New out on DVD/Blu-ray for Tuesday Oct 16.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple and of course, King Julien, Maurice and the Penguins are all along for the comedic adventure. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent - Madagascar style.
The third chapter in the popular franchise from Dreamworks is a colourful and zany animated adventure, fun for kids of all ages. If you enjoyed the first two, you are sure to want to see this one as well.
Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore - and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle.
Featuring a great cast that includes Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, Moonrise Kingdom is an absolute creative gem of a picture that is without a doubt one of my favourite films of the year thus far.
The brilliant Wes Anderson directed this enchanting and whimsical tale that is emotionally poignant and perfectly encapsulates the awkward nature of burgeoning first love and the need for acceptance.
It is a quirky and offbeat film filled with wry, deadpan humour that made me smile throughout. This one is a true original.
I loved everything about Moonrise Kingdom and I highly recommend that you seek it out as soon as possible.
That's My Boy
While still in his teens, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent up until Todd's 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd's world comes crashing down on the eve of his wedding when an uninvited Donny suddenly shows up. Trying desperately to reconnect with his son, Donny is now forced to deal with the repercussions of his bad parenting skills.
That's My Boy is an atrociously bad film that is trying to pass itself off as a comedy, but I sure as heck didn't laugh very much. It's just a really stupid, moronic and pointless film that once again features Adam Sandler acting like a complete idiot. When the heck is he going to grow up and stop making utter crap like this?
Needless to say, don't bother with this one.
Also out this week is the disappointing mystery drama Red Lights, starring Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro, the light comedy The Giant Mechanical Man with Jenna Fischer and Chris Messina, and the fifth season of Mad Men.
Blast From the Past
Picking up where I left off last week, here are my top ten films of 2000.
10. High Fidelity - John Cusack stars as a self-confessed music geek and owner of a record shop, who after getting dumped by his girlfriend, decides to look up some of his old flames in an attempt to figure out what he keeps doing wrong in his relationships. It's a funny and insightful comedy drama that is based on the novel by British writer Nick Hornby. Great soundtrack full of kick ass music too.
9. Unbreakable - Bruce Willis gives a wonderful, subtle performance as a man who slowly discovers that he is invincible and Samuel L. Jackson plays a man with brittle bones that helps Willis realize his powerful potential. This was probably the last really good film that M. Night Shyamalan made and I think it works brilliantly as a comic book origin tale. If you're a comic book geek, then this one is well worth seeing.
8. O Brother, Where Art Thou? - This oddball gem from the Coen Brothers is a satire loosely based on Homer's Odyssey. It stars George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson as three men who escape from a chain gang during the depression to seek out a pile of money that one of them has claimed to have hidden. They encounter a slew of oddball characters and situations along the way of their misadventures. With a memorable bluegrass soundtrack and a unique look, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a true original.
7. Wonder Boys - Michael Douglas is great as a writer and college professor that has a severe case of writer's block. This is a smartly written film full of wit and charm that happens to be both funny and dramatic at the same time. It has a wonderful cast that includes Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr. and Katie Holmes. This is another one with an awesome soundtrack full of great tunes.
6. Traffic - Steven Soderbergh directed this powerful and compelling film that explores the illegal drug trade from a number of different perspectives. It has a huge, sprawling cast full of exceptional performances, in particular Benicio Del Toro, who nabbed an Oscar for his work here. Traffic is a realistic and gritty crime drama that is utterly gripping and it held my attention for the entirety of its two and a half hour long running time. It is well deserving of its accolades.
5. Best in Show - I absolutely adore Christopher Guest's brand of improvisational comedy and I think that this is his best and funniest film. He makes mockumentaries , and this particular one is about a group of dog owners who are preparing to enter a prestigious dog show. Everyone in the cast is just perfect here and I laughed endlessly throughout at their offbeat humour. Also check out Waiting for Guffman, Guest's previous film, as that one is brilliant as well.
4. Amores Perros - This gritty and violent epic is like a Mexican Pulp Fiction in that it is constructed from three distinct stories that are linked by a car accident that brings the characters briefly together. Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, it is the first film in his trilogy of death which were later followed by 21 Grams and Babel. It also marks the screen debut of Gael García Bernal who is superb in just about everything he does. Amores Perros is a riveting and harrowing tale that truly packs a serious punch. It is an incredible film!
3. Gladiator - This was the big one that year, winning 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe. I thought it was a spectacular epic filled with tremendous battle sequences and compelling drama. Joaquin Phoenix was especially nasty as the villain in this one as well. Ridley Scott is used to making big movies having directed Alien and Blade Runner, but he really stepped things up a notch with this sweeping historical epic. Gladiator is simply awesome!
2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - This amazing Chinese martial arts drama is one of the best films of its kind that I have ever seen. Ang Lee crafted a film of such lush beauty and majesty with stunning cinematography and visual poetry. The fight sequences were expertly choreographed like a fine ballet and the film has a lyrical and haunting quality to it. Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi are all tremendous in it as well. It won the Best Foreign Language Film award at the Oscars that year also. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is an absolutely exquisite film!
1. Almost Famous - I'm a big fan of Cameron Crowe. He's made some excellent films but Almost Famous is easily my favourite by a mile. I love this story of a young teenage journalist who gets a job writing for Rolling Stone magazine while traveling with a touring rock band in the 70's. Crowe based this movie on his own real life experiences when he actually wrote for the famed magazine and toured with Led Zeppelin. This is a funny and touching film that truly nails what it would have been like in that situation. It's a wonderful coming-of-age tale that I found totally relatable. I am in love with classic rock from this era so the fact that this film is set in that world makes it all the better. Talk about a kick ass soundtrack - this one's got it. Not only is Almost Famous my favourite film of the year but it's one of the best of the past decade.
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