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Jack Reacher: Taking it back to the 80’s

Tom Cruise is JACK REACHER. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

Tom Cruise is JACK REACHER. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions


Remember the good-old days when 80’s action movies were a barrel of fun and laughs? There were no concerns with winning awards or receiving critical acclaim. Instead, entertainment was the highest priority as is the case with Tom Cruise’s latest investigative action film, Jack Reacher.

Cruise plays a funny, smart-mouthed ex-army cop who comes out of hiding to track down a mass murderer.

Jack Reacher 4All of the 80’s clichés have been thoughtfully checked off by director Christopher McQuarrie (The Way of the Gun), who adapted Lee Child’s book, “One Shot”. There’s a wise-cracking detective, a sexy woman, clashing of personalities, a foreign bad guy with a heavy accent, and buckets of action. McQuarrie also was kind enough to keep any gore out of the movie’s action, so those with weak stomachs won’t have to bring their trusty barf bucket.

Jack Reacher 7The recently divorced Tom Cruise gives us nothing we haven’t seen before. Truth is, I love that character and so do you (don’t deny it). The person who deals out the best performance is Joseph Sikora, who made the biggest impact with less than five minutes of screen time.

JACK REACHERFive-time Academy Award nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel does an amazing job of lighting every scene to complement McQuarrie’s fantastic shooting style. There’s also some excellent audio design with the sound of firearms having incredible lifelike impact.

Jack Reacher 3Bottom Line: If you enjoy the older action flicks as much as I do, you’ll have a blast with this one.

Grade B-

Runtime: 130 minutes
IMAX: No
3D: No


Street Dance 2: Blu Ray Review

Street Dance 2 available on Blu Ray Combo Pack July 24th. Courtesy of eOne Media


When you watch a movie about dance, how high do you set your expectations? Given the recent history of the genre, expectations are deservedly set at rock bottom. Street Dance 2 serves only to continue this horrible trend, while hitting the right notes when it came to, yes you got it, the dancing.

In this sequel, a humiliated street dancer has to venture across Europe to put together the best crew in order to win the world dance battle and redeem himself.

The performances and script are just hard to sit through. There are some adequate moments, but they are few and far between. As an actor, the only person worth their paycheque is British comedy legend, Tom Conti (The Dark Knight Rises, Derailed). While his French accent left something to be desired, his performance gave realism to the otherwise predictable dialogue.

On a positive note, the dancing in this movie will make you want to get up and jam with the incredibly talented performers. What the dancers lack in acting ability, they make up for with their tremendous dance experience. The movie features break dancing, popping, locking, Latin dancing and, most intriguing, all of them mixed together for a Street-Latin fusion. The entire movie was shot in 3D, which keeps the dancing the focal point of every dance scene.

The Blu Ray + DVD combo pack includes only the beautifully shot feature with its excellent audio track. It’s sad that there are no behind the scenes featurettes to give us insights into the choreography which would have been nice.

Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of the movie or street dancing, you’ll have fun with this movie. Otherwise, keep your distance.

Movie Grade C
Blu Ray Grade C

Runtime: 84 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1


The Three Stooges: Blu Ray Review

The Three Stooges movie is available on Blu Ray + DVD + Digital Download on July 17th. Courtesy of 20th Century Fox


During my childhood, every Sunday morning was spent in front of the television watching two hours of black and white slapstick hilarity. The Three Stooges, with their Looney Tunes-style violence left me and millions around the world reeling with stitch bursting laughter, and effect that still holds strong today. With Hollywood stuck in remake mode, it was only a matter of time before they decided to revisit this iconic television show.

In this “origins” story, we follow Larry, Curly and Moe from their days as orphans to their adulthood where they try to raise money to save the orphanage they grew up in.

What the famous Farrelly brothers try to accomplish with this remake is to modernize the classic edition while creating a homage to the comedic greats. Unfortunately, the slapstick humor and outlandish situations simply do not translate well outside of the period in which they were created.

Sean Hayes (Larry), Will Sasso (Curly) and Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe) managed to impersonate the mannerisms and give us a glimpse of the characters they were playing. However, none of them fully transformed, and each of their performances became a caricature of what we know and love to be the Stooges.

What this movie does have going for it is a great Blu Ray + DVD + Digital Copy release. The movie looks and sounds wonderful, and they’ve included a generous dose of special features. The usual Deleted/Extended Scenes are included, all of which deserved to be chopped out of the final cut. After that, we get to the juicy features, including What’s the Big Idea?: A History of The Three Stooges, Knuckleheads: Behind the Scenes of The Three Stooges, Did You Hear That? The Three Stooges Sound Effects, Poifect! Casting The Three Stooges, The Three Stooges Mash-up, and finally the Original Screen Test.

Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of the film, this Blu Ray is a must own. For everyone else, your money would be wisely invested in finding the original shorts to own and enjoy.

Movie Grade C
Blu Ray Grade A-

Runtime: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1


Man on a Ledge: Blu Ray + DVD Review

Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Banks star in Man on a Ledge. Courtesy of eOne Entertainment


If you were wrongly accused of a crime and sentenced to 25 years in jail, how far would you go to prove your innocence and bring down the people who set you up? Nick Cassidy goes the ultimate distance venturing out onto a 21st storey ledge in order to prove his innocence.

Not without its faults, Man on a Ledge manages to provide a thrilling ride with its suspense and amazing cinematography.

With only a documentary under his belt, director Asger Leth alongside veteran cinematographer Paul Cameron (Man on Fire, Gone in Sixty Seconds) take us to dizzying heights and keep us on the edge of our seats for almost two hours as we watch the story unravel. The pace of the film is tight, but there are definitely a few unnecessary comedic relief moments that deserved a Karate chop in the editing room.

After years in the business, Australian born Sam Worthington’s acting is very hard to appreciate due to his very distracting and pitiful American accent. Elizabeth Banks, Ed Harris, Anthony Mackie and the rest of the cast range from decent to good.

In the Blu Ray + DVD combo pack, you get a solid presentation of the film both visually and orally. On top of that, there is an excellent “The Ledge” featurette that takes you behind the scenes to explain how they managed to film acrophobic (fear of heights) scenes. They’ve also included a feature length commentary with actress Elizabeth Banks.

Bottom Line: While not perfect, there’s still an adrenaline pumping ride worth experiencing in this home release.

Movie Grade B
Blu Ray Grade A

Runtime: Approx. 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1