Archive for the ‘Upcoming movies’ Category

  • Review: Bears

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    Disney Nature's BearsNature is a beautiful thing. Vast and expansive, it is home to thousands of different species. As a child growing up, I was raised with a keen understanding and respect for nature. In spite of vague memories of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s The Bear, most of that education came from my parents. I spent many summers hiking in Algonquin Provincial Park from the age of two, and was taught that animals are not there for our entertainment. The elements and all those that inhabit the forest were beyond my control, and as such needed to be treated with the utmost respect.

    Disney Nature is attempting to bring this kind of education to children through their films. Thus far, they’ve brought us Earth, The Crimson Wing, Oceans, African Cats, Chimpanzee, and Wings of Life. Meryl Streep, Tim Allen, Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Stewart, Pierce Brosnan, James Earl Jones, and Ken Watanabe have narrated this wide array of nature documentaries for children. They’ve attracted a great deal of attention. What better way to educate kids about different species that pepper our planet? If their latest endeavor, Bears, narrated by John C. Reilly, is any indication, they should choose to stick to one side of the spectrum. Blurring the lines between documentary and fiction, Bears creates a problematic discourse around the very nature of nature itself, successfully creating a hyper-anthropomorphized depiction of a wild animal and dubbing it factual representation.

    Bears follows the first year in the life of two young Alaskan Brown Bears. Their mother attempts to protect them against the elements, starvation, and predators as they make their way to the salmon ponds in order to fatten up for their long winter hibernation. This would make for an interesting documentary on its own accord. With the ability and necessity for camera crews to acclimatize themselves to their subjects over the course of several weeks to months before filming, a great deal of outstanding footage is at their fingertips. However, the footage doesn’t speak for itself, and instead we’re given a fabricated narrative. » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Trailer: Gone Girl

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    David Fincher is back after a hiatus with TV (the first few episodes on House of Cards Season 1) with Gone Girl, the movie adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name. The film stars Ben Affleck as a man who becomes the prime suspect in a murder when his wife vanishes. The signature urine-yellow lighting, dwarfing the characters in architecture and media spaces are all present, but I am not alone in finding the musical choice here to undermine instead of underscore the mood. Your mileage may vary. You know my bum is in a cinema seat the moment this comes out, when the director finds himself in that Zodiac kind of mood.

    Further question, is the final shot of the trailer a spoiler, or a red herring? I’ve not read the book, but it seems a daring thing to do and an easy thing to play coy with the non-book readers. Please consider the question rhetorical and withhold spoilers.

  • Review: Captain America The Winter Soldier

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    Captain America: The Winter Soldier

    The Marvel universe has been beautifully brought to life, repeatedly. While some adaptations have been more successful than others, Captain America: The First Avenger pleased comic book fans, critics and laymen equally. The homegrown, wholesome as apple pie Americana vibe pulsed throughout the film’s two hour run time. The villain was the clear-cut Hydra, a Nazi-adjacent foe working towards omnipotence, against the earnest and eager ultra-hero, Steve Rogers. The dichotomy was simple, and straightforward. Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes that earnest do-gooder, and gives him a moving target. Though his hyper-moralistic stance is at times far too simplistic and idyllic, the sentiment remains solid and subversive.

    We find Capt. Rogers (Chris Evans) attempting to fit nicely into his daily life. An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., he trains during the day, works when he’s called in, and does his duty to protect his people. Along the way, he absorbs some run of the mill peer pressure to get out of his cocoon, join the living, and give dating a shot. When a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship is taken hostage, Capt. Rogers and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are sent aboard with a team to rescue the hostages, and reclaim their vessel.

    However, when Rogers discovers the Widow is on a separate set of orders, ultimately compromising the principle directive, he begins to question not only S.H.I.E.L.D.’s, but Nick Fury’s (Samuel L Jackson) motives as well. Confronting Fury as to his lack of trust in others, the onus is then put on the Captain to learn that universal trust isn’t always the best course of action. Sometimes those we place our deepest faith in are those with the most nefarious intentions.

    Enter Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), Fury’s boss, and the film’s newest prominent character. With Redford’s past participation in films like Three Days of the Condor and All the Presidents Men, his role in the film as resident turncoat comes as little surprise. For those unfamiliar with the comics, however, the depth of this treachery is shocking. We’re left with a sinking sensation of distrust, as NSA-level surveillance and military force merge to form a subversive nemesis. » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Trailer: Lucy

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    What if you combined La Femme Nikita, Crank and Limitless, with a dash of Her and made it a big shoot-em-up action fest? Well, it is just another day, in high-concept Luc Besson land. Lucy has pretty high pedigree though, considering there is American Superstar Scarlett Johansson in the eponymous lead role, Korean superstar Choi Min-sik as the principle villain, the ubiquitous Morgan Freeman on support and the Danish superstar Pilou Asbæk (A Hijacking, Spies & Glistrup) is tucked in there, somewhere, too.

    When a woman is used against her will as a drug mule, and the package implanted inside her starts leaking, she goes from sexy blonde tourist to deadly Black Widow, to all powerful Neo in about 90 minutes. Have we seen it all before? You Betcha. A girl has got to pay the bills, I guess – but take a look below.

    post-script: Remember that of the other two Scarlett movies opening this weekend, you should be checking out Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin over Marvel Hero-Unit #17.

  • Trailer: Palo Alto

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    Gorgeously rendered, and sweetly out of control, could Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto be the ‘teen tableaux’ movie for the 2010s that American Graffiti was for the 70s, Fast Times At Ridgemont High was for the 80s, Dazed & Confused was for the 90s and SuperBad was for the Aughts?

    Is sure looks that way. Have a gander below, and try not to think too hard that this was one of James Franco’s darn near fifty vanity projects of the past three years.

  • Trailer: Stress Position

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    This ultra-high-concept film is the feature debut of A.J. Bond, who creative soul who directed the cleverly weird time-travel short film Hirsute which we instantly loved after catching it at 2009 edition of The Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Stress Position nestles on the line between film experiment, documentary, torture-porn and pure anti-septic whiteness. The film involves a game between the director and his star David Amito, which has only three rules: 1. No severe pain 2. No permanent physical damage & 3. Nothing illegal.

    Inspired by a flippant remark about the torturous enhanced interrogation techniques used by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay’s personalized torture regimes aimed at breaking each other’s will, but without causing any severe physical pain. Set entirely in and around an avant garde torture chamber custom built in an isolated warehouse, the film captures the surprising trajectory of the experiment from both sides of the cell as the two friends play both victim and oppressor, not to mention actor and director.

    The acting here may not be any great thespian work, but the idea is at the heart of the matter. Furthermore, in full Gaspar Noe fashion (with a slight dash of Hitoshi Matsumoto’s criminally under-seen Symbol, the trailer is not for those who have any audio-visual sensitivities. You have been warned.

    Stress Position opens in Toronto on April 18th at Carlton Cinema in Toronto.

  • Trailer: Plastic

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    Plastic

    Sam and Fordy run a credit card fraud scheme to support their risky, expensive and fast lifestyle. When they steal from the wrong man, however, they find themselves threatened by heavier criminals (one of whom is familiar character actor Thomas Kretschmann) who are not playing around in white collar crime just for shits and giggles and beach vacations. With their life hanging in the balance, they double down to pull off a daring diamond heist to clear their debts.

    While the basic story idea seems familiar, that of overly-clever twenty-somethings getting into trouble way over their head with white collar crime, this one is directed by Julian Gilbey, who made the marvelously tense and very, very pretty A Lonely Place To Die. It opens in the UK in early May, not sure about any sort of release dates in North America, but it has Paramount distributing it, so that remains a strong possibility if the film sees any success in Britain.

  • Trailer: The Signal

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    The Signal

    Well, this one slipped my by last week, which is a shame because I am a huge fan and am a big booster of William Eubank’s gorgeous indie sci-fi flick Love (Review) which features a man trapped on the dying International Space Station while an unnamed apocalypse has devastated earth, and is scored entirely with Angels & Airwaves songs.

    His next film is called The Signal was very well received at The Sundance Film Festival in January. This gorgeous trailer which came out last week; better late than never here in the third row. Larry Fishburne is the big name in the project, but like Love, the real star is the drop-dead-gorgeous cinematography, and the heady science fiction conceits. When a character says “We’re not 100% certain with what we are dealing with here,” well that says it all. It’s beautiful and intriguing in the same way that Upstream Color was. Here’s hoping Eubank can hit that high watermark.


    Nick and Jonah are MIT freshmen with a passion for hacking. While driving cross-country through Nevada with Nick’s girlfriend, Hailey, they follow rival hacker Nomad’s clues to a location 180 miles away. After a terrifying confrontation with Nomad in the middle of the desert, the trio regain consciousness in captivity. Struggling to comprehend the true nature of their confinement, they discover they are part of a plot much larger than themselves.

  • Trailer: Sin City 2 (A Dame To Kill For)

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    It has been inching towards a decade since Robert Rodriguez’s no shades of grey comic book noir Sin City hit theatres. I recall the trailer for the 2005 film quite well, as it was cut with skill, verve, and rhythm. Here, the trailer for A Dame To Kill for, seems to only serve the purpose to remind us of the property and those few characters who survived (The Cop, The Stripper, Marv and apparently the dirty senator played by Powers Boothe) while introducing some fresh acting talent – Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It’s not all that sexy or involving though, it’s just there.

  • Review: Particle Fever

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    Particle Fever

    The Large Hadron Collider is one of the greatest scientific achievements in history. Built with the purpose of discovering the Higgs Boson particle – controversially referred to as the God Particle – it is the largest, most complex, and most costly experimental facility ever built. Its budget was an astronomical 7.5 billion Euros. Over ten years, it was built in collaboration with more than ten thousand scientists, as well as hundreds of Universities and laboratories from all over the globe. Theoretical physicists from warring countries came together at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) to search for their God Particle. It is the Great Unifier, searching for the ultimate answers. Particle Fever, from scientist-turned-filmmaker Mark Levinson, takes you right to the front lines of one of the most riveting and terrifying scientific discoveries in history.

    The film follows some of the greatest minds working in theoretical physics today producer and physicist Dr. David Kaplan; Dr. Nima Arkani-Hamed and Dr. Savas Dimopolous, colleagues in the multiverse theory; Dr. Fabiola Gianotti, and Dr. Monica Dunford, both of whom worked on the ATLAS project of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It’s through their experience of the LHC and the subsequent discovery of the Higgs Boson particle that we garner unprecedented access to this most remarkable of discoveries. Particle Fever succeeds on every level, the most significant of which is making the seemingly insurmountable subject of theoretical physics accessible to the layman, without neglecting the information or its weight.

    Through physicists like Dr. Dunford, one of the youngest members of the ATLAS team, we get unfettered exhilaration. She carefully takes the viewer through a fundamental explanation of the LHC and its function in such a way that nothing is missed, and the magnitude of its significance remains in tact. She also manages one of the most apt descriptions of the excitement felt, not only across the scientific community on the day the LHC was activated, but the palpable sensation in the room itself when it went live: “the entire control room,” she says, “was like a group of six year olds” eagerly awaiting their imminent birthday.

    Through skepticism, trepidation, and anticipation, Drs. Arkani-Hamed, Gianotti, and Dimopolous walk us through the potential outcomes of the LHC’s experiments. What will it mean for science? What will it mean for their careers? What will it mean for humanity? » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Review: Non-Stop

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    Non-Stop

    In Liam Neeson’s latest venture as Action Hero, we are presented with Non-Stop. Twisting the whodunit motif with a slew of red herrings, it’s a thrill ride that builds to a fever pitch with delightful treats along the way. Hardly an intellectually stimulating affair, Non-Stop never masquerades as a brilliant psychological thriller. Instead, it earnestly offers high-altitude thrills and melodrama that really delivers.

    Bill Marks (Neeson) hates flying. Odd, considering he’s a US Federal Air Marshal. Once his transatlantic flight to London is in the air, the messages start pouring in. Threats from an unknown source on a secure network. The perpetrator threatens to kill one person on board every 20 minutes until 150 million dollars is transferred into an offshore bank account. As Bill calls their bluff, the death toll starts to climb. Gradually, Bill himself is marked as the terrorist supposedly hijacking the plane. He has to prove his innocence and save the day, all while cruising at 30,000 feet.

    Neeson’s Bill Marks is a broken man – a trend that seems to be following his heroes from role to role. A struggling alcoholic and bereaved father, he’s an easy target, and a perfect scapegoat. He spends the film defending himself against criminal charges and moral accusations in equal measure. The film serves as a leaden story of redemption – essentially we’re watching Bill save his daughter and, by osmosis, himself. » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Bryan Cranston vs. Propaganda: New GODZILLA Trailer!

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    More character and creeping dread than even the previous trailers, the marketing on Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reboot just remains stellar, near benchmark really, in how to advertise for a blockbuster franchise film. They’ve kept the goosebump inducing 2001: A Space Odyssey drone in the background, but mainly, it’s Bryan Cranston making us afraid while trying to cut through military white-wash on the level and nature of the disaster. FEMA has always been good at spin, c’est non?

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