Thursday, May 29, 2014

[DVD] Tuesdays with Mell 5/20/2014 The Monuments Men, Vampire Academy, Pompeii, McCanick

The Monuments Men2014 PG-13 War

George Clooney

Plot: In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renowned works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them. Written, directed and starring George Clooney.Trailer
Review: Some say this film is this year's Argo. An ensemble period piece about getting art instead of people out from behind enemy lines sounds more like Ocean's 11 than it does Argo, especially since the trailer lends itself to more comedy than drama. We will see. I'm intrigued. 
Rating: TBD
Watch with: Syria, Valkyrie

Vampire Academy2014 PG-13 dark comedy

Mark Waters

Plot: At St. Vladimir's Academy, Rose Hathaway learns to navigate life as a dhampir, a half-human vampire, and prepares to become a leader of the Moroi. But outside the walls of St. Vlad's lurk the Strigoi, the Moroi's vicious immortal enemies. Trailer
Review: So I still like vampires and dark comedies. It seems like a writer & director match made in heaven. I also love Zoe Deutch, daughter of Switched at Birth star  and think she's a talented newcomer that I'm happy to see in a lead role. I'm glad the studio took a chance on a newcomer in a lead. Let's hope she can rise to expectations.
Rating: TBD
Watch with: Heathers and Mean Girls

Pompeii2014 PG-13 Adventure
Paul W.S. Anderson
In the days leading up to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, a slave on a ship headed for Naples is determined to get back home to save the woman he loves, as well as his best friend, who is a gladiator trapped in the city's coliseum. Trailer

Honestly this movie looks like drivel. Other than the lead, Harrington, none of these actors look the part. It looks like all special effects no substance. I only put this on here cuz it's a new movie that briefly was in theaters. So there you go. The info that this is now on video. I will most likely only watch this if it somehow gets awards nominations including a Razzie, which would be my bet. 

Rating: TBD

Watch with: The Immortals, 300 Rise of an Empire

2013 R Crime Drama

Josh C. Waller

Plot; In his last part before his untimely death in 2013, Cory Monteith plays a small but pivotal role as a teenage criminal whose early release from prison triggers a wave of paranoia for the obsessive cop who put him away. Trailer

Review: It's going to be surreal to say the least to watch Cory Montieth in his final film especially considering the subject of this film and the way he died. Hopefully this film will touch someone and help them see the destruction of addiction and maybe make people have a bit more understanding of this debilitating disease. 

Rating: TBD

Watch WITH: Blow, Requiem for A Dream, Rachel Getting Married

In Secret2013 R Period Drama

Charlie Stratton

Plot: Trapped in a loveless marriage to her insufferable cousin, Therese Raquin seeks solace in the arms of the attentive Laurent LeClaire. But her quest for happiness may lead to tragedy in this big-screen adaptation of Emile Zola's classic novel. Trailer

Review: This film looks different from a lot of these affair gone wrong films. It has an air of mystery about it. I must say though how gross it is to watch period pieces where first cousins marry. Perhaps that will make it easier to watch infidelity happen on screen since it's abomination for them to be married in the first place. I guess it's good thing Felton's character doesn't wanna seem to get it on. Otherwise here comes the 2-headed monkey babies with webbed feet.

Rating: TBD

Watch with: Anna Karenina

The Right Kind of Wrong2013 R Romantic Comedy

Jeremiah S. Chechik

Plot: When your ex-wife pens a blog about you called "Why You Suck," getting people to believe otherwise is an uphill battle. Which is precisely the dilemma writer/dreamer/dishwasher Leo faces when he meets the girl of his dreams -- on her wedding day. Trailer

Review: It makes me twinge to think that this premise can actually be considered romantic. If the 2 people get together it will be because she broke a vow. She's already married. How can you be with someone knowing they cheated on their spouse. Is that a rock solid foundation for marriage number 2? I'm watching this because it's a unique if not depressing premise that I'm curious to see played out on screen. Oh, and I like Ryan Kwanten. I've only seen him on TV shows: Tru Blood & Summerland and hope he can carry a film.

Rating: TBD

Watch with: My Best Friend's Wedding

Raze2014 R Thriller

Josh C. Waller

Plot: After a secret society abducts her, Sabrina becomes one of dozens of women forced to engage in a mysterious and gruesome tournament in which the participants brutally battle each other for their lives in order to entertain a hidden audience. Trailer

Review: Another Josh C. Waller film out this week. Very different from McCanick in subject matter. It'll be interesting to see if there are stylistic similarities with the direction even with a different genre. Please refrain from The Hunger Games rip off comments. If anything, this is more like Death Race, Gamer, or The Condemned, which all came out before The Hunger Games books were even written. Some good actresses here: Fenn & Nichols. The premise of this seems more intriguing then Death Race or The Condemned but lessso than Gamer. 

Rating: TBD

Watch with: Gamer

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

[DVD] Tuesdays with Mell 3/18/2014 Frozen, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, "Flashpoint" Final Season, A Touch of Sin

Image of Frozen2013 Animated
2014 Oscar winner: Best animated film & Best Song "Let Go"
Director: Chris BuckJennifer Lee
Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna's sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter. 

Image of Saving Mr. Banks2013 Biopic
Starring: Tom Hanks & Emma Thompson
Plot: Biopic about Disney getting the right from the author to produce the film Mary Poppins.
Image of American Hustle2013 True Crime
Directed by: David O'Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence & Jeremy Renner
Plot: Some of these events actually happened. Con man Bale & gf Adams help a FBI agent Cooper take down New Jersey corrupt politicians.
Review: The only reason this got so many Oscar nods was because everyone loves David O'Russell. Though the acting in this is outstanding, Lawrence & Adams the standouts here, this film suffered from uneven tone, a laughable soundtrack, poor sound mixing, & oh yeah the fact that this film is fake. Most of the stuff here is made up. So the writing then is, as to be expected, laughably dumb. I loved the premise of this and wanted to like it, but it shifted from comedy to melodrama so much I wasn't sure what the director was going for and made even more ridiculous by the over the top score by Danny Elfman who's great in Tim Burton films but doesn't belong here. The characters got themselves in situations that were unrealistic for a film based on events that happened. None of the characters were likable in any shape way or form so it was hard to root for anyone which made it all for the more difficult to watch. The only saving grace was the acting. These actors through themselves hardcore into their roles, man perm and all. Adams is always outstanding, but I was most pleasantly surprised by Ms Lawrence who finally really played a woman. In most roles she comes off too childlike and is often inconsistent from film to film. She rally felt like a crazy, drunken mom in this and absolutely deserved her Oscar nod. Oh, and the costumes were amazing. I want like everything Adams & Lawrence wore in this. However, due to the many other problems I simply cannot recommend this film for anyone other than die hard Adams & Lawrence fans.
Rating: Not the brightest crayon in the box but sure is pretty.
Watch instead: Silver Linings Playbook & Ocean's 11.
Image of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom2013 Biopic
Directed by: Justin Chadwick
Starring: Idris Elba & Naomie Harris
Plot: Based on the autobiography of Nelson Mandela, this film depicts Nelson Mandela from his childhood through becoming South Africa's first black president. 
Review: Though it felt overlong it felt epic, which is the treatment a man like him deserves from a biopic. I remember the Free Mandela campaign when I was a child, and how my parents were cheering when he got released. We watched it on TV. I remember getting in trouble at school for wearing a sticker that said Free Mandela, because at that time the U.S. politically was not in favor of Mandela and depicted him mostly as a terrorist. I hope that some people who might still think those things about him  watch this film. I've done much research on him so I know that this film is pretty accurate. Idris Elba was wonderful in this role, but his accent was not. Harris had a much better accent. She was also fantastic. Winnie became very violent towards the end of her life, but Harris portrayed her so well that still found myself rooting for her even when she went of the path of peace. My only complaint aside from perhaps it was a hair too long, was that the jumps in time to various important historically significant parts of Mendela's life seemed abrupt with the captions a bit too long to read in the short amount  of time they were on the screen.Overall, I enjoyed this film very much and would recommend it. Also, I hate to admit it, but the Bono song at the end of the film is very good and was deserving of the Oscar nod. I never thought I 'd say that about Bono.
Rating: Noteworthy
Watch with: Winnie Mandela & Invictus

Image of FlashpointAction TV Series
Final Season
Starring: Amy Jo Johnson
Plot: Long running ABC action drama about a swat-team.
Review: I'm only on S1 right now, but am enjoying the series so far.
Watch with: Criminal Minds & Law & Order: SVU
Image of A Touch of SinForeign Film
A Touch of Sin 
Plot: 2013 Oscar nominee for Bet Foreign film, involves many different sotires with interconnected themes.