Monday, February 28, 2011

Well, the Oscars have come and gone in a night of little surprises. Hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco carried audiences and nominees through the hoops of the 24 different award categories, which offered no surprises. More details and a full list of winners after the jump.

127 HOURS 

The harrowing true story of Aaron Ralston arrives on Blu-Ray and DVD. The movie, nominated for 6 Oscars (including Best Picture), is a powerful drama about survival and self-discovery. Director Danny Boyle ("28 Days Later", "Trainspotting", "Sunshine") creates a vivid portrait of a man caught in an impossible situation, forced to do the unthinkable in order to survive. James Franco's Oscar nominated portrayal of Aaron Rolston is also a good reason to see this movie. There's a grueling amputation scene that will be hard to watch, but it's short and edited to avoid being too explicit. To find out more, read my review on this blog .

BAMBI (Two-Disc Diamond Edition)

This movie needs no introduction. Who hasn't watched it as a wee tyke and shed a tear when Bambi's mom died ? Now, released on Blu-Ray and DVD, the Diamond Edition brings back this classic Disney tale, fully restored, digitally enhanced, and whatever else they can think of doing to it. It has never looked sharper and more alive. Plus, there's a ton of extra features, as is customary for any Disney Anniversary Edition. If you loved "Bambi", by all means, get this release anyway you can.


Directed by Steve Antin, whose only other movie is a direct-to-video little item called "Glass House: The Good Mother", "Burlesque" is just another run-of-the-mill musical. You have your cliched characters and plot and a lot of singing. Who can ask for more ? Aguilera has the voice to carry the singing but not much talent to hold the acting, Cher's doing all right and Kristen Bell is sizzling hot. Production values are high and the music is pretty good, so if you're a huge fan of musicals (or Aguilera), give it a try. Available on DVD and Blu-Ray.


Dwayne Johnson becomes The Rock once again, for this revenge actioner, reminiscent of both the old days of Spaghetti Westerns and exploitation B-flicks. For a movie that brags about being "Faster", it sure goes slow for most of its running time. There's a lot of talking and very little action to speak of. The actors do a good job, but sometimes you can see the prospect of something that never reveals itself : a great action movie. Even so, it's a reasonably violent and enjoyable little flick if you like your action raw. Available on DVD and Blu-Ray For more about the movie, read my review on this blog.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Once a role-model for smart scary movies, M. Night Shyamalan has slipped down a dark road. After being nominated for Best Director and Best Writer at the Academy Awards 10 years ago, for "The Sixth Sense", Shyamalan has finally achieved some recognition, though not the kind he was expecting back then. His latest movie "The Last Airbender" won big at last night's Razzies. Scoring 5 trophies, including Worst Picture and Worst Director, the "Bender" had some fierce competition from "Sex and the City 2", who earned 3 awards. Jessica Alba also won in the Supporting Actress category. It would have been a miracle if she lost, considering her nomination included every one of the 4 movies she made in 2010. To read the full list of winners of the infamous awards click below:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

More and more news of ill-advised remakes, reboots and sequels lately. The last of this sorry heap of worthless movie rehashes is "The Police Academy". The 80s comedy about a bunch of misfit police recruits getting in all kinds of trouble, which spawned no less than 7 sequels, is about to get a big reboot, courtesy of Warner Bros. and "The Family Man" writers David Diamond and David Weissman. The Davids are going to deliver a draft, and if that passes the studio's scrutiny, then it's back to school for us poor unsuspecting audiences. A director has yet to be announced, but there are rumors of old cast members returning. It's really sad that Hollywood is becoming so desperate. Instead of finding new ideas they seem to insist on turning to the old ideas that worked, hoping to make money. While it is possible that they will turn a profit, I'm afraid that, we, the movie-going people of the world, are the on the losing side of this box-office battle. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

The trailer for the highly anticipated sequel to the 2009 comedy hit is here. Last time, they survived the hangover in Vegas, this time around they're looking to get wasted in Bangkok, where they travel to party before Stu's wedding. Mike Tyson will also be returning for the trip and Liam Neeson will have a cameo, which has been heavily publicized a few months ago, when Mel Gibson was initially desired by director Todd Phillips to do a cameo. This trailer is actually a teaser. It's not very revealing. We get a brief introduction of all the critical acclaim the first film received, then we are presented with the Wolfpack : Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms, and they are looking raggedy, which can only mean they have once again gotten themselves in big trouble and , obviously, a solid hangover. There's only a brief sample of dialogue, after which the teaser ends. I'm actually excited to see if Todd Phillips can at least match the original. The movie opens on May 26th, 2011.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I can't say I'm surprised. Hollywood is on a rampage with these remakes. Anything goes. So much so, that even a movie nominated for 7 Razzie Awards gets a remake. What's next ? "Freddy Got Fingered" ? The 1992 box-office hit is being remade by Warner Brothers with a script written by unknowns Nick Palmer and Jeremiah Friedman. The original was about a famous singer (Whitney Houston) and a Secret Service dude (Kevin Costner) who is brought in to protect her from a dangerous stalker. The updated version changes some basic facts. For example Costner's character will now be an Iraq-war veteran. Yes, they want to go for that darker edge and yes, I'm being ironic. How about this for an idea : they could get Miley Cirus to play the singer. And Justin Bieber could play the bodyguard. Isn't that something everybody would want to see ? 

The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and learn its secrets, which could turn the tide in the Transformers' final battle. Yes, it will be as loud and chock-full of confusing action as the previous movies...only bigger. It's funny how the story seems to fall in line with the recent Hollywood Alien Invasion trend. It's like watching the Michael Bay version of "Battle: Los Angeles". Megan Fox will no longer be in this, and the spot gives us a glimpse of new-comer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She's a babe, no doubt about that, but I doubt her replacing Fox will boost the acting factor of the sexy babe part. The very short image of Huntington seems to indicate exactly what her part will be in this movie : sit around looking pretty while everything around her is blown to hell. This epic piece of Bay cinema will be released July 1st, 2011.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A young girl is institutionalized by her wicked stepfather. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the facility. This trailer is very similar in structure to the previous one, it does contain plenty of new sequences, but there's no dialogue, just cool music. It's actually pretty neat, but I'm afraid it's a perfect reflection of what this movie really is : nothing else but a flashy shallow visual treat. On second thought, that's not entirely a bad thing. The movie, directed by Zack Snyder ("Watchmen", "300"), will be released March 25, 2011.


A comedy centered around a foul-mouthed, junior high teacher who, after being dumped by her sugar daddy, begins to woo a colleague -- a move that pits her against a well-loved teacher. Directed by Jake Kasdan ("Walk Hard : The Dewey Cox Story") and starring Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, this raunchy comedy is set for a June 24, 2011 release.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Synopsis : A married man is granted the opportunity to have an affair by his wife. Joined in the fun by his best pal, things get a little out of control when both wives start engaging in extramarital activities as well.

Starring : Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate

Director : Bobby and Peter Farrely

Screenplay : Pete Jones, Kevin Barnett and the Farrely Brothers

Running Time : 105 min

Rating : R for crude and sexual humor throughout, language, some graphic nudity and drug use.

What to Expect : Typical Farrely Brothers raunchy R-rated outrageous comedy. To get a clue, here's what they've done in the past : "There's Something About Mary", "Me, Myself and Irene", "Stuck on You", "The Heartbreak Kid". I think you get the picture.


Synopsis : A vengeful father escapes from hell and chases after the men who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter.

Starring : Nicolas Cage, William Fichtner, Amber Heard, David Morse

Director : Patrick Lussier

Screenplay : Todd Farmer, Patrick Lussier

Running Time : 104 min

Rating R for strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language.

What to Expect : 3D B-grade exploitation flick starring Nic Cage. Seriously, he should have his name written like that on posters. It sounds cooler. Could very well be one of the worst movies of the year, but, it could also be fun as hell. The 3D gimmick is probably the only reason this isn't going straight-to-video.


Synopsis : A female forensic psychiatrist discovers that all of one of her patient's multiple personalities are murder victims. She will have to find out what's happening before her time is finished.

Starring : Julianne Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Director : Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein

Screenplay : Michael Cooney

Running Time : 112 min

Rating : R for violent content, disturbing images and terror

What to Expect : Potentially boring psychological thriller with a fine cast. Has had trouble with distribution. Released in theaters in 2010 here and there and on DVD/Blu-Ray in Finland and Sweden. USA will get a limited release on Feb 25. If you actually come across it, think twice before spending money on a ticket.


Synopsis : Eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers in a monastery perched in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990s. When a crew of foreign workers is massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, fear sweeps through the region. The army offers them protection but the monks refuse. Should they leave ? Despite the growing menace in their midst, they slowly realize that they have no choice but to stay...come what may. This film is loosely based on the life of the Cistercian monks of Tibhirine in Algeria, from 1993 until their kidnapping in 1996. 

Starring : Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale, Olivier Rabourdin

Director : Xavier Beauvois

Screenplay : Xavier Beauvois, Etienne Comar

Running Time : 122

Rating : PG-13 for a momentary scene of startling wartime violence, some disturbing images and brief language (originally Rated R for a scene of graphic violence)

What to Expect : Thought-provoking true story drama. BAFTA nominee Best Foreign Language Film. A little heavy if you're just looking for week-end fun, but if you're looking for a profound experience, this is it.

Monday, February 21, 2011


"Megamind" is Dreamwork's response to Pixar's animation hit "The Incredibles" is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray. A full cast of stars voice the excentric characters of this super-hero adventure. Among them Will Ferrel, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Ben Stiller. It's not as brilliant as anything Pixar can deliver on any given release date, but it's still a clever movie, featuring some great animation and it's easy to have a good time watching it. Even adults can enjoy this, so it's easy to recommend.

DUE DATE (2010)

Released on DVD and Blu-Ray this week is Todd Phillip's road trip buddy comedy "Due Date". Obviously inspired by John Hughes' hilarious "Trains, Planes and Automobiles", this is not really as funny as it could have been, but contrary to the harsh critical response, I actually thought it was not that bad. It's very off-beat, and the Downey Jr. and Galifianakis characters aren't very likable, but if you feel the need for a sinister little comedy, this could be it. Not as fun as "The Hangover", though.

Christopher Nolan's classic flick arrives on Blu-Ray for its  10th Anniversary. Nominated for 2 Academy Awards (Best Screenplay and Best Editing), this modern noir narrated in reverse is immensely entertaining and genuinely surprising. If you've somehow missed this, you owe it to yourself to experience this original piece of cinema. Also available on a previously released Two-Disc Limited Edition DVD.

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "The Girl Who Played With Fire", "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest", the trilogy that fired up a wave of interest for modern Nordic cinema and propelled lead actress Noomi Rapace to Hollywood, has now been released as a DVD and Blu-Ray box set. If you're into dark detective stories and like movies to be more character-driven, this trilogy is a must-have. BAFTA Film Award winner for best foreign film.