Tag Archives: nudity

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
3D: No

Anna Karenina: Never-ending drama

Keira Knightley and Aaron Taylor-Johnson star in Anna Karenina. Courtesy of Alliance Films

Leo Tolstoy’s first official novel (according to Tolstoy), Anna Karenina, is regarded as the greatest novel of all time (2007 “The Top Ten in Time”). In its thirteenth film adaptation, director Joe Wright gives the story a staged theatrical spin. However, all the glamorous theatrics cannot spark life into this endless melodrama.

Anna is an upper class socialite in 19th century Russia whose affair with an affluent Count defames her among society’s highest ranks and throws her life into disrepute.

Whether it was the director’s or the writer’s idea to have the movie’s scenes transition from stage to the cinematic world – It just doesn’t work. It acts purely to bring the audience out of the fantasy world they are attempting to draw us into.

The story itself is a drawn out soap opera that seldom features a thought provoking moment outside of the infidelity and flashy wardrobes and sets.

The cast makes due with what they are given. No performances stand out or are even worth mentioning. It all felt very… adequate.

This is the first Joe Wright film I did not enjoy. In fact, I downright detested it. Unlike past treasures of his, such as Pride and Prejudice and Atonement (both period pieces), this film fails on every count outside of costume design.

Bottom Line: Unless you are a diehard fan of the novel, stay miles away from this heap of pretentious babble.

Grade D+

Runtime: 130 minutes
3D: No

360: Blu Ray Review

360 is available to own on Blu Ray, November 6, 2012. Courtesy of eOne Entertainment

Infidelity makes up such a large portion of entertainment in our society. Soap operas, movies and even reality TV are riddled with some form of adultery.

Fernando Meirelles’ latest film, 360, connects the lives of various sexually corrupt people from different areas of the world.

The crippling factor in this film rests in the story. Unlike brilliant films such as Closer or Little Children, this movie tries especially hard to tell far too many stories (I stopped counting at 7), without ever fully developing any of them.

Luckily, the performances are solid. The star studded cast including Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Anthony Hopkins, Jamel Debbouze, Lucia Siposová, Gabriela Marcinkova, and Ben Foster showcase their abundant talents commendably. Foster’s performance as the paroled sexual offender in particular, is fantastic, albeit chilling.

The Blu Ray release delivers the solid cinematography and thoughtful score nicely; however, the special features are fairly thin. Both The Making-of 360 and A look at 360 featurettes feature the cast and filmmakers synopsising the story and its characters. Behind-The-Scenes, however, actually lets you stand behind the camera and watch scenes being filmed or hear discussions between the actors and director Fernando Meirelles. Very cool stuff!

Bottom Line: Unless you’re a fan of the film there isn’t any reason to add this Blu Ray to your collection.

Movie Grade C+
Blu Ray Grade B+

Runtime: 110 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.4:1

Skyfall: Already a classic

Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem are brilliant in Skyfall! In IMAX and theatres November 8, 2012. Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Sean Connery brilliantly embodied Britain’s most famous fictional secret agent 50 years ago. When Daniel Craig took the reins as James Bond in 2006, all of his skeptics were thoroughly proven wrong. Craig’s confident, modern, suave portrayal of Bond rivaled Connery’s iconic performances of the 60’s and 70’s. Then there was the writer’s strike of 2008 resulting in the poorly written sequel, Quantum of Solace; an all-around flop. Four years later, we have what may be the best Bond film yet!

In Skyfall, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when a terrorizing computer genius unleashes his vengeful plans upon them.

The main cast of this film are nothing short of spectacular. Daniel Craig delvers everything we’ve come to expect from his rugged yet composed portrayal of Bond, and Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) is easily one of the all-time greatest Bond villains. His charismatic performance brings a multitude of layers to the surface just waiting to be explored by the audience.

These great characters all stem from the wonderful minds of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, both of whom worked on Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Together with John Logan (The Last Samurai, Gladiator) they crafted an intriguing, original story, while remaining faithful to the original flavour of our favourite MI6 agent.

Academy Award winning director, Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition), was the perfect choice to captain the 23rd Bond film. This isn’t a nonsensical mash-up of endless action scenes. Mendes makes this a methodical film with heart-stopping action woven into a gripping story.

There is absolutely no reason the Academy should not recognize this film as one of the year’s best.

Bottom Line: Don’t miss the ride. This is one film you’ll want to watch over and over and over again.

Grade A+

Runtime: 143 minutes
3D: No

Hysteria: History meets pleasure

Hysteria is available on Blu Ray September 18, 2012. Courtesy of eOne

Injustice comes in all shapes and sizes. Hysteria examines the social injustice women had to bare in Victorian England where doctors treated women diagnosed with Hysteria (By today’s standards they just weren’t “getting any”). What resulted from all of this medical insanity was the invention of the glorious and renowned vibrator.

Director Tanya Wexler does a great job of including different facets of historical fact delivering both drama and humour. Where things fall short is in the chemistry (or lack thereof) between Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal, which faulted the credibility of the secondary story.

Outside of this folly, every member of the large cast delivered solid performances.

The most incredible part of the production were the brilliant sets and art direction that throw you head first into middle class Victorian England.

In the Blu Ray + DVD combo pack, you’ll find some excellent special features to accompany this beautifully shot film. They include Commentary with Tanya Wexler, “An Evening with Tanya Wexler, Hugh Dancy and Jonathan Pryce” Featurette, Hysteria: Behind The Scenes, and a set of useless Deleted Scenes. The best feature is a short documentary “Passion & Power: The Technology Of Orgasm”. This fascinating look at the history of female sexual oppression and the history of vibrators from their creation is a must watch!

Bottom Line: With an engaging film and interesting special features, this home release is definitely worth checking out.

Movie Grade B
Blu Ray Grade A

Runtime: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Ted: Once Upon a Time… for adults

Ted (MACFARLANE) and John (WAHLBERG) in TED. Courtesy of Universal Pictures

If my toys came to life when I was a child, I would never have left my bedroom. This is the premise of Ted, a movie where the impossible becomes possible because of a childhood wish for a teddy bear to come to life.

Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane has conjured a fairy tale no child should ever watch, but every adult can indulge in. Alongside two of his fellow Family Guy writers, the script delivers mountains of hilarious one-liners, 80’s references and gags, while adding a touch of heart to keep the mayhem from getting out of control. In his live-action directorial debut, MacFarlane looked like a veteran and the box office numbers will prove it.

Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane and Mila Kunis balance the constant, memorable humor and demanding emotional moments effectively. Mila Kunis in particular delivers some of her best work trying to reconcile the fact that she is in a relationship with a man who will not grow up.

Seth MacFarlane’s voice-over and motion capture of the adorably dirty Ted is simply, perfect. The CGI of the Snuggle look-a-like convinces you that you’re watching a living stuffed animal doing the most outlandish things imaginable.

This movie will keep you laughing well after the credits roll and you’ll want to own it when it hits shelves at your local store.

Bottom Line: Get ready to laugh… and then laugh some more.

Grade A-

Runtime: 106 mimutes
3D: No

Cosmopolis: Cronenberg’s lost it!

Robert Pattinson and a host of other actors star in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. Courtesy of eOne Films

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Oscar winning writer/director David Cronenberg (Eastern Promises, Crash, The Fly) has delivered numerous critically acclaimed films making fellow Canadians proud…until now. His latest film, will undoubtedly have most people asking “Has he lost his mind?”

In Cosmopolis, we follow a 28-year-old billionaire as he ventures through a large city meeting with a plethora of unusual people, in the comfort of his high-tech limousine.

It is simply baffling that Cronenberg could deliver such a load of mindless trash to the viewing public. The adapted screenplay of Don DeLillo’s novel is completely void of any kind of cohesion. The character’s motivations and actions are senseless, but does it really matter when we are unable to relate to them anyway? Any fan of his past work will most likely be staring at the screen thinking this is a convoluted mess, that is, if they haven’t already decided to walk out of the theatre.

Every line of dialogue read by the vast cast sounds as if they’re reciting a cheap philosophical novel. Robert Pattinson (Twilight, Remember Me) looks as if he’s constipated throughout most of the film. The only performance that felt worth watching is Paul Giamatti’s (Rock of Ages, Cinderella Man) – Even if the above mentioned scene is a total disaster.

From a technical or artistic standpoint, there are absolutely no redeemable aspects to this movie.

Bottom Line: David Cronenberg should be paying people a handsome fee to sit through this drivel.

Grade F

Runtime: 108 minutes
3D: No

One For The Money: Blu Ray Review

Katherine Heigl stars is Stephanie Plum in One For The Money, available on Blu Ray combo pack May 8, 2012. Courtesy of eOne Films

For people who aren’t in love with every romantic comedy to hit theatres, seeing Katherine Heigl’s name attached to a movie generally generates groans. Taking a slight sidestep from her usual comedic endeavours, Heigl takes on a grittier role as lingerie saleswoman, turned bounty hunter in One for the Money.

In this movie, Stephanie Plum (Heigl) takes on the difficult task of tracking down an old fling who is charged with murder.

While this shows incredible similarities to 2010’s dreadful Bounty Hunter, there are a number of differences that elevate this movie to more than a cheesy romantic comedy.

Stephanie Plum’s character gets a good amount of development without too much suspended disbelief as her character deals with the bad guys. Director Julie Anne Robinson takes on her second film and she managed to balance the characters well, even if there was a slight excess of sexual interactions among them – Particularly between Heigl and Jason O’Mara, whose chemistry felt weak.

In the Blu Ray + DVD combo pack, they have included some entertaining special features to accompany the solid audio and visual presentation of the film. The special features include a mundane making of featurette Making the Money: Behind the Scenes, a very interesting short documentary Bond Girls: Kicking Ass in the Bail Bond Industry, a short funny Gag Reel, a deleted scene, and the trailer.

Overall, I’m thinking no one will praise this as a great film, but as a solid attempt at giving us more than the usual cheese-fest Hollywood has asked us to stomach over the years.

Bottom Line: As a romantic comedy it feels forced. As a comedic mystery, with the air of romance, it entertains.

Movie Grade B-
Blu Ray/DVD Grade B+

Runtime: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

American Reunion: Digs from the bottom of the toilet

Kevin, Jim, Stifler, Oz, and Finch are back in American Reunion. Courtesy of Universal Pictures

It’s hard not to enjoy the American Pie trilogy. They’re crude, but have a juvenile innocence to them that allows audiences to enjoy their outlandish humor. The big question is, will the latest installment follow the same creed? Let’s find out.

American Reunion brings the entire gang (even Oz) back together for their 13 year high school reunion and none of them are living the lives they envisioned.

This film ruins the ride we’ve been taken on up to this point. The characters (Jim and Kevin) are stripped of their morality by writers John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. Long gone are the days when comedies didn’t have to dig into the bottom of the dung heap to find comical material. It’s a real shame that Adam Herz, who wrote the first three films, couldn’t or didn’t return to pen this one.

The actors have kept their performance standards at the same level and it was nice to see them all together again, even if they were given a less than up to par script to work with. This aside, there are some laughs to be had. Sean William Scott (Goon, Role Models) and Eugene Levy (Goon, Splash) will keep you laughing throughout the film.

In the end, it all boils down to the bad taste the film leaves in your mouth when you leave the theatre. Not because of the toilet humour, but because the characters have been tarnished and fail to redeem themselves.

Bottom Line: We can only hope it all ends here. I’ll stick to the original trilogy for my occasional American Pie fix.

Grade C-

Runtime: 113 minutes
3D: No