Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Host Trailer Official 2012 [1080 HD] - Saoirse Ronan

Only God Forgives and Will Ferrell News

A new image has appeared online for the next Nicolas Winding Refn release, Only God Forgives. As you can see above, the picture shows a bloodied Ryan Gosling meandering around. Only God Forgives combines the likes of the director and star of 2011's hit Drive. In the film Gosling stars as Julian, a former kickboxer and gangster living in Bangkok. When Julian's brother is murdered by an out of control police lieutenant, Gosling's character sets out to seek vengeance.

In other news, we recently heard about Will Ferrell's upcoming political comedy The Campaign where he stars alongside The Hangover's own Zach Galifianakis. Apparently the film isn't Ferrell's only upcoming project. Ferrell is now being targeted for the comedy Crazy U, which follows a father's outrageous journey to get his kid into the best college possible. Although its premise doesn't hold as much promise as The Campaign, Crazy U still could surprise as long as Ferrell's on board.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Campaign and The Hangover Part III News

Here's a first look at the Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis comedy The Campaign. Scheduled for an August 10, 2012 release, The Campaign follows a southern Congressman named Cam Brady (Ferrell) whose seat is threatened after news of a scandal becomes public. Ferrell spilled the beans on the details of the scandal saying, "I have a bit of an ethical slip. I leave a highly sexual message on a very Christian family's answering machine, thinking I'm calling my mistress". The potential sounds limitless.

Brady's counterpart, Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), is the nemesis looking to dethrone the incumbent in the fast approaching election. The Campaign could be the breakout comedy of the year and it's a film you'll want to keep an eye on. In other Galifianakis news, The Hangover Part III has announced an official (but always subject to change when it's this far in advance) release date of May 24, 2013. With plot rumors swirling but nothing confirmed, let's hope the world doesn't end before that.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hunger Games Official Trailer

The Hunger Games

Film: The Hunger Games

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class) and Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right)

Director: Gary Ross (Seabiscuit)

U.S. Release: March 23rd, 2012 (Rated PG-13)

Genre: Action

Runtime: 142 minutes

In 2008, following the coattails of the successful Twilight Series, author Suzanne Collins introduced The Hunger Games to the world. The young adult novel is a post-apocalyptic adventure that swept across the globe and became an instant phenomenon. Therefore, it was no surprise in 2009 when Lions Gate Entertainment acquired the worldwide distribution rights. It was at that moment the bestselling novel began its transformation to the big screen. Three years later, and the wait is finally over.

The Hunger Games is set in Panem, a nation residing over what was once called North America. Panem consists of a wealthy capitol and twelve much poorer surrounding districts. Every year, as a punishment for a previous rebellion against the capitol, each district must offer up one randomly selected boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18. Each of these 24 children competes in The Hunger Games, a winner takes all battle of survival.

In the 12th district, 16 year old Katniss Everdeen (played by Lawrence) volunteers as tribute after hearing her little sister's name called on the day of the selection. Katniss, along with her male counterpart from district 12 named Peeta Mellark (played by Hutcherson), embarks on a journey to the capitol in order to prepare for the violence that is sure to ensue. After her physical training and introduction to important financial sponsors, so begins the 74th annual Hunger Games and her quest for survival.

The Hunger Games is a mightily flawed, yet remarkably entertaining, adventure into the mind and creations of Suzanne Collins. Collins and the film's director, Gary Ross, develop an imaginative futuristic world that successfully hooks the audience. Along with its interesting setting, the whole concept of the Hunger Games competition immediately fascinates the viewer as well. Even though luring in the moviegoer becomes effortless, The Hunger Games struggles to connect the dots. As is usually the case with scripts adapted from novels, topics such as Katniss' father and Panem's drastically diverse class systems become presented but never developed. Perhaps, like the final Harry Potter installment, The Hunger Games would have been better served in two different pieces.

Another highly aggravating flaw comes at the hands of the film's director and its financier Lions Gate Entertainment. In an effort to maximize ticket sales, The Hunger Games is forced to cater to a PG-13 rating. In doing so, the picture in unable to push boundaries which would have easily catapulted it to more respectable heights. What is described as a brutal and violent competition becomes a sugar-coated portrayal that never feels satisfying. The lack of intensity and insanity during the feature's third act makes for an obvious theatrical let down.

Despite its ample flaws, The Hunger Games never loses its audience because of its intriguing story and talented young cast. The film serves as a solid reminder of all the well versed young actors and actresses in Hollywood. Perhaps none are more dazzling than the picture's leading star, Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence is so mesmerizing and spectacular in all of her work, The Hunger Games included, that it's hard to believe she's only 21 years old. Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross couldn't have picked a better actress to star in their film. In addition to the work of Lawrence, excellent supporting roles are dished out by Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz. Harrelson never disappoints and, although I've never been a fan of Kravitz's music, he is quickly proving his natural ability to act. Having also been a stellar addition to the cast of 2009's Precious, this is just the second film to feature Kravitz and he's been memorable in both.

The Hunger Games is a lengthy movie that offers numerous pros and cons. But most importantly, the film does its job of entertaining the audience and staying true to the novel. The Hunger Games is by no means a must see, in fact, you're probably better off sticking to the books. However, if you're eager to see the movie, then do so. Chances are you won't be disappointed.

Stars: 2 and a half stars out of 4

Grade: B-

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Friends With Kids Official Trailer #1 - Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jon ...

Friends with Kids

Film: Friends with Kids

Starring: Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein) and Adam Scott (Step Brothers)

Director: Jennifer Westfeldt

U.S. Release: March 16th, 2012 (Rated R)

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Runtime: 107 minutes

To be brutally honest, Jennifer Westfeldt's acting career has been pretty non-climactic. Outside of a leading role in 2001's vastly underseen Kissing Jessica Stein and a few appearances on hit television shows like 24 and Grey's Anatomy, Westfeldt's biggest claim to fame is her longtime boyfriend and Mad Men star, Jon Hamm. Therefore, the unappreciated actress turned her talents to a passion project called Friends with Kids. As the writer, director, and leading star of 2012's newest dramedy, it will be hard for people to ignore Jennifer Westfeldt.

Friends with Kids follows lifelong best friends Jason (played by Scott) and Julie (played by Westfeldt). After spending years as the "leftover" friends to a close-knit group of married couples, Jason and Julie come up with the craziest notion possible. While watching the first-hand repercussions that having children has had on their closest friends, Jason and Julie decide to have a baby. By keeping the experience platonic and hoping to eventually find "the ones" later in life, the pair of best friends attempt the unthinkable. But as you can imagine, things don't always go as planned.

Westfeldt jumps behind the camera to tackle the recently overdone dramedy angle. Friends with Kids is an awkwardly mediocre venture into the popular 21st century hybrid genre. As is usually the case, the feature demonstrates a difficulty balancing the two disjoint perspectives. When it's at its funniest, Friends with Kids is a hysterical mocking of marriage and the labors of adulthood. On the other hand, the film ultimately falters at times with its shocking split-second 180 degree turns to the dramatic. The rapid pace in which the movie jumps back and forth between the opposite ends of the spectrum become far too exhausting and uncomfortable. Perhaps Westfeldt's directorial debut would have been better served as an all out laughable feature.

Despite the movie's lack of an identity, Friends with Kids benefits greatly from its versatile cast. The film rejoins numerous cast members from 2011 Golden Globe nominee Bridesmaids. Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm make up one of the picture's supporting couples, and Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd make up the other. O'Dowd, who's most known as Wiig's civil servant love interest in Bridesmaids, clearly steals the show. The talented comedian delivers laugh after laugh and his character never wears thin. Furthermore, the movie's leading stars, Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt, do all they can to keep the audience's attention. Scott continues to show his range-filled onscreen ability while dishing out the jokes and tugging at the heartstrings (sometimes simultaneously). Even though Friends with Kids offers a great ensemble, its flawed script and sense of uncertainty keep it from grandeur.

Friends with Kids is a run of the mill collaboration of comedy and emotions. There are some very tender moments and genuine scenes to go along with its laughs. However, the film's lowest points come at the hands of bickering adults who are at each other's throats. It's instances like these that leave the feature feeling all too unsettled and inappropriate. There's plenty to enjoy as the film is somewhat entertaining and downright hysterical at times. Yet, the whole package is weaker than the sum of its parts. Hence, I suggest waiting for DVD, if at all, to check out Friends with Kids.

Stars: 2 stars out of 4

Grade: C+

Friday, March 16, 2012

21 Jump Street Trailer Official 2012 [HD] - Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum

21 Jump Street

Film: 21 Jump Street

Starring: Jonah Hill (Moneyball) and Channing Tatum (The Vow)

Directors: Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs)

U.S. Release: March 16th, 2012 (Rated R)

Genre: Action/Comedy

Runtime: 109 minutes

Since the turn of the century, Hollywood has beaten to death the concept of a "remake". What began as a rare occurrence turned into a regularly used marketing ploy with worthless attempts at reintroducing horror classics such as Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th. Of late, the "remake" tag has infiltrated our mainstream guilty pleasures. 1980's hits such as Footloose and The Karate Kid have already been targeted. And now, Hollywood is re-staking claim to the hit television show 21 Jump Street by transforming the idea into a major motion picture. With current stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum taking the place of Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise, 21 Jump Street proves to be a rare remake success story.

Smart and insecure Schmidt (played by Hill) was the type of person popular kids like Jenko (played by Tatum) made fun of in high school. But years after graduation when they cross paths in the policy academy, Schmidt and Jenko buddy up to help each other get through the program. When they botch a meaningless arrest in the park, the duo is reassigned to Jump street. Jump Street is a special undercover unit that places youthful looking police officers in high school settings. And then Schmidt and Jenko are given their first assignment, to figure out the supplier of a synthetic drug that's making its way around an area high school.

21 Jump Street is a winning throwback to the late 80's action television series. First, the remake works so well because of the film's excellent script. Writer Michael Bacall, most known for penning titles such as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and 2012's Project X, delivers another delightful screenplay. By approaching the story with a hysterical comedic tone, Bacall creates a fun and energetic laugh out loud experience. With likable characters and a modern vibe, 21 Jump Street manages to reach and exceed initial expectations.

Alongside of Bacall's first-rate screenplay is the solid onscreen work of 21 Jump Street's leading men, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Fresh off of an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in the 2011 Best Picture nominee Moneyball, Hill continues his career is a positive direction. And although Hill's role feels all too familiar, he's the obvious benefactor of being able to play a character much like himself. In addition to Hill, Tatum also offers a serviceable performance in the film. Since 21 Jump Street plays more to the action and comedy genres, Channing Tatum adequately masks his otherwise evident deficiencies. Being known for his stereotypical role in dramas like Dear John and The Vow, Tatum works to his strengths and the successful result becomes quickly apparent. Furthermore, every second of Ice Cube's minimal, but outrageously funny, screen time must be recognized. The supporting role is a colorful complement and extremely effective. Despite being far from groundbreaking, the sound performances by 21 Jump Street's entire cast help the final product to shine.

Albeit the film's strong script and solid acting, the remake is far from perfect. The second act softens on the comedy and focuses on the action. By doing so, the movie's flow becomes clearly disrupted. Ample gunfire and fast-paced car chases lead to the picture's yawning midsection. Also, 21 Jump Street's third act is slightly unsatisfying. The film's final moments appear rushed and muddled. Desperate to incorporate some surprises that I'll avoid spoiling, the resolve has a tacky and insufficient feel.

21 Jump Street bursts out of the gate and then lets up as the runtime piles on itself. I would have preferred the feature to avoid the cliche action sequences which bombard its second act, however, there's just enough laughs to get you through the down times. And although the film is nothing spectacular, 21 Jump Street is a hysterically entertaining thrill ride. The above average product is something you can wait until DVD to see, but it also makes for a strong theatrical experience as well.

Stars: 2 and a half stars out of 4

Grade: B-

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Wolf of Wall Street is Confirmed

They're the two best friends that anyone could have. As it was announced earlier today, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese will officially collaborate for the fifth time. The megastar and director will be teaming up for the real life tale The Wolf of Wall Street. The film is an adaptation of the Jordan Belfort memoir, which examines the drug addicted stockbroker's rise and fall during the 80's and 90's. Constantly the source of rumors over the last calendar year, the newest Scorsese-DiCaprio feature is scheduled to begin shooting in August.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jeff Who Lives At Home - Official Trailer [HD]

Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Film: Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Starring: Jason Segel (The Muppets), Ed Helms (The Hangover), and Susan Sarandon (The Banger Sisters)

Directors: Mark and Jay Duplass (Cyrus)

U.S. Release: March 16th, 2012 (Rated R)

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 83 minutes

Slowly, but surely, the writing and directing duo known as the Duplass brothers have been making a unique impression on the movie world. Brothers Jay and Mark (who's most known for his role as Pete on the FX television show The League) first broke through the barrier in 2008 with their successful throwback to the comedy-horror genre called Baghead. Then, their follow up feature in 2010 came in the form of the comedy Cyrus. Both films, slightly awkward but carrying a sense of earnest realism, helped to define their original style. Now, in 2012 the Duplass brothers offer up their third release called Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Staying true to their roots, Jeff, Who Lives at Home is yet another strange blend of real life emotion and unusual characters.

Jeff (played by Segel) is a pot smoking slacker still living in his mother's basement. Searching for a sense of meaning to life ever since the passing of his father, Jeff can't help but wonder about his destiny. When Jeff's mom Sharon (played by Sarandon) asks him to do a simple task, Jeff sets out on a wild adventure around Baton Rouge following so-called "signs". Along the way he runs into his brother Pat (played by Helms) who's facing a marital meltdown. Believing that there's a bigger picture behind all of this, Jeff attempts to help save his brother's marriage and finally unlock his destiny.

With their most resonating and successful release to date, the Duplass brothers use Jeff, Who Lives at Home as a platform to conjure up a poignant and heartfelt experience. I've always enjoyed how Jay and Mark seem to have their films come full circle in a convincing fashion. Once again, the writers/directors leave no loose ends in what will surely be one of 2012's most fulfilling features. At the center of this genuine little gem is its remarkably honest script. As many in Hollywood will tell you, it's virtually impossible to turn a bad script into a good movie. A well written screenplay is at the heart of any masterpiece. With Jeff, Who Lives at Home, there's an exceptionally penned heart-filled story wrapped up in an awkward and unconventional shell. For all of the brow-raising nuances you'll see onscreen, the film's brilliant and uplifting resolve makes them seem almost necessary. Within all of this lies the true beauty of the Duplass brothers and their groundbreaking efforts.

Along with the movie's satisfying big picture script and excellent direction, Jeff, Who Lives at Home works as well as it does because of Jason Segel. Starring as the lovable slacker Jeff, Segel helps bring a well intended persona to life. Jeff is an easy character to connect with and he becomes the necessary light in order to attract the audience. He sees the world in such a simple and childlike way that, as a viewer, you can't help but pour every ounce of your heart into his journey. Segel's performance is unforgettable and perhaps his most notable to date.

Despite its abundance of glowing aspects, Jeff, Who Lives at Home is far from flawless. Much like their 2010 film Cyrus, Jeff, Who Lives at Home is falsely being pitched as a comedy. Outside of the occasional chuckle, there's nothing overtly hilarious in this feature. Similar to Cyrus, any overblown comedic expectations will create a sense of awkwardness and misunderstanding. If you walk into the theatre expecting to see a well crafted drama with a peppering of jokes, you're level of appreciation for the film will surely skyrocket.

With a somewhat dragging 83 minute runtime, Jeff, Who Lives at Home is an otherwise wonderful destiny-filled journey. You'll get caught up in Jeff's personal quest for a purpose and, when all is said and done, you'll leave the theatre completely moved by the entire experience. The film packs an enormous amount of heart in only 83 minutes. If you're a sucker for an uplifting tale, then don't hesitate to see the latest effort from the Duplass brothers, Jeff, Who Lives at Home.

Stars: 2 and a half stars out of 4

Grade: B

Monday, March 12, 2012

SILENT HOUSE | Trailer (2012) [HD]

Silent House

Film: Silent House

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene)

Directors: Chris Kentis (Open Water) and Laura Lau

U.S. Release: March 9th, 2012 (Rated R)

Genre: Horror

Runtime: 85 minutes

Hollywood has always been a backdrop throughout Elizabeth Olsen's life. Being the younger sibling of twin sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, she finally introduced herself to the world as the lead in 2011's indie phenomenon Martha Marcy May Marlene. Her debut was without question a booming success. Receiving rave reviews from critics alike, the entertainment world couldn't wait to see what was next. Elizabeth Olsen's triumphant return comes in the form of Silent House, a horror remake of a 2010 Uruguayan film by the same name.

Silent House revolves around Sarah (played by Olsen), a young girl helping her father to pack up their lake house in order to sell the property. While working to clean up the home, Sarah becomes alarmed by mysterious noises in the residence. And when she discovers that her father's been brutally attacked by someone, Sarah tries desperately to escape from whoever is terrorizing the family.

For starters, Silent House is a below average attempt at modern day horror. The film's pair of directors, Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, succumb to the unoriginal brand of outsmarting themselves. Whatever happened to classic horror movies that thrived on keeping their ideas simple? As it turns out, Silent House wastes little time getting to the tension. However, once the film is in cruise control, nothing really ends up happening. Striving to have it's second act mimic the suspenseful tone of successful horror movies such as The Strangers and Vacancy, Silent House almost immediately sets itself up for failure. Outside of its only intense aspect, the nerve-racking silence, the film loses the audience with its lack of creativity and poorly constructed scares. Then, to make matters even worse, the picture finally decides to create a sense of purpose to the story. The laughable attempt proves to be both boring and unconvincing. When all is said and done, Silent House is a hole-filled story that offers zero redeeming qualities.

Director and scribe Laura Lau butchers another twenty-first century horror tale. At the helm of this debacle is her inability to develop a coherent plot and meaningful characters. Silent House's lead actress Elizabeth Olsen works diligently to be the film's saving grace, yet even her greatest effort can't salvage the picture. In addition to the poor script, every cast member not named Elizabeth Olsen delivers a sub-par performance. It becomes difficult to pinpoint whether the colorless onscreen portrayals come at the hands of the writing or the cast members, but either way they're unforgivable.

Silent House clearly overreaches as the film indescribably outwits itself. Even the feature's mere 85 minute runtime plays like a marathon. From the distracting camera work to the bewildering final scenes, there are problems galore. With much to be upset with and little to find resolution in, Silent House is a forgettable horror film that should be avoided at all cost.

Stars: A half star out of 4

Grade: D-

Note: Be sure to check out this review and more Movie Critic Dave articles at Geekscape.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Trailer 2012 HD

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Film: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Starring: Ewan McGregor (Beginners) and Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau)

Director: Lasse Hallstrom (Dear John)

U.S. Release: March 9th, 2012 (Limited Release - Rated PG-13)

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 111 minutes

Rarely will a film's title turn you off as much as director Lasse Hallstrom's latest effort, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Even as someone who's a fan of casting a line and relaxing the day away, Yemen ... really? Although most people probably know very little about the country, Yemen is located on the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula and directly across the Red Sea from eastern Africa. And while salmon are a species of fish that require cool water conditions in order to survive, how can these two polar opposites coexist? Here lies the unorthodox beauty within the film.

Based on the Paul Torday novel of the same name, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen follows a British fisheries expert named Dr. Alfred Jones (played by McGregor). When Dr. Jones is approached by an investment consultant named Harriet (played by Blunt) about a client's desire to introduce the sport of salmon fishing in the Yemen, he quickly dismisses the preposterous notion. However, a public relations disaster prompts a British political figure to force Dr. Jones to bring this project back to the forefront. Upon a more in depth second glance into the idea, Dr. Jones opens his mind to the possibility that salmon fishing in the Yemen could actually work.

Lasse Hallstrom's extensive career can be used to appropriately label the Swedish director as a sentimentalist. Having been the vision behind films such as What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Hachi: A Dog's Tale, and Dear John, Hallstrom has a keen sense of the deepest human emotions. With his newest work, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, the director once again successfully attempts to tug at the audience's heartstrings. The biggest reason that this obscure tale resonates so well on screen comes at the hands of the picture's leading stars, Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt. Like clockwork, the quirky duo portray a pair of troubled, yet endearing, characters that viewers can't help but cling to. McGregor and Blunt have excellent chemistry and they offer an unmatched sense of charm. In addition to its main stars, perhaps the most notable performance is delivered by the always sensational Kristin Scott Thomas (Nowhere Boy). Thomas plays a British political figure who's desperate to make this story work. Delivering laugh after laugh, Scott's minimal amount of screen time is by no means wasted. Alongside of Hallstrom and his entire talented cast, Oscar-winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours) triumphantly pens another fantastic script. Filled with plenty of laughs and raw emotion,Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a multidimensional film that is undeniably well rounded.

On the other hand, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen does have a few lacking elements. For starters, the feature's fundamental love story struggles to hold water. The budding romance between the film's main characters feels slightly mishandled as it fails to hit home like movie's central plot. Furthermore, the hour and 51 minute duration doesn't speed by with ease. Occasionally you may find yourself yawning through the third act, but the smattering of well written jokes and the fascinating story make it impossible to give up. Therefore, Salmon Fishing in the Yemenis a flawed, yet solid, motion picture.

Although I went into the screening befuddled by what to expect, Lasse Hallstrom's Salmon Fishing in the Yemen didn't disappoint. The film's obvious blemishes are outshined by its fantastic soulful story. The movie does a wonderful job of reinforcing its ideas of hope and blind faith. As always, Hallstrom serves up an uplifting and feel good story that is never bogged down by its inevitable schmaltz. I wouldn't hunt down the feature, but Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a refreshing tale that makes for a nice weekend afternoon watch.

Stars: 2 and a half stars out of 4

Grade: B-

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Geekscape Blog

Head on over to Geekscape to check out my latest blog paying homage to the greatest onscreen parties in movie history. Let me know what I got right and what I missed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Goon Trailer 2012 HD

Goon: A Hockey Fan's Dream

Film: Goon

Starring: Seann William Scott (Role Models), Liev Schreiber (Defiance), and Jay Baruchel (She's Out of My League)

Director: Michael Dowse (Take Me Home Tonight)

U.S. Release: March 30th, 2012 (Limited Release - Rated R)

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 92 minutes

Unfortunately, hockey fans have very little to turn to in the world of cinema. Outside of the 1977 classic sports film Slap Shot and newer movies such as Mystery Alaska, Miracle, and the Mighty Ducks franchise, is there really anything else? Well thanks to writer and co-star Jay Baruchel, Goon is the latest addition to an otherwise barren genre.

Goon follows an outcast bouncer named Doug Glatt (played by Scott) who is searching for his purpose in the world. When his best friend and hockey enthusiast Ryan (played by Baruchel) causes a raucous at an amateur game, Doug comes to his defense and pummels one of the players. Completely blown away by the beating, a local coach gives Doug an invitation to join his team as their enforcer. As he puts more and more of his soul into the sport, Doug discovers that the rink is where he belongs.

With Goon, director Michael Dowse dishes out a respectable vision into the world of hockey. In the vein of the classic predecessor Slap Shot, Goon is a well crafted expedition into the crazed mind of a hockey player. Using the brutality and violence of the sport as a backdrop to develop its main character, Goon's leading star Seann William Scott hits all the right notes with his portrayal of the soft spoken Doug Glatt. Scott creates an undeniably lovable and charming central character that adds many different elements to the film. Without his glowing performance, it's safe to say that Goon would most likely feel flat and unsatisfying.

Alongside its wonderfully developed and perfectly utilized leading man, Goon proves to be a successful sports movie because of its ability to transform a bunch of misfits into a cohesive team. With Goon, there are praiseworthy side characters galore. Everyone from the loose canon goalie to the pair of perverted Russian brothers, and then back around to the recently divorced team captain. There's no shortage of laughs and appropriately used R-rated humor. All of which elevate Goon to the notable modern day hockey film that it is.

As is usually the case, Goon doesn't manage to go from start to finish unscathed. Despite the movie's excellent leading star and tale of team unity, Goon is deterred by the unrelenting performance of its main scribe Jay Baruchel. Annoying to a fault, Baruchel's over the top character ends up ruining some otherwise solid scenes. In addition to Baruchel, Goon also tries to stir up a subplot with a love interest for Doug. As a result, the subplot is mishandled and ultimately forced into the script. Sometimes romance isn't vital for a feature work, perhaps Goon fits that mold.

All in all Goon is a solid sports film that will appeal to the masses. Avid fans of hockey are sure to love the movie, but it's important to state that Goon's hysterical delivery helps elevate the film to a higher level. The film can easily be enjoyed by just about anyone. Goon is currently available for rent on Comcast on Demand. Otherwise, keep an eye out for its end of the month release.

Stars: 3 stars out of 4

Grade: B

Sunday, March 4, 2012 Merger

I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be writing for the website Geekscape. Geekscape offers a unique adventure into the world of modern entertainment. Filled with podcasts (which I'll be joining soon), news, and plenty of personality, Geekscape is the perfect place to entertain all of your nerdy needs.

Although my reviews will still be available here, most of my movie lists and other random articles will only be visible through Geekscape. Check out their website ASAP and enjoy the experience.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Another Muppets Movie and a Look at Only God Forgives

After cleaning up $158 million worldwide, The Muppets will return with another installment in the near future. Jason Segel, who starred in and penned their 2011 film, will not be at the helm of the next feature. Although Segel hasn't ruled out starring in the next picture, he's relinquishing the writing duties to James Babin. Details are scarce as the film is in preliminary stages.

In addition to another Muppets movie, Ryan Gosling and his Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn will be combining forces once again in Only God Forgives. A more expanded synopsis has finally been released. The updated plot details are as follows (courtesy of Brad Brevet at

"Bangkok. Ten years ago Julian (Gosling) killed a cop and went on the run. Now he manages a Thai boxing club as a front for a drugs operation. Respected in the criminal underworld, deep inside, he feels empty.

When Julian's brother murders a prostitute the police call on retired cop Chang – the Angel of Vengeance. Chang allows the father to kill his daughter's murderer, then 'restores order' by chopping off the man's right hand.

Julian's mother Jenna – the head of a powerful criminal organization – arrives in Bangkok to collect her son's body. She dispatches Julian to find his killers and 'raise hell'.

Increasingly obsessed with the Angel of Vengeance, Julian challenges him to a boxing match, hoping that by defeating him he might find spiritual release.. but Chang triumphs. A furious Jenna plots revenge and the stage is set for a bloody journey through betrayal and vengeance towards a final confrontation and the possibility of redemption."

February Poll Recap

Now matter how superb the Academy Award winner for Best Picture is, we're all a little tired of hearing about The Artist. No need to worry, this should be my last mention of the film for quite a while. On my February Poll asking, "Which nominated film should win Best Picture at the Oscars", the eventual winner, The Artist, outlasted the competition with 41% of the vote. As an overwhelming victor, The Artist won comfortably over the runner up Moneyball who finished with 17%.

Other films that received votes on February's Poll were The Help and The Tree of Life (11% each) and Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (5%). be sure to vote on March's Poll asking, "Which trilogy is your favorite".