Thursday, January 30, 2014


Demi-Soeur
Originally released in France June 5th, 2013; Limited release in U.S. February 7th, 2014
1 hr 26 mins

Review by Robert Reade


This movie introduces us to Antoinette Novack, Nénette as she is called, a child trapped in an adult's body.  She was a tiny baby, she says, perhaps premature, and this may be why fifty years later she remains frozen in a childlike state emotionally. She laughs, cries, pouts, mopes, primps, and smiles easily and readily and, as the film opens, we see her with her pet tortoise at her mother's funeral. Her mother's demise means that Nénette must now live at an assisted living facility but the administrator is adamant that her pet will not be allowed. And so she leaves, unnoticed, with her tortoise to find her estranged father. Along the way she naps in a field and, when she awakes, she discovers that her tortoise has decided to make a break for it. She quickly retrieves the fugitive and then sees a rabbit which she follows into the woods leaving her valise behind. 



Now lost, she stumbles upon a rave and is befriended by the members of the band, Black Iron Bitches [real name, Flaming Pussy] and Silver, who take her to her father's pharmacy. There she finds out that her father is dead [tears] and that she has a brother, Paul [joy]. But, as elated as she is, her brother - a dour, irascible, ill-tempered fellow - is the polar opposite. He quickly shunts her off to a hotel, and plans to return her by train next morning. Left alone, Nénette goes wandering off again and reunites with the band playing at a music festival near the hotel.  What follows is a roller coaster ride that takes Paul from ecstasy filled euphoria to the depths of despair and transforms his relationship with his half-sister and his own estranged son and grand daughter.



This is a wonderful film, well-written and superbly directed, with Mme. Balasko performing this trifecta with perfect aplomb and it is highly recommended. The supporting cast, anchored by old friend and collaborator, Michel Blanc, and her husband, George Aguilar, in the role of the good-natured Silver, is excellent. This is a comedy that handles a sensitive subject without sacrificing the dignity of its lead character and is well paced thanks, in part, to its original score by Christophe Julien. There ought to be more films like this as they could provide a teachable moment for those who see special needs people as wholly imperfect. Mme. Balasko's Nénette is credible, engaging, and delightful and this movie was a joy to watch. 

Rating: 



Trailer:

Director: Josiane Balasko
Screenplay: Josiane Balasko, Franck Lee Joseph

Cast:

  • Josiane Balasko as Antoinette Novack, dite Nénette
  • Michel Blanc as Paul Bérard
  • Brigitte Roüan as Véronique
  • Françoise Lépine as Françoise
  • George Aguilar as Silver
  • Christine Murillo as Mme Lefèvre
  • Grégoire Baujat as Maxime
  • Jean-Yves Chatelais as Patrick Régnier
  • Stéphan Wojtowicz as Maître Bonvallet
  • Chantal Banlier as Mme Lavreau
  • Sarah Suco as Too Much (as Sara Suco)
  • Cléo Revel as Lilas
  • Souria Adèle as Yvonne
  • Madeleine Revel as Lilas
  • Daniel-Jean Colloredo as Le prêtre




Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The Monuments Men features a star-studded cast including George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray and more.  It is based on a true story of a platoon assigned in WWII to recover stolen priceless artifacts from the Nazi regime.

I've compiled a list of contests from which you can win tickets from.  Aside from the last one all of the other screenings should be on or around February 5th, 2014.  As I find more, I'll add to the list below.   Good luck!

(last updated Feb 2nd 4:42pm ET)


Trailer:


Sponsor: Nota Util
http://notautil.com/2014/02/monuments-men-boletos-de-cine-gratis-para-las-ciudades-ny-la/

Sponsor: OurTiempo
http://2.ourtiempo.com/monuments-men-nyc-advance-screening/

Sponsor: KTU
http://rewards.ktu.com/asp2/ContestDetail.aspx?AID=199653

Sponsor: Q 104.3
http://rewards.q1043.com/asp2/ContestDetail.aspx?AID=199653

Sponsor: 106.7 Lite FM
http://rewards.1067litefm.com/asp3/ContestDetail.aspx?AID=199653

Sponsor: Edge New York
http://www.edgenewyork.com/index.php?ch=giveawaycenter&sc=giveaway_enter&id=10893

Sponsor: Latino Scoop
http://latinoscoop.com/events/the-monuments-men/

Sponsor: Sony (Wait list only currently)
https://www.sonyscreenings.com/index.php/main/movie_landing/GGNewYork

January 30th Screening
Sponsor: The Center for Jewish History
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1EjnQv_9EpvWnt8HumSIjtSL5yAzeuTfbYzXCRdEoUIk/viewform

Sunday, January 26, 2014


It's been awhile since I have done a comic book review on my site with the time constraints that I have.  But I thought this series was worth talking about that will appeal to fans of several genres.  Ghosted publish by Image Comics is by Writer Joshua Williamson, with interior art by Artist Goran Suzuka and Colorist Miroslav Mrva.  The story arc in the first five issues introduces us to master criminal Jackson Winters who is rotting away in jail until he is violently sprung.  The man that has him sprung from jail is filthy rich collector Markus Schrecken who has an unusual request for Jackson.  Capture him a ghost from the renowned haunted Trask mansion to add to his collection of supernatural artifacts.


Of course there's more than meets the eye to Markus's requests which we get to see slowly unraveled in front of us over the course of the story arc.  The story has equal parts House on Haunted Hill and Ocean 11 as Jackson puts together a team as the master organizer.  But Markus is not the only one with secrets as we learn of what happened in Jackson's last job that put him in jail.  Among those that Jackson has put together to capture the ghost includes Bobby Trick, professional con artist, Edzia Rusnak, professional medium, Oliver King, professional skeptic and Jay and Joe Burns, professional ghost hunters and reality show stars.  Accompanying them is Markus's eyes and ears, Anderson who makes Nikita 


The covers are by Sean Phillips which fully captures the "spirit(s)" of the book.  His style and Goran Suzuka is fairly similar leading to a smooth flow from cover to end.  The only gripe I have about the story arc is that it could have been longer.  Some scenes and in particular when some of the team attempts to escape the mansion during sunset could have been fleshed out more.  In addition, Anderson's actions appears illogical for a cold calculating person when she and Jackson are at odds against each other.


Overall, I highly recommend the first story arc which you can pick up in the first volume trade paperback available on Amazon here.  It's not easy to bring chills to a reader like a movie does with their creepy suspenseful sound effects.  Joshua along with his artists comes pretty close to capturing the eeriness of a horror film and the suspense of a crime flick with this series.  If you're tired of reading about Superman or the Avengers saving the world for the umpteenth time, give this book a chance.

What are you currently reading?

Friday, January 24, 2014


Opens Friday, January 24, 2014 (Limited)
1 hr 40 min
PG-13 | Violence, Mistreatment, All Involving Teens, Mature Thematic Material, Language and Some Drug Content

Gimme Shelter which is based on a true story is not the typical role you would expect High School Musical alumni Vanessa Hudgens to star in.  In the film she plays a homeless runaway pregnant teen Apple, just looking for a break.  In perhaps her most challenging role, her acting appears forced at times and the plot too sugar coated with predictable happy thoughts.


The movie is definitely a great inspirational movie especially for those that may find themselves in similar situations.  The underlying message of the greatness of God and help is always available is sprinkled throughout.  Aside from Rosario Dawson's amazing portrayal as Apple's mother June, there is little tension and drama in this movie that will keep you focused to the screen.  Brendan Fraser as the father of Apple is also a far cry from his usual comedic roles.  Unfortunately, like Vanessa, he fails to shine as the Wall Street father that abandon his daughter when he was young and foolish.  It's great to see James Earl Jones in a movie again, but like Fraser and Vanessa, while he was good in his role, it was not all too memorable.


Overall, I would recommend this film to those that have a soft heart for movies with happy endings.  It's a feel good story that will definitely having you cheering for Apple and the rest of the mothers in this unique shelter.  What I love most about the movie is the makeup and costume designs transforming Vanessa from a Spring Breaker into a vagabond, or the beautiful Rosario Dawson into something that crawled out of the sewers.  Aside from these points, the movie clearly has a targeted audience and may not be for everyone with its uneven pacing and predictable plot.
Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


Trailer:

Cast:
  • Vanessa Hudgens as Apple Bailey
  • Rosario Dawson as June Bailey
  • Carlos Alvarez as Maple Bailey
  • Brendan Fraser as Tom Fitzpatrick
  • James Earl Jones as Father McCarthy
  • Candace Smith as Marie Abeanni
  • Shiela Tapia as Officer Sue
  • Joseph Ferrante as Officer Cole
  • Emily Meade as Cassandra
  • Stephanie Szostak as Joanna Fitzpatrick
  • Allen Holloway as Guest Motel
  • Natalie Guerrero as Tina
  • Laneya Wiles as Jasmine
  • Rachel Mattila as Nicky Lotito
  • Ann Dowd as Kathy
  • Gena Bardwell as Afra
  • Tashiana R. Washington as Destiny / Princess
  • Karina Bonnefill as Maternity Nurse
  • Susan Jayne Brown as Maternity Doctor
  • Joe Mancini as Construction Foreman
  • Jade Jackson as Tawana

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Those of you with young kids might be excited for this.  Disney is known for having these stage shows, and they're bringing Marvel into the fold.  Marvel Universe LIVE! is coming to the New York City on the following dates:

Izod Center July 31st - August 3rd
Barclays Center August 13th - August 17th
Nassau Coliseum August 21st - August 24th

"Marvel fans, assemble! Marvel Universe LIVE! is taking the live entertainment experience to a whole new level, with a mind-blowing show unlike anything you've seen before. Watch your favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man, The Avengers - Iron Man, Hulk, and more, and threatening villains come to life in an action-packed arena extravaganza, coming to cities around North America. You'll definitely feel the energy with cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles and more. It's being hailed as the most technically advanced live show ever. Join Marvel fans of all ages for this once-in-a-lifetime, monumental performance. The fate of the universe depends on it!"

http://marveluniverselive.com/

Hopefully it goes off more smoothly than the Spider-Man musical!

Sneak Peek Look at Behind the Scenes:

Monday, January 20, 2014


Opened October 4, 2013 (Limited); Available on DVD and Digital Download January 21st, 2014

1 hr 54 min


Epic Pictures Group announces the home video release of VIKINGDOM through their U.S. distribution arm, Epic Releasing, on January 21, 2014. A 15 million dollar action/fantasy production, the film stars Dominic Purcell (TV’s Prison Break, Straw Dogs, Killer Elite), Craig Fairbrass (Devil’s Playground, The Bank Job), Natassia Malthe (Bloodrayne, Elektra), Conan Stevens (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) and is directed by Yusry Kru (Clash of Empires.)
Based on Viking mythology, a forgotten King Eirick (Dominic Purcell) battles from hell and beyond to retrieve the mystical artifact, Odin’s Horn, before Thor and his army can unleash its powers to conquer the world.
VIKINGDOM will be available on DVD for an SRP of $14.99.  Special features include interviews with the cast.   

VIKINGDOM first premiered in theaters on October 18, 2013.



==

There is a lot to both like and hate in Vikingdom.  So let's start off with what I liked.  The fighting scenes are amazing.  With the choreography and the large scale battles with a variety of styles and weapons makes it very video game like.  Especially when you have the slow motion effects with fighters in midair, makes for some amazing cinematography.  Among the actors I really enjoyed are Natassia Malthe as Brynna, Craig Fairbrass as Sven as well as John Reynolds who played Eirick's zombie father Alfred.  They're all great in their roles even if Natassia's character seemed a bit desperate at times with the constant touching of Eirick and him pulling away.



As far as the bad, it all starts with Dominic Purcell as Eirick who unfortunately lacks the charisma to pull off the leading character role in this film.  Besides having the size for the role and great in the fighting scenes, his lines and speeches are often mechanical.  Even in his supposedly uplifting stirring speech towards the end to his army, his men looked as moved as when watching paint dry on the wall.  Add to that the large number of extras used in the film for one liners that are also delivered with a robotic charm and it makes you wish this was a silent film.  The plot is long and meandering, aiming to be like Lord of the Rings but for Vikings and Norse mythology.  Vikingdom fails in comparison of course due to its more constraining budget.  The costumes especially with the Gods Thor, Frey and Freya looks more Science Fiction like from say Syfy's Farscape than of what you would imagine from Norse mythology.  The story itself is a bit confusing and could have been shorten in regards to the group travelling everywhere but New Jersey.



Overall, I would recommend this film only if you're a big fan of large scale hand to hand battles.  The movies have some great scenes involving that especially with Jon Foo as Yang.  With a background in Wushu, Jon has some of the best fighting scenes in the film.  I could see success in this film being turned into a video game like Dynasty Warriors.  The DVD version as mentioned is out tomorrow January 21st and is available for purchase here on Amazon.  The DVD bonuses include a Making of Video, Trailer, Teaser, TV Spot, Mojo Dark Cloud music video and other trailers from Epic Pictures. 


Rating: 2.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars



Trailer:
Cast:
  • Dominic Purcell as Eirick
  • Natassia Malthe as Brynna
  • Conan Stevens as Thor
  • Jon Foo as Yang
  • Craig Fairbrass as Sven
  • Bruce Blain as Bernard, The Killer of Women and Children
  • Jesse Moss as Frey
  • Tegan Moss as Freyja
  • Patrick Murray as Alcuin
  • Creighton Mark Johnson as Raider Captian
  • Michael Hagerty-Roach as Yorick


While DC's Justice League War has been on the forefront of everyone's minds.  Right behind that has to be Son of Batman which comes out in late Spring.  Son of Batman features Jason O'Mara's second film voicing the Dark Knight.  Son of Batman, as its name implies introduces Damian Wayne, who is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul.  The story arc in the comic book was written by Grant Morrison back in 2006.  The movie was mentioned at New York Comic Con 2013, but it's great to see clips of it now.

Here's a preview of the Son of Batman courtesy of TV Guide shared to me by Geek Adam.

http://www.tvguide.com/News/Son-of-Batman-First-Look-1076369.aspx




Sunday, January 19, 2014


Still looking for that elusive screening pass to The Lego Movie?  Here are two opportunities!

From Legoland Westchester, you have a chance to win premier passes by attending their park this week.

===
Annual Pass Members – Entering for your chance to win is as easy as visiting Monday, January 20th through Friday, January 24th!

Not an Annual Pass Member?

Purchase your tickets online and visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester Monday, January 20th through Friday, January 24th and you’ll automatically be entered to win a family 4-pack of tickets to THE LEGO® Movie Premier!

The premier will be held Saturday, February 1st at a secret location.

Terms and conditions apply. All decisions of LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester are final. An email announcement will be sent to all winners. Winners are required to confirm attendance and register via the provided winner link. No cash value. Non-transferrable. Substitutions not available. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Winners must show valid ID for movie entry.

Info: http://www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/westchester/news-events/event/1133/win-a-4-pack-of-tickets-to-the-lego-movie-premier.aspx
===

The second opportunity is with a meetup group but specifically for fathers only.  The meetup group NYC Dads Group is offering dads + 1 child passes for Feb 1st at Lincoln Square.  At last check Sunday evening 1/19, there were still 14 spots available.

Sign up for the group and RSVP for the event here:
http://www.meetup.com/New-York-City-Dads-Meetup-Group/events/160522712/

Good luck and happy hunting for The Lego Movie tickets!

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Opens January 17, 2014 
1 hr 45 min
PG-13 | Intense Action, Brief Strong Language and Sequences of Violence

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a reboot of the classic character created by novelist Tom Clancy.  The prior four movies starred actors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck as Jack already established as a CIA analyst.  In Shadow Recruit, we see his origins, from his motivation to join the military and his recruitment to be an undercover CIA analyst working in Wall Street.


The film starts off on the slow side as we see Jack (Chris Pine) in college and dropping that to join the military and eventual recruitment by Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner).  The movie does hit its stride until Jack is in Russia to investigate a company with hidden accounts.  The company which is run by Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) has plenty to hide as he is planning both a terrorist attack on US soil and planning to set off a collapse of the US Currency simultaneously.

Chris Pine whom I adore as the current Captain Kirk in Star Trek does a great job as Jack Ryan.  But if you're more familiar with the older movies than this Jack will be quite a change for you.  This Jack lacks the confidence given his youth but has fight in his young body despite it being broken to pieces.  With rehabilitation and a renewed sense of purpose in a nurse and a mysterious CIA agent, Jack joins the CIA.  Chris does an excellent job in expressing the emotions of a Jack out of his elements.  

Kevin Costner's character on the other hand is not too useful other to pop up now and then.  Keira Knightley who plays Jack's girlfriend Cathy lacks the strong fortitude that you would hope from the female lead.  Is it just me or does Kenneth Branagh remind you of Kevin Spacey as well?  He makes an excellent villain in this movie similar to what Kevin was, as Lex Luthor.


Overall, I enjoyed the film and would recommend it.  If they continue to make additional films with Chris, I would love to see more of the thought provoking analytic side of Jack than turning him into an action hero like Bourne.  With his origin out of the way, hopefully in the future films we can get a nice consistent fast pace film from beginning to end.  I have never read the Tom Clancy novels, however this movie is not based on any particular book.

Rating 3.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


Trailer:

Cast:
  • Chris Pine as Jack Ryan
  • Keira Knightley as Cathy Muller (later Ryan)
  • Kevin Costner as Thomas Harper
  • Kenneth Branagh as Viktor Cherevin
  • Nonso Anozie as Embee Deng
  • Colm Feore as Rob Behringer
  • Gemma Chan as Amy Chang
  • David Paymer as Dixon Lewis
  • Karen David as FBI Lead Agent
  • Mikhail Baryshnikov (uncredited) as a Russian government official

Friday, January 17, 2014


Opens January 17, 2014 
1 hr 39 min
PG-13 | Sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language.

For me this is the breakout movie for comedian turned actor Kevin Hart as a leading man.  Despite being in the film and television industry for a while, it seems like only now is he hitting his stride.  He still has room to improve, but Ride Along is a fun laugh out loud comedy reminiscence of the old buddy cop movies like 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon.

The first 10 minutes features some incredible gun play and car chases that will have you thinking that you're watching an installment of Fast & Furious.  However, as far as action goes, I have to say that it's poorly stacked to the front of the deck.  Not that you don't have your shootouts and scuffles later.  But the rest of the film features Kevin Hart's hilarious antics as they play against Ice Cube's tougher than nails serious demeanor.


If you're not familiar with the movie, Kevin Hart plays Ben who is dating James's (Ice Cube) sister.  He wants to marry her, and ask James for his approval.  James decides to bring Ben on a Ride Along, since he is a cop and Ben a cadet-to-be, to show Ben that he is not worthy or ready to take care of his sister.  James arranges for all the difficult 911 calls to be sent his way to force Ben's resolution, even arranging a fake incident.  Meanwhile, James is tracking a master criminal named Omar (Laurence Fishburne) whom nobody has seen before.

Overall, I really enjoyed the film and would recommend it to everyone.  I like the parallels that Ben makes between his online gaming with the real life shootout that he's a part of in the warehouse.  Ice Cube as consistent as usual in his typical role.  Try not to think too hard with the clues in the movie but enjoy the ride and you will enjoy the movie.  This is thus far my favorite comedy to come out this year.

Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


Trailer:

Cast:

  • Ice Cube as James Payton
  • Kevin Hart as Ben Barber
  • Laurence Fishburne as Omar
  • Tika Sumpter as Angela Payton
  • John Leguizamo as Santiago
  • Bryan Callen as Miggs
  • Bruce McGill as Lt. Brooks
  • Gary Owen as Crazy Cody
  • Jay Pharoah as Runflat
  • David Banner as Pawnshop Jay
  • Dragoș Bucur as Marko
  • Gary Weeks as Dr. Cowan
  • Jacob Latimore as Marley Harlems

Currently in production, the premise sounds very interesting.  Starring Luke Gross and everyone's favorite Danny Trejo!  Anyone looking forward to this?

LOS ANGELES, Jan.17, 2014 – Premiere Entertainment Group announces today that principal photography has commenced in Palm Springs, CA on its latest feature film THE NIGHT CREW.  Directed by Christian Sesma and written by Paul Sloan and Sesma, the movie stars Luke Goss (HELLBOY II), Danny Trejo (MACHETE), Bokeem Woodbine (RIDDICK) and Chasty Ballesteros (FINAL DESTINATION 5).  THE NIGHT CREW is being produced by Ryan Noto.

“We are excited to be shooting THE NIGHT CREW in the wild palm spring desert, where we’ve been welcomed with open arms despite our blazing pyrotechnics, machine gun fire and sinister characters running amok with gas masks and machetes,” says Noto. “Not since the days of the Rat Pack have the locals of this desert community seen so many beautiful actresses roaming the town after the martini shot each day.  Our dedicated actors and crew are working feverishly to finish this intense and action packed shoot. By virtue of owning my Post house Digital Post Services (DPS), we have on set technology that allows us to simultaneously create a teaser of this highly-anticipated film that will be available for screening in Berlin at Premiere Entertainment’s suite.”

THE NIGHT CREW centers on a group of hard up bounty hunters who must survive the night in a desert motel against a horde of savage cartel killers. They soon realize that their fugitive, a mysterious Chinese woman, is much more than she lets on.

The director of photography is Anthony J. Rickert-Epstein (WE THE PARTY), the editor is Eric Potter (THE LINCOLN LAWYER) with casting by Jennifer Cooper (SCENIC ROUTE, CSI:NY).

Jack Campbell and Elias Axume from Premiere Entertainment Group are handling worldwide distribution and will be introducing the title at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Opens Friday, January 17, 2014 
1 hr 25 min
PG | Rude Humor and Mild Action

Despite an interesting premise, The Nut Job and its fairly large cast of uninspiring characters fails to make this an animation classic.  It is still worth watching especially if you have young children who will enjoy the cute farting characters.  But for adults, the numerous body function jokes show us that the filmmakers just were not trying hard enough to make this enjoyable for everyone.

I was able to watch the film in 3D but aside from one scene where you have popcorn exploding everywhere towards you, you would not have noticed it.  Otherwise the graphics are good not great with each character despite its large cast being very distinguishable from one another.  The movie is a joint effort by three animation studios from Canada, South Korea and the United States.  But with the animation fairly adequate, it's the plot and voice acting that keeps the film from reaching its potential despite the interesting premise.



The story is about a squirrel named Surly (Will Arnett) who is pretty much a loner except for his friend the rat.  However, why he is such an outcast and what has led him to this decision is pretty much a black box by the filmmakers.  In addition the animosity between him and the Raccoon (Liam Neeson) from their past is not explored at all.  What I do like is the parallel between the two ongoing stories between the humans trying to rob a bank and the animals trying to rob the nut store of its nuts.  The voice actors aside from Brendan Fraser and Liam Neeson are mostly flat in their personalities and indistinguishable.  The mole (Jeff Dunham) seemed like such a pointless character.

Overall, I would recommend this movie if you have a young child as they would love it.  Otherwise, catch it as a matinee or wait until it comes on Netflix.  For a better animation for yourself and the whole family, go see Frozen or rent The Croods.

Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


Trailer:


Cast:
  • Will Arnett as Surly
  • Brendan Fraser as Grayson
  • Gabriel Iglesias as Johnny
  • Liam Neeson as Raccoon
  • Katherine Heigl as Andie
  • Jeff Dunham as Mole
  • Stephen Lang as King
  • Sarah Gadon as Lana
  • Maya Rudolph as Precious
  • Annick Obonsawin as Jamie
  • Scott Yaphe as Lucky
  • Eric Bauza as Buddy
  • James Rankin as Fingers


Aired November 23rd, 2013; release on DVD January 28, 2014
1 hr 28 mins
Not Rated

Stonados out on DVD next week originally aired on the Syfy network in November of last year.  It was suppose to air in early 2013 but because of the Boston Marathon bombing was delayed.  Stonados which did not received the viral cult status that Sharknado did, is at least on par if not better than its Syfy fellow disaster movie.  Stonados is about an abnormal storm that creates Tornados in the Boston area that tosses rocks made of unstable material that explodes.


What separates Stonados from Sharknado in a good way is the level of quality of actors in Stonados.  From Queer as Folk's Thea Gill to X-Files's William B. Davis, the acting stands out more even if the scenario is implausible if not outright ridiculous.  There are exceptions however which includes Sebastian Spence as Lee Carlton.  Sebastian's character is quite easy going but having him permanently stuck on "smile" throughout the first half of the movie was just unnerving.  Paul Johansson does a convincing job in his role even if the lines he are spouting are not believable.  What father brings their children closer to danger in the form of a Stonado???  I would have loved a bigger role for Miranda Frigon as Maddy instead of just a token of a side romance story.


As with any disaster movie, it's all about the special effects and while it is a step up from what you see in Sharknado, it's still far from any blockbuster movie movie given their budget constraint.  Despite what you would expect as terrifying damages wrought by strong tornadoes with exploding stones no less, the damages shown to the city infrastructure is miniscule.  In addition, with explosions and rocks smashing down into people you would expect to see a lot more bloody parts and gore.  Instead, the film is amazingly clean of serious injuries, or deaths that conveniently destroys the whole body leaving just a shoe.

Overall, I would recommend this film only if you're a huge fan of disaster movies and are not so swept into the details of if the science works or not.  For those of you expecting CGI like The Core or Day After Tomorrow, you'll be disappointed given the vastly different budget that the films have to work with.  But if you're looking for a fun, end of the world (or at least Boston) film, than pick it up at Amazon beginning January 28th here.

Rating: 2.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:

Cast:
  • Paul Johansson as Joe Randall
  • Thea Gill as Tara Laykin
  • Sebastian Spence as Lee Carlton
  • William B. Davis as Ben
  • Jessica McLeod as Megan
  • Miranda Frigon as Maddy
  • Patrick Baynham as Owner
  • Fraser Corbett as Swan Boat Op.
  • Nicolas Dahm as Rower #1
  • Katherine Evans as Student #1
  • Dominika Juillet as Vanessa
  • Aliyah O'Brien as Alicia
  • Dylan Schmid as Jackson
  • Hugo Steele as Player 1
  • Grace Vukovic as Julie

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Opened March 27, 1987, on Blu Ray January 14, 2014
1 hr 35 mins
PG-13


Blind Date on Blu-ray for the first time, a slapstick romantic comedy with an all-star cast. Starring Bruce Willis (The Sixth Sense), Kim Basinger (No Mercy) and John Larroquette (TV’s Night Court) and directed by Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther film series), Blind Date is available on Blu-ray on January 14, 2014, for an SRP of $17.97.

When Walter Davis (Bruce Willis, The Sixth Sense) is set up with gorgeous Nadia Gates (Kim Basinger, No Mercy), the perfect BLIND DATE dissolves into disaster in this sexy comedy caper. Walter invites beautiful southern belle Nadia to a button-down corporate dinner, expecting to impress his associates with this dazzling beauty. But all hell breaks loose when Nadia has "one too many" and reduces the evening and Walter's career to shambles. Bad turns to worse when Nadia's insanely jealous ex-beau David (John Larroquette, TV's Night Court), discovers them together and decides to annihilate the unsuspecting Walter. Can true love blossom amidst this hilarious havoc? Will Nadia and Walter ever get down to courting each other instead of courting disaster? Find out in the zany BLIND DATE, where first encounters can lead to close encounters of the worst kind.

==

Blind Date which came out way back in 1987 finally makes its way to Blu Ray today which you can purchase on Amazon here.  The movie marks a young Bruce Willis's film debut while still appearing on the successful TV series Moonlighting opposite Cybill Shepherd.  As the title suggests, Bruce Willis's character Walter is set up on a blind date with Kim Basinger's character Nadia.




The movie is a quirky comedy, as Nadia's behavior under the influence teaches us why some of us should never drink.  Add to that, Nadia's psychotic jealous ex-boyfriend David (John Larroquette) and Walter's evening turns out to be the worst of his life.  It's interesting to see Bruce Willis in the film before he became the action hero of Die Hard.  He doesn't have the full charm of a John McClane or a "Frank" Moses.  But you definitely get glimpses here.  I am a huge fan of John Larroquette in the television series Night Court.  But his portrayal of David is too over the top for me.  Perhaps that's what the Director Blake Edwards wanted in contrast to Walter's business-like character.

Overall, I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to take a ride back in time.  The film while funny could have definitely been improved.  But for the time period the film was released, the film is quite status quo with the other comedies that year, making it just another in the pack.  Seeing Bruce Willis with a full set of hair in the early stages of his career is worth the price of a rental.




If you'll like to win a copy of Blind Date on Blu Ray, comment below either your favorite Kim Basinger or Bruce Willis movie and why.  Be sure you leave your actual name that corresponds with your Facebook name.  Giveaway ends January 31st, 2014.  Winner will be randomly selected morning of February 1st, 2014 and posted here and on Facebook.

Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars



Trailer:
Cast:
  • Kim Basinger as Nadia Gates
  • Bruce Willis as Walter Davis
  • John Larroquette as David Bedford
  • William Daniels as Judge Harold Bedford
  • George Coe as Harry Gruen
  • Mark Blum as Denny Gordon
  • Phil Hartman as Ted Davis
  • Stephanie Faracy as Susie Davis
  • Alice Hirson as Muriel Bedford
  • Stanley Jordan as himself
  • Graham Stark as Jordan the Butler
  • Joyce Van Patten as Nadia's Mother
  • Barry Sobel as Gas Station Attendant
  • Armin Shimerman as French Waiter
  • Brian George as Maitre d'
  • Dick Durock as Bouncer
  • Sab Shimono as Mr. Yakamoto
  • Momo Yashima as Mrs. Yakamoto
  • Herb Tanney as Minister

Monday, January 13, 2014


The 111th annual American International Toy Fair is just a month away, are you going?  The largest toy industry event unfortunately is not open to the public.  But here's how you can be invited.  There are basically two groups that invited to this exclusive event for free, which are Buyers and Press.

What falls into the categories of Buyers and Press?  For Buyers that includes: retailers, wholesalers, importers, and buying groups.  And for the Press that includes: journalists, editors, bloggers, correspondents, producers, and photographers/camera crews.  As with any convention, there are strict vetting processes so that not any tom and dick can qualify with false credentials.  Besides these two groups, you can purchase admission as part of the Trade or as a non-exhibiting manufacturer.  Despite the event being every child's dream, children under the age of 18 are not allowed into the event.

Just what is at the American International Toy Fair?  Toys of course!  How about more than 1,000 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers and sales agents showcasing about 150,000+ new toys.  From toys for preschoolers to the latest electronic gadgets, the impressive lists of exhibitors include Gund, Konami, Mattel Inc. and many more.  The event is held over four days at the Jacob Javits Center and includes panels and seminars relating to the toy industry. 

I won't be able to make it this year due to a schedule conflict.  But if you do, please share some pictures with us!

For more info about the show including registration information, you can visit their official site here.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Opened November 1, 2013 (Limited); Available on DVD January 14, 2014
1 hr 40 min
R | Language, Some Sexuality and Nudity

Big Sur adapted from the novel of the same name by Jack Keouac is an unsuspecting gem by Director Michael Polish.  Bringing to life Jack Keouac during his heyday as the Beatnik Renaissance man that he never wanted to be, we see his slow downward spiral in alcoholism in an unbelievably poetic fashion.

Jack Keouac if you're not familiar with him wrote the book "On the Road", published in the early 50's which became a best seller and exemplified the Beat Generation according to many.  The book like many of his other books including "Big Sur" is autobiographical and talks about Jack and his friends.  Big Sur however differs from his other books in that the stage of life he is in is vastly different.  It is a more updated self-reflection of the demons that he was going through at the time compared to the journeys through America in his earlier books.


The filmmaker could not have picked a better actor to played Jack Kerouac than Jean-Marc Barr.  If you look at old pictures of Jack Kerouac, the actor even shares a great resemblance to him.  He does an amazing job playing Jack in the different portrayals of the mood swings from alcohol.  The scene in which he explodes at his girlfriend Billie (Kate Bosworth) is the highlight of the movie for me.  Besides Jean-Marc, the veteran cast overall is just amazing.

Besides the cast, the backdrop of Big Sur which is on the central coastline of California and San Francisco for which Jack frequented is a site to behold.  The movie takes us back in time with set pieces including automobiles and the clothing of that era that most of us have forgotten or never knew.  The pacing and filmography by Michael Polish takes a little getting used to in the beginning.  But it matches the ups and downs of Jack's quite well.

Overall, I would recommend this DVD to everyone.  It's a bit of a somber movie in my opinion despite being a great tribute to Jack Kerouac.  The movie starts off a bit slow and goes into lulls at times as we go through Jack's state of mind.  However, I love the narration that is provided by Jean-Marc which often brings us back to the edge of our seats along with Polish's visuals.  If you can overlook the slow pace, I believe you'll enjoy this dark look into one of America's lost literary icons.  The DVD has little as far as extras besides the original trailers.  It is out on January 14, 2014 and can be purchase here on Amazon.

Rating:  Stars 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars


Trailer:

Cast:
  • Jean-Marc Barr as Jack Kerouac
  • Josh Lucas as Neal Cassady
  • Radha Mitchell as Carolyn Cassady
  • Anthony Edwards as Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Stana Katic as Lenore Kandel
  • Balthazar Getty as Michael McClure
  • Kate Bosworth as Willamine “Billie” Dabney
  • Henry Thomas as Philip Whalen
  • Patrick Fischler as Lew Welch
  • Jason W. Wong as Victor Wong

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Opens January 10, 2014 
2 hr 1 min
R | Strong Bloody War Violence and Pervasive Language

Lone Survivor which is based on a true story of an U.S. military operation gone horribly wrong is your must see movie for the month of January.  Operation Redwing puts four frog men (Navy Seals) near a town believed to be controlled by the Taliban as scouts for the U.S..  By when they are discovered by villagers the four men faced the dilemma of breaking the rules of engagement and executing them or letting them go.


I am not sure how much liberty Lone Survivor takes with the actual events that transpired.  But as far as the firefight scenes in the movie, they are graphically and quite bloody as you would imagine that day might have been.  Such so that I would only recommend this movie for adults with a strong stomach.  The makeup is amazing in recreating the flesh wounds that will have you cringing.  The acting especially by Taylor Kitsch (Michael P. Murphy) and Ben Foster (Matthew Axelson) were exceptional.  Mark Wahlberg unfortunately did not stand out for me from any of the other movies he's done lately.  Even with the importance of his role, his character portrayal remains the same from movie to movie.


Despite military superiority, the movie shows us just how the U.S. can be defeated at times with sheer numbers and home turf advantage.  It also gives us a glimpse as to how the soldiers train in order to deal with the situations in hostile territory which I found very interesting.  And of course the camaraderie the soldiers build with one another so they have each other's back.  Is this a military propaganda film besides just telling the courageous story of four men?  It definitely can be considered that but it's still an entertaining and yet painful film to watch.

Overall, as I mentioned before I would highly recommend this film.  It gives us a great appreciation for those that put their lives on the line for us for our country.  Because neither myself nor any of you reading this would probably ever want to be in the shoes of those brave men.  What I also liked about the movie is that it also shows that not all foreigners hate us.  The only thing I would've liked for them to do is provide subtitles for all the foreign dialogue in the movie which they don't.
Rating 4.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


Trailer:


Cast:
  • Mark Wahlberg as SO2 Marcus Luttrell
  • Taylor Kitsch as LT Michael P. Murphy
  • Emile Hirsch as SO2 Danny Dietz
  • Ben Foster as SO2 Matthew Axelson
  • Eric Bana as LCDR Erik S. Kristensen
  • Alexander Ludwig as SO2 Shane Patton
  • Yousuf Azami as Ahmad Shah
  • Ali Suliman as Gulab
  • Rich Ting as SO2 James Suh
  • Dan Bilzerian as SOCS Dan Healy
  • Jerry Ferrara as SGT Hasslert
  • Scott Elrod as Peter Musselman
  • Corey Large as US Navy SEAL CAPT Kenney
  • Sammy Sheik as Taraq