New out on DVD/Blu-ray for Tuesday December 18 and Friday December 21.
Trouble with the Curve (Dec. 18)
Clint Eastwood gives another solid performance as a cantankerous and grizzled old baseball scout whose best days are possibly behind him. When his eyesight starts failing him he begrudgingly must accept assistance from his estranged daughter played charmingly by Amy Adams. Along the way she finds love with an ex ball player in the form of Justin Timberlake.
Trouble with the Curve is a light hearted and enjoyable drama. Sure it's predictable and maybe even a bit corny, but the strong cast helps elevate the material and makes it a fairly entertaining film. I'm a huge baseball fan too so that definitely helps. Fans of Clint Eastwood will most assuredly want to check this one out.
Total Recall (Dec. 18)
This science fiction action film is a remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle and it stars Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy.
Sadly this version is an uninspired, empty and hollow film filled with mind numbingly loud action sequences complete with plenty of gunfire and explosions and not much point to it. Sure it has some cool special effects and visuals but the lifeless script and lack of character development prevented me from ever becoming invested in the story. I think that this will only appeal to really die hard sci-fi fans.
For a movie built around memories, sadly, it's quite forgettable.
Pitch Perfect (Dec. 18)
Beca (Anna Kendrick) is a college freshman who is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls a-cappella singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.
This is a highly energetic and entertaining musical comedy that is like a cross between Glee and Mean Girls. It is filled with likable characters and toe tapping musical numbers that are sure to make you laugh and smile. Look at this film like a guilty pleasure. It is cute, light and fun. Also, Australian stand up comedienne Rebel Wilson plays a hilarious character named Fat Amy that is sure to have you laughing hysterically.
If you are in the mood for some light entertainment then Pitch Perfect should definitely do the trick.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Dec. 18)
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl named Hushpuppy exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions.
This is a powerful, albeit odd little drama from first time writer director Benh Zeitlin. Featuring a wonderful performance from six-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppy, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a film that will not appeal to everybody unless you are in the mood for something completely different. I'm still trying to figure out what to make of this film. At times it is fascinating and at others it is totally frustrating. There are some interesting fantasy elements to it as well that are quite magical and I can't really compare this film to anything else I've seen of late. This is an entirely original film that announces a new voice in filmmaking, and for anyone who is interested in independent cinema that is not mainstream at all, you might want to check out Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Also out on Tuesday is the kids movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.
Premium Rush (Dec. 21)
This fast paced action flick stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a Manhattan bike messenger who must deliver a particular package which seems routine until he finds himself being pursued relentlessly by a dirty cop (played with nutty zeal by Michael Shannon) who desperately wants what's inside said package.
This is a totally fun popcorn flick filled with endless chase sequences and action galore. There are some twists and turns in it to keep it from being totally predictable, but let's be honest folks, this isn't Shakespeare we're dealing with here.
The solid performances and breakneck pace of the film though were enough to hold my attention and keep me entertained throughout its 90 minute runtime.
Premium Rush is just enjoyable, escapist entertainment.
Arbitrage (Dec. 21)
Robert Miller (Richard Gere) is a successful hedge-fund magnate with a loving wife and a smart daughter ready to take over the family business. Professional secrets involving illegal fraudulent activities start coming out at the same time that Robert's personal secrets take a turn for the worse and threaten to derail everything he has achieved.
The less you know about this film going in the better. It's a superbly crafted and smartly written dramatic thriller featuring excellent performances from Gere (who is nominated for a Golden Globe for this film), Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth and Britt Marling.
Arbitrage is a film that simply crackles with dramatic tension and it is easily the best film from this week's crop.
This was a real pleasant surprise. Seek out Arbitrage!
Killer Joe (Dec. 21)
Famed director William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist) returns with this sordid and twisted tale that received an NC-17 rating from the MPAA.
Matthew McConaughey gives one of his most memorable performances as the title character, a contract killer who also happens to be a police detective. The plot involves him being hired by a drug dealing loser to kill his mother for the insurance money so that he can pay off his debts. What ensues is a darkly comic and violent tale that is really sick and twisted. I'm talking black as the ace of spades here folks.
Also starring in this sick little gem is Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple and Gina Gershon.
I will never be able to look at a piece of fried chicken the same ever again after seeing this film. Be warned this is not for everyone's tastes. It is disturbing and violent, but it is a good film worth seeing for those that can handle it.
Also out on Friday is the fifth film in the popular franchise Resident Evil: Retribution, the comedy Butter starring Jennifer Garner and Olivia Wilde, and The Good Doctor, a dramatic thriller starring Orlando Bloom.
My Blast from the Past will return in the New Year where I will continue counting down my top ten films of each year that I've watched movies.
For now I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best during this holiday season.
New out on DVD/Blu-ray is brought to you by Leo's Videos, 2680 Pandosy St. (250)861-8437