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Archive for August, 2012

Lawless Review

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Lawless (2012)

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pierce, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan, Noah Taylor and Gary Oldman

Written by Nick Cave based on the novel by Matt Bondurant

Directed by John Hillcoat

New to theaters this week from Alliance Entertainment Canada is Lawless, a fictionalized accounting of the true story of the Bondurant brothers and their exploits bootlegging moonshine. The star-studded cast under director Hillcoat attempt to provide a prohibition era gangster epic, but do they succeed or go up in flames like a still set to blow?

In the mountains of Franklin County, Virginia, the Bondurant brothers are the stuff of legend: Howard (Clarke), the eldest, survived the war; Forrest (Hardy), the brains of the outfit, nearly died from the Spanish Flu that took his parents but gained a reputation of immortality due to his perseverance; and Jack (LaBeouf), the youngest, is impulsive, impetuous…

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UFC 146: All Heavyweight Card

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UFC  146 DVD Review

MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise Nevada

May 26th 2012

Heading into UFC 146, the UFC was presented with one of its biggest scandals in recent years. The original headliner, Alistair Overeem, failed a drug test with severely inflated testosterone levels. Overeem, coming off his dominant victory over former champ Brock Lesnar, was the clear choice for contender for the heavyweight belt. This sent Dana White and the UFC scrambling to final a main event. The result is that the all heavyweight main card was sent into turmoil, as Mir was bumped up from the co-main event against Cain Velasquez, Cain’s opponent was changed to the debuting Antonio Silva, who was originally scheduled to fight Roy Nelson. But perhaps this helped the card in the long run as it led to very aggressive tactics in the ring.

The Undercard fights were as follows:

Mike Brown vs…

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Walking Dead Season 2 DVD Review

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The Walking Dead Season 2

Starring Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Steven  Yuen, Chandler Riggs, Lauren Cohan, Melissa McBride, Jeffrey DeMunn, IronE Singleton with Pruitt Taylor Vince and Scott Wilson

Created by Robert Kirkman and Frank Darabont

One of the hottest shows on television today, out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week from AMC and Anchor Bay Entertainment is The Walking Dead Season 2. With all the behind the scenes turmoil involving the release of co-creator Frank Darabont mid-season as show runner, many people wondered if the show would suffer in quality because of his departure. Fortunately the second season proves that the dead are still running strong.

Starting perched on a lonely rooftop, walkie talkie in hand, Rick Grimes (Lincoln) recaps briefly the recent events from the final episodes of Season 1 over the device, aimed at reaching the man who helped him…

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Haloween 4 & 5 Blu-Ray Review

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Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Starring Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, George P. Wilbur, Kathleen Kinmont, Sasha Jenson and Beau Starr

Written by Danny Lipsius, Larry Rattner, Benjamin Ruffner and Alan B. McElroy

Directed by Dwight H. Little

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Starring Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Wendy Kaplan, Jeffrey Landman, Donald L. Shanks and Beau Starr

Written by Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard and Shem Bitterman

Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard 

New this week from Anchor Bay Entertainment are the Blu-Ray reissues of Halloween 4 and 5, the re-introduction of serial killer Michael Myers after the Myers-less Halloween 3. Varying in quality the films are eternally linked as they feature almost identical lead characters, are set only one year apart in movie time (and the same in production time) and Halloween 5 actually picks up from the very end of part 4. So…

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A Little Bit Zombie Blu-Ray Review

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A Little Bit Zombie (2012)

Starring Kristopher Turner, Crystal Lowe, Shawn Roberts, Kristen Hager, Emilie Ullerup and Stephen McHattie

Written by Christopher Bond and Trevor Martin

Directed by Casey Walker

Hitting store shelves this week from Anchor Bay entertainment, A Little Bit Zombie has taken a different approach to releasing the film to the masses. After a completely self-financed and self-distributed theatrical run, the creators of the film have teamed with Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada to bring the film to home screens. And in the process, deliver the film to a wider audience than the limited engagements at individual theaters across the country would allow. But is the Blu-Ray worth your hard earned dollars?

A Little Bit Zombie starts off with Max (McHattie) and Penelope (Ullerup), a pair of zombie hunters that use a mystical orb to help track their targets, in the middle of a zombie swarm. After the…

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Breathless DVD Review

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Breathless DVD Review

Starring Gina Gershon, Kelli Giddish, Val Kilmer, Wayne Duvall and Ray Liotta

Written by Jesse Baget and Stefania Moscato

Directed by Jesse Baget

Arriving in stores this week from Anchor Bay Entertainment is the new comedic thriller Breathless. Starring Gina Gershon and Kelli Giddish and from the director of the upcoming Wild Side with Juno Temple and Nicolas Cage, Breathless is the story of a heist and the wife who finds out about it. But does this direct to video offering pack enough bite to entice you to spend you hard earned dollars on it?

Breathless starts with Tiny (Giddish) arriving at Lorna’s (Gershon) trailer and discovering an unconscious Dale (Kilmer) on the floor of the living room. It appears that on the previous day a bank robbery occurred in the next county and Lorna has deduced that Dale was in on it. Bringing Dale around again…

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ParaNorman Review

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ParaNorman (2012)

Starring the voices of Cody Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin and John Goodman

Written by Chris Butler

Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell

From the same studio that brought us Henry Selick’s Coraline we get a new stop-motion animated film also dealing with the slightly macabre, ParaNorman. From directors Chris Butler, storyboard artist on Coraline, and Sam Fell, director of Tale of Despereaux and Flushed Away, comes the story of a boy with the gift to talk to the deceased and a mission to fulfill. But can these two directors live up to the brilliance that was Coraline?

Norman Babcock (Smit-McPhee) is an awkward child with an extraordinary gift, he can see and converse with ghosts. Norman regularly converses with his dead grandmother, much to the exasperation of his incredulous father (Garlin), mother (Mann) and his sister Courtney (Kendrick)…

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The Expendables 2 Review

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The Expendables 2 (2012)

Starring – Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, Nan Yu, and Scott Adkins with Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Written by Richard Wenk, Sylvester Stallone, Ken Kaufman and David Agosto based on characters created by Dave Callaham and Sylvester Stallone.

Directed by Simon West

Sylvester Stallone returns with his group of fellow action film heroes known as The Expendables for another bombastic cinematic outing in Expendables 2. This time out Sly passes over the directing reigns to Simon West and brings along Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Liam Hemsworth and Nan Yu for the ride, with extended contributions from Willis and Schwarzenegger. So is the second time a charm for this action franchise?

We catch up with our gang as they invade a Middle Eastern country stronghold in search of a…

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Killer Joe Review

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Killer Joe (2012)

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon and Thomas Haden Church

Written by Tracy Letts

Directed by William Friedkin

Iconic director William Friedkin returns to the big screen this week with Killer Joe, his first feature since 2006’s Bug. The director of classic films like The Exorcist and The French Connection this time around brings us an extremely dark comedy of a murderer for hire that goes wrong in almost every way. Killer Joe may also be the film that brings us the most compelling performance in McConaughey’s career as the titular Joe.

After losing two kilos of drugs from a local supplier, Chris Smith (Hirsch) hatches a plan to get the $6,000 he owes to save his life. Enlisting the help of his father, Ansel (Church), mother-in-law, Sharla (Gershon) and sister, Dottie (Temple), Chris lays out the particulars of his nefarious scheme. You see…

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Oslo, August 31st Review

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Oslo, August 31st

Starring Anders Danielsen Lie, Hans Olav Brenner, Ingrid Olava and Malin Crepin

Written by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt

Directed by Joachim Trier

Off an extremely successful, record breaking European theatrical run, The TIFF Bell Lightbox welcomes the Cannes sensation Oslo, August 31st for an exclusive first run starting Friday August 10th. The Norwegian film from director Joachim Trier, a distant cousin of maverick director Lars Von Trier, stars the same actor from his award winning directorial debut Reprise, Anders Danielsen Lie, in a heavily character driven piece about a recovering addict and his return to the titular city.

Anders (Danielsen Lie) is a recovering addict in a rural rehab program. Coming near the end of his program Anders has been feeling more and more disconnected and actually does something drastic just to feel something. Given leave so that…

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Paul Williams: Still Alive Review

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Paul Williams: Still Alive (2011)

Starring Paul Williams

Written and Directed by Stephen Kessler

In a year where this critic has personally seen some fantastic music documentaries the likes of Marley, My Father and the Man in Black  and Charles Bradley: Soul of America, I was wary that a documentary about singer/songwriter Paul Williams could measure up. Fortunately director Kessler delivers a very personal, funny and engaging film about not only Paul but himself as well. Paul Williams is indeed alive and very feisty in this film, using shot footage mixed with archival footage as we trace the rise, fall and rebirth of the man that wrote the immortal “Rainbow Connection” amongst other classic songs.

Director Kessler starts musing about how he used to admire the 5’2 Williams as a child. Williams had a very storied career in the 70’s, acting in major television shows and movies like Smokey and…

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Moon Point DVD Review

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Moon Point

Starring Nick McKinlay, Paula Brancati, Kyle Mac, Kristen Gutoskie and Art Hindle

Written by Robert Lazar, James Luscombe, Tammy Stone and Elke Town

Directed by Sean Cisterna

Arriving in stores on Tuesday Aug 7th from Anchor Bay entertainment is the quirky little Canadian indie comedy that made the rounds on the festival circuit earlier this year, Moon Point. With a cast mainly made up of friends of the production team and director, the micro-budgeted Moon Point sets out to charm us but does it have enough substance above the quirk and randomness to succeed?

We start by meeting Darryl Sytrozka (McKinlay), a slacker supreme still living with and off his mother as his only source of income is a meager paper route he splits with his wheelchair bound friend Femur (Mac). During his cousin Lars’ engagement party, thrown at his house by his mother, Darryl is bombarded…

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Man Nobody Knew Review

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The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby

Directed by Carl Colby

Carl Colby’s father William did not have the average 9-to-5 American job. Part quest to enlighten the masses as to exactly what his father was responsible for and part personal exploration, The Man Nobody Knew uses a multitude of historical footage to tell its story. With Carl narrating we get a series of personalized interviews, many addressing Carl directly instead of just the camera, with many important present and former government personnel and recognized historians to flesh out the history of this man.

Starting with Pearl Harbour and his father’s enlistment into the infantry, Carl describes the ambition his father had and sense of duty. Many years after the family finds out that William is not quite working for the employers they had in mind, when the neighbours he carpooled with noticed him…

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Ruby Sparks Review

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Ruby Sparks (2012)

Starring Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Elliot Gould and Steve Coogan

Written by Zoe Kazan

Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Actress Zoe Kazan may become a bit of a renaissance woman because of Ruby Sparks. Not only is she the female lead of the film, she also wrote it. Yet when it came to directing the film she was more than happy to let the tandem of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris of Little Miss Sunshine fame take the lead. It’s been 6 years since Dayton and Faris stormed the indie scene with the runaway sensation of Sunshine, will Ruby Sparks make that six year wait for a follow up worth the time?

Calvin (Dano) is a now 29 year old high school dropout living a solitary existence in a giant house struggling to write his next epic novel. And…

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UFC 145

Entertainment Maven

UFC 145 DVD Review

Jones VS Evans

April 21st 2012 – Philips Arena, Atlanta Georgia

We here at Entertainment Maven, in our attempt to bring you informed reviews of theatrical releases, home entertainment and special events, have decided that it’s time to acknowledge one of the largest growing forms of entertainment in the world. Of course what I am talking about is Mixed Martial Arts, and in particular the UFC. Now we will not be getting into live event coverage, there are plenty of avenues which cover the live events as they happen or shortly after, and while we do cover events we have decided they will be film related only at this time. So why are we going to be reviewing UFC DVDs?  Because there are only a handful of sites out there doing reviews of the actual DVD releases from UFC. Many fans can’t afford to pay…

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