Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fast Five IMAX

Fast cars, hot chicks and crime so you know that another sequel was due. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are back and the heist is more ridiculous with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in to make sure there is still even more octane on the screen. The film does not get much from being in IMAX but the action is non-stop and the fight between Diesel and Johnson is fun to watch. All the familiar faces are back from the previous sequels so could this be the last film? I doubt it but it seems that Diesel can not make anything else work for him.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Win Win

Paul Giamatti is one of my favorite actors because he can play anything and does it well. This time out he is a struggling lawyer and father trying to keep his practice afloat but sees a ray of hope when he tries to take advantage of a client's living situation to help his family and is thrown a curve when the grandson the client just shows up on the front porch with nowhere to go. The movie is very funny and heartwarming - the perfect little art house feel good film. The standout performance is by Amy Ryan as the spitfire wife with the heart of gold who takes the grandson under her wing as one of her own. This film did well on the festival circuit and you would be remiss to not check it out at the theater or when it hits the Netflix queue.

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James Wan and Leigh Whannel, the team who brought us the horror franchise hit SAW, continue their run of creative and lower budget horror with this new film. Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson star as Renai and Josh Lambert who are trying to wake their comatose son that may be stalked by a supernatural menace. Whannel is joined by genre favorite actress Lin Shaye as the paranormal investigators who try to help the Lamberts save their child. The movie has some great scares and the story is very good at sucking you with well placed twists to keep you interested. The movie proves if you have a good story and a love for the genre you will always do well and this film should do very well.

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The Conspirator

Director Robert Redford brings us this historical drama telling the story of Mary Surratt who was the single female charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of President Lincoln. The cast includes Robin Wright as Mary Surratt, James McAvoy as the lawyer assigned to defend her by his mentor played by Tom Wilkinson to the displeasure of the Secretary of War played by Kevin Kline. As with all Redford films the acting is first rate and the story engrossing even if you already now the outcome. James McAvoy is definitely making his mark in Hollywood and will be showing up again in the summer's blockbuster X-Men: First Class. If you like historical films and stories from the Civil War era, then you would be remiss not to check out this fine film.

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Your Highness

When it comes to raunchy comedy then you cannot do much better than anything that is co-written or starring Danny McBride. In this farce of a film McBride is joined by James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, and Charles Dance about two brothers going out to save one's fiance who was kidnapped from their wedding by a powerful wizard. The film has its funny moments and it surprising to see Oscar winner Portman as a warrior kicking ass. The film was a fun filler for an all day marathon at the local AMC but I am not sure you want to make a special trip just to see it. You probably would like to see it as a double feature with Land of the Lost.

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Rio 3D

Of the slew of new animated films coming out for children, this film is good fun and sports an all-star voice cast with Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, and Tracy Morgan. The story is about Blu, a domesticated male blue macaw, who is brought to Rio de Janerio to mate with another captured blue macaw to hopefully save their rare species but run in to trouble when they are stolen by poachers. The animation is great and the 3D does add a fun aviation element to the film. The story is tight and you do get a fun look at Carnival from the animals perspective. A good family outing!

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Scream 4

Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson are back together with another installment of the franchise that brought us Perils of Pauline...sorry the never-ending stalking of Sidney Prescott. This movie is like a visit from old friends who have brought along their annoying children to disrupt the picnic. What is pure genius is the signature opening sequence that just keeps on giving and giving. The kills are fun and it is just great to watch the annoying teens drop like flies. If you loved the previous films, then you will not be disappointed but if you never got it the first time around, then don't sit next to me when I go see this again.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Source Code

This film was a pleasant surprise and gives a good alternative on the standard "time paradox" based films. Colter Stevens, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is caught up in a military experiment that allows a person to access the last eight minutes of a dying person's life so that major catastrophes can be intercepted or averted. An interesting thriller that tries to keep the plot twist hidden until the end, rather unsuccessfully, but knowing it does not detract from the film. The cast includes great supporting performances from Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright that keeps the film grounded within the characters and does not get lost in the scifi elements. A good sleeper film that all should check out.

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I was intrigued to see this film due to the high-octane trailer and because of the stand out performance by Saoirse Ronan previously in The Lovely Bones. Hanna is raised by her father to be the perfect assassin and set loose on her own to take out her target. An interesting film with a lot of fairy tell imagery and cool stunt work on the part of Ronan. It was great to see Cate Blanchett in a particularly villainous role for a change that makes her unlikable and seemingly deserving of her fate. Not your typical thriller but definitely worth seeing.

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