DVD Picks of the Week: Feb 7th

It’s already the second month of 2012 and here we are talking about DVDs again… I’ll pretend like I did a real introduction that felt insightful and entertaining and move right into things:

Buy It:

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas

Directed by: Todd Strauss-Schulson

Written by: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg

Starring: Kal Penn, John Cho & Neil Patrick Harris

Why should you buy it? Because next Christmas you’re going to be looking for that perfect film that you can watch after revisiting Bad Santa for the billionth time, and here it is. It’s crude, loud, weed induced and cameo/pop-culture reference filled madness all around Christmas and it’s great. It’s a return to form for the franchise to it’s low-fi enjoyability with it’s very own madness that it introduced near a decade ago with the first film’s release.

Read my full review here.

Project Nim

Directed by: James Marsh

Starring: Bob Angelini, Nim & Bern Cohen

Why should you buy it? Because it’s the real, more awesome, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, without the awesome ending that is.

Over the years I’ve become more and more a fan of documentaries and this film doesn’t fail to deliver a series of questions, answers and thoughts for us all to ponder on about what the relevance and use of such testing is and if the pros of the research outweigh the cons of the emotional devastation that we end up inflicting on these creatures by doing these things to them, no mater how “humane” they seem.

A Fish Called Wanda (Blu Ray)

Directed by: Charles Chricton

Written by: John Cleese & Charlese Chricton

Starring: John Cleese, Kevin Kline & Jamie Lee Curtis

Why should you buy it? “K-K-K-K-K-KEN!!!” and “can you repeat the middle part”. This is British comedy at it’s best when it was finding ways to reach into American culture. The quick wit and the dumb drum of Cleese and Kline respectively with a nonsensical romantic plot of the diamond thief and the barister (we’re in England man) just works so well and Cleese‘s writing shows to be the true star of the film. If you’ve never seen it it’s time to catch up.

The Rest

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
Masterpiece Classic: Downtown Abbey Season 2
Father Dowling Mysteries: The First Season
Anonymous
New Tricks: Season 6
The Sunset Limited
Fireflies in th e Garden

Blu Ray

Lady and the Tramp
Casino Royale (1967)
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
La Jetee/Sans Soliel (Criterion Collection)

What’re You Getting This Week?

Ten More Films That Happen All In One Night

In honour of The Sitter, which I do plan on seeing this weekend, I’m revisiting the topic of “Films that Happen in One Night”. This niche subgenre of film is one that without a doubt has it’s fans (myself included) and at the same time has a lot of entries that without the frenetic plot required to keep this movie going would fail completely.

Approximately a year and a half ago – for the release of Date Night – I did a similar list over at TheFilmStage. This list, unlike the linked list, will not include any film listed previously (for the sake of expanding the canon) and at the same time I will no longer limit the list to comedies. With that said let’s get started:

10. Can’t Hardly Wait (1998) (dir. Harry Elfont & Deborah Kaplan)

Here’s a film that I remember watching as a teen and enjoying and am surprised everytime I hear anyone talk of kindly. It’s a silly movie with nothing spectacular about it besides that it’s one of these “one night” movies. We love that story of so many things happening at once and it manages to still make me smile at the end of the day.

9. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) (dir. Peter Sollett)

The film from 2008 which some may say I was too kind to. It follows a group of twenty-somethings as they run around NY chasing after their drunk friend and a mythical underground band so indie that they can actually play at 4am at an unannounced location and still get a crowd. It’s a fun flick and deserves more attention, it helps that the soundtrack is kick-ass.

8. A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas (2011) (dir. Todd Strauss-Schulson)

I think I said everything I need to in my review but if you missed that just know that it brings the franchise back for me and I love it for that. It takes the stupid idea of 3D in a comedy and makes it into a fun gimmick that I look forward to seeing what they’re going to do with it next from scene to scene. NPH will live forever.

7. American Graffiti (1973) (dir. George Lucas)

Here’s a classic that while I don’t hold it in as high regard as many other critics I do agree that it’s a great film of it’s own little sub-genre. Watching Ford and others just drive around all night having drag races and mucking about is the teen rebellion of the 70s that’s worth seeing.

6. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) (dir. Robert Rodriguez)

Rodriguez is a director who always finds a way to make these fun horror films that expand the genre’s audience by always making it into a more fun action film than an eerie horror film which is just trying to play the R rated version of “peek-a-boo”. It helps that Salma Hayek is a stripper in the film.

5. The Hangover (2009) (dir. Todd Phillips)

This I guess is the only real cheat of the list. While this movie is about one crazy night it’s more a film that takes place over a period of a weekend as these friends try to figure out what the hell they did the other night and where the groom (their best friend) is. It’s able to play up all the same plot points of the one crazy night film with a whole new look on it all.

4. Halloween (1978) (dir. John Carpenter)

Michael Myers has escaped and is back in town and stalking Laurie and making sure that all her friends are dead. You ask why? There is no why. It just is. It’s the film that scares us of the unstoppable force and brings back the hot girl running up the stairs away from the big scary guy. The film’s score is what elevates its intense sequences to more than the everyday slasher film.

3. Escape from New York (1981) (dir. John Carpenter)

Yup, I’ll say it, it’s better than Halloween. Kurt Russel plays Snake Pliskin and he’s going to war again. He’s going into New York City, which has become the biggest and most advanced prison in the United States of America to rescue the President before the night is over. He reminds us that “I’m an asshole…”.

2. Die Hard (1988) (dir. John McTiernan)

It’s the film that noone can actually ever say a bad things about. It probably not only redefined what an action hero is but also what a villain is. He doesn’t need to be the guy holding the gun to the bank teller’s head walking out the front door, he can also be the suave business man trying to do things professionally until a McClane (i.e. monkey wrench) gets thrown into the mix.

1. 12 Angry Men (1957) (dir. Sidney Lumet)

I guess this is a cop out pick for me. It’s a classic and I don’t know a man alive who can dispute it’s greatness. It’s the film where no matter how many TV remakes there are remains engaging and brilliant from moment to moment as we slowly but surely watch a room full of men who could care less about what happens to this child from the wrong side of town go from guilty to innocent just because one man felt it was a topic worth discussing at least.

What’s your Favourite Film That Lasts One Night?

Movie Review: A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas 3D (2011)

“I shot Santa Clause in the face. He’s real, and I shot him in the face.”

This series of films is one of the most interesting film franchises that I’ve ever seen happen mainly because I can almost not explain how these films get sequels. They’re the evolution of the Cheech & Chong series, but now on steroids, ecstasy, cocaine and add a shot of whisky to the mix for good measure.

Harold and Maria (Paula Garces) married, we see our two best friends not together anymore. Harold has grown up and gotten a pretty regular grown-up life, while Kumar remains in their old apartment getting high and crying over the loss of his girlfriend. A package appears at Kumar’s door for Harold and this is the instigator for a night of debauchery (as is needed for a film of this type) as Kumar ruins everything for Harold and sends them on a journey for a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.

In 2004 Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle was released theatrically. It was the film which revitalized Neil Patrick Harris’ career. The film also introduced us to the dynamic-duo and best friends, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) who’ve both gone on to do relatively big things in film and TV (which this film has fun calling back to with fun mentions of Penn’s time in employment to the White House and Cho’s role as Sulu in Star Trek (2009)). The film even takes into account Neil Patrick Harris’ up-to-date real life happenings since 2004, including How I Met Your Mother and his coming out as being gay, and manages to somehow circumvent that for the sake of this fictitious version of NPH that has existed in these movies.

This film is a fun ninety minutes where Kumar pushes Harold constantly from scene to scene making his overly kind has to make everything go perfectly attitude goes further and further out the window. This film however, adds the madness of Christmas, 3D, Danny Trejo (and a really criminal looking family), Elias Koteas as a Russian mob boss and Tom Lennon as Harold’s friend who’s daughter Kumar manages to get high and marijuana and cocaine.

The film’s use of 3D is gimmicky. However, it admits to its gimmick and embraces it. It stares at you wondering why this film is in 3D and just shoves more things at you and it’s funny for no real reason other than its own ridiculousness. There’s even a joke of how Trejo’s going to “jizz” on the tree, queue to freeze frame visual of semen coming at us on screen. It’s fun in its own ridiculous way, like the other two films are.

Love or hate it Harold and Kumar managed to defy the traditional studio formula and make three truly entertaining movies – I’m still willing to believe that the second movie was good (even though it wasn’t as good as the first or this one). I hope however that – even though there is a line calling to it – there isn’t any more of these movies, eventually running the series into the ground like most American television shows outstaying their welcome.

Rating: 7.5/10

 

What I’ve Been Watching: Nov 6th – Nov 12th

I’ve always been tackling with what to post on a Sunday. It’s not a particularly busy day on the blog and at the same time I don’t want to be away from you all. I’ve been terribly horrendous with my postings of my Monthly Reports so I’m putting this article in it’s place. It’s with my hope that with it’s increase in frequency (weekly instead of monthly) that I’ll keep it going a lot better.

I will list the films I’ve been watching for the course of the week along with short film (twitter long) reviews. Enjoy:

FIRST TIME VIEWS

THE CHANGE-UP (2011) - FUCK THIS MOVIE! CG breasts for Leslie Mann was not a good idea.
A VERY HAROLD AND KUMAR CHRISTMAS 3D (2011) – one of the most indulgent comedies I’ve seen ; it’s ridiculous for the sake of it & it’s great.
THE IMMORTALS (2011) – lord jesus it looks beautiful… I kind of dug it a lot… Rourke sells it for me.

REWATCHED

In this section just assume (unless I explain further) that these are awesome movies, I will supply a nice quote. Mainly because I think that’s awesome.

Casablanca(1942) – “It is a little game we play. They put it on the bill, I tear up the bill. It is very convenient.”
Planet Terror (2007) – “Don’t shoot yourself. Don’t shoot each other. And especially… don’t shoot me.”
Zombieland (2009) – “You are like a giant cock-blocking robot, like, developed in a secret fucking government lab.”
Star Trek (2009) – “A curious metaphor, doctor, as a stallion must first be broken before it can reach its potential.”
Redbelt (2008) – “I train people to prevail. In the street, in the alley, in…in combat, the bodyguard, the cop, the soldiers. One rule – put the other guy down.”
Gladiator (2000) – “Are you in danger of becoming a good man, Proximo?”

THE COUNT

224 First Time Watches (94 Films released in 2011)

SONG OF THE WEEK

What’ve You Been Watching?

This Week in Trailers: Oct 22nd

Another week = more trailers:

THE BEST

Synopsis: Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.

The movie was kind of awesome two years ago and with Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and one of the best on screen moustaches in a while I nominate this for “most fun” December release. It may go off the deep end as sequels feel the constant need to one up its predecessor, but I have hope. I even have a higher hope that somehow Guy Ritchie will take this good momentum to make something original that’s truly spectacular once he’s done winning back the studio’s good faith after his failures with Swept Away and Revolver.

Synopsis: Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, stoner buds Harold Lee and Kumar Patel cause a holiday fracas by inadvertently burning down Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree.

I love Harold & Kumar. The last episode – in Guantanamo Bay – wasn’t good however, so I have my doubts. However, this redband trailer, mostly thanks to Thomas Lennon and his child, looks hilarious. I wonder how much work the director had with that child for scenes like the one where she’s “needing” it.

Neil Patrick Harris seems to continue his run of great performances as a parody of himself (a more extreme extension of Barney Stinson) with his crashing the world of Heaven and taking the angels for a ride.

I should probably lower my expectations, but…. I want this movie to be great – and then the series ends.

 

THE INTERESTING

Synopsis: Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

I’m most worried that I think the film is hanging onto the faux documentary style too much. If this was a film told through the conventional methods we’d be seeing just another Covenant which no-one ever wants to see again. However, somehow with the realistic documented style it looks like it might just work, I just can see the near future (yes I should be in this movie) where this genre completely burns out and no matter how cheaply they can make these movies it won’t be profitable anymore and studios will stop making/buying them.

 

THE WORST

Synopsis: A look at how a couple’s romance is affected by the Bosnian War.

I feel like it’s too early to be condemning this movie, and when I do see it at the end of the year I’ll see how Angelina Jolie did with her directorial debut, however this movie just doesn’t look interesting at all. It has all the elements of period depressing romance but I just don’t see anything particularly interesting about it, and it’s not that I’m a clod hearted bastard or something.

Synopsis: Chinese sex workers in 1937 volunteer to replace university students as escorts for invading Japanese soldiers.

Let’s get this straight, I love Christian Bale, and I love Zhang Yimou even more. However this is quite honestly one of the worst cut trailers I’ve ever seen. It’s like someone told the editor to shove in the most “powerful” Bale scenes and a lot of war action with people shooting people, etc.

It’s just boring and feels like the story sits in the back seat with sex and violence and Bale is strapped to the hood of the car just so we look at that first.

What’s the best trailer of the week for you?