New to DVD Blu-ray and VOD this week: Paddington, The Gambler, Inherent Vice
Cuddle up with Paddington, puff and pass on Inherent Vice, make a bet on The Gambler and watch Alec Baldwin kick butt in Topsiders: @Home entertainment for the week of April 28
By Katherine Monk
Paddington (2014) Three and a half stars out of five. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Waters and the voice of Ben Whishaw. Directed by Paul King. Running time: 95 minutes. Teddy bears are so much more than stuffies. They are personal mascots, true blue friends and a magical savings bank for childhood memories. Pick up your old bear and you’ll be swimming knee-deep in nostalgia, so if you happened to cuddle a bear in a duffle coat and a red hat back in the day, Paddington will prompt a welcome regression as it offers up the origin story of the little bear who lives in London. Taking us back to deepest, darkest Peru, we learn Paddington comes from a rare line of bears that can talk and befriend humans. Tragedy forces Paddington out of the family tree, and in a bid to ...
Movie review: Black Robe
BLACK ROBE (1991)
Three and a half stars out of five. Directed by: Bruce Beresford. Starring Lothaire Bluteau, Tantoo Cardinal, Aden Young, Sandrine Holt, August Schellenberg, Billy Two Rivers. Running time: 100 minutes Set against the backdrop of an as yet uncolonized Canada, Black Robe tells the story of the first Jesuit missionaries to set foot in the New World with hopes of converting the Aboriginal peoples to Christianity. Lothaire Bluteau (Daniel in Jesus of Montreal) reprises his role of the saintly martyr as he plays Father Laforgue, a man of God who fears nothing -- even when he should. Believing he is on a mission from the Almighty Himself, Laforgue heads up-river with his Algonquin guide in search of his proselytizing brothers who have built a mission in the midst of this vast, empty landscape. Realizing too late that he was leading his Algonquin friends into hostile territory, Laforgue is forced to watch as the Iroquois close in with deadly consequences. ...
Ex Machina dangles a divine equation
Movie review: Ex Machina
Writer Alex Garland makes an impressive directing debut retooling Greek tragedy with silicon parts, writes Katherine Monk
Monkey Kingdom mimics Disney magic
Movie Review: Monkey Kingdom
Spending time with a troop of macaques in new Disney Nature doc offers a hairy reflection of the human condition, made comedy by Tina Fey
On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter
Sequel to the classic 1971 documentary takes another lap around oval of motorbike love
ON ANY SUNDAY: THE NEXT CHAPTER: (2014, documentary)
Directed by Dana Brown. Featuring Bo Derek, Travis Pastrana, Jimmy N. Roberts, Ashley Fiolek, Dani Pedrosa, Art Haynie. Three stars out of five Picking up where his father Bruce left off in On Any Sunday, the original 1971 doc featuring Steve McQueen on motorbikes, filmmaker Dana Brown takes us around the world to meet a whole new generation of bike enthusiasts spinning their wheels – happily. From the dirt tracks of the American heartland to the rugged terrain of the Great White North, Brown brings us close enough to the action to smell the tailpipes. He also tries to develop the characters, and use the central passion as the uniting theme. It doesn’t always work because everyone feels a little stiff in front of the camera. They also have a habit of saying the same thing, because how many ways can you express the wind-blown feeling ...
Olive Kitteridge: HBO miniseries showcases McDormand’s killer sardonic skills
OLIVE KITTERIDGE (2014, HBO Miniseries) Starring: Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Bill Murray. Directed by: Lisa Cholodenko. Three and a half stars out of five Watching Frances McDormand’s face is a bit like reading a great Victorian novel. She may be giving us a straightforward chunk of dialogue, but beneath the surface, an entirely different narrative is taking place. Beneath every wrinkle lies a wealth of understated passions, existential awareness and razor-sharp wit that brings emotional currency to every role, including her turn as Olive Kitteridge, the central character in Elizabeth Strout’s 2008 novel. Reunited with her Laurel Canyon director Lisa Cholodenko, McDormand takes this story of a smart, but calloused schoolteacher to the very edge of melodrama without losing her balance, which is probably the miniseries’ biggest victory because its very structure screams soap opera. With Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray sharing the frames, we get a little breathing ...
Chappie reboots best bits of Blade Runner, Robocop
A hacked version of Robocop, Chappie takes place in the not-too-distant future, when violent crime has gone viral and police resources are too stretched to contain the chaos.
By Katherine Monk
Infused with ambient paranoia, apocalyptic imagery and an overall sense of social collapse, Neil Blomkamp’s movies operate in a familiar science-fiction setting, but they feel significantly different from Hollywood spectacle. Where the likes of Lucas and Spielberg find ways of affirming all-American value systems through hero-centric stories, Blomkamp doesn’t seem at all interested in themes of god and country. If anything, the South African filmmaker (who makes his home in Vancouver) focuses on the opposite: He ignores the grand rhetoric of the visible and the valued in an effort to hear the slang of the common folk. In his brilliantly bleak feature debut, District 9, Blomkamp re-invented the alien invasion theme by weaving it into Apartheid metaphor, ...
Circling the Drain: Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Starring: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Jason Jones, Directed by: Steve Pink Running time: 93 minutes One star out of five MPAA Rating: Restricted
By Katherine Monk
No matter how many times you scour afterward, the filmy scum left by Hot Tub Time Machine 2 lingers like greasy dark ring around the brain. A sequel to the surprisingly okay 2010 comedy about four down-and-out dudes who are given a second chance at redemption with a trip to the past via the titular spa equipment, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 had some built-in appeal: Escapist entertainment has its place in life, and sometimes, all you want to do is take off your cerebral corset and get naked in a hot bubble bath of silliness. It’s not that much to ask for, really: A couple of good jokes to keep you listening to the dialogue, characters that prompt empathy, and maybe a plot that doesn’t have to be explained in every other scene. I congratulate screenwriter Josh Heald ...