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Weekend Film Recommendation: I Love You Phillip Morris

19 Aug
I know I’ve talked about this film from time to time on this blog, but it is a new arrival to Netflix and if you haven’t seen it yet, now is the time.  I Love You Phillip Morris is the story of Steven Russell, a happily married man and a member of his local police.  When an accident forces him to reevaluate his life, Steven becomes openly homosexual and decides to live his life without regard for other peoples’ opinion and, more importantly, the law.  Once his extravagant lifestyle of conning and fraud catches up with him, he lands in prison where he meets Phillip Morris.  After falling in love with Phillip, he devotes himself to freeing Phillip from jail and pulling off a series of ridiculous and impossible cons so they can live the perfect life together.

I Love You Phillip Morris marked the return of Jim Carrey to the style of R rated humor that hadn’t been seen since Me, Myself, and Irene (though not as hammy), a refreshing change of pace from the comedies he chose for the nine years in between. 

This is exactly how we felt too Mr. Carrey

The story is excellently written and well paced, and really keeps the watcher engaged in the two characters and their relationship throughout the movie.  The subject matter is a little grotesque at times, but the aforementioned delivery of Jim Carrey throughout really softens the shock.  There is a lot of social commentary within the movie (did I mention it takes place in Texas), but it is not so in your face that it feels like sermon rather than an entertaining comedy.  The performance of Ewan McGregor as the titular Phillip Morris is worth noting as well.  While he plays more of the straight man in this comedy (no pun intended), it really works to humanize the two individual’s relationship and solidify the chemistry of the two leads.

Click here to add I Love You Phillip Morris to your Netflix queue.

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Quick Take: Ridley Scott to Revisit Blade Runner

18 Aug

My favorite director, Ridley Scott, seems to be rebooting his resume by revisiting his previous films – starting at the beginning (never mind The Duellists).  Ridley’s next film, Prometheus, was originally a prequel to one of my favorite films Alien, and once he’s finished with that he’ll apparently be revisiting Blade Runner.  It is unknown whether the film will be a remake, reboot, prequel, sequel, or whatever else Hollywood is asking for these days, and it is also unknown whether Harrison Ford will be involved.

Let's hope not

Check out the link below for more information.

http://www.deadline.com/2011/08/ridley-scott-ready-to-direct-new-version-of-seminal-sci-fi-film-blade-runner/

 

New to Blu Ray DVD the Last Few Weeks (July 12, July 15, July 19, July 26)

26 Jul

Released July 12, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

Rated: R

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe

Director: Brad Furman

Synopsis from IMDB: A sleazy defense attorney has a crisis of conscience when he represents a wealthy client who has a foolproof plan to beat the system.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: Typically I’ll dismiss any movie where Matthew McConaughey recieves top billing, but the critical success of this film has peaked my interests enough to warrant it a rental (not to mention the ageless beauty that is Marisa Tomei).

Insidious

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins

Director: James Wan

Synopsis from IMDB: A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I’m a sucker for a good horror movie, and I hear despite Insidious’s PG-13 rating, it is so far the years best and scariest.  My growing interest in Patrick Wilson also gives this film a boost, and despite The Lincoln Lawyer being the most acclaimed of this week’s releases, I vote Insidious as this week’s rental recommendation.

July 15, 2011

Rango

Rated: PG

Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher and Timothy Olyphant

Director: Gore Verbinski

Synopsis from IMDB: Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I have to be in the right mood for an animated film, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about Rango.  That being said, I’ll probably add this to my Netflix queue, though I’m sure it will be there for a while.

Arthur

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren and Jennifer Garner

Director: Jason Winer

Synopsis from IMDB: A drunken playboy stands to lose a wealthy inheritance when he falls for a woman his family doesn’t like.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I’m just not sure about this film.  While the original was a great comedy, I find this to be an unecessary remake with a few actors I don’t particularly care for.  Still, the marketing did a good job making this film appear to be genuine and well-scripted.  Helen Mirren is also a plus.  I’ll probably give this one a try in the near future.

July 19, 2011:

Limitless

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Anna Friel and Abbie Cornish

Director:  Neil Burger

Synopsis from IMDB: A writer discovers a top-secret drug which bestows him with super human abilities.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I seem to recall being interested in this movie when it was released in theaters but can’t recall what prevented me from seeing it.  Still, now that it is on home video I’ll definitely give it a look.

Take Me Home Tonight

Rated: R

Starring: Topher Grace, Anna Faris and Dan Fogler

Director: Michael Dowse

Synopsis from IMDB: Follow an aimless college grad who pursues his dream girl at a wild Labor Day weekend party. He, his twin sister and their best friend struggle with their burgeoning adulthood over the course of the night.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: A cast full of names that haven’t fully lived up to their potential, Take Me Home Tonight seems to be yet another disappointment for Topher Grace, Anna Farris, and Dan Fogler.  While the reception seems to echo that sentiment, I’ve seen enough glimpses of goodness from each of these actors to at least give this movie a shot.

July 26, 2011

The Source Code

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga

 Director: Duncan Jones

Synopsis from IMDB: An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I’ve heard nothing but good things about this film and am disappointed I wasn’t able to catch it during its theatrical run.  Still, my reward is saving a few bucks and enjoying it in the comfort of my own home.  This will be near the top of my Netflix queue.

Trust

Rated: R

Starring: Clive Owen, Catherine Keener and Liana Liberato

 Director: David Schwimmer

Synopsis from IMDB: A teenage girl is targeted by an online sexual predator.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I remember seeing this trailer when Chris posted it for an opening this week.  I really like the cast for this film and look forward to watching it.  As and aside, I was pretty shocked to write David Schwimmer in as the film’s director.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Brandon Routh, Anita Briem and Sam Huntington

Director: Kevin Munroe

Synopsis from IMDB:

The adventures of supernatural private eye, Dylan Dog, who seeks out the monsters of the Louisiana bayou in his signature red shirt, black jacket, and blue jeans.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I passed on Dylan Dog in theaters solely because of its poor critical reception.  I’ve really been rooting for Brandon Routh after his disappointing departure following Superman Returns and look forward to seeing this on DVD/Blu Ray.  Hopefully I enjoy the film more than others clearly have.

Quick Take: Prometheus to be shot in 3D, and everything else Ridley Scott makes. Ever.

22 Jul

The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, Man of Steel, Bond 23, World War Z, Django Unchained.  These are just a few of the films that I’m looking forward to in 2012, what appears to be an uprecedented year for my bank account in terms of movie ticket purchases.  However, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is, without a doubt, my most anticipated film of 2012. 

Yesterday, Comic-Con got its first look clips from Prometheus, and while I’m still waiting for those clips to hit the internet, we did get a little bit of information about the film.  Scott told Comic-Con attendees (in a video conference) that Prometheus was shot entirely in 3D, and that he liked it so much he’ll never shoot another scene again in 2D.  I am no defender of 3D but in Scott I trust, so I’m expecting Prometheus to look incredible.  One concern I do have is the use of light, or lack there of, to create tone.  Evident by the recent rants about the projector lenses, 3D works best with high contrast and bright lighting; not something we should be expecting from a Ridley Scott sci-fi picture.  But if Ridley Scott can get so excited about the 3D of Prometheus to proclaim he’ll never work without it again, I can’t help but get excited.

http://www.slashfilm.com/ridley-scott-work-3d/

Weekend Film Recommendation: Cop Land (1997)

15 Jul

When James Mangold was announced as the official director to take on The Wolverine, the next installment in the X-Men franchise, his work on Walk the Line, Girl Interrupted, and 3:10 to Yuma were often mentioned in the same breath.  While the often unmentioned Cop Land may not be his best or most recognized work, it deserves to be mentioned as one of Mangold’s many great movies.  Cop Land is the nickname for Garrison, NJ a small suburb of New York city that is the home to a number of NYPD officers.  The sheriff of the town Freddy Heflin, idolizes most of his constituents and their profession, but is limited to his role as Sheriff because he is deaf in one ear due to an accident.  His opinion of the officers and his abilities soon come into question as he starts to uncover corruption and conspiracy amongst them.  Aided by NYPD Internal Affairs officer Mo Tilden (Robert DeNiro), Freddy has to restore order to Cop Land.

The only way Stallone knows how.

Mangold put together a phenomenal cast for this film that works really well as an ensemble, supporting Stallone in the leading role.  Throughout the film these characters felt really close to one another, and as an audience member it is easy to connect with their group and believe they are all neighbors and coworkers.  In addition to Stallone and DeNiro, who are outsiders to the ensemble due to their characters’ role; Harvey Keitel,  Ray Liotta, Peter Berg, Michael Rapaport, Frank Vincent , Robert Patrick , Noah Emmerich, John Spencer, and Janeane Garofalo round out the cast.

This is a surprising turn for Stallone, who plays a much more subdued and humble character than he’s typically known for.  He does well in the role but his physical stature at times did not feel it suited the role, ironic because he actually gained forty pounds for the part.  Still, it may be Stallone’s best performance to date; it’s a shame he hasn’t done more roles with this much depth over the course of his career

Then again, who needs depth...

Cop Land is a movie that can be enjoyed through repeat viewings, because it is technically sound but also very entertaining.  While still at the beginning of his directorial and writing career, it is clear that Mangold took notes from his predecessors (Martin Scorcese in particular) and adapted those notes well into his own work.  While not a masterpiece, Cop Land is a great film that is definitely worth a viewing on Netflix.

Click here to add Cop Land to your instant queue.

Trailer Time: John Carter, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and The Thing

14 Jul

There is a lot we’ve yet to post this week and will be coming to you soon (New to Blu Ray, 2 Take Two’s, and a WFR), we promise.  However, I thought that this took precedent as a lot of new trailers have been released on the internet, one making quite a buzz.  Here’s a look:

John Carter

I’m not too familiar with the series of novels from which this film is derived, but there have been a lot of people petitioning for this film in one way or another for about 8o years.  There seem to be a lot of elements from other films and stories including: The Book of Eli, Prince of Persia, and Avatar.  The director/writer, Andrew Stanton has had a pretty succesful run of animated films for Disney/Pixar so it will be interesting to see if he can translate that success to live action.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 

I’ve been waiting for Guy Ritchie’s follow up to 2009’s Sherlock Holmes since I first saw it in theaters and we finally get a first look here.  In fact, I look forward to anything Guy Ritchie directs.  Though Daniel Day Lewis won’t be appearing as Professor Moriarty as originally rumored, Jared Harris seems suitable as an alternative, and the cast still remains stellar.  One face that is featured prominently in the trailer is Noomi Rapace, who seems to be making her breakout in America with Sherlock Holmes and Prometheus after her turn as Lisbeth Salander in the Sweedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its 2 sequels (Rooney Mara will play the same role in David Fincher’s American version later this year).

The Thing

The prequel to arguably the greatest horror movie ever made (though I’d argue against it, but not strongly), 2011’s The Thing chronicles the expidition of the Norwegian team that’s heavily referenced in John Carpenter’s 1981 film of the same name.  It appears from the trailer that they stayed true to Carpenter’s version and made sure the details of this film matched the references from his film.  One subtle not I noticed from the trailer, they even made sure to keep the old school flamethrowers that Carpenter featured. Even though it’s sure to be heavier on the blood and gore to appease the new generation, this film looks like it could be a worthy successor to the original.

BONUS:

If you haven’t heard by now, the first teaser for the highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises will preview prior to screenings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.  So far only bootlegged versions of the teaser are on the net and the quality of them are poor, so I won’t include it here.  Nothing about the plot of the film is revealed the teaser but it does include brief glimpses of Bane, Selina Kyle, and Commisioner Gordan in the hospital. 

New to Blu Ray DVD the Last 2 Weeks (June 28, 2011 & July 05, 2011)

7 Jul

Released June 28, 2011

  Sucker Punch

Rated: R

Starring: Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens and Abbie Cornish

Director: Zack Snyder

Synopsis from IMDB: A young girl is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the mental facility.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: Chris and I both passed on seeing this movie in theaters due to a lot of negative reviews, but given Zack Snyder’s track record and visionary style, it is worth at least a look on Blu Ray.

Season of the Witch

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman and Claire Foy

Director: Dominic Sena

Synopsis from IMDB:14th-century knights transport a suspected witch to a monastery, where monks deduce her powers could be the source of the Black Plague.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: Nicolas Cage, what else is there to say.  Back with his Con-Air style haircut, this film suffered at the box office due to poor reviews and negative audience feedback.  If you like medieval films or Nicolas Cage then you may want to rent this; I’ll pass.

Barney’s Version

Rated: R

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike and Jake Hoffman

Director: Richard J. Lewis

Synopsis from IMDB: The picaresque and touching story of the politically incorrect, fully lived life of the impulsive, irascible and fearlessly blunt Barney Panofsky.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: This is the type of role I like to see Paul Giamatti portray.  Though this is labeled as a drama, there seems to be a lot of comedic elements in the film. Barney’s Version jumps to the top of my queue for this week.

Beastly

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens and Mary-Kate Olsen

Director: Daniel Barnz

Synopsis from IMDB: A modern-day take on the “Beauty and the Beast” tale where a New York teen is transformed into a hideous monster in order to find true love.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: Though I have a soft spot for Vanessa Hudgens, there is no way I’m seeing this film.  Fortunately for me, Hudgens is in two of this week’s releases so I’ll definitely opt for Sucker Punch instead.

July 5, 2011:

Hobo with a Shotgun

Rated: UR

Starring: Rutger Hauer, Pasha Ebrahimi and Robb Wells

Director: Jason Eisener

Synopsis from IMDB: A homeless vigilante blows away crooked cops, pedophile Santas, and other scumbags with his trusty pump-action shotgun.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: Hopefully this turned out better than the last fake trailer-turned-movie from Grindhouse.  This is probably worth a viewing, but given it’s nature I’ll have to be in the right mood.

13 Assassins

Rated: R

Starring: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada and Yûsuke Iseya

Director: Takashi Miike

Synopsis from IMDB: A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: My list of foreign films to see, especially from the continent of Asia is continuing to grow.  13 Assassins looks like a welcome addition and I’m looking forward to seeing it, hopefully I’ll get to it before the inevitable Hollywood remake.

Of Gods and Men

Rated: R

Starring: Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale and Olivier Rabourdin

Director: Xavier Beauvois

Synopsis from IMDB: Under threat by fundamentalist terrorists, a group of Trappist monks stationed with an impoverished Algerian community must decide whether to leave or stay.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: This French import looks very well made, and given its accolades I’m sure it is.  It really isn’t my type of fare, however, so I doubt I’ll see it anytime soon.

Bloodrayne: The Third Reich

Rated: R

Starring: Natassia Malthe, Clint Howard and Michael Paré

Director: Uwe Boll

Synopsis from IMDB: Rayne fights against the Nazis in Europe during World War II, encountering Ekart Brand, a Nazi leader whose target is to inject Adolf Hitler with Rayne’s blood in an attempt to transform him into a dhampir and attain immortality

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: A director’s cut of a Uwe Boll film, this is probably all sorts of terrible.