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K. Gordon
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Trance/Transe (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
Trance/Transe (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ James McAvoy
Price: CDN$ 17.97

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really fun mind game of a film, April 6 2014
A giant mind game of a film, combining a beautiful psychiatrist who is an expert in hypnosis, a quirky gang of thugs who’ve robbed an art auction, and one of their group who was in a car accident right after the robbery, and can’t remember where he hid the multi-million dollar painting. There are twists upon twists, and multiple levels of reality, memory and dreams going on one right after another. Sort of like ‘Inception’, but smaller, more intimate, and revolving around a heist.

I can see why some might not like it. It (intentionally) gets outright confusing for stretches, and there are admittedly few cheats in the logic, though far fewer than most films of this type. But I had a great time; the energy is high, the photography is excellent (Boyle used multiple types of cameras and color schemes to highlight the different realities), the acting is fun, and I found myself more emotionally involved with the characters and more invested in the outcome than I expected for a ‘head-trip’ type of film. One of those rare films where I really had no idea at all how things were going to turn out – the price of a lifetime of watching too many movies! I could see the flaws, and I don’t blame you if they make you want to scream in frustration at times, but they just didn’t bother me, I was having too much fun.

The Ghost Army
The Ghost Army
Price: CDN$ 16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Tremendously entertaining and off-beat documentary, April 6 2014
This review is from: The Ghost Army (DVD)
Tremendously entertaining and off-beat documentary about a U.S. WWII corps largely made up of artists, designers, stage folk, and craftsmen, tasked with both improving camouflage, and creating the illusion of troops where they weren’t. They used a combination of inflatable tanks and infantry pieces, along with broadcasting false orders by radio, and playing the sounds of an army unit over loudspeakers. They did a lot of good, while often taking on the nerve shattering task of trying to draw fire themselves, directing it away from the real battle units.

There’s a lot of humor here, unusual and appreciated for a WWII doc. But on the flip side, there’s not a lot of emotion, and it can be a bit repetitive. An interesting true story of an oddball but important group of soldiers.

A Royal Affair (Liaison royale) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
A Royal Affair (Liaison royale) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Alicia Vikander
Price: CDN$ 24.99
7 used & new from CDN$ 15.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly stuffy, but fascinating history lesson, March 28 2014
Subject triumphs over style in this slightly stuffy, slightly staid, arguably overlong, but often fascinating and occasionally moving history lesson.

It’s Denmark at the time of the Enlightenment. The young King Christian is borderline insane --although, in the most complex performance with the most complex character in the film, Mikkel Folsgaard shows us many sides to this tormented soul. But the film focuses on the more straightforward young Queen shipped in from England, miserable in her loveless marriage to this sad clown of a king, and a very well intentioned German doctor and free-thinker, who feeds the Queen's intellect, and ultimately her body, while calming and befriending the young King, and working with him to bring in new laws that took Denmark out of the dark ages. All this doesn’t go over very well with the sitting court, who are loathe to give any power or economic freedom to the people, and so scheme to fight back.

Other than the King, the characters tend to black and white portrayals, but the actual steps of this true (if somewhat romanticized) slice of history make for a quite engrossing film.

Hope and Glory (Widescreen)
Hope and Glory (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Sarah Miles
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 34.27
8 used & new from CDN$ 34.27

4.0 out of 5 stars A unique perspective on WW II, Feb. 7 2014
This review is from: Hope and Glory (Widescreen) (DVD)
If on re-seeing this 27 years after it’s initial release, it didn’t quite hold up to all my grand memories, it came pretty close. Whatever it’s forgivable flaws, this is a unique and wonderful film.

Showing life in WWII Britain through the eyes of a young boy, it’s a very odd look at war, filled more with comedy, family warmth and a sense of adventure, than of tragedy (although tragedy always seems to threaten, from just around the corner). The acting is superlative throughout, and Boorman’s camera really seems as though it sees with the senses of his child hero.

The first two thirds of the film, as the family lives through the blitz, with bomb raids a part of daily life and houses all around them being blown to pieces is as remarkable, human, funny, sad and surreal as I remember. Only in the last third, when the family leaves London for the safety of the countryside does the film lose some steam, trading the completely original and honest feeling of a child’s experience of a war, for eccentric relatives in the English countryside – something that feels far more familiar, if still well done.

But, in spite of that slight letdown, this is certainly a film worth seeking out and seeing. It’s very strange – given how popular it was with audiences and critics, and the fact it was nominated for 5 Oscars including best picture -- that it seems to be out of print on DVD in North America (not to mention never having a well deserved blu-ray release). Hopefully someone will rectify that soon. (listening Criterion)?

Hope & Glory [Import]
Hope & Glory [Import]
Price: CDN$ 19.65
9 used & new from CDN$ 10.57

4.0 out of 5 stars A unique perspective on WW II, Feb. 7 2014
This review is from: Hope & Glory [Import] (DVD)
If on re-seeing this 27 years after it’s initial release, it didn’t quite hold up to all my grand memories, it came pretty close. Whatever it’s forgivable flaws, this is a unique and wonderful film.

Showing life in WWII Britain through the eyes of a young boy, it’s a very odd look at war, filled more with comedy, family warmth and a sense of adventure, than of tragedy (although tragedy always seems to threaten, from just around the corner). The acting is superlative throughout, and Boorman’s camera really seems as though it sees with the senses of his child hero.

The first two thirds of the film, as the family lives through the blitz, with bomb raids a part of daily life and houses all around them being blown to pieces is as remarkable, human, funny, sad and surreal as I remember. Only in the last third, when the family leaves London for the safety of the countryside does the film lose some steam, trading the completely original and honest feeling of a child’s experience of a war, for eccentric relatives in the English countryside – something that feels far more familiar, if still well done.

But, in spite of that slight letdown, this is certainly a film worth seeking out and seeing. It’s very strange – given how popular it was with audiences and critics, and the fact it was nominated for 5 Oscars including best picture -- that it seems to be out of print on DVD in North America (not to mention never having a well deserved blu-ray release). Hopefully someone will rectify that soon. (listening Criterion)?

Star Trek / Star Trek Into Darkness Double Pack [Blu-ray] (Region Free)
Star Trek / Star Trek Into Darkness Double Pack [Blu-ray] (Region Free)
DVD ~ Chris Pine
Offered by Deal Beat
Price: CDN$ 48.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Two good films, but watch out for the price, Feb. 7 2014
It would be much cheaper to but these two films separately, at least as of 02/14, so I'd certainly look at that choice first. That knocked a star off my rating. That said the films themselves are worth seeing. My notes;

Star Trek (2009) Entertaining, with some great effects, and some actual acting and heart. My only disappointment was that, as the film went on the action took over to the point where the emotions got a bit lost, and the climactic battle felt kind of predictable. The action is fun, but it gets repetitive, but the human scenes have humor and freshness. Not a great movie, but much better than most Hollywood junk.

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) As much as I liked Abrams’ 2009 re-boot of the Star Trek series, I liked this second installment even better. I think that’s because there was less of an obligation to fill up back-story, and more ability to go deeper both into plot, and into the emotions of these new, younger versions of the characters we now (re) know. Adding to that Benedict Cumberbatch makes a complex and compelling villain, even if the character does borrow from other sources, including Rutger Hauer in “Blade Runner”. The humor is funny, the emotional scenes have a real impact, the battles are exciting, the acting is excellent, the plot twists are clever, and the more epic ‘big’ moments are really effective. There are flaws; some plot twists can be seen coming a mile off, there are a few painful cheats or jumps in logic, and a handful of too-easy coincidences. But for a big summer blockbuster this has more smarts, style, punch and humanity than most.

Star Trek + Star Trek Into Darkness [Blu-ray] [Import]
Star Trek + Star Trek Into Darkness [Blu-ray] [Import]
Price: CDN$ 98.59
10 used & new from CDN$ 29.63

3.0 out of 5 stars A combination of two pretty strong films, but watch out for the price!, Feb. 3 2014
It would be much cheaper to but these two films separately, at least as of 02/14, so I'd certainly look at that choice first. That knocked a star off my rating. That said the films themselves are worth seeing. My notes;

Star Trek (2009) Entertaining, with some great effects, and some actual acting and heart. My only disappointment was that, as the film went on the action took over to the point where the emotions got a bit lost, and the climactic battle felt kind of predictable. The action is fun, but it gets repetitive, but the human scenes have humor and freshness. Not a great movie, but much better than most Hollywood junk.

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) As much as I liked Abrams’ 2009 re-boot of the Star Trek series, I liked this second installment even better. I think that’s because there was less of an obligation to fill up back-story, and more ability to go deeper both into plot, and into the emotions of these new, younger versions of the characters we now (re) know. Adding to that Benedict Cumberbatch makes a complex and compelling villain, even if the character does borrow from other sources, including Rutger Hauer in “Blade Runner”. The humor is funny, the emotional scenes have a real impact, the battles are exciting, the acting is excellent, the plot twists are clever, and the more epic ‘big’ moments are really effective. There are flaws; some plot twists can be seen coming a mile off, there are a few painful cheats or jumps in logic, and a handful of too-easy coincidences. But for a big summer blockbuster this has more smarts, style, punch and humanity than most.

In a World [Import]
In a World [Import]
Price: CDN$ 21.83
25 used & new from CDN$ 14.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Smart, funny, big-hearted indie comedy, Feb. 2 2014
This review is from: In a World [Import] (DVD)
It's funny (and kinda sad) that it now takes a little indie film to do what Hollywood once did so regularly and well – make an intelligent, funny, grown-up comedy with idiosyncratic characters and wit. Lake Bell does a terrific job in the tough triple role of director, writer, star
and makes a film that's original, and even has something to say about sexism, fathers and daughters and ego.

A young wanna-be voice over artist who has never gotten support from her very successful father – a star in that universe - we watch her as she tries to find place in the odd and specific world of people who do voice-overs for movie trailers, dealing with her own journey, but also her friends and relationships.

Bell took a risk by casting a lot of people we know more as comics than actors in supporting roles, but they almost all do her proud and pull off the heart in the story, as well as the comedy. (And the couple who don't quite have the needed acting chops don't hurt the film enough to do serious damage).

In the end, this isn't a 'change the world' film - if you go in over hyped you could be disappointed - and not every moment or twist works, but there is a lot of raw talent, passion, smarts, and good humor on display, and that puts it pretty far up the ladder in the
current movie world.

In A World Bilingual [Blu-ray]
In A World Bilingual [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Rob Corddry
Price: CDN$ 16.98
10 used & new from CDN$ 13.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Smart, funny, big hearted indie comedy, Feb. 2 2014
It's funny (and kinda sad) that it now takes a little indie film to do what Hollywood once did so regularly and well – make an intelligent, funny, grown-up comedy with idiosyncratic characters and wit. Lake Bell does a terrific job in the tough triple role of director, writer, star and makes a film that's original, and even has something to say about sexism, fathers and daughters and ego.

A young wanna-be voice over artist who has never gotten support from her very successful father – a star in that universe - we watch her as she tries to find place in the odd and specific world of people who do voice-overs for movie trailers, dealing with her own journey, but also her friends and relationships.

Bell took a risk by casting a lot of people we know more as comics than actors in supporting roles, but they almost all do her proud and pull off the heart in the story, as well as the comedy. (And the couple who don't quite have the needed acting chops don't hurt the film enough to do serious damage).

In the end, this isn't a 'change the world' film - if you go in over hyped you could be disappointed - and not every moment or twist works, but there is a lot of raw talent, passion, smarts, and good humor on display, and that puts it pretty far up the ladder in the
current movie world.

Star Trek Into Darkness [Blu-ray] [Import]
Star Trek Into Darkness [Blu-ray] [Import]
Offered by BonnieScotland
Price: CDN$ 11.52
12 used & new from CDN$ 11.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A solid entry, Feb. 2 2014
As much as I liked Abrams' 2009 re-boot of the Star Trek series, I liked this second installment better. I think that's because there was less of an obligation to fill up back-story, and more ability to go deeper both into plot, and into the emotions of these new, younger versions of the characters we now (re) know. Add to that Benedict Cumberbatch makes a complex and compelling villain, even if the character does borrow from other sources, including Rutger Hauer in "Blade Runner".

The humor is funny, the emotional scenes have a real impact, the battles are exciting, the acting is excellent, the plot twists are
clever, and the more epic 'big' moments are really effective.

There are flaws; some plot twists can be seen coming a mile off, there are a few painful cheats or jumps in logic, and a handful of too-easy coincidences. But for a big summer blockbuster this has more smarts, style, punch and humanity than most.

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