This Means War

Release Date: February 17 2012 thismeanwar

I honestly wish I had done more research before going to see This Means War. I might have changed my mind knowing that CHELSEA HANDLER was going to disgrace us with her presence.

With that being said upfront. I managed to sit in my comfortable seat for almost exactly 2 hours to watch this chick flick masked at an awesome date movie. This Means War is directed by McG who has previously brought us such ‘cinematic masterpieces’ as both Charlie’s Angels flicks, We Are Marshall, and Terminator Salvation; so going in, I had no f**king clue what was waiting for us.

This film follows two young hotshot CIA agents (Chris Pine & Tom Hardy) as they fall for the same girl by chance, and have a gentlemen’s agreement on how to win her over. What you also get is Reese Witherspoon‘s side of the story as she gets “dating-two-guys-at-the-same-time” advice from the whorish looking transexual 97 year-old Chelsea Handler.

OH! and by the way, all of this is happening while some evil dude is going to extract revenge on the guys because they killed his brother. But you know. That entire sub-story plot only eats up about 5 minutes of the whole film. Boy am I glad they did that so quickly so Chelsea Handler could look ugly for longer periods of time on screen.

What Worked:

– The editing. (for the most part) This film just chugs right along like the little engine that could. It keeps going so you never really have the time to say “hey, did I really spend 10$ a ticket to hear Chelsea Handler be old and gross?”

– Reese Witherspoon! That’s right folks! She was actually pretty, and pretty awesome in this flick. I know they aren’t in the same genre, but she was really back in her Cruel Intentions form!

– Chris Pine. It really didn’t feel like he was acting. I bet that dude does have a rad house, and sits around in a robe and dull slippers waiting for his friend to come over to watch a marathon of an awesome show, while still being able to score with any lady he so damn pleases.

What Didn’t Work:

– The fight scenes. I think either the actors, choreographers or McG didn’t know how to perform a proper fight sequence. The action was too fast and the camera was too shaky for you to admire the situation, let alone understand who’s punching/shooting who.

– The “predictableness.” You know what’s going to happen.

– The entire bad-guy plot. This is the only exception to this flick being predictable. Only because you forgot there actually was a bad guy.

– CHELSEA HANDLER. Now someone might say all my hate might be a bit unwarranted. I say bullshit. Watch this film, and then come see me. Or hey, save your money. Watch Chelsea Lately (Google it yourself) and then come join in the movement.

The Lowdown:

This Means War is a chick flick masquerading as a “spy vs spy” movie. If you want a good spy vs spy, stream Mr and Mrs Smith again. I like to compare this film to McDonalds. It kinda fun while you’re watching it. But every now and then you get a bite of stale bread (Chelsea Handler.) And once you’re finished, you feel a little dirty and in 20 minutes you’ll be empty. The film definitely has it’s funny moments. But they don’t make up for the sub-par delivery on the whole. Because of that This Means War gets…

The Toilet!

The Grey

Release Date: January 27, 2012 thegrey

Putting aside all the jokes and myths about the fact that Liam Neeson is extremely well endowed, I now know more than ever, if I am in a sticky situation I want Liam as my wingman. This guy is boss even when he’s depressed as shit.

I recently sat down for the action thriller: The Grey. This flick is directed by Joe Carnahan, who has previously blessed us with Smokin’ Aces. This is the second time Carnahan has worked with Neeson as they did the awesome 2010 re-make of The A-Team. So without any doubt, I went into the film with hopes of a lot of action and great action shots.

The Grey follows a group of outcast men in the harsh environment of wintery Alaska after they survived a plane crash. They must survive off of little suplies while being hunted by wolves.

This was definitely a heavy film! The action scenes are well dispersed amongst a bevy dark and emotional scenarios that leave you feeling not quite comfortable.

What Worked:

– Liam Neeson. A badass suffering from depression who still have the strength to be a leader.

– The dark tone. Even though there are moments in The Grey where the characters and the audience got to share a laugh, it didn’t diminish the needed darkness of a post plane crash survivalist story.

– The CGI. I knew these wolves were fake. But they looked like they fit in the environment. There are too many times I look at a film and see a CGI creature that doesn’t affect it’s surroundings or look like it has weight. coughcoughTWILIGHTcoughcoughJACOBcoughcough

What Didn’t Work:

– The score. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but sometimes it felt a little too playful for such a dark film.

The Lowdown:

You’ll get a big bang for your buck! This is a must watch film. But be warned. You cannot go see this if you’re having a bad day or are already a little depressed. This flick will not help your situation. However, if you aren’t depressed pre-film-watching you’ll be sucked into a world where nothing is “fine and dandy.” The realness truly pushes you into a zone of discomfort and fear. This isn’t a scary film. It’s more of a face-your-fears-film.

Red Tails

Release Date: January 20, 2012 redtails

I got the visual pleasure of sitting down for George Lucas’ latest production: Red Tails. He exec-produced this little slice of cinematic aviation cake. So you know it’s going to be grand and well developed. However, I’m still paranoid since the Jar-Jar Binks fiasco of ’99.

Red Tails follows the true story of a crew of African-American pilots in the Tuskegee program stationed in Italy during WWII, as the deal with segregation and other problems of that era like pipes and funny sounding Italians.

This flick boasts a pretty wide cast rounded out by stars like: Cuba Gooding Jr. Terrence HowardNate ParkerTristan WildsElijah KelleyDavid Oyelowo, and my (well everyone’s) favorite meth selling science teacher Bryan Cranston.

At the directing helm of this war-piece is Anthony Hemingway. This may have been his first time at the top, but he’s been involved with some pretty hot and heavy stuff, like: many episodes of The Wireand he assisted for Ali and Changing Lanes.

What Worked:

– The slow and steady nature of this film. This thing is 121 minutes long. But you don’t really ever have a chance to notice it. It just keep chugging along. For an airplane fighter film, this movie doesn’t keep throwing stuff at you. Rather, you have the opportunity to sit back and take in all the beauty shots. There are many throw back to Lucas from Hemingway with interior cockpit shots.

– The look of this film. It’s just so beautiful.

– Terrence Howard. THIS GUY CAN ACT. His scenes with Bryan Cranston were showstoppers.

– The simple writing. This film is just well written. John Ridley and Aaron McGruder brought this film back to what I call, the simple 80’s. There weren’t any crazy plot twists. This flick went from point A to B and finally to C. We all could guess what was going to happen next, but you get to wrapped up in the characters that you don’t care and just enjoy the good times.

What Sucked:

– Cuba Gooding Jr’s pipe. His overall performance in the film is fantastic. BUT THE DAMN PIPE WAS TOO MUCH. His over-exaggerated use of it was just damn annoying because you know that any man who smokes that much pipe wouldn’t have such fucking white teeth! ESPECIALLY IN THE 1930/40’s!

The Lowdown:

Red Tails is definitely worth your bucks. Don’t be shy. Make a night of it. The story will entertain you, the occasional comedy bits will get you to chuckle and the tender sadness will have you weeping in your girlfriends arms.

PS: Fun Fact! Cuba Gooding Jr. actually starred in the 1995 HBO film The Tuskegee Airmen with Laurence Fishburne about the exact same crew of fly-boys.

Man on a Ledge

release date: January 27, 2011 ledge

Welcome to twenty-twelve! My news years started off with a bang. And by “with a bang,” I mean a poke! Elizabeth Banks with NO BRA alert!

For my first review of the year I sat down for Man on a Ledge. Only the second film directed by Asger Leth, who previously brought us the documentary Ghosts of Cité Soleil. What a thrill ride this film turned out to be. Which was surprising because the opening really felt like a 90’s police thriller.

Man on a Ledge stars a bunch of Hollywood middlemen: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Génesis Rodríguez, Ed (I’m always kickass) Harris, Edward Burns, and Titus Welliver. While no one necessarily shines; they definitely each have their moments throughout this moving picture.

This flick follows Nick Cassidy (Worthington), an ex-cop as he breaks out of jail while at his father’s funeral. He then attempts to keep a city distracted by playing the role of a suicide jumper while trying to clear his name. Banks plays Lydia Anderson, a police negotiator with recent troubles.

What Worked For This Film:

– Elizabeth Banks. This gal is really starting to come into her own. She’s not the same chick that played Paul Rudd‘s gal-pal in Role Models.

– The plot. This film takes some somewhat predictable turns. But that’s alright when it’s done right. I’m looking at you 27 Dresses.

What Didn’t Work For This Film:

– Worthington’s accent. I don’t know what happened here, but american cop sometimes sounded like Chase from House.

– The entire subplot of Suzie Porales (Kyra Sedgwick). We didn’t need the scumbag cable-news journalist popping up every 15 minutes. You could have cut her out and saved 10 minutes of film and had a better product in the end.

The Lowdown:

This is a whopper of a flick. You’ll get some comedy in pretty stressful moments. This is some pretty great writing by Pablo Fenjves. Does it fix Worthington’s accent? Nope. Is this film worth showering and putting on some pants? Yeah, but only if it’s “cheapy” Tuesday, or a matinée showing. But then again I’d pay full price to get my eyes poked out by Elizabeth Banks.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Release: December 1, 1989 cvacation

I can finally say I am in the mother -F-in Christmas mood! Even with Montreal’s green December, I am in the holiday mood after watching this little pre-90’s gem! I used to watch Christmas Vacation every Christmas, along with A Charlie Brown Christmas. I think I might just have to start doing that again every year; as I do with The Godfather right up to the horse head in the lawyer’s bed scene.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the third installment in NL’s Vacation series. It stars a young Chevy Chase playing Clark W. Griswold Jr. in his quest for holiday bliss with his family. Though his intentions are pure, what he does usually ends up hitting him in the face. Literally.

Christmas Vacation is written by The Breakfast Club’s John Hughes. You know the guy who wrote: Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink, Home Alone, Weird Science, Ferris Buller’s Day Off, and The Great Outdoors; just to name a few. At the directing helm is Montreal native Jeremiah S. Chechik. So you know this flick was born for greatness.

I have to say: THIS FILM IS EPIC. This jewel of the holidays is a prime example of what “family” comedies are missing today. It was wholesome but not corny. It was raunchy but not explicit. It was holiday but not politically correct.

I am truly flabbergasted over the fact that so many of my favorite television actors were in this flick. Playing Mrs. Griswold is Beverly D’Angelo. You know; Babs from Entourage. She still looking… Da-yumn. (Two syllables) A prepubescent Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory plays Rusty Griswold.

What Worked For This Film:

– The Pacing. I think I mention this in every review I write. The editing of a film is probably just as if not more important than the script. Because if a flick has a bad script it can be saved but some tricky editing. Christmas Vacation is a perfect example of how a comedy should be. Quick enough to make 90 something minutes feel good but slow enough that each gag is properly digested before you through something else at me. When Clark is stuck in the attic I had my hot chocolate with marshmallows come up my nose.

– Chevy. The Chase man was at his prime. Well come to think of it. He’s still at his prime. Just watch Community Just watch a DVD of Community to know what I mean. Although everyone else in this film is right on the money too.

– The score. Yep. Sometimes in a comedy the music can be it’s downfall. However, Jeremiah S. Chechik did an amazing job at keeping it on cue without drowning out the action. I also love the opening theme.

What Didn’t Work For This Film:

– The animated opening. I could have done without it. Adds nothing to the movie but minutes to the run time. Maybe they added it for Europeans to make sure they knew it was a Christmas themed motion picture.

The Lowdown:

If you’re searching through you vast collection of holiday films; this is definitely the one to pick. It will put you in the Christmas spirit faster than uncle John’s homemade eggnog. Chevy and the gang are all awesome in this light hearted, goofy spectacle that every Christmas celebrating, North American family can relate to.

UFC Ultimate Fight Collection 2011 Edition Review

718tqcsybxl-_aa1500__largeDVD Package Reviewed by Steven Wilson

The Ultimate gift for the Ultimate Fighting Championship fan in your life is hitting DVD shelves this Tuesday December 6th, and it comes in the form of a 20 disc DVD set highlighting what was one of if not the greatest 12 month period of action in UFC’s history.

This brand new release, not to be confused with the 2009 10 Disc Ultimate 100 Greatest Fights set that hit shelves in conjunction with the promotion for UFC 100 , covers UFC 116 through UFC 131, as well as UFC Fight Night 22 through 24, and UFC Live 2 through 4. It packs all of this in along with a unique set of DVD extras over a whopping 20 disc set, with  over 52 hours of UFC action.

For the most part, each disc of the set covers a specific event, for example Disc 1 is UFC 116, and Disc 2 is UFC 117. Instead of presenting each event as it aired or as it was released on DVD, the UFC production team swaps in some cool fight buildup videos that includes footage from the fight week building to the event, or exclusive behind the scenes footage before a specific fight takes place.

Another interesting addition to this DVD set is the extras included on the 20th DVD which includes features on the best of Joe Rogan 1 on 1, the best of UFC Unguarded and the best of UFC Fight School.

The packaging on this set is impressive as since this DVD tells the story of the UFC during this 1 year period of time, what better way to express this than a storybook style package which pulls out of the DVD set outer box and allows you to flip through the pages, each of which contains 2 discs.

Some small negatives to mention about this release are the fact that the DVD’s were not put in the package in chronological order, instead they are presented PPV wise, of UFC 116 through 131, followed by the fight nights and Live events, so if the viewer does not realize to watch a certain fight night before a certain PPV they may hear the commentators talking about a fight they havent watched yet. The other negative is that some fights were cut for time to keep this at a 20 disc set. Of the 215 fights presented on the events in question, 170 of them are included in this set. Some of the fights cut were simple prelim fights, while others were a bit more suprising, nonetheless, if your not an absolute completionist, then this is still an absolutely awesome release. Even with a few prelims here and there missing, the set makes up for it with a great slew of bonuses and never before seen behind the scenes footage, 10 plus hours of previously unreleased footage that is, and this makes it an absolute must buy.

Currently on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca for 99.99$, this set is well worth the cash, and would be much appreciated by any MMA fan on your list! I know I would love to find it under my tree on christmas morning, so if your searching for that perfect gift for the MMA fan in your life, you need not look any further.

The UFC Ultimate Fight Collection 2011 Edition from Anchor Bay Entertainment hits retail shelves Tuesday December 6th, For more info check out ufcstore.com or Anchor Bay’s website.

War Horse

Release: December 25th, 2011 warhorse

I got the privilege to sit down this week and watch Steven Spielberg’s latest film, War Horse. This film follows a young thoroughbred horse through his journey growing up and on both sides of the battle in the first world war.

I’ll be honest with you. I was really sure Sarah Jessica Parker (click the link or spider monkeys will eat you dreams) was in this flick. Turns out the horse they got was a much better actor than her! I wish I could say that for everyone in this film. But I can’t.

Besides the loveable cast of horses and a badass goose, this movie boasts a pretty hardcore group of jolly-ol’ English actors. You got David Thewlis, (Remus Lupin from Harry F’n Potter) Benedict Cumberbatch, (Sherlock) Emily Watson, (Miss Potter) and Tom Hiddleston (Thor). Then you have a relatively unknown new comer, Jeremy Irvine. And maybe he should have stayed unknown.

So this film is very slow to start. In fact, I might have aged faster than the horse. However, the one upside to have a film at this break-neck (not) speed is you get to really enjoy absolutely beautiful photography of this film. The cinematographer is Janusz Kaminski who has done everyone of Spielberg’s films since Schindler’s List. And as always he brought his A-game. Sadly I started developing cataracts before this 2 hour and 26 minute film could finish.

What Worked For This Film:

– The Look! Like I mentioned before Kaminski is a master of his craft. The shots were unbelievable! Sometimes I felt like I was watching an experimental indy flick. At least until I saw the crappy CGI horses.

– The Acting. I don’t know why but I really enjoy those English blokes. And these guys have some chops.

What Didn’t Work For This Film:

– The Score. Yeah that’s right. The music in this film just sucked. I’m really having a hard time trying to find the right word. But, sucked seems about right. And it was a huge surprise when I saw that the man who wrote the Emperor’s Theme was behind this abhorrent excuse for a film score: John Williams!

– The Pacing. I know I already touched on it. But I can’t stress how important it is for a long film to be properly edited. This was 114 minutes but felt like The Lord Of The Rings trilogy; extended director’s cut.

– Jeremy Irvine. He play’s our Horse’s trainer/life partner. This kid hasn’t done much so far in Hollywood. And boy oh boy did it ever show. He really dragged down the entire cast. I almost feel sorry for bashing a guy in what might be his big break. But then again he shouldn’t have been so bad.

The Lowdown:

I’m going to put it straight forward: If you like horses or belong to an animal loving society, DO NOT GO SEE War Horse. There’s a lot of imagery involving worn-down horses and their death. If you’re looking for a good family or date flick, don’t bother either. I can honestly say the only reason for watching War Horse is for good examples of cinematography in your next film class.

War Horse get THE TOILET!