Archive for May, 2011

Dimension Films, Intellectual Properties Worldwide (I), Aja / Levasseur Productions

Richard Dreyfuss, Ving Rhames, Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, Jerry O’Connell, Steven R. McQueen, Jessica Szohr, Kelly Brook

In the fictitious Lake Victoria (come on, it’s Lake Havasu….you can see the London Bridge a bunch of times!!!) there is a gang of kids arriving for Spring Break when a sudden earthquake under the lake opens a cavern to a Lake under the Lake releasing giant prehistoric Piranha’s that are very hungry and very happy to be in a lake full of delicious morsels. Meanwhile Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell) is in town filming another classic “Wild Wild Girls” video to sell on late night TV. Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) gets the Sherrif Brody role from Jaws of trying to get the kids out of the water and trying to figure out where these hungry fish came from.

This is a solid gore fest horror film. I was pleasantly surprised at the stars in this film in minor roles, (Richard Dreyfus and Christopher Lloyd for example) and the fun this movie was. I would imagine this was fantastic in 3D, and if you have the chance to see the 3D version whether on Blu-Ray or what, be sure to take advantage of that, as many of the scares would be 3D enhanced. These fish are great characters in themselves. Mostly there’s lots of blood and body pieces, and lots of naked babes, just like the real Lake Havasu spring break. It’s not classic cinema, but it’s really FUN and there are a lot of “hide your eyes or look away” moments. There’s the typical Jaws story, with the Sherrif’s kids who disobey and go out on the lake while Sherrif Mom is at work. There’s lots of heroes trying to rescue the kids and a lot of cowards looking out for themselves just like real life. Jerry O’Connell’s Derrick is a sleaze bag just like real life too. He does a great job of being a jerk, so that we can all cheer when he gets what’s coming to him. He really doesn’t want to miss the big “Wet T-Shirt Contest” whatever the cost! 🙂

This is a simple fun horror film, and was a pleasant surprise. I expected cheese, but it was pretty well done. Furthermore, it was easy to tell that the folks making this movie were having a ball as well, so it added to the enjoyment. If you like blood and guts and lots of bikini babes (and less), then you probably won’t be disappointed in this film. This is a remake of the original Piranha movie from about 1978, and though it is the 3rd film named Piranha, it’s not a sequel, its a remake of the original. The film was originally known as Piranha 3D and the 3 relates to the 3D, not the 3rd in a series. People looking for class are not going to enjoy this, but those just wanting an escape will think it’s pretty funny, and scary.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Screen Gems, Maguire Entertainment, TVM

Gwyneth Paltrow, Garrett Hedlund, Leighton Meester, Tim McGraw, Alana Grace, Ed Bruce, Jeffrey Buckner Ford, Jeremy Childs, Marshall Chapman


Kelly Cantor (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a big country star whose career is on a huge slide. Her life seems to be going down the toilet along with everything else. Taken out of rehab too soon, her husband Ed (Tim McGraw) who is also her manager is driving her to make a comeback before it’s too late. Kelly falls for young country singer Beau (Garrett Hedlund) who comes along on the tour as Kelly’s “sponsor” for her recovery. To add to the mix, the opening act is Chiles (Leighton Meester) a former beauty queen now starting out on a country career.

This story is the country version of “A Star is Born“. This is a volitile mixture and a very dangerous situation with all that’s going on. Kelly is struggling, and the songwriters are in love with Chiles and can see she’s a big star in the making. Suddenly the new songs that were meant for Kelly are being given to Chiles as her career skyrockets and Kelly’s keeps sinking.

So the question is whether those near her can keep her on track, and if her fans will tolerate the screwups and mistakes she has made. This is a dramatic film, and I said, very close to the story of “A Star is Born” in many ways, but it does have a country feel that is right on. This is surprising as the only star in the film that has any experience as a country singer is the fantastic Mr. Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and he does not sing a not nor perform in any way in the film. All the rest of the stars had no experience at all in country music and had to learn the way. They all immersed themselves in country music and came out very good performers. They setup the feel of the story just fine. Tim McGraw gets to play a rough and gruff guy who comes off as a jerk sometimes, but Kelly needs someone who can keep her on track somehow. She may have only one last chance to pull it off, and whether or not she does, at least in the end we know everyone has done their best through all the trials and tribulations. It has a pretty quick twist in the end, but all in all it’s a pretty good country music film.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Millennium Films, Nu Image Entertainment GmbH

Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Tony Goldwyn, Donald Sutherland, Jeff Chase, Mini Anden, James Logan, Eddie J. Fernandez, John McConnell, Christa Campbell


Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a “mechanic” which is a glorified hit man. Arthur is very meticulous about his craft, and he’s not a sniper. Arthur knows the key to doing the job is to study the situation and use whatever means it takes to make it look like an accident, or send a strong message, or whatever the eventual goal. It requires total detachment, and Arthur is the best in the business. He has nerves of steel and no feeling whatsoever. But when the hit is put on his mentor and close friend Harry (Donald Sutherland), Arthur is anything but detached. He wants to get to the bottom of the deceit and betrayal that caused Harry’s death. Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) is a bit of a screwup and disappointment to his father, but when he approaches Arthur with the same vengeful goal and a determination to learn the trade. Arthur has always acted alone but he can’t turn his back on Harry’s son. A methodical hit man takes an impulsive student into his world and things will never be the same.

This is a remake of the 1972 film “The Mechanic” with Charles Bronson and Jan Michael Vincent. I remember being blown away by the film back in 72. It was one of the best Bronson films of the era, and he was certainly a hard edgy guy in those days. This film is essentially the same story, somewhat upgraded, but the same basic story. The 72 version is still very good, and I would love to go back and watch that one again so I can really compare. Remembering from nearly 40 years ago doesn’t do it justice. This film seems very familiar. A lot of people ripped off the 72 film, and as a result, when you see this, even if you’ve never seen the original, you’re probably going to suffer from Deja Vu. There’s nothing here you haven’t seen before. Still, it’s well done, gory, and the suspense and action are full bore, so it’s worth watching. I feel pretty sure any action fan is going to enjoy this, as it’s very well done. If that’s because it’s so derivative, then so be it. Still it’s fun and exciting all the way through.

I don’t think any of the action stars today can be as bad ass as Bronson, but Statham is pretty good. It’s got an R rating because of the violence and gore, but there is not much bad language or nudity in the film at all. It’s just a non-stop kill fest and exciting entertainment. It would make a great double feature with the original.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

Here’s a preview of the 1972 Charles Bronson version

 

 

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Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Davis Entertainment, Electric Dynamite

Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Chris O’Dowd, T.J. Miller, James Corden, Catherine Tate

Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) works in a dead end job in the mail room, but wants to be a travel writer. When he’s shamed into trying to ask the boss, Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet) for a date, he ends up taking on an assignment to investigate the Bermuda Triangle and write about his experiences. But of course it goes awry and Gulliver ends up tied down on the beach by a bunch of little tiny people called Lilliputians. Here he meets Princess Mary (Emily Blunt) and her father the king and a bunch of little tiny folks. Loosely based on the classic novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, this is fairly faithful to the story but updated for modern times.

Jack Black is Jack Black. He plays the same guy all the time, it seems. This is not a bad movie, neither is it a great movie. It’s good clean fun, and the effects are pretty decent. They really sell the little tiny people, and of course the “Island where one never goes” where Jack is the tiny person in a doll house of a giant girl. This is very Twilight Zone for us, but it’s fun. The battles are cute, and the love story between Gulliver and Darcy never really gets anywhere, but they make up for it with a triangle love story between Princess Mary and her suitor, and a guy in prison who was imprisoned for looking at Princess. Gulliver tries to advise him on how to win the heart of Princess.

Just a simple story, well known, and updated to the present. It’s a relaxing no brainer of a movie, and if you like Jack Black’s antics, you’re sure to enjoy this film. I don’t highly recommend it, as it is not extraordinary in any way, but if you like the genre or want something simple to relax with, you could do much worse than Gulliver’s Travels.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Ecosse Films, Film4, UK Film Council

Aaron Johnson, Thomas Sangster, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey, Ophelia Lovibond, Josh Bolt, Sam Bell, Andrew Buchan

Nowhere Boy is the story of the youth of John Lennon from 1944 through 1960. There were two strong women who played major roles in John’s upbringing, Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) who raised him from a small child, and Julia (Anne-Marie Duff) his birth mother who gave him up when he was a small child. The struggle between these two women for John’s affections was fierce and no doubt had a large impact on him. John (Aaron Johnson) inherits Julia’s love of music and is only interested in becoming a musician much to Mimi’s chagrin. The story ends here shortly after John meets a fellow musician in Liverpool named Paul McCartney (Thomas Sangster) and the two form a band. The rest, as the say, is history.

I was looking forward to this film, and was excited when the DVD arrived, but I was sorely disappointed. It’s very boring! I was interested in John’s life, but there wasn’t anything really going on that made it worth watching. Mimi and Julia fighting over why Julia gave John up, and whether or not Mimi stole him. Mimi trying to convince him that music was a waste of time and would never give him a stable career and pushing him into his school work. Wow, this could just about be any family. I tried to concentrate and pay attention to what was going on, but found myself distracted and my thoughts wandering throughout. I found this to be one of the worst biographical films I have ever seen, and I’m not sure why they bothered to make this. I guess people are very interested in John’s early life, but I am not sure this is an accurate portrayal, and it’s certainly not a very interesting film. I just didn’t appreciate it very much.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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