BLU RAY: Hatchet

"A perfect shout out to the yesteryears of Horror."

An illegal after dark boat tour down a haunted New Orleans swamp puts a group of strangers at the mercy of Victor Crowley, a tormented soul whose tragic death has him forever wandering the swamps angry and looking for blood.

If you read my reviews or ravings in C’mon Hollywood, it’s no secret by now that I’m not very happy with where Horror has gone in the past decade. Aside from a random gem here and there, all we’ve been left with are remakes and campy, watered down PG-13 fluff (which admittedly works from time to time but mostly doesn’t). HATCHET had me intrigued from day one. Not because it was an insanely high budget endeavour, or because it was so death defiantly original but because director/writer Adam Green is like me, a true fan of old school Horror. He wanted to give us a taste of the glory days and trust me when I tell you that evil’s never tasted so good.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that HATCHET goes overboard with the blood and gore, something that’s painfully obvious in the opening moments of the film but then again, that’s the point. This film delivers on the same level MASTERS OF HORROR did (which to me was THE best Horror show to ever grace TV) and does so without shame or apology. Some have argued that this film was “too gross” and you don’t need that kind of violence to make Horror fun. These people are right. You don’t need it at all. I just watched DEVIL this weekend and enjoyed the hell out of it in a totally different way than I enjoyed HATCHET. You don’t need limbs a flying or heads being torn off just like I don’t need a sixty inch TV but that doesn’t mean that both don’t put a huge smile on my face.

The cast was another fun aspect of this film with the most obvious being that Kane (Jason Voorhees) Hodder and Robert (Freddy Kruger) Englund are once again in the same flick, even if it’s not for long. It was cool to see Candyman as well even if it was only a cameo. Joel Moore and Deon Richmond were the perfect pair of friends to pony up for this adventure. Sure, Deon was playing “the token black guy” to the letter but his dialogue was priceless and had me in stitches most of the time. The writing was tight, witty and not too over the top which is exactly what flicks like this need. I was also a fan of Victor Crowley’s story line, it was simple yet solid.

HATCHET was the perfect DeLorean ride back to Horror’s past while maintaining all the great features of the present. There were scares, laughs, lots of red stuff and plenty of T&A, basically all the things that seem to be on the comeback lately with flicks like PIRAHNNA 3-D and MACHETE (even though that last one’s not technically a Horror movie). HATCHET made no attempt to hide what it was or trick anyone into thinking it was anything but an old school bloodbath from start to finish. Every now and again this is exactly what I want out of a Horror film, which I guess means it’s good to have some fluff in this genre otherwise the novelty of films like this would no doubt quickly wear off.

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BLU RAY: Se7en

"A brutal masterpiece."

Detective Mills and Summerset are about to go head to head with the evilest and most diabolical serial killer to set the stage as he leads them through seven murders, one for each of the seven deadly sins, in what will become one of the most famous cases of all time.

One thing I couldn’t help but think as I sat down with SE7EN for close to the fiftieth time was how appropriate it felt that the film opens with Trent Reznor’s song “Closer”. This flick is hands down my favourite serial killer movie of all time and I can honestly say that no film will ever trump it (not that so many haven’t tried). At this point (when the film was originally released) the only other movie similar to this one to push the envelope was THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS but even Hannibal himself would have no doubt thought twice about messing with John Doe. I use the following accolade very rarely but here it goes, SE7EN is an absolute masterpiece of a film, it really doesn’t get better than this.

As we’re now sitting fifteen years later (I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long) there can’t be much to say about this superb film that hasn’t already been said so as always I’m going to focus on what I loved the most. First and foremost it’s the brooding atmosphere. Despite knowing this film word for word I’m still drawn in every time feeling every second of raw tension through clenched teeth and tightened muscles. The score is perfect, coiling around you like a snake and slowly squeezing with each step forward. Again, you know what’s going to happen, who or what’s around every corner but it doesn’t matter as each viewing actually feels like the first time which isn’t an easy thing to pull off.

The characters are also gold. John Doe is a special breed of monster, something we tend to forget between viewings but it all comes crashing back as we’re once again plunged into his world. No one will ever forget the grotesque gluttony kill or the brutal lust kill but the one that still puts me back on my heels is sloth. Torturing someone for an entire year is beyond even my sick, twisted mind. I’d have to hate someone will a real hard-on to go that kind of distance. Of course, the ending here or as John would call it, the complete act, is what truly makes the film. I’ve never in my life wanted to see someone die more than Doe at this point and had I been in Pitt’s shoes, I wouldn’t have hesitated even half as long.

SE7EN rests upon a cinematic pedestal so high even the Gods themselves look up at it. John Doe was right; his masterpiece has been mulled over, copied and taken from since the day this film hit theatres. The roots of countless films can be found here from nearly half the serial killer movies that have come after it, to Horror franchises like SAW and HOSTEL (and I dare any of them to deny it). That said, there’s no substitute for the real thing and SE7EN is just as phenomenal now as it ever was.

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BLU RAY: American Beauty

"A personal favourite, pure gold."

Lester Burnham and his family may look normal, their neighbours may look normal, their lives and neighbourhood may seem normal but nothing could be father from the truth in this vivid tale about how beautiful and ugly life gets when we’re not paying attention.

There are very few movies that after having sat through them I can honestly say I felt something inside me change just a little. Some films either very bluntly or rather inconspicuously draw something out of us or point something out, reminding us that there’s more to life than the mundane grind. These moments of clarity are few and far between by AMERICAN BEAUTY triggered one such moment (or perhaps many) for me and as such I make it a point to watch this film at least once or twice a year.

First off, how can you not love Lester, the guy just screams, “I’m trapped in a shitty marriage working a dead end job while fighting the urge to dive into oncoming traffic as this mid-life crisis slowly eats away at my soul,” and in his case it’s not an exaggeration (case in point his hilarious shower monologue at the beginning). Lester’s character development throughout this film is genuine and wholeheartedly awesome, despite being built upon the rather risky and borderline criminal idea of hooking up with his daughter’s best friend. Of course, the funny thing there is that Lester is such an empathetic (or is pathetic) character that you look past his unhealthy obsession and still root for him nonetheless.

Lester is far from the only “character” in this tale though, as a matter a fact this film is full of them but again, therein lies the true beauty of this film; we’re all incredibly messed up individuals behind closed doors and instead of hiding this fact (like we all do) this film simply runs with it and I think that’s why it works on so many levels. My favourite scene comes from Wes Bently who plays the unusually creepy, yet surprisingly brilliant Ricky Fitts. The first time I heard him explain the video tapping of the bag blowing in the wind I truly was moved and it made me think of all the magnificent beauty in the world that we all take for granted every day. It’s for this reason I try to take a step back from stress and life in general whenever I can to “smell the roses” so to speak and I suggest you all try to do the same whenever possible.

AMERICAN BEAUTY is one of the all time best films I’ve ever seen so as you can well imagine I was overjoyed to get it on Blu-ray to review. This just happens to be Kevin Spacey at his best and watching this again makes me wish did more movies lately. There’s a lot going on in this film I didn’t mention as there may be a few stragglers out there who have yet to see it but in closing I feel the need to defend Lester once again when it comes to Mena Suvari. The rose petal thing aside, this was the absolute hottest that girl’s looked on camera and even if she is half the man’s age, no man on this planet could look me in the eye and honestly say he wouldn’t have done the same thing in Lester’s situation.

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TRAILER: The Fighter

Well, I like Mark Wahlberg and I like Christian Bale but if you want my honest opinion this flick feels like it's trying to ride on ROCKY's coattails which rubs me the wrong way. If I see this movie, I won't be paying for it.

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TRAILER: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This series has really amazed me with a story and characters that have come so far. I'm reminded of the feeling I got when THE LORD OF THE RINGS films were coming to an end, so too now does an epic tale begin its final journey and after watching this trailer I can tell it will be a truly magical event in cinematic history.

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REVIEW: Devil

"Welcome back Mr. Shyamalan."

Five strangers riding in an elevator on what appears to be a normal day are trapped when the elevator suddenly stops working. Though the building security promise everything is fine and that they’ll be out soon, it quickly becomes obvious that something is very wrong and that their lives (and souls) are in serious danger.

In 1999 M. Night Shyamalan became a household name when he blew us away with THE SIXTH SENSE. Then came UNBREAKABLE and SIGNS and at that point he couldn’t make movies fast enough to appease the masses just waiting to throw money at him. Of course, all good things must come to an end and as such crap like THE VILLAGE, THE LADY IN THE WATER and THE HAPPENING floated down the pipeline and pretty much undid all that he’d done for himself (I’ll leave THE LAST AIRBENDER out of this). What happened, you ask? Arrogance, ignorance, laziness, all of the above, who knows really but it happens a lot in Hollywood so I can’t say I’m surprised, disappointed yes but not surprised. That said, here’s the good news: DEVIL was the edge of your seat, spine tingling experience I crave yet seldom get out of a Horror film. I couldn’t have left the theatre happier.

Okay, so even I’ll admit that the premise here (five people stuck in an elevator realize they’re in there with the Devil) though remotely intriguing wasn’t exactly compelling. The first thing that popped into my mind was PHONEBOOTH, which for all intensive purposes accomplished a lot with so very little. The same can be said here as the story goes far beyond the small tidbit they’re using to reel us in. M. Night gives us a monologue intro about stories he was told as a kid (weak monologues devoid of any type of emotion but Shyamalan always has to put himself in there somehow) to help kick start the mood and build some tension but it isn’t until one of the security guards (who just happens to be a religious fanatic) gets a glimpse of what’s going on in the elevator do we really start to see some of the pieces come together.

Now if I’m sounding a little vague it’s because there’s a lot to give away or ruin here and I just can’t bring myself to do that to you but I will say this, what catapults DEVIL beyond other tales involving Satan himself is that usually you get some kind of creepy “Devil” inspired mystery turning up in some remote ruins or tied to some unearthed artefact all of which go relatively unnoticed to all those uninvolved. Not this time. Here the Devil wants an audience to see how he’s punishing his victims and I loved that concept! No hiding, no secrets, just an all out “The Devil came down to Georgia” free for all with all the cards out on the table, the way it should be.

DEVIL was a film I went into with next to no expectations but believe you me, film one of the M. Night Chronicles has me revved up and screaming for more. Shyamalan can write a great Thriller/Horror flick if he wants to and the dialogue here proves that he had to be on something when he wrote THE HAPPENING as he didn’t miss a beat here. You’ll recognize some of the cast from minor roles here and there but all players involved shine. I was also impressed with the camera work; lots of close-ups were the way to go to help create a sense of claustrophobia mixed with simple darkness when the lights went out from time to time. Sometimes the simplest route is the best route. All in all DEVIL marks the return of my faith in Shyamalan and was a grade A time at the movies (with an ending that’ll suck the air out of the room). I highly recommend it.

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BLU RAY: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

"Much better than I expected."

After being framed for killing the King, Prince Dastan must reluctantly team up with a renegade Princess to keep a magical dagger protected from evil, preventing the sands of time from being released and destroying the world.

Being an avid gamer I was indeed well aware of the premise behind PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME. I wasn’t into these games personally but my best friend Aaron is and I did watch him play through them. These games were similar to TOMB RAIDER and the LEGACY OF KAIN games with an overabundance of puzzle solving, acrobatics and well timed jumps making them a tad bit tedious for me but they were a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Thankfully, the film follows in the game’s footsteps in that regard as I had nothing but fun watching it.

I found it ironic that Disney was the studio behind this film. The similarities between this movie and Aladdin are quite amazing. If the game didn’t exist, a couple changes here and there and this could easily have become a live action Aladdin film. That said, one of the greatest parts about this film (and no doubt one of the most challenging for Gyllenhaal) was how true to form they made Prince Dastan. Not only did Jake look the part but they kept his fighting prowess and remarkable agility intact. The stunts, from running across the wall, to the jumping and the arrow climbing were exciting, awe inspiring and just plain awesome. They really paid close attention to detail here and it paid off.

When I’d head Ben Kingsley was up for the role of Nizam I was immediately excited, not to mention Jake being up for the role of Dastan. I’m a big fan of both these actors and am happy to report that they (as well as the rest of this fantastic cast) did exceptionally well. Gyllenhaal handled the action like a champion and here’s hoping he takes on similar roles in the future. And as far as the action goes, I’m always impressed with Jerry Bruckheimer’s vision. I remember being unsure what to make of the first PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN simply because it was being backed by Disney (and naturally felt the same way here a little) but thankfully they’re able to keep a good balance, one that’s sure to make everyone happy.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME is proof that there’s still hope for video game movies. Sure I’d have been much happier seeing this film darker but as I said, a proper equilibrium was kept and I was satisfied with result. The dagger of time was obviously one of the coolest uses of special effects I’ve seen in awhile and shooting in the deserts of Morocco added a tremendous amount of character to the film and looked absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray (and so did Gemma Arterton I might add). Gamers will quickly add that this isn’t the best translation from game to film but they never really are, so my advice is to take from it what you can and enjoy the ride for what it is.

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REVIEW: Resident Evil: Afterlife

"They were on the right track but could have went further with it."

The world as we know it has been destroyed by the infection and Alice now continues her quest for revenge against the Umbrella Corporation. After an unexpected setback, Alice winds up pursuing her friend Claire and the other survivors who sought refuge in Alaska where there was rumoured to be a safe haven without infection. Alice finds out this was a lie and is determined to seek out the truth.

I’ve been an avid fan of the RE games since the first one helped launch the original Playstation and had an absolute blast with RE 5 on the Playstation 3. I was overjoyed at the news of a RESIDENT EVIL film and though I did enjoy the first one I couldn’t help but wonder why they strayed so far from what the game truly was, ending up with something that was not a whole hell of a lot different from your average zombie flick. They did learn their lesson quick though and decided to be a bit more faithful with the second instalment but the third really went off the beaten path. RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE is caught somewhere in the middle but still manages to be a decent action flick.

My biggest problem with this series is Alice. I love Milla don’t get me wrong but I don’t understand why Paul W.S. Anderson and the rest of the crew involved decided to create a new female lead and forsake the ones already there in front of them. Add to that, they spend so much time over the course of these films developing Alice and her arsenal of (sometimes cool, sometimes ridiculous) abilities when they should have been diving head long into the Umbrella Corporation, the T-Virus and the many other strains and developments that made the games so damn intriguing. Yes, they kept the gore and violence. Yes, the action looks great and these films get slicker and slicker as they go but where’s the depth and mystery? Where’s that extra push to make these films stand above the rest?

The rumour is this film was based loosely on RE 5 and therein sits one of the other problems. Each film tries to steal a bit of lore or add a familiar name but with Alice as the lead it ends up being a moot point. Jill Valentine, Claire and Chris Redfield, even my main man Wesker are all here but what’s the use as they’re underdeveloped fillers most of the time. Claire was useless in the third film and remains useless here. I loved seeing Wentworth Miller come aboard as Chris Redfield but other than a wink in PRISON BREAK’s direction and a couple one liners he too becomes a fleeting memory. Albert Wesker is a big deal when it comes to the games, he was at ground zero and is a wavering presence over your shoulder at all times. The battles with him are cool but to non-fans of the game he might come off as more of a Neo clone than anything else which is a shame because he’s a superb villain.

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE was a fun time at the movies and an absolute feast for the eyes in 3-D (the rain drops cascading off the actor names in the opening credits was a nice touch). The pace slowed down a couple times but the action was bang on when it was there. The undead did take a backseat to Wesker and the Axeman (who looked amazing by the way) but they still managed to squeeze in the new mutated dogs and zombies (with tentacles) from RE 5 which though brief was still good to see. I liked the ending (also a cool RE 5-ish tie in) but I thought they were planning on rebooting the franchise after this one and not moving forward, an idea I absolutely loathe I might add. Who knows with Hollywood these days but I’d personally love to see Leon Kennedy take the lead in a live action film and personally would have liked Wentworth Miller in that role instead of the one he ended up with.

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REVIEW: The Assassin Next Door

"A very sad film and I'm not talking emotionally."

An enslaved mob prostitute decides to kill for her employers in exchange for money, a passport and her freedom. Along the way she befriends her neighbour who’s being abused by her husband and shares her dream of escape. Both women soon find out just how in over their heads they really are.

I like Olga Kurylenko and have found her work and role choices interesting as well as getting better and bigger with each new film she does (case in point, she was one of the last Bond woman in QUANTOM OF SOLACE). The idea of her leading an action flick with the word “assassin” in the title sounded like cool beans to me. Unfortunately this film’s implications are quite contrary to the irrefutable truth: this flick sucks.

First of all, the story line here goes beyond the realm of ridiculous. Kurylenko is Galia, a prostitute for an group of people like Marko from Tripolia and his boys from TAKEN, now take a minute to think about that so you can get a good idea of the sort of scumbags we’re dealing with here. You got it? Good. Now Galia wants out (I can’t imagine why), so these geniuses decide to turn her into an assassin to work off her freedom. Now we’re not talking a FEMME NIKITA here, this chick’s been doing nothing but turning tricks and now they decide to just hand her over a gun thinking this will make her an overnight assassin capable of killing guys in their line of work. Does that make sense to you, because it sure as hell doesn’t make much sense to me!

Now getting past that for a second, let me bring you back to the title, THE ASSASSIN NEXT DOOR, the bulk of this mind bogglingly boring tale takes place between Galia and a chick getting smacked around by her husband in the apartment next to her. The back and forth between these two women is not only pointless but has absolutely nothing to do with the set of problems and goals originally set by our protagonist. From the beginning it’s established that Galia wants out of this life so she can fly home to the daughter she gave up after birth, a point driven home by several flashbacks, crying and dreams, yet when she finally gets the chance to do so, she sticks with her crazy neighbour instead.

THE ASSASSIN NEXT DOOR isn’t worth the disc it’s printed on. If the above mentioned facts haven’t swayed you then let me talk a bit about the supposed climax (and I use that term lightly as this was anything but exiting). As you can well imagine we have Galia vs. not one but two gangs of these thugs and though they happen to be trained killers, for some reason they’re all bad shots and this prostitute who doesn’t weight much more than a buck o five and has only had a gun (much less fired it) for a few weeks is seemingly unstoppable. I can see Liam Neeson opening the extra large can of whoop ass that he did as he was a trained professional but this chick, come on!

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REVIEW: Abandoned

"We'll miss you Brittany."

Mary drives her boyfriend to the Hospital for a quick one hour surgery but when she comes back to his room to retrieve him he’s nowhere to be found. The Hospital has no record of him being admitted and as the staff start to question Mary’s sanity, she remains adamant about finding out the truth.

When a movie celebrity passes there’s usually one final project left swirling in limbo, sometimes we get to see them and sometimes we don’t. ABANDONED is the late Brittany Murphy’s final performance and though I’d not heard of it, for me it ended up being a pretty solid psychological thriller. Brittany herself looked terribly skinny though which is a shame as she’s was much more beautiful than this film would have you believe.

The premise of losing someone in a Hospital doesn’t sound all that spooky on the best of days but make that a Hospital on the verge of shutting down and hence being dark and empty for the most part and you’ve got my attention. I was a little annoyed by the video camera play up they leaned heavily upon in the beginning, that whole “someone sinister is watching you” vibe has been beaten to death, so instead of instilling an air of creepiness it just started to make me angry instead. That said, the mood was dark enough, especially for me as I can’t stand Hospitals.

From a character and story perspective this film takes a page out of other great thrillers like GOTHIKA and FLIGHTPLAN. This is certainly one of those types of films that I can’t say much about plot wise as I don’t want to ruin anything but I will say that looking beyond the character setup (there wouldn’t have been many other ways to pull this off other than how it was done), I still found that some of the characters’ actions were questionable. Mainly, we have the Hospital security guard whose attitude and bullying were so ridiculously over the top that I couldn’t understand why the cop didn’t just punch him in the face or at the very least say something about it. Also, if something of this nature were to happen in a place with that many cameras you’d hope to God they’d be able to do more than they did about it.

ABANDONED was a fun thriller if you enjoy Brittany Murphy’s work and as straight to DVD titles go, this was certainly entertaining and worth a look. There’s a reason we don’t see Dean Cain in many films and that reason is because he’s a terrible actor, so don’t expect much from LOIS AND CLARK’s male lead. I was particularly fond of the ending and how it all came together (sorry, I can’t say anymore without spoiling anything but suffice to say you’ll understand when you see it). I’m happy to say Brit went out on a positive note here, may she rest in peace.

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REVIEW: The Evil Dead

"A bit dated but still fun."

Five friends head out to a remote cabin in the woods for a vacation. Rummaging through the cellar they uncover an audio tape that recites passages from the book of the dead, awakening an evil presence hell bent on possessing and destroying them one by one.

I’ll never forget my first experience with the EVIL DEAD films, granted it came about with EVIL DEAD 2 but still. This was back when VHS was God and Video stores were a plenty. I was fascinated by the cover (a skull with eyes staring at me) and somehow convinced my babysitter to rent it for me (he was a guy so it wasn’t much a battle). The key scene embedded into my young mind was the chick in the seller with the squeaky voice saying, “Someone’s in my fruit cellar, someone with a fresh soul.” Our basement had an unfinished creepy look to it with stairs just like that. Every time I went down there from that point on I could hear that voice in my head and half expected hands to grab my feet. Good times.

THE EVIL DEAD looks great for turning thirty years young and is a welcome on Blu-ray. Sure, there are lots of plot holes, goofs, bad dialogue and piss poor character judgements but hey, it WAS made thirty years ago after all. One thing does remain the same and that’s the solid ghost story vibe surrounding five friends isolated in a cabin surrounded by evil. The séance end of things with the necronomicon is brilliant and though the necronomicon itself was first used in H.P. Lovecraft in his 1924 short story “The Hound”, I’ve always been happy to see it pop up in other works of fiction, the EVIL DEAD series being one of the more memorable. Along with the book itself (which looked fantastically grotesque) there are loads of solid props (like that dagger) to enjoy.

One thing Sam Raimi is famous for is his use of “wet” effects and there’s no end to those here. Ash is covered in every sort of bodily fluid imaginable for the better part of the second half and it just keeps coming. One of the scenes that always stuck with me was the initial rape scene with the tree branches, a bold move back in the day but one that certainly set the tone for this over the top blood bath. I’m a huge fan of The Chin and despite the fact that it’s difficult seeing Ash come off as a pussy for the first half of the movie, it’s quite a blast watching him slowly transform into the evil ass kicking machine I know and love. Admittedly this is the more serious of the EVIL DEAD films, but I’d be lying if I said ARMY OF DARKNESS wasn’t my favourite.

THE EVIL DEAD is a true horror classic, an icon, a base for which something wondrously insane was built and continues to grow. Bruce Campbell may not be the household name I wish he was as some people out there still have no idea who he is but I for one was overjoyed when MY NAME IS BRUCE came calling and though nothing is for sure, I sincerely hope an EVIL DEAD 4 is on the horizon. Over and above wanting to get in on the celebration of this Blu-ray release, there are tons of great special features here that make this an easy twenty bucks to part with. I can’t wait for EVIL DEAD 2 on Blu-ray! And PS: this film is without a doubt the number one reason I will NEVER sleep in a cabin surrounded by woods...ever.

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REVIEW: Stardust

"A magnificent fantasy adventure."

Tristan’s love for the wrong girl is so strong that he vows to bring her a fallen star and sets off across the wall to find it. Little does he know that this star is actually a young woman, the magical world across the wall is his true home and that this will be the adventure of a lifetime.

This was the first time I sat down with STARDUST, naturally I knew of the movie but recall this was one of those films that came out as a double (meaning another film similar to this one came out at the same time) but for the life of me I don’t recall what the other film was despite having chosen to watch that one instead. For this reason I clearly assumed STARDUST was also a forgettable adventure and never got around to watching it. You’d think that I’d have learned by now not to assume as this film was indeed quite remarkable.

I’m a huge fan of fantasy settings and this flick was rich in that department. The story itself is the stuff of fairy tales mixing just the right elements of magic and adventure. There’s an underlining love story here that echoes something along the lines of THE PRINCESS BRIDE which was right up my alley as that just happens to be one of my all time favourites. I’m reminded of the atrocious THE BROTHERS GRIMM which tried to pull off something similar but in all the wrong ways whereas this film pulled everything off beautifully, a concept that still baffles me to this day.

I was surprised by some of these cast choices but happy they all worked out so well. This certainly is a unique one for Robert De Niro but he’s obviously having a blast with it. Seeing Claire Danes and Michelle Pfeiffer makes me wonder where they are today and of course one of my favourite things about watching older movies comes from the cameo appearances by not yet very famous actors and actresses. Mark Strong was fantastic, Ricky Gervais was having a laugh and Sienna Miller looked just as hot here as she did in G.I.JOE if not hotter. And though we don’t see him, I can’t leave out Sir Ian McKellen as the narrator of the story.

STARDUST is one of those fun films that you stop and watch each and every time you see it on TV, loving it more and more with each viewing (which is what my girlfriend says anyway). This also happens to be one of those films that dazzled the hell out of me on Blu-ray with vivid effects and wondrous landscapes. The final battle was particularly cool for me from the sword fighting to the surprisingly original voodoo doll stuff with Strong’s character (I also loved the flower). I had nothing but fun with this title and am sure to watch it again soon.

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REVIEW: Anchorman

"About as good as I remembered which isn't saying much."

Ron Burgundy is San Diego’s main man when it comes to the news. Life couldn’t be better for Ron until the unthinkable happens: Channel 4 News hires its first female reporter with eyes on Ron’s job. The stakes are high as Ron and his boys try to take her out (in more ways than one).

Ron Burgundy. I don’t want to seem overly critical here as I know this is a favourite for a great many people but in all honesty I don’t find Will Ferrell all that funny. He has his moments and obviously some of his films are better than others but for the most part I find him weak and annoying. This film looked funny as hell from a trailer point of view and I don’t doubt this looked good on paper but I’d only watched this flick once before this latest viewing and I now understand why. The bottom line for me is that this movie has some memorable “one liners” but like most SNL type comedies, ANCHORMAN doesn’t fair well when it comes to multiple viewings.

If I had to choose my favourite Will Ferrell character I would probably side with Ron Burgundy simply because he is pretty funny in his own right (I’m also fond of Ricky Bobby but again haven’t watched that film a second time as of yet so I’m still not sure how it will hold up either). When Ron’s got his game face on he’s brilliant but it’s when he starts to involve himself with Christina Applegate that things not only go downhill for Ron but downhill for the laughs as well. Ferrell plays over the top characters and I’ve come to terms with that but this does limit his potential as he’s constantly trying to play the random angle (like FAMILY GUY does) which more often than not doesn’t work.

This film not only launched Ferrell’s career into high gear but also did the same for Paul Rudd and Steve Carell (David Koechner not so much as most of his roles after this one are just plain lame, cough, cough, WAITING). Oddly enough, Steve Carell’s “challenged” character spawned a bigger following that Ron Burgundy with the fans, I still see people wearing “I love lamp” tee shirts every now and again. Some of this film’s best highlights (aside from our four anchormen) come from cameos. I love Jack Black’s scene as well as seeing Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins and Luke Wilson (and who better than Danny Trejo for the bartender). There’s a lot of talent here don’t get me wrong, I just feel that if they’d all been used to their full potential it would have made for a tighter comedy.

ANCHORMAN is definitely one of Will Ferrell’s better comedic vehicles and despite all its flaws would be a good pick for background viewing while boozing up with the boys before a night out on the town. There are a ton of special features which make this Blu-ray edition a valid purchase as (I hate to say this) most of these extras outshine the actual feature (my personal favourite being the Ron Burgundy interview with Jim Caviezel to promote THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and ANCHORMAN). I wish I felt differently as I really wanted to love this movie but I knew going in that it wouldn’t be a good as I remembered.

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TRAILER: Hatchet 2

HATCHET probably wasn't one of the most popular mainstream films to hit movie shelves but for hardcore Horror fans like myself it was a dream come true. This is hard R Horror at it's best with a many an iconic face to boot. I'm happy to hear this one will hit theatres (unrated) and that the cult following this flick generated was big enough for a sequel.

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TRAILER: Buried

This one created quite a stir at the latest film festival and has been getting mad praise ever since. I'm a huge fan of Ryan Reynolds and know he can do more than just comedy. This looks like top notch suspense and I for one am excited.

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TRAILER: Let Me In

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was a solid vampire flick but I'll be honest in saying that the subtitles dragged the film down for me. Though this remake didn't need to happen, I think it looks solid and I'm pumped to see Hitgirl as a vampire.

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TRAILER: Saw 3D

I'm still very much on the fence here but to be honest, I've been saying that about the last three or so and still enjoyed them. The trailer does add a new level of excitement and for that I'm excited but this one does feel like the all in last act...or so I hope.

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TRAILER: Priest

I was impressed with DAYBREAKERS last year, though neither perfect nor completely original it was fun nonetheless. PRIEST looks like a similar adventure, borrowing from other films and ideas to make a new age vampire story. That said, this doesn't seem like a far cry from a live action VAMPIRE HUNTER D and that makes me smile.

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