Film

Hail, Caesar!

by Cap'n Carrot on February 5, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

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With Hail, Caesar! the Coen Brothers take a few good-natured stabs at the golden age of movies while celebrating, and lampooning, the studio system of Hollywood during the early days of the Cold War. Providing a film where Channing Tatum gets to play Fred Astaire and Tilda Swinton does double-duty as twin gossip columnists, I wouldn’t go so far to call it a screwball comedy, but Hail, Caesar! certainly does have a few screws loose (in mostly the right places).

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Kung Fu Panda 3

by Cap'n Carrot on January 29, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

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Building on the epilogue of Kung Fu Panda 2, the latest sequel introduces Po (Jack Black) to his father Li (Bryan Cranston) and an entire tribe of Pandas hidden away in a secret valley deep in the mountains. Along the way Po will also struggle with passing on his knowledge of Kung Fu in the role of teacher, first to the Furious Five and later to his Panda students, when an old threat returns and begins stealing the chi of Kung Fu masters across China.

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Hotel Transylvania 2

by Cap'n Carrot on January 27, 2016 · 0 comments

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hotel-transylvania-2-blu-rayThe sequel to 2012’s Hotel Transylvania doesn’t stray far from the themes of the first film. After a series of short scenes involving the marriage of Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny (Andy Samberg) and the birth of their son, the movie jumps forward to the eve of young Dennis’ (Asher Blinkoff) fifth birthday. The driving force behind the film is the concern of Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) that his grandson hasn’t show any vampire tendencies. The Count will use the weekend away from the boy’s parents to enlist the help of his old friends to bring Dennis’ monster genes out.

Available on both Blu-ray and DVD, extras include a digital copy of the film, deleted scenes, a character gallery, music video, audio commentary from director Genndy Tartakovsky, and a second audio commentary from Sandler, Allen Covert and writer Robert Smigel. Also included are some kid friendly featurettes such as lessons on how to draw the characters in the film and how to put together a Halloween party, a short featurette on the new characters, and karaoke sing-a-long.

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hotel-transylvania-monster-house-dvdAvailable in both DVD and Blu-ray, the Family Fun Collection double-pack of Hotel Transylvania and Monster House collects two good (but not great) recent Halloween-themed animated movies. Of the pair, I enjoyed Hotel Transylvania, the adventures of Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his 118 year-old daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) in their hotel from monsters, more. Some younger children might find Monster House, the adventures of three kids (Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke) battling a local haunted house intent on devouring innocent trick-or-treaters, a bit too scary.

As with most collections of this sort the extras are paired down from what you would get buying each separately on either Blu-ray or DVD. I’m not sure you save enough for that to be worth it (although at this time you might struggle to find Monster House in the format you prefer in stores), but if you only want the movies, and don’t care about the extras, this collection would suit your needs. For more on each movie, read my full review of Hotel Transylvania and my full review of Monster House.

[Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, DVD $19.99 / Blu-ray $25.99]

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Anomalisa

by Cap'n Carrot on January 22, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

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Based on his play, Charlie Kaufman‘s stop-motion feature focuses on depressed self-help author (David Thewlis) in a Cincinnati hotel the night before the latest stop on his book tour. Alternatively charming and tedious, Anomalisa delivers a collection of mundane and awkward experiences and conversations highlighted by the author, who hears everyone he’s ever met speaking in Tom Noonan‘s voice, meeting an insecure young woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) whose voice breaks the self-help guru out of his melancholy.

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Honest 2016 Oscar Posters

by Cap'n Carrot on January 18, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

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See the full set here

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The Walk

by Cap'n Carrot on January 11, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

the-walk-dvdThrough the use of interviews, stills, and reenactment footage, the 2008 documentary Man on Wire offered audiences an excellent look back at wire walker Philippe Petit‘s high-wire walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center. The Walk, writer/director Robert Zemeckis‘ biopic starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit, may not be as engaging as the documentary, but Zemeckis (using similar set-up same set-up with Gordon-Levitt narrating past events) still manages to capture a bit of the magic by recreating Petit’s improbable stunt.

Without attempting to explain Petit’s obsession or the drive behind it, Zemeckis takes us along on the man’s journey as he attempts to achieve his dream. Beginning with a bit of a backstory for Petit including the relationships with his mentor (Ben Kingsley), girlfriend (Charlotte Le Bon), and the co-conspirators (Clément Sibony, César Domboy, Steve Valentine, James Badge Dale) who would eventually help him pull of his high-wire act, the movie doesn’t kick into high gear until its second hour where the caper truly begins.

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The Revenant

by Cap'n Carrot on January 8, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

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Writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu offers a straightforward tale of survival and revenge based on the true experiences of a frontiersman left for dead in 1823 in South Dakota. Bleak may not be a strong enough word for the film’s tone, but Leonardo DiCaprio makes it work as fur trapper Hugh Glass who struggles to survive after being attacked by a grizzly bear and left for dead by a member (Tom Hardy) of the group who had sworn to look after the wounded man.

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The End of the Tour

by Cap'n Carrot on January 7, 2016 · 0 comments

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end-of-the-tour-blu-rayBased on the memoir Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself in which David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) recounts his experiences meeting and interviewing David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) at the end of the author’s book tour for Infinite Jest, The End of the Tour is character-driven piece centered around the conversations between the two authors twelve years before Wallace’s suicide. Smart, insecure, and low-key (all which could also be used to describe Segel’s character), director James Ponsoldt‘s take on the memoir allows us to see both men at their best and worst (often brought out by their own fears and each other) over a condensed period of time.

Playing on themes of imperfection, ego, self-doubt, envy, and an undeniable need to connect and befriend someone else in your same specialized niche, Ponsoldt and his two stars deliver an engaging movie about nothing more than two writers talking about what they do and how they think.

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Love & Mercy

by Cap'n Carrot on January 5, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

love-and-mercy-blu-rayLove & Mercy gives us two separate looks at the life of Brian Wilson (played by Paul Dano in the 1960s and John Cusack in the 80s). While the past deals with the beginning of Wilson’s mental instability the later storyline picks up years later with Wilson being taken advantage of by therapist Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti).

Although both stories are interesting by themselves, for me the two parts never came together. Dano is intriguing as the younger version, especially while struggling to create Pet Sounds. Cusack’s doped-up older version of the musician is far less interesting, but that plotline does give us Elizabeth Banks in one of the actress’ best performances. Several pieces and performances of Love & Mercy work well, including how director Bill Pohlad incorporates the Beach Boys‘ music, but the script struggles to merge the two-parts into a compelling whole while simplifying Wilson’s mental illness and Landy’s villainy for dramatic effect.

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