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FAST FIVE (2011)

>> Saturday, April 30, 2011

Vin Diesel? More like Vin Regular... Paul Walker? More like shoot me in the f**king face...

What do you get when you mix The Italian Job with Ocean's Eleven and throw in a little bit of Fast and the Furious? You get Fast Five, a movie that has almost nothing original to offer. Does that mean you won't have a good time? I guess it all depends on what you're looking for in film. If you're a fan of the first four films in the series, than yeah - you'll probably enjoy this fifth installment. Don't expect any racing though. The one time Fast Five even hints at an old school race akin to any previous films, it cuts it out completely - which is kinda bullshit. I think including a simple race for pinks in this film would have shown just how far the series and characters had come. Instead, Fast Five ignores that point as if to comment on how it's past all that juvenile shit and is now focusing on what the series has become - a heist thriller that we've seen a million times.

But I digress and for a brief second will focus on the plot of Fast Five so you know a little more about what I'm speaking of. Brian O' Conner (Paul Walker) and his now-preggo girlfriend Mia (Jordana Brewster) have ended up in Rio de Janeiro looking to lay low after their previous adventure. To be honest, while I saw Fast and Furious (the fourth one), I couldn't tell you what happened just because it was that forgettable. In Rio, the couple meet up with Vince (Matt Schulze) and the hero and brother of Mia, Dominic (Vin Diesel). Vince says he has a job for them and it's easy money - but when it's at the beginning of the film, you know it's anything but. Of course, it is and they end up getting into some big shit with the drug lord that runs Rio - Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). Reyes isn't the only one trying to bust their nut either, enter Federal Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) who isn't taking his sweet time tracking down the fugitives.

In order to make it out of Rio alive and have enough cash to disappear from the Feds forever, Dominic, Brian and Mia must do one final job to land them enough cash to make sure they're never found again. But it won't be easy - they have to rob a ginormous state-of-the-art vault. How will they do it? With the help of all of their Facebook friends, played by several gust stars that have appeared throughout all four of the films. Just when you think it's getting exciting - they hatch a plan that's more lame and less enjoyable than both The Italian Job and Ocean's Eleven - and I do mean less enjoyable. Cue the exit of interest, and commence the remaining 100 minutes of running time.

Now, am I being hard on a movie that I did have had some fun in? No. As aforementioned, I think fans of the whole series may have a good time. My problems lie in the unoriginality, style and beats of the film that seem to be shameless when it comes to ripping off other movies - especially when none of the material seems to come from any of the previous four films in the franchise. Like, come on! You have fans there already - expecting nothing short of an equivalent to what you've already set up and they don't get one damn decent race? This is all outside of the fact that Paul Walker still can't act himself out of a cardboard box and The Rock's lines sound as if they were written by someone with ADD and an affinity for bad, cheesy movie lines. I don't know if The Rock knew they were bad and played them up, or if he thought his lines were a serious thing - all I know is that I've never rolled my eyes so much at a character. Talk about a movie that never ends - and I do mean that. Just when you think Fast Five is over, be prepared to spend another ten minutes in the theatre - this includes the additional 'bonus' scene that appears about five minutes into the credits. So fans of the franchise - stick around.

Obviously, Fast Five is getting its fingers slammed in a closed car door. I think when it comes down to it, while I had a semi-good time in this film, I'm disappointed it didn't end up better. The beginning gave me hope, the cumulative cast showed promise and it was a great opportunity to restart the franchise anew and give us confidence in the upcoming sequels. But it did none of those things. Instead you end up with cheesy lines, a ripoff premise and vault scene (which is partially in the trailer) that defies the laws of physics. Fast Five may be fast, but it didn't pull a fast one on me - I know a bad movie when I see one.

*Stills courtesy of Universal Pictures


SUPER (2010)

>> Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shut up, crime!

If you're wondering why I'm reviewing an 'old' movie, than shut up - you don't know nuttin' about nuttin'. While Super was made in 2010, it's been trickling down the festival spout and finally ended up in a screen near you just last week. So, now that I've gotten that out of the way we can talk about the movie - which needles to say, is actually quite super.

I think the most obvious comparison anybody is going to make to Super is Kick-Ass, and I don't blame them. In fact if I had to, I would imagine the Crimson Bolt in Super (played really well by Rainn Wilson) and Kick-Ass share the same universe in the way that Metropolis and Gotham City co-exist. Both superheros live in the real world in this case and both have motivations for getting their start. While Crimson Bolt is easily the weirder (or quirkier) of the two, he's also the most motivated to get the job at hand done and is less motivated to do because they're 'cool' - as I feel Kick-Ass does. But, this is a debate that could (and probably will or has) go on forever - so I will leave it alone and get back to just Super.

Wilson plays Frank, a man so easy to relate to whatever's on TV that that he falls in love with an ex-druggie named Sarah (Liv Tyler), who seems to be just as into the romantic ideals that rarely live in reality. This is where you begin to see just how much of the story of Super exists in the real world, as well as the oddities that embody a man named Frank. Not long after the honeymoon is over - the honeymoon is over and Sarah leaves Frank for greener pastures. The greener pastures in this case are played by Kevin Bacon, a drug-dealin' scum who preys on Sarah's former weakness for cocaine' and other sitch things. Powerless as he is, Frank reports a kidnapping to the police with no avail. So, quite logically, he becomes a superhero and calls himself the Crimson Bolt.

With Frank's general distaste for drug-dealers, child molesters and people who butt in line at movie theatres (damn straight!), it doesn't take long for the Crimson Bolt to do some damage around town - nor does it take him long to get noticed. Soon people are reporting a masked criminal running around assaulting people. It's not until he gets a new sidekick named Boltie (Juno's Ellen Page) that folks start recognizing Frank for his heroic efforts to clean up the city. Eventually though, he has to face his ultimate enemy in Bacon's Jacques, and fight to get his wife back.

What I really liked about Super was the realism writer and director James Gunn used as not only a comedic device but as a commentary on what being a real life superhero could be like. Not only once but twice do we get to see the vast amount of loitering the Crimson Bolt (and later Boltie) experience while "waiting around for crime to just happen". Other realistic approaches come in the form of the surprising (and unexpected) deaths in Super as well as Ellen Page's yearning to just be part of something bigger than the role she plays as someone who works in a comic book store.

Super easily gets an open door and while it's basically the same thing as Kick-Ass, I still found it better in tone. I'm not sure if it's because I like the person Frank is (a lovable loser, really), or if I've just spent so many years watching Wilson as Dwight on The Office that I know nobody else could have played this role better. Everything works really well though, and by the end you find yourself relating with Frank immensely - especially when you get to see things through his own eyes. And let's not forget Nathan Fillion as The Holy Avenger and that whole shtick. It's the cherry on top of this whole, wondrously fun and sorta touching film.

*Stills courtesy of This is That Productions


RIO (2011)

>> Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rio is brought to you by the number 420 - because it's about the only thing that will make this film less of a 'bird'en.

Jesse Eisenberg (correction - Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg) makes a bad damn decision to be part of Rio - as does Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx, and Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway. Rio proves to be another classic example of how a film can have the talent to back it up, but no originality to move it forward. Clearly these three actors were just too polite to walk away from this project after reading the this script, or they had their iPod on while reading the parts and couldn't hear the lines as come out of their talented mouths (Did that sound gay? Yeah, that probably sounded gay...).

Because you haven't heard the same story before (sarcasm abounds), I'll tell you a little but about Rio. Once upon a time there was a bird named Blu (Eisenberg) who fell off an exotic animal truck in Moose Lake, Minnisota. He was picked up by Linda (Leslie Mann) who raised him to be a cocky bird who never learned to fly. One day (out of the 'blue' perhaps?) Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro), a bird mater from South America, comes knocking telling Linda that Blu is the last male of his species. If there are to be any other birds of his feather, he'll have to mate with the last remaining female of his species - Jewl (Anne Hathaway).

So the trio heads down to Rio where after a failed Thanksgiving (you know, where Blu stuffs the bird?), Blu and Jewel escape only to be apprehended by a group of thugs looking to sell the rare birds on the black market. When the two escape from the cunning bad guy (and two cliché idiot sidekicks), they end up on the run and get into all sorts of wacky adventures while on the search for Blu's owner, Linda. Those adventures include two stereotypical (and racially-profiled) birds, voiced by Foxx and Geporge Lopez - as well as a decently entertaining bulldog named Luiz (Tracy Morgan). To top it all off, take a guess as to how in love Blu and Jewl fall... it just goes on and on, people.

I guess with Rio, I'd hoped that Hathaway had left alone Hoodwinked Too to avoid another animated disaster (this just in - I was wrong). Am I saying Rio would or could have never worked? No, I'm just saying it might have worked better under the supervision of Disney/Pixar director Brad Bird (seriously, no pun intended - he's just really good). At least Bird knows that physical humour every three seconds doesn't necessarily dictate good humour.

I am giving this clichéd mess of a film a big, fat closed door. For kids, sure - they may giggle a time or two. For adults - Rio will please you about as much as writer/director Carlos Saldanha's previous works did, such as Robots and Ice Age (both relatively unamazing, as well) - which also had big names be part of them as well. Come to think of it - are Saldanha films where big name actors (who have just won Oscars, especially) and their careers go to die? Maybe. Coming up next year - Jeremy Renner in Asparagus - a film about a young asparagus plant who's self-conscious about the way his pee smells (yes, that's based on a quote from Elf).

*Stills courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Animation


SCREAM 4 (2011)

>> Saturday, April 16, 2011

Something to scream for...

ream was the first R-rated movie I had ever seen. It was 1997, I was twelve years old and I (along with some friends) watched it on VHS. As an R-rated film, I have to say I didn't get what the big deal was. Yes, there was blood (plenty of it); yes there was sex (not so plentiful) - but maybe twelve was the perfect age to see a film like this because it didn't bother me in the slightest. In fact, Scream was responsible for me having an insatiable hunger from that point forward for the horror genre in general. Scream led to Halloween, which led to Psycho, which led to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc. By the time I saw Scream 2 I was rarin' to go to film school so I absolutely loved the self-referential sequel. Scream 3 came along and while I was excited to see it, it was definitely my least favorite of the series (despite it taking place in Hollywood - a place I idolized at the time). Now here we are, eleven years later and Scream is back - either to start a new trilogy for a new decade or is more of a bonus film for the Scream fan in all of us.

Scream 4 begins with the return of Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) to the now famous Woodsboro. Well, actually, Scream 4 begins with several false beginnings that makes you want to stab yourself. But once you're past a supposed 'intelligent' commentary on horror movies today, Scream picks up where it should and you begin to feel like you're spending some time with old friends, again. Sydney is now a published author (with her very own self help book) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) is now a big ol'nothing as she lives ambitionless in small town America with her hubby, Dewey Riley (David Arquette).

All is fine in Woodsboro on the anniversary of the original killings, until two bodies are found and it seems Sydney's return to her old homestead may be the exact cause. Two films geeks (Erik Knudsen and Rory Culkin - the Randy's in this latest addition) theorize that the new killer is trying to reboot the franchise and rewrite the rules. So is nobody truly safe? Can Sydney actually be killed now? The answer is supposedly 'Yes'. 'New decade, new rules' as the poster says. From this point, you can guess what happens. Murder after murder after murder, followed by several false endings. However, Scream 4 ends up being a pretty good addition, one which I really enjoyed.

As I said earlier, I was and still am a fan of the original trilogy (for the most part). So my opinions are slightly bias (as are most critics, really), but I would still like to believe that if Scream 4 really disappointed me I would be able to tell you. In fact, as a fan of the original three - I believe there's actually put more pressure on the studio and director Wes Craven to get it right. Not only that, but it had to be emphasized that there were two alternative ways this film revitalization could have gone. Scream 4 could have gone the popular route and been a complete remake (ie: Halloween) and then to top it off be in 3-D; or even worse yet, it could have tried to continue the story without the main cast and moved on with a character that never appeared in the original. A title for movie like that would have been something along the lines of Scream: The New Cut - or some crap like that. Thankfully though, we get a bonified sequel.

However, considering how Scream 4 played out and ended (as well as Campbell's reluctance to be part of this sequel), I question whether this is an actual attempt to continue on with the series and start a new franchise (as has been reported) - because I just simply don't see how they could. Actually, I don't know whether or not they should (or if two more are even necessary). I personally, liked Scream 4 enough to consider it more of an encore to the original trilogy. Fans of the original wanted another - so they got it. To stop now feels right because Scream 4 was a nice nod to the original and had some nice commentary on the use of newer technology to 'stalk' or 'scare' somebody. I get a kick out of seeing somebody get just as scared by a text, tweet or Facebook message as they did by a phone call back in '96. Even the use of webcams to record the murders was all well incorporated by original Scream writer Kevin Williamson.

Despite a few flaws like the beginning (or beginnings, rather), I didn't feel like Scream 4 was a tired or used-up idea and actually had quite a good time revisiting Woodsboro - which is why I'm giving it an open door. Could it be better? I dunno - maybe. Will it knock your socks off with groundbreaking ideas and philosophies? No. Will you enjoy seeing Sydney kick the shit out of Ghostface? Hell yes! While you may get tired or the film being so self-referential, it's clear from the action on screen that the cast had a lot of fun making this one, and while I am reluctant - if Scream 5 and 6 comes out soon, I'll be seeing them as well. Let's just hope they have a plan...

*Stills courtesy of Dimension Films


HANNA (2011)

>> Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, the first Oscar-worthy film of the year.

I am proud to report that despite all odds Hop was number one at the box office this weekend... wait - HOP?! Alright, I suppose that makes sense - due to Easter coming up and all (this just in - Angry Charlie's Hop review coming soon). But what about Hanna? Where was the love for The Lovely Bones star Saoirse Ronan? Where was the love for a great thriller directed by Joe Wright and written by new Canadian writer Seth Lochhead? Well, it was there (somewhere) apparently, as Hanna did finish in the number two spot - but still nearly $10 million behind a film about bunnies celebrating the death of Jesus (not to say Hop is about that, but you get what I mean).

Hanna is about a girl named Hanna (obviously) who was raised near-feral by her father Erik (Eric Bana). Her life is not that of a normal girl - she has no iPod, no TV, no boyfriend... no life, really. Poor Hanna hasn't even heard music before - and I'm not talking about Justin Bieber, either. I literally mean nothing. She leads this sheltered life as a result of her father, who is essentially training Hanna to find and kill one woman - Marissa (Cate Blanchett). Why Marissa? Because she's the woman responsible for the death of Hanna's mother, who also in turn framed Erik for the murder. All of this is only the cause for Hanna's quest. However, her actual journey is what makes the movie and proves that we can expect to see great things from Ronan as an actress - Hanna may provide her (along with some of the supporting cast) with an Oscar nod or two.

While on route to her destination, Hanna runs into a few colorful characters - including an English family with a girl (Sophie) (who is around the same age as Hanna). Sophie (Jessica Barden) fulfills the role of teaching Hanna about friendship. While Hanna is certainly close with her father, real friendship was something she had yet to experience - and for Hanna, it was almost as beautiful as the music she had never heard. It's because of moments like these, where Hanna connects with different people in her travels that Hanna feels like a road trip movie, akin to a film like Into the Wild. While it's obvious Hanna never loses sight of her main goal (to kill Marissa and reach her father at a predetermined rendezvous point), you can see beneath this overly tough exterior that she's really still a girl and faces the same conflicts a character like Pinocchio may have. A wooden puppet, Pinocchio just wanted to be a real boy. Hanna wants to be a real girl - but she's unable to and that's where the true tragedy of Hanna lay. Hanna knows this is not her fight, yet she's expected to continue a war she was a predetermined casualty of.

While the majority of Hanna is filled with wonderful learning experiences as seen through the eyes of this insatiable girl, there are some darker moments as well. The dark moments in particular are where the score of Hanna (masterfully done by The Chemical Brothers) truly shines. The score of a film is a funny thing. You hardly notice it when its barely adequate, but you can always notice when it becomes a part of the movie itself. There are literal reasons for music being included in Hanna (a record player, the sound of a metal rod repeatedly banging a concrete floor) but even when the score isn't an actual part of the action on screen, it becomes part of the film. The score for Hanna is not an afterthought as it is with so many other films. Instead, it's nearly as integral a part of the film as the characters, the motivations and the dialogue. Inception was the last time I remember hearing a score I liked. Let me tell you something - Hanna has twice the score Inception did, hands down (and I'd never even heard of The Chemical Brothers before).

Hanna gets an open door as it's a completely enjoyable film. It has no slow moments (just quiet ones) and has a certain intensity only previously experienced in 1998's Run Lola Run (a near perfect comparison, by the way). Hanna is not only directed amazingly well, but has genuine performances and a revolutionary score. It's fast, fun, tender and overall - perfect.

*Stills courtesy of Focus Features



>> Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hot Train Time Machine? Definitely.

Every year around this time I seem to find movies I like to label as one of the great movies of the year. Last year I called Date Night one of the funniest and best movies of the year - turns out that prediction was a little premature. However, Source Code is definitely one of the best films I've seen in the past year and if not that, it's certainly one of the most entertaining films I've been to lately. Albeit, I am a big fan of movies centered around plot lines involving a form of time travel, but normally they let me down and I'm left feeling cheated. Will nothing ever live up to Back to the Future?!

So Source Code goes something like this: Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal, Prince of Persia) wakes up on a train headed for Chicago and meets Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) who insists she knows him. After some stumbling around and wrapping his mind around the confusing nature of the situation (and we're right there with him!), the train explodes and Stevens is jolted awake in an odd, metal capsule. There he learns from Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga, Orphan, Up in the Air) that he has just awaken from the 'source code' - a sort of simulation that is far too complicated for the average man to understand, but is more or less a shadow of an event that's already passed (or at least the last eight minutes of one). If you've ever seen Deja Vu and are thinking that Source Code sounds similar, you're about right.

While Stevens doesn't fully understand his reason for being there, Goodwin tells him it's for the greater good and his reason for being there is trumped by Stevens' need to find out who the bomber is (or was, rather) along with the the explosive that's been planted. While hesitant at first, his love at first sight for Christina is motivation enough for Stevens to continue trying until he complete his task - over and over and over. If you've ever seen Groundhog Day and are thinking Source Code sounds similar, you're about right.

As you may expect, with director Duncan Jones' previous film being Moon, there's something with Source Code that must remain a secret as well - for telling ya'll would ruin the film and this is one movie you should be seeing anyway. I'll tell you though that without this twist, Source Code would've been magnificent anyways. Does it therefore make the twist pointless? No. It's more of a story 'enhancer' than the story itself. But it's certainly not as important as the twist uncovered by Sam Rockwell in Moon.

What I most appreciated about Source Code was its pacing. Mixed along with a twist here or there, some incredible action, a few heart felt moments and some comedy believe it or not - Source Code never has a dull moment. It easily snags an open door and I encourage you to walk through it (just not over and over, eight minutes at a time). The last time travel movie I felt decently strongly about was 2004's Primer (honorable mention goes to 2008's Timecrimes). Source Code for the record, is at least twice as good - but half as complex.

*Stills courtesy of Vendome Pictures



>> Monday, April 4, 2011

While better than most, Insidious could still be better...

Insidious is insidious. Insidious is insidious. Insideous is insideous... That's the phrase wrapped around and littered throughout the trailer - and indeed, Insidious (the movie that is) is more or less, insidious. For those of you that don't know, the definition for 'insidious' goes something like this:

1. Proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects: "the insidious effects of stress".
2. Treacherous; crafty: "an insidious alliance".

This definition fits perfectly with the film - but not in the way that you may think (or want). So why is Insidious insidious? I'll tell you shortly. "It's not your house that's haunted, it's your son..." These are the words as laid out by Insidious' obligatory ghost whisperer, Elise Ranier (Lin Shaye). That tagline itself makes one believe Insidous may be a film like The Omen (1976), Children of the Damned (1964), or even the king of all creepy children-based films, The Exorcist (1973) - and that's not completely wrong either. Insidious does borrow from these classics. The rest of the story, however, revolves around a plot line I'm not keen on talking about due to the 'no spoilers' policy I have. Not that's its amazing (despite a hint of originality), but it does explain things quite well. So, score one for the cohesion of Insidious.

The story begins when Dalton Lambert (Ty Simpkins) falls off the ladder in his family's rickety attic - another obligatory horror movie staple. It's only days after the accident happens (where Dalton appears to be in an 'unexplained', permanent coma) that strange things start to happen in the house. First Dalton's mom, Renai (Rose Byrne), starts hearing strange voices through the baby monitor (a la Signs), then her other son, Foster (Andrew Astor), tells her he's afraid at night because he doesn't like it when Dalton walks around (yes, the one in the coma). It isn't much longer, either, until the real freaky stuff starts to happen.

It's this first part of the movie that I really enjoyed. It played out a lot like Paranormal Activity where the cinematography revealed little things at first that turned out to be big things (and those super-scared you). Then I got to what felt like the climax and that's when the movie reached it's high and I was left thinking "I think I love this movie - awesome." But that's the end of what I liked about Insidious. Again, I won't say why, but at this point the movie became less Paranormal Activity meets The Exorcism (two fantastic movies), and more 13 Ghosts (a movie not so fantastic). Like the trailer says, Insidious is insidious. Why? Because it's a bad movie in disguise.

Regardless of the negatives I've listed, though, I'm giving Insidious an open door. It's still a scary effen movie and most of people's reactions outside of the theatre were "Why did you take me to this?" and "I'm not sleeping tonight". In fact you may be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't think Insidious is effective in doing what it's supposed to - and when it comes to horror movies, what more can you ask for?

*Stills courtesy of Alliance Films



>> Saturday, April 2, 2011

This is what happens when you tell them to get a job - they do.

There was once upon a time when you could tell the decade a movie was made during because of the qualities that particular film possessed. It doesn't take much more than hearing a tidbit of the score or a second or two of screen time for most people to recognize a non-classic from the 1930's, the 40's or the 70's and 80's. Even the movies from the last ten to twenty years have started to date themselves - and this is all due to quality of the film, the effects present and the titles.

Obviously when I mention these things, I'm not talking about films like Grease - which was shot in the 70's but took place in the 50's. I'm talking more about the types of films that have made it big as a result of the Grindhouse (2007) films, Planet Terror and Death Proof - resulting offspring also included last year's Machete. I'm not going to say I disliked these films though, I down right enjoyed them and that brings me to the film I'm here to talk about today - Hobo with a Shotgun.

The title itself is titillating and walking in I only knew the info I had gathered from the poster at my local Galaxy and a snippet or two from TV commercials. It's been a while since I walked into a cinema blind - and I'm glad I did. If the title didn't get me (I am partial to hobos as I have my own web series centered around one), the poster did. It screamed 70's style with a good taste for gore. What I was surprised with as Hobo began to roll, was that this was a movie more centered around the 90's. Wow, was I getting that old already that cheesy 90's films were now the new thing to spoof and create a camp out of?! Then I remembered, it was now 2011 which means the twenty-year rule had come to pass, and the early 90's were now a novelty (and fashion faux pas) and something to be ridiculed by the new generation. Not only that, but to top the 'cheese' cake off - Hobo was more or less Canadian-made (the presence of Trailer Park Boys star Robb Wells was the tip off for that nugget of info.).

So there I was, watching a Canadian-made flick (last one was the awful Score: A Hockey Musical) about a homeless man with an attitude problem that took place in the 90's and looked like something from the Dick Tracy cutting room floor. To be honest, I (at first) wasn't very happy. The acting was subpar, the cinematography cheesy, the actors unrecognizable and the film un'bear'able (an inside joke for those of you who've seen the film) - I was almost ready to walk out (a feeling I last got in Sucker Punch). Then something magical happened - I got through the first act and and that dang hobo (played amazingly well by Rutger Hauer) finally got his hands on a shotgun. Turns out all I needed was a little more action. Perhaps you won't understand until you see Hobo, but that's the moment that turned the film around for me and I felt writer and director Jason Eisener finally started to embrace just how perfect his hobo creation could be. Whether it be the witty lines or quirky sense of humour (or yes, the shotgun), Hauer's unnamed hobo finally came to life and breathed some perfection into Hobo with a Shotgun. While it's a stretch, I would like to see Hauer nominated for an Oscar for his roll in this film - that's how pitch perfect he hits his mark.

It wasn't any sooner that I hated the film than I was in love with it. The annoying characters were on screen just long enough, and the story was finally coming together. The story included a hooker (Molly Dunsworth) that befriends the hobo, by the way - and it pays off relatively well. He wants her to be a school teacher, and she wants him to mow lawns. In any other film that wouldn't work as a storyline - here it glows. The rest of the characters were whatever for me, although I did enjoy seeing Canadian 'treasure' George Stroumboulopoulos get a skate through his chest.

When it comes down to the nitty gritty (and believe me, it does) Hobo with a Shotgun may be a film that will have to grow on most (and be hated by others), but for now it gets an open door. I enjoyed the film and if you liked the Grindhouse treasures, you'll probably like this one too. If you want a typical action Michael Bay film, this won't work for you. Even most commercial horror fans wont dig Hobo the way some will. I wont ever go as far as attending a Hobo with a Shotgun fan-cult party, but I can see it eventually gaining that kind of appeal. For a movie that's somewhat flawed AND Canadian - in my books that kind of potential for a cult-following ain't a bad way to be remembered.

*Stills courtesy of Alliance Films



>> Friday, April 1, 2011


There's not really much to say about why I would avoid this film like the plague. I saw the first Hoodwinked when it came out as it seemed like it could be funny. Then I saw it and was more or less displeased. I found it boring, and although it had it's moments, the animation was uninspiring and flat. When your an animated film up against pretty much anything from Pixar or even Shrek, you have to step up your game. I believed the film, the story or the characters would never see the light of day again.

Yet here we are, five years later and the animation still looks like it sucks (despite s0me minimal improvement). While I agree that perhaps the second should get the chance to prove itself as being better than the first, the trailer shows me nothing I think I'll like. This may be one for the kids (the little buggers eat up 3-D films like crack, these days) , but with films like Rio and Hop also coming out this month, I don't think Hoodwinked Too really had a chance anyways. I guess we'll see when it comes out to end this month on April 29th.


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