You are here: Home > Blogs > Movie Maniacs

Latest Posts

On Line

Summer of the Sequels

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

This summer every film seems to have the number two behind it—or three, or is a sequel, prequel or some such thing. Currently in the theatres we have Despicable Me 2, Red 2, Smurfs 2, Grown-Ups 2, Iron Man 3, Kick A** 2, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and Wolverine. Now if you remember the original story line and don't need catching up, just head off to the theatres. But if you want a refresher here are the links to the originals.

Despicable Me (I love this movie-fun for the whole family), Red (big big cast,, suspend logic and just enjoy—especially Malkovich), Smurfs, Grown-Ups (they aren't really), Iron Man 1, 2 (Robert Downey at his best), Kick A** (a different kind of Super hero Movie), Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief (the best Medusa ever), X-Men 1, 2, and 3 and X Men Origins-Wolverine.

 

 

Now as somebody who never needs encouragement to re-watch something I enjoy, I found this fact from a recent Ipsos poll very interesting: The average Canadian parent has seen their children's favourite movie about 33 times. And while I can rewatch Casablanca, Bridge on the River Kwai and To Kill a Mockingbird over and over, I blanche at the thought of how many times I sat through a taped Cirque de Soleil special with my daughter to watch the same clown climb out of the same box to get the same pie in his face. As I recall though it was very funny—at least the first 33 times!

From the same poll; with its release right around the corner, 27% of Canadians would most want to be in 'The Smurfs 2' if they woke up and found themselves to be an animated character.

REDUX

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

If it worked once it can work again is Hollywood’s Golden Rule. Often it seems impossible to find a movie that isn’t a prequel, a sequel, a ‘re-imagining’ or just a plain old let’s see if we can make some more money off this and to heck with anything else. And with all such things a few, but not many, are better, some are equally good but in different ways, some just make it , some don’t and some completely miss their mark and may be responsible for killing off their franchise for good.

Here are three new CPL acquisitions that for me have varying degrees of success.

H&G:The Witch HuntersHansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters starring currently ‘see him everywhere’ Jeremy Renner (Mission Impossible, Marvel's The Avengers, Bourne Legacy) and Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia). It’s not great, but it’s entertaining enough. In the movie, Hansel is diabetic as a result of his childhood experience in the gingerbread house. In the original script, Gretel was also supposed to have an eating disorder as a result of her childhood trauma, but it was cut from the final version. Talk about trying to make something current.

Oz the Great and Powerful is the prequel to The Wizard of Oz. Now Oz is a movie I have never been able to get behind. Considered a classic by millions and appearing on more must see lists than you can shake a wand at, it just never did a thing for me. Perhaps it is the flying monkeys which still haunt my dreams; perhaps it is the cowardly lion who just drives me up the wall. It certainly isn't Judy Garland! So I am always on the lookout for a ‘re-imagining’ of the tale that might suit my tastes better. This film is visually stunning, and the story line is okay, but this didn’t work for me either. Perhaps it is James Franco smirking through the entire film. You would be hard pressed to see three more beautiful witches in Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Mrs. James Bond, Rachel Weisz. As I say, not for me, but many will enjoy.

A Good Day to Die Hard should have been the franchise killer that I was talking about, but Die Hardest (the 6th) is slated for 2015. The Die Hard’s have been popular since the first release in 1988 and have been consistently watchable. Over the top action, entire city blocks blowing up, a bloody but unbowed John McLane running barefoot over broken glass—what’s not to like? Sadly, they lost the thread here and it really didn’t work. But don’t feel too bad for Bruce Willis. Collectively, he has appeared in films that have grossed in excess of $2.5 billion USD placing him in the top ten stars in terms of box office receipts. And that is enough to save the franchise.

It's a bird! It's a plane!

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

The newest incarnation of Superman is set to hit the theatres on June 13th and no doubt will be hugely popular. The trailers actually look quite good for this one and I'm sure it will do very well for itself and spawn all sorts of lunch bags, giant drinking cups and kid's pajamas. Superman is actually one of my more favorite Superheroes and I am likely to go see it. But thinking about the new Superman got me thinking about the old Superman and that of course got me thinking about Christopher Reeve.

Now he didn't have a chance to make a lot of movies before his terrible horse riding accident in 1995 which left him a quadriplegic. But what he did do I liked a lot. All of the 1, 2, 3, 4 Superman films that he made were not equally good, but I enjoyed the first one very much. However I do have two other films of his to recommend. One is Deathtrap starring another of my favorite actors, Michael Caine. This one is just unexpected fun with some good twists and turns. The next one is the bittersweet Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer. I just re watched this one recently and it still makes me cry---I give it a 3 out of 5 in the soggy hankie category. And you would be hard pressed to find a more lovely sound track. He also had some small roles in a couple of Ivory and Merchant films, including Remains of the Day and The Bostonians.

Confined to a wheel chair for his last 10 years he lived a life of meaning, using his fame and his own circumstance to advocate on behalf of spinal cord injuries and stem cell research.

After he died in 2004, a number of memorial cartoons were Superman-themed. Many artists drew Reeve as Superman flying away from the wheelchair. In one picture, Superman came to Reeve's grave with flowers. In another picture, a grief-stricken Superman reads the news of Reeve's death in The Daily Planet newspaper and says to the reader, "He was my hero." In another, Captain America, Spider-Man, and Batman come to Reeve's grave with Batman, commenting, "He really was a super man." In another, a young boy in a wheelchair tells the reader, "He was the Man of Steel. He had incredible vision. He used his powers to save people. Nothing could stop him. And I think before that he acted in some Superman movies."

You can also read two book written by Reeve, including Still Me and Nothing is Impossible: reflections on a new life. There is also a pretty inspirational DVD from 2002 which follows his life after the accident and his stunning ability to regain partial muscle control; Hope in Motion.

Will a Super Hero Movie Ever Win Best Picture?

by Trevor - 0 Comment(s)

Like any film fan, I watch the Academy Awards. The pomp, the prestige, and the pageantry usually makes for a good time. That’s not to say I always agree with the awards however. For instance, where was the best picture nomination for The Avengers? Surely I must jest. A super hero summer blockbuster standing amongst Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lincoln? It’s loud! It has special effects! It has an angry green giant tearing stuff apart! It was also far and above the most entertaining movie I saw in 2012. Just because it made heaps of money doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be recognized as an amazing film.

If Avengers doesn’t ring of best picture material to you, what about The Dark Knight. Gritty and thoughtful, with expert plotting and captivating performances, The Dark Knight wasn’t dissimilar to previous thrillers The Hurt Locker, The Departed, and No Country for Old Men which took home the statue. Yet was it nominated for the category? Was it even considered?It seems the Academy is too quick to dismiss the caped crusaders for best picture contenders. Even if the Academy has yet to realize it, The Dark Knight has shown us that super heroes have come a long way from the campy lampoonery of yesteryear.

The Man of Steel is hitting theatres in a few short months and looks to continue the trend. It stars Henry Cavil, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Lawrence Fishburne, and Michael Shannon (everyone but the newcomer Cavil is an Academy Award nominee and/or winner). You can find all of the films that CPL carries for any of these, or other stars by doing the following: in the Search the Catalogue box on our home page enter the person's name and dvd as in, Russell Crowe dvd. Up pops all their titles!

With a heavy hitting cast, a dark and realistic tone said to echo The Dark Knight, and extremely positive buzz surrounding the film, we may very well see a super hero flick sneaking into the coveted category next award season. I for one, am eagerly awaiting a super hero film that can not only appease the masses, but convince the academy voters as well.


Do you think The Avengers or The Dark Knight deserved a best picture nom? Are there other super hero films that should have received more recognition? What about science fiction in general, a category that is traditionally ignored by the Academy? Sound off with your comments below.

Tags:

Tom Cruise is Crazy!

by Trevor - 0 Comment(s)

I was watching the special features of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol this weekend and holy heck…Tom Cruise is crazy! I don’t mean crazy in the way most people meant after his Oprah couch jumping incident. I mean the hanging from a skyscraper hundreds of stories in the air crazy! He actually runs down the side of a skyscraper! A lot of actors pride themselves on doing their own stunts but Tommy turns the notch up to 11. Regardless of what you think of the star and his personal life, you have to give him credit for his insane stunts. Here are a few of his better, and sometimes crazier, action films.

Mission Impossibles – All of the films in this franchise are “non-stop thrill rides” (a favorite cliché quote of mine and one that appears on an alarming amount of DVD covers). I recommend watching or re-watching the two most recent as they’re undeniably the best. Though Mission Impossibles 1 and 2 are suitable action fare, number 3 and 4 (Ghost Protocol) are the epitome of modern action films and are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat!

Minority Report – As you’ll come to know about me, I’m a sucker for sci-fi. Great sci-fi flicks like this one are even better. Using psychic prediction to stop all crimes before they happen? What could go wrong there? Jet packs, futuristic guns, and plot twists galore? Sign me up!

Knight and Day – While not the most original of films, Knight and Day is a more than satisfactory romantic action adventure. Tom does his usual super spy thing including some impressive motorcycle scenes.

Collateral – I read that Tom trained extensively with a military instructor so he could fire his gun like a highly efficient cold blooded killer. His cold blood certainly comes through as his villainous take on a hitman is one of his most interesting roles. He doesn’t often play a bad guy but has my vote to do so more often.


Though it’s not going to be out until April, I’m already getting excited for Cruise’s next film, Oblivion. Here’s hoping he can strike sci-fi gold again and do justice to the impressive trailer. I’ve no doubt that Tom will once again be sending his stunt doubles out on coffee runs while he jumps off cliffs and crashes cars.

New and Notable

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Back in my Halloween post a mere 6 weeks ago I mentioned Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter and how much I enjoyed it at the theatre. Well, it's available now so get your hold on. Once you accept that Abe wasn't just the 16th president of the United States, but a very accomplished vampire hunter, you're in for a fun two hours. I watched it again this past weekend and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. The cinematography is stunning. and the axe-work is pretty excellent as well. Abe sure can make those heads fly when his blade swings!

Expendables 2 -- didn't I just post about this one too when it first hit the theatres? Well, nothing says Christmas like a bunch of testosterone-fuelled mayhem with every action star of the last 30 years. Ditto The Dark Night Rises. The last in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, we see Batman battle against the latest threat to Gotham, the terrorist Bane, played to perfection by the very versatile Tom Hardy. If you've read my posts before, you know Batman is my least fave Superhero, but having said that, this latest is pretty good.

Tom Hardy's had a busy year. He is also in another new release, Lawless, with Shia Lebouef.

Men in Black 3 --much lighter than Batman and Lawless and nowhere near as bloody as Abe or Expendables, this is another fun way to spend two hours. I enjoyed this much more than MIB 2, and thought that Josh Brolin was brilliant playing a young Agent K. He absolutely nailed his impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones. I actually thought that they might have been dubbing his voice, but no, that is all Brolin.

On a much much lighter note, try Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep in Hope Springs.

And for the kids we have Paranorman, a misunderstood boy who takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. This was surprisingly intense so if you take it home take the PG rating seriously. There is also the rather quirky Disney offering, The odd life of Timothy Green.

These guys don't come cheap

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

I almost went to see The Expendables 2 then changed my mind at the last minute and decided to wait for the DVD. The main appeal is all these big action stars and even bigger egos in one pic. And that got me thinking about action stars/movies and how much $$$ they generate for studios. The amount is staggering- actually it is rather surreal. Collectively the actors in this film have made a lot of movies over the years, some good, some bad, and some better than average that showcase their actual acting chops and not just their pecs. So I have pulled out some of my fave movies featuring some but not all of the stars.

Sylvester Stallone- Rocky of course, but only the first and possibly the 2nd. It tends to gets dismissed too easily because the series got steadily worse as it progressed from 1 through 5, but there is no denying how really good the original is. Especially given that Stallone wrote, directed and starred in it all because he needed work and was having trouble finding anything so decided to write himself a part.

Jason Statham- The Italian Job is a very solid heist movie, as is The Bank Job.

Jet Li- I'll go with Hero and Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Dolph Lundgren- sorry Dolph, just couldn't find one

Chuck Norris-his hugely popular Walker Texas Ranger television series

Jean-Claude Van Damme is another tough one. I know this is a cheat but the Muscles from Brussels is at his best as a voice in Kung Fu Panda 2

Arnold Schwarzenegger-what to write about Arnold that hasn't already been written? We all know The Terminator franchise, but I think True Lies is his best. He also has a new autobiography modestly titled Total recall : my unbelievably true life story

Bruce Willis- now Bruce I can really get into. Of all of these guys he is easily the most talented and versatile. I remain a big fan of his and recommend any of these---Die Hard 1 2 3 4, 16 Blocks, The Sixth Sense, Hart's War, and my fave-12 Monkeys.

Now that surreal $ amount I mentioned at the beginning? A quick calculation based on IMDB's Box Office figures, not including DVD sales, not adjusted for inflation, and only for the movies I have linked above---almost $4 billion. Would you believe The Die Hard Franchise alone has generated world wide---$1,126,935,581.00!

And incidentally, Expendables 2 is doing well at the Box office and getting some decent reviews. On an estimated budget of $100 million, as of Sept 23rd it has made $264 million. We have the original Expendables, which has gross worldwide sales of $274,470.00. I smell another sequel.

Prometheus

by Moe - 3 Comment(s)

Like a lot of rabid fans I am counting the days to the release of Prometheus on June 8th. This is Ridley Scott’s—SIR Ridley’s that is—highly anticipated latest movie and it looks epic. It may or may not be a prequel to his iconic film Alien---they---as in the actors, the Studio, and almost anyone associated with it are playing it pretty close to the chest. Alien was the first instalment of the Aliens quadrilogy and the movie that launched Sigourney Weaver’s career, made kick butt heroines acceptable, and upped the ante for filmmakers for years to come.

Scott got his start 35 years ago working as a high powered ad-man. He then tried his hand at movies and had just finished making a feature film called The Duellist (actually pretty good) that hardly anybody saw because they were all lined up to go see another new release – Star Wars. Scott’s next release was to be a retelling of Tristan and Isolde, but after he himself saw Star Wars, he is quoted as saying “this changes everything – it’s time to get down to business”.

6 weeks later he signed on to direct Alien—he was actually 20th Century Fox’s fifth choice. With its wonderful tag line 'in space no one can hear you scream' it was a phenomenal success. The franchise had a total run of 4, with the first sequel, Aliens (directed by another developing heavy weight – James Cameron) being even slightly better than the original. Unfortunately 3 and 4 ran out of steam. Out of all his movies since, Scott says that Alien is the one that has called to him over the years as unfinished business.

He has had a hugely successful career and any movie with him at the helm is an event. Here are some of his titles which are available at CPL: Thelma and Louise; Gladiator; Kingdom of Heaven; Robin Hood; Body of Lies; American Gangster; Blade Runner.

Prometheus features an excellent cast including Michael Fassbender (X-Men First Class); Noomi Rapace (Dragon Tattoo trilogy – original Swedish version); Charlize Theron – currently having quite a resurgence in her career with another big draw having just opened – Snow White and the Huntsman (here's the trailer). Check out this excellent teen zone post from earlier; Idris Alba (Luther) and Guy Pearce (Mildred Pierce).

Next on Scott’s plate – a prequel --- or maybe a sequel --- again, he is not saying, to his other cult classic—Blade Runner.

Johnny D & John C

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

Whenever I think 'quirky', two actors come to mind. One is Johnny Depp and the other is John Cusack. Both have been around for a lot of years, both are highly versatile and both can be counted on to give solid performances---especially in very offbeat films. It's interesting to see that both also have new releases in the theatres at the moment. The Raven is loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe's poem of the same name and features Cusask. Dark Shadows is a re-imagining of the 1966 TV cult classic and features Depp as an imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins. Truth be told, I will give both of these a pass until they come out on DVD, but we have lots of other Depp and Cusack titles that showcase their talents.

Forget the mainstream Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, we've all seen and enjoyed them, and try these from Depp: Edward Scissorhands, Rango, Don Juan DeMarco, Benny and Joon and the wonderful and truly strange Ed Wood. We also have the original tv series that launched his career and made him the heartthrob of most North American teens---21 Jump Street. I recently watched The Rum Diary and although not a great film it did qualify as mildly quirky, is well acted, and had more than enough to keep me with it.

Cusack has never really been main stream, or at least not since his days as a member of the brat pack in the 80's. Try him out in what is likely one of the most bizarre movies ever---Being John Malcovich. Also Grosse Pointe Blank and the same roll reprised in War Inc ---written by Cusack---and yes that is him doing his own stunts-he has a black belt in kick boxing.

Now to end this post, let me say that the two Johns have in their filmography to my mind several VERY scary movies. 1408 with Cusack just scares the milk and cookies out of me every time I watch it- and I can't stop watching it. And Depp is often at his best when he plays the 'in over his head' protagonist like in Sleepy Hollow. Also, From Hell (a Jack the Ripper retelling-very bloody and dark) and Secret Window.

The Raid: Redemption Review

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

We know Guest Blogger Trevor like his movies gritty, so on offer is his review of an upcoming theatrical release. If you like martial arts movies they are very well represented at CPL- in fact, too well represented to name them all. So to find all the titles just go to either our new catalogue or the classic catalogue and use Martial Arts DVD as your search term and you pull up a list of over 75 titles! In the new catalogue you have the further advantage of being able to use 'limitors' to select for language, audience, pub date, etc. Have some fun and play around with the new catalogue to find exactly what you are looking for. With over 70 titles, there is something for everyone.

The Raid: Redemption

I had the chance to see the advanced screening of the upcoming action flick The Raid: Redemption. It was without a doubt the best choreographed, most exciting martial arts movie I've ever seen (and this is coming from a lifelong fan of the Matrix). Though the screening I saw was unfinished and lacked subtitles, and though I had next to no idea what was going on plot-wise, the action was so intense and gratifying that it easily leapt to the top of my favorite action movie list (yes, I have a list for every genre). It's about a swat team that invades a slumlord's 30 story apartment complex. Things inevitably go bad and the cops (mainly just one incredibly skilled cop) have to fight through hordes of gun and machete wielding thugs to escape the building. Like many foreign language films, this movie may only see a limited release. If you even slightly consider yourself an action fan, you owe it to yourself to see this one. Just be warned, the violence is brutal, visceral and pulls no punches.

123Showing 1 - 10 of 21 Record(s)