It is rare that a film completely catches me by surprise but this one surely did. It is rare that a film captures something that is near and dear to your heart and judging from the trailers for this I would never have thought this would be one that would. Dan In Real Life is a great story about finding love at the wrong time, with the wrong person and having it work you over. Dan meets that love and finds himself in a position I wouldn't wish upon anyone. Then for three days he suffers for your entertainment and the result is endearing, touching and extremely sweet. This is a great one for a date, a love or any time in between.
It seems like we've seen plenty of renditions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers over the years. Some have been quite good while others blend into the B-Movie pile. This one leans more toward the latter, though has its moments. The production style is slick, but most of the actors can't seem to rise about the weak script. The film moves along at a rather slow pace, which doesn't help either. In the end we’re given a premise that doesn't seem to make you care one way or another what happens, and a collection of solid A-list actors phoning it in.
My wife and I decided to give this one a spin the day before Valentine's Day. Advertised as a romantic comedy, we were a bit disappointed with the lack of romance in the film. Sure it has its moments, but this is really a drama about a chef with a hectic life trying to fit her Niece in after losing her Mom in a car accident. This is a rather serious tale and I liked the characters, but I think the ad campaign was a bit misleading and could leave those in the mood for a romantic comedy a bit disappointed. The film does have a good heart though and we both enjoyed it for what it was, a human drama with a sprinkle of warmth and charm.
It is easy for great films to get passed over when they dwell on unpopular subjects. Such is the case with The Kingdom, an exceptional action thriller that has some unsettling political messages. The film follows a FBI team into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia after a bombing takes place in an America oil worker's compound. Things get out of hand though once the team gets on the ground. Director Peter Berg and producer Michael Mann deliver an intense political thriller that reminds me a lot of Mann's directorial efforts in intensity and production. There is a constant sense of tension through most of the film that escalates near the end to almost unsettling levels. The photography is also classic Mann style with tight angles and great character coverage. Despite not being that popular at the box office I really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to any political action fan.
Deckard is a Blade Runner. His job is to seek out and eliminate Replicants who….oh, never mind. If you need me to describe the plot of Blade Runner in detail then you must be new to the entire movie game. If you haven't seen it, you should discover it for yourself. And if your reaction is typical you'll likely be blown away by this new 5-disc HD DVD boxed set from Warner Brothers (also available on Blu-ray). (Much of this material is also available on a multi-disc DVD package, but be careful; the 4-disc standard DVD set omits the work print version of the film described below.)
Once upon a time witches were acutely schizophrenic old hags who lived alone in the woods, fiddled around with poisoned apples and magic mirrors, and spooked lost little girls from Kansas. Wizards wore pointed hats, looked like a mouse, conjured up armies of brooms, and had major plumbing problems.
When does a trilogy become a quadrilogy? (Is there such a word? There is now.) When they release the third sequel, of course. And the Spider-Man films have been such a rousing success that you can be sure another one is in the pipeline.
I confess to a serious weakness for The Last Starfighter. Even by 1984 standards, the year of its release, it wasn't a great science fiction film. But there is something immensely appealing in its old-fashioned innocence.
Surf's Up (Blu-ray, available October 9), a new computer animated film, isn't as groundbreaking as Final Fantasy. Nor is it likely to grab the Academy Award as best animated feature in a Ratatouille year. But despite all that, and despite the fact that this is the 196th movie in the past two years to feature penguins (OK, the third, unless I somehow missed the other 193), it's still a lot of fun.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a cross-genre blend of sci-fi and computer animation, more Japanese anime than cuddly Disney. Check out the flood of Japanese names in the end-credits. Released in 2001, it was one of the first attempts at photo-realistic animation, and in that respect, at least, was startlingly successful. While you'll never confuse the images here with those of real people, they're as close to it as anyone has come, either before or since. Unlike the more recent Polar Express, the characters here don't have creepy, zombie-like eyes.
When it was released in 1998, Elizabeth (HD DVD) was nominated for a bushel of awards, but most of them went to a competing Elizabethan drama, Shakespeare in Love. The latter was more accessible, crowd-pleasing, and fun. Elizabeth on the other hand, was a dark take on the early years of Elizabeth I, with the emphasis on the international intrigue and court politics that both preceded and followed her accession to the throne.
Oh boy. How about a hilarious, satirical dissection of the buddy cop genre by the cheeky bastards who brought us Shaun of the Dead? This movie is hysterically funny, if relentelessly silly. I do think the gag here isn't quite enough to sustain the full two hour runtime- it would have moved better at closer to 90 minutes. But I feel cranky even saying that. Honestly, how can you not love a movie about buddy cops in which the buddy cops themselves love Point Break?!
Universal pulled an odd one here, releasing the sequel to this movie on HD DVD over a year ago, but just getting this, the inaugural film in the Bourne franchise onto the format just ahead of the third installment's arrival in theaters. Better late than never!