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Cinema Scoop  

New out on DVD/Blu-ray this week

New out on DVD/Blu-ray for Tuesday August 20.

     Epic

From the creators of Ice Age and Rio, Epic tells the story of an ongoing battle between the forces of good, who keep the natural world alive, and the forces of evil, who wish to destroy it. When a teenage girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she teams up with an elite band of warriors and a crew of comical, larger-than-life figures, to save their world... and ours.

Epic is actually a pretty well done and cute animated adventure tale that is sure to appeal to children and won't bore adults to death either. It's very colourful and family friendly, and it has a strong environmental message in it that will remind some people of Avatar as well as FernGully: The Last Rainforest.

The all star voice cast includes Amanda Seyfried, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Christoph Waltz, Chris O'Dowd, Aziz Ansari, Jason Sudeikis, Beyoncé and Steven Tyler.

I didn't expect much from this film, but was pleasantly surprised that it ended up holding my attention and I actually found some of it fairly entertaining. Epic is a solid piece of family entertainment. Give it a look.

     Amour

Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.

Boy, it sure took a long time for this film to get released on DVD. It seems like forever ago that I watched this highly acclaimed French language drama. Amour was directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke (Funny Games, The White Ribbon) and it won the coveted Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It also went on to receive 5 Academy Awards nominations this past year and captured the prize for Best Foreign Language Film. 

Emmanuelle Riva gave an absolutely heartwrenching performance in this film and at the age of 85, she became the oldest Best Actress nominee in Oscar history. Amour is deserving of its many accolades to a degree. It is an exceptionally well staged and brilliantly acted drama, there's no doubt about that, but it is also very sad and extremely depressing to sit through. This will not be a film for everyone and I feel like you definitely have to be in the mood to be put through an emotional wringer with this one. 

I think the audience for this film will likely be people who appreciate very true to life, character driven dramas full of honest and raw emotion. Amour is not a movie that intends to entertain people but rather just drop them into these people's lives and observe how they cope with this tragic and heartbreaking circumstance. Death is something we all will face at some point and this film portrays it in an unflinching manner. This will be a tough one for some people to watch.

I thought Amour was an excellent film, but it's not one that I would ever want to see again. Way too depressing!

     Killing Season

Deep in the Appalachian Mountains, a reclusive American military veteran (Robert De Niro) and a European tourist (John Travolta) strike up an unlikely friendship. But when the tourist's true intentions come to light, what follows is a tense battle across some of America's most forbidding landscape proving the old adage: the purest form of war is one-on-one.

Speaking of depressing, what in the heck has happened to Robert De Niro lately? With the exception of his amazing work in last year's Silver Linings Playbook, he's been in one piece of junk after another the past few years. His latest effort, the horribly inept and utterly awful film, Killing Season, just further proves that he's clueless on how to choose a good role anymore. 

I really don't want to elaborate too much about this total misfire, other than to say that it is a revenge tale that attempts to show us the so called cost of war. There is absolutely nothing subtle about its message and the movie just plods along with barely anything holding it together. This is truly one of the worst of the year. What a complete waste of time!

     What Maisie Knew

A contemporary reimagining of Henry James' novel, What Maisie Knew tells the story of a captivating little girl's struggle for grace in the midst of her parents' bitter custody battle. Told through the eyes of the title's heroine, Maisie navigates this ever-widening turmoil with a six-year-old's innocence, charm and generosity of spirit.

In my opinion, this little known film is the gem of the week. It's a touching and at times heartbreaking drama about the affects of divorce on a young child. What really makes the film work so well is the remarkable performance by young Onata Aprile, who plays Maisie. She inhabits every scene of the film, as the story is told from her perspective. She is totally natural in everything she does and we root for her as she has to display so much resilience in dealing with her neglectful parents, the hard-partying rock star Susanna (Julianne Moore) and the self-obsessed art dealer Beale (Steve Coogan). 

I was so mad at these loser parents for treating her the way that they did by not giving her the proper love and support all children truly require. There's a nice moment when we see Maisie open up and flourish when she develops a bond with her mother's new husband Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgård). He's charming and pays more attention to Maisie and seems to care more about her than her own parents do. 

What Maisie Knew does a tremendous job of avoiding trite sentimentality. There are no easy answers in situations like these and the film offers us insight into a child's feelings and how they must cope with all of this. It's very well done.

I highly recommend What Maisie Knew to anyone who enjoys serious minded emotional dramas. 

Also out this week is the goofy comedy Scary Movie 5, the horror film No One Lives, the WWII drama Emperor featuring Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox, the environmental documentary Revolution, the acclaimed French Canadian drama I Killed My Mother, the comedy Rapture-Palooza with Anna Kendrick and Craig Robinson, the family drama Will starring Bob Hoskins and Damian Lewis and the awesome 3rd season of HBO's Boardwalk Empire.

New out on DVD/Blu-ray is brought to you by Leo's Videos, 2680 Pandosy St. (250) 861-8437



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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.



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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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