Cinema Scoop  

Liam Neeson vs. Fat Amy

Greetings movie lovers, it's time to take a look at what the cinema has to offer us this weekend.

     Taken 2

First they took his daughter. Now they're coming for him. Liam Neeson reprises his role as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent who stopped at nothing to save his daughter Kim from Albanian kidnappers. Now the father of one of the kidnappers has sworn revenge and takes Bryan and his ex-wife hostage during their family vacation in Istanbul. It's now up to Bryan's daughter to help them escape, but not without some expertise from her father of course.

     My Take

I doubt that back in 2008 Liam Neeson could have ever envisioned that he would be filming a sequel to a movie that he admits to being embarrassed to have been a part of. The funny thing is though Taken ended being a huge success and arguably one of his most popular films in the last several years so it's no surprise that the studio would want to green-light a follow up.

I happen to love the heck out of the first movie. It's a kick-ass action flick featuring Neeson in full on bad-ass mode. Taken is a ton of fun and most people I've talked to seem to really enjoy it as well despite the fact that critics weren't too kind to it, only giving it 58% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen join the cast again as Neeson's daughter and ex-wife respectively. Directing duties are now being handled by French filmmaker Olivier Megaton (cool name, but would be even cooler if he'd put an r between the t and the o), whose previous efforts include the chaotic action films Transporter 3 and Colombiana. Megaton, who was born Olivier Fontana, made the artistic choice to change his name because he happened to be born 20 years to the day after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Um, ok, he's not pretentious at all.

Hopefully the change in director won't drastically alter the quality of this sure-fire action hit because I could probably watch a whole series of films with Neeson's Bryan Mills character, as long as the plot doesn't always involve rescuing kidnap victims.

I have no doubt that anyone who enjoyed the first film will probably want to see the sequel and hopefully we will be treated to a thoroughly entertaining thrill ride once again.


This latest 3D stop-motion animated film from the creative mind of Tim Burton is a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life - with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor's fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new "leash on life" can be monstrous.

     My Take

I love the majority of the stop-motion animation films that have been released over the last 20 years or so and I think that Tim Burton is at his best when working on gems like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. Frankenweenie is a remake of his own 1984 live action short film of the same name, and like that version, it's both a parody and homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein.

Featured in the voice cast are Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short and Martin Landau.

Tim Burton has a wonderful knack for blending comedy with the macabre in his animated features and he's also got a great sense of the history of classic horror films since he clearly pays tribute to them in these movies. I wish that he would stick to this genre because his latest live action efforts in recent years have been disappointing at best.

I suppose that some of this film might be somewhat frightening to very small children but overall I'm sure there will be enough light hearted moments to appeal to most family members.

With Halloween season fast approaching I think that Frankenweenie would make a fun, entertaining outing at the movies for folks of all ages.

     Pitch Perfect

The Barden Bellas are a collegiate, all-girls a cappella singing group thriving on female pop songs and their perfect looks. After a disastrous failing at last year's finals, they are forced to regroup. Among the new recruits is freshman Beca (Anna Kendrick), an independent, aspiring DJ with no interest in the college life. But after she meets Jesse (Skylar Astin), from the rival all-male a cappella group, Beca has a new outlook and takes it upon herself to help the Bellas find their new look and sound and get back into the competition.

     My Take

Is it just me or does this movie pretty much sound like a rip-off of the TV show Glee?  When I saw the trailer for this I thought, no way do I want to see it. Upon further examination however, I may have dismissed it too soon. It does have a couple of positive things working in its favour.

Pitch Perfect is written by Kay Cannon, who has done some funny work on the show 30 Rock, so there may be some good witty humour in this film. Also, sure to steal the show is the hilarious Australian actress and stand-up comedienne, Rebel Wilson, who plays a character called Fat Amy.

I think that Anna Kendrick is adorable and I really enjoyed her in Up in the Air and 50/50 so it will be interesting to see her expand her talents by singing in a musical film as well.

Clearly Pitch Perfect is being marketed to the younger generation since it features a primarily contemporary soundtrack but hopefully there will be enough in it for all ages to enjoy.

Hey, it's already scoring a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes so it can't be all that bad.

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About the Author

Just to give you a little background on my qualifications, I've been a film buff my whole life and I enjoy all different genres.

I especially have a passion for classic cinema.

I spent most of the past 17 years working for Rogers Video, so not only have I seen an immense amount of movies, but I've recommended many films to people over the years.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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