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Cinema Scoop

Ahhnold's back in The Last Stand

Greetings movie lovers, it's time to take a peek at what the cinema has in store for us this weekend.

     The Last Stand

Sheriff Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a man who has resigned himself to a life of fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction after leaving his LAPD post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with failure and defeat after his partner was crippled. After a spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy, the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the hemisphere is hurtling toward the border at 200 mph in a specially outfitted car with a hostage and a fierce army of gang members. He is headed, it turns out, straight for Sommerton Junction, where the whole of U.S. law enforcement will have their last opportunity to make a stand and intercept him before he slips across the border forever. At first reluctant to become involved, and then counted out because of the perceived ineptitude of his small town force, Owens ultimately accepts responsibility for the face off.

     My Take

He's back! The Last Stand marks the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the big screen in his first starring role since 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. I know he was in last year's Expendables 2 but that was pretty much just an extended cameo so that doesn't count.

Arnie is one of the most popular and iconic action stars of the 80's and 90's so the sight of him shooting up bad guys and cracking one-liners could be a lot of fun for longtime fans of this particular genre. Normally his films get a big summer release and are tentpole movies for studios, but since he might just be a tad rusty I think it was wise of the studio to drop this film in January and let him dip his toe in the box office pool so to speak rather than have him dive head first and potentially do a belly flop. The question remains whether a 65-year-old action star still has enough appeal to pull any serious bank at the box office.

One thing that really intrigues me about this film is the fact that it is directed by Korean filmmaker Kim Jee-Woon who made the incredible and ultra disturbing film I Saw the Devil a couple of years ago. This pretty much ensures that this is going to be a fast paced, action-packed, brutally violent film filled with plenty of shoot-outs, car stunts and fisticuffs.

The decent supporting cast includes Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, Eduardo Noriega, Genesis Rodriguez, Rodrigo Santoro and Luis Guzmán.

The Last Stand may appear like a formulaic action film but I have a sneaky feeling that this could be a lot of fun and highly entertaining. I am keeping my expectations somewhat guarded however just in case.

     Mama

Five years ago, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished from their suburban neighbourhood without a trace. Since then, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) have been madly searching for them. But when the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home. As Annabel tries to introduce the children to a normal life, she grows convinced of an evil presence in their house with the presence being someone they call their "Mama."

     My Take

This creepy looking new horror film is presented to us by executive producer Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy) and is directed by first time filmmaker Andrés Muschietti. Now, while I would be a lot more excited about this film had Del Toro made it himself, it certainly does appear to be a twisted and scary little film full of foreboding atmosphere.

I think that this one will definitely appeal to horror movie fans who enjoy squirming in their seat and like jump scares. I just hope that this will contain enough originality so as not to be just another typical film in the genre.

Jessica Chastain is red hot right now since she just received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role in the amazing Zero Dark Thirty. I've seen that film and it is definitely one of the year's best, and her nomination is well earned to say the least. She brings some star power to this film along with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau who many will know from his awesome role as the Kingslayer Jaime Lannister on HBO's Game of Thrones - love that show a ton.

Mama has potential to be a worthy entry into the horror movie genre and hopefully there will be enough of an audience out there to support it.

We shall see.

     Broken City

An ex-cop-turned-private eye (Mark Wahlberg) is thrown headfirst into a hotbed of trouble after a mayor (Russell Crowe) hires him to look into his cheating wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones).

     My Take

I've got to be perfectly honest here and say that despite the talented cast involved in this picture there is just nothing that compels me to want to see this film. Where's the hook? Why should I care? To me it just looks like another convoluted and cliché ridden potboiler that promises plenty of plot twists but is likely to come up short in its delivery.

I know I may seem judgmental having not actually seen the film yet but I'm just offering an opinion based off of what I have seen and heard.

This is director Allen Hughes first solo directing effort. Previously he collaborated with his twin brother Albert on films such as Book of Eli, From Hell and Menace II Society. I suppose the fact that I'm not a big fan of any of those films might be playing into why I'm so disinterested in this one. Oh well.

I could be wrong and this might be worthwhile, but I seriously doubt it.

     The Impossible

The film tells the true story of a married couple and their three children who are having a family vacation in Thailand during Christmas time. Their idyllic holiday is interrupted on the morning of December 26, 2004, when a devastating tsunami destroys the coastal zone. In surviving the disaster, the family is separated and a desperate search to reunite ensues.

     My Take

This is probably the film that I am looking forward to seeing the most this week. It has received tremendous reviews and heaps of praise from critics everywhere who laud its authenticity and wonderful performances from Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, who also happens to be nominated for Best Actress at this year's Academy Awards.

Even though it is an English-language film, The Impossible is a Spanish production directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, who made the excellent horror film The Orphanage back in 2007. The actual family that this film is based around were Spanish, but the director decided not to specify the nationalities of the main characters in order to create a universal film in which nationalities were irrelevant to the plot.

This is likely to be a heartwrenching and tension filled drama as we witness the plight of these poor people trying to overcome such terrifying circumstances. I think that The Impossible is the type of film that will showcase the triumph of will and resolve that humans can exhibit in the face of adversity and the unbreakable bond that family has in times of trouble.

If you are interested in seeing this great looking, Oscar nominated film, then head on down to the Paramount Theatre where it will be playing exclusively.

Until next week, see you at the movies!



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