Just nominated for an Academy Award The Illusionist rounds out the candidates for Best-Animated feature. I like the film for it’s old style flat animation and the storyline. If you saw The Triplets of Belleville, another Oscar nominated feature several years ago, then you will get the same feel with this film. Is it the Best-Animated film for 2010? Not if you like the modern CGI animation laden leaders that feature 3D with all the eye popping special effects. Read more
The action oriented adventure The Eagle entertains, but overly dramatic acting takes the punch out of it. The simple quest storyline embedded in many other films like The 13th Warrior and Alexander makes this film a want-to-see by youngsters, especially since the trailer hypes the action in the film. Read more
The comedy You Again provides a lot of laughs from the oddball characters and kooky plot in this newest Touchstone Pictures DVD/Blu-ray release from Disney. It even plays better on the small screen because you can rewind the laughs and replay some of your favorite scenes. Mostly aimed at the girls the film can be watched by most all the family. Read more
Tense, convincing and hypnotic are the three words that come to mind when describing Blue Valentine. The story is one that most everyone knows or has lived through but it’s the presentation, performances and cinematography that make it intriguing, involving and sometimes disturbing. Women will probably like the film more than most men, but Blue Valentine still makes a good date movie, just maybe not on Valentines Day. Read more
Javier Bardem gives a gutsy performance in the gritty drama Biutiful. I liked this film from the incisive beginning to the heartfelt ending. Acting, directing and especially the cinematography are the building blocks for this story of a man struggling to keep his children. Read more
What starts out to be a romantic story turns into a nightmare in All Good Things a loosely based true story involving a disappearance that could not be solved. Very chilling the movie moves along at a quick step from a budding romance that was frowned upon to the final enactment of the possible murder outcome of this unsolved mystery. Read more
One of the most remarkable true stories ever, Secretariat comes to DVD/Blu-ray. The evenly paced historical drama takes a look at a family who found a way to survive, no matter what the odds. Well acted, the movie is worth the watch and the bonus features even more.
The film Another Year rolls out like a theatrical play or good book that’s a swift page-turner. From the opening character introductions throughout writer/director Mike Leigh’s ‘seasons’, we are treated to blossoming relationships, seeds of life, uncertainty, and a dieing effort. Amazing acting, direction and fascinating storyline make Another Year a great choice for the mature adult. Read more
Breathtaking cinematography, expansive choreographed scuba diving and a story about a father/son relationship are the basis for seeing the film Sanctum. If any of these elements tantalize you then this film should be your entertainment choice. Read more
This gut wrenching true story, Shake Hands with the Devil, reminded me a lot of Hotel Rwanda, but that isn’t a bad thing. The film brings to light more of the atrocities, reasons for war and the intimidation the UN peacekeepers had to face. Incredible good filming presents the era, country and it’s people realistically both in a period of adjustment and conflict. I liked this film very much and recommend it highly to those who want a taste of Director Roger Spottiswoode suspense filled storytelling.
The movie centers on the appointment of Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire to lead the UN forces in Rwanda during a cease-fire between the Hutu and the Tutsis following a bloody war that had a high death toll. With the county hair trigger away from a restart of another conflict, Dallaire tries to communicate with each of the divided factions. He starts to make headway, until greed, ego, politics and animosity strike.
Shake Hands With the Devil makes a strong statement against war and violence. It shows how intervention by outside countries can force people to take sides against each other. In this story we find the reason for conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis coming about with Rwanda’s Independence from Belgium. With the overwhelming number of Hutus, the government was set up in their favor that started a battle ending up killing off a great number of Tutsis and put a lot of them in exile. This set the stage for the film and the final outcome.
The acting here is way above par, cinematography brilliant in all scenes of the production and direction impeccable. Spottiswoode gives a strong view of the lack of morality, wickedness and devastating results of the futile war. Cinematographer Miroslaw Baszak (Pontypool, Land of the Dead) makes his camera do tricks with the lighting in order to give the viewer a more suspenseful and gut wrenching view of the extreme action. His ability to work with actors that have to act wild and scary makes the screen story very believable and terrifying.
The bonus features are good especially the Making of Shake Hands With The Devil. Turn on the Audio Commentary and listen to Director Roger Spottiswoode and the real Lt. Dallaire comment on the production the second time you watch film.
Shake Hands With The Devil is rated R for some disturbing violent images and brief strong language.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Realism through brilliant filmmaking makes this humanity flick a hit. (A)
Starring: Roy DuPuis, Owen Sejake, Odile Katesi Gakire, Michel Mongeau and John Sibi-Okumu
Directed by: Roger Spottiswoode
MPAA Rating: R for some disturbing violent images and brief strong language.
Genre: Art/Foreign, Drama, English Subtitles
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Explosive, vicious and thrilling, all the things that men like in a film are jammed into the 92 minutes of The Mechanic. The no-stop assassin drama kept me on the edge of my seat while bombs exploded, bullets flew, death defying stunts performed, knife fights, well you know what Crank was like, but count on double here. If you want to up your testosterone levels, then this is your kick-ass thriller.
Statham plays his brilliantly usual tough guy who’s relentless on getting his score no matter what it takes. I am a huge fan of his and he has never let me down on the screen. Here he makes me even more devout. Ben Foster expels a nasty persona as Steve making a great sidekick to Arthur. You can see in his face that every fight Steve gets into more fuel gets added to his hatred.
The Mechanic is rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity. Although the target audience is males, I could see a lot of women in the audience getting thrilled by it as well.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A killer action thriller. (B+)
[review pros=”Acting” cons=”N/A” score=87]
Starring: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn and Mini Anden
Directed by: Simon West (Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, Con Air)
MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity
Genre: Action, thriller
Running Time: 1hr 32min