Anchor Bay Entertainment brings 2 new action/thrillers from some of Hollywood’s newest action stars to home video with “Fast Five” and MMA star Gina Carano’s “In the Blood” and “Game of Thrones” and “Conan” (the remake) star Jason Momoa’s Road to Paloma. Both films back up our stars with recognizable supporting casts and promise a lot of action, but can they deliver a story beyond the fists?
“In The Blood” marks the second time Gina Carano has been the main star of a film after headlining the Steven Soderbergh 2011 film “Haywire” and Carano seems to be finding her niche in front of the camera. A no nonsense type of girl with a violent past, raised by a survival fanatic father played by “Avatar’s” Stephen Lang, Carano’s Ava is not afraid to let her fists do the talking, much to the surprise of her newlywed husband (Cam Gigandet). After her husband disappears, she goes on a one woman crusade to find his whereabouts, breaking 100’s of body parts along the way.
In the Blood is a fun action film, with some ridiculous twists and some very sloppy writing at parts that gets sillier as the film goes along, but is filled with some top notch fighting. Add in genre legends Danny Trejo, Treat Williams and Luis Guzman for supporting roles with “Prison Breaks’s” Amaury Nolasco as the picture’s big baddie and what results is a fun romp through the Caribbean. Carano’s leads the film with a confidence that was only evident in parts of Haywire, showing that she may be developing into the kick ass leading female action star Hollywood has wished she could be. The disc contains only 1 small special feature but the action is shot very well and the story never wains, and at around $20 new, In the Blood is a fairly solid investment.
“Road to Paloma” carries more of a personal investment for star Momoa in that he co-wrote, with co-star Robert Homer Mollohan, and made the film his directorial debut. The story of a Native American known simply as Wolf, who sought his own brand of justice after the murder of his mother, and his winding trip through native land to say goodbye to all he loves while being tracked by a vicious FBI agent, only concerned with bringing him down.
Also featuring a stellar supporting cast that includes Wes Studi as his father, Sarah Shahi as his sister, real life wife Lisa Bonet as a love interest and Timothy V. Murphy as the man tracking him down, Road to Paloma packs a more dramatic punch than what would be first expected. The action sequnces are few and far between in what becomes a more brooding and desperate trip across country in desperate attempt to disappear into the back country. Momoa does a decent job with the dramatic endeavours, helped greatly by his supporting cast, minus a flighty and uneven performance from co-writer Mollohan, as Bonet, Shahi, Murphy and Micheal Raymond-James as Wolf’s brother-in-law all deliver excellent performances. Momoa’s is a smart enough director to frame the action that does happen well and use the strong supporting characters to do the heavy lifting. The disc also only carries 1 special feature, but the film is a solid directorial debut that is worth the effort in the end.
Till Next Time
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It’s hard to be objective when talking about the remarkable documentary “Life Itself” as a critic who admired it’s subject very much, the world’s most famous film aficionado Roger Ebert, as I imagine it has been for many sitting down to review this film. Director Steve James, of “Hoop Dreams” and” The Interrupters” fame, takes us through the life of Mr Ebert, but also manages to be the benefactor of opportunistic timing as he takes the audience all the way through the end of his subject’s life as well. The stories of his long lasting feud that eventually turned to friendship with co-host Gene Siskel, his public speaking and movie deconstructions along with the love of his life Chaz, who he met at 50, are all examined, but they are juxtaposed between the documenting of the final months of Ebert’s life, caught on film by James himself.
Life Itself is at times heart wrenching, inspiring and revelatory throughout the film as James never shies away from Ebert’s very combative and unlikeable side, showing us a true portrait of the entire man. Starting off as a brash, outspoken and over confident young man, who at 21 inherited his movie review column at the Chicago Sun-Times that he never let go over the next 46 years, Ebert also quickly became an out of control alcoholic. Winning his Pulitzer Prize at a young age did not help either, as James examines all this material and shows us a much darker and angry Roger Ebert, light years away from the one most of the public knew. (more…)
The sixth , and 2nd last, season of HBO`s True Blood introduces several new story lines that threaten what little sense of normalcy remains in Bon Temps. After the explosive events of Season 5 finale The Authority is in flames, and the vampire`s lifeline True Blood is in short supply. Bill (Stephen Moyer) must find a way to come to terms with his newfound powers after emerging reincarnated from a pool of blood. Meanwhile Louisiana’s governor, in league with an old foe, has declared war complete with novel anti-vamp weapons and a high-tech internment camp established to wipe out the vampire race forever. Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Jason ( Ryan Kwanten) are faced with their own challenge as they must steel themselves for their long awaited encounter with their parents’ killer, the mysterious and ancient Warlow, as he comes looking for his prize.
Loosely based on the classic 16th century Chinese novel of the same name, Journey to the West (full title Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons in China) is more of a prequel to the classic tale than a straight adaptation. The story centers on Xuan Zang (Zhang Wen), a Buddhist trying to protect the public from demons, his emerging feelings for the lovely Miss Duan (Shu Qi), a fellow demon hunter who helps him repeatedly, and ends with Zang’s trans-formative encounter with the Monkey King (Bo Huang).
Filled with Director Stephen Chow’s signature over the top CGI slapstick style, Journey to the West lacks the Chow in the starring role, which he usually assumes for most of his directorial efforts, and the film misses his charm and energy immensely. Wen lacks the madcap energy that Chow would bring to the role, which isn’t to say he’s terrible, he’s just very bland. This is accentuated by the best performance in the film from the gorgeous Shu Qi as his would be lover/saviour who just oozes charm and sass. Her performance elevates the supporting role she is saddled with and the misgivings of the scripting of her character.
Well its contest time again here at the Fix and this time we have a Korean drama based on true events starring the brilliant Song Kang-ho, The Attorney. The tale of a money hungry attorney who takes on the case no one else will was released today, June 17th, and thanks to the amazing folks at Well Go USA we have 2 DVD copies to give away!
This story is based on true events.
SONG Woo-seok has no clients, connections, or a college degree, but his eye for business and appetite for money make him the most successful lawyer in town. But at the peak of his success, a local teenager is falsely accused of a crime, then beaten and tortured while waiting in jail. Shocked by these conditions, SONG takes the case no one else will, and changes the course of his life.
Fans of Korean cinema and one of its biggest stars in Song Kang-ho should enjoy this film, and luckily we have 2 copies to give away on DVD this time around, and here’s how you enter to win!
Like and Share the contest link on the top of the Movie Junkie TO Facebook Page.
Winners will be picked and notified via message on Facebook after the contest closing date of June 24th 2014!
Contest is open to readers from Canada and the United States only. Decision of the editor is final.
Hurry up and enter! Good Luck to all.
Movie Junkie TO
Fashion photographer Patrick (Kentucker Audley) tells his friends/colleagues Sam (AJ Bowen) and Jake (Joe Swanberg), correspondents for media giant Vice, about the strange letter he receives from his estranged sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz) and it sets in motion events that will change the lives of all of them. The trio decide her story, and the story of the “sober commune” she is living at, would be a great subject for a documentary. Patrick reunites with his serene, former wild child, sister while Sam and Jake investigate why members of the isolated community have followed their mysterious leader known simply as “Father” off American soil. Extremely skeptical at first, the guys slowly come around to the at least respect group’s utopian claims, until the cracks below the surface reveal a different picture all together.
As we have come to expect from Ti West, The Sacrament starts off with a fiercely methodical pace, building his characters and setting before adding in the many layers of creeping dread. The film kicks into gear, and does not let up until the end, with the first introduction of Father (a brilliantly menacing Gene Jones). Jones dominates the screen from the first second he appears, His Father is consciously measuring every twitch and calculating every body movement as the answers he gives and speeches he delivers are all meant to dissuade any truth while enamoring himself to his flock. The interview between the journalist and Father, which occurs live in front of the whole commune, is just another exercise of control and power for Father as he keeps his entire flock in the palm of his hand. The script and dialogue are extremely well written with Father’s double talk and rhetoric, making the insane actions of the third act feel believable. (more…)
Director Lukas Moodysson adapts his wife Coco’s graphic novel “We Are The Best”, a story about three young misfits girls growing up in early 1980’s Stockholm, determined to start their own punk band. The trio consists of mohawk-sporting live wire Klara (Mira Grosin), her spiky haired best friend Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and their newest recruit the shy, god fearing classical guitar-playing outcast from their school Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne). Hedvig manages to help the best friends become competent as a band, despite having no instruments or discernible musical talent from the start. The trio eventually have their inseparable nature threatened by the discovery of some boys that share the same desire for punk music that the girls do.
We Are the Best relies heavily on the performances of its 3 young ingénues and the girls are up to the task. In particular Mira Grosin’s Klara is fantastic as a domineering personality that overpowers the shy and soft spoken Bobo, Grosin infects Klara with an unstoppable spirit that draws audiences in form the very start. It a very accomplished performance from a young actress, who like the rest of the trio of girls, is making her feature film debut. In an equally impressive yet completely different low key performance Barkhammar is perfectly cast as Bobo, the heart of the film and the character that goes through the biggest transformation, as she delivers real emotional impact with Bobo finally starting to ask and fight for what she really wants