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Saturday, November 28, 2009

November’s Overlooked Film: The Brothers Bloom

Chosen by: John C

The Brothers Bloom

Release Date May 15th, 2009

Rated PG-13 for violence, some sensuality and brief strong language


Running Time: 97 min


Rian Johnson (dir.)

Rian Johnson (writer)


Nathan Johnson (music)


Rachel Weisz as Penelope Stamp

Adrien Brody as Bloom

Mark Ruffalo as Stephen

Rinko Kikuchi as Bang Bang

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Overlooked Film: The Brothers Bloom

By John C.


For this month’s overlooked film, I am shining the spotlight back on Rian Johnson’s masterpiece The Brothers Bloom. We had reviewed this film when it opened in theatres on May 15th, and when it came to DVD on October 6th. We all absolutely loved it, all awarding it 4 (out of 4) stars.


The film was criminally underrated in some circles, and it’s too bad it hasn’t been remembered with the awards recognition it deserves. Seek it out if you can, and please don’t hesitate to buy the DVD.


Is there a film that you think is overlooked? Send the name of the movie to onemoviefiveviews@hotmail.com, or leave us a comment below.

Exclusive Avatar Clip on Cineplex!


Cineplex now features two scenes and a featurette from Avatar. The first clip is a worldwide exclusive only available through Cineplex, the second is a slightly longer version of the one released on Rotten Tomatoes a few weeks ago. The featurette, which I believe I’ve already seen, is a behind-the-scenes with James Cameron. All three are very much worth watching.


It’s hard to believe that Avatar is opening in just under three weeks. The anticipation is certainly building. I’m hoping it not only lives up to, but surpasses, peoples expectations.


-John C.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Christmas Clause DVD Review

On November 10th, E1 Home Entertainment released The Christmas Clause on DVD. As promised, here are our reviews of the film.


The Christmas Clause - An E1 Films’ release

DVD Release Date: November 10th, 2009

Rated PG

Running time: 88 minutes


George Erschbamer (dir.)

Sheri Elwood (writer)


Stu Goldberg (music)


Doug Abrahams as Santa

Lea Thompson as Sophie


Our reviews below:

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The Christmas Clause Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

The Christmas Clause is pretty much just another take on a classic Christmas premise. A woman, overwhelmed by her life, asks Santa for a new one. The woman, Sophie, is played by Lea Thompson, better known as Lorraine in the Back to the Future films.


The Santa that she deals with is a bit creepy, but other than that there’s really nothing wrong with this film. Though by no means that great, The Christmas Clause is surprisingly alright in that made for TV kind of way. The audiences that rent this film are likely to enjoy it.

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The Christmas Clause DVD Review By Erin V.

**1/2 (out of 4)

In the film The Christmas Clause, Sophie, a lawyer and mother of two kids, is overwhelmed with her life as it is, and wishes for a new one. Not long after, she faints and wakes up with the life she wished for. And then, of course, in a classic Christmas kind of story, she discovers that it's not quite really what she wanted, her old life was better, and she now must find a way to get it back before Christmas Eve.


The Christmas Clause is by no means a bad film to watch if it comes on TV. It kept itself going well enough, and for a Sunday afternoon, 'not watching that closely', kind of entertainment, I would recommend it.

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The Christmas Clause DVD Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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The Christmas Clause DVD Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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The Christmas Clause DVD Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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Consensus: **1/2 (Out of 4)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Old Dogs

Old Dogs - A Walt Disney Pictures Release

http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/olddogs/

Release Date: November 25th, 2009

Rated PG for some mild rude humour

Running time: 88 minutes


Walt Becker (dir.)

David Diamond (screenwriter)

David Weissman (screenwriter)


John Debney (music)


John Travolta as Charlie

Robin Williams as Dan

Kelly Preston as Vicki

Conner Rayburn as Zach

Ella Bleu Travolta as Emily

Seth Green as Ralph White

Bernie Mac as Jimmy Lunchbox


(L-R) John Travolta, Robin Williams Ph: Ron Phillips ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Our reviews below:

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Old Dogs Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

About a year ago, I gave a mild, sort-of recommendation, (**1/2 stars), to the film Four Christmases. Like Old Dogs, the new Disney comedy opening today, it wasn’t that great, but it also wasn’t that bad. And more importantly, audiences are going to love it.


Old Dogs stars John Travolta as Charlie, a hard working sports publicist, and Robin Williams as his long-time business partner, Dan. When Dan finds out that he’s got 7-year old twins, he ends up having to watch them for two weeks while their mother has a stint in jail. I found it sort of bitter sweet to see Bernie Mac in a side role, that turns out to be his last.


Though it is mildly amusing, a lot of the jokes fell flat for me, and some of the humour I found to be of the stupid/mildly cruel variety. But I’m also not the target demographic, as this is a fairly clean film that is going to appeal mostly to kids.


This film gets the extra 1/2 star for the audiences that I know who are going to love it. It should be noted that the crowd I saw it with seemed to have a great time. This would be a good choice for families of older kids who are looking for something to see over the holidays, but really, the best choice would be to just stay home and watch Mrs. Doubtfire.

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Old Dogs Review By Erin V.

**1/2 (out of 4)

Old Dogs is a slapstick, at times amusing, comedy. Robin Williams and John Travolta play Dan and Charlie, two guys in marketing. Then, Dan hears from a woman whom he met in Florida 7 years ago. Turns out, he has twins - a boy and a girl. Their mother has to go to jail for two weeks for trespassing, and in a bind asks him to watch the kids. Getting Charlie to help him, it is clear that these two know absolutely nothing about how to take care of kids. Towards the end, the film deviates slightly from it's repeated physical comedy to turn into something sort of sweet.


Sure, the plot was predictable - at one point, I thought, 'it must be about a half hour from the end...', looking at my watch, I found that I was almost spot on. How did I know? The film was so obviously structured, that the plot points felt like they had been written in a class in '3 act structure'. So much so, that I could tell how far into the film we were just by the turning points of the characters. Most films have turning points at similar positions, but should flow so that they are unnoticeable.


From two such well known actors, I'd think they could have chosen to do something at least a little better than this? Anyway, this film will be enjoyed by families, with kids maybe 9 or 10 and up. I didn't have a bad time watching it - admittedly, I actually found it to be entertaining enough. I'm giving it a half star more for that reason.

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Old Dogs Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Old Dogs is a fun, lighthearted family film. Starring Robin Williams and John Travolta, this movie tells the story of Dan and Charlie, two middle aged marketing agents who live a normal life. Their lives get turned upside down however, when Dan gets a call from a woman whom he was once briefly married to. She has been arrested for a minor offence, and wants the father of her tow seven year old kids to watch them during her brief incarceration. Dan, with the help of Charlie, learns to be a good fathers. He then has to choose between work and family.


Old Dogs has a nice message about family values. Both children and seniors will enjoy this movie, as the humour is relatively clean. Despite what the trailers might make you thing, Old Dogs has more than just gags. this movie has heart. A fun choice to take the family to this holiday season.

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Old Dogs Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Old Dogs is the story of two old dogs, business partners Charlie (John Travolta) and Dan (Robin Williams). The two bachelors are in the middle of a big business when the unthinkable happens - Dan finds out he'll be caring for his six year old twins, a son and daughter he didn't know he had.


if it weren't for the strong comedic talents of John Travolta and Robin Williams, Old Dogs would have fallen flat. There are a lot of over the top visual gags and silly situations that the two men encounter when their worlds are turned upside down by the two kids. This really is a laugh out loud kind of movie. I thought the two seniors sitting next to me would choke on their popcorn they were laughing so hard.


I have to admit I liked this movie in spite of the predictable storyline and some cheap laughs. Sometimes it's fun to watch a movie that is pure fun and light entertainment. Not every movie has to be Oscar material. There are also a lot of sweet moments in Old Dogs.


Old Dogs is very much a family film. Fans of John Travolta and Robin Williams who want to watch see something fun for the holidays will want to check this one out. Old Dogs will also play well on DVD.

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Old Dogs Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Old Dogs is calculated to be a hit, pairing John Travolta and Robin Williams as long-time partners in a sporting goods business. JT is the marketing man and an aging playboy, while the awkward RW is more creative. In a pitch to prospective Japanese clients, JT recounts an embarrassing one-night stand about eight years prior including a quickie marriage and divorce for RW. Suddenly, the ex (Kelly Preston) shows up with RW’s twins, that he has to watch for two weeks while she serves time for tree-hugging.


As a Disney film, Old Dogs never misses a chance for a cheap laugh or stereotype, such as a sycophantic board of Japanese executives responding in unison to the boss’s cues. No doubt the nonstop gags will be fresh for the kids the film is aimed at and their elders won’t mind sitting through the old shtick one more time. It’s not a bad film and the stars will make a lot of money, but compared to earlier work such as Mrs. Doubtfire it’s just a waste of time.

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Consensus: **1/2 (Out of 4)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Four Christmases on DVD Today

Last November 26th, we reviewed the Alliance Films' release, Four Christmases. It is being released on DVD today. You can read our original theatrical reviews here.


Our consensus was:

Four Christmases has a few good laughs, and a strong cast. While not one to make sure to catch in theaters, it is worth a rental. **1/2 (Out of four.)


The DVD comes in o-card packaging, and can be bought on it's own, or as a two-pack with Elf. The Blu-ray disc includes the following special features: Four Christmases: Holiday Moments, HBO First Look at Four Christmases: Behind the Madness, Seven Layer Holiday Meals in a Flash, Gag Reel, and Deleted scenes.


- Erin V.

The Maiden Heist DVD Review

The Maiden Heist - An E1 Films Release


DVD Release Date: November 24th, 2009

Rated PG for mature themes

Running time: 90 minutes


Peter Hewitt (dir.)

Michael LeSieur (writer)


Rupert Gregson-Williams (music)


Morgan Freeman as Charles

Christopher Walken as Roger Barlow

William H. Macy as George McLendon

Marcia Gay Harden as Mrs. Barlow


Our reviews below:

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The Maiden Heist Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

The Maiden Heist is a hilarious caper-comedy, headed by an all-star cast including Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and William H. Macy. Three security guards at an art museum each have a piece of art which they connect with. When they find out that the two paintings and a statue that they love so much are being moved to a different museum, they devise a plan to steal them, and replace them with fakes.


What ensues is a tale of suspense, that keeps the laughs coming right through to the end. I love a great caper and a good comedy, and this film delivers on both fronts. The Maiden Heist is definitely worth seeking out for a great evening in.


The DVD includes audio commentary with the actors, director and producer, deleted scenes and a blooper reel.

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The Maiden Heist DVD Review By Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Unfortunately never getting a theatrical release, I think The Maiden Heist would have been very well received, both critically, and with public audiences. The story is that of three security guards at an art museum undergoing exhibit changes. The three, played expertly by Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, and William H. Macy, each have a favourite piece in the original exhibit that they really connect to. Unfortunately, these three pieces are among the ones being replaced by new modern art, and moved to Denmark. Unable to let their beloved pieces go, they concoct a convoluted plan to steal the paintings and replace them with forgeries, before they lose them forever...


This is a fun, suspenseful, and well-written film that will be enjoyed by teens and adults. It really is quite well made, not too long, and with a well matched score by Rupert Gregson-Williams. Of course, the acting is great as well, but I would expect no less from the three leads...


If you can find it, definitely try to see this one. There is a trailer if you search for it on the internet, but as it shows a fair bit, I would suggest just watching the actual film.

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The Maiden Heist DVD Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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The Maiden Heist DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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The Maiden Heist DVD Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Roger (Christopher Walken), Charles (Morgan Freeman) and George (William H. Macy) are three art gallery security guards, each obsessed with a particular work. Sharing none of his interest in art, Roger’s beloved wife (Marcia Gay Harden), just wants to save her beauty salon tips for a Florida trip. When the gallery decides to swap its collection (for installations of crap–literally) with a Danish institution, they conspire to steal their pieces and replace them with fakes. As an ex-Marine (a proud veteran of the Grenada campaign) George tries to run the caper with military precision. With quirky twists along the way, the film is a joy to watch right to the end.


The only sad thing about The Maiden Heist is that due to business problems it is going straight to DVD with little promotion. I am sure that the obvious joy of the cast, all at the top of their game, have shared in this tiny perfect film is greater compensation than the millions cashed in by the principals of a silly vehicle like Old Dogs, which I am also currently reviewing.

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Consensus: ***1/2 (Out of 4)

Funny People DVD Review

Funny People - A Universal Pictures Release

http://www.film1.nl/funnypeople/

DVD Release Date: November 24th, 2009

Rated 14A for coarse language, sexual content and crude content

Running time: 146 minutes (Rated) - 153 minutes (Unrated)


Judd Apatow (dir.)

Judd Apatow (writer)


Michael Andrews (music)

Jason Schwartzman (music)


Adam Sandler as George Simmons

Seth Rogen as Ira Wright

Leslie Mann as Laura

Eric Bana as Clarke

Jonah Hill as Leo Koenig

Jason Schwartzman as Mark Taylor Jackson


Our reviews below:

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Funny People Review By John C.

***1/4 (out of 4)

Funny People follows the story of stand up comedian George Simmons, (Adam Sandler, almost playing himself), who learns he has a rare form of cancer. He soon hires Ira (Seth Rogen), a struggling comedian, to write his jokes. The friendship that ensues is rocky, but ultimately strong. The story goes in different directions, I found all of them worth watching.


Though the running time is a bit long, it doesn’t really drag. The story line moves at a good pace, and I actually found myself caring for these characters. The acting is strong, and it's pretty funny, too. Though on one level this is a foul-mouthed comedy, on another, it’s a drama about the people we connect with, and how certain people can change our lives. I really enjoyed this film.


The DVD includes both the theatrical rated version of the film, and the unrated, which runs for 7-minutes longer. It also includes a gag reel, and feature commentary with the director, Judd Apatow, and the two stars, Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen.

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Funny People DVD Review By Erin V.

***1/4 (out of 4)

From the director of Knocked Up, comes the comedy Funny People. While Knocked Up got more critical acclaim than this one, I actually preferred Funny People.


The story of the film is this: Ira Wright, (Seth Rogan), is an amateur stand-up comedian. George Simmons, (Adam Sandler) is a famous one. When George is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he doesn't know what to write for his stand-up act. He ends up at the same event as Ira, sees what he does, and asks him to write for him. The story follows their friendship everywhere from writing jokes together to trying to figure out what's right. Like Judd Apatow's other works, this film has heart, and that's what really works here.


The film, at least the unrated cut, is 2 hours and 33 minutes. It doesn't really feel too, too long, but there were some spots in the middle that could have been a little shorter. On a whole though, it is set up, and wrapped up, nicely, and is a very satisfying watch. This one is worth buying or renting, but heed the 14A rating, which is much deserved.

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Funny People DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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Funny People DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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Funny People DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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Consensus: *** (Out of 4)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Precious

Precious - A Maple Pictures Release

http://www.weareallprecious.com/

Release Date: November 20th, 2009

Rated 14A for child abuse including sexual assault, disturbing content and coarse language.

Running time: 109 minutes


Lee Daniels (dir.)

Geoffrey Fletcher (Screenwriter)


Based on the book Push by Sapphire


Mario Grigorov (music)


Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe as Precious

Mo'Nique as Mary

Paula Patton as Ms. Rain

Mariah Carey as Mrs. Weiss

Lenny Kravitz as Nurse John


Our reviews below:

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Precious Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, is the story of an abused, poor, and uneducated teenage girl, Claireece “Precious” Jones, growing up in Harlem in 1987. Suffering unimaginable abuse at home from her parents, she finds a safe haven at an alternative school. Though she is pregnant for the second time by her own father, things are actually starting to look up for her for the first the first time.


The film is genuinely, painfully human, both in it’s moments of bleak darkness, and in it’s small moments when we find ourselves cheering for Precious. Like when she runs out of a diner with an un-paid for bucket of chicken in her hands. We know it’s wrong, but we also understand why she’s doing it.


The acting is excellent all around, particularly Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe as Precious, and comedienne Mo’Nique in the truly disturbing role of her mother. Mariah Carey as a social worker, Lenny Kravitz as a nurses’ aid, and Paula Patton as her teacher, round out the superb supporting cast.

Though I’m not sure if it’s because of the film’s limited budget, or just a stylistic choice, the shifting camera angles, constant close-ups, and shaky cam served as a bit of a distraction.


The amazing performances and powerful storyline, keep the film grounded in it’s harsh reality. It’s hard too watch, but it’s also sometimes hard to look away. It's at times quite disturbing, but it's also not devoid of all hope, and that's what keeps us watching. Precious may very well end up winning Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. Although I personally wouldn’t vote it for more than just a nomination in that category, it would still be a worthy recipient of the top prize. This is an excellent film, that is worth going out to see.

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Precious Review By Erin V.

***3/4 (out of 4)

The movie Precious: Based on the Book Push by Sapphire, is a powerful movie indeed. What it isn't though, is this years Slumdog Millionaire - at least for me. Something about this movie just wasn't as well put together for me. In essence, I think it was a combination of things. The story as you may or may not already know, is that of Claireece 'Precious' Jones, a 16 year old abused and uneducated teenage girl in 1987. She is pregnant through incest for the second time, and lives with her mother, who is one of her abusers. She ends up in an alternative school, where she finally starts to understand the importance of education, and who she is.


While this is a solid movie, there are things that keep it from a four star for me. The strengths of the movie lie in the powerful storyline and the acting. Especially the acting. One of the drawbacks is the way that this film was shot. A lot of the camera angles and choices in editing made the film feel very much like I was watching a film to me. Some of the angles in certain scenes, where the characters are speaking with each other, the close-cuts between their faces and hands feels kind of unnatural.


Overall, this is a very good movie, and will probably grab a Best Picture nom. Whether or not it wins, we will have to wait and see. The importance of literacy as a path to freedom, as shown in this film, ring very true in the real world. While parts of it are hard to watch, it is worth seeing.

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Precious Review By Nicole

***3/4 (out of 4)

Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire, is both a heart wrenching and inspiring story. The movie, set in Harlem in 1987, tells the story of Claireese "Precious" Jones, a heavy set, African-American girl who endures horrific abuse. Her mother treats her like a slave, tells her she is worthless, and often throws various objects at Precious for seemingly no reason. Precious is pregnant for the second time around, after being raped by her own father. She is illiterate, and is at risk of being expelled for being disruptive in school. However, Precious remains strong throughout her ordeal, often relying on her imagination to get her through the day. Precious discovers hope when she joins an alternative school. Here, a kind, maternal teacher helps Precious learn to read, and more importantly, teaches Precious that she is lovable. Precious also finds support in her classmates, and a concerned social worker. Once Precious meets people who care, her world has a glimmer of light.


Precious is a powerful film. While often hard to watch, I couldn't pull myself away form this film. The acting in this film is extremely believable. Newcomer Gabourey Sidebe is amazing as Precious. The other actors are just as good. Precious is a movie that, while telling such a dark tale, offers hope to all those who survive poverty and abuse.

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Precious Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

Precious is a powerful film that is very difficult to watch, but even more difficult to ignore. The title character, Clareece “Precious” Jones, is a 16 year old, pregnant for the second time after years of sexual abuse by her father, and still enduring physical and emotional abuse by her mother. The only glimmer of hope in her life comes when she is sent to an alternative school that focuses on literacy skills for troubled young woman.


This film doesn’t shy away from showing the harsh realities of Precious’ life. There are sexual scenes that evoked collective gasps from the theatre audience, yet this isn’t a shock value film. The strength of Precious is in the powerfully raw performances by the lead characters. Gabourey Sidibe is amazing to watch as Precious, as is Mo’Nique who plays her abusive mother.


My favourite parts of the movie are the scenes at the alternative school. Seeing Precious and the other young woman start to open up through the journal writing exercises kept the story from being a complete tragedy.


My only criticism is of Precious would be that some of the camera techniques (odd angles, shifting) distracted me in some of the scenes and shifted my focus away from the dialogue.


If you can get past the emotionally difficult subject matter, then this is a must see film. There is excellent acting throughout and a really powerful story in Precious. No doubt there will be Oscar nominations for Precious.

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Precious Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Precious, based on the book Push by Sapphire, a New York poet, tells the story of the 16 year old Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe). With a developmentally delayed daughter living with her grandmother, she is pregnant by her absent father with a second child. She lives with her welfare mother (Mo’Nique), who sits around all day watching tv and with a constant stream of insults treats Precious as a servant. Morbidly obese, functionally illiterate, and bullied by her peers, she can still dream of a happier life as a performer with a light-skinned boyfriend. Her public school principal gets her into an alternate literacy program with a small group of other at risk young women taught by Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), who with caring patience gradually brings Precious to a better place.


With its endorsement by Oprah Winfrey and others, Precious has already attained iconic status. With brilliant performances directed by Lee Daniels in a relentless documentary style, it is a disturbing portrayal of life at its worst, from which there can still come some hope. Most will find it appropriately disturbing, if not put off by the rough language.


Coincidentally, Precious is coming out about the same time as The Blind Side. With its feel good success story, the latter film has already suffered in comparison, unjustly in my opinion, since it is much more accessible and based on a true story, while watching Precious, a fictional composite of the worst cases the author encountered in her work with inner city youth, felt like an obligation–much harder to take, like medicine. Both films in their own ways are highly recommended.

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Consensus: Though not perfect, Precious is an excellent film, with a powerful story line, and excellent acting. It is sure to pick up many awards. ***1/2 (Out of 4)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bring in an Unwrapped Toy, and Receive a Free Movie Pass

From November 19th, to December 18th, if you bring in an unwrapped toy to Rainbow Cinemas Market Square, you will receive a free movie pass valid on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s. This is a wonderful program that anyone can take part in, and encourages people to donate Christmas gifts to underprivileged children.


Click the poster on the right to view it full size.


-John C.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Blind Side

The Blind Side

http://theblindsidemovie.com/

Release Date: November 20th, 2009

Rated PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual referances.

Running time: 128 minutes


John Lee Hancock(dir.)

John Lee Hancock (Screenwriter)


Based on the book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis


Carter Burwell (music)


Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy

Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy

Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher

Jae Head as SJ Tuohy

Lily Collins as Collins Tuohy

Ray McKinnon as Coach Cotton

Kim Dickens as Mrs. Boswell

Adriane Lenox as Denise Oher


BS-16478 QUINTON AARON as Michael Oher and SANDRA BULLOCK as Leigh Anne Tuohy in Alcon Entertainment’s drama “The Blind Side,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Ralph Nelson


Our reviews below:

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The Blind Side Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

The Blind Side is the true story of Michael Oher, a poor, undereducated teenager living in a rough neighbourhood on someone’s couch. With the help of a friend, he is enrolled in a Christian school and catches the eye of the football coach. There he meets the Touhy’s, a family whose kids attend the school. When the mother Leigh Anne, played very well by Sandra Bullock, notices him walking to the school gym on a freezing November night, she invites him to stay at their house. What follows is an incredible story of hope, and of a sports star born out of nowhere.


The acting is all good, in particular Quentin Aaron as the incredibly likable Michael. Sandra Bullock is surprisingly good, in somewhat of a comeback. And though he never ages over the span of the film, young Jae Head gives a funny and very good performance as the precocious S.J..


What worked for me about this film, is that it never felt sappy or contrived. It’s sweet, but it’s also straight up and to the point, as it is largely based on a true story.


The Blind Side is the kind of film that will either work, or it won’t. And thankfully, this film really works. It’s an inspirational crowd-pleaser, it’s a tear-jerker drama, and it’s also a classic sports movie. This is one of the nice surprises of the year, and I think you should go see this film over the holidays.

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The Blind Side Review By Erin V.

***3/4 (out of 4)

Based on the true story of football player Michael Oher, The Blind Side is the perfect movie to see at this time of the year, due to it’s messages - particularly for those who celebrate American Thanksgiving.


What I really liked about The Blind Side is the fact that first and foremost, this is not so much a movie about football, as it is about family. It is a touching true story that is not made to be overly dramatized, or played that way, for the theatre. The actors are all excellent in their roles, which if you watch the featurette on Apple Trailers, you will see are cast perfectly.


As it said in the production notes, Michael could represent anyone. He could have become anything - not necessarily a football player - once he was given the chance and opportunity. But the thing about this story is, that each of the people in real life seem to have such interesting and distinct personalities, which are what made the events unfold the way they did.


Now, I am not a football watcher, so I have no idea really about the rules of the game. That being said, it did make the football scenes a little bit confusing for me at times as to what was going on, but like I said, the movie is more about the people than the game itself.


I think most people will really like this movie - football fans or not. This is one that you really should go see with the family - that is those about 10 and up. When it comes out eventually on DVD, this is one I would gladly watch again.

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The Blind Side Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

It’s not every day that you see a decent movie about family values. The Blind Side is one of these films. This movie tells the inspiring true story of the football player, Michael Oher. he starts out as a homeless teen from a rough neighbourhood. Michael struggles in school, and longs for a family. he has only a few friends, one being a young boy named S.J. One day, S.J.’s mother notices Michael wandering in the cold. Her parental instincts are Strong, so she takes him in. Michael soon becomes part of the family. His grades improve, and his protective instincts make him a good football player. This story proves that, with love, anything is possible.


I really liked The Blind Side. Sandra Bullock is believable as protective mother Leigh Anne Tuohy, as is Tim McGraw as father Sean Tuohy. The young actors seem really natural. Jae Head is hilarious as S.J., and Quinton Aaron plays the innocent role of Michael.


The Blind Side is a very sweet movie. It is never cloying, and has just the right balance between drama and heart. I would recommend The Blind Side to anyone ages 10 to 100.

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The Blind Side Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

The Blind Side” is a heart-warming movie with a lot of soul. Based on the true story of American football player Michael Oher, the movie chronicles the years he spent with the Touhy family after they took him in off the street.


The Blind Side” could have gone over the top with drama and sentimentality. There are certainly enough story elements that could have pushed it in that direction. Fortunately this movie delivers an uplifting, often funny and very satisfying story.


One of the reasons “The Blind Side” is so good is the excellent acting by the entire cast. Sandra Bullock’s performance as the feisty, Leigh Anne Touhy with the strong Mama bear instincts is wonderful. This is probably her best performance in recent years. Quinton Aaron as the gentle giant, Michael Oher gives a quiet, entirely believable performance. The comic relief in this film comes from Jae Head who plays the lovable precocious little brother, S.J. Touhy.


This is very much a movie about family values, unconditional love and acceptance and racial attitudes. It is also a football movie. Viewers like myself who are not football fans may find all the football scenes a little much, but this is after all a movie about a football player.


With the holidays just around the corner, this is a really nice movie to see as a family. The subject matter is too mature for younger children but fine for teens and adults. The Blind Side is a wonderful story of what can go right in this world with the power of love.

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The Blind Side Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

The Blind Side, based on a book and true story, is the story of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a sweet but troubled boy from the Memphis ghetto who was taken in by strong-willed Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her wealthy Christian family. Despite severe learning challenges, with the help of a tutor (Kathy Bates), he was able to get sufficient grades in a private almost all white Christian school for an athletic scholarship and NFL career.


Directed by John Lee Hancock, The Blind Side manages to be inspirational while avoiding the trap of cloying sentimentality. Sports fans (myself not included) will particularly enjoy the football footage and cameos of various college recruiters and other sports celebrities playing themselves. As seen from images of the real people in the closing credits and website interviews, the strong cast was faithful to all of the folks they were portraying.

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Consensus: The Blind Side is a really good movie to go see as the holiday season approaches. Based on a true story, it is not overly dramatized and is carried well thanks to an excellent cast. ***1/2 (Out of 4)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Avatar Featurette

Rotten Tomatoes now hosts an exclusive, new Avatar Featurette. It runs for just under 3 and-a-half-minutes, and shows off some new footage, including a look inside the weaponery. The AMP Suit looks very cool.


MarketSaw also reports that Weta Digital in New Zealand just wrapped post-production on Avatar’s special effects. Avatar is coming very soon, in just under a month.


-John C.

My Effortless Brilliance DVD Review

My Effortless Brilliance - An E1 Films Release

http://www.myeffortlessbrilliance.com/

DVD Release Date: November 17th, 2009

Rated 14A for coarse language, not recommended for young children

Running time: 79 minutes


Lynn Shelton (dir.)

Basil Harris (writer)

Jeanette Maus (writer)

Sean Nelson (writer)

Calvin Reeder (writer)

Lynn Shelton (writer)


Ted Speaker (music)


Basil Harris as Dylan

Jeanette Maus as Jayme

Sean Nelson as Eric Lambert Jones

Calvin Reeder as Jim


Our reviews below:

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My Effortless Brilliance DVD Review By John C.

* (out of 4)

Lynn Shelton’s My Effortless Brilliance, is the kind of film that before you make it, you have absolutely no idea how it will turn out. Whether or not it will work largely depends on the talent of your actors, and how good their improv skills are. This film isn’t really obnoxious, the conservations are just dumb, boring and mundane. It’s also not funny. The jokes are about as hilarious as asking a guy what the capital of Thailand is, only to respond with a strategically placed punch.


My Effortless Brilliance is basically as exciting as watching a bunch of guys sit around having lame conversations while getting drunk. After about an hour of this, I guess the filmmakers realised it wasn’t that interesting, so they decide to turn it into “The Blair ‘Cougar’ Project”. The part of the film were they go into the woods, drunk, and try to hunt a cougar, just doesn’t work. Even with all the shaky cam and lighting only by flashlights. Let’s face it, as far as un-scripted indies go, this is no “Paranormal ‘Cat’tivity”.


The DVD includes deleted scenes, making-of’s, commentary and a trailer for the film.

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My Effortless Brilliance DVD Review By Erin V.

* (out of 4)

What this movie successfully shows you, is that brilliance is not effortless. If it was, this film would have maybe had something. Unfortunately, it does not. I'm all for an unscripted indie film - if it works. What it boils down to, is whether or not those in the film make interesting characters, or are good at improvising.


Watching My Effortless Brilliance was about as interesting to me as if I was following around a bunch of average strangers as they have pointless conversations. Those kinds of exchanges might be what you'd actually hear out and about, but not what you'd want to watch on screen for 79 minutes. Sure, in line at theatres, or different events, you do hear people talk like that, so it is natural in a sense, but it by no means makes a story. My biggest question about this is; 'why the title?'. This is one of those films, that really, you can skip.

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My Effortless Brilliance DVD Review By Nicole

* (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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My Effortless Brilliance DVD Review By Maureen

* (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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My Effortless Brilliance DVD Review By Tony

* (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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Consensus: * (Out of 4)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

“Merry Madagascar” Airs Tonight

In light of the recent Monsters vs. Aliens Halloween special, tonight at 8:00 PM NBC is airing Merry Madagascar. This is Dreamworks Animation’s all-new Christmas special, featuring the lovable characters from the Madagascar films. If you liked the movie, then this special should be a lot of fun.


-John C.

Act of God on DVD Today

Mongrel Media is releasing the 2009 HotDocs opening night film, Act of God, on DVD today. Directed by Jennifer Baichwel, this film follows the cosmic effect of what happens when people are struck by lightening.


This is just one of the many films in Mongrel Media’s interesting and very diverse documentary library. Which includes such films as Man on Wire, The Day After Peace and Il Divo.


- John C.

Is Anybody There? on DVD Today

On May 15th, we reviewed the small gem Is Anybody There?. E1 is releasing it on DVD today. You can read our theatrical reviews here, our consensus was:


Is Anybody There? is a touching film that is carried beautifully by what may be considered Michael Caine's finest role to date. This is a film that if you don't see it in theatres, you will definitely want to catch it on DVD. **** (Out of four.)


Both moving and sometimes funny, with excellent performances by the whole cast, Is Anybody There? is just a beautiful film. This one is worth seeking out on DVD. The DVD includes deleted scenes.


- John C.

Star Trek on DVD Today

This summer’s Star Trek franchise re-boot is “warp-speeding” onto DVD today. We reviewed the film when it opened on May 8th, you can read our reviews here. Our consensus was:


“The acting, music, and special effects, are all great. You can expect a classic, (albeit slightly confusing), time-travel storyline that both fans of the show and those new to Star Trek can enjoy. With just the right mix of humour and action, this new installment of Star Trek is definitely one to see in theatres. **** (Out of four.)”


The film is available to buy in 1, 2 & 3-disc formats that come packed with bonus materials. Whichever one you buy, this would make a great Christmas present.


-John C.

My One and Only DVD Review

My One and Only - An Alliance Films’ Release

http://www.myoneandonly.com/

DVD Release Date: November 17th, 2009

Rated PG for language may offend, mature theme

Running time: 107 minutes


Richard Loncraine (dir.)

Charlie Peters (writer)


Mark Isham (music)


Renée Zellweger as Anne Deveraux

Logan Lerman as George Devereaux

Kevin Bacon as Dan Devereaux

Mark Rendall as Robbie


Our reviews below:

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My One and Only DVD Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

In 1953, Anne Deveraux (Renée Zellweger) left her cheating husband in New York, and took her two sons on a road trip, trying to find a place to settle down. The story is loosely based on the life of George Hamilton. The adventures that ensue are in equal amounts quirky and sweet, and each scene is worth watching.


The acting is all excellent. In particular Logan Lerman as the younger son, George. But it is Mark Rendall, as older brother Robbie, who steals every scene he’s in.


This is a wonderfully funny and touching film, that truly is a small gem. My One and Only is one of the nicest surprises of this year. This one is well worth looking out for on DVD.


The DVD includes behind the scenes and making-of featurettes.

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My One and Only DVD Review By Erin V.

***3/4 (out of 4)

In My One and Only, Renée Zellweger plays Anne Deveraux, a mother of two teenage sons who takes them, and leaves her cheating husband behind, to take a road trip across the country to start a new life.


The main character of the story, if you will, is actually the younger son, George, who is played quite well by Logan Lerman. He is the narrator off and on, and right from the opening scene he’s in, trying to buy a car, I knew I would really like this movie. The opening credits with old tv jingles was also quite fun and fitting.


As you can probably tell, I really liked My One and Only. The film had a certain charm and heart about it. The ‘50’s style felt real, and all of the actors gave great performances. Notably, Mark Rendall as Robbie, and Logan Lerman as George - both are young and talented actors. I would definitely recommend this one! _____________________________________________

My One and Only DVD Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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My One and Only DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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My One and Only DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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Consensus: ***1/3 (Out of 4)

How To Be DVD Review

How To Be - An Alliance Films’ Release

http://www.howtobemovie.com/

DVD Release Date: November 17th, 2009

Rated PG not recommended for young children, language may offend

Running time: 85 minutes


Oliver Irving (dir.)


Joe Hastings (music)


Robert Pattinson as Art

Rebecca Pidgeon as Mother

Michael Irving as Father

Powell Jones as Dr. Ellington


Our reviews below:

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How To Be DVD Review By John C.

*1/2 (out of 4)

This is the story of a depressed English man, played by Robert Pattinson, who hires a live-in self help author, named Dr. Ellington (Powell Jones). The self help author provides the only amusing moments in the film, but if he’s the point of the movie, then why does he only show up 30-minutes in, and leave 15-minutes from the end? I kind-of liked his character, but he just feels out of place here.


In my personal opinion, this film is a piece of cinematic near-trash, that would likely have never been seen outside of England were it not forTwilight, which shot Robert Pattinson to super stardom. This film is just too depressed, and ends up feeling like public therapy.


Perhaps I shouldn’t be too hard on this film, because I'm sure it means something to someone. But to conclude, I shall have to paraphrase Groucho Marx: “I’ve Seen a perfectly wonderful movie, but this wasn’t it”.


The DVD includes audio commentary, a trailer, behind the scenes and making-of featurettes, a stills gallery, and an audition tape and interview with Robert Pattinson.

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How To Be DVD Review By Erin V.

*1/2 (out of 4)

Well, I don't really know what to say about this movie. Robert Pattinson fans might like it? This is an interesting movie to watch if you want to know how to be a filmmaker - as in, try to analyze this film and see what didn't really work? Well, I can't speak for Robert Pattinson fans, but I did find myself so bored throughout this film that I did start to analyze it.


The one good part in this movie that I actually was kind of amused by was the self-help book writer who Robert Pattinson's character hires to come stay with him. Unfortunately, that is what the movie is about, yet the author does not even appear until about 30 minutes in. And this is in a 85 minute movie. So, first off, we don't even have one of the main points of the film set up until more than a third of the way through - not counting credits. This makes for the first half-hour to seem really 'Where is this thing even going?'. Then, once he does come in, you would expect the film to pick up - we are into the actual plot as listed in the synopsis now! Does it? No. As a matter of fact, the author is barely in the film, only showing up here and there every once in a while. Oh well, so much for that. Then, after you think that such a long feeling movie surely must have the running time of 85 minutes listed as a typo, the author leaves again, having done what he could, and the movie kind of just ends, leaving the confused viewer to think, 'Hmmm... what was that about? How to be what? Tedious and boring?'


What I finally realized after all of this, is that maybe the overall premise was ok, but the execution of it didn't really do anything for me. I shouldn't find myself so bored in a film that I am inadvertently analyzing it 10 minutes in, so as to pass the time until it's over. I'll leave it up to you to decide - is it worth it for who's in it, or not?

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How To Be DVD Review By Nicole

*1/2 (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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How To Be DVD Review By Maureen

** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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How To Be DVD Review By Tony

*1/2 (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A

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Consensus: *1/2 (Out of 4)