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‘Journey to the West’ misses the on screen presence of it’s director

journey

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.

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Contest!! Win a copy of ‘The Attorney’ on DVD

The-Attorney-DVD-Box-Art3Well 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!

Synopsis

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 the Movie Junkie TO Facebook Page HERE

Follow @moviejunkieto on Twitter Here

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.

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Ti West’s masterfully crafted ‘The Sacrament’ is filled with creeping dread

sacrament quadFashion 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.sacrament_01 Read the rest of this page »

We Are The Best is infectious fun

we-are-the-best-poster-skip-cropDirector 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 wantsWe Are the Best

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Blu-ray Review (Addicted)

the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-blu-ray-cover-71Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) lives life through his daydreams, but when his job at the iconic Time Magazine (along with that of all of his co-workers including the beguiling Cheryl played by Kristen Wiig) is to be phased out for the new all-digital edition, Walter must jump to action in the real world. Walter embarks on a global trotting adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined, in search of the one man who may be able to bring closure Walter’s final days at Time.

A passion project of director/star Ben Stiller’s, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a visually stunning piece of work that has a strong heart to the story and a really likeable cast. Stiller is great as the goofy dreamer Mitty and Wiig shines as the single mother that becomes his object of affection. The pair has some solid chemistry between the pair and that helps ground the film through all of its flights of fancy. The film features a glorified cameo from Sean Penn that works very well, and Adam Scott’s turn as the villain of the piece is full of awkward awesomeness. Read the rest of this page »

Neighbors sees the other Franco steal the spotlight

neighbors-poster-2-e1398974217242Kelly (Rose Byrne) and Mac (Seth Rogen) were content to settle down in their nice and quiet neighborhood with their newborn child, until the house next door was taken over by a rowdy fraternity. Teddy (Zac Efron) is the President, Pete (Dave Franco) is his right hand man and chapter vice president, and the duo is quick to attempt to win over their new neighbors.  But after a string of sleepless nights due to insanely loud parties, Mac calls the cops, who promptly out him as the complainant to the frat…then the war begins.

The premise for Neighbors is as simple and generic as revenge comedies go, the antics keep building and building to preposterous levels that stretch the lengths of believability and eventually ignore any sense, logic or reason all together. Often the one difference that makes comedies like this work is the chemistry between the film’s leads and Rogen and Efron do have great chemistry on screen, but this time it’s the supporting parts of their duos who steal the show. Byrne shows a great knack for comedy, getting to play against her normal type and her Kelly instigates more than enough trouble. But the real standout is Dave Franco who practically rips the screen away from Efron every time they appear together. His performance is the highlight of the film. Read the rest of this page »

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Blu-ray (Addicted)

anchorman2We catch up with Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) after he has left San Diego for New York City with his now wife and co-anchor Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) and their son Walter Burgundy. But when legendary anchor Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford) decides to retire, he promotes Veronica to full time lead anchor and fires Ron. Ron’s shot at redemption comes not long after from Freddie Schapp (Dylan Baker), an executive producer at the fledgling Global News Network, the world’s first 24 hour round the clock news channel. Ron proceeds to reunite the news team of Champ (David Koechner), Brick (Steve Carell), and Brian (Paul Rudd) and brings them to New York where fame and fortune change everything.

Anchorman 2 is less a movie than a series of thinly connected sketches. Fortunately, a lot more of the gags are successful than not and contain many laugh out loud moments. Playing into this is the fact that director Adam McKay likes to simply let the camera run, evidenced by the fact that there was enough material to release an entirely different ‘super-sized’ version in theaters and on this Blu-ray on top of an extended and theatrical cut. McKay doesn’t appear to do much directing here at any point, all of these actors have been cultivating these characters for nearly a decade now. Read the rest of this page »

X-Men Days of Future Past delivers the goods

x_men_days_of_future_past_banner-wideX-Men: Days of Future Past features the biggest ensemble of mutants put together on film to date as both the original cast and the newer cast from X-Men: First Class join together to fight a war for the survival of both human and mutant kind across two time periods. When the future war between mutant/mankind and the treacherous sentinels near its darkest hour the small but steadfast group of X-Men still alive –Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Storm (Halle Berry), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Magneto (Ian McKellen) – meet up with former students Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and their compatriots to form one last ditch effort to save all their lives. Wolverine is sent back in time to join the then rival Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) together to stop the events that lead to the mass destruction to come.

The star studded cast also brings backs Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique and introduces Peter Dinklage as the man responsible for the sentinels, Bolivar Trask. Director Bryan Singer manages to coordinate all of this chaos into a complex yet balanced story that features the entire mutant cast getting enough exposure that they are not wasted while still feature the few that audiences really want to see. The film also packs some effective twists and some memorable cameos from other mutants that will delight audiences. The script ingeniously leaves room for multiple follow ups involving either cast and manages to reset the entire mutant universe in one shot.

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That Awkward Moment lasts all 95 minutes (Blu-ray review)

that_awkward_moment_ver6_xlgJason (Zac Efron) is womanizer that always bails out of a relationship just as it gets serious. But when one of his best friends Mikey’s (Michael B. Jordan) wife asks for a divorce, all while sleeping with her divorce lawyer, Jason sees it as an opportunity to get his boys back together and hit the clubs. Along with Daniel (Miles Teller), the three best friends make a pack to stay single together and just have fun. But then Jason meets Ellie (Imogen Poots), who just might be the first girl who’s perfect for him, Daniel starts fooling around with gal pal Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), and Mikey starts a secret last ditch attempt to win his wife’ s affection back.

That Awkward Moment is a film full of awkwardness and wasted talent. The normally engaging and accomplished Miles Teller and Michael B Jordan seem to be pulled down by the anchor that is the lackluster performance of Zac Efron. The wooden Efron sticks out like a sore thumb, and considering the adorable Imogen Poots can never not be loveable, it makes the chemistry between the two of them almost non-existent. Poots may be the only one who is really trying here as Teller seems to treating the film like summer school -constantly goofing off, adlibbing and riffing – and Jordan seems to have a constant “what am I doing here” look on his face. Any chemistry that the trio possess off-screen is lost in translation, which will make the prospects of the new Fantastic Four film with Teller and Jordan very interesting.

that awkward effron Read the rest of this page »

Million Dollar Arm is not really worth the money

million dollar arm posterAfter losing his last chance at a his only major client,  JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace as a last ditch effort to save his career. Hoping to tap into the last untouched market for baseball, India, JB hopes to find a young cricket pitcher that he can turn into a major league star. JB concocts a reality show competition called “Million Dollar Arm”, that with the help of investors he travels to India to launch with the help of a cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout (Alan Arkin). The competition produces Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) and Rinku (Suraj Sharma), two 18 year old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet possess a raw talent for throwing a fastball. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball, JB, with the help of his pool house tenant Brenda (Lake Bell), starts to learn valuable lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.

Million Dollar Arm is a predictable and formulaic sports tale that happens to be based on a true story. A harmless tale that lacks any staying power, the film is almost forgettable immediately after exiting the theater, Million Dollar Arm wastes the talents of many talented people involved while producing the most plain and dull product it can. Most of the cast seem to be slumming here; Hamm tries his best despite the cookie cutter script but really has nothing to deliver. The normally reliable and talented Arkin, Bill Paxton and Lake Bell seem to be barely even attempting to produce anything, partially due to the script but also because they all look bored and uninterested for the duration of the film.

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