New out on DVD/Blu-ray this week
Sep 4, 2012 / 10:00 am
New out on DVD/Blu-ray for Tuesday September 4.
The Five-Year Engagement
Exactly one year after Tom Solomon (Jason Segel) meets Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt), he surprises her with a ring. By all accounts, Tom and Violet are destined for their happily ever after. However, this engaged couple just keep getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle.
Directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek) and produced by Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up), The Five-Year Engagement is a funny and sometimes sweet look at the obstacles that certain couples must overcome in order to remain with the one that they truly love.
I thought the film was pretty cute and the leads were totally likable. It's a tad too long but there were enough laughs to keep me entertained throughout.
The strong supporting cast includes, Rhys Ifans, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie and Jacki Weaver.
This is a pretty solid romantic comedy and I think it would make a good date night movie for couples to enjoy together.
Mei, a young girl whose memory holds a priceless numerical code, finds herself pursued by the Triads, the Russian mob, and corrupt NYC cops. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter whose life was destroyed by the very same gangsters on Mei's trail.
Jason Statham once again proves why he's one of Hollywood's go to guys for action thrillers, as he shoots, punches and kicks his way through various nasty individuals in order to protect this little girl.
Safe is pretty standard action fare and it will definitely appeal to die hard fans of the genre but nothing about this film really blew me away. It has its moments I suppose but overall I felt it was quite formulaic.
I'm lukewarm towards this picture, but I guess if you crave a ton of shooting and fighting in your film diet then this might satisfy your tastes.
The story of a private security contractor in Iraq who rejected the official explanation of his best friend's death and sets out to discover the truth.
Directed by award winning British filmmaker Ken Loach (Kes, Ladybird, Ladybird, The Wind That Shakes the Barley), Route Irish is a very dramatic and quite talky picture that has some strong and powerful scenes but ultimately left me wanting more. It just dragged on a bit too much and the constant overuse of profanity was borderline laughable and somewhat distracting.
This could have been much better and far more interesting than it was.
I Am Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee is universally recognized as the pioneer who elevated martial arts in film to an art form, and this excellent documentary reveals why Bruce Lee's flame burns brighter now than the day he died over three decades ago.
The greatest martial artists, athletes, actors, directors and producers in the entertainment business today share their feelings about the one who started it all. Featuring rarely seen archival footage, the film showcases personal testimonials from people whose lives, careers, and belief systems were forever altered by the legendary "Father of Martial Arts Cinema".
If you are a fan of Bruce Lee or martial arts in general then this documentary is a must watch.
Also out this week is the atrociously awful Piranha DD, and several sets of TV series including The Office: Season Eight, Parks and Recreation: Season Four, Fringe: Season Four, Grey's Anatomy: Season Eight, Hung: Season Three and Person of Interest: Season One.
Blast From the Past
Continuing on from last week, here are my top ten films of 1994.
10. The Lion King - Easily one of the best animated features that Disney has ever created and the highest-grossing hand-drawn film in history. This is a wonderful film that has something in it for all ages. It's funny, musical, adventurous and filled with stunning animation. Inspired by Shakespeare's Hamlet, the story has a surprising amount of depth and weight to it and it shouldn't be dismissed as merely a cartoon. This is really good stuff!
9. Fresh - This is a brilliant crime drama about a 12-year-old boy who runs drugs for a local gangster and then devises a plan in order to get himself and his sister out of their hopeless existence by employing techniques that he learned from chess lessons by his alcoholic father. Directed by Boaz Yakin (who made this week's release, Safe), Fresh is a film that not many have heard of, but it's well worth seeking out. It features dynamite performances by Sean Nelson, Giancarlo Esposito and Samuel L. Jackson. Find a copy of Fresh... you can thank me later.
8. Exotica - This is the film that introduced me to the brilliance of Canadian director Atom Egoyan. It's a hauntingly hypnotic tale of loneliness and despair that is both erotic and beautifully mysterious. The less you know about this film going in, the better. Just allow it to wash over you and mesmerize you with its complexity. This is a gem!
7. Clerks - This hilarious independent comedy shot in black and white on a shoestring budget of $27,000 announced the arrival of Kevin Smith as the new voice of comedy in the 90's. It also introduced the characters of Jay and Silent Bob who went on to be featured in most of Smith's subsequent films. Having worked myself for many years at a video store, I could totally relate to this tale of a day in the life of a convenience store and video store clerk. It may be crude but it's oh so funny. Remember, just because they serve you doesn't mean they like you. How absolutely true. I love Clerks!
6. Once Were Warriors - This New Zealand film about a Maori family and their problems with poverty, alcoholism and domestic violence is incredibly powerful and tough to watch at times. Their lifestyle is so authentically portrayed and it is heartwrenching and sad to see what these characters must endure. Temuera Morrison gives an amazing performance as the brutally abusive patriarch of the family. I implore anyone who hasn't seen this film yet to seek it out immediately. I was blown away!
5. Heavenly Creatures - Until this film, director Peter Jackson was only known for making cult movies such as Bad Taste and Dead Alive, but this wonderful drama based on a true story is still one of my favourites of his. Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey made their screen debuts in this story about an obsessive relationship between two teenagers and the subsequent murder of one of the girls' mothers. This is a strange and beautiful film that I found absolutely riveting.
4. Ed Wood - Without a doubt this is my favourite film that Tim Burton has ever directed (he didn't direct Nightmare Before Christmas otherwise that would win). Johnny Depp does a great job playing the 50's cult filmmaker, who was best known for making some of the most laughably bad and cheesy sci-fi and horror films of that era. You know, the kind where they used paper plates for flying saucers. It's an offbeat, quirky film that ends up being quite sad as well. The real revelation however is Martin Landau's wonderful performance as Bela Lugosi. He does such a fabulous job and deservedly won an Oscar for his efforts. I adore every cheesy bit of Ed Wood.
3. Forrest Gump - My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." "Stupid is as stupid does." "Run, Forrest! Run!"
I saw Forrest Gump three times in the theater when it was released in the summer of 1994 and I fell in love with this movie. It is such a wonderfully magical film that takes you on an epic journey of varying emotions and it's just so darn entertaining as well. Everything about this film, from the exceptional cast, to the visuals, to the great soundtrack are almost note perfect. Forrest Gump epitomizes what going to the movies is all about. Sheer joy!
2. The Shawshank Redemption - It's too bad that this film didn't make much of a splash at the box office when it was released and was completely overshadowed at the Academy Awards by Forrest Gump. If it would have been released any other year it likely would have cleaned up come awards season since this film is an absolute masterpiece. Tim Robbins and Morgan give the performances of their lives in this amazing prison drama that is filled to the brim with depth and humanity. Still to this day I have not come across a single person that has seen this film and didn't like it. I'm not surprised. It's magnificent!
1. Pulp Fiction - I will try not to get too carried away waxing poetic about how ridiculously awesome I think this film is. Anyone that knows me well enough is aware that I am almost borderline obsessed with this film and in fact I set a personal record seeing it 5 times in the theater. Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece of crime fiction remains one of my all-time favourite films ever. From its colourful cast of memorable characters to its brilliantly constructed screenplay that tells its tale in a non-linear narrative, Pulp Fiction is a towering achievement of originality. It is literally like an adrenaline filled syringe pumped directly into your chest. What incredible filmmaking this is. Pure genius!
New out on DVD/Blu-ray is brought to you by Leo's Videos, 2680 Pandosy St. (250) 861-8437
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