Charlize Theron is back as the evil Queen Ravenna, who betrays her sister Freya (Emily Blunt) with an unthinkable act of cruelty leading to her path down the dark side of magic; like Elsa from Frozen, she possesses an icy power. She heads north to train an army in order to conquer the realm, with one caveat: They are forbidden to fall in love, which is exactly what happens to Eric and Sara, leading to Freya going postal on her most treasured Huntsmen.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/imaginarium.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In exchange for extraordinary powers, Doctor Parnassus (Chrstopher Plummer) makes a deal with the Devil to turn over any child he fathers when they turn sixteen. But as his daughter Valentina's (Lily Cole) birthday approaches, a mysterious stranger (Heath Ledger) arrives with the power to change everything. Does the good Doctor risk everything and make another deal with the Devil?
Arguably, no single individual did more to win World War II than Alan Turing. By cracking the Nazi Enigma code, it is estimated that the genius mathematician shortened the war by two years and saved 14 million lives. So, why isn’t he a household name? Father of the computer, Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) worked in Britain’s top-secret Bletchley Park, and his achievements were classified for over 50 years. The Imitation Game tells the story of Turing and his fellow code-breakers fighting the clock—and each other—in a race to win the war. Cumberbatch is transcendent as the antisocial, self-absorbed Turing, while Keira Knightley gives her best performance to date as his collaborator and confidante, Joan Clarke. (Both were nominated for Oscars.)
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/incrediblehulk.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) scours the Earth for an antidote to the unbridled force of rage within him: The Hulk. But military mastermind General Ross (William Hurt) wants to control this power and will stop at nothing to capture Bruce to obtain the secret contained in his blood. In desperation, the general unleashes a nightmarish beast of aggression whose powers match the Hulk's own: the Abomination (Tim Roth).
Once one of the world's top crime fighters, Bob Parr (a.k.a. Mr. Incredible) fought evil and saved lives on a daily basis. But 15 years later, he and his wife Helen (the former Elastigirl) have been forced to take on civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs. Itching for action, Mr. Incredible gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top-secret assignment.
Pixar has quite a track record with its films, and this is one of their best. I love how they take something from our society (rampant personal injury lawsuits) and weave it into a story about superheroes that can no longer practice their craft because someone gets a sore neck when being saved from certain death! The cast is brilliant here with Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter as the husband and wife crime fighting team along with Samuel L. Jackson as Lucius Best/Frozone.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/inform.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In 1992, Archer Daniels Midland (AMD) divisional president Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) became the highest ranking whistleblower in US history when he accused his company of price-fixing schemes with its worldwide competitors. Instead of leaving the company, Whitacre stays on the inside and helps the FBI gather evidence by wearing a wire and videotaping secret meetings in order to build the government's case against the greedy executives. Unfortunately for Mark, he wasn't as smart as he thought.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/theint.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>With an intelligent script but sour ending, <i>The International</i> is another outstanding video encode from Sony. Using a mixture of 35mm and 65mm film, it showcases how great Blu-ray can look with meticulous attention to detail. The audio isn't as good as the video, but one scene in particular stands out in this regard and features one of the best gun battles I've viewed in the past couple of years.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/theint.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT><i>Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) is determined to expose an arms-dealing ring responsible for facilitating acts of terrorism around the globe. But as his investigation leads Salinger and his partner, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), deeper into the secret world of greed, corruption, and murder, they become targets of a deadly conspiracy so vast, they soon find the only people left to trust are each other.</i>
The Interpreter is a "diplomatic thriller," if such a thing is possible. And, having been a diplomatic correspondent for several years, I can tell you, the thrills, on the rare occasions they can be found, are wholly intellectual. And so it is with this movie. It offers a long, long windup to a fairly tame denouement.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/invention.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In an alternate reality in which lying doesn't exist and everyone speaks the truth and nothing but the truth with no worry of hurt feelings. When one man (Ricky Gervais) suddenly develops the ability to lie, he finds it has its rewards. A new world of fame and fortune opens up but he steadfastly refuses to fib his way into the heart of the woman he loves. Can he get the girl on his own merits?
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/redoctober.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Jack Ryan is the central character in 12 of Tom Clancy's novels about the CIA analyst. When the debut book, <i>The Hunt for Red October</i>, hit the silver screen in 1990, a relatively unknown actor, Alec Baldwin, starred as Ryan in what was to become the first of many adaptations from the successful literary series. But a combination of factors—a new studio head at Paramount, some bad press about Baldwin and Kim Basinger on the set of <i>Marrying Man</i>, and the availability of superstar Harrison Ford, led to the replacement of Baldwin in <i>Patriot Games</i> and <i>Clear and Present Danger</i> with Ford in the lead role.
Uber-lawyer Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) has it all: a lucrative career defending crooked millionaires, a masterpiece home in suburban Chicago… and a dysfunctional family he hasn’t seen for 20 years. When his mother dies, Hank returns to rural Indiana to attend the funeral and grudgingly console his father (Robert Duvall), a stoic judge who had long ago thrown the book at him, sentencing his son to four years in reformatory. When the judge is involved in a hit-and-run accident, Hank must mount a defense, despite his father’s seeming desire to be found guilty. Along the way, we uncover not only the truths surrounding the accident, but the Palmers’ toxic family history as well. There’s also a rekindled romance between Hank and his childhood sweetheart (Vera Farmiga), the only individual who has flourished in this Hoosier backwater.
So I guess revisiting in live action the catalog of Disney animated classics is officially a thing now. And that’s fine, if they can all manage to be as good as director Jon Favreau’s astutely conceived, beautifully realized take on The Jungle Book. The story here is different enough from the popular 1967 version to make the tale of man-cub Mowgli (endearing newcomer Neel Sethi) fresh and worth watching all over again. He’s been raised by wolves and lives happily among the animals until a ferocious tiger sets his sights on the boy, sending brave Mowgli on a dangerous journey back to the world of man. Yes, there are a couple of familiar songs along the way, but plenty of surprises as well, in addition to some rough beast-on-beast combat that might frighten the little ones.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/kk.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and his single mother move from the east coast to Los Angeles and he has a difficult time meeting new friends. When he becomes the object of bullying by the Cobra Kai, a menacing group of karate students, a local handyman (Pat Morita) teaches the teenager self defense and in the process the two become the best of friends.