Friday, April 27, 2012

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Family Faire:  The Pirates!  Band of Misfits  (2012)  In this animated film, Pirate Captain sets sail with the intent of winning Pirate of the Year.  The competition though, is tough this year and it’s going to take something special - like storming the streets of London and taking on the ultimate pirate hater, the Queen of England, to win. This film is from the same animation company, Aardman Animations, that brought us the Wallace and Gromit films and last year's Arthur Christmas. While I like the stop motion animation and the witty dialogue, the kids around me at the screening seemed really bored and uninterested. The film is very complicated and I think it will be hard for kids to understand what exactly is the purpose of the voyages of the Pirates. There are some clever characters in the film that kids will enjoy, like the monkey that uses cue cards to communicate, but I just feel this film doesn't have enough for kids to engage with to make it a good family film.   My Rating:  Cable   The Pirates: Band of Misfits Website
IndiefestDamsels in Distress  (2012)  Lily (Analeigh Tipton) is the new girl on campus at Seven Oaks College. She joins a trio of girls, led by Violet (Greta Gerwig), who are determined to show Lily how to find the right man, even if Lily doesn’t always take Violet’s advice. Quirky and a little strange are the best words to describe this film, as it is full of outrageous dialog and very odd characters. Greta Gerwig is perfect in the role of the headstrong and determined Violet, who delivers lines with such a serious deadpan expression, that you have to believe she is fully behind what she says. Overall the film relies too much on repeat bits and has a tendency to go overboard with its best comedic ideas. This is one of those films you want to love but it just doesn't quite make the experience enjoyable enough for you to do so. My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Damsels in Distress Website

Indiefest: The Hunter  (2011)  Martin (Willem Dafoe) is a mercenary who has been sent by a European Pharmaceutical company, to Tasmania to track and kill the last remaining Tasmania tiger. The tiger is rumored to have a venom that paralyzes it's victims and the company wants the venom to use in its vaccines. When Martin arrives, he finds things are much more complicated than just hunting down an animal. He must deal with a family who's environmental efforts may have led to the death of their father and a community that devided between big business and the good of the Tasmanian forests. As always, Willem Dafoe gives an intense and multilayered performance and the storyline keeps you guessing on what he will do next.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Hunter Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#22 Best Film
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington  (1939)  This eleven time Oscar nominated picture was directed by Frank Capra, who during the period that this film was made, was at the top of his game.  Jimmy Stewart plays Jefferson Smith, a naive young man who. due to back door politics and his family connections, is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. He is soon taken under the wing of a political savvy reporter (Jean Arthur), who tries to help him deal with the complexities of the political world. Smith learns that he is being used by a fellow senator (Claude Rains) to push through a bill in Congress that will damage the environment. The film is about how the little man, with enough conviction, can win when he has the people behind him and he believes in himself and his convictions.   Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Info

Forgotten Film: Blood Simple  (1984)  The filmmaking debut of Joel and Ethan Coen, Blood Simple is a celebration of the Film Noir style film where nothing is as it seems to be. A bar owner (Dan Hedaya) hires a private investigator (M. Emmet Walsh) to find out if his wife (Frances McDormand) is having an affair with one of his bartenders (John Getz). The film is shot mostly at night, with darkness covering most of the scenes, as the bartender learns that the affair he is having is just tip of the iceberg of what is going on in this world of deceit and intrigue. Frances McDormand is riveting in the role of a woman that is the key to a story that you understand until the end of the film.   My Rating:  Full Price   Blood Simple Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD): Contraband  (2012)  I did not enjoy this very predictable film of a former smuggler (Mark Wahlberg) who is pulled back into the game when his brother-in-law gets in over his head. I especially didn't enjoy the performance of Giovanni Ribisi, who plays the main bad guy in the film, as I never could figure out what accent he was using, and he is way over the top with his performance.   My Rating:  Cable   Contraband Website

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Rock of Ages  (2012)  I realize this film is based on the big Broadway hit musical but it looks to be just an excuse for a bunch of stars, like Tom Cruise or Alec Baldwin, to sing karaoke.   Rock of Ages Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Damsels in Distress: Tap Dancing Foley Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Chernobyl Diaries  (2012)  This film is getting a lot of buzz among horror fans as it deals with a group of tourists who hire an "extreme" tour guide to take them to a town near the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster site. While exploring the town, they soon discover that they may not be alone.     Chernbobyl Diaries Website

Until Next Time!


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