Friday, August 30, 2013


Opened August 23, 2013 
2 hr 10 min
PG-13 | Language, Brief Drug Use, Some Smoking and Violence
Genres: Documentary, Drama

Director Wong Kar Wai brings us a stunning adaptation of a period of life of Ip Man in The Grandmaster.  With beautiful cinematography, stunning visuals that will delight your senses with it's bold palette of colors.  As well a solid acting cast led by Tony Leung (Ip Man) and Zhang Ziyi (Gong Er).  With all of these things going for the film, it suffers from a long fragmented plot that paces like a snail on one of its bad days.

The Grandmaster covers the period of Ip Man's life approximately from the 1930's up until his death in Hong Kong.  Majority of the story though focuses on his relationship with Gong Er, whose family is from the North, Ip representing the South.  Gong Er's father is a well renown Martial Artist Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang) who is in his late years of life, while Ip is around his peak.  Yutian besides his daughter has another gifted student in Ma San (Zhang Jin) who plays the chief protagonist in the story.  Unfortunately, the story becomes more of a Gong family biopic with their infighting taking center stage most of the film.  Zhang Ziyi shines the most in the movie given the amount of screen time and emotions and scenarios she gets to play out in the film.  Often with brilliance. 

As I've said earlier what will impress you most with the film are the visuals, from the sets to the costumes to the slow panning of everyday items that jumps at you.  Like the red dye tea eggs from the celebration to the snow covered empty bench that Gong Er steps away from.  Wong Kar Wai creates a beautiful world from the cold North to the slow raining fight scenes.  It however makes the film a lot longer than it should be, distracting you from the story with such long breaks in between dialogue and action scenes.  The slow and go fight scenes through out the movie is used too frequently making the fight scene more choreographed looking than smooth actual fighting.

Overall, I would still recommend this movie.  It's not the best biopic of Ip Man but it has more than enough going for it to make it worth watching among the many other biopics of the Wing Chun master.  The movie is mostly in Mandarin with English subtitles and is playing in U.S. theaters right now.

Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


Trailer:


Cast:

  • Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Ip Man
  • Zhang Ziyi as Gong Er
  • Song Hye-kyo as Cheung Wing-sing (Zhang Yongcheng)
  • Chang Chen as "The Razor" Yixiantian
  • Zhao Benshan as Ding Lianshan
  • Wang Qingxiang as Gong Yutian
  • Zhang Jin as Ma San
  • Yuen Woo-ping as Chan Wah-shun (Chen Huashun)
  • Xiaoshenyang as Sanjiangshui
  • Cung Le as Tiexieqi
  • Shang Tielong as Jiang
  • Lo Hoi-pang as Uncle Deng
  • Chin Shih-chieh as Gong clan elder
  • Wang Jue as Gong clan elder
  • Lau Ga-yung as Yong
  • Lau Shun as Rui
  • Zhou Xiaofei as Gu
  • Bruce Leung
  • Julian Cheung
  • Lo Mang
  • Berg Ng

Thursday, August 29, 2013


While the Summer and its outdoor free screenings may be nearing an end, there are still plenty of alternatives in New York City to catch a free flick.  One of the most popular places among some of my friends is the Sony Wonder Technology Lab on 56th Street and Madison.  Their 73 seat capacity HD theater with wheelchair access screens children shows and old movies every Saturday. 

Reservation is required and could be made up to two weeks prior to the screening over the phone.  For those who want to take the risk, they can show up the day of and fill in for any no shows.  The children shows usually consist of either Nick Jr. or Sesame Street.  While the adult screenings may include some blockbusters, or some Sony Pictures film that has a sequel coming out the week after.  For example Insidious 2 will be released in theaters September 13th, while Insidious will be shown at the Sony Wonder Technology Lab on Saturday, September 7th.

The following is a list of upcoming screenings they will be showing next month.  Check with their site for any scheduling or screening changes.  If you do go, be sure to arrive early.  Because if you're late, you may find your seat taken by an alternative on the standby line.  After the screening is over be sure to check out the interactive exhibits in the Wonder Lab which is free as well.

Feature:

08/31/2013 12:15pm
A Passage to India
Set in 1928, this film portrays an indelibly sardonic picture of British life in territorial India. Adela Quested (Judy Davis), a free-spirited British woman who has settled in India, is set to marry Ronny Heaslop (Nigel Havers), a town magistrate. She is befriended by the charming Dr. Aziz (Victor Banerjee), but it's a friendship that ultimately leads to tragedy.
[PG] Directed by David Lean. Running time: 164 mins.

09/07/2013 12:15pm
I've Loved You So Long
Juliette Fontaine (Kristin Scott Thomas, Golden Globe® Nominee), is a frail, haunted woman -an ex-doctor who's a shell of her former self. Having served 15 years in prison for an unspeakable crime, she's back on the "outside." With nowhere else to go, she comes to live with her loving but estranged sister Lea (Elsa Zylberstein). Together, the sisters embark on a painful but redemptive journey back from life's darkest edge in this gripping drama of struggle and salvation.
[PG-13] Directed by Phillipe Claudel. Running time: 117 mins.

09/07/2013 03:00pm
Insidious
Shortly after moving, a loving father (Patrick Wilson), his wife (Rose Bryne), and their three children discover that dark spirits have possessed their home and their son has inexplicably fallen into a coma. Trying to escape the haunting and save their son, they move again only to realize that it was not their hause that was haunted.
[PG-13] Directed by James Wan. Running time: 103 mins.

09/14/2013 12:15pm
Robert & Frank
Set in the near future, Frank (Frank Langella), a retired cat burglar, has two grown kids who are concerned he can no longer live alone. They are tempted to place him in a nursing home until Frank's son, Hunter (James Marsden), chooses a different option. Against the old man's wishes, Hunter buys Frank a robot butler programmed to improve his physical and mental health. Frank decides it's more fun to teach the robot everything he knows about being a jewel thief and try their luck as a heist team.
[PG-13] Directed by Jake Schreier.
Running time: 89 mins.

09/14/2013 03:00pm
Michael Jackson's This Is It.
A rare, behind-the-scenes look at Michael Jackson as he developed, created, and rehearsed for his sold-out concerts scheduled at London’s 02 Arena. Chronicling the months from April through June 2009, this film captures the singing, dancing and creative genius of Michael at work as he creates and perfects his final London shows.
[PG-13] Directed by Kenny Ortega. Running time: 111 mins.

09/21/2013 12:15pm & 03:00pm
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatball
When Flint Lockwood’s (voice of Bill Hader) latest contraption accidentally destroys the town square and rockets up into the clouds, he thinks his inventing career is over. Then something amazing happens as delicious cheeseburgers start raining from the sky. When people greedily ask for more and more food, the machine starts to run amok. With the help of weather girl Sam Sparks (voice of Anna Faris) and Steve, his talking monkey assistant, Flint tries to find some way to shut down the machine before the world is covered in super-sized meatballs! Animated.
[PG] Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Running time: 90 mins.

09/28/2013 12:15pm & 03:00pm
Iron Man 3
When Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.
[PG-13] Directed by Shane Black. Running time: 130 mins.

For their full schedule visit:
http://www.sonywondertechlab.com/programs-events/screenings/feature-screenings

For their children schedule visit:
http://www.sonywondertechlab.com/programs-events/screenings/childrens-screenings






Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Opens September 6, 2013 
1 hr 43 min
R | Some Sexual Content/Nudity, Language and Strong Violence
Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

As invincible as Riddick may seem.  His franchise days appears to be numbered.  The latest installment starring Vin Diesel as titled character Riddick is full of action but lacking in everything else.  It's been nine years since we've seen Riddick, unfortunately time has not helped the latest film at all.

Continuing from The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), Riddick is the leader of the conquering race, the Necromongers.  He longs for his home planet Furya, and with that he is tricked and left for dead on a scorching planet full of hostile life forms.  Hoping to get an easy ticket off the planet, he activates an emergency beacon from an outpost long abandoned.  The beacon however brings mercenaries looking to capitalize on the bounty on his head.  Also joining the party, is a man and his troops with a history with Riddick.  Between Riddick, the two groups after him and the hostile creatures, there is no shortage of stabbing, shooting and limb breaking.  Watching Riddick methodically take out his opponents instilling fear into the rest is what I love about him and there's no shortage of that.  New cast member Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galatica) as Dahl does a great job being flirtatious and a tough ass while easy on the eyes among the grunts.  Matt Nable also does a great job as Boss Johns who has a few questions for Riddick about his time during the first movie.  Aside from these few positives though it's all downhill.

Let's start off with Dave Batista who played Diaz.  Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) he is not.  For someone of his size and demeanor you would expect a more intimidating character.  Instead we get a mercenary who defer to others less superior than him in size.  Eventually we get a good fight scene out of him, but by then, the lackluster buildup of the character makes him nothing but easy fodder.  Next we have Jordi Mollà, who seems more in place as a Looney Tunes villain with his comical lines and short temper.  In a film such as this, with uncreative aliens, weak supporting cast, the directions it takes trying to be humorous while gritty and action packed at the same time is just the wrong fit for Riddick.

Overall, I would recommend waiting for this to come out on DVD or catching a matinee if you're a fan of the series.  For me the whole pet hound was just the icing on the cake making the movie more than a bit campy for a supposedly cold hearted killer like Riddick.  With a much smaller budget than the 2004 film, it should do well though.

Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:



Cast:
  • Vin Diesel as Richard B. Riddick
  • Jordi Mollà as Santana
  • Matt Nable as Boss Johns
  • Katee Sackhoff as Dahl
  • Dave Batista as Diaz
  • Bokeem Woodbine as Moss
  • Raoul Trujillo as Lockspur
  • Karl Urban as Lord Siberius Vaako
  • Alex Branson as Lex Branman
  • Nolan Gerard Funk as Luna

The next highly anticipated family film is the animation Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 from Sony.  I'll try to keep updating contests and screenings that I come across on this page as I find them.  So check back often.


(last updated September 17th, 2013 4:56pm)

Active:
Sponsor: GeekwithMak
Details: Win pair of reserved passes to AMC Lincoln Square for Saturday, September 21st, 2013 10:00 AM
Link: http://www.geekwithmak.com/2013/09/win-two-reserved-tickets-to-cloudy-with.html
Ends: September 20th, 2013

Sponsor: OurTiempo
Details: Win pair of passes for Regal Union Square.
Link: http://2.ourtiempo.com/cloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs-2-nyc-advance-screening/
Ends: Unknown

Sponsor: CorrienteLatina

Details: Follow @Prinz_Lee for codes for passes  for Saturday, September 21st, 2013 screening.
Link: http://www.corrientelatina.com/cloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs-2-advance-screening-sat-921.html
Ends: Unknown

Sponsor: iWatchMike.com

Details: Enter code into Gofobo for a pair of passes for Saturday, September 21st, 2013 screening.  Code available in sponsor's site.
Link: http://iwatchmike.com/win-screening-passes-cloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs-2-contest/
Ends: No expiration, check back with code often as people cancel their RSVP

Closed:

Sponsor: Sony Wonder Technology Lab
Details: RSVP by phone for up to 4 people for Saturday, September 21st, 2013 11:00am.
Link: http://www.sonywondertechlab.com/programs-events/screenings/feature-screenings/advanced-sneak-peek-cloudy-chance-meatballs-2
Ends: September 20th, 2013 or when RSVP fills up (FULL!)

Sponsor: Lance Cloudy

Details: Win a trip for four to the premiere in New York City.
Link: https://www.facebook.com/LanceSnacks/app_141480449371949
Ends: July 31st, 2013

Sponsor: KTU 103.5
Details: Win passes to the screening on Saturday, September 21st, 2013 10:00am.  Contest begins September 9th.  There will be up to 15 winners.
Link: http://rewards.ktu.com/asp3/ContestDetail.aspx?AID=198509
Ends: September 15th, 2013

Sponsor: Z100

Details: Win passes to the screening on Saturday, September 21st, 2013 10:00am.  Contest begins September 9th.  There will be up to 15 winners.
Link: http://rewards.z100.com/asp3/ContestDetail.aspx?AID=198509
Ends: September 15th, 2013


Trailer:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


It's about time for my review of Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time, so here we go.  As one of the most anticipated app games of 2013, the sequel adds new characters and plants that add to the game play that we know and love.  However, with the noticeable lack of mini games, a final boss stage as well as making the game an in game purchase model, the sequel withers in comparison to its predecessor.

I wouldn't say that that won't have fun.  With three time periods to get through, and numerous variations of stages and missions to accomplish, you'll be challenged but only to a certain extent.  While I haven't unlocked all side roads and captured all stars, I did relatively easily breezed through the main roads for all three time periods within a week.

The biggest challenges I found was the "Save Our Seeds" levels where there are plants near the front line that you cannot remove or move but must protect from the oncoming onslaught of zombies.  For those levels be sure to have Wall-nuts in front of the endangered plants.  Preferable 2 columns in front.  This way you can put a Bonk Choy behind the Wall-nut to take out enemies blocked by the Wall-nut.


Between the three time periods, I can't say I really have a favorite.  All three presents different challenges that I find fun. From Ancient Egypt, I particularly love the sun stealing Ra Zombie, the Camel Zombies (especially freezing a whole row of them!), and the juggernaut Pharaoh Zombie.  The two toughest of that stage for me or annoying at least is the Explorer Zombie who can burn away your defenses and Tomb Raiser Zombie.


With regards to the Pirate Seas stage, I particularly love matching my Coconut Cannon against the Imp Cannon to see who can get a shot off first.  But the most annoying zombie for this stage would have to be the Zombie Parrot which accompanies the Pirate Captain Zombie.  He sends in the parrot towards one of your plants to take it off of the stage.   If you have at least two rows of plants that attack behind the object he is taking, then you're usually safe in taking him out before he flies away with it.


With regards to the Wild West, it's probably the most difficult of the time periods because of its rogue gallery of zombies as well as the interesting challenges the tracks presents.  The train tracks limit the amount of plants you can plant so careful planning is needed in each level.  Usually, I would just put my most heaviest hitter in the train cart.  As far as the zombies in this level, the three most challenging ones that come to mind are Prospector Zombie, the Pianist Zombie, Chicken Wrangler Zombie and the Zombie Bull. The Prospector Zombie is just like the Mining in the first game in that he'll try to go to the back and work his way forward.  He is usually not that hard to take out.  As well you can use an Iceberg Lettace to his extinguish his dynamite.  The Pianist Zombie reminds me of the Dancing Zombie but much more deadly.  While the Pianist doesn't summon new Zombies, he does shift all the Zombies on the screen which can create havoc.  A Spike Weed can easily take them out.  The Zombie Bull is similar to the Gargantuar in taking out everything in its path.  Both also having imps on its back for getting behind your defenses.  Chicken Wrangler Zombie is one of the most interesting new zombies.  He can summon a flock of chickens on stage to attack you.  It doesn't take much to take them out, but when they attack in great numbers they can easily overwhelm your defenses that have slow attack speed.

Overall, I would still recommend this game to friends.  The graphics and game play are good.  The Crazy Dave humor is entertaining as usual.  There's no news yet on when the boss stage (Far Future) will be out.  Hopefully when it is release it adds more to the game than just another level and still be free.

Here are a few tips and notes that may or may not help you in the game:
1) It is possible to unlock all the plants, upgrades and zombies without paying any real money
2) Lightning Reed is my friend!  It's great for taking out multiple enemies and has incredible range.
3) In levels where you have to produce a certain amount of Sun, use the Plant Food on a Sunflower to produce more quickly.
4) As far as gates you should unlock, go for the upgrades first.  Sun Boost in Ancient Egypt and Extra Seed Slot in the Pirate Seas before unlocking others first.
5) On levels where you have to take out the Yeti, save a Plant Food for one of your attackers to take it out easily before it escapes.
6) On levels where you face huge armies, use a Plant Food on a Corn to unleash a rain of butter to slow things down.  It's especially effective against the Seagull Zombie.
7) Save your power abilities for levels where you have to take out a certain amount of zombies in a given amount of time
8) When you have no choice but to use a power ability, while the Power Pinch is the cheapest, I find the Power Zap more worth it for its cost given its speed and cost.

Rating: 3.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


Monday, August 26, 2013


Netflix continues to churn out original series building upon its portfolio to rival those of cable channels like HBO and AMC.  Their latest offering is Orange is the New Black which like their other original series was release in its entirety on July 11, 2013.  The series was created by Jenji Kohan (Weeds) based off of the memoirs of Piper Kerman whose title is the same as the Netflix series.  The 13 episode series may draw similarities to HBO's Oz, but as the inmates so kindly points out in the beginning of this series.  Litchfield Correctional Facility isn't Oz.

Orange is the New Black contains less of the drama than Oz with much more laughs.  What it does have in common besides being set in a prison is high quality seasoned actors including Laura Prepon (70s Show), Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek Voyager) and Jason Biggs (American Pie).  The main focus of the series though is Piper Chapman played by Taylor Schilling (Mercy).  

Piper Chapman who plays your typical yuppie Caucasian ends up in minimum security facility over her adventurous lesbian relationship with drug cartel employee Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) in her early adult years.  She helped Alex moved drugs back then and is outed by her ten years later and they wind up in the same correctional facility.  Part of the humor as well as drama is Piper dealing with her relationship with her fiancé Larry Bloom played by Jason Biggs as well as the many characters in the prison including inmates, correction officers and administrators.  It's your typical fish out of water story, but so well done, you'll find yourself binge watching the series.



Like Oz and I guess most shows with such large ensemble casts, each episode gives you a look into the past of one of the inmates on the series that is featured on that episode.  From the transgender fireman to the weed farmer, each has a sad tale of what led to be incarcerated.  One of the funniest characters in the series is not an inmate but Officer George "Pornstache" Mendez played hilariously by Pablo Schreiber (The Wire, Lights Out).  His character is a bit more over the top than the rest, more cartoonish you could say which adds to the humor of him.

One of my favorite episode is the "chicken" episode in which Piper in the beginning of the episode spots a chicken on the grounds of the correctional facility.  This is quite unusual, and the chicken quite coveted with its own legend.  "Red" the head chef (Kate Mulgrew) who is in inmate as well once the chicken for a fresh meal.  The other inmates through rumors, some of them quite absurd wants it for their own reasons.

Overall, I would highly recommend this series to adults.  There are some nudity in the series and adult situations such as suicide and drug dealing as well as a lot of profanity so I wouldn't recommend watching it with kids in attendance.  A season 2 has already been announced for 2014 and is currently filming in New York.  I can't wait considering the cliff hanger in season 1.

Have you seen the series, are you a fan?

Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


Trailer:


Cast:

  • Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman
  • Laura Prepon as Alex Vause
  • Michael J. Harney as Sam Healy
  • Michelle Hurst as Miss Claudette
  • Kate Mulgrew as Galina "Red" Reznikov
  • Jason Biggs as Larry Bloom
  • Taryn Manning as Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett
  • Danielle Brooks as Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson
  • Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren
  • Natasha Lyonne as Nicky Nichols
  • Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset
  • Dascha Polanco as Dayanara "Daya" Diaz
  • Yael Stone as Lorna Morello
  • Vicky Jeudy as Janae Watson
  • Madeline Brewer as Tricia Miller
  • Constance Shulman as Yoga Jones
  • Samira Wiley as Poussey Washington
  • Elizabeth Rodriguez as Aleida Diaz
  • Beth Fowler as Sister Ingalls
  • Lea DeLaria as Carrie "Big Boo" Black
  • Maria Dizzia as Polly Harper
  • Pablo Schreiber as George "Pornstache" Mendez
  • Matt McGorry as John Bennett
  • Nick Sandow as Joe Caputo
  • Alysia Reiner as Natalie Figueroa
  • Joel Marsh Garland as S. O'Neill
  • Catherine Curtin as Wanda Bell
  • Matt Peters as Joel Luschek
  • Lauren Lapkus as Susan Fischer
  • Michael Chernus as Cal Chapman

Thursday, August 22, 2013



  • Opens Friday, August 23, 2013 
  • 1 hr 49 min
  • R | Sexual References and Pervasive Language
  • Genres: Comedy

While I've seen Shaun of the Dead before, I have never seen Hot Fuzz.  But from Shaun to Mission Impossible to Star Trek, I've always been a fan of Simon Pegg.  So when they announced this third movie to Director Edgar Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, I was more than excited.  The World's End while it may not be Simon's finest performance brings you such hilarious scenarios and jokes with its ridiculous plot will have you laughing until the very end.

The premise is five teenage friends in a small town attempted to complete the Golden Mile.  Visiting pubs along a stretch and having a pint in each one.  They never finished their pub crawl, which fast forwards us to the future.  The leader of the group was Gary King who as an adult is played by Simon Pegg.  He tells his tale as a teenager and his friends while at an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting or something similar.  You can say tell he's really downtrodden compared to his other four friends who have become successful businessmen or salesmen.  So when Gary goes around to his four friends, all of which he hasn't seen for years and proposes to them that they reattempt the Golden Mile, they are more than reluctant   Only with some twisting and some white lies does he convinces them to return to their hometown and make a go at it.

When they return they see that not everything is as it seems.  I do not want to reveal too much, but I have to say I was really surprise at the fight choreography.  The fast and furious pace reminds me more of a martial arts film then a sci fi comedy.  I love Nick Frost in the movie.  He plays Gary's best friend or "wing man", Andy Knightley who outshines his trilogy partner Simon here.  My favorite scene though would have to be when Simon's character Gary is trying to finish his pint but keep getting interrupted towards the end.  The special effects in the film are also worth nothing.  I especially like the explosion toward the end.  With regards to the Cornetto, which gives us the name Three Flavours Cornetto.  Look for it passing by Nick's character as he is pressed against the fence towards the end.

Overall, I would recommend watching the film.  If you enjoy their other films, you'll definitely enjoy this one.  Because of the foul language and sexual references I would not recommend bringing a young teenager or child.  The story is a bit far fetch, yes, but that's part of the enjoyment with their films.  You can also say that the story is a bit predictable but I found the end to be quite satisfying and quite far from what you would expect.  The end of the world has never been so funny this summer.

Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:

Cast:


  • Thomas Law as Young Gary
  • Zachary Bailess as Young Andy
  • Jasper Levine as Young Steven
  • James Tarpey as Young Peter
  • Luke Bromley as Young Oliver
  • Sophie Evans as Becky Salt
  • Samantha White as Erika Leekes
  • Rose Reynolds as Tracy Benson
  • Richard Hadfield as Young Shane
  • Flora Slorach as Young Sam
  • Francesca Reidie as Teenage Twins
  • Charlotte Reidie as Teenage Twins
  • David Bradley as Basil
  • Michael Smiley as Reverend Green
  • Simon Pegg as Gary King
  • Alex Austin as Pale Young Man
  • Jonathan Aris as Group Leader
  • Nick Frost as Andy Knightley
  • Martin Freeman as Oliver Chamberlain
  • Paddy Considine as Steven Prince
  • Jenny Bede as Fitness Instructor
  • Angie Wallis as Peter's Wife
  • Eddie Marsan as Peter Page
  • Paul Bentall as Peter's Dad
  • Richard Graham as Head Builder
  • Alice Lowe as Young Lady
  • Rafe Spall as Young Man
  • Leo Thompson as Felicity
  • Steve Oram as Motorcycle Policeman
  • Julia Deakin as B&B Landlady
  • Greg Townley as Greg
  • Sebastian Zaniesienko as Seb
  • Luke Scott as Luke
  • Tyler Dobbs as Tyler
  • Samuel Mak as Sam
  • Teddy Kempner as Publican 1
  • Mark Kempner as Publican 2
  • Rosamund Pike as Sam Chamberlain
  • Nick Holder as Publican 1
  • Darren Boyd as Shane Hawkins
  • Paul Kennington as Publican 5
  • Michael Sarne as Publican 6
  • Reece Shearsmith as Collaborator
  • Nick Burns as Collaborator
  • Mark Heap as Publican 7
  • Kelly Franklin as Kelly
  • Stacy Franklin as Stacey
  • James Granstrom as Adrian Keane
  • Gabe Cronnelly as Upstairs Beehive Man
  • Patricia Franklin as Upstairs Beehive Lady
  • Mark Donovan as Big Ugly Bastard
  • Ricky Champ as Big Ugly Bastard
  • Ken Bones as Publican 13

Tuesday, August 20, 2013



  • Opens August 21, 2013 
  • 2 hr 10 min
  • PG-13 | Intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is an adaptation of the novel of the same name.  The book based on a series of books by Cassandra Clare stars Clary Fray who is played brilliantly by Lily Collins as a shadowhunter who is unaware of her heritage.  As a shadowhunter, she is part angel/part human with the ability to see beyond the "mundane" world and yield special kick-ass abilities.  I've never read the book, so I can't say if it's a faithful adaptation, but it is good summer movie that is visually pleasing.

The strength of the movie is undoubtedly the creative creatures and amazing special fx that is peppered throughout the movie.  Also of benefit is an amazingly Benetton-like good looking cast.  They're not just looks though as Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower and Robert Sheehan among the others delivers solid performances.  The only thing that keeps it down a notch for me is the tediously long plot where Director Harald Zwart tries to cramp as much book material into the movie.



The movie is geared toward a teenage female audience and will bring you nostalgia of Twilight with its Vampires and Werewolves (as well as the before said mentioned good looking cast).  But as far as the initial movie of the franchise it exceeds the original Twilight by far even with its Korean drama-like plot.  City of Bones many subplots and twists will have you convoluted and twisted and sometimes scratching your head.  It could have done a lot better in answering its own questions as far as why Clary's mother did what she did, and why the villain Valentine wants the chalice among other loose plot holes.  From what I understand the book and subsequent books tie up a lot of the questions left unanswered.

Overall, I would recommend this film.  The scene with Clary and the Rottweiler demon is among my favorite scenes of the movies.  The clever quips between Clary and Jace will have you smiling after you leave the theater.  The movie though is not for everyone with its teenager romance drama.  But if you can stomach that, the movie is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


Trailer:

Cast:

  • Lily Collins as Clary Fray
  • Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland
  • Robert Sheehan as Simon Lewis
  • Kevin Zegers as Alec Lightwood
  • Lena Headey as Jocelyn Fray
  • Kevin Durand as Emil Pangborn
  • Aidan Turner as Luke Garroway
  • Jemima West as Isabelle Lightwood
  • Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane
  • Jared Harris as Hodge Starkweather
  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine Morgenstern
  • C. C. H. Pounder as Madame Dorothea
  • Robert Maillet as Samuel Blackwell
  • Stephen R. Hart as Brother Jeremiah
  • Elyas M'Barek as Vampire Lieutenant
  • Chad Connell as Blue-Haired Demon

Monday, August 19, 2013


I have never been to a drive-in before, but have always wanted to experience one.  The first one opened in 1933 and was quite popular in the 1950s and 1960s.  Since their peak of about 4,000 drive-in theaters nationwide, they have been facing a steady decline with only about 357 as of last count this year.  Now they're all being threaten as studios look to get away from 35mm film and switch to all Digital.  The cost for a digital projector would cost a theater a minimum of $70,000, not including additional upgrades to accommodate the new projector.  Honda, the automaker, is looking to lend a helping hand to five drive-in theaters through their Project Drive-In.  Through this project they're bringing awareness to the plight of such theaters hoping to raise funds for them.

On their website you can vote for your favorite drive-in theater and the top five will not only get new digital projectors but along with Sony host a special screening of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 before it's national release.  No word if it will be a paid screening or a free screening.  Looking at the map on their website, unfortunately the closest drive-in theater to New York City is just over a 100 miles away in Lehighton, PA, the Mahoning Drive-In.  Voting began August 9th and will end September 9th with the winners announced shortly afterwards.



To vote or learn more about drive-in theaters and how you can help, please visit their site:
http://projectdrivein.com/

Have you ever been to a drive-in theater before?

Trailer for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2:



Sunday, August 18, 2013


Finally and quite ironically titled Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time was released a couple of days ago.  It quickly shot up to be number one on iTunes Free Apps.  Yes, it's free to download.  Taking up the model of so many games now.  It's free to download but the in-game items will drain your wallet dry if you're not careful.  The titled doesn't just refered to it's 3 years gap in release from its predecessor but of the time spanning journey Dave and his now souped up car takes you.


I won't give a full review yet as I've only just touched on the first world which is Ancient Egypt and a little of the Pirates stage.  My initial impressions was that the graphics and colors seems off.  Not as bright as the first one.  The game play is mostly the same but with new elements added with new plants and new zombies.  The biggest change would have to be their coin system.  It is strictly for the 3 power ups before that allows you to pinch, toss or zap away zombies in a few seconds.  With unlocking upgrades and new plants now, you'll have to either pay with real money on iTunes or unlock them via game play.  But it is definitely possible to unlock all without paying a cent.  Thus far I'm enjoying it.  I'll give a full review when I complete most of the game including tips and strategies.

Have you tried the new Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time?  What are your thoughts on the game?

Thursday, August 15, 2013


When Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas started a project on Kickstarter to raise money for a Veronica Mars movie, everyone was surprised at its success.  It raised a total of $5,702,153 far exceeding its goal of $2,000,000.  Currently, Spike Lee has a project with just 5 days to go for a movie humorously titled The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint.  As of this post the project has raised $1,133,940, which is just shy of its goal of $1,250,000.

Some of the items that Spike Lee has offered for this project includes signed posters, signed Nike sneakers, artwork, early online screenings and even seats next to him at a New York Knicks basketball game courtside.  But if you're into screenings like I am, than one of the most enticing rewards is the chance to attend the red carpet premiere of the film either in New York, or Los Angeles, with a meet and greet and an after-party.  For $750 it is not cheap.  If you just want to attend the red carpet premiere with none of the other stuff, then it's $250.

As with an crowd source funding there are a lot of inherent risks.  Including the project not coming to fruition.  Always take that into consideration.  I've watched an interview on CNBC with Spike Lee interviewed on the above project.  He talks about how he was doing crowd source funding before there was a Kickstarter.  As that is reaching out to friends and family for funds for his movies.  He was asked if he would be doing this for all his future movies and he replied no.  He would still be doing big budget studio movies as well as these smaller indie films.

If you're interested in checking out the project, you can do so here:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spikelee/the-newest-hottest-spike-lee-joint

Have you ever donated to a Kickstarter project?

Opens Friday, August 16, 2013 
2 hr 5 min
PG-13 | Some Drug Content and Brief Strong Language

Steve Jobs road from working out of a garage with his friends to the introduction of the iPod in 2001 can also describe this movie.  Long and tedious.  While well acted and seemingly accurate, unless you're an Apple maniac, this movie may not be for you.

Even if you're an Apple maniac, this movie may be nothing more than nostalgia to you.  If does give you some insights to his early life which is interesting.  You learn a lot about the man, his passion, which may make you like even more or quite the opposite.  As you learn from the film, it's quite amazing how a man that builds and connects with the every day man can have so little connection to his employees and his friends.

While the acting is top notch all around, special kudos for Ashton Kutcher in the lead role.  From his features to his mannerism for his signature walk to hand movements, he looked the part and talk the part.  In the beginning sequence with a flashback to the Apple Conference in 2001, you would've easily mistaken him for Jobs for the distance camera view.

Overall, I would still recommend this film in theaters for fans of Steve Jobs and Apple.  If you're not, it's worth a rental in the future.  As I've said before the movie is a bit on the long side with certain scenes dragging out and not necessarily important to the overall plot.  Such as scenes from Jobs trek to India and later on when he's gardening in his backyard.  Instead I would've like the time to be spent more on his rivalry with Bill Gates and Microsoft as well as his relationship with his girlfriend/wife and other friends.

Rating: 3.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


Trailer:


Cast:

  • Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs
  • Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak
  • Amanda Crew as Julie
  • Dermot Mulroney as Mike Markkula
  • Matthew Modine as John Sculley
  • J. K. Simmons as Arthur Rock
  • Lukas Haas as Daniel Kottke
  • Victor Rasuk as Bill Fernandez
  • Eddie Hassell as Chris Espinosa
  • Ron Eldard as Rod Holt
  • David Denman as Al Alcorn
  • Ahna O'Reilly as Chris-Ann Brennan
  • John Getz as Paul Jobs
  • Lesley Ann Warren as Clara Jobs
  • Nelson Franklin as Bill Atkinson
  • Elden Henson as Andy Hertzfeld
  • Lenny Jacobson as Burrell Smith
  • Kevin Dunn as Gil Amelio
  • James Woods as Jack Dudman
  • Brad William Henke as Paul Terrell
  • Giles Matthey as Jonathan Ive
  • Robert Pine as Edgar S. Woolard, Jr.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Opens Friday, August 16, 2013
1 hr 47 min
R | Strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity

When I first saw Kick-Ass back in 2010, I was not a fan of it.  For me the adaptation had too much emphasis on comedy in an otherwise gritty comic book.  Watching Kick-Ass 2, now knowing what to expect in their movies, I can say I really enjoyed it.  From the acting, to the humor, to the choreographed fight scenes, every thing literally kicked ass.

Both leads, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as David Lizewski / Kick-Ass as well as Chloë Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready / Hit-Girl were born for these roles.  Chloë along with Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D'Amico / The Mother Fucker, stole the show again.  Chloe's character is so adorable, the type of girl you'll love to have to bring home to the parents and take care of bullies at the same time.  This movie if anything is more of a Hit-Girl movie then Kick-Ass's.  Christopher is once again the hilariously absurd Chris D'Amico who adopts the Mother Fucker super villain guise to get revenge on Kick-Ass.  The movie has some great memorable lines, mostly from this duo.




The movie however is not for everyone.  This is a very violent film.  A few parents brought their young kids to the screening yesterday which I would not recommend.  I had read in an interview how Jim Carrey regretted his role in the movie due to the amount of violence in it for which Director Jeff Wadlow blasted him for due to Jim knowing what to expect after seeing and enjoying the first Kick-Ass.  Surprisingly if you had read the comic book Kick-Ass 2, then you'll noticed a few violent incidence actually left out of the movie such as what happens to Kick-Ass's super hero girlfriend in the book compared to the movie.

Overall, I would highly recommend this movies to adults.  If you abhor violence then this isn't for you.  But if you don't mind it and love a good action flick with great humor than this is for you.  One of the things they keep reminding you, is that this not a comic book, this is real life!  Kick-Ass 3 comic book limited series is currently out now, and I look forward to when they adapt that!

Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:


Cast:


  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson as David Lizewski / Kick-Ass
  • Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D'Amico / The Mother Fucker.
  • Chloë Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready / Hit-Girl
  • Jim Carrey as Sal Bertolinni / Colonel Stars and Stripes
  • Donald Faison as Doctor Gravity
  • Robert Emms as Insect Man
  • Lindy Booth as Night Bitch
  • Daniel Kaluuya as Black Death
  • Clark Duke as Marty Eisenberg / Battle Guy
  • Augustus Prew as Todd Haynes / Ass-Kicker
  • Olga Kurkulina as Mother Russia
  • Andy Nyman as The Tumor
  • John Leguizamo as Javier
  • Enzo Cilenti as Javier's sidekick
  • Morris Chestnut as Sergeant Marcus Williams
  • Yancy Butler as Angie D'Amico
  • Lyndsy Fonseca as Katie Deauxma
  • Claudia Lee as Brooke
  • Tanya Fear as Harlow
  • Ella Purnell as Dolce

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Opened August 7, 2013 
1 hr 46 min
PG | Mild Language, Some Scary Images and Fantasy Action Violence

Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters is the second installment based on the novel series.  Even though the story is full of gods and demigods, not even divine intervention could save this movie from the mediocre acting and editing that plagues this movie.  I enjoyed reading as a child the stories of Zeus, and Hercules and the other Olympian gods.  So it's quite disappointing the second time around that a possibly interesting tale falls spiraling down as Icarus did when he tried to fly.

Most of the original cast is back aside from Pierce Bronson who is replaced by Anthony Head as Chiron.  While I have nothing but praises for the two female leads, Alexandra Daddario and Leven Rambin, Logan Lerman seems out of place and unsure at times.  A lot of the jokes by him and the other casts such as new character Tyson played by Douglas Smith are delivered and followed by awkward silence from the audience.  It's not entirely the fault of the cast as the dialogue leaves you yawning until the next action scene.  Transitions from scene to scene are so abrupt that audiences have no time to react.

Yes there are a lot of things wrong with this movie.  What you will enjoy though are the special effects of the movie, from the mystical creatures to the battle scenes.  My favorite being the Colchis Bull in the beginning that attacks the camp.  As I've said before Alexandra Daddario and Leven Rambin outshine their male counterparts in the film.  But I also have to give praise to Nathan Fillion who appears as Hermes.  The Castle/Serenity/Firefly star is humorous and everything the young stars of the movie should be emulating.



Overall, I would not recommend watching this in theaters but waiting for it on Netflix or VOD.  I have not read any of the books but did enjoy the first movie more.  I watched this movie in 2D.  Hopefully, the next movie in the franchise The Titan's Curse can make us forget this Greek tragedy.

Rating: 2.0 Stars out 5.0 Stars

Trailer:


Cast:

  • Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson
  • Brandon T. Jackson as Grover Underwood
  • Bjorn Yearwood portrays a younger Grover.
  • Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth Chase
  • Alisha Newton portrays a younger Annabeth.
  • Leven Rambin as Clarisse La Rue
  • Jake Abel as Luke Castellan
  • Samuel Braun portrays a younger Luke.
  • Stanley Tucci as Dionysus
  • Nathan Fillion as Hermes
  • Douglas Smith as Tyson
  • Paloma Kwiatkowski as Thalia Grace
  • Katelyn Mager portrays a younger Thalia.
  • Anthony Head as Chiron
  • Robert Maillet as Polyphemus
  • Derek Mears as Cyclops
  • Missi Pyle, Yvette Nicole Brown Mary Birdsong as the Graeae