Archive for the 'Recent DVDs' Category
Time Traveling for Love
Having written the screenplays for Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Love Actually (which he also directed), Richard Curtis has proven to be adept at creating captivating romantic comedies that feature wonderfully-written characters. With About Time, he returns to the genre as both writer and director, but this time he slyly introduces elements from another genre: science fiction. No, there aren’t any flying cars or aliens; just some simple time travel. The time travelling itself may be simple, but as the film’s main character quickly learns, using time travel to control your destiny is not so straightforward.
There have been plenty of franchise movies released in 2013, but most of them are sequels to, or reboots of pre-existing franchises. There have been a couple of movies that were released in hopes of dawning new franchises (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, After Earth), but they were widely considered to be busts. Enter Ender’s Game, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by author Orson Scott Card. Excellent special effects, a compelling storyline, and a good blend of talented young actors and solid veterans just might turn this sci-fi adventure into the next big franchise.
City of Oscar Winners
Last Vegas borrows its tagline from the popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother. “It’s going to be legendary,” the movie’s poster tells us. Whether the movie itself turns out to be legendary is maybe neither here nor there, but there’s no denying that the movie’s cast has already earned legendary status. With no less than fourteen combined acting Oscar nominations and five wins, the idea of seeing these beloved veteran actors muck it up in Vegas alone should be enough to get most moviegoers into the theaters. Fortunately, the movie does not fail to disappoint.
Tension at Sea
When it comes to creating cinematic tension, there are few directors who do it as well as Paul Greengrass. After winning critical acclaim for the Irish civil rights drama Bloody Sunday, the director won over both critics and audiences by directing the two superior movies in the Jason Bourne franchise (Supremacy and Ultimatum). In between, he brought to life the story of the brave passengers on United flight 93 who battled the terrorists on 9/11. Now, after the tepidly received but entertaining Green Zone, Greengrass is back with another tension-filled drama based on a real-life event.
Fake Family Comedy
We’re the Millers is a family comedy, but not a comedy for families. Actually, it’s not even about a real family; hence the films asterisked tagline that says they’re the Miller family only “if anyone asks.” Whereas its characters may pretend to be what they’re not, this movie does not make any effort to hide what it is: a crude and pervasively foul-mouthed R-rated comedy. The fact that all of the jokes are good, but not great, keeps We’re the Millers from becoming the memorable comedy its setup and cast seemed to promise.
Banter 1, Plot 0
Earlier this year, audience’s experienced The Heat, which essentially took the standard buddy cop movie that is usually dominated by male actors and cast women in the lead roles. With 2 Guns, the guys are back in the lead and the result is…well, a standard buddy cop movie; emphasis on the “standard.” With any less popular actors in the lead roles, this movie probably would just come and go, before disappearing into complete obscurity.
The Clawed Ronin is Back
Including his brief cameo in 2011’s X-Men: First Class, this year’s The Wolverine marks Hugh Jackman’s sixth time playing fan-favorite Wolverine, the most any one actor has played a superhero character. After the disappointing attempt at an origin story that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009, The Wolverine moves things forward and tackles one of the character’s more beloved storylines from the comics. The results are mixed, but it does prove to be entertaining.
When Optimus Met Godzilla…
Pacific Rim is that movie you created in your head as a kid when you sat on your bedroom floor and bashed your robot toy and your monster toy together. No more, no less. It’s a sci-fi fantasy B-movie with FX far beyond anything those guys making these kinds of movies in the 1950s could ever have imagined. Whether or not that is the kind of movie you would like to see brought to life by state-of-the-art special effects will ultimately determine whether or not you enjoy the movie.
Not Very Legendary
Disney has been advertising The Lone Ranger as from the makers of Pirates of the Caribbean. Ten years ago, that might have been enough to excite audiences, but after three decreasingly entertaining Pirates sequels, that selling point has lost some of its luster. Still, the idea of a big budget western about one of the greatest heroes in pop culture should be enough to intrigue any moviegoer. Add to that the fact that the movie features legitimate movie star Johnny Depp as Tonto and potential movie star Armie Hammer as the title character and you have got a movie that could heroically ride through the summer blockbuster season. Unfortunately, all we get is one big-budget mess.
For years, the male gender has had a monopoly on the buddy cop genre, but that all changes with The Heat, the new R-rated comedy from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig. The movie stars a pair of women who appear to be a match made in comedy heaven. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy have each earned their place among the short-list of modern cinema’s funniest comediennes, but they have done so with completely different comic styles. Fortunately for us, those different comic styles are as perfect of a blend as we could have hoped.
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