New in theaters this week from Union Pictures is the newest film from acclaimed writer/director Sally Potter about coming of age in turbulent 1960’s London England, “Ginger and Rosa”. The film starts an exclusive engagement at the Varsity cinemas this week and hits Vancouver and Montreal next week. So with its limited engagements in Canada, is Ginger and Rosa worth seeking out?
Ginger and Rosa
Written and Directed by Sally Potter
It’s London 1962. Two teenage girls Ginger (Fanning) and Rosa (Englert) are inseparable friends; in fact the two have been linked together since they day they were both born, but the growing threat of nuclear war casts a shadow over their lives. Both rebel against their mothers: Rosa’s single mum, Anoushka (more…)
New this week from Well Go USA is the French/Thai co-production that marks the feature film directorial debut of actor Jean-Marc Minéo, Bangkok Revenge. Originally released under the title “Rebirth”, the film features actor/stuntman John Foo, star of the 2010 live action “Tekken” film, as a one man destruction force fighting his way through Thailand. The big question is how does Bangkok Revenge stack up against the plethora of action films coming out of Thailand and other Asian countries?
Bangkok Revenge DVD Review
Starring: John Foo, Caroline Ducey and Michael Cohen
Written and Directed by Jean-Marc Minéo
A young boy left for dead by the assassins who killed his parents is taken under the wing of a martial-arts master and shaped into a lethal killing machine with an insatiable appetite for revenge. As a ten-year-old child, Manit (Foo) saw his parents murdered in cold blood. When the killers were finished, they put a gun to his head, and pulled the trigger. Incredibly, Manit survived, though the bullet in his brain left him devoid of all emotion. Subsequently adopted by a kindly martial-arts master, Manit trained tirelessly for the next 20 years, always knowing that the day would come when he would bring his parent’s killers to justice. When the time comes to embrace his destiny, Manit embarks on a violent quest for vengeance that brings the entire Bangkok underworld crumbling down. (more…)
New to DVD and Blu-ray from Fox Home Entertainment is the newest comedy from the director of “The Game Plan” and “She’s the Man” Andy Fickman, Parental Guidance. The film stars Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as grandparents put into action as babysitters for the grandkids they barely know and clashing with the parenting decisions and direction of their daughter and her husband. The film is aimed at same crowd who enjoyed the “Meet the Parents” series, but does it pack as much laughs as the first “Meet the Parents” had?
Parental Guidance Blu-ray
Written by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse
Directed by Andy Fickman
Old-school grandparents Artie (Crystal) and Diane (Midler) get more than they bargained for when they get stuck babysitting their type-A daughter Alice’s (Tomei) three overprotected kids. But things go from hectic to hysterical when Artie and Dianne realize the kids are running the house with newfangled technology, created by the family patriarch Phil (Scott), that they have no idea how to use . To make matter worse Artie has lost his decades old job in favor of a newer and younger replacement. But playing by his rules, which include sugary snacks, old fashioned games and tough love, Artie manages to outsmart the kids and he and Diane endear themselves to the children they long to spend more time with. (more…)
New on Blu-ray from Disney Home Entertainment is the Oscar wining biopic from Steven Spielberg about Abraham Lincoln’s fight to abolish slavery with the 13th amendment to the constitution while also trying to bring about then end of the long and very bloody civil war dividing the country, Lincoln. The film features an all-star cast both behind and in front of the camera that had writer Doris Kearns Goodwin on set as an adviser and the production using many real locations to replicate the events as factually as possible. So how does the historic epic translate to the small screen?
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Spader, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, Jackie Earle Hailey, Bruce McGill, Lee Pace, Tim Blake Nelson and Jared Harris
Written by Tony Kushner based on the novel by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Lincoln (Day-Lewis) tarts as the Civil War continues to rage. Struggling with continuing carnage on the battlefield, Lincoln is fighting another great battle with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves. But the promise of an impending peace threatens the amendment from going to vote so Lincoln must make some tough decisions. His wife Mary (Field) is still grieving the loss of their son years before and fears her other ambitious son Robert’s (Gordon-Levitt) determination to enlist will cost him his life as well. The film follows Lincoln through to his ill-fated trip to the theater. (more…)
New in theaters across Canada this week from VVS Films is the tantalizing and titillating new film from “Kids” scribe Harmony Korine, the heavily buzzed about “Spring Breakers”. Starring a pair of former Disney child stars, a ‘Pretty Little Liar’ and Harmony’s own wife as bikini-clad bandits who desperately want to leave behind their humdrum college lives for sun, drugs and the allure of Spring Break. Korine has long searched for the right follow up to his landmark film “Kids” but has not quite achieved it yet. Will Spring Breakers prove to be it?
Written and Directed by Harmony Korine
Four sexy college girls, Faith (Gomez) Candy (Hudgens) Brit (Benson) and Cotty (Korine), plan to fund their spring break getaway by burglarizing a popular fast food shack. But that’s only the beginning. At a motel room rager, fun reaches its legal limit and the girls are arrested and taken to jail. Hungover and clad only in bikinis, the girls appear before a judge but are bailed out unexpectedly by Alien (Franco) An infamous local thug and rapper, Alien takes them under his wing and leads them on the wildest Spring Break trip in history. Rough on the outside but with a soft spot inside, Alien wins over the hearts of the young Spring Breakers, and leads them on a Spring Break they never could have imagined. (more…)
New to Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment is the based on true events horror thriller Shadow People. The film stars the current co-star of AMC’s smash television show The Walking Dead, Dallas Roberts, the film is perfectly timed to capitalize on the show’s third season final episodes. But does this horror/thriller pack the goods?
Shadow People Blu-ray
Written and Directed by Matthew Arnold
Shadow People is about a small town radio personality named Charlie Crowe (Roberts) who unravels a conspiracy about encounters with mysterious beings. These ‘Shadow People’ were the cause of hundreds of unexplained deaths. He encounters CDC Epidemic Intelligence Agent Sophie Lancombe (more…)
New to DVD and Blu-ray exclusively from Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada and Indiecan Entertainment is the newest addition to the found footage horror genre that takes into the halls of a rundown asylum that may house the spirits of the deceased with Grave Encounters 2. The first Grave Encounters came out of nowhere and became an improbable hit so the question remains that with an increased budget and backing can the sequel deliver as much as the original did?
Grave Encounters 2
Starring: Richard Harmon, Sean Rogerson, Leanne Lapp, Dylan Playfair, Stephanie Bennett and Howard Lai
Written by The Vicious Brothers
Directed by John Poliquin
In 2011 the found footage horror film Grave Encounters about a ghost hunting TV crew being haunted to their apparent deaths in an abandoned mental institute became an internet and festival sensation. In the sequel Grave Encounters 2 Alex (Harmon), (more…)
New to DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go USAEntertainment is the new action fantasy from the director of Shinjuku Incident and One Nite in Mongkok Derek Yee, The Great Magician. The film stars three of Hong Kong’s biggest stars Tony Leung, Lau Ching-wan and the stunning Zhou Xun in a period piece actioner with plenty of magic. But how great is this magician and is he worth your hard earned dollars?
The Great Magician
Written by Chun Tin-nam, Lau Ho-leung and Derek Yee
Directed by Derek Yee
In the years after the Revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty in China and established the Republic, the country is broken up into fiefdoms held by warlords, who are busy fighting each other. Village warlord Bully Lei (Ching-wan) is accused of using magic to recruit soldiers to his cause. New arrival Chang Hsien (Leung) (more…)
New to Blu-ray from Anchor Bay films is the computer animated “Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie”. As the title indicates, the film is an adaptation of the popular Games Workshop series of games under the Warhammer 40,000 label (Warhammer 40K for short), which started as a tabletop miniature wargame where players would decorate and assemble their own forces to take on their opponents. The universe has expanded to include expansion battle packs, books and video games along the way, and now it unveils its newest crossover with the animated film.
Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie Blu-ray
Directed by Martyn Pick
It is 41st Millennium, and the only force that stands between humanity and alien hordes are the Space Marines. Genetically enhanced, (more…)
Playing as part of this year’s Canadian Film Fest at the Royal Cinema in Toronto this week is the new documentary from the director of 2011’s The Collapsed Justin McConnell, Skull World. The film, playing Friday Mar 22 2013, is the tale of one man’s dreams and obsession over the growing phenomenon known as Box Wars.
Starring: Greg “Skull Man” Sommer
Directed by Justin McConnell
An enterprising man in his early 30s Greg, and his alter-ego Skull Man, is at war, ‘Box Wars’ that is. Step into Greg’s world full of warriors, magic, glory, and metal music. Greg is e founder and developer of the Canadian-chapter of Box Wars, an international (more…)
New in theaters today, Mar 22 2013, is the newest film from the man behind Being Flynn, About a Boy and the original American Pie, director Paul Weitz, Admission. The comedy features Tina Fey hot off her final episodes of the smash hit TV series 30 Rock and comedy’s everyman Paul Rudd in a story about an admissions facilitator and a passionate teacher. So how does the film fare in making the grade?
Written by Karen Croner based on the novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Directed by Paul Weitz
Starting an exclusive run this Friday Mar 22 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the latest animated film from Japan’s legendary Studio Ghibli is the latest film from Hayao Miyazaki’s son and protégé Goro, From Up on Poppy Hill. TIFF will be screening the film in both its original Japanese with subtitles and a new dubbed version featuring and all-star voice cast. With Hayao providing the script this time around for Goro, the question remains can Goro live up to the immense and vast legacy that his father has carved out through his many years of work?
Written by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa
Directed by Goro Miyazaki
Canadian Film Fest Mini Reviews
Starting Wednesday Mar 20 2013, and running for 4 days at the Royal cinema in Toronto, is the 7th edition of the Canadian Film Fest. The fest aims to feature the best available from the Canadian film scene and promote Canadian Film and Film production on the whole. The fest features a number of panels on filmmaking and the state of the Canadian Film Industry to compliment the 6 features and 19 shorts in the program. (more…)
Written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
New in theaters this week across Canada from VVS Films is the newest action/thriller from Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, Olympus Has Fallen. The film is the first theatrical release from Fuqua in 4 years, since Brooklyn’s Finest, and this time around he has loaded his cast with a litany of familiar faces. So how will Olympus Has Fallen fare compared to the past works of Fuqua?
Playing March 16 2013 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of the Spotlight Japan series is the Nikkatsu noir classic, “A Colt is my Passport”. The tale of a betrayed hit man from 1967 is also part of the TIFF Bell Lightbox Family Free weekend, so the 10 pm screening is actually free for those who show up one hour before show time to collect a ticket. With a free showing on the big screen of this Nikkatsu gem how could you go wrong?
A Colt is my Passport
Starring: Jo Shishido, Chitose Kobayashi, Jerry Fujio and Akiyoshi Fukae
Written by ShuichiNagahara and Nobou Yamada
Directed by Takashi Nomura
Kamimura (Shishido) is a hard-boiled hired killer commissioned by a local gang to take down a rival boss. He pulls the job off with his customary efficiency, but everything goes to hell anyway. The rival gang lord who hires Kamimura and his driver Shun (Fujio) (more…)
Debuting in theaters this week is the new comedy from seasoned television director (30 Rock, Royal Pains, Law & Order) Don Scardino and comedy heavyweights Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone“. Wonderstone takes place in the apparently cutthroat world of Vegas magicians and uses the glittery background of Vegas to frame it story. The only question that remains is whether it’s funny or not?
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein
Chasing Mavericks Blu-Ray Review
Written by Kario Salem based on a story by Jim Meenaghan and Brandon Hooper
New to Blu-ray and DVD from Fox Home Entertainment is the ‘inspired by a true story’ surfing movie Chasing Mavericks. The troubled production saw star Butler injure his back during filming and the movie split between two directors after Curtis Hanson fell ill with complications following heart surgery and the final two weeks of principal filming were finished by Michael Apted. So with all the personal issues on the production, is the final product worth the purchase?
Chasing Mavericks is the inspirational true story of real life surfing phenomenon Jay Moriarity (Weston). As a child Moriarity becomes fascinated by the ocean and the power of the waves. Years later, as a 15 year old, Jay discovers that the mythic (more…)
Directed by Rich Moore
New to DVD and Blu-Ray from Disney Home Entertainment is the Oscar nominatedanimated feature film Wreck-It Ralph. The classic 8-bit video game inspired film was a smash hit when it was released in theaters last year and proved to be one of the front runners in one of the best years for animated feature films in a long time. Featuring a smorgasbord of cameos from famous classic video game characters and the newest and possibly most adorable ‘Disney Princess’ to date, the only question that remains is how awesome will the film transfer to home video.
For decades, Ralph (Reilly) has played the bad guy in his popular video game. The main villain in the game ‘Fix-It Felix’, Ralph has been thrown off the top of a building (more…)
Hitchcock Blu-ray Review
Directed by Sacha Gervasi
New this week on DVD and Blu-ray from Fox Home Entertainment is the semi-biopic about the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Hitchcock. The film stars Hannibal Lecter himself, Anthony Hopkins, as the Master of Suspense himself and Helen Mirren as his long suffering wife Alma. The film when released in theaters split audiences, so how does the transfer work on the small screen?
Written by David Magee based on the novel by Yann Martel
Directed by Ang Lee
Fresh offof director Ang Lee`s best directing Oscar win, Fox Home Entertainment brings Life of Pi to DVD and Blu-ray. The tale of faith and perseverance was a 4 year passion project for most involved, director Ang Lee no exception as he jumped in both feet first. The worldwide smash cost hundreds of millions to finally bring the book many thought was ‘un-filmable’ to the screen. So how will the grand spectacle transfer over to the small screen?
Brother Bear and Brother Bear 2
Brother Bear directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker
Brother Bear 2 directed by Ben Gluck
New this week from Disney is a handful of 3 disc Blu-ray Double Features, one of which is for the Disney animated film Brother Bear and its direct to video sequel Brother Bear 2. When Brother Bear came out in 2003, during what some regard as the ‘lean years ‘of Disney animation when Pixar dominated everything they produced, it was bumped from the traditional Disney summer release slot in favor of the immensely popular Finding Nemo. Making its way to a double feature Blu-ray with its sequel for the first time, the question remains is it worth the purchase price?
Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hunchback of Notre Dame 2
Hunchback of Notre Dame directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 directed by Bradley Raymond
New this week from Disney is a handful of 3 disc Blu-ray Double Features, one of which is for the Disney classic Hunchback of Notre Dame and its direct to video sequel Hunchback of Notre Dame 2. The re-interpretation of the classic Victor Hugo novel ‘Notre Dame de Paris’, Disney’s Hunchback manages to make the sad and misshapen Quasimodo into a loveable hero. But will the double feature pack be worth a purchase when you include part 2?
Mulan Double Feature Blu-ray
Mulan 1 and 2
Mulan directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook
New this week from Disney is a handful of 3 disc Blu-ray Double Features, one of which is for the Disney classic Mulan and its direct to video sequel Mulan 2. Mulan is the classic story of a girl risking it all, her life and family honor, because she wants to protect her father. For the first time available as a double Blu-ray set, the question remains is the set worth your hard earned dollars?