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Archive for March, 2011

DVD Report – March 29th

Wow, talk about an improvement. While last week was one of the worst for new DVD releases since we began this blog, this week is one of the best. In fact, every single film here is worth watching, particularly Criticker’s best film of 2010: Black Swan. Less well known is the second installment of the Evangelion series, You Can (Not) Advance. Just make sure you see the first one, beforehand… there will be (no) hand-holding.

Criticker Pick!Black SwanAverage Tier 8.08
BLACK SWAN is a psychological melodrama in which Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a dancer in a New York ballet company, hopes desperately to play a greater part in the coming season, a season that choreographer Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) informs the company will include a new production of “Swan Lake.” Black Swan @ Amazon

TangledAverage Tier 6.48
Disney’s animators take on the story of Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a long-tressed beauty imprisoned in a tower until a rakish bandit (Zachary Levi) aids in her escape. Romance blooms between the unlikely pair as they flee her evil captors, Darker the Warlock (Kevin Michael Richardson) and Madame Gothel (Grey DeLisle). Tangled @ Amazon

Mesrine: Public Enemy #1Average Tier 6.58
The story of notorious French gangster Jacques Mesrine. Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 @ Amazon

Fair GameAverage Tier 5.46
Plame’s status as a CIA agent was revealed by White House officials allegedly out to discredit her husband after he wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece saying that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq. Fair Game @ Amazon

Criticker Pick!Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) AdvanceAverage Tier 7.89
This second installation of the four-part Rebuild series sets itself an almost impossible task: To condense seven hours of the TV anime, episodes 7 to 20, into a single 108-minute feature. Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance @ Amazon

DVD Report – March 22nd

Blech, you know it’s an awful week for new DVDs when not even Yogi Bear is the worst among them. No, that dishonor goes to Skyline, a sci-fi thriller that almost snagged the top spot on Criticker’s Worst of 2010 list. One would have had higher hopes for the “dream” pair of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, but not even ultra-sexiness or ultra-coolness can rescue a terrible story… The Tourist was roundly booed by users of Criticker. So, not a single thing to even half-heartedly recommend.

The TouristAverage Tier 3.12
Watery, enchanted Venice provides the setting for this thriller starring Johnny Depp as an American tourist seeking solace there for his shattered heart — only to find it in danger once again after encountering a beautiful Interpol agent (Angelina Jolie). Little does the poor Yank know that the artful agent has gone to great lengths to arrange their “chance” meeting and is using him to trap a criminal who also happens to be her ex-lover. The Tourist @ Amazon

SkylineAverage Tier 1.93
Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth. (Universal Pictures) Skyline @ Amazon

How Do You KnowAverage Tier 3.19
Feeling a bit past her prime at 27, former athlete Lisa Jorgenson finds herself in the middle of a love triangle, as a corporate guy in crisis competes with Lisa’s current, baseball-playing beau. (imdb) How Do You Know @ Amazon

Yogi BearAverage Tier 2.33
When the greedy mayor (Andrew Daly) decides to close Jellystone Park to cash in by selling the land, Yogi Bear (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) and his sidekick Boo-Boo (voiced by Justin Timberlake) must team with their adversary, Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh), to save their home. Meanwhile, filmmaker Rachel (Anna Faris) follows Yogi and captures his antics. Yogi Bear @ Amazon

Meskada
Small-town detective Noah Cordin is called to solve a juvenile homicide that occurred during a home burglary in his affluent town of Hilliard. The dead boy’s mother, Allison Connor, is a member of the Meskada County Board of Commissioners, and a powerful woman in Hilliard; and the entire township rallies together in solidarity – to support her and Detective Cordin’s efforts to find the killers. Meskada @ Amazon

DVD Report – March 15th

The two best films this week on DVD deal with sports of the extreme variety. Boxing drama The Fighter gobbled up both supporting actor awards at the Oscars this year, for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. Less well known is the mountain climbing documentary The Wildest Dream about George Mallory’s ill-fated 1924 ascent to the top of Mount Everest. Interweaving a present day expedition to the site with Mallory’s biography, read by Ralph Fiennes and Natasha Richardson, this film got strong marks from the few users of Criticker who’ve seen it.

The FighterAverage Tier 6.96
A look at the early years of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s. The Fighter @ Amazon

HereafterAverage Tier 4.88
Clint Eastwood directs this supernatural thriller about three very different people and their responses to death, including a hesitant American psychic named George (Matt Damon) who may be able to help the others find answers and peace. Marie (Cecile De France) is a French journalist caught up in the aftereffects of the devastating 2004 tsunami, while in London, young Marcus (Frankie McLaren) seeks to contact his deceased twin brother. Hereafter @ Amazon

The SwitchAverage Tier 4.22
Still single and increasingly attuned to the cacophony of her biological clock, 40-something Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) decides that if she can’t find a mate she’ll still pursue motherhood with the help of a sperm sample that’s not quite as anonymous as she thinks. As the baby grows up, Kassie’s best friend, Wally (Jason Bateman), agonizes over whether to reveal that he secretly replaced the donor sample with his own DNA. The Switch @ Amazon

A Shine of RainbowsAverage Tier 4.29
A lonely orphan’s life is transformed by an extraordinary woman who teaches him to conquer grief and discover the magic in nature and himself. A Shine of Rainbows @ Amazon

The Wildest DreamAverage Tier 6.75
Could Mallory have succeeded in reaching the summit before he and fellow climber Andrew Sandy Irvine disappeared in 1924? In the quest for answers, Conrad Anker finally returns to Everest in 2007 with British climbing prodigy Leo Houlding, replicating as closely as possible Mallorys ill-fated expedition. The men retrace the North East Ridge Route, even removing the ladder from the infamous Second Step to free climb this dangerous 90-foot sheer rock wall as Mallory did 83 years ago. The Wildest Dream @ Amazon

DVD Report – March 8th

Four Lions has to be one of the more unlikely comedy hits of the past few years, as its protagonists are a group of domestic Islamic jihadists who plan on exploding a bomb and killing loads of people. Things, of course, go sour and somehow hilarity ensues. Or at the completely opposite end of the spectrum, today sees the release of last year’s best documentary (at least according to Oscar): Inside Job. All in all, a good week at the video store.

Criticker Pick!Four LionsAverage Tier 7.22
Four Lions is the tale of four British Islamic jihadists and their bungling plan to detonate a bomb during the London marathon. As things don’t go to plan their differing ideological ideals clash and their plans turn to farce. A comedy with tragic overtones about ideologies, terrorism and idiots. Four Lions @ Amazon

Jackass 3-DAverage Tier 5.34
Johnny Knoxville — the original Jackass himself — returns after a long hiatus and subjects himself to all-new stunts involving wild animals, dangerous heights and other perils guaranteed to do him bodily harm. “Jackass” regulars Bam Margera and Steve-O also endure their share of punishment in this collection of stomach-churning, don’t-ever-try-these-at-home acrobatics that time and again blur the line between hilarious and tasteless. Jackass 3-D @ Amazon

Next Three Days, TheAverage Tier 5.03
A married couple’s life is turned upside down when the wife is accused of a murder. Next Three Days, The @ Amazon

Morning GloryAverage Tier 4.27
A hotshot television producer is set the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program, despite the constant feuding of its high-profile anchors. Morning Glory @ Amazon

Criticker Pick!Inside JobAverage Tier 7.81
Takes a closer look at what brought about the financial meltdown. Inside Job @ Amazon

Trailer: A Fix & Improvements

A lot of users had pointed out that updating films with YouTube trailers wasn’t working, since YouTube changed their embedding code. We’ve fixed that now, and taken the opportunity to make the Trailer window on the film information pages a whole lot bigger and better.

Gone is the gray box which once surrounded the trailers, and you can now hit the “full screen” button if you choose.

Thanks again to everyone who reported this problem!

DVD Report – March 1st

The pick of the week is Danny Boyle’s latest, 127 Hours, starring James Franco as adventurer Aron Ralston. Though it didn’t pick up any Academy Awards this past weekend, it still won the love of Criticker users. Further down on the quality scale, Anne Hathaway messes around under the covers with Jake Gyllenhaal in Love and Other Drugs. Hmm, it’s just coincidental that the two Oscar hosts have new DVDs available right after the ceremony, right?

Criticker Pick!127 HoursAverage Tier 7.47
Based on the real life story of canyoneer Aron Ralston, who in 2003 was forced to self-amputate his arm after being stranded and pinned underneath a boulder inside of Bluejohn’s Canyon in Utah. 127 Hours @ Amazon

Love and Other DrugsAverage Tier 4.14
Maggie (Hathaway) is an alluring free spirit who won’t let anyone – or anything – tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie (Gyllenhaal), whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Maggie and Jamie’s evolving relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimate drug: love. Love and Other Drugs @ Amazon

FasterAverage Tier 3.99
On the very day he’s released from a 10-year prison sentence, convicted bank robber Driver (Dwayne Johnson) hits the streets to take revenge on the men who bungled the job that got him busted and his beloved brother killed. But close on Driver’s tail are a driven cop (Billy Bob Thornton) on the one hand and a flamboyant contract killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) on the other. Faster @ Amazon

BurlesqueAverage Tier 3.81
A small-town girl ventures to Los Angeles and finds her place in a neo-burlesque club run by a former dancer. Burlesque @ Amazon

What If…
15 years ago, Ben Walker left his girlfriend and his ministry calling for a business opportunity. Now with a high-paying career and a trophy fiancé, he is visited by an angel, who gives him a glimpse into what his life would look like had he followed his calling. What If… @ Amazon