Sep 25, 2012 / 10:00 am
New out on DVD/Blu-ray for Tuesday September 25.
Marvel's The Avengers
Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D brings together Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye to form the Avengers. Now, Earth's mightiest heroes must help save the planet from Loki and his alien army after Loki steals a device powerful enough to enable him to enslave all of humanity.
I don't imagine that there are too many people left who haven't already seen this incredible spectacle of a film as it's the third highest grossing film of all time, but if you haven't, then now is your chance to either rent or own one of the greatest superhero movies ever forged. This is what blockbusters are all about - action, excitement and all around pure fun entertainment.
Director Joss Whedon does a fabulous job creating stunning visual set pieces that are mind blowing and will make every comic book geek giggle with delight. He also allows his all star cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlet Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson and Tom Hiddleston, plenty of time to shine.
I had an absolute blast with this film and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good comic book romp.
Take This Waltz
While on a plane ride back to Toronto from a writing assignment, Margot (Michelle Williams) meets Daniel (Luke Kirby), a handsome stranger. An immediate attraction is formed and Margot is able to open up and discuss some of her fears and longings. A taxi ride back home causes Daniel and Margot to realize that they are neighbours and Margot admits she's married to Lou (Seth Rogen). The summer-time heat and her increasing fascination with the handsome artist who lives across the street starts getting to her, and Margot is no longer sure if she's happy in her marriage or if she'd be happier with her fantasies with Daniel.
I was looking forward to this film when I found out it was directed by Sarah Polley, who made the beautiful 2006 film Away from Her. Sadly though, I have to say that I was quite disappointed with Take This Waltz. It moves very slowly and normally that wouldn't be a huge issue if what was happening was somewhat interesting, but it wasn't. I didn't want to spend anytime with these characters because I found them annoying most of the time. Michelle Williams plays such a screwed up woman filled with melancholy and I found it exhausting having to watch her trying to make up her bloody mind about what the heck she wants out of life. If you enjoy really serious, emotional dramas that border on artsy then this might be the film for you, but it sure wasn't my cup of tea.
Damsels in Distress
A trio of girls set out to change the male-dominated environment of the Seven Oaks college campus, and to rescue their fellow students from depression, grunge and low standards of every kind.
I found this latest offering from writer/director Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco) to be an offbeat, quirky and amusing little film. There isn't really much of a plot, more a series of moments that are lighthearted and sometimes odd, but somehow it sort of worked for me. Greta Gerwig and Analeigh Tipton are especially good in this. If you enjoy wry, sarcastic humour then check out Damsels in Distress.
Also out this week is the nice Rob Reiner directed family film, The Magic of Belle Isle starring Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen, the mystery thriller The Tall Man with Jessica Biel, the psychological drama The Letter starring Winona Ryder and James Franco, the noirish thriller The Samaritan with Samuel L. Jackson and the latest shark thriller Bait 3D.
Blast From the Past
Continuing on from last week, here are my top ten films of 1997.
10. Seven Years in Tibet - Brad Pitt and David Thewlis star in this beautiful adventure drama about an Austrian mountaineer who flees to Tibet after escaping prison during the Second World War, whereupon he meets the Dalai Lama, who is still a boy, and becomes his mentor. A great film for anyone interested in the Dalai Lama and what he went through as a child.
9. Chasing Amy - This hilarious romantic comedy was the third film by Kevin Smith and I think it was his most mature piece of work. Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams and Jason Lee star in this insightful and sexually frank film about a comic book artist who falls in love with a girl who happens to be a lesbian. Chasing Amy is probably Smith's best film. Sharp stuff!
8. Contact - Based on a Carl Sagan novel, this wonderful science fiction film is a more philosophical and cerebral type of sci-fi. Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey lead a great cast in this story about a scientist who finds evidence of extraterrestrial life and is chosen to make first contact. I really enjoyed this film.
7. Donnie Brasco - This riveting crime drama is based on the true story of an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated a well known crime family during the 70's. The film is anchored by tremendous performances from both Johnny Depp and Al Pacino. I love a good gangster film, and this one is exceptional.
6. Wag the Dog - Directed by Barry Levinson and co-written by the amazing David Mamet, Wag the Dog is a hilarious satire about a Washington spin doctor (Robert De Niro) who teams up with a Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) to create a fake war with Albania in order to distract the public from a sex scandal involving the president just days before the election. It features really sharp, witty dialogue and a tremendous supporting cast to boot. This is political satire at its finest.
5. Good Will Hunting - This wonderful drama launched Matt Damon and Ben Affleck into super stardom after they won the Academy Award for writing this great film. Robin Williams gave arguably one of the best performances of his career which also netted him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. It's a heartfelt and uplifting tale filled with poignancy and emotionally rich characters. Good Will Hunting is fabulous!
4. Boogie Nights - This is the film that truly stamped the arrival of Paul Thomas Anderson as one of the best directors working in film today. It's a sprawling epic drama about the porn industry during its heyday in the 1970's and the rise and fall of a young star played by Mark Wahlberg. There's an awesome array of acting talent on display playing a whole host of colourful characters. The way it transitions from comedic moments to shocking violence reminds me in some ways of Pulp Fiction. Boogie Nights rocks!
3. Titanic - I know, I know, there seems to be a whole heap of people who have jumped aboard the Anti-Titanic bandwagon and claim to not like it but, me, I don't get that because I think that James Cameron's Titanic is the epitome of blockbuster filmmaking. Rarely do we get to see an epic film on a scale this grand that also harkens back to the old fashioned classic days of Hollywood. Titanic is a melodramatic disaster movie that is both spellbinding and exhilarating in its visual splendour. Oh, and Kate and Leo aren't bad either. There's a reason that this is the 2nd highest grossing film of all time and it isn't because it's bad. Quite the opposite.
2. L.A. Confidential - As great as Titanic was, this is the film that I thought should have swept up all of the Oscars that year. This tremendous film noir about corrupt cops during the 50's is filled to the brim with style. It bristles with intensity and there are twists and turns around every corner. The great cast features Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Kim Basinger and James Cromwell, and they all do a fabulous job playing interesting characters full of secrets. L.A. Confidential is absolutely one of my favourite films of the 90's. It's a 10 out of 10.
1. The Sweet Hereafter - This is unequivocally the greatest Canadian film ever made. Atom Egoyan's masterpiece is a heartwrenchingly haunting film that is so powerful and emotional that I literally sat in stunned silence for a few moments after having seen this in the theater. It's set in a small town in B.C. and deals with the aftermath of a horrific school bus accident in which several local children are killed. The film features Ian Holm, Sarah Polley and Bruce Greenwood and the acting is superb all around. There are so many layers to this film and several dark secrets that bubble underneath the surface. If you call yourself a true fan of cinema then I urge you all to seek out The Sweet Hereafter. It's a work of sheer beauty.
New out on DVD/Blu-ray is brought to you by Leo's Videos, 2680 Pandosy St. (250)861-8437
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