May 31, 2014

Review: The Kid (1921)

Cinema has changed immensely since the silent movie era. New technologies have made a lot of new things possible but that doesn't take away from what movie makers back then were able to accomplish with such rudimentary equipment. Charlie Chaplin was one of the early masters of the day and I have a confession. This is my very first Charlie Chaplin movie. I've never even seen a single one of his shorts. I've got a few Buster Keaton movies under my belt but my silent movie experience doesn't expand much beyond that. I've been hanging my head for a while now but I'm glad that I've finally seen a Chaplin movie.

The way I see it, you have to be in a different mind set when watching a silent movie versus a more modern talkie. The thing about The Kid though, is that it's not even necessary to do that. The humour still works really well, the sad moments genuinely get you in the heart and it's really well produced. The location, the sets and the costumes look amazing and it's the type of movie you could watch over and over again. It's an immortal film that is on one hand digestible for everyone but also well crafted and intelligent.

Review: Something's Gotta Give (2003)

Something's Gotta Give is pretty stacked as far as romantic comedies go in terms of casting. Jack Nicholson is a hard hitter for good reason and Diane Keaton has some pretty significant draw as well even if she's not for everyone. There's a wealth of names in the supporting characters as well. Keanu Reeves post-Matrix, Amanda Peet, Frances McDormand and Jon Favreau as well. $60 million doesn't seem like a whole lot of budget all of a sudden and it made an impressive $266 million worldwide.

So the question is, does Something's Gotta Give rise above the typical romantic comedy movie? It's got a great cast to start but great casts can't save bad movies. I'm pretty confident in saying that SGG is a cut above the norm. Nancy Meyers takes on double duty with having written and directed this film. It's not a perfect film, but it can stand on its own two feet.

May 30, 2014

Review: Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla is celebrating its 60th year in existence and what a ride it's been. From the original which is an undeniable classic, unique entries like Gojira tai Hedorâ [Godzilla vs. Hedorah] or unmitigated disasters like Gojira-Minira-Gabara: Oru kaijû daishingeki [Godzilla's Revenge]. One thing that can be said is that Godzilla has always been fun. It may be easy to just laugh at the series because Godzilla is just a man in a rubber suit right? Personally, I find it amazing what Ishirô Honda, Jun Fukuda, Yoshimitsu Banno, etc. have been able to accomplish as directors and turning Godzilla into something so much more than just a man in a suit smashing miniatures.

Godzilla films started out as having Godzilla as a pure villain but he went through a shift to become more of an indirect ally. Other giant monsters would appear and Godzilla would come to save humanity even if they would regularly engage him as an enemy as well. I've seen all the Godzilla movies and I guess you could say he's a beloved figure in my eyes. I know I'm not the only one either.

That's why this American remake was so crucial to nail. Roland Emmerich's 1998 Godzilla maybe gets a bit of an unfair wrap because I'm sure that if the title weren't Godzilla, it wouldn't have been so universally hated. I was skeptical about this 2014 version when I first heard it announced, but that changed when I saw the first trailer which was attached before The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I don't usually let trailers influence my excitement for movies and usually ignore them, but this trailer really pumped me up and I had to see if the movie would deliver on its promise. 

May 29, 2014

Review: Star Kid (1997)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is pure cinematic bliss. With good effects, a heavy-hitting story and a score that would make any movie at least somewhat worthwhile, it's no surprise that other people would want to capitalize. Star Kid came out 15 years later after E.T. but it's pretty obvious that the same formula is being used here.

Whiny kid? Check. Life form from another planet that becomes whiny kid's friend? Check. Single parent? Check. The only addition in Star Kid is the threat of an alien invasion. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but there's no flattery here. It's just an easy rip-off pure and simple.

May 28, 2014

Review: Break Up (1998)

It's really hard to find a thriller movie that actually thrills isn't it? Break Up is another chapter in the long book of unthrilling thrillers and it's too bad. Years ago I saw Kiss of the Dragon with Jet Li and remember really liking Bridget Fonda for some reason. She played this vulnerable prostitute that I couldn't help but feel bad for and she plays a victim in this movie as well.

Break Up isn't too different from J.Lo's Enough, but it isn't quite as laughably hamfisted in its anti-domestic abuse message. The big problem is that it fails in getting across any sort of tension across the screen and it has an unhealthy habit of using too many flashbacks. There are maybe a few moments that shock, but those moments wear off pretty quick.

May 26, 2014

Review: Karnaval (1999)

Carnival is a festival that occurs annually in France right before Lent, probably to get in a couple of nights of debauchery before buckling down. The scenes that are depicted in Karnaval easily rival the kinds of carnivals you'd see in Rio de Janeiro if you ask me. I'd honestly like to know if this movie was filmed during an actual Carnival in Dunkirk or actual Carnival scenes were staged because I can't find any info regarding where or when it was filmed. The Carnival scenes look incredibly real and well put together regardless.

Karnaval is a French romantic drama which I guess would make it easy to toss in with other French love triangle films. Director Thomas Vincent has taken a familiar formula but it works well and benefits from some good acting. This is especially true for Sylvie Testud who's as reliable as ever. It's hard not to get sucked into the whole Carnival-party mindset and what you get is something differentiated as far as love-triangle films go.

May 25, 2014

Review: Kaitei gunkan [Atragon] (1963)

There's nothing like a Toho B-movie. Godzilla movies may be their bread and butter but they have a whole lot of other gems that make for some easy, schlock-filled fun. Kaitei gunkan is definitely one of those gems. You can trust me when I say that the poster for the movie with what looks like a flying submarine is far from an exaggeration.

Director Ishirō Honda knows how to make a "tokusatsu" movie which in plain terms is a special effects film. Even if all he ever made was Godzilla (1954) he'd still be a legend for the genre. He has his regular team of Shinichi Sekizawa for the script and Eiji Tsuburaya as director of special effects. Their contributions can't be ignored because as far as B-movies go, the script for Kaitei gunkan is pretty solid, if pretty silly and the special effects are actually quite impressive.

May 24, 2014

Review: Kai po che! (2013)

Kai po che! which means "I've have cut the kite" refers to Makar Sankranti, a Hindu festival celebrating the harvest. Participants fly colourful kites with strings designed to cut other kites down from the skies. Its depiction in Kai po che! is but a single part of the friendship depicted between its three main characters.

Like Kahaani which I watched recently, Kai po che! is not your typical Bollywood movie full of songs and dancing. I kept waiting for such a scene to pop up but the closest I got was a short dancing scene between Govind and his love interest. A song-dance routine can be nice from time to time but these routines in Bollywood cinema usually just ignore the story and bloat the film. I can't say that Kai po che! is innocent of being bloated though because it relies too heavily on long montages to develop the story.

May 23, 2014

Review: Patch Adams (1998)

Here we go, Patch Adams. So Patch is apparently a real guy and this is "based" off of his life. I haven't read the book this script is based on and I don't know Patch Adams personally but he seems to have some decent enough ideas in his head about medicine in general. The Gesundheit Institute honestly sounds like a good idea at first glance and a worthwhile cause. It's not everyone who'd be willing to put themselves out there to create a place where medical care can be received for free so the real Patch Adams deserves some respect for that.

Now the Patch Adams in the movie Patch Adams is not someone I'd personally want to be cared by and that's for sure. I've liked Robin Williams before but his version of Patch just seems like a collection of non-stop Williams comedy that gets really annoying. The reason why he never is serious is because as everyone knows, laughter is the best medicine so he's got to get those sick patients laughing their boots off. Personally, I'd respectfully ask for another doctor if I were saddled with the movie version of Patch Adams.

May 22, 2014

Review: The Farm: 10 Down (2009)

The Farm: 10 Down is a followup to the 1998 documentary The Farm: Angola, USA. They both follow the day to day lives of inmates in Angola Prison which is located in Louisiana. It's a maximum security prison with inmates being of the most notorious variety. One in two inmates are murderers and 95% of them will die behind bars. The Farm: Angola, USA paints the prison as the most bloody and violent in the United States and not a really great place to be in obviouslyl. However, a lot has changed in those 11 years.

We get reintroduced to prisoners from The Farm: Angola, USA which is really nice since they're all memorable and it's great to get an update on their situation. The Farm: 10 Down is not quite as demoralizing as its predecessor but still has some pretty heavy moments, particularly a difficult to watch meeting between Vincent Simmons and the two victims he was found guilty of raping in 1977.

Review: Moonraker (1979)

Moonraker, a generally reviled entry in the James Bond series probably doesn't deserve as much hate as it receives. It's utterly ridiculous but there's some charm in its ridiculousness that's hard not to appreciate. The reason why Bond takes a trip into space can be summed up to the fact that Star Wars had just come out two years ago and had changed cinema forever. Well the gamble paid off because Moonraker was the highest grossing Bond film until 1995's Goldeneye, so mad props to Broccoli for making such a calculated decision.

All the same, it's kind of sad that Albert R. Broccoli believed that Bond had to take a page out of whatever was popular at the time. It wasn't the first time this was done with James getting a taste of blaxploitation and martial arts films pretty recently. I think this is another Broccoli decision since he was trying to make up for losing Sean Connery. The Man with the Golden Gun had a take on martial arts which I had mentioned I disliked in my review of it and Live and Let Die can be said to be a blaxploitation film. There's actually another martial arts scene in Moonraker but it's far superior to what was done before.

May 21, 2014

Review: King of the Hill (1993)

King of the Hill seems to be one of Steven Soderbergh's lesser known films and it deserves a lot better. I had expectations at a certain level since it's Soderbergh but this movie blew them out of the water. King of the Hill is charming, it's cute, it's sad and it seems totally genuine. It's not the first time I've seen movies about kids during the Great Depression but this is probably one of the finest ones I've ever seen.

The story is based off of A. E. Hotchner's experiences during the Great Depression in the 1930's. Imagine being a kid during this time and your parents are gone for whatever reason, leaving you totally on your own in a hotel with close to no money. I can't even fathom going through something like that as a kid. That just means a lot of growing up real quick when really a kid that age should just be thinking about being a kid.

May 19, 2014

Review: Kahaani (2012)

I've seen a fair amount of Indian movies and to be honest there are very few that I've really liked. I'm generalizing though and that's a bit unfair. You can't reduce a country's cinema based on the limited amount of films you've seen. I'm sure that if a foreigner were to judge American cinema, they would just have the international blockbusters to go by which isn't a very fair assessment either because there are loads of good Hollywood productions that don't just rely on fancy effects or aren't for a global audience.

Despite my limited familiarity with Hindi cinema, Kahaani is a really nice change from the usual fare. Although it's 2 hours, it isn't a bloated, singing and dancing, overly melodramatic movie either. Sorry, I'm generalizing again here but Bollywood movies seem to be full of movies that follow this structure. Probably the best change here is that the main character is female and is a pretty strong character in her own right. There's no dancing or singing and the focus is on the story.

May 18, 2014

Review: Kadosh (1999)

Kadosh is the kind of film that is destined to be criticized by it's home country, or at least by a certain portion of it. It has a pretty critical view on Orthodox Judaism which is made clear not minutes into it. Meïr (Yoram Hattab) recites a prayer when he wakes up and thanks God for nothing making him a woman. There are a few other instances where the female characters are put down and treated like second-rate citizens as well.

The director of Kadosh, Amos Gitai isn't that well liked in the Israel film scene. This isn't just because of the controversial themes that he covers though. He's seen as "too European" according to some critics but he does a fine job in Kadosh if you ask me. Dramatic scenes hit their marks without being melodramatic, the actors are all well reigned in and give good performances as well.

May 17, 2014

Review: The Perfect Man (2005)

I still remember seeing commercials on TV for The Perfect Man back in 2005 and thinking to myself how I would never see a dumb girl movie like that. When you're a 15 year-old boy you live by a code where The Perfect Man is 100% absent from. All I cared about was Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and nothing else. Seeing The Perfect Man now is strangely nostalgic in a way because it reminds me of when I was so intolerant of certain movies.

Hilary Duff is nearing her plateau in popularity if not already peaked in 2005. Lizzie McGuire had ended a year earlier and her most popular album to date was her 2004 self-titled album. Doing TV, movies and music is impressive and pretty commendable. She does a lot of everything but nothing amazingly well if you ask me but I'm not the best Hilary Duff expert anyhow. She's still a good role-model and hasn't suffered from the child star curse. She's going through a soft career resurgence with an album coming out this year, a new TV show starting in the fall and she's settled into doing voice acting in direct-to-video animated movies. That's not so bad if you ask me.

May 16, 2014

Review: Killing Them Softly (2012)

Killing Them Softly is basically a combination of a whole bunch of crime TV series or movie films all mashed together. It's pretty slow, plodding and it does a lot of talking. At times it feels like there isn't really anything going on but Killing Them Softly delivers something worthwhile in the end if you give it a chance.

A very strong cast has been assembled here. Brad Pitt brings a dark persona onto the screen and he has help from the always reliable Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, as well as Scoot McNairy among others. I remember Scoot back from Monsters and I really liked his performance here. Gandolfini brings his usual form from The Sopranos and Ray Liotta is basically playing Henry Hill from Goodfellas in a spin-off movie. If you're trying to make a crime movie though, you can't really go wrong with this bunch.

May 15, 2014

Review: Kill Your Darlings (2013)

Daniel Radcliffe still has some proving to do post-Potter. The Woman in Black was pretty good as a movie but it didn't give Daniel any time to show his talent. He also seemed a bit ill-suited for the role because he seems too young to have a daughter and be an established lawyer. Although not that scary, it was pretty decent. Kill Your Darlings on the other hand requires Radcliffe to be in top form.

The movie is set in the 1940's and begins with Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) trying to get into Columbia University. His father is a poet and his mother suffers from some sort of mental illness. This causes Allen to be very close to her and very protective as well. His place at Columbia is assured but is disappointed to find the school so traditional and stuffy. He unites with Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac and William Boroughs in what would become the Beat Generation. This is basically a counter-cultural movement that liberalized published literature in the United States. This didn't come without some pretty significant trouble though.

May 14, 2014

Review: Jing cha gu shi 2013 [Police Story 2013] (2013)

Jackie Chan is back again in a new installment in the Police Story series. Like New Police Story though, it's a complete reboot with no relation to previous movies. It plays out like a drama with some sprinklings of action here and there. It falls dangerously close to being a Die Hard clone but somewhat escapes that designation. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with Police Story 2013 though.

Jackie Chan looks the part of a mainland police officer and he can do drama fine as was evidenced in New Police Story. This is important because there is absolutely no humour on his part this time. I'm doubtful if he even cracks a smile in this movie. New Police Story has a smidgeon of comedy from Jackie but there's literally zero this time around. It still takes a little getting used to but Jackie Chan does just fine.

May 13, 2014

Review: The Kings of Summer (2013)

Coming-of-age movies are one of my favourite subgenres of cinema. Who doesn't like the challenges faced by some soon-to-be adult. Life isn't easy but there only so many ways you can present teenage problems. I think Hollywood has kind of used up all the possible ways a teen can feel that the world is against them but that doesn't stop The Kings of Summer from entertaining. It's got a unique, jittery way of showing imagery with a soundtrack that doesn't stop for a second.

The Kings of Summer is Jordan Vogt-Roberts' directorial debut and he's done a good job. Even the script comes courtesy of a newcomer in Chris Galletta. The story is about Joe wanting to escape his father who has become bitter and quite honestly an asshole following the death of his wife. Joe has a best friend named Patrick who also has had it with his annoying parents. They decide to build a house in the middle of the woods away from everything and everyone, joined by a random kid called Biaggio.

May 12, 2014

Review: Juno and the Paycock (1929)

Juno and the Paycock is a real oldie. Only two years removed from the first talkie, JatP at times still feels like it could be a silent movie but it isn't. The dialogue is actually quite good which can be attributed to the fact that it is based off of a play by Sean O'Casey. I'm not much of a play guy but this seems like a pretty decent play overall. It's aged semi-gracefully which is an accomplishment.

If you're wondering what the heck a paycock is, it's a term that Juno calls her husband since he's as useful as a peacock is (not very) and he always has someone to pay since he's irresponsible with his family's money. For the most part, Captain Boyle likes to spend the money he gets on drinking which he does his best to hide from his wife Juno.

May 11, 2014

Review: Los ojos de Julia [Julia's Eyes] (2010)

Spanish horror movies have been pretty good as of late. Guillermo del Toro himself is also a reason to love Spanish cinema. To be honest though, I don't really get any del Toro vibes from this movie. To me, del Toro is all about imaginative and creative designs whether that be for sets or costumes which isn't really found in Julia's Eyes at all. That's not to say that Julia's Eyes is a terrible movie or anything. It's just that with del Toro's name so prominently displayed on the poster, it's disappointing. 

Director Guillem Morales had one theatrical horror movie and a few shorts under his belt before tackling Julia's Eyes. He also is the co-writer of the script with Oriol Paulo. As a director, I believe that Morales has done a pretty good job. Camera movements are very sure and he gets pretty good mileage out of his actors. The script is where I believe there is a problem but I'll get into that.

May 10, 2014

Review: Juha (1999)

Aki Kaurismäki is a Finnish director who is a master at dry humour. I saw his Finland trilogy a few years ago and loved it. With Juha, Kaurismäki is trying something a little different. It's a black and white silent film that uses intertitles to get the dialogue across. It's based on a novel by Finnish author Juhani Aho and it has already been adapted three times before. What's funny is that the reason why Kaurismäki decided to make this adaptation a silent film is because of actor André Wilms' inability to speak Finnish.

Juha is the story of a farming couple living in the country. Their lives are extremely simple but both appear to be content. Marja loves her husband Juha despite his lame leg and contributes as much as she can to keep things running smoothly on the farm. One day, a man from the city named Shemeikka shows up and needs help to repair his broken down Corvette. While Juha is busy doing what's necessary to help him out, Shemeikka puts the moves on Marja and convinces her that she could do better. He puts it in her head that she should come to the city with him and leave the farming life far behind.

May 9, 2014

Review: Xi you xiang mo pian [Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons] (2013)

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons is the most recent movie in Stephen Chow's directorial efforts. I've only ever seen Kung Fu Hustle out of all his work and I didn't like it at all. It's a little curious as to why I didn't given the critical and popular reception it had but I'm chalking it up to inexperience on my behalf. It was probably about four years ago that I saw Kung Fu Hustle and I'd venture a guess that if I watched it today, I'd really like it a lot and that's all due to how I feel about Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons. Chow has a unique and exaggerated form of comedy that I enjoyed this time around in JttW:CtD. I should probably give Kung Fu Hustle a second chance.

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons is based on a Chinese novel by Wu Cheng'en that is unsurprisingly called Journey to the West. Chow does take some liberties though and adds a healthy dose of comedy to the pot. It makes for an interesting mix of fantasy, action, romance and comedy. Hard to believe that all these elements can work but it does and the result is a lot of fun.

May 8, 2014

Review: San ging caat goo si [New Police Story] (2004)

New Police Story is a completely rebooted entry in the Police Story series. The story has nothing to do with previous films and Jackie Chan does not play Chan Ka-Kui. Instead, he plays Chan Kwok-Wing who is a veteran police inspector in Hong Kong with a long history of success. His exploits have lead him to become very confident which gives him the appearance of being a little too cocky.

New Police Story is a very different Jackie Chan movie from what we're used to. Although there is still a decent amount of comedic moments in this film, it can get quite dark and depressing. It does at times toe the line of being a bit overly melodramatic, it's still refreshing all the same to see Jackie Chan tackle a role that requires a lot of emotion. He does admirable work and he successfully distances himself from his usual fare which isn't easy given how long he's been at it. New Police Story marks 42 years in cinema for Jackie Chan. He could easily just continue playing the same kind of character he usually he does, but he decided to try something totally different and I respect that.

May 7, 2014

Review: Journey to Shiloh (1968)

Journey to Shiloh is interesting in the sense that it shows two great Hollywood stars early on in their respective careers. James Caan is given the main character role of the movie. He does well enough as Buck Burnett but nothing earth shattering. He's cool, calm and collected and plays a father type character to all those who follow his leadership. Harrison Ford also has a role, albeit a very minor one where he doesn't deliver too many lines. As Willie Bill Bearden, he plays one of the underlings of Burnett. Even with seven heroes, it's still the Caan show.

The movie starts off with a pretty goofy singing introduction of all the characters. The song is a recurring theme that shows up several times and I actually like it. We know exactly who each character is and how they are without any further information needed. Journey to Shiloh is all about these seven characters and their mission to join up with the Confederate army during the American Civil War.

May 5, 2014

Review: Joshua Tree (1993)

Dolph Lundgren is a beaut isn't he? He'll never get as much love as action heavyweights like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone but ever since he broke onto the scene in Rocky IV, he holds a special place in action movie mythology. He clocks in more at the level of Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme type movies which is still a respectable domain. At 6'5, he's absolutely massive and he's great at keeping that permanent scowl on his face. He's not much of an actor but he's got the skills to carry an action movie.

Joshua Tree was directed by famed stuntman and stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong who's most noteworthy credits include Indiana Jones, James Bond and Superman which is pretty impressive. Joshua Tree is his directorial debut unless you want to count an episode of The Indiana Jones Chronicles. Vic's done good in bringing Dolph on board who he had worked with previously in Universal Soldier.

May 4, 2014

Review: Joan of Arc (1999)

Joan of Arc is TV movie that preceded the release of the theatrical Joan of Arc film starring Milla Jovovich by a few months in 1999. The titular character is played by Leelee Sobieski which isn't too shabby of a casting decision because she is reportedly fluent in French. As is expected though, this is a movie for a North American audience, so English is the only language that is spoken. So in the end Leelee only gets to use her talent for a couple words here and there.

I saw the theatrical version not too long ago, so it's still fresh in my mind. In comparison, the TV movie plays things much safer. There is no bizarre modern dialogue being used and the music is more traditional, if a bit dull. Director Christian Duguay of Outremont, Quebec seems to have a thing for action movies which doesn't really show in Joan of Arc. The battle scenes are realistic but not very exciting. The final battle is especially disappointing because it's honestly just a slow-motion montage with music. The theatrical version on the other hand had some spectacular battles with the steady hand of Luc Besson directing.

May 3, 2014

Review: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013)

Me and Jackass don't really have the best history. The TV series itself was alright but better than the movies in my opinion. There have always been some pretty funny stunts but the movies have a way of going overboard with the toilet humour that I'm not into. Toilet humour is fine in very, very limited quantities. With the Jackass movies though, there's just too much. It's been a while since I've seen any of them but that's what sticks out in my mind.

For me, a related production that I always loved was Wildboyz with Steve-O and Chris Pontius. I would stop everything if it came on TV which was usually on a French channel funnily enough but thankfully with subtitles and not dubbed. For me, Pontius is my favourite of all the Jackass gang. Him and Steve-O would go to exotic countries and mess around with dangerous animals and other nonsense. It was always respectful though and quite honestly, I'd learn a great deal. Mostly not to mess around with dangerous animals.

Review: Jackass Presents: Murderball (2005)

I've seen pretty much every Jackass movie that has come out so far except for the newest entry which is next on the list. Looking up Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa on IMDb also brought up Jackass Presents: Murderball so I had to see what that was about. I'm a stickler when it comes to completing series so I was just motivated to watch it.

The intentions of this particular Jackass entry are pretty noble. Murderball is a documentary about quadriplegic athletes playing rugby in wheelchairs. The unofficial name for this sport is murderball and it's pretty intense. The wheelchairs they use are heavily modified to take a beating and it isn't a sport for the weak. Murderball also takes a look at the lives of these men in terms of how their handicap affects them and how they get over it. I haven't seen the documentary myself but some of the Jackass crew give it a watch at the beginning of this TV movie and fill us in. Several excerpts from Murderball also make it into JP:M so it's pretty clear that JP:M serves as a promotional tool.

Review: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

The Spy Who Loved Me is almost universally regarded as the best Roger Moore James Bond film and I share this opinion. Compared to Moore's prior efforts, it's a much more lavish production with grand sets, great stunts, lots of explosions and gadgets to satisfy all. It combines action and humour to great effect and Barbara Bach as the Bond girl is superb.

The story is about James Bond hunting down the person responsible for stealing submarines from the English and the Russians to stockpile nuclear missiles. The submarines just disappeared without a trace and obviously this is something that could lead to war so it's crucial that James figure it out before more damage can be done. Bond teams up with Russian spy, Anya Amasova or very fittingly, Agent XXX. Moore and Bach have great chemistry as allies while still being rivals.

May 2, 2014

Review: Jack the Giant Killer (2013)

The Asylum has a really good thing going. Any big Hollywood blockbusters that they deem will be a success, they come with up with a close approximation of the title and release it direct to video at the same time. Most of the money they make is either from people making the mistake in thinking that they've found a real copy of a major Hollywood production or it's people like me who have a bizarre fascination in seeing these train wrecks. They're even able to coax some semi-major actors who are past their prime to be a part of these films. This time around, Ben Cross of Chariots of Fire and Jane March who starred with Bruce Willis in Color of Night from 1994 accept tainted Asylum cash.

There's a whole lot wrong with Jack the Giant Killer and that's pretty easy to see without even starting the movie. Is that a dinosaur on the cover? Since when have there ever been dinosaurs in the classic tale of Jack versus giants? See the sword he's holding? Jack never once wields a sword the whole time because the movie is set during the 40's or 50's. I think so, I honestly don't even know. It's a little difficult to tell because the costume design is inconsistent and just plain awful.

Review: The Hockey Sweater (1980)

If you want to understand the fandom behind the Montreal Canadiens in Quebec, this is the short film to see. It's based off a short story written by Roch Carrier, a French-Canadian author who wrote Une abominable feuille d'érable sur la glace that was made into an animated short film a year later as well. The story of THS comes from his real life experiences as a boy in 1946. What's a really nice bonus is the involvement of Roch Carrier in the film as the narrator.

Not only does The Hockey Sweater illustrate the fandom behind the Canadiens, but also it attempts to explain the tensions that exist between English and French Canada. Through hockey of course. It's simplicity in addressing this issue is simply brilliant if you ask me. I'm not here to argue one side over the other though, this is only a film blog after all.

May 1, 2014

Review: Kissing a Fool (1998)

Kissing a Fool came out when the TV series Friends was still in full swing. If you're David Schwimmer, why not take a dive into the world of romantic comedy? Not only did he star in it, he was the executive producer too. He had already had some experience producing with a film called Shoot the Moon but I don't think anyone really watched it. The stars are definitely more favourably lined up for Kissing a Fool with Jason Lee on board who had already starred in two Kevin Smith films previously.

Based on a short story in Don Quixote, Kissing a Fool takes an overused love triangle plot and tries to turn it into a fast talking, Woody Allen-esque romantic comedy. Writers James Frey and Doug Ellin don't have the chops though to deliver on such a lofty goal and the movie falls flat in the end.