Film

journey-to-the-west-conquering-demons-blu-rayCo-writers and directors Stephen Chow and Chi-kin Kwok‘s comedic take on one of the four classic novels of Chinese literature stars Zhang Wen as would-be Buddhist demon hunter Tang Sanzang on his road to enlightenment. On the road he meets a far more experienced demon hunter (Qi Shu) who begins to fall for the goofy Sanzang.

Offbeat, humorous, and more than a little uneven, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons is a bizarre horror-comedy with subplots ranging from a love story to Buddhist enlightenment to the intelligence of using fairy tales to fight monsters. Featuring battles involving pig-monsters and giant fish, the movie features an odd collection of characters in the Monkey King (Bo Huang) and rival bounty hunters with the strength and speed of a tiger (Yu Xing), a giant foot (Chaoli Zhang), and telekinetically-powered swords (Show Luo). More of it works than not, but at times it’s thoroughly engaging and at times it’s just plain weird.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Edge of Tomorrow

by Cap'n Carrot on June 6, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

edge-of-tomorrow-poster-hor

Adapted from the Japanese graphic novel All You Need is Kill, Edge of Tomorrow stars Tom Cruise as military recruiter Major William Cage forced into service on the front lines of a war between humanity and an unstoppable alien race known as Mimics. Despite dying rather early on his first day in the field, Cage finds himself somehow still alive reliving the previous day’s events over and over, each time more aware of events and what what must be done to win the war.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Keira Knightley discusses the script, her role, the music, and the cast and director of her upcoming film Begin Again.

{ 0 comments }

the-art-of-the-steal-dvd

Written and directed by Jonathan Sobol, The Art of the Steal is your basic heist flick centered around getaway driver Crunch Calhoun (Kurt Russell) who, after spending seven years inside a Polish prison thanks to his brother Nicky (Matt Dillon), gets the old gang (Kenneth Welsh, Chris Diamantopoulos), his new apprentice (Jay Baruchel), and Nicky together for one last score.

The movie also includes a B-story involving a buffoonish Interpol agent (Jason Jones, hamming it up like a SNL skit) and his criminal consultant (Terence Stamp) which play much more lighthearted than the rest of the film giving it an inconsistent tone that doesn’t quite pay off.

Despite the cast (Baruchel being the stand-out and Dillon something of a head-scratching miscast), and some pieces of the story that work well, The Art of the Steal isn’t as smart as it thinks it is or as smart as it needs to be to pull of the big twists it has in store (most of which you should see coming).

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

legend-of-hercules-dvdEven for a throwaway B-action-flick, The Legend of Hercules is a bad movie that doesn’t even really deliver on its title. Rather than offer a movie centered on the legendary achievements of Hercules, writers Sean Hood, Daniel Giat, Giulio Steve, and Renny Harlin (who also directs) offer audiences a bland origin tale centered around the god-like Prince Alcides (Kellan Lutz) whose father King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) sends on an impossible mission to get the boy killed guessing correctly that Alcides isn’t his son.

Surviving a slaughter and life as a gladiator, Alicides eventually makes it home under the name Hercules, which Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) wanted to name him, to take on his father, brother (Liam Garrigan), and rescue the woman (Gaia Weiss) he loves all while being told he has a greater destiny to fulfill (which the movie then completely ignores). Cribbing the storyline from Gladiator, without any of its style, The Legend of Hercules is an impressively bad movie that doesn’t even offer cheesy enjoyment in its many faults.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Maleficent

by Cap'n Carrot on May 30, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

maleficent-poster-horizontal

Offering a new live-action take on Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the original tale’s villain, Maleficent is a pleasant surprise that works better than either of the recent disappointments, Mirror Mirror or Snow White and the Huntsman, both of which failed while attempting a similar approach to the retelling of Snow White.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

I, Frankenstein

by Cap'n Carrot on May 27, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

i-frankenstein-dvdWritten and directed by Stuart Beattie, I, Frankenstein is a ridiculous action-thriller setting Frankenstein’s monster, known here as Adam (Aaron Eckhart), in present day in the middle of a war between heavenly gargoyles and demons led by Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy).

With dialogue as laughable as the plot itself involving Naberius’ plans to use Frankenstein’s research to create and army of unstoppable warriors, I, Frankenstein is really only worth viewing for the special effects and Yvonne Strahovski as a modern-day scientist working on reviving Frankenstein’s work without realizing who exactly she’s working for.

Available on both DVD and 3D Blu-ray, extras include digital Ultraviolet copies of the movie, audio commentary from Beattie, and a second commentary from Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, James McQuaide, and Kevin Grevioux, trailer, and a pair of featurettes on Adam, the make-up, special effects, and monsters of the film.

[Lions Gate, DVD $29.95 / Blu-ray $39.99]

{ 0 comments }

Chef

by Cap'n Carrot on May 23, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

chef-pic1

Although the storyline doesn’t veer far from well-established basic themes we’ve seen in countless films over the years involving reinventing your life, father-son dynamics, road trips, and overcoming adversity, with the right ingredients and cast writer/director/star Jon Favreau delivers a sumptuous treat as delectable as the various food on display. Calling on the help of a handful of his old Iron Man buddies, Favreau offers up his best film yet in front of, or behind, the camera.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

terminator-3-rise-of-the-machines-blu-ray

I know there are those that feel otherwise, but I like Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and appreciate the kind of story director Jonathan Mostow and screenwriters John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris set out to tell.

Whereas the first Terminator had no higher goal than that of straight-forward monster movie (still the best Hollywood has produced in the last 30 years), and Judgement Day was more concerned with action that developing the themes presented in the first film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is the only movie of the three that is actually a sci-fi film at its core. That fourth film starring Christian Bale? Yeah… we don’t talk about that one.

Picking up years after the second film, Rise involves John Connor (Nick Stahl) finally beginning to understand and embrace the destiny which was introduced in The Terminator.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

belle-pic-1

Inspired by the 1779 painting of mixed-raced aristocrat Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) beside her white cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon) with whom she was raised by her uncle William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson), Belle is an interesting look at a woman who grew up in lavish luxury but still searched long and hard for her true place both within her family and the wider world to whom she was seen as (at best) an outcast.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }