Top Ten DVD List for June 27, 2017

 

This Week’s DVD Releases

by Kam Williams

Top Ten DVD List for June 27, 2017

DVD, New Releases, Top Ten, Alfred Hitchcock, Honorable Mention, Dirty Dancing, Power Rangers

             

The Lodger [Alfred Hitchcock Silent Film]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XP1WFQF/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Trespass [25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XHR8T93//ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Money [Heist Gone Bad Crime Thriller]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0713WRZ1L/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Striking Out: Series 1 [Irish Legal Drama]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XD188TX/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Power Rangers [Adaptation of High-Octane TV Series]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0727PMH49/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Midsomer Murders [Series 19, Part 1]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01N7YIZ5X/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Dirty Dancing [TV Remake of 1987 Classic]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B072DW1CS1/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Chips [Adaptation of Classic TV Series]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B071DX64LP/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Grey Lady [Nantucket Murder Mystery]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XYRHZ55/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Bunnicula: Night of the Vegetable [20 Episodes from Season 1]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XJKWL7Q/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Honorable Mention

The Story of China [with Michael Wood]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01N37A8F3/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Last Days of Solitary [PBS Frontline]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01N4X7SXS/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Tomcat [Gay Relationship Shaken by Violence]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00U4DV1PG/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

As Good as You [Grieving Lesbian Lands in Love Triangle]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XXPCFQV/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

The Similars [Harrowing Mexican Horror Flick]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B072149V4S/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Admiral [17th C. Dutch Swashbuckler]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B072K1X1XJ/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Paradox [Time-Travel Suspense Thriller]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B072JY7X5N/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Kill Ratio [Eastern European Revenge Thriller]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B072JY7X5T/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Sun Choke [Female Mental Health Drama]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B072QLD5JJ/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Crossing Point [American Tourist Kidnapped in Baja]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B071G57NKS/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 Source:  Baret News

Historical Drama Recreates 1939 Attempt to Assassinate Hitler

 

13 Minutes

Film Review by Kam Williams

Historical Drama Recreates 1939 Attempt to Assassinate Hitler

Believe it or not, over a dozen different attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler (Udo Schenk) were made before he took his own life in April of 1945. The year before, he only suffered minor injuries in the bombing that was the focus of Valkyrie (2008), a docudrama starring Tom Cruise.

13 Minutes,  Film Review, Adolf Hitler, docudrama, Tom Cruise, Munich, November 8, 1939, unsung hero, tribute, Christian Friedel

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall), 13 Minutes chronicles the first try after Hitler had taken control of Germany. The incident occurred in Munich on November 8, 1939 in a hall where the Fuhrer was scheduled to deliver an address.

Trouble is, Georg Elser’s (Christian Friedel) homemade time bomb went off too late, as Hitler had completed his remarks and exited the building 13 minutes earlier accompanied by several henchmen, including Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (Ulrich Matthes), Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess, and the architect of the Holocaust, Heinrich Himmler (Ulrich Noethen).

Later that same day, Georg was apprehended while trying to slip into Switzerland. Border guards took him into custody upon discovering incriminating evidence in his possession suggested a connection to the explosion.

He was soon delivered to Germany’s Chief of Police Arthur Nebe (Burghart Klauszner) and Gestapo Chief Heinrich Muller (Johann von Bulow) for interrogation, but refused to answer any questions until they threatened to arrest his girlfriend Elsa (Katharina Schuttler),  too. Georg confessed to protect her, but they still didn’t believe the simple carpenter could have possibly acted alone, given the powerful explosion that claimed 8 lives and wounded 62.

13 Minutes,  Film Review, Adolf Hitler, docudrama, Tom Cruise, Munich, November 8, 1939, unsung hero, tribute, Christian Friedel

So, they resorted to torture to extract the identities of his suspected accomplices that only existed in their imaginations. But Georg had nothing further to share, other than an explanation of exactly how he’d secretly amassed enough gunpowder to construct a weapon of mass destruction.

13 Minutes employs an unorthodox story structure, as it opens with the failed coup, and is followed by a series of Georg’s flashbacks. While behind bars, he reminisces.about everything from his disgust with Nazis to his ill-fated relationship with Elsa.

A long-overdue tribute to an unsung hero who came that close to changing the course of history.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality and disturbing violence

In German with subtitles

Running time: 114 minutes

Production Studio: Lucky Bird Pictures

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Source:  Baret News

Raunchy Adaptation of Classic TV Series Arrives on Home Video

 

Chips,  DVD Review, classic television, Ponch Poncherello, Jon Baker, California Highway Patrol OfficersChips

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Raunchy Adaptation of Classic TV Series Arrives on Home Video

Whenever a classic television series is made into a movie, the buzz always seems to be about whether the screen version will be a creative variation on the theme or merely a campy, cornball, take-the-money-and-run ripoff trading in familiar formulas and shopworn cliches. After all, for every inspired adaptation like Batman (1989), Charlie’s Angels (2000) and 21 Jump Street (2012) there are just as many bitter disappointments, al a  Dragnet (1987), I Spy (2002) and Get Smart (2008).

Fortunately, Chips is more in league with the worthwhile remakes rather than the ones leaving you wondering why they ever bothered. The picture was ostensibly a labor of Dax Shepard who wrote, directed, produced and also co-stars in it opposite Michael Pena. They  play California Highway Patrol Officers Ponch Poncherello and Jon Baker, the same characters popularized on TV by Erik Estrada and Larry Willcox.

The original, airing for a half dozen seasons starting in 1977, was a buddy action drama basically revolving around the heroic exploits of a couple of mismatched motorcycle cops, with Ponch often going rogue, much to the chagrin of his relatively-straitlaced partner.  This go-round, the script has been flipped, so that Jon is more of a misfit. At the point of departure, we find him getting a probationary badge and graduating from the police academy only because Sergeant Hernandez (Maya Rudolph) takes pity on him.

They’re both going through difficult divorces, although Jon is desperate to win back his wife (Kristen Bell). He hopes she’ll be impressed by his transition into a safer line of work after an accident-prone career as a professional motorcross bike racer.

He’s soon teamed with the veteran Ponch to solve a rash of armored car robberies suspected of being pulled off by a gang of crooked cops. They proceed to make a mess of the investigation at every turn, which only makes their terminally-exasperated boss (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) repeatedly blow his cork.

However, there’s little reason to pay attention to the intermittently-incoherent plot, for this kitchen sink comedy’s raison d’etre is to generate laughs by any means necessary. To that end, the politically-incorrect bottom feeder easily earns its R rating via an incessant indulgence in scatological, ethnic, sexist, slapstick, bodily function and gay panic fare.

A vulgar but funny enough departure from the classic TV series to warrant recommending. 

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated  R for crude humor, graphic sexuality, frontal nudity, violence, drug use and pervasive profanity

Running time: 100 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: This Is Not Your Dad’s Chips; Practical Pursuit;   Ducati: The Perfect Bike; director’s commentary; and deleted scenes.

To order a copy of the Chips Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack , visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B071DX64LP/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  Baret News

Southern Belles Vie for Union Soldier’s Affections in Sofia Coppola’s Sublime Tale of Seduction

 

The Beguiled is a Civil War saga based on the best seller of the same name by the late novelist/playwright Thomas Cullinan (1919-1995). The sublime tale of seduction was first adapted to the screen in 1971 as a melodramatic revenge flick starring Clint Eastwood. This relatively-refined remake was directed by Sofia Coppola whose effort was richly rewarded at Cannes where she became only the second woman to win Best Director in the history of the festival.The Beguiled

Film Review by Kam Williams

Southern Belles Vie for Union Soldier’s Affections in Sofia Coppola’s Sublime Tale of Seduction 

The Beguiled is a Civil War saga based on the best seller of the same name by the late novelist/playwright Thomas Cullinan (1919-1995). The sublime tale of seduction was first adapted to the screen in 1971 as a melodramatic revenge flick starring Clint Eastwood. This relatively-refined remake was directed by Sofia Coppola whose effort was richly rewarded at Cannes where she became only the second woman to win Best Director in the history of the festival.

The story is set in 1864 at a Virginia boarding school for girls run by prim Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) with the help of equally-proper Edwina Dabney (Kirsten Dunst). They have five students entrusted to their care, ranging in age from prepubescent to the late teens. 

At the point of departure, the sounds of battle are audible off in the distance. The raging conflict cuts a sharp contrast to the serenity of the idyllic campus where we find Amy (Oona Laurence) foraging in the forest for wild mushrooms. 

She stumbles upon a wounded Union soldier hiding in the woods. Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) had been felled by a bullet to the leg. The innocent adolescent instinctively brings him home, only to be criticized by an elder classmate (Angourie Rice) for rescuing a “dangerous enemy.”

The Beguiled,  Film Review, Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, Oona Laurence, Colin Farrell, Civil War, Thomas Cullinan

After initially issuing a stern warning that “You are a most unwelcome visitor,” their ordinarily icy headmistress inexplicably melts. She allows the ailing adversary to remain on the premises without even informing the Confederate army of his presence.

Personally assuming the responsibility of nursing their guest back to health, man-starved Martha soon finds herself swooning for the solicitous stranger. Trouble is, John proves to be quite the Casanova, knowing just the right words to surreptitiously charm the pants off each of the females, one-by-one.

The Beguiled,  Film Review, Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, Oona Laurence, Colin Farrell, Civil War, Thomas Cullinan

Of course, the cat’s eventually out of the bag, and his collective spell is broken. And after the heartbroken lasses put their heads together, he probably wishes he’d simply surrendered  to the Rebels rather than seek refuge.

Hell hath no fury like some Southern belles scorned!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality

Running time: 93 minutes

Production Studio: American Zoetrope

Distributor: Focus Features

Source:  Baret News

For movies opening June 23, 2017

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening June 23, 2017

Kam's Kapsules, Film Fun, Movies, Weekly, Entertainment, Previews, Big Budget Films, Foriegn & Independent Films

 

BIG BUDGET FILMS

The Beguiled (R for sexuality) Sofia Coppola won Best Director at Cannes for this sublime tale of seduction, a remake of Clint Eastwood’s Civil War saga about Southern belles competing for the affections of a Union soldier (Colin Farrell) wounded and abandoned by his unit. Ensemble cast includes Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst.

Transformers: The Last Knight (PG-13 for action, violence, profanity and sexual innuendo) Fifth installment in the sci-fi series finds Cade (Mark Wahlberg) leading the defense of the planet in humanity’s final showdown with an army of alien autobots. With Gemma Chan, Isabela Moner, Laura Haddock, Anthony Hopkins, Stanley Tucci and John Goodman.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

All the Rage (Unrated) Healthcare documentary chronicling Dr. John Sarno’s half-century campaign against the over-prescription of pain medication. Featuring commentary by John Stossel, Howard Stern, Senator Bernie Sanders, Larry David and Dr. Andrew Weil.

The Bad Batch (R for violence, profanity, drug use and brief nudity) Post-apocalyptic drama revolving around a young woman’s (Suki Waterhouse) struggle to survive after being dumped into a desert where she is soon surrounded by a horde of savage cannibals. With Jim Carrey, Jason Momoa, Giovanni Ribisi, Yolonda Ross and Keanu Reeves.

The Big Sick (R for profanity and sexual references) Romantic comedy recounting the real-life courting of fan (Zoe Kazan) by a Pakistani stand-up comedian (Kumail Nanjiani as himself). Supporting cast includes Ray Romano, Holly Hunter and SNL’s Aidy Bryant. 

Bwoy (Unrated) Homoerotic drama revolving around a closeted, former physician (Anthony Rapp) who starts cheating on his wife (De’Adre Aziza) with a hunky young Jamaican (Jimmy Brooks) in the wake of their son’s untimely death. Featuring Jermaine Rowe, Drew Allen and Ashton Randle.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: The Bad Boy Story (Unrated) Gangsta’ raptrospective  chronicling the career of Sean “Puffy” “Puff Daddy” “Diddy” Combs, as well as story of the hip-hop label he founded in 1993. With Lil Kim, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Clive Davis and DMX. 

Food Evolution (Unrated) Thought-provoking eco-documentary exploring the critical issues of sustainability and food security in a world marked by escalating competition for fewer and fewer natural resources. Featuring commentary by Bill Nye – The Science Guy, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Tamar Haspel. 

Paulina (Unrated) Dolores Fonzi plays the title character of this crime thriller, set in Argentina, as a lawyer who abandons a promising career in Buenos Aires to teach high school in her hometown, only to end up brutally assaulted by a local gang. With Oscar Martinez, Esteban Lamothe and Cristian Salguero. (In Spanish and Guarani with subtitles)

In Pursuit of Silence (Unrated) Noise-reduction documentary extolling the virtues of a little peace and quiet.

Ripped (Unrated) Buddy comedy, set in 1986, about a couple of stoners (Faizon Love and Russell Peters) who find themselves magically teleported three decades into the future after smoking a powerful strain of genetically-modified marijuana manufactured by the CIA. With Alex Meneses, Bridger Zadina, Kyle Massey and Carlos Gomez.

 

Source:  Baret News

Gil’s Goodwill!

 

Gil Robertson

The “Book of Black Heroes” Interview

with Kam Williams

Gil’s Goodwill!

For nearly three decades, writer/author Gil L. Robertson, IV has used the written word to enlighten, empower and uplift. The one-time political organizer initially made his mark in entertainment journalism, penning over 50 national magazine covers and contributing bylines to a wide range of publications that include the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, USA Today, Billboard, Fortune, Essence and Ebony.

Gil is also the founder and creator of the nationally-syndicated Arts & Lifestyle column, The Robertson Treatment, which began a couple of decades ago with an interview with Samuel L. Jackson for EVE’S BAYOU. Today, The Robertson Treatment has a reach of nearly two million.

As an author, Gil has specialized in books that empower his readers, beginning first with the self-published “Writing as a Tool of Empowerment” (2003), a resource guide primarily aimed at young people interested in journalism. From there, he edited the groundbreaking 2006 anthology “Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community” where he gathered a diverse mix of voices that include Oscar-winner Mo’Nique, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, legendary singer Patti LaBelle and former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, all addressing one of the most pressing public health and social challenges of our time.

His subsequent anthologies—”Family Affair: What It Means to Be African American Today” (2008) and “Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African American Community” (2013)—ignited a national conversation about identity and love and relationships in the 21st Century. In addition, Robertson has been a regular contributor to The African American Almanac (Gale Press). Accolades for his work include “Pick of the Week” selection by Publisher’s Weekly for “Family Affair” and NAACP Image Award nominations for “Not in My Family” and “Family Affair”.

His latest  offering is “Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past & Present” from Just Us Books. The opus represents a full-Gil Robertson, Book of Black Heroes, Interview, Kam Williams, writer/author,  political organizer, AAFCA co-foundercircle moment for Gil who began the first phase of his career in politics. This collection of biographies on game-changing elected political leaders like former President Barack Obama, pioneering Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, current U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and Reconstruction era governor Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchbank is intended to introduce young readers especially to not only dynamic personalities but to the concept of individual and political leadership.

Never one to sit on the sidelines of any pressing issue, in 2003, Gil rolled up his sleeves and got to work as the co-founder of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the largest collection of Black film critics in North America. As the organization’s president, he oversees the annual AAFCA Awards, which has become a recognized fixture of the Hollywood awards season. In addition to highlighting African-American achievement behind and in front of the camera, AAFCA works with the industry to usher in and support African-Americans in the Hollywood community, uniting consumers, creators and gatekeepers.

He also serves as a public ambassador for diversity within the industry, appearing on numerous shows on networks like CNN. With a B.A. in Political Science from Cal State Los Angeles, Gil is a professional member of the National Press Club, National Association of Black Journalists, The Recording Academy, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Motion Picture Association of America. And he lectures nationwide on issues ranging from diversity in the entertainment industry to personal and community development.

Kam Williams: Hi Gil, thanks for the interview.

Gil Robertson: Thanks, Kam. It’s always a pleasure speaking with you.

KW: What inspired you to write Book of Black Heroes?

GR: Following Obama’s election, I was astonished to discover how little most people knew about the contributions of African-Americans in politics. When most people think of blacks in U.S. politics, they usually fall back on the same group of leaders who came into prominence during the Civil Rights Movement. So, I wanted to do my part in expanding people’s level of awareness of black people who have been active participants in national politics since Reconstruction, and that their contributions continue to this day. Black political leaders make enormous contributions to the quality of our lives, and I simply wanted to provide readers with an introduction to who these people are and, as a by-product, stimulate aspirations among young people to consider a career path in political leadership.

KW: Who’s your intended audience?

GR: People who are curious about contributions that African-Americans have made to the political and social landscape in America. This book offers an amazing tapestry of leaders, both past and present, who have fascinating back stories, but who all stepped up to the challenges of leadership.

KW: What’s the appropriate age group for the book?

GR: The target age group for Book of Black Heroes are young adult readers in the 10 – 14 age group. But I believe it will have an appeal to all teen readers and even adults. Readers will discover political leaders that they’ve never heard of who are creating great opportunities both within black communities and beyond.

KW: How did you decide which icons to include?

GR: Well, that was a challenge. At the onset of the project, I was only going to write bios on individuals who were a part of the new wave of African-Americans in politics: people like Kasim Reed, Kamala Harris and Corey Booker. However, when I completed those bios, my publisher felt we should include leaders from the past as well to provide readers with the full scope of accomplishments that have been made by black elected officials.

KW: Did you include Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas? I know that some people have complained that he doesn’t have an exhibit in the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

GR: No Clarence Thomas, but not for the reasons you might think. The book only includes elected officials, and Justice Thomas was appointed to his seat on the Supreme Court.

KW: What message do you want children to take away from the book?

GR: I want them to understand that being a leader is something that is attainable. I hope the book provides readers with an appreciation for African-American political leaders and motivates them to do their part in harvesting their skill sets to improve the lives of others.

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?

GR: The love and generosity of my parents.

KW: Who loved you unconditionally during your formative years?

GR: Throughout their lives, my parents loved me completely with no conditions.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

GR: The best advice that I can give others is to be truthful to themselves about their abilities and to also live their lives with purpose.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Gil, and best of luck with the book.

GR: My pleasure, Kam.

For more information about Gil Robertson, visit www.robertsontreatment.com

To purchase a copy of “Book of Black Heroes,” visit:  https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1933491213/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

                                                                                                                     

Top Ten DVD List for June 20, 2017

 

This Week’s DVD Releases

by Kam Williams

Top Ten DVD List for June 20, 2017

 

 

Life

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XT9C1C9/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Car Wash

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XHGM6SZ/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Merlin

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B071DVMV36/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

The Paul Naschy Collection [Vengeance of the Zombies / Horror Rises from the Tomb/ Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll /Night of the Werewolf / Human Beasts]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XHSN8X4/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

La Granja

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0716C1BJ2/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Audubon

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XX4VY6H/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Isolation

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06ZYW67DB/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

The Lawnmower Man: Collector’s Edition

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XHSV95G/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Railroad Tigers

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XNQJZJR/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Workaholics: The Final Season
https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06ZZH3W7Z/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Honorable Mention

Nature: Forest of the Lynx

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06WVN6Z6D/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Nature: Hotel Armadillo

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06W5QC4CW/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Nova: Building Chernobyl’s Mega Tomb

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XC7X5YJ/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 Source:  Baret News

Gyllenhaal Gives Great Performance in Sci-fi Horror Flick

 

Life,  Blu-Ray Review, Kam Williams, outer space adventure, alien force, international space station, claustrophobic thriller, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan ReynoldsLife

Blu-Ray Review by Kam Williams

Gyllenhaal Gives Great Performance in Sci-fi Horror Flick

In recent years, Hollywood has started serving up some outer space adventures, a la The Martian (2015) and The Space between Us (2017), suggesting that the Red Planet is basically a benign environment free of any hostile creatures. But just when we thought it was safe to visit Mars again, along comes Life, a cautionary horror flick unleashing a terrifying alien force aboard an international space station.

Directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House), the claustrophobic thriller co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds as Dr. David Jordan and Roy Adams, respectively, the Pilgrim 7’s  flight engineer and chief medical officer. The balance of the six-person crew is composed of Center for Disease Control quarantine specialist Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), systems engineer Sho Kendo (Hiroyuki Sanada), eco-biologist Dr. Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) and the spaceship’s captain, Katerina Golovkin (Olga Dihovichnaya).

As the film unfolds, we learn that their appointed mission is merely to deliver a single-cell organism arriving via space probe from the surface of Mars. It all sounds easy enough as the disarming plotline initially devotes itself to developing the characters’ back stories, like how David is a disenchanted, Iraq War vet.   

Upon retrieving the capsule, they celebrate the discovery of the first incontrovertible proof of life beyond Earth. They even allow Sho’s daughter to give the ostensibly-innocuous substance a cute, cuddly name, oblivious of the danger lurking just over the horizon.

The plot thickens when “Calvin” begins reproducing via mitosis, and every cell of its luminescent ectoplasmic mass proves to be an irrepressible mix of brains and muscles. By day 25, the sentient creature develops proto-appendages and becomes strong enough to breach containment.

Initially, it nibbles on a finger of Hugh’s, who somehow discerns that “Calvin doesn’t hate us, but he’s got to kill us to survive.” Great. What ensues is a desperate race against time to return to Earth before the mushrooming monster devours them all, one-by-one.

Though reminiscent of such sci-fi classics as Alien (1979) and Species (1995), Life is a worthwhile addition to the extraterrestrial on the loose genre. Substantial credit in this regard goes to the ever-underappreciated Jake Gyllenhaal who turns in the latest in a long line of impressive performances which includes outings in Nocturnal Animals (2016), Southpaw (2015), Nightcrawler (2014) and Prisoners (2013), to name a few.

Strap yourself in for a cardiovascular screamfest that’ll keep you squirming from beginning to end.  A riveting reminder that it still ain’t smart to mess with Mother Nature!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for violence, terror and pervasive profanity

In English, Japanese and Chinese with subtitles

Running time: 104 minutes

Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Extras: Deleted scenes; Astronaut Diaries; Claustrophobic Terror: Creating a Thriller in Space; Life: In Zero G; and Creating Life: The Art and Reality of Calvin.

                                                                 

To order a copy of Life on Blu-ray, visit  https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XT9C1C9/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Canadian Librarian Courted by Hobo While Searching for Aunt in Delightful French Farce

 

Lost in Paris

Film Review by Kam Williams

Canadian Librarian Courted by Hobo While Searching for Aunt in Delightful French Farce

If you’re familiar with the surreal cinematic stylings of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon, then you have an idea of what sort of treat’s in store while watching Lost in Paris. The talented husband and wife team wrote, directed and co-star in their latest magical escape into the theater of the absurd.

The movie might best be described as a cross of Wes Anderson and Charlie Chaplin, as it is an unconventional, visually-captivating affair featuring little in the way of dialogue on the part of the mime-like leads. The lithe-limbed, rubber-faced duo entertain far more with their movements and expressions than with words.

Lost in Paris, Film Review, Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Wes Anderson, Charlie Chaplin

The film unfolds in Canada about a half-century ago, which is where we find Fiona (Gordon) bidding farewell to her beloved Aunt Martha (recently-deceased Emmanuelle Riva) who is moving to Paris. Fast-forward to the present when Fiona, now a librarian, receives an urgent appeal for assistance from her 88 year-old aunt.

In the letter, Martha complains that they’re trying to move her into an assisted-living facility for old folks. But the feisty free spirit will have none of it.

Fiona dutifully springs into action and the next thing you know she’s landed in France sporting a bright orange backpack festooned with a Canadian flag. Her troubles start right off the bat, when she gets stuck in a subway turnstile thanks to that oversized valise.

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The slapstick escalates further when the weight of the knapsack causes her to topple into the Seine while posing for a photo on a bridge. She has to shed the bag to survive the ordeal, and ends up separated from all her possessions, including her passport, cell phone, cash and clothes.

It is in these dire straits that Fiona crosses paths with Dom (Abel) an amorous hobo living in a tent pitched along the banks of the river who soon becomes hopelessly smitten. So, Fiona finds herself having to fend of the advances of an ardent admirer while frantically searching for her missing aunt.

The ensuing chase proves every bit as charming and sublime as it is hilarious and implausible. A disarmingly-endearing homage to the Silent Film era!

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

In French and English with subtitles

Running time: 83 minutes

Distributor: Oscilloscope Laboratories

 

Source:  Baret News

For movies opening June 16, 2017

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening June 16, 2017

Kam's Kapsules, Movies Opening, This Week, film, Big Budget films, Independent & Foreign Films

BIG BUDGET FILMS

47 Meters Down (PG-13 for bloody images, intense peril and brief profanity) Harrowing tale of survival revolving around two sisters (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt) vacationing in Mexico whose scuba diving adventure turns into a desperate fight for their lives when their cage drops to the ocean floor, leaving them surrounded by great white sharks and with less than an hour of oxygen. Featuring Matthew Modine, Yani Gellman and Santiago Segura.   

All Eyez on Me (R for violence, nudity, sexuality pervasive profanity and frequent drug use) Revealing biopic relating the untold story of Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp, Jr.), the talented hip-hop artist, actor and political activist who became a victim of the East Coast-West Coast rap wars when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting at the tender age of 25. Co-starring Kat Graham, Danai Gurira and Jamal Woolard. 

Cars 3 (G) Third installment in the animated auto franchise finds Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) relying on the skills of a talented young mechanic (Cristela Alonzo) to compete against a new generation of blazing-fast racers. Voice cast includes Kerry Washington, Chris Cooper, Bob Costas, Tony Shalhoub, Nathan Fillion and Larry the Cable Guy.   

Rough Night (R for crude sexuality, drug use, coarse humor, brief bloody images and pervasive profanity) Dark comedy about five BFFs (Kate McKinnon, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz, Jillian Bell and Ilana Glazer) whose wild, bachelorette party in Miami is ruined when they accidentally kill the male stripper hired to entertain them. With cameos by Demi Moore, Ty Burrell and Bob the Drag Queen.

   

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

The Book of Henry (PG-13 for mature themes and brief profanity) Jaeden Lieberher plays the title character in this coming-of-age tale as a precocious 11 year-old who, with the help of his mother (Naomi Watts), comes to the assistance of the abused, next-door neighbor (Maddie Ziegler) he has a crush on. Featuring Dean Norris, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Tonya Pinkins and Bobby Moynihan. 

Hearing Is Believing (Unrated) Musical biopic about Rachel Flowers, the blind musical prodigy who blossomed into a popular jazz, soul and classical artist, sharing the stage with Keith Emerson, Burt Bacharach, Arturo Sandoval, Dweezil Zappa and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. .

I, Daniel Blake (Unrated) Ken Loach directed this unlikely-buddies drama about an unsophisticated, 59 year-old, heart attack victim (Dave Johns) who joins forces with a struggling single-mom (Hayley Squires) to battle Britain’s welfare and healthcare bureaucracies. Cast includes Briana Shann, Sharon Percy and Dylan McKiernan.

The Journey (PG-13 for profanity, mature themes and violent images) Political drama about the historic meeting of a couple of Irish adversaries: Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney) and Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall). Featuring Freddie Highmore, John Hurt and Toby Stephens. 

Lost in Paris (Unrated) The husband and wife team of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon wrote, directed and co-star in this burlesque comedy about a Canadian librarian (Gordon) who finds herself pursued by a seductive homeless man (Abel) when she travels to France to search for her missing, 88 year-old aunt (Emmanuelle Riva). With Pierre Richard, Celine Laurentie and Charlotte Dubery. (In French and English with subtitles)

Maudie (PG-13 for mature themes and brief sexuality) Sally Hawkins portrays Maud Lewis in this inspirational biopic, set in Nova Scotia in the Thirties, chronicling her overcoming the rheumatoid arthritis that had crippled her since childhood to become one of Canada’s most celebrated folk artists. Supporting cast includes Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett and Zachary Bennett.

Moka (Unrated) Adaptation of the Tatiana de Rosnay best seller of the same name about a grief-stricken, Swiss mother’s (Emmanuelle Devos) quest to track down and exact revenge on the French woman (Nathalie Baye) who killed her son (Paulin Jaccoud) in a hit-and-run accident. With David Clavel, Diane Rouxel and Olivier Chantreau. (In French with subtitles)

Once upon a Time in Venice (Unrated) Action comedy, set in Los Angeles, about a Private Eye (Bruce Willis) who will stop at nothing to retrieve his beloved pet pooch from a ruthless gang. Featuring Famke Janssen, Jason Momoa, John Goodman, Kal Penn and Wood Harris.

The Recall (R for violence, profanity and some nudity) Sci-fi thriller about five friends whose vacation at a cabin in the woods is ruined by an invasion of aliens bent on abducting humans. Co-starring Wesley Snipes, Jedidiah Goodacre and Laura Bilgeri.

Score (Unrated) Musical documentary affording an inside look at the challenges associated with composing a Hollywood film score. Featuring commentary by Quincy Jones, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, and Randy and David Newman.   

 

 Source:  Baret News