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Movie Review: Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away

In: Matt, Movies

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away pairs your favorite Cirque acts with director Andrew Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia) and producer James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) in a stunningly beautiful motion picture that was an intense pleasure to look at but left me a bit puzzled in terms of storyline.

I’m not a very big Cirque aficionado but from what I’ve read, as the main character travels from circus tent to circus tent it’s sort of a best of the best of some of Cirque’s biggest shows including O, Mystere, KA, Love, Viva Elvis and Zumanity. While in each tent the plot line follows a similar plotline to each of the previously mentioned shows, which is perhaps why I was a bit perplexed at the end. The plot seemed disjointed and a tad confusing. If you’re a huge Cirque fan you might be able to follow it better than I did.

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Movie Review: The Guilt Trip

In: Matt, Movies

The latest Seth Rogen comedy hits theaters this week, and I am pleased to say that I was totally surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. The film pairs Rogen and Barbara Streisand in a oddball mother/son road trip that is full of the goofy scenarios that you would expect from such a pair.

Andrew Brewster (Rogen) is an organic chemist trying to sell his newly invented cleaning product to stores and companies across the country without much success. After visiting his mother, he decides to invite her along for the ride as he travels across the country so that he can surprise her at the end by introducing her to her long lost love. The movie’s plot line is predictable, the funny situations are expected but honestly, it doesn’t matter. This movie is such a lighthearted fun film that I had fun from start to end.

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Adam’s Low-Budget Thriller Pick: ‘Dread’

In: Adam, Movies

Well, I’m starting to have to get really inventive in titling these articles as I attempt to not just simply become the “horror movie recommendation guy” from H-Razzi. I’ve said it a dozen times that I much prefer a smart and simple production to anything CGI and explosive where bombs make up for lack of dialogue, and yet finding a clever barely funded film is harder than it seems. Too often are “low budget” designations awarded to student films that border on directorial masturbation as they attempt to out-reference and ply layer upon layer of indecipherable meaning to their pieces. So, when smart men and women combine to create a pretty decent and damn scary production like Dread I will stop to give credit where credit is due.

Based on the short story by horror-expert Clive Barker (author of the stories that inspired Candyman and Hellraiser), “Dread” follows the story of a group of university students (a go-to for low-$ productions) seeking to understand their fears. But, as the film elaborates, it’s not just simply fear they’re looking to examine: it’s pure and all-consuming dread. A type of fright that takes over your entire mind and body. While some of the fears border on the typical (clowns wielding axes) there’s more simple phobias like eating meat that are included to round off the kids’ worries. That said- as you’ve probably guessed- all the dreads are confronted in such a forceful and unavoidable matter that the viewer is witness to some horrific and terrified responses that have you leaving the movie scared to death of the same threats.

Click through to read the rest of my review and see the trailer

Movie Review: The Hobbit

In: Matt, Movies

11 years after the release of the first film in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theatres today. As a HUGE fan of both Tolkien’s books and Jackson’s trilogy I find it very difficult to review this film from an objective point of view

First of all, the film was incredible. I absolutely loved it. After all of the drama over the years surrounding who was going to direct the film, I couldn’t have been happier to hear that Peter Jackson would be returning. From the first frame, we are taken back into the same Middle Earth that we left 8 years ago at the end of Return of the King.

To review the film’s plot would be like reviewing a play after only the first act. Fans who were left with a “That’s it?” feeling at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring will feel the same feeling at the end of this film.

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Hot guy, hot girl, crazy chick, incest murderous dad and Australian: how could this movie go wrong? The Loved Ones is a killer (forgive the pun) thriller about a prom night gone terribly, terribly wrong. It’s the story of two sweet and sexy teen lovers who seem perfect for one another in a Florence Nightingale and tragic broken man kind of way who are waywarded by a lunatic classmate who won’t take no for an answer. Staring the sexy (and my age might I add) Xavier Samuel and his six pack and tortured haunting looks, The Loved Ones goes deeper than the average horror/gore and offers a twisted past for its protagonist to overcome as he attempts to survive the love of his crazy-eyed crush Robin McLeavy. I have to say that there’s something so bleak about Australian cinematography that gets me every time as the they drop the need for flashy cars, blasting guns and impossible make up and outfits and instead focus on the story. Any movie that shows the main characters as having a blemish or undone hair is aces in my book. This is definitely one of those films.

Not just your typical prom slasher, The Loved Ones follows the oddly faintly intertwined story of a half-orphaned teen boy and a bad girl suffering from the loss and disappearance of her brother. The concurrent stories of their respective nights of extreme torture and extreme sex, drugs and rock and roll has you wondering just why the director bothers with the tale of the slutty goth girl who seems to add nothing but humour to a story otherwise littered with nailed feet and drilled skull. But, I won’t ruin a thing for you except to say that they do unite in a meaningful way that saddens more than it does satisfies but damn there’s something so filling about a perfectly tragic revelation isn’t there? Maybe it’s just me.

Click through to read the rest of my review and see the trailer

Adam’s Foreign Gore Pick: ‘Frontiers’

In: Adam, Movies

An oldie but a goody. Christ, when did a movie from 2007 become “an oldie”? I blame Justin Bieber. Let’s call a spade a spade with this one: Frontiers is DAMN scary. I had recently posted about the German thriller Hell and referred to this past flick as reminiscent but realized after the fact that that’s like comparing Apple stock prices lowering $2 a share to the Great Depression. Frontiers isn’t just a thriller- which it is partially is- but is more likenable to films like Hostel and Severance with it’s extreme violence and terrifying plot. But, I’m not just setting you up to peek through the cracks in your hands for 1.5 hours- this movie is actually interestingly written and extremely well pulled off by the cast and crew. It’s a scary bitch to be sure.

Frontiers is a French movie that follows a pack of French Muslim thieves who attempt to flee the country and take refuge in a Bed and Breakfast near the border/frontiers. What could go wrong right? Well, when you combine an aged mansion with more trap rooms and doors than you can shake a stick at AND a surviving Nazi family of sexual miscreants and masochists, you get quite the tail. Don’t give up on me quite yet though, I know it sounds very The Hills Have Eyes or House of a Thousand Corpses which no one is acclaiming as brilliantly written, but this one provides a level of acting and patient thrill that does not solely depend on meat cleavers and vice grips to keep you paying attention. But don’t take my word for it- check it out below.

Click through to read the rest of my review and see the trailer

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Adam, this is SO 2011!”. That said, I’ve come across WAY too many supposed cinephiles lately that have not seen this worthy German flick and therefore it’s my duty to get this piece to the masses: watch Hell! First off, this one ain’t got nothin’ to do with hell… well, not really. Interestingly, the German word for “Bright” (the real title of the movie) is Hell, and the director did not realize the implication it would have to have his film named something in his native language that would have such a clear meaning to us English speakin’ folks. That said, Hell isn’t that bad a name for this movie as that’s pretty much what these characters endure.

I know what you’re thinking: I have to read subtitles AND get terrified at the same time? At least you wont fall asleep though right? “Hell” (or “Bright“) is a look at the world in 2016 in a post-apocalyptic scenario where the sun is so blindingly bright and brilliant that everyone needs to cover from head to toe and gas and water become impossible to come by resources. Yes, the plot isn’t exactly jumping-off-the-page with originality but give it a chance because the execution is brill. As you know if you follow my posts, I’m a lover of all things bare boned and verging on Dogme in terms of production- as a result, this reasonably low budget and simple staging with nothing but a constant lens flare to add the bursting sun effect is a gem for me. It occurs in the wilderness and dirty back roads where most everything included in the story could have been found as the filmers took up the location. That aside, the real power is in the acting.

Click through to read the rest of my review and see the gripping trailer

This weekend, I had the opportunity to was a screener of a new documentary called Addicted To Fame that takes a look at the making of the B-movie, Illegal Aliens, starring the late ’90s icon, Anna Nicole Smith. I had forgotten all of the things that happened leading up to her death and the insane media frenzy that followed her every move.

In the documentary, director David Giancola embarks on the making of Illegal Aliens with the intention of making a ‘movie that mocks B-movies,’ but finds himself mired in an uncontrollable drama brought on by eccentric personalities, tragedy and the madness that is the movie business.

The movie bombed at the box office, but on the flipside the story was the second most-reported of 2007, only after coverage of the Iraq War – that’s how obsessed with her life the media was. This documentary gives the public the first-ever look behind-the-scenes on the set of Anna Nicole Smith’s last movie, dubbed by some critics to be ‘the worst movie ever made,’ starring the most controversial and tragic figure of the 1990s.

Trailer after the jump…

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