Archive for April, 2011

3 Arts Entertainment, Crazy Horse Effects, Flashpoint Entertainment

Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz, Paul Schneider, Jim Norton, Hal Holbrook, Mark Povinelli, Richard Brake, Stephen Taylor

Jacob (Robert Pattinson)is a young man with his whole life ahead of him. His parents were Polish immigrants, and though they’re in the middle of the great depression, they strongly believe that if you have a good mind, anyone can succeed in America. As Jacob is about to take the final for his degree in Veterinary medicine, his parents are suddenly killed in a terrible accident, and everything he had is gone. No familiy, no home, no degree, Jacob starts off traveling to nowhere, and jumps a train that ironically belongs to one of the largest Circuses of the era, the Benzini Brothers. He impresses the owner, August (Christoph Waltz) who is one of the most screwed up ruthless villains on screen in recent years, and it besotted by Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), August’s wife. This triangle makes most of the story, along with Jacob love of the animals, especially an elephant named Rosie.

Told in a flashback, Hal Holbrook plays an old Jacob who shows up at Circus Vargas after the show is over on a dark night in the rain and retells the love story which reminds me a lot of “The Notebook” or “Green Mile“. And the story is just as strong as either of these great movies. Robert Pattinson does an amazing job in this film, and is really an awesome actor. I would not have expected this from him, but he was excellent. According to IMDB, Sean Penn was set for the role of August, but was replaced by Christoph Waltz (probably because there was no chance to spout off liberal propaganda in this kind of role) which was good for the film, as Christoph is unbelievable pitiful as a man caught between a rock and hard place, but with no morals or ethics of any kind to make him appealing. He’s a mean son of a gun, and thinks nothing of killing a man instead of paying him. In fact, he’s low enough to have someone else do the killing for him so he doesn’t have to deal with it. He’s a ruthless snake. Reese is pretty as the young wife who is the love interest of both Jacob and August, but she is probably the weakest of the actors in this film. But I don’t think it’s her fault, as Reese is really a good actress, but her role is one of a young wife who is not really in control of anything. She plays the role respectfully and is not a detriment to the film.

The cast of geeks and misfits of the circus are great as well. They really give you the feel of a circus of the 30’s in the middle of the depression. Though not a major portion of the story, the life of the roustabouts and the way they work to separate the rubes from their coin is very interesting. This is the best circus movie I’ve seen in ages, and a fantastic ill fated love story that works it way through to the end of the story where Jacob wants to come back home to the circus that he loved all his life. This is a wonderful movie, and one that’s very fulfilling to see on the big screen!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Illumination Entertainment

James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cuoco, Hank Azaria, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, Hugh Laurie, Tiffany Espensen, David Hasselhoff, Chelsea Handler

Hop is a delightful mix of animation and live action in the story of the Easter Bunny. E.B. (Russell Brand) is a teen-aged rabbit who has always dreamed of being a rock drummer. E.B.’s Dad (Hugh Laurie) doesn’t respect his son’s dreams and assumes he is ready to take over the job of delivering Easter baskets and hiding eggs and taking over the family business. E.B. runs away and heads for Hollywood to try to follow his dream. Meanwhile Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) is a screw up son and a disappointment to his family. He lives at home and the family decides to have an intervention at dinner where they kick him out of the “nest” and send him off on his own. Well, naturally he runs into E.B., literally (with his car) and while trying to nurture the poor little bunny, E.B. takes full advantage of him and their lives are intertwined forever.

Ok, so this is not an original story, but what is these days? What is wonderful about this film is the sets and the vision of Easter Island juxtaposed with Hollywood and Beverly Hills. One view into the Easter candy factory reminds us of the original Willy Wonka only (if possible) even more beautiful. The sleigh that carries the Easter Bunny around is inspired! The chicks are hilarious. Russell Brand is outstanding in this movie, even throwing in a cameo which is pretty funny. James Marsden gives us the right mix of angst and failure vs. wonder and childhood fascination. The mix of animation and live action has not been done this well since “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” I was blown away with this story, and finally there is a tale of the Easter Bunny that is worthy!

Some people may be turned off by the similarity to other films, but I found this to be extremely surprising and fresh. This is what I had hoped “Alvin and the Chipmunks” would have been, but wasn’t. I found the other characters very well cast as well. Hank Azaria as Carlos the evil chick who wants to become the Easter Chick is a hysterical villain. Kaley Cuoco as Sam O’Hare (knock, knock, knock, “Penny”, “Penny”, “Penny”) is delightful as Fred’s sister Sam, who tries to help him all the way, even when he screws up. All in all it was a delightful film, and it was wonderful to hear the kids laughing out loud a number of times at the antics on the screen. I really wish I had gone early enough to see the 3D version, as it must have added a lot to the film, especially at the candy factory. I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and it was an excellent film for families. Outstanding job! I highly recommend this one!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Universal Pictures, Stuber Productions

Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Rasmus Hardiker, Toby Jones, Justin Theroux, Charles Dance, Damian Lewis

Two Brothers, One brave and daring (Fabious – James Franco) and one bumbling and lazy (Thadeous – Danny McBride) are off on a quest. Fabious has killed the cyclops and brought honor to the family, and Fabious, well, let’s just say he was nearly hanged by the dwarf empire and barely escaped with his life after screwing up another quest. On the way back, Fabious has rescued the lovely virgin princess Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) and her captor and devil Leezar (Justin Theroux) isn’t too happy. He crashes the wedding ala Malificent in Sleeping Beauty and recaptures Belladonna to return to the tower and wait for the eclipse of the two moons to impregnate her and she will, according to the prophecy, give birth to a dragon to allow Leezar to rule the world. Fabious is ready to rescue her, but father insists that Thadeous and the rest of the team participate in the rescue. They bring a lot of weird characters along on this hilarious adventure.

I really enjoyed this film. It’s an adult comedy, but instead of the slapstick one-liner comedy of recent films like the “Scary Movies” and things like Robin Hood, Men in Tights, and other of the myriad of parody films, this one is very funny without being tongue-in-cheek. Not that it’s mature! It’s still silly comedy, but treats itself like high art, taking things very seriously through the hoots and hollers. It’s as if they aren’t in on the joke. Now don’t get me wrong, the parody films like “Meet the Spartans” and “Disaster Movie” are funny, but this is more on the line of “History of the World Part I”, or “Monty PYthon’s Meaning of Life”. That’s not to say that this is going to go down in history like “Blazing Saddles” or any of these other films I’ve just mentioned, but it not in the class of “Hot Tub Time Machine” or “Just Another Teen Movie” that will be forgotten in a week. Somewhere in between, definitely not a classic by any means, but a very funny film just the same.

I enjoyed it quite a bit, and really thought the humor was excellent. James Franco was a lot funnier that I expected him to be, and Danny McBride can yuck it up like the best buffoons in history, but still make you care enough for him to be really happy when he redeems himself. I’m glad they chose to take the direction they did, as it was a satisfying ending. Zooey Deschanel is fantastic as the innocent princess who knows nothing of life, and is very funny, and Natalie Portman plays one of the greatest “kick butt and take names” chick warriors since Chun-Li in Street Fighter II. All in all it’s a rollicking medieval comedy that I though was very enjoyable.

On a side note, they did something else really nice for the premier of this film. Knowing their top customers would be college kids, instead of having their premier party at a Hollywood theater with a red carpet and a host of celebrities hobknobbing the night away, they decided to have a contest via the internet at all the colleges to hold the premier at a college campus that got the most votes. My daughter is a freshman at UC Santa Barbara and they won the contest. This provided the student body with 3 viewings for free, plus a party by the tower with James Franco and Danny McBride in attendance. It was a really classy thing to do, and although the tickets were gone in under 3 minutes, the party was open to the whole student body. Very nice way to introduce the movie. I thought it was a very nice way to introduce the movie.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

GREEN BAND (PG) Trailer

 

RED BAND (R) Trailer

 

 

 

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Mark Gordon Company, The, Vendome Pictures, Vendôme Production

Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Michael Arden, Cas Anvar, Russell Peters, Brent Skagford, Craig Thomas

Coulter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an American Helicopter pilot who’s last memory is flying in Afghanistan. Suddenly he’s on a Chicago commuter train with another man’s identity and he’s completely confused. 8 minutes later, the train explodes and he wakes up in a pod being questioned by the folks at Nellis Air Force Base. Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and her boss, Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) keep sending him back to the train for another 8 minutes to try and find out who the bomber is. Nothing else matters but finding and identifying the bomber.

This is a wild science fiction story, not about time travel, per se, but based on the premise that when a person dies, the brain does not blink out instantly, but about the last 8 minutes is still in memory. Using the memories of these last 8 minutes, a computer model of the situation can be created. Yeah, well there are some serious holes in this theory, because the only things in memory would be that which you saw and that which you know. For example, if it’s a computer model of the last 8 minutes, how could you walk up to a stranger that the subject had never spoken to, and ask him to show you his wallet so you could identify him? Where would that data come from and how would that get updated? It’s a huge gaping hole, but this movie asks you to suspend all belief in reality and accept the premise, kind of like Sleeping Beauty can prick her finger on a spindle and sleep for 100 years to be awakened by “love’s first kiss”.

But the story is fun, full of action, and if you can put away your disbelief, you will enjoy the excitement of going back time and time again ala “Groundhog Day” until he gets it right. Science Fiction is sometimes more fiction that science, but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s just fun to enjoy the ride. Jake Gyllenhaal is very good in this film, and is highly motivated to solve the mystery by a beautiful gal sharing the seat with him on the train. Christina Waqrren (Michelle Monaghan) is not only lovely, but a sometime unwilling partner in helping Colter figure this out.

Now when the ending occurs, you will either say, “Hunh?” or “That makes perfect sense”, depending on whether you bought the premise in the first place. This is not a classic bit of screenwriting, but it is a fun adventure and worth watching when it comes around.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Movie Rentals Releasing Tuesday April 26, 2011

  • 3 Idiots (foreign)

Movie fans,

Greetings. Wow, talk about a week with NO new movie releases. We have only one foreign film coming out this week. Oh well, there’s lots of good stuff coming up in the summer. Not sure why nobody chose this week for any new releases. I hope everyone had a nice Spring Break, and now we’re ready to get back to work, buckle down, and watch lots of good summer movies. As the days get hotter, it’s nice to find something cool to drink, and enjoy the long evenings with a good film. Hope I can help make some good choices. Thanks for following us, and feel free to drop a comment by once in a while. I can take it. 🙂

EdG@Edsreview.com

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