Thursday, February 13, 2014

Don't Sabotage Your Chances to Purge Your Oddness with These Transcendent Trailers or the Reviews

You may notice below that Judi Dench doesn't show up in a single trailer. Yet somehow, she gets mentioned more than any other actor this week. This is how we roll.


Sabotage (March 28/Wide) - Red Band Trailer



Christopher: I've made it very clear in the past how much I miss hard edged, R-rated action pictures with all the gratuitous scenes of sex, violence and profanity that are too much for those precious teenagers. I should be doing back flips and having to change my pants from all the excitement over this movie, but I'm just not sure this is the answer I was looking for. Last year, Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to make his glorious return to action picture stardom with The Last Stand. It was a tongue-in-cheek actioner that played off the fact that Schwarzenegger was a little too old for this shit and to make sure one understood the tone, his sidekick was Johnny Knoxville. It received mixed reviews from the critics, but it got the best reviews of all the other aging action star pictures that littered cinemas last winter. It was a box office disappointment, and so this film feels like the response to that by being the exact opposite of the other movie by being dead serious and incredibly intense.


Even if you look back at the height of Schwarzenegger's career, his pictures were mostly glossy and mainstream and had a fair dosage of humour shoved into the cracks. The pictures got by on his charm and the witty one-liners he dished out before wasting the bad guy. There really isn't much to compare from his past catalogue to this specific picture. This looks like a dark, gritty, excessive dramatic action picture that appears almost entirely humourless that in order to work needs someone that can convey a wide arrange of emotions that put over the key scenes. I love Arnie, but he isn't that man. Terrence Howard could definitely be that man, but if this trailer is any indication, he is either the eventual baddie or just some grunt to get knocked off. This the Schwarzenegger show where he'll be expected to hold together the narrative and be the kick-ass action star that we need to believe in. We might get a "I'll be back", but I'm not sure if we'll get much more of his trademark fun lines and that is something we need for any his movies to work, especially at this stage in his career.

Director David Ayer is pretty hot at the moment in action circles thanks to the incredibly well-received found-footage-action picture End of Watch. I can't comment on it, because I'm allergic to found-footage movies even when they apparently kick ass, so I haven't got around to seeing it. His portfolio definitely shows a macho man vibe and his pictures aren't typical Hollywood fare. This time around it looks like the usual "someone has backstabbed us and our hero must track him down and fight him" plot but with whole a lot of head shots, cursing, and boobs. I'm perfectly happy with all those things in my motion picture experience and I've actually been begging for them in my action movies, but this one almost seems to be amping those things up to possibly make up for a lackluster story. The fact there was a week-long teaser campaign to build up to the release of this Red Band trailer, makes me think the whole selling point of this movie is going to be the profanity, flesh, and blood. These things are the deliciously wicked icing on what should a wonderfully layered cake, but it can't be the whole dessert. I have serious doubt Schwarzenegger is the main ingredient you want to toss in to make this kind of product work in 2014.

Scott: They killed his friend… big mistake. They messed with the wrong guy. I should have a lot to add, but Chris nailed it right on the head when he mentioned the selling point of this trailer is the R-rated material. Earlier in Arnold’s career, he showed a cunning ability to regain relevance after a few movies (Junior, Last Action Hero) affected his brand. This attempt, however, seems to be a very forced maneuver, relying on spraying blood and sailor’s language to make this a kick ass film. In the trailer there are some shots that look like they are from different perspectives, such as looking down the sight of a gun, that have the ability to bring about action sequences that are more about imagery than flow and stunning awesomeness. After seeing Arnold in a video at Gold’s Gym I was reminded just how wonderful his personality is, and I hope that he is able to find movie projects that best help him highlight it and get him back in the cinematic conversation in a great way.

Hector and the Search for Happiness (TBA)



Christopher: At the Brantford Film Festival, I saw a documentary called 15 Reasons to Live that had one segment where a man unhappy with his life decided to hike across the world (with some help from planes and boats obviously) for about ten years with his wife making some occasional visits. I was reminded of that event when watching this trailer, but I don't think it had any influence on this picture. I don't remember when the man took his extended hike, but the Francois Lelord novel, of the same name as this picture, was released in the late 1990s. It was a pretty innovative work that explores the psychology of what made people happy and offering real advice but wrapped in a humorous and light-hearted fictional story. Based off this trailer I don't expect it trying to maintain much of the psychological basis of the novel, but rather just be an uplifting and sentimental bit of fiction.

There isn't anything wrong with some occasional treacle seeping out of a motion picture. A pure unabashed feel-good story with uplifting music and excessive use of cheer is a wonderful thing in the right hands. While I don't have a lot of faith from the director who gave us Town & Country and Serendipity, this has almost the perfect cast for a warm fuzzies and walking on clouds yarn. The only major misstep is someone forgot to hire Judi Dench, and there must have been a role they could have created to get her in here. Dench jumped to mind because a picture that will likely rely on the colours and vibrancy of many cultures sort of reminded me of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Though this trailer didn't contain the same expert cinematography and eye-popping scenery, but I have faith they saved some of that for the actual picture (or trailer #2).

Anyway, I was going to mention casting and not try to compare this picture to another wonderful one. Simon Pegg as the lead is a top notch choice. This is a fairly different role than he has been slotted in for most of his career, but he has done light-hearted romantic comedies before but usually he is the slob trying to right himself for his girl (Run, Fatboy, Run comes instantly to mind). This time around he has a successful career and looks to have a good life with a beautiful girl at his side, but has an inner emptiness he tries to fill on his journey. This should allow him to play a different kind of character, and one that will require some dramatic scenes like with his meeting with Toni Collette, so hopefully, it is a chance to further establish his range and immense talents.

Collette is one wonderful actor and doesn't get enough credit, but she also seems intent on being in pictures that may require me to smuggle tissues into the cinema. Christopher Plummer is like a warm grandpa that always makes me smile when he appears and he is perfectly cast as the wise mentor type here. Rosamund Pike is another fantastic actor that is slowly getting more prominent roles, though I have a feeling she might just be stuck to some occasional appearances in wacky miscommunication Skype scenes. Jean Reno may be more associated with tough guy roles, but I always think back fondly with that pig oven mitt scene with Natalie Portman way back in The Professional that has left me hoping he'd get a moment for a sweet and intimate scene like that again.

There are few really appealing feel-good comedies lined up this year. There is a strong chance this one gets lost in a shuffle. The cast is what really will help me remember this one and I look forward to its arrival on this side of the pond.

Scott: This film looks like a great opportunity for Simon Pegg to increase his portfolio as it is able to draw on the great comedic delivery and timing that he possesses, but also prompts some very dramatic delivery from him as well. Pegg aside, the rest of the cast is incredible and makes me think there will be a great many delightful scenes in it. I am happy there was mention of the oven mitt scene from The Professional, because every time I see Jean Reno I think, ‘piggy, piggy… where are you?’ It is really neat when a small and sincere moment can sit in your mind forever.

Back to the movie at hand. I am afraid. Peter Chelsom directed a movie that made me physically angry, and that does not happen often. Serendipity caused me actual fits of rage, and I never made it past the twenty minute mark. Perhaps that is wrong of me. Perhaps I should have watched it longer. I am pondering giving the movie another try, but that is like getting food poisoning and then years later choosing to eat raw chicken because maybe you were a little too harsh in your memories of the vomiting. Anyways… I don’t trust the man. If Martin Brest came out and released a movie, I would be leery of it regardless of how the trailers looked, and this is sort of the same thing.

Odd Thomas (TBA)



Christopher: This looks like a trailer to a TV series made for SyFy or The CW. Even then, it looks like one that would be shoved into the month of August to blow off their order. Considering this is a long-running book series, I can't shake the feeling this was a pilot rejected by all the networks, and now the people involved are hoping to make back the money through On-Demand and its I'm-sure-to-be very limited theatrical run.

I'm not really surprised a picture adapted from a Dean Koontz novel looks this bad, because I've always considered him the supernatural novelist whose books people buy when one has already read all the Stephen King novels that are in stock. Yes, that seems mean, but the man I'm sure can handle it as he sleeps on his bed made out of money. I've even bought many of his books (hey, my local book store only carries so much King). The big difference from Koontz compared to King seems to be his insistence on trying to find real world explanations for his supernatural occurrences, but usually the science is all wonky and things would have just have been better if he embraced his ghouls and demons properly. I've also not read this particular series, and this one seems to play more into the realm of paranormal and good old fashioned ghosts.

The big surprise is that Stephen Sommers is attached to this. Scott will assuredly be laying out his dislike for that man, but I'm not entirely on that train. His Mummy series has a campy charm that is inspired by the old adventure serials from the 1940s and 1950s, because of that, feels like a monster mash-up version of Indiana Jones with an extra order of cheese. They aren't good movies by the typical definition, but they're damn fun. This particular movie appears to be entirely out of his element on a few levels. He clearly doesn't seem willing to embrace the dark and disturbing picture this is supposed to be, and he is struggling with what must be a limited budget coming from Image Entertainment.

This picture has some glaring tonal shifts. I've shouted from the rooftops in the past that drastic tonal shifts aren't necessarily an awful thing in a film. If anything, it can enhance the story, and make it richer and deeper. There needs to be a purpose for the shift that helps drive the narrative and remains true to the established characters. It also shouldn't fireball you right out of the story, unless that is intended to drive home the message. This trailer starts out feeling like a comedy horror type picture like The Frighteners (dated reference, but what popped in my head) or one of those countless quirky teenager becomes a private investigator/undercover-reporter pictures from the mid-90s. Suddenly Willem Dafoe shows up and it starts trying to give off a dark and unsettling horror picture vibe that feels pretty serious. Except with the lousy special effects and the fact the lead seems a bit dorky, it isn't pulled off in an effective way at all. It confirms Sommers is better playing with Brendan Fraser and undead pharaohs.

Scott: I had been curious about this movie for a while now. I originally remember seeing a release date for last April, but that never happened. It is true, I have a hard time stomaching Stephen Sommers. I liked the first Mummy, but that is about the only one I have enjoyed and I have some very special difficulties towards Van Helsing and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. His films have the tendency to force things that really make no sense just for the sake of a scene, and the overall narrative gets so cluttered and boggled that I need to take a break and drink some water. Counting backwards from one hundred also helps… you know, good grounding exercises. One of the biggest culprits in his films is the overuse of CGI and the inconsistent nature of its quality. While some images are beautiful and crisp, others appear as though they were never given a second thought. It all just gets thrown up in the air to see where it lands. True cluster-$%I# movie making.

I really wanted to see this movie, because I thought it would shed a different light on him. It was a chance away from the big budget movies and perhaps an opportunity to see him directing a film that focused on characters and their plights. After finally seeing the trailer, I was surprised (and not so surprised) to get the sense that this fits right in with the style of movie making I described, right down to the over use of CGI and the uneven quality of it (check out the animated pancake flipping). Sigh. I am a person who gets pretty strong emotions around some people’s tendencies and works, but I also crave and desire to see them break that mold and make me eat my words. I doubt this will be that movie.

Moms' Night Out (May 9/Wide)



Christopher: Before watching this trailer, I was all ready to go on another rant about studios trying to capture the female ensemble raunchy comedy magic to cash-in on the massive success of Bridesmaid and The Heat. But I was very wrong about what this apparently wide release picture (are they really going to try to expand across the continent with this during the competitive month of May?) is going to be, and it actually turns out far worse than I had imagined. This is directed by Jon and Andre Erwin who I don't know at all, but apparently they specialize in faith-based family pictures. This trailer reaffirms my belief that this genre of filmmaking is best described as a "carbon copy of well-known movies minus all the fun stuff." My biggest problem with this insipid picture comes from me being a stay-at-home dad and being told that apparently fathers are scared of spending time with their children and are largely incompetent in how to handle them. In 2014, I know almost no fathers that don't spend copious amount of time with their kids and significantly help with the act of parenting, which means this film is dated and unfunny. It also looks like it is going to try to be all schmaltzy and life-lessony by the end and likely forget it is trying to be a comedy.  Oh sorry, I meant "comedy."

Scott: Chris has his hate on for this movie, and I can’t really blame him. I as well expected a Bridesmaids rip off but it turns into a ‘where’s the baby’ thing. So, I guess it is Bridesmaids meets Fun Size kind of deal. And ya, if guys are left with kids they are inept and bring them to get tattoos and stuff like that. I kind of feel like Vince Vaughn should be in this movie. I guess the comedy happens from things that would never happen, like an employee at a restaurant insulting a patron for their face getting ugly. I don’t know. Can I talk about Stephen Sommers some more?

Under the Skin (April 4/Limited) - Trailer #1



Christopher: Last week we reviewed the teaser trailer, and Scott and I both agreed it was intriguing but we'd need more soon to keep the interest piqued. I can now see the goal will be to remain relatively vague on the plot, as while we get much more with this trailer, it doesn't really make things any more clear. I'm going to chalk that up to this just being a picture that can't properly be explained by a trailer, because itself will likely be abstract and a puzzle. It may sort of be like a sci-fi horror version of a Shane Carruth picture (Upstream Color). The one risky thing to me is the marketing that this picture makes Director Jonathan Glazer the heir apparent to Stanley Kubrick, because they're now comparing him to one of the most innovative and challenging directors of all-time that constantly churned out pictures that always made some critics all-time best lists. But I can see elements of the Kubrick's style here as it will be a picture heavy on imagery and very intricate in every aspect of the visuals to ensure all things point to the greater story.  It will also likely demand we pay close attention and while it has a story that may be easy to describe on paper, it unravels in an unconventional way that elevates it above mere genre.

Glazer has experience with deep and complex genre fiction, such as his last picture Birth, which was about a 10 year old boy claiming he was a widow's deceased husband. This time around it looks like he'll be relying even stronger on the visual aspect and eschew any form of a straight narrative, and much like the previous picture, will end up being either one you love or hate. It also likely has a shot of getting cult status even before the year is finished.

Scarlett Johansson is a great choice as the alien disguised as the woman attempting to trap men, and seems to be really seeking out unconventional roles (other than her Black Widow persona for Marvel). This really has a strong chance of establishing her as a talented character actor. I am encouraged that the trailer doesn't include any major scenes that would have been shot with the hidden camera to capture real, unsuspecting men. My fear was that part of the picture would be that the gimmick would frame the entire movie, but it appears to only be a small aspect of the greater narrative. Since they aren't even trying to sell the movie on it, I'd assume it was used sparingly and may not even be noticeable, and was rather just thrown in to enhance the picture. Even leaving out the real people being incorporated into the picture, this looks like a pretty cutting-edge and innovative bit of sci-fi.

Scott and I have whined before about how many pictures try to spell everything out and try to leave nothing to the imagination. This picture is so exciting, because it really looks like we'll be left trying to piece it   together and have to pay really close attention to all the different elements. This has strong potential to be one of the major sleeper-hits of the year, and has shot up near the top of my most anticipated. Of course, unless they go the Shane Carruth route of putting this on Netflix in conjunction with the limited cinema run, I may not actually get to see it in 2014. Unless the studios want to send me a critic screening pass that I'll happily accept.

Scott: We gain very little from this new trailer other than the fact that there is much that we don’t know. The basic synopsis sounds straight forward enough, but it appears as though Glazer is going to be going every route but the conventional one to tell the tale. It is the kind of film that will have a very hard time grabbing a large audience without a mainstream following for the director, but I am guessing Glazer will be gaining some new fans after this one. Who knows, it may be an incoherent mess. It may turn into a movie where people get upset if you acknowledge that you know the point of the movie but don’t like the movie. Kind of like Donnie Darko… I completely understood what the movie was about, but when I told people that I didn’t think it was the greatest thing in the world the common rebuttal was that I must not have understood it. We shall see. 

I do sincerely doubt that Glazer is this generation’s Kubrick. People in Kubrick’s generation knew who he was… not a whole lot of people know who Jonathan Glazer is, at least not in North America. Making comparisons like that are always so silly I find, because they falsely try and build someone’s unique credibility on the back of someone else’s. There are a lot of other things in the world that I should gripe about, but I can’t deny that I always think it is an unfair thing to do. Oh well, I don’t know about marketing, and I suppose that is just another tactic that helps build awareness. I would just personally prefer to let a person’s accomplishments be their own and have a path that is unique to themselves.

The Double (May 9/Limited)



Christopher: This is more like the stuff I expect Jesse Eisenberg to be cast in. It isn't what I'd expect comedian Richard Ayoade to have written and directed. An adaption of Fyodor Dostoyevsky isn't really what one automatically associates with humour, because even though he is known for satire, Crime & Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov aren't held up as comic gold. If you analyze this trailer it does scream art house drama and maybe even mind-bending slow-paced thriller, but there is also a subtle comedic flare in the presentation. It seems everyone plays two characters, so it was witty showing each person's name twice. It is those small little touches that demonstrates the style of Ayoade that will likely permeate through this picture.

A lot like Under the Skin, the trailer seems to be promising it won't be a straight forward narrative. The viewer must remain alert to catch all the hints and Easter eggs tossed throughout the story. Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska are too incredible talents that have proven to be both adept at big budget productions (Wasikowska starred in Alice in Wonderland), but even more comfortable and compelling in independent pictures with disturbing and grim flavourings. I'm assuming many scenes will have black comedy if not outright unsettling moments based off the disturbing narration and the darkly lit shots. Plus characters talk about wanting to survive and killing the snake, which usually isn't the stuff associated with broad comedy.

The actual novel is about one man growing more insane over his doppelganger. Despite the man looking exactly like him, he is the exact opposite when it comes to social behaviour as the new man is assertive, confident and extroverted. The story doesn't really have any fantasy elements but like most of Dostoyevsky's work it is incredibly philosophical and doesn't fit what one would expect in traditional storytelling. I'm expecting a lot of imagery and abstract scenes relying on the cinematography and shot layouts. The cast is definitely strong and skilled enough to pull off the necessary dramatic moments and maintain the mysterious artistic feel. This could be a pretty compelling picture that crosses several different genres.

Scott: I started getting excited about this movie when I heard it was premiering at TIFF back in September and then was very happy to find out that it had sold to a distributor. I am a huge fan of Richard Ayoade for his character on The IT Crowd, as well as for finding him to be the bright spot of comedy in The Watch. The man seems to have such a natural ability when it comes to comedy and to get a chance to see how he would write and direct a movie intrigues me very much.

I think the cast of Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, and Chris O’Dowd (also hilarious, and also from The IT Crowd) is what could make this movie magic. I am really guessing that the comedy in this film will come from nuance, and these people will be able to work in that realm. This film may just end up being a treat for people who crave new ideas and original flare in films.

Transcendence (April 17/Wide) - Trailer #2



Christopher: While I think this is a pretty cool trailer that shows this picture is a bit more complex than the initial teasers and trailer showed, it also makes me wish they'd just stuck with the original one. It is now revealing a bit more of the story than we really needed. We knew that the Depp character would start going all Lawnmower Man and using technology to unleash its master plan, but weren't the hints in the initial trailer enough rather than the scenes outright showing it here? The battle against technology isn't an original concept, and so I think the subtle hints that something dangerous will happen by uploading Depp on the computer was far more compelling than jumping right into what I assume will be the climax of the picture. There are still hints towards several plot threads that could turn out to be more major than this trailer alludes to. There is a dangerous anti-technology group that tries to kill Depp, and there are a few scenes that seem to point to them being more prominent to the film than just being catalysts for the inventor consumed by his own creation story. I hope that turns out to be the case and we're treated to a pretty complex story that explores many aspects of technology and the implications of progress. I still have high hopes, but as is often the case, the second trailer actually makes me less excited than if I just had the initial to whet my appetite. Please Warner Brothers, let this be the last full trailer and just tease us with some viral marketing to fuel the campaign until April 17th.

Scott: I got really pumped with this trailer when I saw Cillian Murphy was in it as I had no idea he was in this movie. Other than that, I don’t really feel that it did anything else than what Chris already pointed out, which was reveal more of the story. I really do feel like the trailer they had before was very well crafted, showing enough of what was happening, but leaving a whole lot to the imagination. It really blended those elements well, which is something that trailers these days have a very hard time doing.

The Purge: Anarchy (June 20/Wide)



Christopher:  When I first heard about the concept of the original The Purge, I was incredibly intrigued about a government mandated 12 hour period that removes all laws and allows total anarchy as a way to curb crime for the rest of the year. It was a fresh take on government taking drastic measures to achieve a utopia that comes from past fiction like Brave New World. Then I saw a trailer and quickly realized it was a cool concept used to just make yet another home invasion film similar to Straw Dogs or even The Last House on the Left. Cinema has been churning out "how far will good people go to defend their family" or "who is the real villain" concept forever and ever, and was mastered back in the 1970s, so it wasn't really anything I was interested in seeing.

I thought that I wanted to see the actual chaos that was happening outside the house. I stupidly believed the initial movie would have been far more intriguing and tantalizing if showed how the actual Purge worked. I even in a podcast pitched the idea of a family trapped outside during the Purge and trying to fight their way home. I say I'm stupid for uttering such a thing, because this is exactly what we get this time and this looks awful.

The first problem is that the couple clearly knows about the Purge. She wants her husband to speed up and get home. The next thing we know the car magically stops working and they have to walk. It seems like a long walk back home. It also seems like they decided to take their joy ride rather close to when the Purge was about to begin. What type of functioning adults decide to take a long trip and be far away from the safety of their home on the most dangerous night of the year?  More importantly, why did they not make sure there car wasn't a piece of shit that just conks out? I like to think the husband just forgot to check the gas.

They essentially came up with the most cliché reason ever for a couple to be stranded. Now we're just rehashing Children of the Corn or Wrong Turn or countless other couple is stranded in a bad place thrillers. They came up with the worst possible excuse for sticking them in the middle of the chaos, when clearly these people should have known better. I hate them already, and I haven't even been assaulted with the inane dialogue and tossed together attempts of character development (like finding out the wife is a nurse and the husband is an out of work mechanic) that almost always must happen in the first 20 minutes in these types of pictures.

But hey, it at least isn't Moms' Night Out. I'm still not even sure if that is a real movie.

Scott: Chris can go on with his complaints, but at least he didn’t pony up the money to see the first one in theatre. I am one of those people. You know what I don’t get? If crime is legal, why do people wear masks? The movie first movie was absolutely full of inorganic, contrived scenes that made no sense other than the fact that they would look neat. I am guessing that round two will be bringing a whole lot of the same.

When their car breaks down, why not just hide for twelve hours. I know they are on a bridge, but climb on a girder, piss your pants, sob your tears, and go home in the morning with your body parts intact, do a load of laundry and all is good again. Stupid people in stupid movies deserve to die, which is one of the reasons I loved You’re Next so much. However, they were playing around with that in a fun way while this movie just has stupid people that we are supposed to root for. Don’t go on a date before the purge. Or, don’t run around during the purge. Get in a dumpster. Something. Anything. Idiots. It is better to soil your trousers than to be that dolt who gets offed while killing is encouraged.

Blame Chris for this movie. This is what he asked for. If you recall, I believe I said the movie concept would be better if it was designed around the anticipation of the purge that yuppies did not have to face. I like my idea better, but, with any luck, this film will make money and the third one will be more along what I would like to see and this time next year I will be cursing myself for ever wanting such a thing.

The Love Punch (May/Limited)



Christopher: This kind of reminds me of Fun with Dick and Jane but rather than a couple getting revenge on the big corporation that laid off the husband, we have a divorced couple seeking revenge against the unscrupulous business man that stole their pension. The other big difference is the humour isn't going to rely on Jim Carrey's rubber face, but rather the biting wit of Emma Thompson and the ability of Pierce Brosnan to play off her.  It is pretty obvious the joy of committing a major crime together and foiling the evil rich man will spark their love and our couple that hated each other will find true love again. The formula is screaming out at me while I watch the trailer, but I really don't care, because this still looks like it can be a lot of fun.

Celia Imrie was a delight as woman on the prowl in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (yep, mentioning it again) and her comic skills are shown here. I love when she was asked if she brought the gun, but she decided it was too dangerous so she made sandwiches instead. Later on when it is likely one of their big moves towards stealing the diamond, she needs to take a pee break first. This is funny stuff, but her timing is what makes it hilarious. You've got smart and intelligent actors that are going to make this formulaic comedy into something witty and charming. There is a character to this picture that is rare to the mainstream, and I'm expecting this to be a pure delight. This also really should have had an appearance from Judi Dench, but I also just think she should be in anything that is funny and British, now.

Scott: There is no shame in Chris mentioning The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel twice in one article because the movie was just that good. Ten years from now we will still be bringing it up for the joy that it was able to provide. As well, we get another Judi Dench nod from Chris, who I think was completely captivated by her work in Philomena. Personally, I think it is the most endearing character that Dench has played and has completely elevated her status in my eyes. What a dynamic performer she is.

And now I should get on to talking about the movie at hand. I think the only real thing to be worried about with a film like this based off of the trailer, is that the emotional element may come off a little heavy handed. That is not to say that I believe it will, but that if there is one thing that could bring it down a notch that would be it. Other than that, chemistry between the actors in the scenes that we are privy to shows that there is bound to be plenty of entertaining nuggets within this film and that we will be sure to have more than a few giggles by the time the credits roll around. Actually, I think another possible problem that the movie could run into could be remaining within the realm of believability with the heist and the kidnapping. However, if the script is good enough and the jokes don’t fall flat, nobody will care about reality at all.

Brick Mansions (April 25/Wide)



Christopher: This is a picture that has been getting a lot more media attention than usual likely due to it being one of the last pictures to have Paul Walker. Let's be honest, Walker hasn't been in a wide release picture with any buzz that isn't part of the Fast and Furious franchise for about a decade now. This actually looks pretty different than most North American action pictures, and has a distinct Hong Kong style martial arts action picture vibe. I don't have a clue who David Belle is, but it appears at least some of his stunts are legit and without CGI assistance. The choreography of the action sequences almost make me forgive the film for resorting to such tiresome clichés like jumping of rooftops (really, this is still considered thrilling after it becoming almost a parody of itself 20 years ago?). This doesn't quite have the chaotic nature and unfiltered adrenaline of Raid 2: Berandel but this still seems like a great drug of choice for the action junkie bored with the current crop of offerings. I should note that I'm not endorsing this picture or really even interested, but it is different, which is a good thing. One more thing that will likely entice action fans is that this is a remake of the Luc Besson scripted District B13, which many of you likely haven't heard of. Any fan of action should know Besson is also responsible for beloved action pictures like La Femme Nikita and The Professional.

Scott: To me, this makes me think of The Raid meets Escape From New York (or LA… seriously, they were the exact same movie). It looks to offer the kind of altered fight sequences that were really big around the time of Romeo Must Die, which never really gets me too excited. It is very ambitious in its style of action, which I think may become part of its downfall (a similar criticism to Sabotage, so you can see it is not just Chris who brings things up more than once).

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