Tag Archives: blood

Killing Them Softly: Potential slaughtered by director

Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, and Ray Liotta star in Killing Them Softly. Courtesy of Alliance Films


Amazing movies have that uncanny ability to feel as if time just flew by. I’m sure we’ve all experienced a movie that seems intriguing on the surface but in execution falls short forcing us to check our watches every five seconds. Sadly, Killing Them Softly is one of these films.

Not all is lost as there are some positives in Andrew Dominik’s (The Assassination of Jesse James) latest film.

In Killing Them Softly, a couple of young knuckleheads rob a mob protected poker game only to find themselves hunted by a hired enforcer.

The adapted story has a great deal of promise, but Andrew Dominik’s direction seems to belay the entire film’s plot. Subtlety is clearly not one of Dominik’s strengths as he endlessly beats us over the head with the political speeches of Bush and Obama in an attempt to provide poignant social commentary. It just doesn’t work.

The cast is solid with Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy (Argo), Ben Mendelsohn, and James Gandolfini putting forth a great combination of dramatic and comedic performances.

The brutally, vivid violence was given a great deal of thought behind shooting at interesting angles and variable framerates.

In the end, the slow pace and lack of tension throughout most of the film forces the audience to nitpick on the faults rather than rejoice in the otherwise thought-provoking story.

Bottom Line: Not worth a trip to the theatre. However, there’s enough potential to give this a chance as a cheap rental.

Grade C

Runtime: 97 minutes
IMAX: No
3D: No


Prometheus: Blu Ray Review

Prometheus is available on Blu Ray + DVD + Digital Copy on Oct. 9, 2012. Courtesy of 20th Century Fox


With a classic sci-fi/horror like Alien (1979), any movie associated with it will be viewed under extreme scrutiny. Luckily, Prometheus separates itself from the original by focusing on the science, while adding elements of horror to spice things up.

In Prometheus, a scientific discovery leads to a galactic exploration in an attempt to find the origins of humanity. As with many sci-fi flicksm, What they discover when they reach their destination is nothing close to what they expected.

Legendary director Ridley Scott, with the aid of writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindeloff, takes us on a journey that explores man’s greatest mystery: Where do we come from? Both director and writers achieve an incredible level of thought provoking ideas. However, they also left a lot of unexplored venues which prevent this movie from reaching the stratospheric acclaim of its predecessor.

Michael Fassbender is phenomenal in his role as the multi-layered android. Alongside him, Noomi Rapace shows equal skill in manifesting her character’s emotions (very reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver in 1979). While the rest of the cast is great, Charlize Theron completely lacked everything that was required to make her performance memorable. Mind you, it is hard to be memorable when your character appeared to be tacked on haphazardly.

For the Blu Ray + DVD + Digital Copy release, this movie is absolutely reference quality material, featuring breathtaking video and immersive audio. Special features include two entertaining audio commentaries: One from director Ridley Scott and one from writers Jon Spailhts and Damon Lindelof. There’s also a plethora of deleted/alternate scenes (with optional commentary), many of which deserved inclusion in the final cut, and a set of mini featurettes called The Peter Weyland Files. This last set serves as a great character development addition that is worth watching before viewing the film. If you’re looking for the 3D version and behind the scenes featurettes, pick up the four disc edition.

You can also download the Second Screen Movie App, which allows you to sync your tablet or smart phone with the movie and dive deeper into the film and its creation.

Bottom Line: This is a must own Blu Ray for fans of the movie and the sci-fi genre alike.

Movie Grade B+
Blu Ray Grade A

Runtime: 124 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1


Check out The Engineer walking around Downtown Toronto:



Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: A fun historical fantasy ride

Benjamin Walker and Dominic Cooper star in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Courtesy of 20th Century Fox


What are the first words that come to mind when “vampire” and “movie” are mentioned together these days? Any of these ring a bell: Bad writing, awful acting, glittering nonsense, ridiculous romance? None of these words will be uttered after you’ve watched Timur Bekmametov’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Mixing fiction with history, this movie follows “Honest” Abe’s vengeful quest to rid the USA of vampires.

Going into this movie, it’s hard to wrap your mind around such a fantastical concept. Luckily, director Timur Bekmametov (Wanted) and novelist/screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith (Dark Shadows) pull off the adventure with style.

Audiences will be equally satisfied if they’re looking for either a killing spree or a solid story. Both writer and director balance the bountiful violence and important character development to make this an entertaining film, and not just a blood bath.

Surprisingly, there are also terrific performances to be found with the cast. No actor felt out of place, with Benjamin Walker leading the way as the 16th president. Walker’s performance commands your attention with his portrayal of a great man dealing with loss, love and leading a nation through civil war.

There is a multitude of incredible fantasy-based action choreography to sink your teeth into. However, the CGI can vary from seamless to distracting at times.

You’ll want to take the 3D journey that not only provides depth to the picture, but also a lot of non-distracting, in-your-face moments as well.

Bottom Line: Take the fictitious ride with one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known and you’ll get more than your money’s worth.

Grade B+

Runtime: 105 minutes
IMAX: No
3D: Yes


Madison County: DVD Review

Eric England’s latest horror is Madison County. Courtesy of eOne Entertainment


Do you remember that crazy time in your life when you enjoyed killing people and nothing could stop you – Not even five whopping blows to the head with a shovel? Ah, the ridiculous moments never cease when filmmakers think, “This time, nobody will notice these nonsensical, unexplainable, super-human-like events.” It was blisteringly apparent Writer/director Eric England clearly thought this when he was making Madison County.

This Texas Chainsaw Massacre wannabe tells the story of a group of teenage friends who trek out to interview an author who has information on a bizarre set of murders which an entire town appears to be involved in.

Eric England’s screenplay needs a lot of work. It reeks of plagiarism from past films and follows many of the thoughtless characteristics that infects the audience with the ever tiring eye-rolling syndrome. Then there is his direction, which serves only to spook those who scare (extremely) easily.

The positive that can be drawn out of the entire affair are the performances that felt more natural than corny. Jonna Sotomura, Natalie Sheetz, Matt Mercer and Colley Bailey did a commendable job with their characters considering the handicapped source material.

For fans of the Screamfest 2011 sellout movie, the home release delivers solid picture and audio quality. On top of that, there are a couple of special features to enjoy, including the Q & A from Screamfest! and Audio Commentary featuring Writer/Producer/Director Eric England, Producer Daniel F. Dunn and Actor/Producer Ace Marrero.

Bottom Line: You won’t find anything scary in this movie unless you’re frequently frightened by your own shadow. At least the home release delivers what it should.

Movie Grade D
Blu Ray Grade B-

Runtime: 81 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Joanna Sotomura is terrified in Madison County


Prometheus: A step below greatness

Logan Marshall-Green, Noomi Rapace, and Michael Fassbender star in Prometheus. Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox


It’s difficult not to become completely encapsulated in an epic horror/sci-fi the likes of Ridley Scott’s Alien from 1979. With the standards set from that film, any movie associated with it will be viewed under extreme scrutiny. Luckily, Prometheus separates itself from the original by focusing on the science and adds elements of horror to spice things up.

In Prometheus, a scientific discovery leads to a galactic exploration to find the origins of humanity. What they find when they reach their destination is nothing close to what they expected.

Ridley Scott, the once legendary director, has returned to where his major success had initialized with classics like Blade Runner. With the aid of writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindeloff, Scott takes us on a journey that explores man’s greatest mystery: Where do we come from? Both director and writers achieve an incredible level of thought provoking ideas and thrilling storytelling. However, they also left a lot of unexplored venues which will prevent this movie from reaching the stratospheric acclaim of its predecessor.

Casting for this movie hit an almost perfect score with an excellent ensemble of actors to portray the various archetypes. Michael Fassbender is yet again phenomenal in his role as the multi-layered, intriguing android. Alongside him, Noomi Rapace shows equal skill in manifesting her character’s emotions (very reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver in 1979). While the rest of the cast was great, Charlize Theron completely lacked everything that was required to make her performance memorable. Mind you, it is hard to be memorable when your character appeared to be tacked on haphazardly.

The cinematography is beautiful, but the musical score lacked atmosphere to really provide punch to crucial moments.

Scott’s use of the added 3rd dimension works phenomenally. The entire film viewed through 3D glasses delivered the most realistic “looking through a window” effect to date. Definitely worth the additional cost.

Bottom Line: No matter how great this film appears to be, the nagging flaws keep it from becoming an epic classic.

Grade B+

Runtime: 124 minutes
IMAX: Yes
3D: Yes