New out on DVD/Blu-ray for Tuesday October 30.
In order to gain influence over their North Carolina district, two CEO's seize an opportunity to oust long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) by putting up a rival candidate. Their man: naïve Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center.
Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see this film but I've heard pretty good reports on it. It received a 66% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it's said to be a crude and funny political satire that isn't quite as sharp or smart as it could be.
I think if you're a Will Ferrell fan though then there will be plenty of good laughs in The Campaign. This should be worth a rental.
Safety Not Guaranteed
From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine - When an unusual classified ad inspires three cynical Seattle magazine employees to look for the story behind it, they discover a mysterious eccentric named Kenneth, a likable but paranoid supermarket clerk, who believes he's solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon. Together, they embark on a hilarious, smart, and unexpectedly heartfelt journey that reveals how far believing can take you.
I'm really bummed that there was an issue with the distributor this week since I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of this film. It sounds absolutely wonderful and judging by the 94% rating it got on Rotten Tomatoes it's a real winner.
It stars Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass and Jake Johnson.
I will be renting this one the first chance I get.
Calvin (Paul Dano) is a young novelist who achieved phenomenal success early in his career but is now struggling with his writing - as well as his romantic life. Finally, he makes a breakthrough and creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. When Calvin finds Ruby (Zoe Kazan), in the flesh, sitting on his couch about a week later, he is completely flabbergasted that his words have turned into a living, breathing person.
Directed by the duo who made the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine, this cleverly written film is quite delightful. At times it is very funny but it also carries with it some emotional resonance and it is particularly insightful about the nature of our relationships and the measure of control that some must have. It has a fantasy element to it as well that reminded me of some of the best works of Woody Allen.
Real life couple Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan are superb in this and the strong supporting cast includes Elliott Gould, Chris Messina, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas and Steve Coogan.
If you are in the mood for a smartly written romantic comedy full of whimsy then I suggest you seek out Ruby Sparks. It's well worth it.
Also out this week is the drama Crooked Arrows, which is about a Native American lacrosse team starring Brandon Routh, the Norwegian comedy Turn Me On, Goddammit!, the documentary about ballet dancers called First Position and the TV miniseries Coma.
Blast From the Past
Since Halloween is upon us I thought I would take a break from my usual list to instead present you with something to get you in the mood for this season.
Here is a list of my top ten horror films of all time.
10. Let the Right One In (2008) - I was tempted to place F.W. Murnau's 1922 silent classic Nosferatu in this spot since it's a masterpiece of creepy imagery and the scariest version of Bram Stoker's Dracula ever done, but I decided to go with a more modern vampire tale and one that has become arguably my favourite vampire film of all time. This brilliant Swedish film tells the story of a bullied 12-year-old boy who befriends a young girl (who is not what she appears to be) and the relationship that develops between them. It's creepy, atmospheric and riveting right until the end. A must see!
9. Dawn of the Dead (1978) - George Romero is the king of zombie movies and this sequel to his 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead is my personal favourite of his. It's super gory, satirical and scary as well. This is the one where a group of survivors barricade themselves inside a shopping mall and must contend with the constant onslaught of zombies coming after them. It's required viewing for zombie fans everywhere. This one is a blast!
8. The Shining (1980) - The quintessential Jack Nicholson performance where he plays a writer who has taken a job as a winter caretaker of an eerie hotel. Of course bad things start to happen and he goes completely bonkers. Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a haunting and unsettling film that will give you many sleepless nights. It remains one of the most popular horror movies based on a Stephen King novel and rightfully so - it's terrifying. "Redrum, Redrum."
7. Salem's Lot (1979) - As great as The Shining is, it's this made for TV movie that is my favourite Stephen King adaptation ever made. I saw this film when it was originally broadcast as a two-part miniseries at the tender age of 5 and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I've since seen it multiple times over the years and it still holds up tremendously well. It's a tale of sinister evil in the form of vampires that puts those new crappy emo Twilight movies to shame. Salem's Lot is creepy and scary and oh so memorable. A perfect one to settle in with all the lights turned off and have some fun with.
6. Alien (1979) - "In space, no one can hear you scream." Not only is this a great science fiction film but it's also a terrifying horror tale as well. The crew of a space vessel is being hunted one at a time by a nasty creature and the claustrophobic terror that ensues is so gripping and filled with a tremendous amount of suspense. This is one of director Ridley Scott's best by a mile.
5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - This landmark film is so disturbing and unsettling in its depravity and insanity. When a van full of young adults run out of gas in the wrong part of town they encounter a family full of insane backwoods cannibals, which includes the skin-suited, chainsaw wielding maniac known as Leatherface. This groundbreaking horror creeps me out every time I see it. Yikes!
4. The Changeling (1980) - This is hands down one of the creepiest and scariest haunted house movies ever made. When George C. Scott moves into a mansion that houses a secret all sorts of strange things start to occur like creaking walls, banging pipes and a freaky wheelchair that moves on its own. There's also an intriguing mystery that plays out. The Changeling is chock full of eerie atmosphere and tension. Just try and watch this one alone at night with the lights off. C'mon, I dare ya.
3. Psycho (1960) - This masterpiece by my all time favourite director Alfred Hitchcock is unquestionably the most influential film of its genre. Up until this film was released horror films usually always dealt with monsters and ghosts. The idea of a psychotic knife wielding individual who kills for no particular reason was something that just wasn't shown to audiences at that time. Psycho created a huge sensation back in 1960 and while the level of violence on display is tame by today's standards there is no denying the terror created by the infamous shower scene when Janet Leigh is killed off. It, along with the accompanying musical key, is one of the most iconic scenes in the history of film. Without this film we wouldn't have gotten the majority of the films in the slasher genre. Psycho is one of the greatest thrillers of all time.
2. Halloween (1978) - Whereas Psycho birthed the slasher genre, it was John Carpenter's Halloween that truly defined this subgenre in horror, inspiring a multitude of sequels, rip offs and imitations. Everything about this film, from the eerie musical score, to the relentless amount of terror and suspense created, is absolutely note perfect. The sight of the unstoppable masked madman Michael Myers is simply chilling and remains one of the most iconic images in the history of horror. Obviously this is the perfect film to watch on October 31.
1. The Exorcist (1973) - Simply put, it is the greatest film about demonic possession ever made. The scares come from a place based in faith, where Heaven and Hell are as real as your beliefs in them care to be. The fact that this demon can't be explained by science makes it a more powerful and devastating thing to deal with rather than a killer that you can shoot or stab like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees or Norman Bates. The foreboding terror of The Exorcist is truly unforgettable and the film contains some scenes and moments that will live on forever amongst the greatest in the history of horror. You can not truly call yourself a horror fan unless you've sat through The Exorcist. Just make sure you're not eating any pea soup while watching this.
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