Jun 5, 2012 / 10:00 am
New out on DVD/Blu-ray for Tuesday June 5.
Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in this action-thriller. Washington plays the most dangerous renegade from the CIA, who comes back onto the grid after a decade on the run. When the South African safe house he's remanded to is attacked by mercenaries, a rookie operative (Reynolds) escapes with him. Now, the unlikely allies must stay alive long enough to uncover who wants them dead.
Safe House is a fairly routine, paint-by-numbers action movie that features plenty of gun battles and car chases, so it should be enough to satisfy hardcore action fans - but I wasn't wowed by this film. The performances, including supporting turns by Brendan Gleeson, Vera Fermiga and Sam Shepard were solid all around but there was nothing overly original brought to the proceedings.
If you're in the mood for an action thriller however, you could do worse.
Based on the classic novel A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter tells the tale of a Civil War vet who is suddenly transported to the planet of Barsoom (Mars) where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst its inhabitants.
Starring Kelowna's very own Taylor Kitsch, John Carter is a rousing Sci-Fi/Adventure film that is actually a lot of fun. Don't let the fact that it tanked at the box office sway your decision whether to see it or not. I think it was a very poorly marketed film and almost set up to fail financially from the get go. I'm not going to say that it doesn't have its flaws - it certainly isn't perfect - but I admire the effort of director Andrew Stanton to give us an original science fiction film full of old fashioned adventure.
I would have loved this when I was a child. Ignore the negative hype and give John Carter a shot. It's quite entertaining.
Man on a Ledge
An ex-cop and now wanted fugitive (Sam Worthington) stands on the ledge of a high-rise building while a hard-living New York Police Department negotiator (Elizabeth Banks) tries to talk him down. The longer they are on the ledge, the more she realizes that he might have an ulterior objective.
Also starring Jamie Bell, Ed Harris and Edward Burns, Man on a Ledge is a reasonably well paced, taut thriller that would have been much better if not for the totally predictable, completely implausible, rushed ending. It's fairly decent entertainment but don't expect Oscar winning stuff here, folks. It's worth a rental though I suppose.
Also out this week is the action film Act of Valor which features real life Navy SEALs on a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA operative from terrorists. The action sequences are exciting but the acting and dialogue is stilted at best.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a family adventure film starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzman and Michael Caine. It's a goofy tale filled with plenty of CGI and I found it really lame. You're better off renting John Carter than this silly trifle of a flick.
Also if you're a fan of the TV show Breaking Bad then you can rejoice in the fact that season 4 is finally out this week. Personally I loved this season.
Blast From the Past
Picking up where I left off last week, here is my top 10 films of 1981.
10. Nighthawks - This underrated thriller stars Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams as NYPD detectives who must work tirelessly to bring down a ruthless terrorist played by Rutger Hauer. Plenty of tense moments and a great sinister turn by Hauer make this one worth watching.
9. Time Bandits - Boy I loved seeing this when I was a kid. A wonderful fantasy film about a boy who travels through time with six dwarves and has all manner of adventures. It's quite funny too since it was co-written by Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin.
8. Excalibur - This R-rated sword and sorcery film is one of the best depictions of the Arthurian legend. It has a great cast and is a spectacular fantasy film.
7. Escape from New York - John Carpenter's low budget futuristic action film has become a cult classic and it features one of Kurt Russell's most iconic characters ever in Snake Plissken. This is a really cool movie.
6. For Your Eyes Only - I am a huge James Bond fan and this twelfth entry in the series is one of the best that Roger Moore did. Coming off the heels of the abysmal Moonraker, this one got back to more straight forward espionage and had some great action sequences. Not as good as anything Sean Connery ever did but a fun one nonetheless.
5. The Evil Dead - This horror classic directed by Sam Raimi introduced us to Bruce Campbell's "Ash", one of the most iconic cult characters ever. It's low budget and excessively gory, but it's also quite scary unlike the two sequels that followed which were far more comedic. A must watch for horror lovers.
4. The Road Warrior - This sequel to Mad Max is one of the best post apocalyptic action films out there. It has amazing stunts and some spectacularly exciting action sequences. Mel Gibson is a total badass in this film. It's a classic!
3. An American Werewolf in London - Two American men get attacked by a werewolf while backpacking through England in John Landis' brilliant horror/comedy. This one features awesome creature makeup and is a really clever and scary film to boot. I love this one!
2. Das Boot - This German film is easily the greatest story ever told about men on a submarine. It is an epic film, set during World War II and captures the tension and claustrophobia of what it would be like to be trapped under the sea. The performances are top notch and this is just such an amazing film. Mandatory viewing for sure.
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark - When I walked out of the theater as a seven-year-old after seeing this film I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I wanted to carry a whip and wear a fedora and I was for sure going to become an archeologist and have adventures around the world. Steven Spielberg created one of the greatest adventure films ever made with one of my favourite characters of all time in Indiana Jones. I have lost count how many times I've seen this over the years and I never get tired of it. This is an all time classic. I can't believe this film lost the best picture Oscar to that stuffy British film about guys running in slow motion to elevator music called Chariots of Fire. What a joke!
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