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Monday, January 31, 2011

Alice In Wonderland (Two-Disc 60th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD Combo)Alice in Wonderland (Two-Disc 60th Anniversary) - The animation classic that doesn't require any introduction. A true gem that still amazes regardless of age, a reminder that animation is more than just fancy 3D technology. A fountain of imagination and creativity that does justice to Lewis Carroll's work. If you don't own it, you really should.


STRONGLY RECOMMENDED



Let Me In [Blu-ray]Let Me In - A surprisingly effective adaptation of the acclaimed swedish horror "Let the Right One In", directed by Matt Reeves of "Cloverfield" fame, a remake that stays faithful to the source while showing off some original inspiration of its own.  A solid horror experience. Fans of vampire flicks should have no problem with this one.

RECOMMENDED
 
                                      



Never Let Me GoNever Let Me Go - Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro is a profound coming-of-age story with subtle elements of science fiction. The dystopian vision of the novel/movie and the intriguing romance make for an eerie, yet emotionally affecting viewing.  It won't appeal to everybody however, so make sure you're into this kind of movie before acquiring it.


CAUTIOUSLY RECOMMENDED


                                                    
Monsters (Two-Disc Special Edition DVD + Digital Copy)Monsters (Two-Disc Special Edition) - The new wave of science fiction is here. This low budget work of cinema verite sci-fi is nothing ground-breakingly original, but it does its minimalistic job. Part road trip movie, part creature feature, "Monsters" is too experimental to really be enjoyable, eventually turning into an underwhelming. experience. In the end, the coolest thing about it is how small the budget was.


JUST RENT IT

Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo were the big winners on Sunday night, as each took home the Screen Actors Guild Award. "The King's Speech" also won in the Outstanding Performance by a Cast category. The SAGs are a very strong indicator of the upcoming Academy Awards, and it's quite obvious, considering the Golden Globes as well, that these four spectacular actors can also expect to win the coveted Oscar on February 27. You can read the complete list of SAG winners after the jump :

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The winners were announced, and it seems that The King's Speech has broken The Social Network's winning streak yet again, as director Tom Hooper won the award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for a Feature Film. Among other winners where Mick Jackson for "Temple Grandin" (Movies for Television and Mini-Series), Martin Scorsese for "Boardwalk Empire" (Dramatic Series) and Michael Spiller for "Modern Family" (Comedy Series).

Saturday, January 29, 2011


The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's NestThe Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest - The last entry in Stieg Larsson's Milennium Trilogy. Basically indispensable if you already own the previous two movies, this last one is not as fast-moving, but it's still very entertaining, especially if you've followed the plot this far and care for the characters. 

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED
(only if you already own the first two movies)



    Secretariat (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
    Secretariat - Disney's attempt at recreating "Seabiscuit" is a typical feel-good movie with lavish art direction, wonderful cinematography and a great lead performance from Diane Lane. Randal Wallace, who wrote the scripts for "Braveheart" and Pearl Harbor", is a capable director, but the result is too shallow to be taken seriously. You have been warned.

    CAUTIOUSLY RECOMMENDED
                                    


      Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (Two-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)Saw 3D - Torture porn at its most disgusting, "Saw 3D" marks the last entry in the series that began 7 years ago. It also marks the savage self-destruction of a profitable franchise that never knew when to quit. Not even the 3D gimmick could salvage this bloody wreck from failure. 

      NOT WORTH YOUR TIME






        Red (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
        RED - What could be more intense than having these "old-timers" duke it out on the big screen : Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman. Based on a comic book, "RED" makes good use of its cast and sprinkles some sharp wit and unique style into what could otherwise have been a by-the-numbers action movie. It doesn't break new ground, but it's a lot of fun.

        RECOMMENDED
               

          I wasn't aware of "The Dark Tower", the awesome Stephen King novels, being adapted for the big screen, until I saw the news that Javier Bardem has been offered the part of "Gunslinger" Roland Deschain. According to the official news, there will be three movies and not one, but two TV series, a bridge between the first and second movies, and a follow-up for the second. The third movie will neatly wrap-up the huge story. I was also surprised to find out that Ron Howard is directing the first movie and TV series.

          I'm excited about the movies being made, but I'm having mixed feelings about the TV series. This kind of strategy hasn't really worked in the past. I recall the "Terminator" franchise tried something similar with "The Sarah Connor Chronicles", broadcast one year before "Terminator 4", with unimpressive results. Although, to be fair, the two had no common plot elements. I like Ron Howard's style as a director, and I pretty much like everything he's ever done, even the controversial "The Da Vinci Code", so I'm sure the adaptation is in good hands. The projects seems very ambitious and complicated, which is always a treat, but it also leaves more room for mistakes.



          "The Mechanic" starring Jason Statham and Ben Forster opened this week to less than raving reviews, although it did fare better with the critics than expected (49% Fresh on RottenTomatoes.com). This new trailer is a throwback edit with something of an old-school vibe. There's nothing new that wasn't revealed already in previous trailers but it's pretty enjoyable.

          Tuesday, January 25, 2011

          The nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards are here, and, as expected, not much room for surprises. All the usual suspects are there for the Best Picture race, and despite some solid competition, the award will probably be disputed between the two heavyweights : "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network". The nominations count goes as follows :
          • "The King's Speech" - 12 nominations
          • "True Grit" - 10 nominations
          • "Inception" - 8 nominations
          • "The Social Network" - 8 nominations
          • "127 Hours" - 6 nominations
          • "Black Swan" - 5 nominations 
          Some surprise was generated by Javier Bardem's nomination for Leading Actor in "Biutiful" and Michelle Williams for Leading Actress in "Blue Valentine". Big snub for Christopher Nolan who did not get nominated for Best Director. Seems like an interesting year, with no particular favorites. Check out the full list of nominees after the jump.
           

          Monday, January 24, 2011

          The dreaded Razzie nominations are here, and they are, well, unforgiving as usual. "The Bounty Hunter", "The Last Airbender", "Twilight Saga : Eclipse" and "Sex and the City 2" are the rotten stars, with quite a number of nominations, including the top dishonor, Worst Picture. M. Night Shyamalan is turning into something of a repeat offender. Definitely the heavyweight of the Razzies is Jessica Alba, who nailed four mentions in just one nomination, for every movie she ever made in 2010. Now that's pain. "Little Fockers", released in theaters just in time (talk about Razzie bait), managed to get 3 nominations as well, including Worst Screenplay. Also, a new category has made its appearance : "Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3-D". To see all the unlucky nominees, you can find the full list of nominations after the jump.

          Just one day left before the Oscar nominations are announced. Who will make it among the finalists of this prestigious race for glory ? If you've been following all the awards so far, you probably already have the nominees figured out. "The Social Network", "The King's Speech", "Black Swan" will probably earn the most nominations and, probably, a solid number of wins, while "Inception", "True Grit" and "127 Hours" will also get plenty of attention, but will have little chance at any actual awards. I'm still hoping for some surprises, but it's unlikely this far in the race. The competition is solid, and the results will be close, unlike other years. Best picture will probably be disputed between "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech". While the Golden Globes preferred the former, a big surprise was the latter's big win at the PGA awards, so I guess it's really going to be close here. Maybe they'll pull another split between Best Director and Best Picture like in 1999, with "Saving Private Ryan" and "Shakespeare in Love". David Fincher has the best chances to win this year, I think. Natalie Portman, Colin Firth and Christian Bale are a sure bet for Leading Actress, Leading Actor and Supporting actor, respectively. "Inception" might have a really good shot at some of the technical awards like Editing, Visual Effects, Sound, Sound Editing, maybe even Cinematography, though I'd personally prefer "127 Hours" for that last one. Time will tell.

          Well here's a shocker : apparently, Keanu Reeves, while speaking at the London International School of Performing Arts about his career, also mentioned that he spoke with the Wachowskis and that they had, to quote Ain't It Cool News :
          "Completed work on a two picture script treatment that would see him return to the world of the matrix as Neo. Says the brothers have met with Jim Cameron to discuss the pro's and con's of 3D and are looking to deliver something which has never been seen again. Keanu stated that he still has an obligation to the fans to deliver a movie worthy of the title "The Matrix" and he swears this time that the treatment will truly revolutionize the action genre like the first movie. Wachowski's are working on a movie called "Cloud Atlas" at the moment, once that concludes they will talk again".
          I was honestly not expecting that. I'm one of the few people who loves all three Matrix movies equally, but the beating they've taken, especially with "The Matrix Revolutions", will probably make people very cautious about flocking to see any next installments. I trust the Wachowskis to deliver a unique experience, but even I'm a little in doubt about expanding the universe of "The Matrix". Sure, there might be a lot of things to explore, but I think the franchise has exhausted its originality. Besides, I have the feeling they're considering another Matrix movie, just because of the 3D technology boom, not because they have any breakthrough ideas to deliver. We'll see.

          Friday, January 21, 2011



          Yet another pointless sequel. There was a time when the name Wes Craven meant something, but nowadays his name on the credits is one more reason to steer clear. Unless there's some groundbreaking narrative innovation here, this movie is going to fail like every other moronic slasher flick.





          It seems Joel Silver is dead serious about this. Will Beal, a former cop, has been hired to write the screenplay. They apparently intend on keeping the R-rated tradition of the classic franchise, but as I've seen one reboot too many, I'm pretty sure there are going to be lots of major changes. For one, Warner Brothers will probably throw in a huge 100-200 million dollars budget, which would be a mistake, since "Lethal Weapon" started out as a small 15 million dollars budget movie in 1987. Also, Silver hasn't really been able to turn in any classics recently, so I'm a little worried he's thinking of tinkering with an old working formula. I suppose all that's left now is to catch news of the casting of the leads. Gibson and Glover had an incredible chemistry and their verbal riffs were the soul of the movie. I'm not saying it can't be done, but sometimes such perfect matches happen once in a blue moon. Who do you think could fill their shoes ?

          Thursday, January 20, 2011

          Seriously, they have to do something about the title of this movie, because TDKR is seriously boring and unoriginal. At four words it's also the longest in the modern franchise. But I will look past it, if the movie is at least as good as "The Dark Knight". I'll even settle for at least as good as "Batman Begins". Although I'm still hoping it's just a working title.

          The latest news around town (and this time official, as in press release official) is that Catwoman and Bane are the villains of the new sequel, played by Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy. I am a little surprised by Miss Hathaway's casting, but I'm sure she has the talent to pull off a convincing villain. In fact she's shown quite a darker side in her Oscar nominated performance from "Rachel Getting Married". As for Hardy, I think he'll do just fine. Besides, Nolan is a perfectionist, and for the type of Batman movies he's making, there is not one director better suited for the job. So I think fans can rest assured, they'll get the movie experience they are eagerly expecting.

          Wednesday, January 19, 2011

          So, apparently, the new Science Fiction movie Ridley Scott was working on for Fox is not a prequel to "Alien" , but rather a completely different movie, that, according to Scott himself morphed as a stand-alone story from a screenplay that was indeed supposed to be a new movie in the horror franchise. Noomi Rapace is still attached to play the leading role. You can read the full article about this story on Deadline.com

          I'm not sure if it's good or bad news. I was excited when I first read that Ridley Scott, the man who gave birth to the original series was returning for a prequel, but I also was in doubt that they could really breathe new life into something that has been stretched a little too thin through the years. All the rumors about the "space jockey" and a new alien civilization seemed to be a poor excuse for a new entry in the franchise, because there's not really much room to move in with these movies. In the end, you'll still have a bunch of people being killed one by one by vicious alien creatures. In how many new ways can you skin that cat ? I'm honestly even more excited to hear Scott plans a different kind of sci-fi, maybe something in the lines of "Blade Runner". Time will tell.