These are the new DVD releases for Tuesday, May 12th.
Synopsis “I don’t know you who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you’re looking for a ransom, I can tell you, I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills acquired over a very long career in the shadows, skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you. And I will kill you.”
With these chilling words to a member of a band of kidnappers, former government operative Bryan Mills begins the longest 96-hours of his life – and the hunt for the fearsome organization that has taken his daughter Kim.
Mills had only recently given up his government career as what he calls, a “preventer” – “I prevented bad things from happenings,” he says – to be near Kim, who lives with Bryan’s ex-wife Lenore and her new husband. To make ends meet, Bryan joins some former colleagues for special security details (like guarding a pop diva), but most of his time and energy are spent re-connecting with Kim.
Bryan’s familial goal is nearly derailed when Kim requests his permission to spend time in Paris with a friend. All too aware of the dangers that could lie ahead for Kim in a foreign land, Bryan says no, but Kim’s disappointment leads him to very reluctantly relent.
Bryan’s worst fears are realized when Kim and her friend Amanda are suddenly abducted – in broad daylight – from the Paris apartment at which they’ve just arrived. Moments before Kim is dragged away by the as yet unseen and unknown assailants, she manages to phone Bryan, who begins to expertly piece together clues that will take him to the darkness of Paris’s underworld, and to the City of Light’s plushest mansions. He will face nightmares worse than anything he experienced in black ops – and let nothing and no one stop him from saving his daughter.
Synopsis: The film tells the story of the origins of Lucian (Michael Sheen), who was the first werewolf able to take human form – to be called Lycans [derived from the word lycanthrope]. Viktor (Bill Nighy), the ruthless king of the vampires, took him home after killing his werewolf mother in a raid. Viktor decides to create a race of werewolves who would be more sedate than the original breed, a viciously volatile kind that couldn’t revert back to human form. Viktor envisions a race of slaves for his vampire clan that, conceivably, could keep guard during the daytime hours and toil for the vampires. As Lucian grows up at Viktor’s home, his young daughter, Sonja, develops an attraction to the young Lycan, and Lucian becomes fond of Sonja as well.
It is revealed that Viktor has a tacit relationship with the human population of the area, whereupon he agreed to protect them from the wild werewolves that roam the countryside in exchange for a tithe. As a collection human nobles come to meet with the vampire council for protection from the werewolves in exchange for this aforementioned tithe, Sonja goes out to guard them. Lucian hears the Lycans near Sonja and steals a horse and sword from a nearby Death Dealer. Wild werewolves proceed to attack and kill the nobles, causing Lucian to engage in a battle with them. When Lucian takes off his collar and changes into a Lycan in order to protect himself, the wild werewolves back down to his howl and leave before Lucian is shot down by Viktor’s men. Viktor, despite grudgingly acknowledging that Lucian saved his daughter, notes that Lucian still transgressed the laws of the coven by taking off the collar that kept him in check (by preventing him from changing into a Lycan) and feels betrayed by what he thinks of as his favorite pet. Subsequently, he locks Lucian away after having him whipped him thirty times with a three pronged chain-bladed whip.
Lucian escapes, kills several of the Vampires and begins to liberate the other Lycans from what he perceives as their unfair imprisonment. The guards are alerted and start to slaughter the Lycans. When Viktor discovers that Sonja has an illegal relationship with Lucian, he imprisons his daughter. Lucian learns about Sonja’s imprisonment and sets out to rescue her. On their way out they are attacked by the Death Dealers. Viktor is also involved in the chase and when it comes to the fight, it is Sonja who confronts Viktor. When Sonja discloses to him that she is pregnant with Lucian’s child, Viktor overpowers her with a knife to the throat and imprisons both her and Lucian with renewed hatred. Sonja is sentenced to death for her crime against the coven at a trial presided over by her father and the Council. After Sonja’s death, which Lucian is forced to bare witness to, Lucian attempts a further escape. Failing, he is able to verbally summon both the wild werewolves and the freed Lycans, who attack the coven and overwhelm it after a fierce battle.
Finally Lucian faces Viktor in a fight and they battle their way to the dungeons. The fight continues back and forth until Lucian knocks Viktor down a well. Lucian tears at chains hanging from above, making a hole in the roof and allowing sunlight in and cornering an enraged Viktor in the darkness. Viktor’s ‘final’ words attest to his regret at not having killed Lucian the moment he was born, to which Lucian sarcastically agrees before forcing his sword through Viktor’s mouth and head and letting the body fall into the water below. Lucian declares this victory as only the beginning of what will surely be a war between the races, one bred for slavery and the other born into privilege. In one of the closing scenes we see Tanis leading a very alive Viktor, who survived due to his status as an Elder, into a hibernation chamber on a boat.
The film ends with the opening scene of the first Underworld, with the audio from the scene where Kraven tells Selene that it was Viktor who murdered her family, rather than the Lycans. That Viktor spared her because she reminded him of Sonja, the daughter he condemned to death. The last word is played over the shot of her eyes: “Lies.”
Cast: Michael Sheen, Rhona Mitra, Bill Nighy, Craig Parker, Steven Mackintosh, Tania Nolan, Kevin Grevioux, Jared Turner; Directed by: Patrick Tatopoulos
Read the Star Trek review courtesy of Jay Stone of canada.com
J.J. Abrams’ re-invention of the venerable sci-fi saga presents the origins of Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of a familiar cast. It’s a nice, unpretentious adventure that will delight the fans. Even those who know nothing about the franchise except the phrase “Beam me up, Scotty” may find themselves turning into late-stage Trekkies.
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg
Rating: four stars out of five
People who enjoy science fiction say that it helps illuminate the human condition, to which I reply: If you want to illuminate the human condition, turn on the light in the bedroom.
I’m not sure what we’re supposed to have learned, for instance, from all the “I’m your father, Luke” business in Star Wars. Except that if you go into dad’s line of work, you’re going to want to kill him sometimes, and if you wanted to know that, you could just have asked anyone in a family business.
Which is another reason to enjoy Star Trek, a movie version of the venerable sci-fi saga that touches on several universal themes — fathers and sons, sons and mothers, Romulans and Vulcans — without getting all illuminate-the-human-condition about it.
I’m not sure how faithful it is to the many Star Trek movies and TV shows that preceded it, because I’ve never seen one: everything I know about Star Trek (“Live long and prosper,” and “Phasers on stun”) I picked up vicariously from the cultural ozone.
When the engineer named Scotty (Simon Pegg) says, “I’m giving it all she’s got, captain,” the resulting audience laughter lets you know that this is another Trekkie phrase, cheered for its familiarity.
Star Trek is very much like that, but even for us newcomers — people who have been living under rocks, as opposed to those who have been living in their parents’ basements — it’s nevertheless an adventure with lots of high technology, high spirits and a low sense of self-importance. There are no papier-mache rocks falling on Captain Kirk, but there’s enough papier-mache dialogue to ensure he’s in constant, if cartoonish, peril.
The movie begins with a Superman-like origins story: a father on a dying planet (or in this case, a crashing vessel) sends his only son to Earth to become the hellraising Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine, winner of the Christian Slater sound-alike contest), who is on his way to becoming the Capt. Kirk we know and love. Pine is no William Shatner, but give him 40 years and a few good meals, and he might make it.
We also learn about the origins of Spock (Zachary Quinto from Heroes), a half-Vulcan, half-human whom we meet reciting things like “four-thirds pi times radius cubed,” an early sign of his logic-based genius. Spock, who does things with his eyebrows that we haven’t seen since Theda Bara went into retirement, will grow up to be Leonard Nimoy, who makes a featured appearance in the film — much cheering and laughter — as his future self.
This is the sort of thing that could drive more ambitious space movies to a doctoral thesis on the time-space continuum, but in Star Trek, it’s just another wacky bit of interstellar life: phasers on fun!
The plot has Kirk stowing away on the USS Enterprise, captained by Bruce Greenwood, as it speeds into space and a confrontation with a long, stringy spaceship under the control of Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan with facial tattoos and a murderous disposition: he looks like someone who got lost on the way to Mad Max.
Nero is out to get Spock because of something he did to Romulus, or maybe it was Remus. In any event, he’s set on blowing up planets by pouring “the red matter” into their cores, creating a black hole.
There are several large explosions and lots of fights on narrow platforms that have no railings — the cosmos is not a friendly place for older people — and a nice turn by Pegg, who brings a comic sensibility that pulls Trek a degree or two toward self-parody, although not too far (the formula, I believe, is four-thirds pi times radius cubed.)
Every time I see one of these space epics, I’m reminded of the Mel Brooks plan to do a satire that would be called Intergalactic Mishigas. There’s a bit of that in Star Trek, but not too much: director J.J. Abrams has found a balance between excitement and knowingness. Beam me up, Scotty, and give it all she’s got.
Release date: Friday July 17, 2009 Genre: Comedy/Romance Director: Marc Webb Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures Screenplay: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber Producer(s): Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Mason Novick, Steven J. Wolfe Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg, Rachel Boston, Minka Kelly Official Site:foxsearchlight.com/500daysofsummer Rating:PG-13 for sexual material and language Available film art: (500) Days of Summer movie posters
Synopsis This post modern love story is never what we expect it to be — it’s thorny yet exhilarating, funny and sad, a twisted journey of highs and lows that doesn’t quite go where we think it will. When Tom (Gordon-Levitt), a hapless greeting card copywriter and hopeless romantic, is blindsided after his girlfriend Summer (Zooey Deschanel) dumps him, he shifts back and forth through various periods of their 500 days “together” to try to figure out where things went wrong. His reflections ultimately lead him to finally rediscover his true passions in life.
Release date: August 14th, 2009 Genre: Comedy Director: Ang Lee Studio: Focus Features (Universal Screenplay: James Schamus Producer(s): Celia D. Costas, James Schamus, David Sauers, Patrick Cupo (II) Cast: Demtri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Liev Schreiber, Imelda Staunton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Henry Goodman, Eugene Levy, Paul Dano, Dan Fogler, Mamie Gummer Official Site:facebook.com/TakingWoodstock Rating:PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, brief strong language and comic violence Available film art:Taking Woodstock movie posters
Synopsis A generation began in his backyard…. From Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), comes Taking Woodstock, a new comedy inspired by the true story of Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin) and his family, who inadvertently played a pivotal role in making the famed Woodstock Music and Arts Festival into the happening that it was.
It’s 1969, and Elliot Tiber, a down-on-his-luck interior designer in Greenwich Village, New York, has to move back upstate to help his parents run their dilapidated Catskills motel, The El Monaco. The bank’s about to foreclose; his father wants to burn the place down, but hasn’t paid the insurance; and Elliot is still figuring how to come out to his parents.
When Elliot hears that a neighboring town has pulled the permit on a hippie music festival, he calls the producers, thinking he could drum up some much-needed business for the motel. Three weeks later, half a million people are on their way to his neighbor’s farm in White Lake, NY, and Elliot finds himself swept up in a generation-defining experience that would change his life, and American culture, forever.
Release date: Friday May 22, 2009 Genre: Comedy/Fantasy/Family Director: Shawn Levy Studio: 20th Century Fox Screenplay: Ben Garant, Simon Kinberg, Thomas Lennon Producer(s): Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe, Michael Barnathan, Shawn Levy Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Amy Adams, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Dick Van Dyke Official Site:nightatthemuseummovie.com Rating:PG for mild action and brief language Available film art:Night At the Museum: Battle Of the Smithsonian movie posters
Synopsis Sequel to the box office hit will bring the dead presidents and extinct animals of the “Museum at the Museum” back to life.
Original film featured single father Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), as he grudgingly accepts the supposedly menial graveyard shift as a security guard at the Natural History Museum. To his utter astonishment and disbelief, Larry watches in shock and awe as, one by one, the primeval beasts and storied icons that surround him stir magically to life – and total havoc ensues.
Synopsis: The film tells the story of Senn (Justin Long) and Mala (Evan Rachel Wood), two rebellious alien teens living on the beautiful planet Terra, a place that promotes peace and tolerance, having long ago rejected war and weapons of mass destruction. But when Terra is invaded by human beings fleeing a civil war and environmental catastrophe, the planet is plunged into chaos. During the upheaval, Mala befriends an injured human pilot (Luke Wilson) and each learns the two races are not so different from one another. Together they must face the terrifying realization that in a world of limited resources, only one of their races is likely to survive.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Synopsis: Celebrity photographer Connor Mead loves freedom, fun and women…in that order. A committed bachelor who thinks nothing of breaking up with multiple women on a conference call, Connor’s mockery of romance proves a real buzz-kill for his kid brother, Paul, and a houseful of well wishers on the eve of Paul’s wedding. Just when it looks like Connor may single-handedly ruin the wedding, he is visited by the ghosts of his former jilted girlfriends, who take him on a revealing and hilarious odyssey through his failed relationships–past, present and future. Together they attempt to find out what turned Connor into such an insensitive jerk and whether there is still hope for him to find true love…or if he really is the lost cause everyone thinks he is.
Synopsis: Using several resources that include the Marvel Comics lore, along with the more recent Weapon X graphic novels by Frank Miller, “Wolverine” mixes action with an origin story about how Logan emerged from a barbaric experiment as an indestructible mutant with retractable razor-sharp claws.