Archive for the 'Recent DVDs' Category

Seven Psychopaths
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.


Taken 2
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 Perks of Being a Wallflower
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.


Looper
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.


The Master
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.


Trouble with the Curve
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.


The Words
The Plagiarism Movie

Finally, it’s the plagiarism drama for which we’ve all been waiting. Remember all those years in school when your teachers would warn you about the consequences that would come if you plagiarized another person’s work? Well, The Words is the movie version of those consequences… and you know what? The consequences don’t seem so severe. Essentially, this is an after-school special with a bigger budget for more recognizable stars.


Cosmopolis
What Just Happened?

Walking into Cosmopolis, this writer had no idea what the latest movie from director David Cronenberg was about. Walking out of Cosmopolis 108 minutes later, this writer still had no idea what the latest movie from director David Cronenberg was about. Was it really happening? Was it just a dream? Were all of these characters real? Is Robert Pattinson acting like that at his director’s instruction, or is he just a bad actor? The movie doesn’t really explain anything, leaving that up to the audience. Some may buy into it, but this writer did not.


The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Growing Up Green

Real-life mom Jennifer Garner seems to have trouble having babies of her own in the movies, always looking for alternative options. In 2007, she convincingly played a woman looking to adopt a child in Juno and now she takes an alternative approach: growing a child in the garden. The Odd Life of Timothy Green starts off well with that original idea, but unfortunately, it fails to really go anywhere from there.


The Campaign
Will vs. Zach

Will vs. Zach. No last names were required in the promotional material for The Campaign, a political farce starring two of today’s most popular comic actors. Their names perhaps overshadow a key figure in the movie’s production, that being director Jay Roach. Having directed both comedy (Austin Powers & Meet the Parents) and political drama (Recount & Game Change), Roach is the perfect director to spoof political campaigns. The final product leans more towards outrageous comedy than political satire, but that’s okay. After all, it’s got Will and Zach.


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