills of mystery that has spun burried for three decades. Yet, Director John Madden (“Proof”, “Shakespeare In Love”) has managed to convey the story by seamlessly splitting between two years, 1997 (the Present Time) and 1967 (the Past Time). The crux of the question centered on the year 1967 when three young Mossad agents set out to capture a notorious Nazi criminal, Dr. Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen), the “Butcher of Birkenau”, and to bring him to Israel to stand trial for his cruel experiments in the concentration camps. The three agents were Rachel (Jessica Chastain – “Tree of Life”, “The Help”),  David (Sam Worthington – “Avatar”), and Stephan (Marton Csokas).

Fast forward to 1997, older Rachel, played by Helen Mirren, has been informed that her long-time friend, David has just committed suicide. With his death, the suspense begins as a three-decade secret begins to unfold.

This film is very riveting! Plus, what is not to like about the “Mirren Factor”, along with a group of young and most promising talent in Hollywood? I give it 4 slates—Not to be missed! Reviewed by Derek
Rated R | 4 slates

 

THE HELP
 

The Help is a brilliant adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s, bestselling fictional novel about an unlikely rebellion in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963, among black maids serving white families.

The movie has a stellar cast with an outstanding performance by Viola Davis (Eat, Pray, Love).  I predict Viola will be walking the Red Carpet at next year’s Academy Awards.  Emma Stone’s, (Easy A), shows that she is a true actress and not just another pretty face in Hollywood, as she portray a recent graduate of Ole Miss, who returns home and tries to persuade the black maids to tell their stories.   

The Help reminds us, of the darker chapters of our history which is always risky, but Director Tate Taylor, a longtime friend of Kathryn Stockett, who was raised in Jackson, Mississippi, took on the challenge and succeeds.   Tate takes us inside the minds of both the black maids and the white mothers.  You feel for them both in very different ways.   The Help is only Tate’s second directing job , here he has assembled an excellent team which includes Cinematographer Stephen Goldblatt, who received an Oscar nomination in 1991's for The Prince of Tides and Production designer Mark Ricker ("Julie & Julia”).

I took my thirteen year old son to the prescreening.  He had so many questions after the film like:  “Papa how long ago was that”?  “Was it really like that in America”?  He enjoyed the film and we shared a wonderful in-depth discussion on racial relations in the America.  I recommend taking your pre-teens/teens to see The Help for this maybe the closest to any “Civic” class they will attend.  It is sad that “Civic” education is no longer taught in many American public schools.  

A must see! Reviewed by Derek

Rated PG-13 | 4 slates

 

COWBOYS AND ALIENS
 

Jon Favreau, former indie filmmaker, who brought us “Swingers” went on to direct mega blockbusters like “Iron Man” brings us “Cowboys & Aliens”.   I wanted to like this movie, but to me it is like using oranges and bacon to make a cake.  Putting, two very different ingredients and expect magic to happen!  Westerns can be great, sci-fi can be mind blowing, but mixing the two in this case, results in a plain, flat movie.  The script is all over the place, uninteresting and there’s not much room for lead actors Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford to show their talents.  This could be Harrison’s kiss of death film.  

So here is the plot; a stranger (Craig), wakes up in the desert with an odd bracelet shackled to his wrist and no memory of who he is.  Now along comes a group of bandits.  They see his bracelet, assume he’s an escaped convict and try to bring him in to collect on the bounty.  The small western town soon faces an even greater threat when alien spaceships attack the town.

I have to be honest, I am not a fan of either genres, so make your own assessment of “Cowboys and Aliens”. Reviewed by Derek

Rated PG-13 | 2 slates

 

SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D

Unexpectedly, this sequel of Spy Kids was entertaining! It was funny, action-packed and the kids (10 and under) will laughed all the way through it.

Jessica Alba plays the step-mother, Marissa, who has a baby at the beginning of the movie. She goes into labor while fighting the bad guys. Her job as a spy is a secret to her husband and step-children who have no idea that she's not an interior decorator. Marissa's character is a relative to the Cortez kids who were the original Spy Kids.  It was great to see Daryl Sabara (Juni Cortez) and Alexa Vega (Carmen Cortez) returns to their roles from the first three Spy Kids films.

This film is full of high jinks, farts, food fights and spy fighting action!  The kids will love it and the parents like it!

The best part of the film is the message: enjoy the time you have right now to spend with your family, as you can't turn back time.........3 out of 4 slates! Reviewed by Derek

 

HARRY POTTER and the DEATHLY HALLOWS Part 2

Now THIS is what Hollywood blockbusters and sequels are all about, people waiting in line, dressed as their favorite character and waiting in anticipation to see the movie. When was the last time that this happened? As an added bonus, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 just may be the best one of the entire series!

In Part 2 the conflict between the good and evil forces of the Wizard world escalates into an all-out war. No one is safe and it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice .

Great storyline, characters you love and care about and quality special effects that are realistic, not over the top. This type of film does not come around that often! So take the family and enjoy the experience that all Hollywood movies should be. Pure entertainment!  Reviewed by Derek

Rated: PG -13

 

CONTAGION
 

The whole world’s human race is on the verge of extinction. There is a raging menace that has started with a common cough, and it is now becoming a global pandemic. What are we to do with a widespread lethal virus with no signs of mercy?  We only have approximately thirty days to develop an antidote. Time is running out.

“Contagion” is a well-done film by Oscar winning director Steven Soderberg. The cast is undoubtedly a lineup of high-caliber “who’s who” of Hollywood: Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet & Matt Damon.

The movie's plot is rather simplistic as it would appear to have been conjured up in one way, shape or form in the past, with at least one movie script out there. Nonetheless, Contagion will provoke your thoughts and inner sanctum about the world that we live in.

At the very least, it would convince you that in the midst of a worldwide crisis with unimaginable proportion, the whole world could become one and united without any apprehension whatsoever!..........Reviewed by Derek

Rated PG13 | 3 1/2 slates

 

OUR IDIOT BROTHER
 

Our Idiot Brother was the highest price tagged film at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.  The Weinstein Co. purchased the film for a reported 6 million dollars.  The movie stars Paul Rudd, (Anchorman, The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up), portraying Ned.  Ned is an easy going organic farmer, who loves his dog, Willie Nelson, but his lack of ambition frustrates his family, particularly his three sisters.  The family is completely dysfunctional but sometimes it is the most unlikely family member who becomes the glue to hold things together.  The movie is funny and touching.  People purchase movie tickets to see a comedy for one reason ….. to 'Laugh' and Our Idiot Brother does deliver laughs.  

I attended the press screening in San Francisco on Tuesday night and the audience loved it!  Our Idiot Brother is no Little Miss Sunshine but it is worth seeing and enjoying the comedy talent of Rudd and the great ensemble cast. Reviewed by Derek

Rated R | 3 Slates

 

SARAH'S KEY
 

Sarah's Key is an emotional detective story based on the international bestselling novel by Tatiana de Rosney. In the present-day, an American-born Paris magazine writer, Kristin Scott Thomas pitches a story about the Vélodrome d’Hiver roundup of 1942, when the French government collaborated with the Nazis to arrest and deport more than 13,000 Jews. Her research puts her on the track of a young girl named Sarah, (Mélusine Mayance), who protected her younger brother from the raid by locking him in a closet. As Thomas pursues the story, she finds an uncomfortable connection to her husband and his family.

The movie is more powerful than you would expect.  A film you need to be prepared to see! Rated PG13 Reviewed by Derek

3 1/2 slates

 

WINNIE THE POOH
 

Classic Disney, you have to love it!  Winnie the Pooh is directed by J. Anderson, (Meet the Robinsons) and Don Hall, (writer of Tarzan and Meet the Robinsons).  This is "Classic" Pooh, the honey loving cuddly bear, along with his buddies Tigger, Owl, Eyeore and Piglet, is always finding himself in misdirected adventures.  This time, they attempt to rescue their human companion Christopher Robin, from Backson, an evil character mentioned in what the gang believes is a ransom note.  A too-cute case of mistakes ensues.  Along the way, Pooh dips his nose into any and every jar, in the hopes of quenching his honey hunger.

This version of Winnie the Pooh retains the classic 2-D animated style and truly makes you feel like a kid again.  The movie brings you back to a time of lazy Saturday mornings when imaginary play took place of video games.  The film is barely over an hour long which is perfect for toddlers.  I recall the first movie I took my son to, "The Tigger Movie" which also was only 77 minutes.  It was perfect timing for a 3 year old.  So if you have a toddler, Winnie the Pooh is the movie for you and the littlest ones to enjoy together. You will remember the amazed look on your children's face seeing "that big screen" light up with classic characters, that Disney has delivered for generations and hopefully many more!  Do not miss out on the opportunity to share this special moment with your child! Reviewed by Derek

Rated G | 4 slates

 

THE BEST OF BRITISH WAR CINEMA

Fans of War films will love this 10 movie set of THE BEST OF BRITISH WAR CINEMA, which features a strong field of stars, from David Niven to Deborah Kerr and many more. A few of the films have some unusual plots like one with a cow and the nazis, but they all are well written stories filled with suspense. Here is the line-up: Appointment with Venus-Island Rescue; The Wind Cannot Read; Operation Amsterdam; Theirs is the Glory; The Day Will Dawn; Seven Thunders-The Beasts of Marseille; Unpublished Story; Two Thousand Women; Secret Mission; The Flemish Farm. Available November 15, 2011  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

GENE AUTRY COLLECTION

Melody Trail, The Big Show, Boots and Saddles and Rhythm of the Saddle are all part of GENE AUTRY COLLECTION 1! Four films that any Gene Autry fan will want in their collection. It's fun to watch Gene work his magic in his films, riding and singing his way through each adventure. The films naturally are dated, but perfect for lovers of early westerns and film buffs. It's time to "get back in the saddle again" with this collection! Available November 15, 2011  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

 

SUPER 8

Are you a fan of movies with great storytelling, emotion and solid character development? Sounds like the elements of a great independent film right? Well, this time it comes directly from Hollywood, with the release of Super 8. Directed by JJ Abrams (Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek, and Lost) and co-produced by Steven Spielberg, Super 8, is JJ’s “personal project” and has the feel of early Spielberg movies, like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Gremlins, and The Goonies.

Super 8 truly captures life in 1979, set in rural town, USA, telling a story of a group of teens making a zombie movie. When they decide one night to sneak out of their homes to shoot a night scene, at the local train station their camera catches an enormous train wreck, resulting in experiencing events that will change them forever.

I feel the movie pushes the limit for a PG-13 rating, with the deep emotions, destruction of the small town, the war zone tone and tension.

Super 8 will be this young generations “Stand By Me” and thus far the film of the summer. Only a young Spielberg could top this one! Reviewed by Derek

 

CARS 2

Time for another summer sequel, Pixar with Cars 2. The plot is very simple; McQueen has returned to his hometown, Matter becomes jealous that his best friend wants to spend time with his girlfriend.   McQueen decides to take Matter to the World Grand Prix, where they encounter an Italian F1 car bragging that he can beat McQueen.     McQueen and Matter quickly decide to travel to Tokyo.   They soon meet a British spy car named Finn McMissile.   You may be asking “Why a spy in a car movie?” The movie is much more than a race movie; it’s an homage to the Bond series and the race is on the save the world from evil!
 
I have to admit, I was not expecting to like it, but by the end, I left the theatre with a smile. And that’s what good movies are all about.   A tad long for the little ones but they will love it! Reviewed by Derek
 3 slates

 

CHRISTMAS LODGE

CHRISTMAS LODGE is a heartwarming story of a woman's attempt to restore a rundown lodge where her family spent time together when she was young. Along the way, she finds more and so will you! It's an enjoyable film to watch anytime of the year! A real joy!.......3 out of 4 slates! .........

 

THE SANTA INCIDENT

After Santa is shot down from the sky, just 5 days before Christmas, he is found by 2 young children, who set out to save him and Christmas. THE SANTA INCIDENT is a cute and engaging Christmas movie that the kds will love and the whole family can enjoy together! Greg Germann, of Ally McBeal, plays a government ageant determined to find out the truth. Germann is always a plus to any film, adding his comedic expertise. Gather the family around the TV and have fun this holiday season!.......3 out of 4 slates!

 

THE TRUTH ABOUT ANGELS

THE TRUTH ABOUT ANGELS is an film that has it's problems keeping the interest of the viewer. It's slow and we just can't seem to care about the characters, as hard as we might try. It follows a guy who leaves his wife and child at home to go out with his firends to a party filled with sex, drugs and women. As the evening progresses, it takes a turn for the worse.  2 out of 4 slates.

 

MISS NOBODY

MISS NOBODY is a dark comedy about a girl who works her way up the corporate ladder in a different way! It is a film that is fun and keeps you involved and wondering what will happen next. A cute movie! Be sure to check it out!.  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

 

1 IN THE GUN

1 IN THE GUN starts out as a classic style" woman finds guy to help get her out of her loveless marriage" and about halfway thru it turns into a bizzare rollercoaster ride that keeps you wondering what the heck is going on! It all comes out in the end, but it may still have some of you wondering what happened. An interesting film..  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

 

THE ECHO GAME

THE ECHO GAME is an interesting horror/thriller movie that takes you on a good ride. Not as gory as most horror films out lately, it still gives you a chill down your back as you watch the story unfold. Check it out if your looking for a good scare.  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

 

KUNG FU PANDA 2

Funny man, Jack Black, returns as Po, the clumsy panda who became the mythical “Dragon Warrior” in the original “Kung Fu Panda”.  Unlike most sequels, which Hollywood seems to be cranking out these days, I would have to say “Kung Fu Panda 2” is better than its predecessor. The writers did not rest on their laurels of cutesy comedy and the recognizable characters.  Po is trying to find his inner peace and discover who his birth parents are, but keeps coming up short.  That is until he meets his enemy.  Let the battle for survival began!  The laughs come quick, fast and often.  The magic doesn’t stop with the creative writing. The bright colors in each scene filters through the screen as a visual masterpiece.  Go see it with the little ones and take Grandpa, who will also enjoy this fun family movie! Reviewed by Derek.......3 out of 4 slates!

 

BRIDESMAIDS

“Bridesmaids” is a frat boy’s version of a hilarious “chick flick” and females of all ages are making it their holy grail. So, hat’s off to Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo for scripting a movie that is raunchy and foul mouthed with an over abundance of verbal pornography that is scoring through the roof with female audiences. “Bridesmaids” is a 125 minute Howard Stern English lesson; it is a complete rip off of “Hangover”, the #1 grossing comedy of all-time. Take the same storyline but change the characters from males to female and make sure this time they never make it to Las Vegas! Wow, some originality here Hollywood!

In “Bridesmaids,” Annie’s (Kristen Wiig) life is total chaos, but when her lifelong best friend becomes engaged, she must serve as maid of honor. Annie cons her way through the expensive and wacky rituals with only one chance to make it perfect.

“Bridesmaids” is rated R for strong sexuality and language throughout the film. If you want to see a real comedy go see “Midnight in Paris”. Reviewed by Derek  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

SHANGHAI MYSTERY

SHANGHAI MYSTERY tells the tale of a woman who's husband is murdered and she sets out to avenge his death. You can't help but be drawn into this story, feel the pain and loneliness of the woman and then she starts to have feelings for a new man in her life...she is being followed...things happen! Well done film and superb acting from the cast!.......3 out of 4 slates!

 

 

JERUSALEM COUNTDOWN

JERUSALEM COUNTDOWN is filled with action, suspense and an all-star cast. Davis A. R. White stars with backup from Lee Majors, Stacy Keech and Randy Travis, as two federal agents race against time to stop a nuclear holocaust. Generally, the film keeps you on the edge of your seat, but there are a few places where it drags. Good acting fills the film, but there are a couple of weak performances that are quite noticable and pulls it down a notch, but overall it is worth watching. Wil they stop Armageddon? In select theaters beginning August 26........3 out of 4 slates!

 

CHRISTINA

CHRISTINA is a film set in 1945 Berlin as a GI and his German girlfriend prepare to start a new wife after the war. Enter a police inspector who is out to find the truth of her past. We are used to seeing Stephen Lang as a tough guy as in Avatar, but here he shows his excellent acting skills in a noteworthy performance. The rest of the cast, Nicki Aycox and Jordan Belfi also give riviting performances in this psychological thriller.......3 out of 4 slates!

 

MOBY DICK

MOBY DICK is a classic tale that has been told many times. This version of the classic Herman Melville story features an all-star cast in a wonderful re-telling of the tale of obsession! The cast includes William Hurt, Ethan Hawke, Donald Sutherland and Gillian Anderson, with that kind of cast how could they go wrong. Don't miss this one ! 3 1/2 out of 4 slates!

 

SECRETS IN THE WALLS

SECRETS IN THE WALLS stars Jeri Ryan as a single parent mom who buys a house for an amazingly low price and finds out it's haunted...the hard way. The story is suspenseful, but it still has all the typical horror story holes which make you say "why would she ever do that?", but it doesn't take away the fun of the story which sets out to frighten you! Filled with twists, this is an enjoyable film to watch! Available September 20.......3 out of 4 slates!

 

DEAD MAN'S REVENGE

DEAD MAN'S REVENGE is a western which features Michael Ironside as a rancher who is thrown into jail on false pretenses by a greedy and ruthless railroad tycoon played by Bruce Dern. Dern excels as the bad guy as usual, and he also kills Ironside's family. The film is filled with humor and more twists than Chubby Checker! ........3 out of 4 slates!

 

INTO THE BADLANDS

INTO THE BADLANDS has Bruce Dern as the tread that ties together this trilogy of stories, which is a mix of western and the supernatural! Each story is captivating and stands on it\'s own but with the added gem of Dern, how can they miss. Dern is an such a great bad guy! People looking for your standard western will not find it here. The supernatural twist is fun and will more likely please the "Twilight Zone" crowd........3 out of 4 slates!

 

CONAN O'BRIEN CAN'T STOP

CONAN O'BRIEN CAN'T STOP bring us behind the scenes of the tour that Conan set off on shortly after leaving "The Tonight Show". It gives us a peek at what went on with the planning of the show, some frustrations that went on, a look behind the scenes at the concerts and some concert clips as well. A must have if you are a Conan fan! Available September 13........3 out of 4 slates!

 

POLITICS OF LOVE

POLITICS OF LOVE is a romantic comedy about what happens when two people on opposite sides of the political spectrum meet up and stand firm on their politcal views. Can they find common ground? Will they reach over the party lines and compromise? Nothing really edgy or different in this film, just your standard boy meets girl, girl dislikes boy, girl eventually falls for boy, things go bad...you get the idea. It makes for some light fun viewing if you grow weary of all the special effects stuff out there! Available on September 13.  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

THE PERFECT HOST

As I started to review THE PERFECT HOST, it started off a bit slow, but if you hold on, it becomes a very quirky film, filled with twists and turns. David Hyde Pierce (Frasier) and Clayne Crawford (24) star in this film and both provide noteworthy performances. The plot revolves around a robber on the run who ends up in a strangers house and from there, well, you'll have to see for yourself! Available on August 30th.  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

THE DOG WHO SAVED HALLOWEEN

THE DOG WHO SAVED HALLOWEEN is a wonderful film for the whole family to share as we look forward to Fall and Halloween time. The Bannister family returns with Zeus, this time keeping an eye out for the creepy neighbor as Halloween nears. George calls upon two zany crooks to help him out and koas ensues! Great seasonal fun! Starring Gary Valentine (King of Queens), Dean Cain (Lois & Clark), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Elisa Donovan (Sabrina The Teenage Witch), Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds), Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey) and Mayim Bialik (Big Bang Theory). Oscar material...no, but a goodtime for the whole family! Available September 13........3 out of 4 slates!

 

ROADKILL

ROADKILL is another of "Maneater Series" that brings back the old style" creature feature" films of days gone by. A group of friends on holiday get on the wrong side of a group of local gypsies in Ireland and end up being cursed and terrorized by them. Actually, I found the gypsy leader scarier than the monster bird, but overall ROADKILL is a rollercoaster ride with many twists and turns. Available August 16.  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

TACTICAL FORCE

TACTICAL FORCE stars Steve Austin as the leader of a S.W.A.T.team that uses it's own methods to stop criminals. After destroying a convienence store while stopping a gang holding hostages, the team is sent for retraining at a secluded building with blanks in their guns. At the same time, a group of mobsters are searching the building for an item they want, and decide to take out the S.W.A.T team! What follows is Austin kicking ass while dodging bulletts. Lots of gunfire and action. Available August 9 ........3 out of 4 slates!

 

ZOMBIE CLASSICS

ZOMBIE CLASSICS is a great DVD with 4 Zombie films to satisfy your zombie cravings! The classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD alone is worth the price, but they also include the master of horror stars Bela Lugosi in WHITE ZOMBIE and the feeding fest continues with LEGION OF THE DEAD and DEAD MEN WALKING! If this DVD doesn't fill your lust for zombies, nothing will! Available July 26, a Timeless Media Group release ........3 out of 4 slates!

 

 

HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN

HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN star Rutger Hauer as a hobo who knows how to use a shotgun, as he trys to cleanup the city. This film is not for the weak at heart. It is a violent bloodfest homage to the 70's Grindhouse films and drive-in double features. Hauer shines in this role. Be ready to count the ways people meet their maker and the body count is high! Available July 5.  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

FEROCIOUS PLANET

FEROCIOUS PLANET takes the viewer on a rollercoater ride to another dimension, or at least that is the premise of the film. A group of people; scientists, a Senator, aide and security are flung into a dimension with a planet not unlike our own in environment, but very different in inhabitants. Can they survive and will they get back? Standard Sc-Fi fun! Available July 5.  2 1/2 out of 4 slates.

 

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON

CLOSED FOR THE SESON takes place in an amusement park where strange things are happening. A girl finds herself trapped in the park at night and with the aid of someone she meets, they work to escape from the park in a night filled with visions and ghosts. Sounds good, but unfortunately, the story is lacking and it is easy to lose interest in what is happening to the characters. Parts are entertaining, so give it a try if you find nothing else to watch. Available August 23.  2 out of 4 slates.

 

COLDITZ: ESCAPE OF THE BIRDMEN

COLDITZ: ESCAPE OF THE BIRDMEN is a will done film about the German Officer Prison, Colditz. The film starts of a little slow, using stock footage, but then escalates into an enthralling tale of the lives of a group of soldiers who plan an escape from the Nazi prison. This is a film that originally came out in 1971 and features a very familiar cast, including Doug McClure (The Virginian), Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9), Richard Basehart (Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea), Chuck Connors (The Rifleman), Max Baer Jr (Beverly Hillbillies) and Tom Skerritt (Top Gun). A great cast and solid story makes for a good film! Enjoy! Available July 26, a Timeless Media Group release ........3 out of 4 slates!

 

CEREMONY

CEREMONY brings us into the life of a down and out children's book writer who, with his friend, ends up at the party of his former girlfriend before she gets married. The film is generally slow moving and not very funny and the acting of the two male friends seems rather forced. Uma Thurman is the bright spot in the film, but overall the story is lacking. It's watchable, but don't look for an amazing film here. Available June 21.  2 out of 4 slates.

 

VANISHING ON 7th STREET

VANISHING ON 7th STREET is a riveting plundge into the supernatural. It's a well written film that draws you into the stories and the lives of the characters as the are brought together when the lights go out and almost everyone has disappeared! What has happened and will they survive? Check this one out for an entertaining and chilling film. Not all the answers are there, but it makes you think and it's not you usual spoon feed sci-fi flare! Available May 17. 3 out of 4 slates!

 

BLACK DEATH

BLACK DEATH is a film set in the plague-ridden medieval times and follows a groups of mercenary soldiers on a quest. The film does an amazing job of setting the mood of the times and stars Sean Bean as the leader of the group. The film can be violent and bloody during the fight scenes, but it fits well into the story. I did enjoy the movie, but at times the camera work is a bit shakey! Not a blockbuster, just a good film. 3 out of 4 slates!

 

THE PHANTOM EMPIRE

1935's Sci-FI Western cliffhanger serial THE PHANTOM EMPIRE comes your way on June 7, 2011. With the soon to be released "Cowboys and Aliens", everyone is raving about the mixing of the two different genre's, but the reality is that Gene Autry made his starring film debut in a serial that did just that back in 1935! Yes, the sets and costumes are very simple and the helmets look like buckets on their heads, but that doesn't take away the "fun factor" from the film! Be sure to check out this piece of film history. 3 out of 4 slates!

 

DEADLY SHOOTER

DEADLY SHOOTER is a very well done Western. Michael Dudikoff stars as a mysterious gunman who saves a woman being whipped by a couple of the town bad guys. The town tries to enlist him to rid the town of the gang that has terrorized them for years. Veteran bad guy, actor William Smith plays the head honcho of the gang and he's out to avenge his sons death. Plenty of action makes this a western you can enjoy! 3 out of 4 slates!

 

YOUR LOVE NEVER FAILS

YOUR LOVE NEVER FAILS is an enjoyable film about true love. Elisa Donovan heads a memorable cast which includes Fred Willard and John Schneider and follows a mother who is trying to balance work and her family and bring it all back together. This is a film the whole family can watch together. 3 out of 4 slates!

 

WALLENBERG: A HERO'S STORY

WALLENBERG: A HERO'S STORY is a dramatic depiction based on true events during World War II. Richard Chamberlain shines as Raoul Wallenberg, who during the war helped save the lives of over 100,000 Hugarian Jews. It's easy to see why this film won Four Emmy's! 3 1/2 out of 4 slates!

 

SOMEWHERE

Sofia Coppola's latest film 'Somewhere' goes absolutely NOWHERE!  This film, which stars Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning, has a running time of 97 minutes which I will never get back.  The dialogue in the entire film probably only fills about 3 pages, that's how little there is.  So what does one do to fill in the gaps? Film scenes that last 7 minutes long of an empty field, a car racing around in circles and girls dancing on poles of course!  It's like a high school student took a camera and tried to make a film.  1 out of 4 slates. Reviewed by Min 

 

RABBIT HOLE

This simple yet elegantly sad film stars Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as parents who struggle with life after the death of their son.  While it is a sad story there are quirky scenes that will make you chuckle - like the car scene with Sandra Oh - and the performances are quite strong, especially Aaron Eckhart's.  A very well written story that is relatable and eloquent.  Dianne Wiest co-stars and it's good to see her!  3 out of 4 slates! Reviewed by Min

 

HARRY POTTER and the DEATHLY HALLOWS Part 1

Another installment of the young wizard that has grownup along with the many fans that have followed the films over the years. If you have not seen any of the other Potter films, don't bother to go see this one...you will be lost. But for those who have been with Harry and the gang for the ride, get ready to enjoy! The final book in the Potter series has been stretched into two films, this being the first. We are thrown into the Potter world with more fighting and wand waving then ever before and the ending is not an ending. It's more of a pause before the final battle...next year!  3 out of 4 slates!

 

BLACK SWAN

With all the success and praise the 'The Wrestler' had, you would anticipate that Darren Aronofsky's latest film 'Black Swan' would be just as raw and enticing - but you'll be surprised.  While the film delves into the dark world of the prima ballerina and Natalie Portman's performance is quite remarkable alongside her ballet skills, Aronofsky takes a turn to the absurd and it comes out as a joke.  Though I know that Aronofsky's mind is bizarre, he went SO overboard and it's obvious he didn't know when to stop.  Two words:  webbed feet?!?!?!  2 1/2 out of 4 slates Reviewed by Min

 

127 HOURS

James Franco stars in Danny Boyle's portrayal of the true story of a mountain climber who becomes trapped by a boulder while hiking in Blue John Canyon in Utah and takes desperate measures to save his own life.  Franco's performance is substantial and memorable but I don't think it will snag the Oscar this year.    Boyle's film is quite good but definitely is not for the faint of heart - but don't worry 'that scene' as audiences will refer to doesn't last THAT long.  3 out of 4 slates. Reviewed by Min

 

ALL GOOD THINGS

ALL GOOD THINGS is a film based on a true story of a missing persons case out of New York. The fine cast is lead by Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst with a top-notch performance also coming from Frank Langella as the manipulating father of Gosling. The film starts off slow and revs up to a spellbinding finale. ALL GOOD THINGS arrives on DVD on March 29 from Magnolia Home Entertainment. It's a murder mystery that you don't want to miss! 3 1/2 out of 4 slates!

 

BEHIND THE BURLY Q

BEHIND THE BURLY Q is a very interesting documentary, showing what it was like during the heyday of the world of Burlesque. The film features actual performers, including the dancers and the comedians, which makes for an interesting mix of viewpoints. Alan Alda even makes an appearance to talk about his father who started as an burlesque performer. It can be a little slow at times, but the stories can be fascinating! 3 out of 4 slates!

 

BEHEMOTH

Growing up, I always enjoyed watching the Saturday late night Creature Double Feature on TV. All those old sci-fi and monster movies were always fun! BEHEMOTH takes you back to those films with a monster movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. There are strange rumblings going on in a small mountain town...earthquake, volcano coming alive or a long dormant underground monster? BEHEMOTH comes to DVD on April 5th from Vivendi Entertainment. Enjoy! 3 out of 4 slates!

 

CHICAGO OVERCOAT

CHICAGO OVERCOAT follows an aging hit man who is out for one last hit to make some money and leave Chicago to retire in Las Vegas. Things never work out as planned! Lead by a strong cast, this film pays homage to the old gangster movies of the 40's. I enjoyed this one and you should be sure to check it out! 3 out of 4 slates!

 

SCARY MOVIE 4 (Unrated - Blu-Ray)

SCARY MOVIE 4, let's face it, when you watch a film that makes fun of other movies, you are not going to get a film with an indepth, meaningful story. If you take it for what it is intended, SCARY MOVIE 4 delivers a hilarious, funtime for all! Yes, it's dumb. Yes, it's stupid. But that is what makes this film so good! Kick back and laugh! It takes jabs at everything from SAW to THE GRUDGE and the scenes with Dr. Phil are a riot! Take a break from your problems and laugh with SCARY MOVIE 4! And be sure to check out the bloopers and all the extras...they are as funny as the movie! 3 out of 4 slates!

 

FATAL SECRETS

FATAL SECRETS draws you into the life of a woman who is out for revenge on a man who rapes her. She enlists the help of her friends in an interesting thriller with a superb cast including Dina Meyer, Vincent Spano, Lela Rochon, Ed Begley Jr., Ernie Hudson and two past guests on On Screen & Beyond, Lea Thompson and Tess Harper. What you end up with is a very interesting film with twists and turns. 3 out of 4 slates!  

 

RESPIRE

RESPIRE gives us a new angle in the Horror genre. It was refreshing to see a horror film that isn't just a rehashing of the same old slice em and dice em films that are usually made. RESPIRE does an excellent job of leading you from the past (1930's) to today, following the vial containing the soul of a scientist who was working on a cure for incurable diseases when he died. From there, the real story begins. I think you will enjoy this little gem! Check it out! 3 out of 4 slates!

 

WWJD                                               

 WWJD brings you a solid cast including John Schneider as a stranger who drifts into a town which is about to lose it's church to a land developer who wants to become the mayor. Schneider's character touches the lifes of several members of the community and makes them think about the direction their life is going. The background plot of film is your basic town's people against the evil land developer, but overall it makes for enjoyable viewing.     2 1/2 slates

 

WHAT IF

WHAT IF they made a movie that the whole family could see together? WHAT IF they made a movie that had an excellent cast and had a well written story. Well, WHAT IF is that movie. WHAT IF stars Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), John Ratzenberger (Cheers) and Debby Ryan. They all work well together in this film, in a story about what could have been. It's currently playing around the country, but you may have to look for it, but it's well worth the effort! If you go to their website, you can see where it is playing. 3 out of 4 slates!  

 

RED

A lackluster action film starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Mary Louise Parker has opened in theaters and when you see it you understand why it's so mindless.  Taking the 'cheesy comical' action approach, this movie has it's little quirks throughout - mainly Malkovich's performance as a moronic former CIA agent and Mirren's elderly badass shooting scenes - but overall the action seems to take a backseat to comedy.  Big names but don't have any expectations going into it.  2 out of 4 slates. Reviewed by Min

 

BONNIE & CLYDE vs DRACULA

Bonnie & Clyde vs Dracula reminded me of the "B" movie you once saw at a drive-in theater...not the movie you wanted to see, but one they slipped in before or after the featured film. In this film, Clyde is the whimp guy, Bonnie is the natural born killer. It can supply a fun time if you like to kickback with a movie that is of the mindless fare. The story (what there is of one) is weak and it bounces around. Dracula is there, but not of much use. Skip this one unless you want some mindless viewing..  1 out of 4 slates.

 

 

THE HAUNTING OF AMELIA

The Haunting of Amelia is a little bit slow, but it fits the mood of the film. It's hard to tell you much about the film, but let me say that this is one of those films, that when it's done, you'll need (and want) to watch it again, just to see if you missed something. As I said, it is a bit slow, but hang in there for a worthy film. 3 out of 4 slates!  

 

 

THE TOWN

Ben Affleck's latest film which he wrote, directs and stars in with Jeremy Renner takes us to Charlestown, MA - the "bank robbery capital of America."  Here a group of criminals continue on their clean streak of bank robberies taking whatever they desire until one stint when they take a hostage - who ends up becoming involved with Affleck's character in a dangerous love affair.  Affleck's scores big - 4 out of 4 slates! Reviewed by Min

 

THE SOCIAL NETWORK

Jesse Eisenberg stars as Mark Zuckerberg, the youngest billionaire in history who created one of the biggest social media websites to date in David Fincher's latest film about the phenomenon know as Facebook.  Everything about this film is sensational!  From Eisenberg's portrayal of Zuckerberg to Justin Timberlake's take on Sean Parker to Trent Reznor's respectable soundtrack - everything about this film has it's place and is extremely well executed!  4 out of 4 slates!  Reviewed by Min

 

SALT

Angelina Jolie takes on the role of Evelyn Salt - an CIA agent on the run after she is accused of being a Russian spy.  I love Jolie and had high hopes for this action movie but I found everything about this movie to be dull, painful and way beneath what Jolie is capable of.  I could careless about the story line, the stunts were mediocre, and there are probably about 40 lines of dialogue throughout the entire film.  Save your money and your sanity - don't see this movie.  1 out of 4 slates!

 

 

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS

The preview for Jay Roach's latest film with Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell did not appeal to me in the least at first.  So when I was invited to a private advanced screening with Jay Roach, I thought 'why not?'  I'm so glad I went!  This movie is RIDICULOUSLY hysterical.  It's great to once again see the comedic chemistry between Rudd and Carrell - they truly are an amazing duo.  Throw in Zach Galifinakis and it turns into gold.  I laughed more than expected and was pleasantly surprised!  Reviewed by Min 3 out of 4 slates!  

 

 

INCEPTION

  Christopher Nolan is back with his latest mind-bending film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ellen Page.  A complex story line (or should I say lines) that will have you replaying every scene and fact in your head constantly to keep up.  DiCaprio's performance is strong as always but it's Gordon-Levitt who is remarkable!  Everything from the stunts to the special FX will leave your mouth hanging open.  Great film though you may have to see it twice to fully understand it (and even then you should probably see it again!). Reviewed by Min  4 out of 4 slates!

 

LEGION THE FINAL EXORCISM                                                

MTI  Legion The Final Exorcism gave me more of a feel of a TV show rather than a movie. It may have been the narration, but it felt like it could be a weekly show in the vein of "Tales from the Crypt" or "The Night Stalker'. Medium shock value and story line makes for OK viewing, not high on the list, but still watchable as a priest helps a family with a girl who is possesed by the devil.     2 1/2 slates

 

THE LAST INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOY                                                

MTI  The Last International Playboy follows a playboy who learns that his childhood love is now engaged and becomes depressed. His eleven year old neighbor helps to lift him back into the real world. The film is a little slow at times, but overall it fits into the mood of the story.     2 1/2 slates

 

31 NORTH 62 EAST                                               

MTI 31 North 62 East is an excellent film...story, acting, it's all there! Centered around a corrupt government official who hands over the location of a military unit to a foreign official to benifit his greed, the film takes you on a wild ride of murder, deceit, kidnapping and lies. It grabs hold of you and doesn't let go until the end. We highly recommend this one!   3 slates

 

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: THE RADIANT CHILD                                                

New Video  Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child is a documentary which takes you into the world of one of modern art worlds superstars. It's interesting to learn that in his short life, he worked with Andy Warhol, dated Madonna and on and on! If documentaries peak your interest, this one will fill your needs!     2 1/2 slates

 

CAT CITY                                                

MTI Cat City is a story filled with twists and turns and a fine cast with Brian Dennehy, Julian Sands and Rebecca Pidgeon. Murder, infedelity and greed are just the beginning of this film. It will keep your attention and don't miss the end!     2 1/2 slates

 

THE TRIUMPH of DINGUS McGRAW                                                

Indican Pictures The Triumph of Dingus McGraw is as silly as the name sounds. It follows a simple young man as he is lead to believe that he will be competing in the Olympics, all because of the trickery of the mayor who loves the same woman as Dingus. It makes for a few chuckes, but don't look for anything to complex with this film.     2 slates

 

DARK METROPOLIS                                                

Indican Pictures Dark Metropolis takes you into a world where humans have genetically created life to fight their wars. Now the "Ghen" has taken over. This is a film which draws you in to the story and when it ends, you are wanting more! Check out our interview in episode #139 with the film's star Bailey Chase.   3 slates

 

CHRISTMAS IN THE CLOUDS                                                

MTI Christmas In The Clouds is an entertaining film with a holiday theme that will tug at your heartstrings. Set in the mountains, it centers around a vacation lodge that is trying to recieve a high rating from an unknown guest reviewer. Several sub plots round out what makes for enjoyable, light viewing for this time of year     2 1/2 slates

 

YES VIRGINIA   

New Video Yes, Virginia is a classic story of a little girl wondering if Santa is real. This computer animated adaptation does justice to the tale with a heartwarming rendition. The voice talents of Neil Patrick Harris and Jennifer Love Hewitt grace the film. This should be part of everyone's holiday viewing each year!. 3 1/2 out of 4 slates. 

 

IRON MAN 2                                                 

Paramount Pictures  - PG-13   Iron Man 2 does not stand up as well as Iron Man.  Don't get me wrong, it's still an exciting, fun movie.  It will make a bazillion dollars, but that  doesn't hide the fact that they coped out and went for all special effects and put the story on the back burner.  The first Iron Man had an equal measure of story and special effects and played very well.  This one concentrates on how many explosions and fight scenes they could come up with and just a hint of a story.  Still a good film to watch and enjoy, just not as good as the first.  - 3 1/2 slates! 

 

THE SECRET OF KELLS                                                  

Enchanting! The Secret of Kells takes you on a magical ride in this Oscar nominated animated film. Last year when it was nominated for an Academy Award, I have to admit, I had never heard of it! What movie was this? Where did it come from? Now I have had a chance to view the film and I can see why it was nominated. Now that it's coming to DVD, a wider audience will be able to see it and enjoy it! Don't miss this one. 3 1/2 out of 4 slates. 

 

LANGUAGE of the ENEMY                                                 

MTI Language of the Enemy is a very well done film following a modern day Romeo & Juliet in the Mid East. When Romi, a Jewish American buisinessman, travels to Israel for his fathers funeral, he meets up with Joleh, a beautiful Palestinian woman and falls in love. What follows is an engaging story which is draws you into the lives of these two characters. The cast includes Eion Baily, Lindy Hardy and Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham and they all give supurb performances. Be sure to check this one out!    3 slates

 

BY THE WILL OF GENGHIS KHAN                                                

MTI By The Will Of Genghis Khan is a grand film about the rise of Genghis Khan from his birth. With English subtitles, I found it a little hard to follow, but the film draws you into the story even so. The movie was filmed in Russia and China with a cast of thousands during the battle scenes. No CGI, no special effects, just a massive cast in epic fight scenes.     2 1/2 slates

 

GANG LAND                                                

Indican Pictures   Gang Land is a violent and at times disturbing film that takes a look into the world of a gang and the results of one of their brutal attacks on a couple. The man seeks revenge by infiltrating the gang in the middle of gang wars and the violence continues.     2 1/2 slates

 

CIRCLE                                               

Indican Pictures Circle is your standard slasher/killer film. A good cast wtih some suspense, but it just doesn't come through in the end. Not that it's a bad film, there just isn't anything new here : Killer on the loose, college students with raging hormones go to a secluded area, killer ends up there too and.... .     2 slates

 

CHUCK CLOSE                                                

New Video   Being able to watch Chuck Close or any great artist, work on his paintings is a rare treat, but in this documentary, you get to do just that!  Plus we get to peek into the private life of Mr Close though his friends and his wife. If you are a fan of Chuck Close's art, be sure to check this out.     2 1/2 slates

 

YOO-HOO, MRS. GOLDBERG                                                 

New Video  Yoo - hoo, Mrs. Goldberg  is a truc slice of radio and TV history, giving us loads of vintage clips of stars from the past ! Few people may remember the radio and TV show which Gertrude Berg wrote, produced and starred in, but here is your chance to learn a little about out past. This makes for great viewing for the TV and radio buf and even more for those that remember!    3 slates

 

THE AGE OF STUPID                                                 

New Video   Film can sometimes bring out different opinions from people, even though they saw the exact same movie. This is one of those films. Some people will see this as an eye opening experience on climate change, while others, as propaganda. I leave it to you to watch and decide for yourself. But it doesn't hurt to watch.      2 1/2 slates

 

 

PRIVATE                                                    

New Video   I have to be honest and tell you, I was not too excited to watch this at first because it's not my usual type of show. With that said, I do watch all DVD's we recieve and I was quickly drawn into the story of PRIVATE. Well written and engaging, PRIVATE makes for great viewing 3 out of 4 slates. 

 

RED vs. BLUE RECREATION SEASON 7                                                  

New Video    Halo fans get another dose of their favorite video game! The story continues in season 7 with the same wit and humor of past seasons. The DVD includes extras, including deleted scenes and outtakes.       2 1/2 slates

 

 

ROCK SLYDE                                                  

I admit it, I'm a sucker for a film noir detective comedy and ROCK SLYDE gives us Patrick Warburton as Private Eye Rock Slyde, playing it to the hilt. Warburton was made for this role. He plays it in his deadpan style and it works. Andy Dick plays the villian that Slyde is investigating for the femme fatale. The jokes are corny, but they fit well into this funny outing. Check it out, you'll enjoy it! 3 1/2 out of 4 slates. 

 

METAMORPHOSIS                                                    

MTI  I enjoy a good vampire movie now and then, but not the latest big budget love story triangle vampires. The old style vampire movies work best for me. METAMORPHOSIS trys to play both sides with a little of both. It gives you the feel of an old vampire film and even throws in a vampire with a sense of humor and attitude. I enjoyed the sets and the actors, but I felt the ending was a little dragged on. It felt like it should have ended a scene or two earlier, but overall an enjoyable romp. 3 out of 4 slates. 

 

SAY GOODNIGHT                                  

MTI   SAY GOODNIGHT starts out little slow, but moves on to be a relatively funny movie at times, as we follow a group of guys as they mess up constantly with women.   The cast is engaging enough to keep your attention through the slow parts and sometimes sophmoric humor, but all in all it's a movie you can sit back and have fun with, if you are in the right mood. 2 1/2 slates

 

 

 

SUTURES                                 

MTI   Sutures can be gruesome at times and disturbing! It follows a group of friends as they are captured by a ruthless killer who works for....we will not say, but get ready for a different kind of slasher movie. You know what you are getting into right at the beginning when the killer goes into a confessional and says "Bless me father, for I WILL sin"! If you are into slasher movies that have a story, check out "SUTURES".    2 1/2 slates

 

 

 

HUXLEY ON HUXLEY                                                    

New Video   Huxley on Huxley takes us on a fascinating look into the life of Aldous Huxley, the famous author of many books including BRAVE NEW WORLD, through the eyes of his wife Laura. This is a documentary, narrated by Peter Coyote, that is put together very well, giving you a very intimate feel into their life together and  into his experimentation and search for a higher level of consciousness.   3 out of 4 states. 

 

JOAN MITCHELL: Potrait of an Abstract Painter                                  

New Video    This documentary looks at the artist Joan Mitchell with interviews with Joan herself, as well as other artists and critics. We also get to see many of the paintings weaved into the film, which gives you a more intimate look at her work. You walk away from this film with a better idea of what makes an abstract painter tick.          2 1/2 slates

 

 

 

RED Vs BLUE: RECONSTRUCTION SEASON 6                                  

New Video    Red vs Blue: Recontruction puts you in the middle of a video game. Fans of the Halo video game will love this, while someone new to the game may want to watch the past seasons (compiled into movie form) to get some of the jokes and storyline.   Who says Sci-Fi can't have a sense of humor?       2 1/2 slates

 

 

 

JACK SAYS                                  

Synergetic   Jack has amnesia and is looking for answers, which he (and we) gets pieces of in short flashbacks. The police are looking for him and the body count is increasing. Check out what "Jack Says".         2 1/2 slates

 

 

 

SPLIT ENDS                                  

Synergetic   Split Ends follows the efforts of a salon owner to save the towns sleepy business district from the clutches of the shady mayor and his corporate developer friends. The film is a little slow at times, but it makes for easy viewing on a night when you have had enough of the recent "blow 'em" up fare and special effects that is being thrown at you constantly.         2 1/2 slates

 

 

 

FIREBALL                                                     

MTI  Fireball is a wild ride. A convict is burnt in a fire, how he survives I don't know and how he gains the power to create fireballs is a little sketchy but once they get past that, the story develops with chemistry between the federal agent and the fire marshall. Things start moving and fire starts flying. Fireball is an enjoyable Sci-Fi romp.     3 out of 4 stars. 

 

SISTER'S KEEPER                                  

MTI  Sister's Keeper is a story about a hitman on his final assignment before he leaves the assasin business. What should be an easy hit turns out to be more than he was expecting. The film starts off a little slow, but progresses and ends up an entertaining watch.         2 1/2 slates

 

 

 

THE SHADOW WITHIN                                                       

MTI  The Shadow Within will send a chill down you spine!  At times the film is a little slow, but it supplies enough chills to make up for that.  Don't look for blood and gore in this one, it does the job without going that route.   The settings  and music set the mood for a well done film.    3 out of 4 stars. 

 

S.E.R.E.                                                       

Synergetic  S.E.R.E. is a movie which draws you in and will not let you go.  At first, I thought it would be another torture laden movie like "SAW" (1 through 29 or whatever they are up to now), but it turns out to be a very well made film that is easy to get hooked into.  It follows an air crew that has been captured and is being interogated.  Well acted and well written.  3 out of 4 stars. 

 

 

PULSE/SICK NURSES: Horror Pack                                  

Magnolia Home Entertainment  This double feature pack features Pulse and Sick Nurses, two horror films.  Pulse is the original film which inspired the American remake...this version is scarier than the remake.  Don't look for blood and guts, this one plays with your mind!  Sick Nurses is the weaker of the two films, but still puts some chills up and down your spine.   2 1/2 slates

 

 

 

EXILED/DYNAMITE WARRIOR: Action Pack                    

Magnolia Home Entertainment  This double feature pack features two films which will fuel the action need of viewers.  Exiled has shootout scenes galore and none stop action from director Johnnie To, while Dynamite Warrior will surely feed the need for high flying, kung-fu action.  Exiled is rated R and Dynamite Warrior is not rated.  Get the popcorn out, sit back and enjoy!           2 1/2 slates

 

 

BILLY OWENS and the SECRET of the RUNES                      

MTI   Billy Owens and the Secrect of the Runes is the sequel to The Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens.  After the first Billy Owens, why they made another is the big question.  The acting is very weak all around, the special effects are poor and the story doesn't hold your attention.  Unless the kids are under 4 years old, they will be bored.  We can only hope there will not be another sequel for Billy.  1 slate.

 

SURVIVING CROOKED LAKE                                                 

NeoClassic Films  Surviving Crooked Lake takes us on a journey with a group of teenage girls on a canoe trip with their guide.  What developes is a suspense laiden tale which will keep you involved in the story and on the edge of your seat.            2 1/2 slates

 

 

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