Tuesday, November 26, 2013


In the latest episode of the Walking Dead, "Dead Weight", we're introduced to two new characters Pete and Mitch who are assistants to Martinez.  Mitch played by Kirk Acevedo, whom you may be familiar with from HBO's Oz, Law & Order and Fringe looks to be around for another episode.  Pete's character is hanging around as well, but not quite as prestigious a position.


This episode like the previous one is all about the Governor or Brian as he is known now.  Now quite as intimidating as The Governor, but Brian shows his true colors that were lacking in last week's episode.  Still showing that he's not quite all together there, his violent episodes come as a result of Martinez offering to share "the crown" with him.  The writer does a great job of putting together some tense moments, and they pay off well.


As with the entire series, the writer reminds us that it's often the surviving humans that we should be worried about more so than the walkers.  For example the littered headless bodies each with a sign of their crimes.  The episode ends where "Internment" left off and we're ready for war the next episode.  By the way did I mention the Governor now has a freaking tank!?  This of course coincides with the comic books, and the Governor/Prison story arc may be coming close to an end in this week's mid season finale.


Who's your guess as far as who will bite the dust this week?



  • Opens December 13, 2013 
  • 2 hr 5 min
  • PG-13 | Thematic elements including some unsettling images

When I originally watched the Disney film Mary Poppins, I was so enamored with the movie given its catchy songs and amazing use of live action with animation.  It wasn't until 1988 with Who Framed Roger Rabbit was that magic captured again, albeit without the musical splendor of Mary Poppins.  Saving Mr. Banks gives you a behind the scenes look of how Mary Poppins's author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) struggled to approve Walt Disney's (Tom Hanks) use of her beloved character in the film.


Within the movie there are a lot of flashbacks to when P.L. was a child with her father an alcoholic bank manager.  Her father, Travers Robert Goff (Colin Farrell), while maintaining a great and loving relationship with his daughter struggles with everything else in life from his marriage to his banking job.  P.L.'s perception of her father and how she failed him is an obstruction for her in the present as she gives the writers and composers of the film unreasonable goals and expectations so as to lead to failure of the project.


Both Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are wonderful in their roles.  I have always imagined Walt to be a bit more slender though than what Tom portrayed.  In the film if you compared to historical accounts, appears to favor Walt Disney more as would be expected.  For example, P. L. was vehemently against the use of animation in the film of her character as in real life.  What weren't revealed in the movie are the arguments between the two that led to P. L. Travers refusal to grant the rights to any additional films based on Mary Poppins.  P. L. Travers's interaction with her driver Ralph (Paul Giamatti) while charming, doesn't really add to the film other than provides relief from scenes of tension between Travers and the filmmakers.


 Overall, I would highly recommend this film.  It's definitely a must see if you're a fan of Disney or Mary Poppins.  Seeing how some of the songs and scenes of the movies came to be as a result of the talented Sherman brothers and the input of Travers will bring back a lot of memories and smiles.  I've only wished they would have gone into details regarding the creation of my favorite song of the movie which is "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars



Trailer:


Cast:

  • Emma Thompson as Pamela "P.L." Travers, author of Mary Poppins.
  • Annie Buckley plays a young Travers, Helen Goff, nicknamed "Ginty".
  • Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, filmmaker and producer of the film.
  • Paul Giamatti as Ralph, Travers' chauffeur.
  • Jason Schwartzman as Richard M. Sherman, composer/lyricist who co-wrote the film's songs with his brother Robert.
  • B. J. Novak as Robert B. Sherman, composer/lyricist who co-wrote the film's songs with his brother Richard.
  • Bradley Whitford as Don DaGradi, co-writer of the 1964 film.
  • Colin Farrell as Travers Robert Goff, Pamela's ill-tempered and alcoholic, yet loving father.
  • Ruth Wilson as Margaret Goff, Pamela's mother
  • Melanie Paxson as Dolores Voght Scott-Dolly, Walt Disney's secretary
  • Victoria Summer as Julie Andrews, actress who portrayed the on-screen character of Mary Poppins in her debut film performance.
  • Kristopher Kyer as Dick Van Dyke, actor who portrayed the character of Bert and Mr. Dawes, Sr.
  • Kathy Baker as Tommie, a trusted studio executive
  • Rachel Griffiths as Aunt Ellie, Margaret's sister
  • Dendrie Taylor as Lillian Disney
  • Kimberly D'Armond as Nanny Katie, young Travers' childhood nanny

Monday, November 25, 2013


Opened November 21, 2003 (South Korea) May 15, 2004 (Cannes Film Festival)
2 hr
R | Drama
                                               
Oldboy a mystery thriller released in South Korea in 2003 by Director Park Chan-wook has many fans including Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson.  The two reunited on the remake of this popular Korean film which you can read my review here.  The original is available to view on Netflix is a thrill ride through the psyche of a man you loathe but eventually can't help but feel sorry for as revenge is delivered to him from his past.  


The man, Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is kidnapped for 15 years against his will without knowing who his captors are and the reason he is there.  And just as unexpectedly, released on a roof and led in a cat and mouse game with his mysterious tormentor.  Of course, while he's been imprisoned he's trained himself to fight watching videos of boxing matches and early MMA fights.  He surprises himself that his years of “shadow boxing” actually work in the real world, when he takes on some thugs in his first evening of freedom.  It's Park's ability to entertain through a perfect blend of humor and violence that will have you captivated most of the film.  The most famous scene in which Dae-su battles his way out of the prison after torturing his former Warden for information is a prime example of this.  As implausible as it may be, with one against say fifty, the impossible is accentuated quite comically by the fatigue of the fighters taking halfhearted swings at each other and throwing the weapons quite off their target.


While the humor is there, the Director is often quick to remind us how serious things are with a death or maiming of a character.  After all, this movie is not for kids, with incest, threats of rape, torture and murders the very reasons and instruments of the antagonist Lee Woo-jin (Yoo Ji-tae).  As the story unfolds, we're given a flashback as to why Woo-jin is doing what he does.  And that the final confrontation between him and Dae-su provides quite an interesting twist that will have you disgusted.  Yoo Ji-tae is an interesting choice due to his youthful looks, as he should be approximately Dae-su's age.  But Ji-tae, as well as Min-sik provides great performances on their parts as does Kang Hye-jung as Mi-do.


Overall, I really enjoyed the film though would have preferred a different happier ending.  But the Director not only does a great job at messing with Dae-su's mind, but with us viewers as well, raising our hopes before crushing it.  The Korean movie is actually loosely based on a Japanese manga of the same name written by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya.  Spike Lee's version follows Park's version quite closely but with less of the humor.  One of the things that does stand out in both movies however is the visualizations used to illustrate the protagonist's will breaking down over his imprisonment and drugging.  I would recommend this film to those that are not squeamish.

Have you seen this film? What did you think of it?

Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars
Trailer:

Cast:

  • Choi Min-sik as Oh Dae-su
  • Yoo Ji-tae as Lee Woo-jin
  • Kang Hye-jung as Mi-do
  • Ji Dae-han as No Joo-hwan
  • Kim Byeong-ok as Mr. Han
  • Oh Tae-kyung as Dae-su (young)
  • Yoo Yeon-seok as Woo-jin (young)
  • Woo Il-han as Joo-hwan (young)
  • Yoon Jin-seo as Lee Soo-ah, Woo-jin's sister.
  • Oh Dal-su as Park Cheol-woong


Thursday, November 21, 2013


Opens Wednesday, November 27, 2013 
1 hr 40 min
R | for strong violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief sexuality

Homefront is another solid action packed Jason Statham vehicle bolstered by solid acting from James Franco and Kate Bosworth.  In this movie, Jason Statham plays an ex-undercover DEA agent Phil Broker looking to put his past behind him with his daughter in a small town in Louisiana.  His past quickly catches up to him when the local drug dealer Gator Bodine (James Franco) takes an interest to him as a result of an altercation between Gator's sister and her family and Phil and his daughter.


Yes, we've seen Jason Statham in dozens of these action movies just like Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal used to churn them out in the 1980s and 1990s.  But unlike them, Jason actually has talent and has been improving over the course of his career.  Pairing up with a great cast like Franco, Ryder and Bosworth certainly helps of course.  Of the four, I am really impressed with Kate Bosworth's performance as the junkie sister of Gator that prompted the "family feud" with Phil.  The way she physically looked for the part as well as her movements to simulate a foul mouthed junkie was really impressive.  She'll have you feeling disgusted, sorry, and rooting for her character.


The story itself is a bit implausible as anything that could go wrong of course does for Phil and his daughter.  The role of the two thugs that attack Phil at the gas station and again at the boat house seems to be an odd thrown in that has nothing to do with the overall plot.  The long hair that Jason sports in the beginning as a biker will have you giggling.  Some scenes play out like an episode of Sons of Anarchy but where the bikers actually loses their gun battle.


Overall, I would recommend this film.  It's an improvement over Statham's last movie Hummingbird (Redemption).  If you're a fan of Jason Statham's movies you won't be disappointed.  It's a solid outing consistent with a lot of his movies.  Franco who seems to have a monopoly on seedy characters is great as the antagonist.  Also notable is Izabela Vidovic as Phil's daughter Maddy, especially in the beginning in watching her stand up to the bully.  For the action fans, there are plenty of both martial arts/fist fights as well as guns blazing that will satisfy any action fan.

Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:

Cast:

  • Jason Statham as Phil Broker
  • James Franco as Gator Bodine
  • Winona Ryder as Sheryl Gott
  • Kate Bosworth as Cassie Bodine
  • Chuck Zito as Danny T
  • Mischa Barton
  • Frank Grillo
  • Rachelle Lefevre as Susan Hatch
  • Clancy Brown
  • Christa Campbell as Lydia
  • Stuart Greer as Lewis
  • Omar Benson Miller as Tito
  • Izabela Vidovic as Maddy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Opens Friday, November 22, 2013
2 hr 26 min
PG-13 | For intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.

Catching Fire, despite its lengthy run time still felt rushed especially when the action switches to when the tributes are in the arena.  I had read the book Catching Fire shortly after the first movie was released, and from what I remember, the movie follows the book quite closely as far as key events.  From the screening I was attending, a lot of the viewers were upset with the abrupt ending.  But if you had read the book, then you wouldn't have been surprised of the abrupt ending.  You kind of expect that though with long book series or books such as the last Harry Potter film breaking into two movies or even The Hobbit.

What I like about the movie which continues from the first movie is the great acting, costumes and scenery in the film.  From Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss to Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, the actors and actresses does an amazing job in bringing the characters to life from the book.  What I like about the first movie in comparison to the second is the character development in the first movie of the various characters.  It is definitely lacking in the second movie.  We get several scenes of Katniss and Gale together and Katniss and Peeta.  But you don't get the sense of the chemistry that Katniss and the two men in her life had in the first movie.  Aside from Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) we don't really get to know the other new characters' history.

The book definitely goes into more details as far as the characters and about the revolution brewing.  There's one key scene missing from the book which involves the rumors of the destroyed District 13.   But I guess it may be left out due to time constraint or for a bigger impact for the third movie.   I am glad they kept intact the whole "clock" obstacle of the Hunger Games and the wiring to the tree.  To me that was the most interesting part of the book and the movie.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to fans of the first movie and readers of the book.  The entire premise of the Quarter Quell is very interesting, with the former tributes fighting each other as a solution for President Snow (Donald Sutherland).  Unfortunately a lot of the deaths were not on screen, perhaps to keep the PG-13 rating.  Despite this I would still recommend you watching it and follow up with reading the book.

Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars.

Trailer:

Cast:

  • Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
  • Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
  • Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
  • Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
  • Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket
  • Lenny Kravitz as Cinna
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee
  • Jeffrey Wright as Beetee
  • Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman
  • Donald Sutherland as President Coriolanus Snow
  • Toby Jones as Claudius Templesmith
  • Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair
  • Jena Malone as Johanna Mason
  • Lynn Cohen as Mags
  • Amanda Plummer as Wiress
  • Meta Golding as Enobaria
  • Bruno Gunn as Brutus
  • Alan Ritchson as Gloss
  • Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere
  • E. Roger Mitchell as Chaff
  • Maria Howell as Seeder
  • Elena Sanchez as Cecelia
  • Bobby Jordan as Blight
  • John Casino as Woof
  • Willow Shields as Primrose "Prim" Everdeen
  • Paula Malcomson as Mrs. Everdeen
  • Patrick St. Esprit as Romulus Thread
  • Stef Dawson as Annie Cresta

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Opens November 27, 2013 (November 22, 2013 at El Capitan Theatre, Los Angeles)
1 hr 42 min
PG | Some Action and Mild Rude Humor

Disney's Frozen has all the right ingredients for a Disney Classic even if it feels a bit like, been there, done that.  Frozen is a clever twist on Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale of the Snow Queen.  However, if you're feeling a bit deja vu from Princess Anna (Kristen Bell) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), then you have every right to feel so.  Comparisons to Tangled's main characters Rapunzel and Flint are not that far off.  You can even stretch it a bit and replace Sven with Maximus and Olaf with Pascal.  


Of course being compared to Tangled is not necessarily a bad thing.  Both films have great likeable characters, catchy amazing songs, and quick wit humor that children and adults can enjoy.  As far as the characters, you have to love the innocence of Olaf the snowman.  Especially when he sings the song "In Summer", not knowing what heat does to snow.  Spoiler - It melts it.  My favorite song though would have to be in the beginning when Anna sings to her sister Elsa, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"


So what is Frozen about?  If you're familiar with the original Hans Christian Andersen's tale, it involves a sibling saving another sibling from an evil snow queen.  In this twist, one of two princesses (Elsa) is born with the power of creating and controlling ice/snow.  However her lack of control leads to an accident that forces her parents to isolate Elsa away from each other, with the truth to Anna withheld.  Many years later, when the King and Queen are no longer with them, the castle is reopened to the public for a ceremony celebrating Elsa's coming of age as the new Queen.  Of course, things do not go well at Elsa's coronation and Anna and Elsa's journey begin albeit separately.

Overall, I would recommend it to everyone.  This is a great film for kids, with a story that is not too complicated to understand in the way it is presented.  The villains of the film are not terrifying in the least bit.  Adults will love the beautiful animation as well as the characters and humor.  Disney shows that they are still masters in storytelling, even if it's a retelling of a classic story.  The twist on the Snow Queen character creates a more marketable character instead of the traditional villainous Snow Queen.  Lastly, be sure to arrive early to catch the cute Mickey Mouse animated short film, Get a Horse! before the film Frozen.

Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars
Trailer:


Cast:

  • Kristen Bell as Anna, a member of a royal family
  • Idina Menzel as Elsa, the Snow Queen and Anna's elder sister
  • Maia Mitchell as Teenage Elsa
  • Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, a mountain man, who owns a reindeer named Sven
  • Santino Fontana as Hans, a prince from a nearby country
  • Josh Gad as Olaf, a snowman
  • Ciarán Hinds as the Troll King
  • Alan Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton
  • Chris Williams as Oaken, the owner of Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna
  • Jack Whitehall as a troll

Monday, November 18, 2013


In yesterday's episode "Live Bait", we see the return of the Governor but not as you would have expected.  Instead of continuing where we left off last week, we get to see what he has been up to since his defeat at the prison.  Abandoned by his men, he journeys alone back to Woodbury which is deserted except for walkers everywhere.  As such he sets the place ablaze and moves on until he comes across a family consisting of two sisters, Lilly and Tara, their cancer stricken father David, and Lilly's daughter Megan.


David who is in stage four of his cancer keeps his granddaughter Megan smiling but is of no use to his family given his physical ailment.  So how the family has survived so long with Lilly's husband disappearing three years ago is a mystery.  Yes that sounds a bit sexist, and I know there are strong female characters in the series like Michonne and even Andrea as wishy washy as she was.  The family appeared to be living off a truck just parked outside, but wouldn't they have to explore for other supplies?  The reason I am saying this is because of the fact that the Governor had to explained to Lilly that the walkers could only be killed with a blow to the head.  Aside from the one the Governor said they shot in the chest, they haven't encountered any others all these years?


Overall, I really enjoyed this episode.  David Morrissey is an amazing actor and it's great to see him back on the show after such a long hiatus.  Seeing him interact with the family shows us the "good" side of him.  But of course, the viewers know that he has another side and it'll be interesting to see if and when it shows.  At the end of the episode there's a bit of a reunion which will continue onto the next episode.  The dynamics of the Governor has changed from one that we can't wait to see die to one that we're rooting for now.

Did you like this week's episode?

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Week 5 of the Walking Dead, "Internment" is one of the more intense episodes this season.  The episode featured a race against a jail outbreak of zombies threatening Hershel and the others in the cell block.  If anything can be said about this episode, it's "Hershel's" episode.  Reflecting on what he has been doing to prolong the lives of the ailing survivors, and preventing those that have died to be reanimated to attack the others.  It's definitely been a harrowing and long journey for Herschel.  Which is why you kind of get the feeling his days are numbered.  After all, when we had that "Carol" episode, back in "Infected", we saw what happened to her.  Sure we may see her again before the end of the season, but for now she's not around.


I have a few scenes that I love in this episode.  My favorite would probably be when Lizzie lures the walker away from Glenn like a dog.  What I which they would've gone more into was Herschel's reaction to when Rick told him what happened to Carol.  He's always followed Rick for the most part on these kind of decisions, even when he didn't believe they were right.  We should hear more hopefully from  him on this matter next episode along with Daryl and Tyreese's opinion.  Spoiler next... beware...

...

So the end of the episode features the Governor looking on from a distance as Rick and Carl check their harvest.  AMC's in its trailer for next week doesn't hide the fact that the Governor will be back next episode.  Undoubtedly, he's been orchestrating the weakening of the prison's outer fences all season long.  As the walls are coming down, and just three episodes left, I wonder if this story arc will come to a close or continue on to February.


What did you think of last week's episode?

Friday, November 15, 2013


Opens November 27, 2013 
1 hr 58 min
R | Strong brutal violence, disturbing images, some graphic sexuality and nudity, and language.

Spike Lee's remake of the 2003 Korean film of the same name Oldboy follows the original quite closely.  While both versions are a violent psychological thrill ride, the remake is less humorous and unfortunately, a bit toned down in terms of violence than the original.  Strong performances by Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Samuel Jackson keep the film worth watching though.


Oldboy is all about revenge.  Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) is an arrogant and brash drunk who considers his wife a nuisance to his lifestyle.  When he's abducted and imprisoned for 20 years, he comes out a changed man.  Not necessary repentant of his old ways but definitely more angry at what was done to him.  During his imprisonment, he learns that he was framed for the murder of his wife and his daughter put into foster care.  Frequent gassing and mental games by the warden and guards which he never gets to see keeps him on the edge of paranoia and insanity throughout his stay.

Like the original, the main antagonist Adrian Pryce (Sharlto Copley) wants answers from Joe, as to who Adrian is and why he had Joe imprisoned otherwise his daughter would be killed.  Of course Joe only wants to bash his head in, but without these answers, there's a glaring hole in the closure of this chapter of his life.  When Joe leaves the prison he meets up with his old friend Chucky played by Michael Imperioli as well as Marie played by Elizabeth Olsen.  Marie helps out at a mobile health clinic for the homeless when Joe meets him.  Seeing that Joe is not all together there, she gives him her business card in case he gets into some trouble which of course he does.

Joe and Marie's relationship grows as the film moves along, all while Joe is on the hunt for answers.  Their relationship is pivotal to the story, as is Joe's past that is slowly reviewed.  The mystery of why Joe was imprisoned is one part I found more captivating than the original despite sharing some similarities.  The final confrontation between Joe and Adrian presents an interesting twist like the original but is not satisfying.  


Overall, I would recommend this film, but would recommend you watch the original as well, preferably after the American film.  If you've already watch the Korean version, that's fine as there are a number of slight differences that keeps it interesting to watch.  Some examples of the differences include what the protagonist hallucinates to the method of torture the protagonist performs on the warden.  The biggest difference between the two films would have to be the ending.  Thankfully, key scenes like when the protagonist must battle his way through an army of men remains.  

Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:

Cast:

  • Josh Brolin as Joe Doucett
  • Sharlto Copley as Adrian Pryce
  • Elizabeth Olsen as Marie
  • Michael Imperioli as Chucky
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Chaney
  • Richard Portnow as Bernie Sharkey
  • Lance Reddick as Daniel Newcombe
  • Max Casella as Jake Preston
  • Elvis Nolasco as Cortez
  • James Ransone as Dr. Tom Melby
  • Hannah Ware as Donna Hawthorne
  • Caitlin Dulany as Emma Pryce
  • Erik Gersovitz as Young Adrian Pryce
  • Linda Emond as Edwina Burke
  • Grey Damon as Young Joe Doucett

Thursday, November 14, 2013


  • Opened October 25, 2013 
  • 1 hr 32 min
  • R | for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use

When they first announced this, I thought, oh no, not another Jackass film.  But when I saw the trailer I was actually intrigued.  I actually like the fact that there's a story put together around the pranks that they pull similar to Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat or Bruno.  I finally had the chance to see Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa last night, and enjoyed it with my low expectations going in.


The film was actually a lot more subdue than I thought it would be.  The movie did move like Grandpa Irving played brilliantly by Johnny Knoxville, which is to say a slow plod.  But it's more than offset by Johnny who looks amazing with his make up on as Irving.  As well his ability to imitate a lot of the mannerism and movements of an old man is for the most part spot on.  The jokes as you can imagine are mostly of the crude kind, but there are others that are just playful with unsuspecting victims.  The grandson Billy played by Jackson Nicoll does a great job as well and have some of the best scenes.  I especially love the scene where he's talking to the adult apparel shop worker.


With regards to the story, there's not much depth to it of course.  Billy's mom is heading to jail, and asks Grandpa to take Billy on a road trip to his father in another state.  The deadbeat father is only willing to take on his son when he learns that he can get child support of $600 a month.  Most of the film of course is the pranks on the unsuspecting people along the way in their journey to meet up with the father.

Overall, I enjoyed the film.  If you're looking for an escape this weekend from the violent movies and just need a few chuckles, then this is for you.  As long as you go in with low expectations, I think you'll find it enjoyable.  Again it is low brow humor for the most part, so it may not be for everyone.  I would especially not recommend it for kids.  Make sure to stay for the credits which include a behind the scenes look at the film which is interesting.

Rating: 3.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Are you a fan of this type of genre?  If yes, what's your favorite film of this genre?

Trailer:

Cast:
  • Johnny Knoxville as Irving Zisman
  • Jackson Nicoll as Billy
  • Greg Harris as Chuck
  • Georgina Cates as Kimmie
  • Kamber Hejlik as Doctor
  • Jill Kill as Pageant Reporter
  • Madison Davis as Juggalo Girl
  • George Faughnan as Juggalo Guy
  • Grasie Mercedes as Hostess
  • Marilynn Allain as Receptionist
  • Jack Polick as Funeral Worker
  • Spike Jonze as Gloria
  • Catherine Keener as Ellie

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Opens Friday, November 15, 2013 (Limited)
1 hr 29 min
Documentary


Dear Mr. Watterson is a documentary by Director Joel Allen Schroeder that is a labor of love for the comic strip "Calvin & Hobbes" with which he had grown up with.  In the documentary he interviews fans that contributed to the film through Kickstarter as well several notable cartoonists and industry professionals.
  



From the smiles and glimmer in their eyes from Joel to the fans he interviews, you can see the passion that they have for Calvin & Hobbes.  The impact that the Director tries to convey is quite evident from the generations that grew up with the strip to their children afterwards.  As one of the interviewees mentioned, Calvin & Hobbes is the only strip that he knows that when he mentions to others, not a single person he talks to dislikes it.

What I really enjoyed about the film is the presentation of a lot of various collections, places and events that the average Calvin & Hobbes fan do not get to see or are aware of.  From the archives of Watterson's originals in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum to correspondences between Watterson and other cartoonists, it brings a sense of nostalgia and completion to the fans.  The history of the strip is brought to life by these collections as well as through the people interviewed which includes Seth Green, Jean Schulz, and many others.  From the different perspectives given, from the fan, to his peers to his distributors, you get a total picture of the love and respect that Bill rightfully got but ultimately shunned.


Not surprisingly, Bill Watterson does not have a part in this film due to his reclusive nature as documented in the film.  His presence though is definitely felt through others and his works in the film.  With quotes from old interviews and speeches, a picture is painted of a man that loved cartooning but wanted none of the fame that his characters brought him.  His stance on not licensing his characters was quite clear and respected by Universal despite the loss of possible revenue it may have brought them and Bill.

What I thought the film could improve on include trivial things such as the way the interviews are presented.   Such as when captions are used to introduce someone, it seemed very arbitrary.  Seth Green who is probably the most recognizable person in the movie to the mainstream public appears a few times in the beginning of the movie but is not introduced til midway through the movie with captions.  I know of a lot of the interviewees in the beginning are probably just fans, but they should be indicated as such, just so that the viewer of the movie are not left wondering just who that person was.  The film could have been more tightly edited and more orderly in its presentation as well so to be more easy flowing and not as redundant in some areas.




Overall, I would recommend the documentary to fans of Calvin & Hobbes and even those that have a passion for comic strips in general.  Everyone else may find some parts of the movie repetitious, especially in the beginning.  But if you stay with the film to its end, I believe you would definitely get a sense of the how and why of Calvin & Hobbes impacting everyone who has read the strip or picked up one of its collected books.  As a fan of the strip myself, it definitely brings back many fond memories.

The film has a limited release on November 15th, which includes Cinema Village in New York City.  It will also be available On Demand the same day.  Their official site will have further screening details including options to buy the Blu Ray or DVD.

Rating: 3.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars
Trailer:

Interviewees:
  • Berkeley Breathed (Bloom Country)
  • Lee Salem (President, Universal Uclick)
  • Stephan Pastis (Pearls before Swine)
  • Jef Mallett (Frazz)
  • Dave Kellett (Sheldon & Drive)
  • Charles Solomon
  • Seth Green
  • Keith Knight (The K Chronicles)
  • Jenny Robb (Head Curator, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum)
  • Tony Cochran (Agnes)
  • Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum), 
  • Joe Wos (Toonseum)
  • Jean Schulz
  • Jan Eliot (Stone Soup)
  • Bill Amend (Foxtrot)

Sunday, November 10, 2013


"Indifference" which was the fourth episode last week is exactly as it is named.  Whether you choose to watch it or not really doesn't make a whole lot of difference as much of this season has been thus far.  The quarantine is still in effect while the story breaks up into two groups.  We have Rick and Carol on a supply run, while Michonne, Daryl, Tyreese and Bob still looking for the veterinarian college to get antibiotics.

In this episode we see Tyreese continue to struggle with the death of Karen.  While Bob's past alcoholism comes to light with Daryl giving a threat that you know he would follow through on.  But the majority of the episode deals with Rick and Carol, as Carol tries to talk to Rick about her justifications of what she did to Karen and David.  He doesn't talk back much which of course only gets Carol talking more.


Things come to a head over the day as Rick finally tells Carol how he feels.  And that is if they were the last two left in the world with only Rick's two kids, he would not want her around.  And with that he banishes her from the prison.  This of course will have several implications including Tyreese possibly going after Rick for letting her get away.  As well, she has been a relatively strong character since the death of her husband and Sofia.  Rick finally showing some backbone again is great.  It's been a long while since we've seen that.

From the previews of tonight's episodes, it appears the prison and quarantine saga will continue for a bit longer.  Who's ready for a change?  I know I am!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


  • Opens November 15, 2013 
  • R | brief nudity, sexual content and language

If you've never seen the first film, The Best Man (1999) than like me you will start off confused due to the large cast.  There's a little recap in the beginning that tells you the history between Harper and Lance who are best friends.  But due to a fictional book written by Harper that has unflattering characters all too similar to his real friends and an indiscretion with Lance's wife to be, they haven't been close since.

Rarely do you have a movie with such a large ensemble cast seamlessly click and hit a home run on all fronts.  The Best Man Holiday does just that.  The well written plot by Malcom D. Lee brings back Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) and Lance Sullivan (Morris Chestnut) for the holidays with all of their family and friends and of course baggage!



But as time has passed, Harper struggling to come up with a follow up best seller, is toying with the idea of doing a biography of his friend Lance who's set to retire from professional football soon.  When Lance's wife invites them over for the holidays as well as all the other friends of theirs, new calamities and old wounds make for an interesting holiday together.

While the story is very interesting, I cannot give enough praises to the actors.  Especially, Taye Diggs, and Terrance Howard as far as the male actors, they are truly exceptional among a great cast.  Terrance seems to have a knack for playing these seedy characters as of late, with a similar role in The Butler.  While Taye is just believable in his Charlie Brown type of role where the good guy doesn't always have things go right for him.  As far as the ladies, you have to love Monica Calhoun as Mia Sullivan.  Not to ruin anything, but the role that she plays takes a lot of effort and skill to pull off which she did.



While there are moments that will have you shedding a tear, the movie is a comedy and it will have you laughing out loud.  From when the "guys" are pulling the leg of Jordan's (Nia Long) new boyfriend to Quentin's (Terrence Howawrd) absurd and hysterically disturbing behavior, there are many laughs to be found.  There are also of course the confrontations, but as this movie shows, good friends push the little things aside when it matters.


Overall, I really enjoyed the movie.  The only negative thing I can say that it can be a bit predictable at times.  Some may find it a little sappy.  But overall, you will enjoy yourself on this roller coaster of a ride of emotions that Malcom puts you on.  I would be surprise if they didn't continue with a third movie, but hopefully it doesn't take another 14 years to hit the theaters.


Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars.


Trailer:

Cast:
  • Taye Diggs as Harper Stewart, the protagonist of the original film
  • Sanaa Lathan as Robin Stewart, Harper's wife
  • Nia Long as Jordan Armstrong, Harper's close friend from college and former love interest
  • Morris Chestnut as Lance Sullivan, Harper's estranged best friend
  • Monica Calhoun as Mia Sullivan, Lance's wife
  • Harold Perrineau as Julian Murch, Harper's intelligent, mild-mannered good friend
  • Regina Hall as Candace "Candy" Murch, Julian's wife who was once an exotic dancer
  • Terrence Howard as Quentin Spivey, Harper's sly, foul-mouthed good friend
  • Melissa De Sousa as Shelby, Julian's snobbish ex-girlfriend


Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Opens Friday, November 8, 2013 
1 hr 51 min
PG-13 | Some Suggestive Content and Intense Sci-Fi Action/Violence

The mightiest of Avengers is back in his sequel to take on Malekith, leader of the dark elves.   The movie starts off with a tale of before Odin, when Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) attempted to bring darkness forever to the Nine Realms with an ancient powerful material known as Aether.  Odin's father Bor was able to defeat Malekith where he and his higher ups secretly escapes into space in suspended animation.  The aether foolishly was buried away where no man can get to.  But of course, a woman, namely Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) while searching for Thor was able to.

What you'll love about the film is Tom Hiddleston and lots of him.  Playing the side of the good guy til it suits him otherwise his dynamic with Thor has always been hilarious.  The cameo of one Steve Rogers during Loki's fun is one of the highlights of the film.  The weaponry of the dark elves are amazing, especially what I call the "black hole" grenades.  The fight scenes are amazing, especially with Thor's Mjölnir for some hammer time.  Casually jumping off a balcony and catching a ride with his hammer to battle.

What I didn't like was the dark elves advanced technology just seemed so out of place.  They would've made great characters for a Star Trek or Star Wars movie but for Norse Mythology centric Thor it just didn't seem to fit.  Sure in the comic books we've seen Thor ventured to space many times and took on aliens.  (He even fought some in Avengers.)  But it just felt weird watching the Asgardians with their swords and shields taking on laser guns and these "black hole" grenades.  Another thing I would have love to have seen is a stronger female character in Jane Foster.  Yes, she's a mortal caught in a war among gods and dark elves.  But she just looked so needy and weak, clamoring for Thor, like on her blind date near the beginning.

Overall, while the film was enjoyable it was not as big as a smash for me as the first film.  Perhaps if they had a more recognizable villain in say Hela, I would've given this film a higher rating.  As you may have heard, be sure to stay for extra scenes during the mid-credit (relating to upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie) and after the credits for a heartwarming and silly scene.  Avengers 2 as we already know will be Age of Ultron.  While the third Avengers film has all clues pointing to Thanos and the infinity gems.  

(Thanks to Tyrell for correcting me on the mid-credit scene)

Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars



Trailer:

Cast:

  • Chris Hemsworth as Thor
  • Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki
  • Anthony Hopkins as Odin
  • Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Erik Selvig
  • Idris Elba as Heimdall
  • Christopher Eccleston as Malekith
  • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Algrim/Kurse
  • Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
  • Ray Stevenson as Volstagg
  • Zachary Levi as Fandral
  • Tadanobu Asano as Hogun
  • Jaimie Alexander as Sif
  • Rene Russo as Frigga


Sunday, November 3, 2013


Released June 28, 2013
1 hr 40 min
R |

Recently added to Netflix's library of films, Redemption is Jason Statham's latest generic kick ass revenge film.  Surprisingly subdued compared to a lot of his other films the film is still full of action and a quirky love story with a nun to boot.  With no Sylvester Stallone or Jennifer Lopez to give this film a box office boost, Redemption, or Hummingbird as it's known in the U.K. fails financially and can't atone plot wise either.

Jason Statham plays as Joseph Smith an ex-commando for the British marines. While in Afghanistan, we see his unit gunned down quite viciously and Joseph going awol after that.  Fast forward to the present, he now lives as a homeless drunk with a girl name Isabel (Victoria Bewick).  When bullied by two thugs who shakes down homeless people for money and drugs, he happens upon an empty apartment whose owner is away for the summer.  Isabel is not so lucky as she's forced into prostitution by the two thugs.


Joey uses this new found luck to get drunk first and then to change his life around.  When his Chinese restaurant boss observes his fighting skills when dealing with some drunken hooligans, he gets a promotion to driver/thug for the local Chinese crime boss.  With money raking in, he tries to do good with it by buying meals for the homeless while saving a large portion of it for his ex-wife and daughter.  All the meanwhile Joey and the nun, Sister Cristina (Agata Buzek) whom he met at the food kitchen gets closer.  She tries to turn his life around, telling him to stop working for the Chinese.  But when Joey learns of Isabel's death at the hands of an abusive John, it's time for some payback.


Throughout the film he struggles with flashbacks of the day his unit was ambushed.  He struggles with the guilt of being the only survivor and what he did after the ambush.  When he has his episodes he imagines hummingbirds all around as military drones out to get him.  Jason does a great job in acting out this mental disorder.  But unfortunately most of the film is all over the place as it tries to do too much or just makes no sense.

Overall, I would recommend watching it on Netflix if you're a fan of Jason Statham.  But I would not recommend going out of your way to see it if you haven't already.  As for as action flicks, there are better Jason Statham movies more deserving of your time than this.  There is just no redemption to be found here at all aside from Jason's acting.

Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:


Cast:

  • Jason Statham as Joseph Smith/Joey Jones ex-Royal Marine
  • Agata Buzek as Sister Cristina, a young nun
  • Christian Brassington as Max Forrester, a murderous city boy
  • Vicky McClure as Dawn
  • Benedict Wong as Mr Choy
  • Ger Ryan as Mother Superior
  • Victoria Bewick as Isabel
  • Sang Lui as Tony
  • Lillie Buttery as young Cristina