Tag Archives: sexy

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


The Guilt Trip: Popcorn comedy

Seth Rogen is Andrew Brewster and Barbra Streisand is Joyce Brewster in THE GUILT TRIP. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Seth Rogen is Andrew Brewster and Barbra Streisand is Joyce Brewster in THE GUILT TRIP. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures


Moms have a way of loving you… sometimes too much… sometimes to the point of irritation. No matter how much we would like to move to the Arctic to gain freedom from their perpetual nagging, in the end we always succumb to the truth that they always have our best interests at heart.

The Guilt Trip tells the story of an overbearing, but loving, mother whose son takes her on a cross country road trip while he attempts to sell his revolutionary invention to big retailers.

The Guilt Trip 2The screenplay features a large variety of gags ranging from fun to outright hilarious. The filmmakers removed any cultural references to make this movie accessible to all, which is welcome yet unexpected seeing as the two leading stars are hilarious Jewish actors.

On another note, the story doesn’t reach for anything worth mentioning and follows very basic themes. If the cast wasn’t as good they are, this would have been a very… very bad film.

The Guilt Trip 4Barbara Streisand hasn’t had a leading role since Meet the Focker’s (2004), but she hasn’t lost her stride. Streisand and Seth Rogen have great chemistry as a mother and son duo. Both have great comedic energy and play off of each other quite naturally.

The Guilt Trip 3Basically, it’s the perfect hour and a half escape from your relatives who are bound to tug on your last nerve during the holidays.

Bottom Line: Popcorn comedy de jour. Have some laughs then move onto bigger things.
Grade B-

Runtime: 95 minutes
IMAX: No
3D: No


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
IMAX: Yes
3D: No


People Like Us: Blu Ray Review

Find the dramatic comedy People Like Us in stores on Oct. 2nd, 2012. Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures


How many perfect families are there? The honesty presented in a film like People Like Us gives us a glimpse into the dysfunctions that plague a modern family, all the while, keeping us readily entertained.

In People Like Us, we follow a struggling salesman, Sam (Chris Pine), as he deals with reconciling with his family after his neglectful father’s passing. When settling his estate, Sam discovers a half-sister and his dad’s secret life.

Witty, truthful, and heartfelt all describe this drama. From the guys who wrote Transformers and Star Trek (2009), both Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci find a completely different angle in which to tell a story. Both writers, with the aid of Jody Lambert, piece together a multitude of character studies in this tightly knit film.

Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Wilde and Michael Hall D’Addario deliver true to life dramatic and comedic performances. It’s one of the truest example of genuine acting I’ve seen in a long while.

The Blu Ray + DVD release features a decent set of special features to accompany the fantastic film. They include a behind the scenes look at how the story came to be and the production footage in Number One With A Bullet: The Story Behind People Like Us. There’s also Taco Talk, which gives you Chris Pine’s and Elizabeth Banks’ complete improvisational and hilarious scene at the taco stand. Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel and Audio Commentary are also included.

Bottom Line: Come for the comedy, stay for the heart. Well worth owning.

Movie Grade A
Blu Ray Grade B+

Runtime: 113 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1


Pitch Perfect: Funny never sounded so harmonious

(L to R) Denise (WANETAH WALMSLEY), Ashley (SHELLY REGNER), Cynthia Rose (ESTER DEAN), Fat Amy (REBEL WILSON), Stacie (ALEXIS KNAPP), Beca (ANNA KENDRICK), Chloe (BRITTANY SNOW), Lilly (HANA MAE LEE) and Jessica (KELLEY ALICE JAKLE) in ‘Pitch Perfect’. Courtesy of Universal Pictures


Let’s face it, “teeny bopper” films usually suck! Pitch Perfect looks like your run-of-the-mill, musically driven movie that only young teenage girls and hormone driven boys would enjoy. That is like soooo totally wrong.

Pitch Perfect tells the hilarious story of a rebellious freshman, Beca (Anna Kendrick), who reluctantly joins an all-girl a cappella group trying to win the college a cappella championships.

There is not a five minute gap to be found without a solid laugh in this mix musical/sports comedy. It all stems from the fantastic writing, direction and whimsical comedic performances by the cast.

Kay Cannon’s script is harmoniously transferred to the big screen by first time feature film director Jason Moore. Both managed to provide substance and originality to a thoroughly trodden story.

What really makes the movie shine are the side-splittingly funny performances from the cast. Nobody gets higher praise for this than Rebel Wilson (Fat Amy); the husky girl, with a powerful voice, who freely voices her opinions.

There is also much to be said about the selection and use of the music chosen for the movie. With hits ranging from the 80’s to present day, there’s something in here for everyone to jive with. Also to be appreciated is the lack of unnecessary spectacle common in most musicals.

Bottom Line: Female or male, young or old, singer or window breaker, this movie has an abundance of fun for everyone.

Grade A-

Runtime: 112 minutes
IMAX: No
3D: No


Pocahontas/Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World: Blu Ray Review

Pocahontas and Pocahontas II Blu Ray + DVD combo available August 21, 2012. Courtesy of Disney Pictures


It’s hard to watch a childhood favourite when you’re all grown up, only to realize it is not nearly as good as you once thought it was. This is exactly what I had to come to terms with when watching Pocahontas for its Blu Ray release 17 years after its theatrical release.

Disney has included a duo of Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World, both remastered in high definition for the Blu Ray release.

For the few of you who haven’t seen the first film, Pocahontas tells the story of the British traveling to North America in search of gold, only to fall into quarrels with the Native Indians they meet upon their arrival. A love affair begins when John Smith befriends Pocahontas and it is up to them to bring peace to the warring sides.

What I failed to notice when I was a child is how basically flawed the entire story is. Character motivations are highly contrived, while the endless campaign of poorly sung musical numbers becomes tired very quickly. The saving grace is the Academy Award winning Best Original Song “Colours of the Wind” brilliantly sung by Judy Kuhn.

In part 2, Pocahontas travels as a peace ambassador to England, only to discover an old foe attempting to sabotage her visit.

Oddly enough, the sequel delivered a more satisfying film than its predecessor. The humour is about the same, whereas the story and characters seem less contrived. Not a brilliant film by any stretch of the imagination, but descent enough for this adult to sit through.

For this Blu Ray + DVD combo pack, both films look better than they ever did before. The special features are not the most impressive set, but there are a few interesting ones to check out. The Audio Commentary and The Music Of Pocahontas really gives us insight into the making of the movie. The other features, while interesting, only serve as distant relatives to the feature film. They include Drawing Inspiration: The Lost Story Of Hiawatha, “Little Hiawatha” Cartoon Short, Deleted Song: “If I Never Knew You”, and Deleted Scenes.

Bottom Line: Unless you’re a huge fan of the film or need it to complete your collection, you would be better off renting this Blu Ray release.

Movie Grades: Pocahontas: C-/Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World: C
Blu Ray Grade B+

Runtimes: Pocahontas: 81 minutes/Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World: 73 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1


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


Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope: Superheroes, and comics, and fanatics… OH MY!

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is available on Blu Ray + DVD Combo on July 10th. Courtesy of eOne Media


Let’s face it, when you hear about a comic book convention the first thing that comes to mind are socially inept guys who never leave their basements. These thoughts must go into overdrive for Comic-Con, the world’s largest comic book and popular arts convention in the world. What we don’t think about is the art, passion and fun that can be had in this multi-faceted gathering. Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope takes us behind the scenes to view the lives of different attendees and how this great event affects them.

Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Harry Knowles, the father of Marvel Comics Stan Lee, and a host of artists, actors and enthusiasts give us a look at different aspects that encompass the 43 year old extravaganza by focusing on a handful of visitors.

Director Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) delivers the event in all of its glory, and intersperses intimate interviews with a variety of industry professionals.

To accompany the beautifully shot feature, the Blu Ray + DVD combo pack holds a few tantalizing special features. To start, Morgan Spurlock takes you behind the scenes into what led up to the conceptualizing of the documentary. Next are a set of Deleted Scenes that are interesting however varying in volume, so keep your remote handy. Last, but not least, are a series of intimate interviews with Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, Ellen Page, Harry Knowles and many more. Definitely worth checking out!

Bottom Line: As a fan of Comic-Con or comics in general, this is an absolute must see! If you’re unfamiliar with the art form, this is an eye-opening look at a world you’ll be unexpectedly drawn into.

Movie Grade A-
Blu Ray Grade A-

Runtime: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1


The Amazing Spider-Man: Well worth the reboot

Andrew Garfield is Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man. In theatres July 3, 2012. Courtesy of Sony Pictures


How many of you are wondering why Spider-Man is being rebooted only five years after the absolute garbage that was Spider-Man 3? Well, if the latter half of your own question doesn’t give you a hint, here’s the answer you’re looking for: In order for Sony to hold the rights to the web-slinging franchise, they had to make a movie within a certain number of years and time was running out. Fortunately for us, The Amazing Spider-Man successfully reboots the dying franchise and fixes all of the character errors running rampant the original trilogy.

In this reboot, high school genius, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), struggles with the loss of those closest to him and deals with his newfound arachnoid powers.

Correcting Sam Raimi’s production faults of the past was a high priority in this reimagining. The fresh new faces were perfectly cast with the talented Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) delivering a far superior Peter Parker than his predecessor, Tobey Maguire. Matching his excellence in performance is Emma Stone (Easy A), whose subtle character nuances are not something you can teach at drama school.

Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) nailed the character development. Where his direction, and the script from a trio of writers, falls short is in the development of the villain. Had Dr. Connors/The Lizard’s journey been further elaborated upon, he would have been seen as more than your run of the mill mutant monster.

The special effects are fantastic in every aspect except for the CGI rendering of The Lizard, who looked out of place when compared to more accurately rendered characters like The Hulk in The Avengers.

In the end, the solid story and depth left me hungry for a sequel.

Bottom Line: This is Peter Parker as he should be. Definitely venture out to watch this in IMAX 3D on Wednesday, July 3, 2012.

Grade B+

Runtime: 136 minutes
IMAX: Yes
3D: Yes