Welcome to my film critic's blog! A lifetime of loving movies has enabled me to do this. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The right movie diet for 2010: Part XII

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader takes Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and their cousin on an ocean voyage with King Caspian (Ben Barnes) to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia. With the returning cast under Michael Apted’s direction, this flick has a good chance of being the best of the series so far.

Tron Legacy is the sequel to TRON, the 1982 film set in a digital world full of fierce programs and gladiatorial games. With today’s special effects, an Imax 3-D experience should be something special. These two definitely seem like the best bet.

This list should leave you pretty cinematically satiated by the end of the year. Plenty to look forward to – should be a good year, fingers crossed. Bon app├ętit!

The right movie diet for 2010: Part XI

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I is the penultimate movie in the series and the beginning of the end. Since the last book is arguably the best one and director David Yates has consistently created quality material, the story of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s quest to save the world should be an awesome spectacle.

The other notable release is Unstoppable. As a Tony Scott fan since the 1980s, I'll watch anything he makes. This one is about rail company employees fighting to prevent an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train carrying combustible liquids and poisonous gas from wiping out a city. Seems to bring back memories of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, which I found more than a little underwhelming. Still, the Scott-Denzel Washington combo is usually special and I'm hoping he will do better this time. Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson seal the deal.

The right movie diet for 2010: Part X

From director David Fincher comes The Social Network, a story about the founders of Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker and Eduardo Saverin. Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing, penned the script for this flick starring Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield.

Based on a DC Comics graphic novel, Red is about a former black-ops CIA agent (Bruce Willis), whose quiet life is threatened by an assassin. He reassembles his old team (Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren) in a last ditch effort to survive. Karl Urban, Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Ernest Borgnine and Julian McMahon join the ensemble.

The right movie diet for 2010: Part IX

Director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) tries his hand at animation with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole based on the series of children's books by Kathryn Lasky. It features the voices of Hugo Weaving, Emilie de Ravin, Helen Mirren and Geoffrey Rush in a story about a war between owls.

Director Ben Affleck returns with The Town, which is about a longtime thief trying to balance his feelings for a bank manager while dealing with the FBI agent looking to bring him down. Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner and Chris Cooper come together for this film.

If either of these is not your thing, try Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

The right movie diet for 2010: Part VIII

Sylvester Stallone wrote and directed The Expendables about a team of mercenaries heading to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator. This film has perhaps the largest gathering of actions stars ever brought together for a single flick – apart from Stallone himself, you’ve got Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews and Mickey Rourke. Don’t miss the cameos from Bruce Willis and Arnold Swarzenegger. A possible new action classic!

After the success of Julie & Julia comes Eat, Pray, Love, another bestseller making its way to the screen with Julia Roberts as the lead.

If you’re in the mood for a creature feature, try out Piranha 3-D. I know, I know but it's 3-D...I rest my case.

The right movie diet for 2010: Part VII


This year, director Christopher Nolan gives us Inception, which is described as a contemporary sci-fi actioner set within the architecture of the mind. Nolan’s script has attracted the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe and Tom Hardy. The man usually does not create anything short of mind-blowing, so this should be special.

The Last Airbender based on the hit animated series is directed by M. Night Shyamalan. He hopes to make a comeback with this fantasy about a successor to a long line of Avatars who must stop a war that will consume the world. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The right movie diet for 2010: Part VI

Many have been waiting forever for 80s TV series The A-Team to become a movie. The film is about four Iraq War veterans falsely accused of a crime who survive as soldiers for hire while looking to clear their name.

If there is only one animated flick you catch this year, make it Toy Story 3. It could be one of those rare trilogies that end up with three high-quality films.

As the comic book genre is mined deep, characters like Jonah Hex will continue to hit the screen. The unconventional tale is about a scarred bounty hunter tracking a voodoo practitioner bent on raising an undead army.

If that seems a little too out there, check out The Karate Kid with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, a remake of the classic about a bullied boy who learns the true meaning of martial arts.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The right movie diet for 2010: Part V

Iron Man 2 is one that is on everyone’s must-see lists this year. If you enjoyed the first flick, this one should be even better with Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Don Cheadle joining Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson for more armor action, humor and pure summer entertainment.

Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett come together for Robin Hood. The trailer brings back Gladiator memories, which is a very good thing.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time could be the first video game adaptation that does justice to the source material. Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton and Ben Kingsley under Mike Newell’s direction remove any hesitation.

If any of these are not to your taste, heist flick Takers, Shrek Forever After or Sex and the City 2 should fill the gap.

The right movie diet for 2010: Part IV

Based on the Mark Millar comic book series, Kick-Ass is an ultra-violent oft-profane tale financed independently by director Matthew Vaughn. It’s about a high school student who decides to become a superhero though he has no powers or training.

Staying with graphic novels, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Idris Elba, Chris Evans, Columbus Short, Jason Patric and Zoe Saldana join hands for The Losers. It’s about a CIA black ops team on a mission to take down those who targeted them for assassination.

Clash of the Titans kicks off the blockbuster season with go-to guy Sam Worthington as Perseus, mortal son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), on a mission that entails battling the monsters of Greek mythology.

From one remake to another. Look forward to A Nightmare on Elm Street with Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger, the knife-fingered serial killer who haunts dreams.

The right movie diet for 2010: Part III

A delicious marriage of material and maker happened when Tim Burton took on Alice in Wonderland with usual suspects Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in tow. Add Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee, Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman and Mia Wasikowska and there is little that could disappoint about this project. Burton’s new take returns Alice to Wonderland as a teen where she reunites with familiar friends to defeat the Red Queen. Burton, Depp, Wonderland - what more can I say? A 3-D release too.

Kicking off the animation segment of the year is How to Train Your Dragon, the tale of a young Viking sent to the North Sea to take on a dragon as a rite of passage. The visuals are pretty arresting and the humor seems spot on. With the 3-D phenomenon here to stay, this should be another immersive experience. Featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Another good choice is The Runaways, a 1970s biopic about the first successful all-girl hard rock band of the title starring Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie. Written and directed by Floria Sigismondi, the film is based on the book by Cherie Currie, Neon Angel: The Cherie Currie Story.

Photograph: This image is of a poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher or the creator of the work depicted. It is believed that the use of scaled-down, low-resolution images of posters to provide critical commentary on the film in question or of the poster itself, not solely for illustration, is fair use.

The right movie diet for 2010: Part II

The Wolfman has had a troubled upbringing but the remake finally hits cinemas with the skills of Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving on display. With Joe Johnston at the helm and an awesome trailer, this could be a welcome return to old school horror. Take careful note of Johnston's style as he will be helming the Captain America movie in 2011.

Speaking of spooky, Shutter Island from Martin Scorsese is a period horror-thriller with Leonardo DiCaprio about the disappearance of a mental patient on a remote island.

A possible third choice could be Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan teaming with director Kevin Smith for Cop Out, which is about buddy cops tracking down a stolen baseball card, a Mexican beauty, gangsters and drug money.

Another option is to check out The Crazies, a remake of the 1973 George A. Romero film, about the inhabitants of a small Iowa town suddenly plagued by insanity and then death after a mysterious toxin contaminates their water supply.

Honorable mentions go to Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief based on the first novel of the young adult fantasy series by Rick Riordanand, which I'm still ambivalent about, and Woody Harrelson flick Defendor, centering on Arthur Poppington who at night becomes Defendor, a superhero looking to rid his city of drugs, weapons, and the crime lord known as Captain Industry.

 Photos courtesy:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The right movie diet for 2010: Part I

Let's get 2010 off on the right note. The New Year is in full swing and so is the recession. After paying $17.50 for a 3-D Imax showing of “Avatar,” it got me thinking about what it would be like to go on a movie diet.

As a film lover and movie critic, I’ve gotten used to seeing 150+ (cinema and Netflix) movies a year but if I had to pick a much smaller number of theatrical releases alone, how would I select which ones to see? I would need to make sure the diet is balanced – some appetizing action/adventure films, a few comedy entrees (romantic or otherwise), a course of indie movies, a side order of horror and thrills, another course of drama and maybe some musicals and animation for dessert. Add in a side order of anything with great and/or critical buzz.

So what constitutes an acceptable number of trips to the cinema? With a year to play with, let’s say we can carve it down to about three or four a month. With the box office bursting at the seams, there are no quiet periods anymore, so let’s take it month by month.

Treat yourself to apocalypse flicks by choosing either Paul Bettany in Legion or Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli. Bettany as machinegun-wielding archangel Michael or messiah figure Washington with the last Bible on earth – I’ll go with Denzel.

Be sure to also catch Cannes fave Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon about children in a German village before World War I and Fish Tank, a British indie drama about a 15-year-old struggling with an attraction to her mother’s boyfriend and a secret love of hip-hop dancing.

An honorable mention goes to the action return of Mel Gibson as a homicide detective in Edge of Darkness and Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe bringing back respect to vampires with Daybreakers.

Legion photograph courtesy: