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Archive for June, 2009

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Promo Sheet Movie Poster - Advance Style A

Release date: Wednesday July 1, 2009
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family
Running time: 94 min.
Director: Carlos Saldanha, Michael Thurmeier
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Screenplay: Michael Berg, Peter Ackerman, Mike Reiss, Yoni Brenner
Producer(s): John C. Donkin, Lori Forte
Cast: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Simon Pegg, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Queen Latifah, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig
Official Site: iceagemovie.com
Rating: PG for mild humor and peril
Available film art: Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs movie posters

Synopsis
After the events of “Ice Age: The Meltdown”, life begins to change for Manny and his friends: Scrat is still on the hunt to hold onto his beloved acorn, while finding a possible romance in a female sabre-toothed squirrel named Scratte. Manny and Ellie, having since become an item, are expecting a baby, which leaves Manny anxious to ensure that everything is perfect for when his baby arrives. Diego is fed up with being treated like a house-cat and ponders the notion that he is becoming too laid-back. Sid begins to wish for a family of his own, and so steals some dinosaur eggs which leads to Sid ending up in a strange underground world where his herd must rescue him, while dodging dinosaurs and facing danger left and right, and meeting up with a one-eyed weasel known as Buck who hunts dinosaurs intently.


U.K. Movie Review: Public Enemies

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Public Enemies DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Michael Mann’s latest action-packed, gripping and grown-up says Orlando Parfitt of IGN UK. Public Enemies gets 9 out of 10 stars. Go Johnny! Read on:

Director Michael Mann transposes his unique brand of character-driven cops and robbers action onto the John Dillinger myth. The result is something close to a 1930s version of his caper classic Heat, and also one of the best films of 2009.

Johnny Depp is the infamous, Robin Hood-like gangster John Dillinger, who terrorised Depression-era America with a spate of high profile bank robberies. Along for the ride were his now legendary crew, including Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum), Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) and his beautiful sweetheart Billie (Marion Cotillard).

Naturally the fledgling FBI weren’t too happy about this state of affairs, with creepy Fed boss J. Edgar Hoover entrusting crack agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) to take out the increasingly popular Dillinger.

What follows is essentially a series of brilliantly choreographed confrontations between Purvis and the Dillinger gang, with the two sides engaged in a variety shoot-outs, jail-breaks and all manner of other fisticuffs for much of the movie’s running time.

Its a deceptively straight-forward structure that dispenses with virtually all the clichés associated with the gangster genre, and the 1930s setting in particular, and instead – shock horror – actually trusts the audience to use their brains a bit.

This isn’t a biopic of the famous gangster that takes us on an emotional journey through his life, with him reaching some epiphany, or meeting his deserved, hubristic comeuppance by the end.

Instead Mann presents the real-life protagonists like he does in virtually all his other movies; as ultra-skilled but emotionally damaged experts, driven purely by a sense of professionalism and ego; think De Niro’s thief in Heat, Cruise’s hitman in Collateral or both Sonny and Tubs in (the seriously underrated) Miami Vice.

How and why did Depp’s Dillinger get into robbing banks? Don’t expect Mann to tell you. He starts the film as a fully-formed and rather charming criminal, and remains so – always living in the moment – for the rest of the movie.

That’s not to say that Depp’s performance somehow fails to add depth or nuance to the character. Indeed he excels as the charismatic Dillinger, who is soemtimes distant, capable of turning on the charm at the drop of a hat, and almost always revelling in his celebrity.

He’s not a flamboyant Tony Montana or Al Capone-style archetype, but a real, living human being. Depp’s best work is towards the end of the movie, when he subtly shows Dillinger’s mask of professionalism and charm begin to slip as his circumstances become more desperate as his crew are whittled down.

Bale is given less to do as the taciturn Purvis, but still manages to turn in a subtle performance that is the polar-oppositie of his daft, shouty turn as John Connor in Terminator Salvation. Not a typical, heroic G-man, instead a character that is single-minded and ruthless, but also often decent and conflicted by the increasingly barbaric methods he must employ to get his man.

The supporting cast also turn in complex, rewarding performances, with Stephen Graham stealing every scene he’s in as the unhinged Baby Face Nelson (we’d love to see him given his own spin-off Origins movie.) Cotillard is beautiful and heartbreaking as Dillinger’s moll, with their relationship adding another layer of richness to the film.

It is Mann’s direction however that is the real star of Public Enemies. His unique-shooting style – filming much of the movie on super-high definition handheld cameras – manages to give the movie both an air of documentary-style realism, and yet also a strange, dreamy feel. It’s like watching a documentary crew follow Dillinger and his gang for a couple of years and sets the movie apart from the numerous other 1930s gangster pics.

What this shooting style also heightens however is the many, many action scenes. No-one shoots gunfights quite like Michael Mann. His swooping, ducking camerawork – usually in long takes – and brilliant use of thudding sound means the audience feel the impact of every bullet (in contrast to the chop-heavy, confusing cutting style of certain other top Hollywood directors).

Nonetheless Public Enemies is not that easy to watch at times. Don’t expect to enter the cinema and completely switch off your brain. Sometimes events can get a little confusing, with Mann bringing in supporting characters and sub-plots – such as scenes with Hoover and mafia don Frank Nitti – that often don’t get resolved or add to the central narrative.

However these elements inexorably enrich the movie, showing the wider world, the context of Dillinger’s existence and the changing nature of American crime and law enforcement during this period. Several viewings are essential to fully appreciate Public Enemies.

After the nonsensical, exhaustingly stupid Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and the humourless, characterless and forgettable Terminator Salvation, it’s refreshing to see some grown-up mainstream filmmaking during the summer months. Public Enemies, as with The Dark Knight last year, shows you can have star-driven action films that also deliver an emotional and visceral punch during blockbuster season.


Movie Review: The Hurt Locker

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

The Hurt Lover DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

The Hurt Locker delivers a nail-biting war thriller, says Jim Vejovoda of IGN.com. Read on:

The Hurt Locker follows a U.S. Army bomb disposal squad in Iraq during the summer of 2004. Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) of Bravo Company are tasked with disarming and, if need be, detonating the countless homemade bombs, or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), that have killed many of their brothers-in-arms and thousands of Iraqis.

Sanborn and Eldridge are almost immediately at odds with their new team leader. James is a cowboy with little regard for military protocol, ditches his safety armor and radio while disarming a bomb, and continually blurs the line between courage and foolhardiness. To Sanborn and Eldridge, who only have 38 days left in their tour of duty, James is a wild card they didn’t need to be dealt. For a man with a unique skill set designed to help keep his fellow soldiers alive, he just might end up getting them killed.

This tautly wound thriller, directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, Near Dark) and scripted by journalist-screenwriter Mark Boal (In the Valley of Elah), takes an episodic, “you are there” approach to the material, embedding the viewer with this bomb disposal squad so that you feel every moment of panic and rush of adrenaline they feel. Hell, you can almost feel the beads of sweat forming on their brows. Bigelow and Boal treat war as a drug that James will never kick, and Renner offers one of the more subtly powerful performances seen this year. He finds the humor and right level of energy for his character with the same precision as James uncovers the right wires to cut. James’ adrenaline addiction is not unlike that of the literary James Bond, who’d rather die in action than be bored to death leading an average life.

Mackie’s Sgt. Sanborn makes a great foil for James; he is a level-headed, by-the-book veteran whose solid exterior masks his fears and doubts. Sanborn just wants to get his men home alive and James’ maverick manner is an ongoing threat to that objective. Geraghty is solid as Eldridge, the closest thing to an innocent in this story. These three actors make for a believable trinity of war movie archetypes, offering us glances into what makes these men tick even when the story sometimes doesn’t.

The fact that the three leads haven’t been overexposed to audiences helps a great deal, and we come to like these characters (and the actors playing them) in no time. Better known actors — Ralph Fiennes as a British soldier of fortune, Guy Pearce as a bomb disposal team leader, David Morse as a macho officer, and Evangeline Lilly as James’ wife back home — have memorable supporting roles. Fiennes and Pearce, in particular, disappear into their roles and we quickly get past the momentary distraction of seeing bigger name thespians popping up in glorified cameos.

Unfortunately, there is a point where the film goes from being “you are there” to “you are in a movie.” In what was likely an attempt to give James more of a character arc, the story has him break away from his squad mates for a spell to satisfy a personal mission. This passage doesn’t ring as true as all the sequences that preceded it and it breaks the film’s narrative rhythm, a misstep that the movie never quite recovers from. It’s a shame because up until that point the film had damn near been a perfect thriller.

Not having served in Iraq, I can’t categorically state that The Hurt Locker is the most authentic, unbiased film yet about that war, but it certainly feels that way. But this movie isn’t about politics; it’s about survival. From the opening scene, you understand that no character is safe and that death can come at any moment. That terrifying uncertainty fuels all the drama in the story and helps make The Hurt Locker not only the best film made so far about the war in Iraq, but also one of the best thrillers of the year.


Video Chat: The Hurt Locker

Friday, June 26th, 2009

The Hurt Locker DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

The Hurt Locker, winner of the 2008 Venice Film Festival SIGNIS Grand Prize, is a riveting, suspenseful portrait of the courage under fire of the military’s unrecognized heroes: the technicians of a bomb squad who volunteer to challenge the odds and save lives in one of the world’s most dangerous places. Three members of the Army’s elite Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) squad battle insurgents and each other as they search for and disarm a wave of roadside bombs on the streets of Baghdad—in order to try and make the city a safer place for Iraqis and Americans alike. Their mission is clear—protect and save—but it’s anything but easy, as the margin of error when defusing a war-zone bomb is zero. This thrilling and heart-pounding look at the effects of combat and danger on the human psyche is based on the first-hand observations of journalist and screenwriter Mark Boal, who was embedded with a special bomb unit in Iraq. These men spoke of explosions as putting you in “the hurt locker.”


My Sister’s Keeper

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

My Sister' Keeper DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Release date: Friday June 26, 2009
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures/New Line Cinema
Screenplay: Jeremy Leven, Nick Cassavetes
Producer(s): Chuck Pacheco, Mark Johnson, Scott Goldman, Stephen Furst
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin, Jason Patric, Sofia Vassilieva, Heather Wahlquist, Joan Cusack, Thomas Dekker
Official Site: mysisterskeepermovie.com
Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content, some disturbing images, sensuality, language and brief teen drinking
Available film art: My Sister’s Keeper movie posters

Synopsis
Sara and Brian live an idyllic life with their young son and daughter. But their family is rocked by sudden, heartbreaking news that forces them to make a difficult and unorthodox choice in order to save their baby girl’s life. The parents’ desperate decision raises both ethical and moral questions and rips away at the foundation of their relationship. Their actions ultimately set off a court case that threatens to tear the family apart, while revealing surprising truths that challenge everyone’s perceptions of love and loyalty and give new meaning to the definition of healing.


District 9

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

District 9 DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster -Style A

Release date: Friday August 14, 2009
Genre: Sci-fi
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Studio: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures
Screenplay: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
Producer(s): Carolynne Cunningham, Peter Jackson
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James, Mandla Gaduka, William Allen Young, Vanessa Haywood, Kenneth Nkosi, Devlin Brown
Official Site: district9movie.com, MNUSpreadsLies.com
Rating: This film is not yet rated
Available film art: District 9 movie posters

Synopsis
District 9 is an upcoming science fiction film produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Neill Blomkamp. The film is set for an August 14, 2009 release date. It takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. The teaser trailer for the film was released with X-Men Origins: Wolverine as well as The Year One.


The Hurt Locker

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

The Hurt Locker DS 1 Sheet Move Poster - Style A

Release date: (New York and LA) Friday June 26, 2009 /(Wide Release) Friday July 10, 2009
Genre: Drama
Running time: 130 min.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Studio: Maple Pictures/Summit Entertainment
Screenplay: Mark Boal
Producer(s): Greg Shapiro, Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly, Guy Pearce
Official Site: thehurtlocker-movie.com
Rating: R for war violence and language
Available film art: The Hurt Locker movie posters

Synopsis
“The Hurt Locker,” winner of the 2008 Venice Film Festival SIGNIS Grand Prize, is a riveting, suspenseful portrait of the courage under fire of the military’s unrecognized heroes: the technicians of a bomb squad who volunteer to challenge the odds and save lives in one of the world’s most dangerous places. Three members of the Army’s elite Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) squad battle insurgents and each other as they search for and disarm a wave of roadside bombs on the streets of Baghdad—in order to try and make the city a safer place for Iraqis and Americans alike. Their mission is clear—protect and save—but it’s anything but easy, as the margin of error when defusing a war-zone bomb is zero. This thrilling and heart-pounding look at the effects of combat and danger on the human psyche is based on the first-hand observations of journalist and screenwriter Mark Boal, who was embedded with a special bomb unit in Iraq. These men spoke of explosions as putting you in “the hurt locker.

Acclaimed director Kathryn Bigelow brings together groundbreaking realistic action and intimate human drama in a landmark film starring Jeremy Renner (“Dahmer,” “The Assassination of Jesse James”), Anthony Mackie (“Half Nelson,” “We Are Marshall”) and Brian Geraghty (“We Are Marshall,” “Jarhead”), with cameo appearances by Ralph Fiennes (“The Reader”), David Morse (“John Adams”), Evangeline Lilly (“Lost”) and Guy Pearce (“Memento”). “The Hurt Locker” is produced by Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Greg Shapiro and Nicolas Chartier. The screenplay is written by Mark Boal (“In the Valley of Elah,” story). Barry Ackroyd, BSC (“United 93,” “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”) is director of photography. Production designer is Karl Juliusson (“K19: The Widowmaker,” “Breaking the Waves”). Editors are Bob Murawski (“Spider-Man 2,” “Spider-Man 3″) and Chris Innis. Costume designer is George Little (“Jarhead,” “Crimson Tide”). Music is by Academy Award Nominee Marco Beltrami (“Knowing”) and Buck Sanders (“3:10 to Yuma”), and sound design by Academy Award Nominee Paul N.J. Ottosson (“Spider-Man 2,” “Spider-Man 3″).

In the summer of 2004, Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) of Bravo Company are at the volatile center of the war, part of a small counterforce specifically trained to handle the homemade bombs, or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), that account for more than half of American hostile deaths and have killed thousands of Iraqis. The job, a high-pressure, high-stakes assignment, which soldiers volunteer for, requires a calm intelligence that leaves no room for mistakes, as they learn when they lose their team leader on a routine mission.

When Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) cheerfully takes over the team, Sanborn and Eldridge are shocked by what seems like his reckless disregard for military protocol and basic safety measures. And yet, in the fog of war, appearances are never reliable for long. Is James really a swaggering cowboy who lives for peak experiences and the moments when the margin of error is zero – or is he a consummate professional who has honed his esoteric craft to high-wire precision? As the fiery chaos of Baghdad threatens to engulf them, the men struggle to understand and contain their mercurial new leader long enough for them to make it home. They have only 38 days left in their tour, but with each new mission comes another deadly encounter, and as James blurs the line between bravery and bravado, it seems only a matter of time before disaster strikes.

With a visual and emotional intensity that makes audiences feel like they have been transported to Iraq’s dizzying, 24-hour turmoil, The Hurt Locker is both a gripping portrayal of real-life sacrifice and heroism, and a layered, probing study of the soul-numbing rigors and potent allure of the modern battlefield.


New DVD Releases: June 23, 2009

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

These are the DVD releases for June 23, 2009.

Confessions Of A Shopaholic

Confessions of a Shopaholic DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Rebecca Bloomwood moves to Manhattan to nurture her shopping addiction and gets involved in the New York City magazine world. She has spent almost $1000 in a month when she discovers a fashionable green scarf; she doesn’t have enough available credit to buy it and borrows money from a man on the street. When she interviews with Luke Brandon, the editor of the magazine Successful Saving, she finds that he is the man from whom she had borrowed money.

Frustrated by her lack of success, she writes drunken letters to Alette magazine and Successful Saving, but she posts each one to the wrong magazine. Nevertheless, Luke Brandon hires her. Then, rather than completing a work assignment, she goes to a clothing sale. When examining an expensive cashmere coat, she realizes that it is 5% cashmere and 95% acrylic. She writes her column, calling herself “the Girl with the Green Scarf”.

Impressed, her boss, Luke, invites her to a conference in Miami and an important ball. While shopping for the ball, Luke asks what she thinks of him. Rebecca says he is a workaholic and not a good investment as all his hard work goes into the magazine but the earnings to someone else. At a restaurant, another woman, Alicia, asks Luke to the ball.

Rebecca learns that Luke is the son of the famous socialite Elinor Sherman and that he knows a lot about clothes. At the ball the two share a romantic moment on the roof after a major faux pas Rebecca commits while serving the dishes.

Rebecca returns home to confrontations with a bill collector and her best friend Suze, who makes her join a Shopaholic-group. She is later publicly accused of not paying her debts live on a TV show, ‘Morning Coffee’ and as a consequence loses her job. Though Luke is hurt that Rebecca has lied to him, he still finds her a source of inspiration.

Rebecca decides to sell all of her clothes in a sale, but hesitates over the green scarf. A blond woman and a woman talking on a telephone begin a bidding war over the scarf. The sale is a success, making it possible for her to repay her debt.

Rebecca and Luke come together, with Luke returning her the green scarf – he was the person behind both bidders. During the credits, Rebecca ends up working for Luke’s new magazine, writing articles such as “Confessions of a Shopaholic”.

Cast: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, Kristin Scott Thomas, John Lithgow, Lynn Redgrave; Directed by: P.J. Hogan

Inkheart

Inheart Movie Poster Print - Style A

Mortimer “Mo” Folchart (Brendan Fraser) and his 12-year-old daughter, Meggie (Eliza Bennett), share a passion for books. What they also share is an extraordinary gift for bringing characters from books to life when they read aloud. But there is a danger: when a character is brought to life from a book, a real person disappears into its pages.

On one of their trips to a secondhand book shop, Mo hears voices he hasn’t heard for years, and when he locates the book they’re coming from, it sends a shiver up his spine. It’s Inkheart, a book filled with illustrations of medieval castles and strange creatures—a book he’s been searching for since Meggie was three years old, when her mother, Resa (Sienna Guillory), vanished into its mystical world.

But Mo’s plan to use the book to find and rescue Resa is thwarted when Capricorn (Andy Serkis), the evil villain of Inkheart, kidnaps Meggie and, discovering she has inherited her father’s gift, demands that she bring his most powerful ally to life—the Shadow. Determined to rescue his daughter and send the fictional characters back where they belong, Mo assembles a small group of friends and family—some from the real world, some from the pages of books—and embarks on a daring and perilous journey to set things right.

Cast: Brendan Fraser, Andy Serkis, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent, Eliza Bennett; Directed by: Iain Softley

Pink Panther 2

Pink Panther 2 DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Advance Style  A

The Pink Panther 2, the sequel to the 2006 worldwide hit, stars Steve Martin as he reprises the role of intrepid-if-bumbling French police detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau.

When legendary treasures from around the world are stolen, including the priceless Pink Panther Diamond, Chief Inspector Dreyfus (John Cleese) is forced to assign Clouseau to a team of international detectives and experts charged with catching the thief and retrieving the stolen artifacts. Martin is joined by original co-stars Jean Reno (as Ponton, his partner) and Emily Mortimer (as Nicole, the object of his awkward affections). The investigative dream team is played by Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki (Letters from Iwo Jima) and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The story is set in Paris and Rome.

Cast: Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia, Yuki Matsuzaki, Alfred Molina, Aishwarya Rai, John Cleese; Directed by: Harald Zwart


New Public Enemies Trailer

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Public Enemies DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Johnny Depp and Christian Bale go toe to toe


New Movie Releases: June 19, 2009

Friday, June 19th, 2009

These are the movies being released this Friday.

The Proposal

Proposal DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Plot
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is the executive editor-in-chief of a book publishing company, Colden Books, who forces her assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her in order to avoid being deported to Canada. He grudgingly accepts, under the condition that he is promoted to the position of editor. When the government investigates, the two are forced to spend the weekend with his parents in Alaska in order to sell the lie, but start to fall genuinely in love as they spend time together.


Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Malin Akerman, Craig T. Nelson; Directed by: Anne Fletcher

Year One

Year One DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Plot
After being banished from their homeland, Zed and Oh (Jack Black and Michael Cera), two tribesmen, embark on a journey through their ancient world. Along the way, they encounter Adam and Eve (Harold Ramis and Rhoda Griffis), Cain and Abel (David Cross and Paul Rudd), and Abraham (Hank Azaria).

In an interview regarding Be Kind Rewind, Black stated that Year One will be about two men running around in Moses’s time. He said that the movie is similar to Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Black stated that it might be fun to see all the stories of the Bible in a modern movie.

In an interview with MTV, Cera described it as a comedy set in Biblical times with Black’s character, Zed, looking for some kind of meaning for his life. Black warned viewers expecting a comedy along the lines of Ghostbusters or Knocked Up that the style of the film is much more along the lines of the Monty Python movies.


Cast: Jack Black, Olivia Wilde, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Oliver Platt, David Cross, Vinnie Jones, Juno Temple, June Diane Rapheal, Eden Riegel, Hank Azaria; Directed by: Harold Ramis


 
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