January 2011 Archives

Contest: Win a Blu-ray Two-Pack of All About Eve and An Affair to Remember

Two fans of Classic Hollywood can win these limited edition Blu-ray books.
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Cinema Sentries and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment have teamed up to give two lucky readers the opportunity to win a two-pack of classic films making their Blu-ray debut in limited edition books on February 1, 2011. All About Eve, winner of six Academy Awards out of 14 nominations including Best Picture, tells the story of Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a young woman determined to make it on Broadway any way she can. This backstage drama stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, who had the film's famous line, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night," and George

The Last Song Movie Review: It Should Have Never Been Sung

Please don't sing anything like this again.
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It's certainly difficult to write something that is sure to anger pubescent girls throughout the world, but this Last Song should have never been sung.So trite and one-dimensional in storytelling and performances is The Last Song, a 107-minute outing from Offspring Entertainment and Touchstone Pictures, one might think it is a cheeseball teen flick from the eighties. Unfortunately there are no laughs here, no fun, no depth, and no enjoyment.In a screenplay from Nicholas Sparks & Jeff Van Wie, based on the novel by Sparks, we meet seventeen-year-old Ronnie (Miley Cyrus), who is being forced to spend the summer

How To Train Your Dragon Movie Review: Pixar Still Rules The Roost, But Dreamworks Is Getting The Hint

Dreamworks is getting the hang of it and How To Train Your Dragon is a good first step.
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Despite its slightly pornographic title, with How To Train Your Dragon Dreamworks has begun to inch the tiniest bit closer to the ridiculously high watermark Pixar has set for modern-day computer animated movies. In a nutshell, it's a movie about not judging a book by its cover - a good lesson for everyone. Sure, you know how it ends and the pitfalls and peril in the movie are nothing that holds any surprises. But that's alright as long as the trip to realization is worth it. All in all, this movie makes it worth it.That's not to say it's perfect

Iron Man 2 Movie Review: Not Great, Not Awful, Pure Meh

My marbling about another comic-book flick.
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I went into the first Iron Man with a fair share of non-enthusiasm, as I'm not a comic book guy, nor some Robert Downey, Jr. fan. Never hated the guy, I just didn't think he could carry a superhero role. Well, by the end I was convinced of Downey's abilities to pull off a hero role and was pleasantly surprised that not all comic book movies are terrible pieces of tripe (now video game movies, I defy you to find a good one in the bunch, but I digress).So as Iron Man 2 approached I was pretty stoked to see

Looney Tunes Super Stars Tweety & Sylvester DVD Review: Feline Fwenzy

Fifteen classic cartoons, all directed by the legendary Friz Freling.
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Feline Fwenzy contains 15 cartoons featuring the famous duo, all directed by the legendary Friz Freling. They date from 1947 to 1961, a period often referred to as the Golden Age Of Animation. The DVD is part of the Looney Tunes Super Stars series, which spotlights classic Warner Bros. animated characters. These two are right up there with Bugs and Daffy, in my book. The DVD kicks off with "Tweety Pie," (1947). This was actually Tweety's fourth appearance in a short, although it was Freling's directorial debut with the famous bird. The character was created by Robert Clampett in

Animal Kingdom DVD Review: Crime and Punishment in Suburban Melbourne

A winning combination of its many fine components.
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J (newcomer James Frecheville) is an 18-year-old boy thrust into the midst of his criminal extended family when his mom ODs and dies. Mom had shielded the boy from her sketchy mother and brothers, but with nowhere left to turn young J reaches out to his grandma, colorfully nicknamed Smurf (Jacki Weaver). Smurf welcomes him into her home with open arms and he sets about integrating himself into his extended family while also attempting to keep his shady uncles at arm's length. When one of his uncles is unlawfully gunned down by cops, his other uncles recruit him in

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1: The Beginning of the End

It's always darkest before the dawn.
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As the last chapter of the Harry Potter saga commences, the evil Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) control over the Wizarding world has grown after the death of Dumbledore. His Death Eaters are searching for Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) because his death is required to restore Voldemort to his full power. Unfortunately, the numbers of those fighting for good are dwindling. Harry can't stand being responsible for the loss of any more life, and with his best friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), they head off in search of the remaining Horcruxes, which contain portions of Voldemort's soul, in order
I just got around to checking out this morning's Oscar nominees, here are my initial reactions: Best Picture - I'm already tired of ten nominees, can't we just go back to five? We all know only five are actually award-worthy anyway. For the rest, enjoy using your Best Picture Nomination in your future marketing materials. Full disclosure: I've only seen a few of these so far, but it's still abundantly clear who the contenders really are based on reviews, talent, and marketing campaigns. Black Swan - top 5 The Fighter - top 5, but on the borderline Inception -

Piranha (2010) DVD Review: A Gore-Filled Breastravaganza!

A beautiful, terrible mess, and dammit, I loved every single second of it.
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Every year, the population in the quiet town of Lake Victoria explodes in a drunken orgy of sex and sunscreen known as Spring Break. This year is special though, as an underwater tremor unleashes a terror far more horrifying than roofie-carrying frat boys or obnoxious bimbos brandishing brand new tramp stamps: scores of prehistoric man-eating piranha. As you might expect with such a film, a motley crew of friends and strangers must band together in a desperate attempt to save the town from becoming dinner for these flesh-eating denizens of the deep. Steven R. McQueen plays... oh look, I'll

Raging Bull 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review: That's Entertainment

Director Martin Scorsese's masterpiece is celebrated on Blu-ray.
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Martin Scorsese's biography about middleweight boxer Jake "The Raging Bull" La Motta (Robert DeNiro) is a fascinating spectacle of filmmaking as he pulls out all the stops to tell the story of a man who is his own worst enemy. In 1964, Jake is heavyset, rehearsing a nightclub act. The film then cuts to 1941 where he loses a fight to Jimmy Reeves based on the judges' scores even though he beat Reeves so bad in the final round Reeves couldn't stand up to acknowledge his win. Noticing many in the audience angry at the decision, Jake's manager and

Razzies (Dis)Honor the Worst of 2010

Remembering what many film-goers wish they could forget.
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While this time of year Hollywood guilds congratulate themselves for work that groups of critics fawn over, John Wilson and the members of The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation commemorate what they suffered through at the box office last year: the poor ideas, the terrible execution, the needless sequels. To exact their revenge for what they felt was their wasted time and money, they have released their nominees for the Razzies. They are: Worst Picture The Bounty Hunter The Last Airbender Sex & the City 2 Twilight Saga: Eclipse Vampires Suck! Worst Actor Jack Black, Gulliver's Travels Gerard Butler, The Bounty

Secretariat Blu-ray Review: An Also-Ran

So bland and predictable that it seemingly could have directed itself.
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This film tracing the true story of one of the most famous racehorses of all time is so bland and predictable that it seemingly could have directed itself. On one hand, that's fine because anyone with any interest in the film will likely get exactly what they bargained for, but on the other it makes for a largely meaningless foray into the most pedestrian tropes of biographical films. Of course there's no surprise about how the story turns out, but the makers surely could have injected some creativity into its telling. Instead, we're left with languorous shots of rolling

BAFTA Announces Their 2011 Film Awards Nominees

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts selects their choices for the Best of 2010 in film.
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While Hollywood recovered from their Golden Globe parties, the Award Season machine kept moving right along as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced the nominees for the 2011 BAFTA at 7:40am Tuesday morning local time. The nominees don't look too different from many of the other award organizations. I was glad to see True Grit recognized, especially Hailee Steinfeld as Lead Actress, which she most certainly was. The BAFTAs will be awarded on February 13th, 2011 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. How do you think did? Were your favorites recognized? Were there any snubs? BEST

The Town (2010) Movie Review: Crime and Some Punishment

An action-packed thriller with a story that falters by the finish.
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Based on Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves, director Ben Affleck delivers an action-packed, suspense-filled crime drama populated with great performances by a talented cast. While appealing on many levels, The Town ultimately left me unsatisfied due to its conclusion and its clich├ęd characters. Affleck plays Doug MacRay, leader of a bank-robbing crew from Charlestown, MA, a city notoriously known producing bank robbers. During the first job that opens the film, Doug's team reveals themselves to be very knowledgeable about their business and that of the bank's inner workings. When one of the employees trips the alarm, loose cannon James

Toy Story 3 Blu-ray Review: You'll Never Outgrow It

One of the best films of 2010 is now one of the best Blu-ray releases of 2010.
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When a studio delivers a third installment in a series, it's often more focused on making money rather than making the movie, but the folks at Pixar honor their legacy and reveal respect for their audience with the outstanding Toy Story 3. It is one of the best films of 2010 and now one of the best Blu-ray releases of the yearsToy Story 3 opens with a wonderfully imaginative and memorable sequence from the mind of Andy, and the equally imaginative creative team led by director Lee Unkrich, as heroes Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) battle against

Best Movies and Trailers of 2010

One man's attempt to boil his movie-going experiences of 2010 into list form.
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Each year I predict what my favorite movies for the upcoming year will be. I'm usually so far off that it's funny to look back to 12 months ago. This year, I'm surprised how many stayed in my Top 10. Here are last December's predicitons: BEST MOVIES OF 2010 (as predicted in December 2009) 1. Toy Story 3 (June) How will this not be my #1 movie next year? There isn't a way. Pixar - I've never doubted you. 2. Kick-Ass. Am I overhyped based on a few decent trailers? Maybe. Maybe not. 3. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Little

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