John Delia

Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com

MR. POPPERS PENGUINS, PERFORMS

Written by Guest Writer Marisa Ings

 

“Yapsolutely a Family Film!”

 

Mix Jim Carey’s insane comedy style with the on screen chemistry between he and Carla Gugino then throw in the cutest Gentoo Penguins and Mr. Popper’s Penguins  is loaded for fun.  It’s a family friendly film sure to cool the kiddies down on a hot summer’s day.

 

Tom Popper, played by Jim Carey, is a successful real estate businessman, a shark in a sea full of guppies. Yet, even though he’s in tune with his work world his family life falls flat. Years of putting business matters before family have caused a split with wife Amanda (Gugino) and his two children. To top it all off Popper is on the verge of becoming partner of his firm but before they carve his name in the company stone he has to complete one last challenge; obtain the exclusive property of Mrs. Van Gundy (Angela Lansbury). In the midst of wooing Mrs. Van Gundy however, Popper gets word that his adventurous father has died and left him one last souvenir from his travels… a real live PENGUIN.

 

Jim Carey plays Mr. Poppers

 

When Popper tries to return the peculiar gift he gets more than he bargains for, a house full of penguins. Now in a pickle, Popper finds himself juggling his job, the penguins and a chance to get his family back.

 

A cut and paste version of Richard & Florence Atwater’s novel this film is not. Some may even suggest that releasing a winter wonderland film far from the holiday season is whacky, but Director Mark Waters quiets his critics by providing an apropos comedy.  In fact it’s just perfect for the summer heat, just watching this film set during the winter in New York will surely cool you down. Or maybe its just the air-contioned theatre :o). Either way it puts the summer heat at bay.

 

Were the penguins real or CGI?

 

I must admit I was a bit fooled by the hearsay that real penguins were used throughout the film. After seeing the movie I began to wonder if the human-like attributes portrayed by these flightless birds was real. So I conducted a little research, and found an interview with Sean O’ Connell on filmcritic.com where Carla Gugino reveals, “The sequence in the Guggenheim Museum… where the penguins are doing crazy stunts, is CGI.” To my disappointment these were no super genius penguin actors. However, even though CGI is showcased during certain scenes to imitate live penguins, the transition from computer to real is seamless.

 

All in All, Mr. Popper’s pleasant penguin parable is perfect for progeny people.

 

Final Rating: B-

 

MGM LIMITED EDITION COLLECTION 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARRY IN YOUR POCKET (1972):

 

Starring: James Coburn, Michael Sarrazin, Walter Pidgeon and Trish Van Devere

Directed by: Bruce Geller

 

Talk about blast from the past seeing these great actors in a movie together really top the charts.  The story is a little trite but the acting and directing makes up for it. Seeing the old cars, gas prices and mini skirts shouts for a return of the 70’s.

 

Ray (Sarrazin) meets Sandy (Van Devere) in a bus station during an amateur session of pick pocketing.  The bungling thief fascinates Sandy and when they bump into each other she doesn’t resist his offer of getting together.  After an adventurous few days they get a tip that a pro is looking for workers.  They meet with Casey (Pidgeon) who introduces them to Harry (Coburn) a master of pick pocketing.  When Harry starts to take a different kind of interest in Sandy, things start to get sloppy.

 

It is great seeing some of the best actors ever to work on the big screen.  Starting with James Coburn (172 titles) who made the jump from 1950’s TV to movie theatres with the likes of The Great Escape along side Steve McQueen, Charade with Cary Grant and the spy comedy Our Man Flint. In 1999 he won an Oscar for Best Actor in the movie Affliction.

 

Walter Pidgeon with 134 titles and two Oscar nominations played along side Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl, Michael Sarrazin 68 titles including The Reincarnation of Peter Proud and Trish Van Devere 28 titles nominated for a Golden Globe for Two is a Happy Number have had stellar careers and show it in Harry In Your Pocket.

 

Harry In Your Pocket is a one time fun watch and a nostalgic view of lifestyles during a great decade. (B-)

 

 

 

LAWS OF GRAVITY (1992)

 

Starring: Peter Greene, Adam Trese, Paul Schulze and Edie Falco

Directed by: Nick Gomez

 

Raw, crazy and out of control Laws of Gravity takes you into the lives of lowlifes.  It’s the kind of film that fascinates while entertaining with a gut-wrenching story that digs deep down in the lives of street-smart crooks.  I like the film very much and highly recommend it for crime film lovers.

 

The film centers on a couple of petty thieves Jimmy (Greene) and Jon (Trese) who live off the streets shoplifting, selling stolen goods and drinking at their favorite bar. Ex-con and old friend Frankie (Schulze) shows up in town after a long absence offering Jimmy a chance to make some big money selling his hot handguns.  Frankie gets into a fix and needs a place to live so Jimmy takes him to his place that he shares with Denise.  When Jon gets thrown in Jail over a domestic dispute, Jimmy ‘borrows’ Frankie’s guns to score bail.

 

I like the way Gomez directs this film choosing backstreet locations and a seedy bar where a lot of the action takes place.  It’s Brooklyn in the time of Italian dominance and laws of the street.  His camera catches the grit and mayhem between friends and foes as Jimmy deals with the problems that get more violent as the story progresses.

 

The coolness in this film is seeing a great performance by a young Edie Falco who has won two golden globes for the Sopranos.  You can see the value of this film in her transition to the HBO Italian crime show. She’s had a long and successful career with memorable films like; Random Hearts, Freedomland and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie.

 

This film goes straight into my nostalgia collection. (B+)

 


THE GLADES, SEASON 1 NOW ON DVD

If you missed the first season or any part of The Glades, it’s now out on DVD.  The weekly cop show has a whole lot of entertainment built around a fine cast that keeps you coming back week after week.  And with it being on DVD you can watch each episode without those pesky commercials.  I like The Glades and find the series to be suspenseful with a good mix of romance and humor.

 

The back-story involves Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) a Chicago cop who leaves his job due to differences of crime solving techniques and moves to Florida where he takes a detective position for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  His beat includes most of the state but during this first season we find Jim in South Florida and the Everglades investigating murders in his own creative way.

Longworth and Sanchez kneel over body

Passmore makes the show a winner with his nonchalant ‘cool’ way of solving crime.  His ability to make Jim likable and screen worthy saves the series from any monotony found in other cop shows. Coupled with his love interest Callie Cargil (Kiele Sqanchez), with whom there’s a nice amount of chemistry between the two, there’s also a challenging romance that keeps spiraling in and out of control. Adding a good balance to the cast Carlos Gomez as Carlos Sanchez does a fine job as the coroner turned sidekick who aids in solving the mysteries.

 

Of this past season of The Glades I liked the episode The Perfect Storm best in which Jim has to solve a crime in the middle of a hurricane.  Having lived through many hurricanes in Florida I have to admit the special effects guys really brought on the realism that makes this episode thrilling.

 

In addition to the 13 episodes the 5 discs feature behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, casting and filming of the show featurettes, gag reel, and some limited director and cast commentaries.

 

The new season of The Glades has already begun on A&E with an exciting first show.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  One of the better cop shows that plays well on television. (B)


MGM LIMITED EDITION Collection on DVD

 

 

 

 

 

HIGH SCHOOL HELLCATS (1958):

 

This 50’s film is one of the forerunners of the teen click films that developed into movies like Mean Girls and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.  But in this case we are transported to a time when girls wore sweaters buttoned to the neck and dresses down to the ankles.  It was a time when you had to dial a telephone and dance to a jukebox. Ponytails were in style and classrooms used chalkboards instead of projected computer screens.

 

The film centers on Joyce a new girl in town who gets conned into joining the Hellcats, a gang of girls that control the classrooms and party scene.  Wanting to be accepted into the “In” crowd, Joyce goes along with the group even if it includes petty theft.  When an incident happens at a private party, Joyce finds herself at a dead end.

 

Edward L. Bernds best know for his writing than his directing won an Oscar for the film High Society before tackling High School Hellcats.  Here he does a good job with the limited budget and acting pool.  He uses the black and white film stock immeasurably well keeping his camera still.

 

I like what Bernds does with the subject matter and in addition to a blast from the past provides an interesting story.  (C+)

 

 

THE ROSE GARDEN (1989):

 

Take a step back in time and a chance to see an amazing display of talent under the award winning direction of Fons Rademakers.  Here we see some amazing acting, maybe even better than most accomplished actors of today.  Reconnect with Liv Ullmann (Gaby: A True Story) and Maximilian Schell (A Bridge Too Far) in breathtaking and touching performances.

 

The movie takes place in 80’s Germany where Aaron (Schell) an elderly Jewish man attacks Mr. Kern (Kurt Hubner) a former Nazi officer of the Third Reich at an airport terminal.  Arrested for the act the man does not have enough money to hire a lawyer to defend himself.  The court appoints Gabriele (Ullman) a German attorney to handle the case.  When she starts to uncover a deep darkness that surrounds a relationship between Kern and Aaron, Gabriele finds herself fighting, not only Kern but the court itself.

 

Director Fons Rademaker keeps the drama moving at a fast clip feeding small doses of the relationship between his two adversaries without giving too much away.  He uses the talent of Schell to show the strong will of the Jews, the ever-present pain and suffering and finally a forbidden truth.  Ullman makes her character obsessed with getting the information needed to help her client.  When she gets too close to the subjects however, the prosecutor tries some tactics that slow her down.

 

I like the film very much and recommend it for drama lovers who like stories that are moving and fact based.  (B)

 

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, A Sly Romantic Comedy

Nicely written, Midnight in Paris does entertain with a romantic interlude in beautiful Paris.  The characters are pleasing and Woody Allen’s direction impeccable.  The movie is perfect for a dinner and a date.

 

To tell you a lot about the film would give away important plot points that surprise as the script spins out, but here is the basic version.  Gill (Owen Wilson), a film writer on the verge of completing his first novel, and his fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams) travel to Paris with her parents who are attending a convention.  The two find it an opportunity to see the city of lights and enjoy a trip as a pre-honeymoon of sorts while Gill works on his manuscript.  While there, Inez runs into some old friends and for Gill it becomes a distraction.  One night while walking alone strange things happen that threaten to change Gill’s life.

Woody Allen on set of MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

I am not a huge fan of Woody Allen films but with Midnight in Paris he redeems himself.  He takes a huge 180 from what he has done in the recent past and unravels a tale of astonishment and romance that’s unique and unparalleled to what he has directed before. Working with a strong cast playing literary and art characters, Allen builds up a fantasy tale that’s unique and enjoyable.

 

But even with a great story, Allen still can’t say out of the movie inserting Owen Wilson to play ‘him’ and for me making the film irritating at times.  Most people like Allen’s acting and his fast talking whirly dervish style of negative communication between characters.  In his early films it was fun to watch, but it has become increasingly annoying to me over the years.  With Wilson in the lead role Allen carries on his legacy of the ‘mench’ in the show.

Owen Wilson as Gil and Marion Cotillard as Adriana

A tip of the hat to some of his amazing characters played by Adrien Brody, Yves Heck, Alison Pill and Corey Stoll who make the film work with their flamboyance and personifications of some very famous artists, writers and composers.  But the stand-out performance by Marion Cotillard as Adriana a courtesan who plays with the heartstrings of the elite tops the bill and makes this film a winner.

 

Midnight in Paris is rated PG-13 for some sexual references and smoking.  The cinematography of Paris and the costumes provide a tableau that gives added reason to see the film.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good film in spite of my personal dislikes. (B)

 

 

SUPER 8, SENSATIONAL

The Wow factor tops ten in this sci-fi thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat till it’s mind-blowing ending.  The cunning direction and writing by J.J. Abrams of Super 8 confirms the director’s ability to keep an audience wanting more.  If you like suspenseful, well-acted movies that surprise at most every turn then hurry to see Super 8.

School’s out in a small town and Charles (Riley Griffiths) hasn’t finished his movie, being filmed with his super 8 camera, that he started this past year in middle school.  He pushes his friends to help him complete the task over the summer so he can get it into a film competition and they agree.  One night they are filming a scene at an old railroad station and they witness a disastrous train wreck that nearly kills the film group.  Narrowly escaping death the five friends are determined to keep going with their masterpiece in spite of the catastrophic incident.  When strange things start happening in their town, including the disappearance of many people, the film crew starts to investigate.

Director Abrams (Star Trek, 2009) does a terrific job keeping his audience in suspense as he maneuvers his players through the story.  It doesn’t take him 15 minutes to flesh out his interesting characters before pulling the trigger on the action.

Gabriel Bosso, Ryan Lee, Joel Courtney and Riley Griffiths in SUPER 8

And his actors are amazingly good, choosing bright new faces to play the young pre-teens that are the brave inquisitive group.  I especially liked Riley Griffiths as Charles the tough director who will go at lengths to get his movie made, even in the face of impending doom. The young Elle Fanning (sister of Dakota) puts her talent to the test creating a troubled girl who has to deal with family problems and puberty while accommodating her friends to be the star of their movie. Super 8 is not her first film, but this time the role’s a more pronounced support star.

Joel Courtney and Kyle Chandler in SUPER 8

But the best performance comes from Joel Courteny as Joe Lamb a youngster who has to deal with the recent death of his mother by diving head first into Charles’s film project in an attempt to connect with reality.  When Joe does however, he becomes the thread that holds the group together.

 

Super 8 tops my list for originality, creativity and entertainment value over any film released thus far.  Special effects, make-up and computer generated graphics add to the amazing story that continues to play out in my brain long after seeing this sci-fi thriller.  It’s that good! I can get an argument that you can see some of Executive Director Stephen Spielberg’s body of work laced throughout, but I have a strong feeling that writer Abrams inserted the quips with tongue-in-cheek.

 

The film is rated PG 13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use.  Super 8 is also available in IMAX in select theatres. Make sure you watch the film credits for a special treat.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: Super 8 gets a 10 in my book. (A)

 

 

INCENDIES, A Captivating drama

Stunned can be the only word to describe my reaction to Incendies an incredible story that shocks with disbelief.  Extremely well acted and directed the foreign language film was nominated for an Oscar and in my opinion should have taken home the gold.  If you are up for a drama that’s passionate, interesting and revealing then this movie should be at the top of your list.

 

The children of Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal), Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) sit down for the reading of their mother’s last will and testament in their Canadian hometown. The final codicil requires the notary to hand over two letters, one to their father they never knew and one for a brother they don’t know exists.  The notary asks that the letters be delivered to the respective parties before the will can be consummated.  While Simon feels unmoved by the gesture, Jeanne is more inquisitive and decides to travel to the Middle East to uncover the mystery. After months of searching, Simon decides to join Jeanne.  When things get heated up over their last name, their ancestral heritage consumes both.

 

The movie uses flashbacks to take us through Nawal Marwan’s life during one of the most despicable times in history where people were killed for political reasons.  Caught up in fight for survival, Nawal shows the anger, distrust and reality of an awful war.

 

Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin as Jeanne

The acting, directing and storyline provide an excellent drama and the twists add surprises at every turn.  Adapted from a play by the Lebanese born Wajdi Mouawad, director Denis Villeneuve gives an emotional live production a Hollywood makeover adding a Middle East background that enhances the unusual storyline.  Providing a confrontational aura Villeneuve plunges his audience into a controversial world while manipulating his characters in the deeply moving story.

 

The acting here is superb and reminiscent to the outstanding performances in the movie The Stoning of Soraya M. in which Shohreh Aghdashloo shined as an Iranian woman falsely accused of adultery.  Here Lubna Azabal as Marwan captures her audience depicting the torture and harsh cruelty forced upon her.

 

Incendies is rated R for some strong violence and language. The movie nominated for an academy award in the foreign film category, is Canadian produced.  Scenes of the Middle East contain some foreign language with subtitles.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: An outstanding film that captivates. (A)


JUDY MOODY, Super-cali-fragilistic-expa-thrillidocious!!!!

 

Written By Marisa Ings, Guest Writer

 

 

Judy Moody  definitely did not have a ‘bummer summer’ in this film! Instead she experienced one of the greatest summers anyone could imagine.

 

It all begins on the last day of school. As soon as the bell rings Judy (Jordana Beatty) and her friends are off to have the summer of their lives. But Judy soon finds that her friends won’t be along for the ride as they have other plans. To her disappointment Judy also discovers that her parents are going away for the summer too, leaving her with her Aunt Awful and her little brother Stink (Parris Mosteller). For Judy, the summer couldn’t get any worse until she finds that Aunt Opal is really super cool giving Judy a spectacular idea.

 

No wonder it’s called Judy Moody. The character is seriously an over-the-top kid. But Jordana Beatty plays her well and it just adds to the fun. Parents beware; if you take your children to see this movie they may want to see it again… and again.

Judy Moody (Beatty) and her bigfoot

From the Monster rollercoaster, stakeout, car chase, and other MEGA RARE moments this film is a feast for the imagination. Judy Moody’s NOT the Bummer Summer is Über fun and kid friendly. Parents don’t you worry; you will also be enthralled by the bold, bright and cheery costuming and set design as well as the well chosen cast. All this and more add to the allure of the films thrill-a-delic adventure.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The Ultimate Summer indeed. Judy Moody is just in time for summer vacation.

 

Rating: B-

 

DISNEY INTRODUCES “WRECK-IT RALPH”

 

WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS INTRODUCES

WILDLY FUNNY NEW CG COMEDY ADVENTURE “WRECK-IT RALPH”

 

Directed by Emmy® Winner Rich Moore, Hilarious and Wildly Imaginative Animated Movie to Feature the Voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch

 

BURBANK, Calif. (June 13, 2011) – Some of us are born to be bad, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. Walt Disney Animation Studios and Emmy®-winning director Rich Moore (TV’s “The Simpsons,” “Futurama”) take moviegoers on a hilarious, video-game-hopping journey in “Wreck-It Ralph,” the story of an arcade game Bad Guy determined to prove he can be a Good Guy. Produced by Clark Spencer (“Lilo & Stitch,” “Bolt”) and featuring the voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch, the CG comedy adventure will hit theaters on Nov. 2, 2012, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

Says Moore, “I love the idea of a very simple 8-bit video game character struggling with the complex question: ‘isn’t there more to life than the role I’ve been assigned?’ In his quest for the answer, we journey with our hero through three visually distinct video game worlds. It’s unlike anything anyone’s seen before, and I’m thrilled to be to creating it here at Walt Disney Animation Studios.”

Wreck-It Ralph (voice of Reilly) longs to be as beloved as his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (voice of McBrayer). Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes… so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan—win a medal—but soon wrecks everything, and accidently unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Ralph’s only hope? Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Silverman), a young troublemaking “glitch” from a candy-coated cart racing game who might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy. But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it’s “Game Over” for the entire arcade?

X-MEN:FIRST CLASS, A KNOCK-OUT

If you are looking for action and adventure then you will not want to miss X-Men: First Class a top-notch production that thrills.  The explosive storyline under the able direction of Matthew Vaughn contains all the explosiveness you would expect from a prequel to Marvel Comics famous X-Men.

 

It’s the beginning of the saga and we find Magnito (Michael Fassbender) being haunted by the death of someone close him.  Escaping the clutches of the evil Nazi war criminal Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), Magnito meets Charles Xavior (James McAvoy).  The two make a pact of finding other mutants and helping them work for justice.  When Shaw rears his ugly head with super powers of his own, the world puts everything on hold in hopes for a miracle to protect them; enter the X-Men.

Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Caleb Landry Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult and Lucas Till

I love the screenwriting style of Ashley Miller (Thor) who brings so many of San Lee’s dynamic characters with amazing super powers to life.  And in X-Men: First Class she presents some very realist baddies along with her heroes.  Directed by Matthew Vaughn who gave us the action laden Layer Cake and Kick Ass nothing’s held back on his radical style of introducing characters with pugilistic powers. Here he puts Lee’s characters to the test and comes up with a winner.

Kevin Bacon and January Jones in X-MEN:FIRST CLASS

I would be remiss if I didn’t commend Kevin Bacon on his performance as the sadistic Sebastian Shaw.  Putting all his energy into making the evil Nazi a heinous person makes the film work.  And without his central antagonist being believable as the Joker (Heath Ledger) in The Dark Knight or the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) in Spider-man 2, X-Men: First Class would be just another movie.

 

Vaughn keeps the movie going at a fast clip developing his mutants as he rushes along.  With so much content one would have thought the film to exceed three hours, but the little over two hours works for him.  When the film ended I wanted more of the powerful heroes and their extreme exploits.  Perhaps we have not seen the end of this saga.

 

The film is rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image.  Directly targeted at teens and twenties, X-Men: First Class hits the bull’s eye.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: An exciting film with fantastic characters. (B+)

 

 

 

 

 

THE HANGOVER PART II, LOST IN BANGKOK

‘Holdover Part II’ is more like it because The Hangover Part II should be in movie theaters for a very long time.  The hilarious comedy uses the same formula as in the original that got the filmmaker an amazing box office return.  The writers, cast and crew did an amazing job of bringing one of the funniest movies of the year to the screen. IT’S NOT FOR KIDS.

 

Stu’s about to get married to the lovely Flora (Jamie Chung) a Thailand beauty.  The bride wants her wedding to be held in her home country where her parents live.  With all the wedding plans complete Stu gets on a plane with his best friends Phil, Alan and Doug for the journey to the beautiful land to meet Flora’s family for the first time.  Flora’s parents welcome Stu but he also receives the comment that he’s not ‘good enough’ for daddy’s little girl.  Bummed out, the guys and Flora’s young brother Teddy, take Stu to Bangkok for one last fling.

Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis in THE HANGOVER Part II

The original formula works well here, it’s the morning after and we find Stu, Phil and Alan hung over and not remembering the night before.  It gets very hilarious from here on out with a missing Teddy, an elderly monk in a wheelchair, a drug peddling monkey and Mr. Chow, the weird oriental from the previous film, all becoming the clues within the bizarre search around Bangkok.

 

Acting, directing, story and cinematography are on point with the comedy.  The returning cast puts on a great show under the able direction of writer/director Todd Phillips.  Phillips packages the film nicely and like in the first Hangover executes some wild twists and turns that when you think it’s all figured out, throws another fly in the ointment.  Never missing a beat, the story flows nicely, comedy sharp and the ending (well you will just have to see that for yourself.)

 

As I stated in the first paragraph this movie is not for kids, but mature adults.  The Hangover Part II is rated R for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images.  Warning: The film gets so raunchy at times even a sailor would blush and most of the sexual content is not always socially acceptable. After all it’s just a movie, right?


 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  A wild recap of their first hangover, only different. (B)


THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD, NO SALE!

I’m sitting here watching a 1 hour and 30 minute long advertisement called The Greatest Movie Ever Sold and asking myself, ‘what did I do to deserve this torture, become a film critic?’  Well at least as a member of the movie society, albeit not a popular member, the movie does have tongue-in-cheek nuances that do entertain. Of course it’s your right to walk out after the first 20 minutes, as that’s probably all you can take. Unless you are a devout advertising executive for which The Greatest Movie Ever Sold becomes mandatory.

 

In most every film there is a reference to a product; i.e. holding up a can of Pepsi Cola while making a gesture and spouting a line during an emotional moment in the movie. The showing of their product in this case is probably paid for by Pepsi Cola and the movie industry has dubbed this kind of advertising ‘product placement’.  So, in this film we find the ‘Super Size Me’ writer, director and producer Morgan Spurlock out to find as many gullible Madison Avenue executives that would actually pay for a movie about just that, ‘Product Placement.’ And Morgan is able to convince a bevy of players to jump at a chance to be in movie theatres all over the world.

 

Now, Spurlock surely does his sales job and delivers this hour and a half advertisement to theaters, most likely going then to DVD and HBO.  If it catches on the ditsy documentary may just turn out filling Morgan’s pockets with the hard cash that unsuspecting moviegoers plunk down to see the dreadful ‘ho hummer’. With people getting bombarded by ads all day, why would anyone pay to see a MOVIE about advertising? Um…yes!  So they can take their mind off of the bad economy,  unwind from a long day at work, get away from the kids for an evening, or see this adventure instead of a Pirates of the Caribbean.  No sale Spurlock!

 

Truthfully though, although his first film ‘Super Size Me’ was a great idea and has a lot of laughs nicely tucked inside, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, does not.  Unless you’re a filmmaker wanting to find out about this special ad technique for the movie you are making, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT waste your money and get suckered into this Documentary completing the only lesson Spurlock has to show.  “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

 

 

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  NO SALE SPURLOCK…(product placement goes here). (F)

 

(Please note that since we did not get a product placement for our website in the film  I have only mentioned one product in this article and it isn’t one that’s in the movie…I’m actually enjoying a Pepsi while I am typing this review.)

BURN NOTICE, A HOT DVD

If you have been watching Burn Notice than you know that Michael Westen (Jeffery Donavan) is a former intelligence agent, a spy that has been burned (booted out, black listed by the organization that trained him) and has been on the trail of the person who caused this situation.  In between times he takes on odd jobs with his partner Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) and girlfriend Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar).  Each weekly episode starts where it left off and includes at least one of the jobs Westen’s been roped into.

I am a pretty consistent fan of Burn Notice, but because of some inconsistency in directing, I’ve strayed now and then. But, that’s my quirky thing.  Depending on the Director’s ability to get a good performance (the actors had been vacillating in the first and second season between realistic and amateurish) I find the series very entertaining.  This fourth season found me more engrossed in the plot; eager to see the next episode and enjoying the action show more.

Season four finds Westen hooking up with Fiona and Sam in some incredible situations from bad bikers, Chinese mafia to black listed spies and a dock worker (and that’s just the first disc). I do have to admit, the addition of Cody Bell, as burned spy Jesse Garcia, is a brilliant move. The writing seems to get better from season to season and I found four right up at the top.

Having the luxury of seeing season four on DVD, paying more attention to the story, and no commercials has helped my desire to continue with the spy thriller.  Of course being in Florida and spending most of my life in South Florida where the program gets filmed doesn’t hurt either.  Seeing the beaches, glitzy clubs, lot of hot bods and surroundings I’m familiar with, makes Burn Notice a must for me.

Included on four disc DVD are bonus features that include deleted scenes from most all of the weekly shows.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  A nice addition to your video library and a great way to get caught up. (B)


GNOMEO & JULIET out on 3D Blu-ray

 

Talking about eye-popping 3D the current release of Gnomeo & Juliet provides a heaping helping of the special entertainment on Blu-ray.  The combo pack provides four ways to watch the film Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray disc, DVD and a Digital Copy so even if you do not have 3D right now, it’s yours for the future.

 

The story follows a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ relationship between families of Gnomes that live on different sides of a huge fence.  The two families have been feuding forever and are abiding by the rules they have set up for themselves.  One day Gnomeo has an accident that brings him together with Juliet and a comical romance begins.

 

The movie, although directed at youngsters who will probably wear out the disc with their repetitive use, does play to an adult level.  Filled with a lot of tongue-in-cheek comedy for adults I was never bored watching the hour and 24 minute film.

 

Watching the funny animated film in 3D on a pretty good size screen (say 35” or larger) gives approximately the same experience of seeing it in a movie theater.  Especially with Gnomeo & Juliet since it has a lot coming at you from your TV screen.  But, although the kids will love the popping effect, the depth of field really makes the film magical.

 

Bonus features include:

 

DVD & Movie Download:

• Elton Builds a Garden

• Frog Talk with Ashley Jensen

• “Crocodile Rock” Music Video, featuring Elton John and Nelly Furtado

 

Blu-ray:

 

• DVD Bonuses plus:

• 2 Alternate Endings with Filmmaker Introductions

• Deleted & Alternate Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions, including an alternate opening of the film and an added alternate scene. The disc includes six scenes not shown in the original movie theater release.

• The Fawn of Darkness, featuring Ozzy Osbourne

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  Whether you have 3D or other form of player, this is truly a KID pleaser. (B+)

 

The movie is rated G for the whole family.

I AM NUMBER FOUR, Blu-ray/DVD review

Here is a cool film that reminds me of a cross between the television show X-Files and the comic book heroes the X-Men.  Now on DVD I Am Number Four plays very nicely on the small screen and especially on Blu-ray.  The bonus features bring added value to the Blu-ray

 

The story goes something like this: John Smith (Alex Pettyfer), a high school teen has arrived in small Ohio town having been on the run from a ruthless enemy that has come to earth to destroy him.  His guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) classified as a warrior on the planet they are from, has been put in charge of protecting John. Following incident involving John emitting special powers at his school, Henri informs him of his purpose on Earth and that he’s the target of relentless killers. When he falls for his classmate Sarah (Dianna Agron), John’s judgment gets clouded and puts him at risk.

 

Performances by Pettyfer and Olyphant are extremely good making their characters intriguing and suspenseful.  The situations they deal with in the script require a big range of emotions and agility and both are up to the challenge.  When the fighting begins the choreographers have the warriors working with realistic moves that energize the battle scenes.

 

In addition being able to rewind and pause the film, which I like to do during the action scenes looking for something I may have missed, the disc provides bonus features that make the Blu-ray an even better purchase.  The bonus includes deleted scenes that enhance the film, some bloopers that are actually quite funny and a feature on ‘Becoming Number 6’, which gives a more in-depth look into that character. All the added material is worth a look.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A good film with a probable sequel coming in the future. (B)

 

The film carries an MPAA rating of PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for language.