Archive for the 'Recent DVDs' Category
A Stunning Portrait
Poll one hundred random Americans as to who the greatest president in our country’s history was and it’s a safe bet that Abraham Lincoln’s name would come up quite a bit. The Great Emancipator is held in great esteem by this country, and yet, just a few months ago, he was something of a joke in cinemas thanks to the awful Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Fortunately, director Steven Spielberg and star Daniel Day-Lewis are here to right the ship with Lincoln, their fascinating story about the 16th President’s battle to pass the 13th Amendment, banning slavery.
Can’t Quite Keep the Nose Up
It is hard to believe that it has been twelve years since Robert Zemeckis has directed a live-action movie. The director of such hits as Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Forrest Gump has been at the forefront of the motion capture animation movement over the past decade, but now returns to live-action with Flight, a drama that opens with a spectacular plane crash… a sequence worth the price of admission alone. Too bad that the rest of the movie couldn’t keep up the momentum.
Tyler Perry has gotten pretty well known as a director, but outside of his role as Madea in his own films, he is not really known as an actor. Alex Cross signifies a blind leap into the deep end for the actor, taking over a popular literary character; a character that was previously played in movies by Morgan Freeman, no less. You have to admit, the casting choice is intriguing. Sadly, the dive into the deep end is more belly flop than swan dive.
Declassified Real-Life Suspense
As a director, it is safe to say that Ben Affleck’s career is currently skyrocketing. Following the critically successful, Boston-set Gone Baby Gone and The Town, the director now heads to the middle-east for an Iranian-set drama that just screams Oscar bait. Based on a formerly classified true story, Argo not only tackles an incredible event in the history of America’s relationship with the Middle East, but does so with a Hollywood twist. How will Academy voters be able to resist?
Not Psycho Enough
It all sounded so brilliant. Director Martin McDonagh reunites with his In Bruges star Colin Farrell for a comedy called Seven Psychopaths. As if that weren’t enough, the cast of the psychopaths was filled out by the likes of Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, and Christopher Walken! How could it be anything but great? Unfortunately, the movie turns out to be just a mildly amusing mess.
The Man with Skills is Back
Released on January 30, 2009, the original Taken was a blockbuster at the time of the year when there aren’t supposed to be blockbusters. Historically, January and February are the least successful months at the box office, but for some reason the revenge thriller transcended that. It’s not that the plot was that original, but there was something about Liam Neeson as a vengeful father that just clicked with audiences. It was probably inevitable, then, that a sequel would not be far behind. But while Taken 2 does succeed as a moderately entertaining thriller, it lacks the punch of the original.
The Movie Itself is a Perk
Those who aren’t familiar with Stephen Chbosky’s novel may walk into The Perks of Being a Wallflower knowing simply that it is the movie with “that girl from Harry Potter.” Walking out of it, however, they will likely be praising it as a funny and charming, yet powerful teen drama. They’ll probably also be talking non-stop about that talented actress, Emma Watson. Amazingly, Watson is able to make the audience forget she ever played Hermione Granger in an instant.
Back from the Future
Writer/director Rian Johnson burst onto the independent film scene in 2005 with Brick, a spin on the classic film noir genre set in a modern day high school. That movie starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and helped the actor get out of the shadow of his 3rd Rock from the Sun persona. Gordon-Levitt also had a brief cameo in Johnson’s follow-up to Brick, 2008’s The Brothers Bloom. That movie was not quite as innovative as its predecessor, but was entertaining nonetheless. Having tackled the noir and con artist genres, the actor and director now re-team for the sci-fi thriller Looper, a movie that starts with a bang… literally.
Everyone Has One
Ever since his breakthrough with 1997’s Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson has been a fascinating director to follow. Whether it be a sprawling, multi-character drama, or the story of how wealth and power can corrupt an individual, or even an experiment with Adam Sandler, his movies are always worth watching, whether you ultimately enjoy them or not. The same can be said for The Master, the director’s examination of the powers behind belief systems akin to Scientology. It’s a fascinating examination, but whether or not it truly says anything is still up for debate.
Not Quite the Anti-Moneyball
Bringing him out of acting retirement, Trouble with the Curve is the first movie that Clint Eastwood has acted in, but not directed, since 1993’s In the Line of Fire. Instead, the movie is directed by first-timer Robert Lorenz, Eastwood’s longtime assistant director. Assuming the pupil has been paying attention to his mentor all those years, Trouble with the Curve has the potential to be this year’s anti-Moneyball.
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