Avatar – The highest grossing film of all time comes out on Thursday in celebration of Earth Day. The story follows a military unit trying to get access to a very powerful rock that is beneath a civilization on the planet Pandora. The military creates Avatar’s of the inhabitants of the planet in the hopes of getting gaining the inhabitants trust. Unfortunately, some people in the military have ulterior motives. The film boasts an impressive cast in Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang, but the real star is the special effects (the film won a few Academy Awards on the technical side). If you’re a die-hard fan of the film, the rumour is that a DVD release with a ton of special features will be released later this year, so you might want to wait for that one instead, as this release is bare bones.
Crazy Heart – Jeff Bridges won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a country music singer named Bad Blake. Blake has seen better days, and is now singing in bowling alleys and drinking as much booze as he can along the way. While in one town, a reporter interviews him, and he strikes up a relationship with her. He tries to become a responsible man, but his alcoholism stops that from happening. It’s not a movie that makes you feel happy, but the performances by Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, and Robert Duvall are all strong. The film also won an Oscar for the song “The Weary Kind”, which absolutely deserved to win.
The Lovely Bones – Based on the Alice Sebold novel, director Peter Jackson does a good (not great) job in transferring this story to film. The film is about a young girl named Susie Salmon who is murdered, and watches from above how her family is dealing with her death, as well as following the murderer who has not been captured. It is a frustrating film because the audience knows more about what is happening on screen then the characters do, but the images of Susie in a place between Earth and Heaven are absolutely amazing. The all-star cast featuring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Saoirse Ronan, Susan Sarandon all do a good job with the material, but Stanley Tucci is amazing, and deserved his Oscar nomination.
The Young Victoria – Yet another Oscar winning film, Emily Blunt stars as Queen Victoria, and the film follows the first years of Victoria’s reign, and her romance with Prince Albert. This is yet another film that features an all-star cast as Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent and Mark Strong all lend their talents in telling this story. It is a British period piece, but it was well received, and was written by Julian Fellowes, who won an Oscar for writing Gosford Park. This is the hidden gem of the week.
Uncertainty – This film reminds me of Sliding Doors, but a lot darker version of it. A young couple makes a decision that alters their life. A flip of a coin provides two different scenarios, and the viewer follows the young couple (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins) in both storylines. One story is about self-discovery, the other of murder, so you’re essentially getting two films in one. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an actor to watch, as he picks very interesting films, so take note of this one.
Peacock – Yet another film that features an all-star cast, this film stars Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Susan Sarandon, Bill Pullman, and Josh Lucas in a story about a train accident in Nebraska that ends up exposing a secret of the town’s bank clerk that threatens his way of life. I don’t remember this film being in theatres, but the cast is a good one, and could be worth checking out.
The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie! – First off, I did not have a typo; that is the correct name of the DVD. The story follows the characters of the Comedy Central show Drawn Together realizing that their show has been cancelled because when they swear they are not bleeped. Upon realizing that they have been cancelled (which Comedy Central did do to the series), they also learn that they are not as popular as they all believed they were and try to do everything they can to get noticed and get back on-the-air. It’s profane, but fans of the series know that by now.
Free Willy: Escape From Pirates Cove – The plot of the film should be no surprise. A killer whale who is an attraction at a small theme park in South Africa, needs to be in its natural environment. A little girl does her very best to make that happen. Bindi Irwin is the little girl, and she is the daughter of the late Steve Irwin, who was better known as the Crocodile Hunter. Bindi does have a fan base from her TV appearances, so they are hoping to capitalize on that in this film. The film is a sequel in name only, as the apparently this is a re-boot of the franchise, and is not connected by any of the characters of the original three films.
Battleship Potemkin – If you’ve ever studied film in college or university, then you will be familiar with this release. Criterion is releasing it on Blu-Ray, so you might want to add it to your collection. This is not a happy film either as it is about a fictitious Russian mutiny, and the riots that ensued on the streets and brought about a police massacre.
TV ON DVD
Xena: Warrior Princess: Season One – This has already been released on DVD, but now that Universal has bought the rights to the series, they are going to be re-releasing all six season on DVD. Season One starts with Xena renouncing her violent past and trying to live a peaceful life. When a group of villagers are threatened, she fights again to save them from being sold into slavery. It’s campy, it’s cult, and it’s a lot of fun.
Transformers: Seasons Three and Four – These seasons are the final seasons of the original animated show, and take place after the events of Transformers: The Movie. With the new characters introduced, the series took a darker turn, and it was the beginning of the end for the show. The most notable story line of this DVD collection is when Optimus Prime returns to save the Autobots.
Dallas: The Complete Thirteenth Season – This is the penultimate season of the series, and picks up after J.R. is institutionalized on purpose by James and Cally, when James tears up J.R.’s release papers.
Until Next Tuesday!