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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: One Movie, Five Views Expands Onto an Exciting New Platform

Toronto, ON (March 24, 2010) – After nearly two years on Blogger and incredible success, One Movie, Five Views has taken the next step forward and opened up into a full website. The content and writers will be the same, but the look and capabilities of the site will be much more advanced. For easier navigation, there will now be a menu bar to sort through all of the interesting and exciting content, including sections for Movies, DVDs, Books, Music, Articles and Interviews.


One Movie, Five Views has also added an updated "about us" page, and it now includes a brief history and description of the website, as well as short bios for each of the writers. There is also now easier access to all of the general contact info, Twitter page, contests, and a more detailed look at the 4-star rating system.


The new home of One Movie, Five Views can be found at www.onemoviefiveviews.com. Please take the time to check out the new website, and do not hesitate to give your feedback.


www.onemoviefiveviews.blogspot.com will still be accessible, but will not be updated and just remain there for archival and nostalgic purposes.


"One Movie, Five Views hopes for many more years of success in offering opinions and criticism on all things movies. We hope that our new platform will be just as popular with all of our pre-existing fans." - One Movie, Five Views staff


About One Movie, Five Views

One Movie, Five Views was originally launched on June 20th, 2008, with a review of Get Smart. What makes the website unique, and stand out from other websites, is that five people will each watch the same movie, and each write a review. The idea behind the website is five different opinions about the same movie. One Movie, Five Views is based in Toronto.

-30-

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Blind Side Now on DVD/BluRay

Today, Warner Home Video released the Oscar nominated film The Blind Side on Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack.


Worthy of it’s surprise coveted Best Picture nom, this is a truly inspiring tale brought effectively to the big screen. It is definitely one worth owning.


When we reviewed the film when it opened in theatres on October 16th, our consensus was:


“The Blind Side is a really good movie. Based on a true story, it is not overly dramatized and is carried well, thanks to an excellent cast. ***1/2 (Out of 4)”


About the disc:

The BluRay Combo Pack contains the following special features (exclusive to the Blu-Ray disc:


• Michael Oher Exclusive Interview - Rare Interview with the Pro

Footballer Whose Life the Movie Depicts


• Sidelines: Conversations on The Blind Side - Sandra Bullock and Leigh

Anne Tuohy Go One-on-One


• Acting Coaches: Behind The Blind Side - When Six Legendary SEC

College Football Coaches Come Together, Competition Steps Up Both On

and Off the Screen


• The story of Big Quinton - Neophyte Actor Quinton Aaron’s Moving Life

Story Has Much in Common with the Football Star He Portrays


Plus, Additional Scenes


The Blind Side is 128 minutes and is rated PG.


Link to our original reviews here.


- Erin V.

DVD Review: Brothers

Brothers - An Alliance Films Release

http://www.brothersfilm.com/

DVD Release Date: March 23rd, 2010

Rated 14A for coarse language, violence, and disturbing content.

Running time: 105 minutes


Jim Sheridan (dir.)


David Benioff (screenplay)

Susanne Bier (motion picture “Brødre”)

Anders Thomas Jensen (motion picture “Brødre”)


Thomas Newman (music)


“Winter” performed by U2


Tobey Maguire as Capt. Sam Cahill

Jake Gyllenhaal as Tommy Cahill

Natalie Portman as Grace Cahill

Sam Shepard as Hank Cahill

Clifton Collins, Jr. as Major Cavazos

Mare Winningham as Elsie Cahill

Bailee Madison as Isabelle Cahill

Taylor Geare as Maggie Cahill

Patrick Flueger as Private Joe Willis

Carey Mulligan as Cassie Willis


Program Content and Package Artwork: © 2009 Brothers Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Package Design and Summary: © MMX Lions Gate Films Inc. All Rights Reserved. Distributed Exclusively by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.


Our reviews below:

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Brothers DVD Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

If The Hurt Locker was the story of war as a drug, than Brothers is the story of war as murder. It’s about, even if we come out of a battle physically alive, the scars that remain with us for life. The death of our previous selves.


Tobye Maguire plays Sam, a soldier enlisting for another stint in Afghanistan, leaving behind his wife, (Natalie Portman), his two daughters, and his brother, Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal), who has recently been released from jail. When Sam is presumed dead, Tommy starts to take care of his wife and kids.


The film is centred on three excellent performances, and a brilliant supporting cast. Tobey Maguire is amazing in his portrayal of someone with PTSD. This is a family drama, as well as a war movie, and it succeeds as both - an excellent film.


The film’s major flaw comes not from the movie itself, but from the advertising. Way too much of the plot was given away in the trailers, so it doesn’t quite have the same emotionally draining effect, if you’ve previously seen the trailer.


The DVD includes audio commentary with director Jim Sheridan, a featurette on Brothers and the Danish film on which it was based, and a featurette on Sheridan.

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Brothers DVD Review By Erin V.

***3/4 (out of 4)

Based on the 2004 Danish film Brødres, Brothers, tells the story of two brothers. One, Capt. Sam Cahill, is a marine embarking on his fourth tour of Afghanistan, and the other, Tommy, is an ex-convict just out of jail. Tommy is slightly estranged from the family, except for with Sam, and when Sam is presumed dead after a chopper crash, Tommy steps up to help his wife and two kids he left behind.


The alternating scenes between the US and Afghanistan really create a balance here that keeps the film moving forward quite well. This film is both a drama and a war film, and really succeeds in showing how the war overseas doesn't stay there, as the people at home and those who come back from it, are haunted by both the memories and realities of war.


I don't want to reveal too much, since I found that the one thing that made this film less enjoyable for me, was the fact that I had seen the trailer. The trailer tells far more than it should.


The strongest part of this film is definitely the acting. Tobey Maguire is excellent as Sam, his performance real and intense, and Jake Gylenhaal is also very believable as Tommy. Sam's wife Grace is played very well by Natalie Portman, and their two daughters are played very realistically by Bailee Madison, and Taylor Geare. The rest of the supporting cast as well, all do a great job.


Thomas Newman's score also fits well, since his style of music can play quite nicely to this kind of film. The song over the closing credits, Winter, performed by U2, is also very fitting.

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Brothers DVD Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

Brothers is a low key, believable drama about the hardships of a military family. Tobey Maguire is excellent as Sam, a military dad of two young daughters. His brother, Tommy, has just been released from prison, and is trying to get his life back on track. When Sam is deployed to Afghanistan, he finds himself in a terrible situation, and is forced to do something unthinkable. Meanwhile, back home, he is presumed dead. His wife, Grace, and Tommy help care for the kids, who are grieving this apparent loss of their father. When Sam eventually does come back, however, he has completely changed.


While a hard film to watch at times, Brothers is very compelling. I really liked how the film is edited, to show the contrast between human brutality and childhood innocence. The violence in this film is shown in an honest, but restrained and bloodless way. All of the actors in this film did an amazing performance. I am actually surprised that Brothers wasn’t up for any Oscars. Brothers is a thought provoking film that is worth owning on DVD.

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Brothers DVD Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

Brothers is a powerfully delivered story of two brothers each dealing with the after effects of the war in Afghanistan on their family. Capt. Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) goes missing in Afghanistan leaving his wife and two daughters at home in the U.S. presuming him dead. Sam’s brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) has just gotten out of prison in the U.S. and is around to help Sam’s wife, Grace (Natalie Portman) and her two young daughters pick up the pieces of their lives. When Sam does return home he has trouble adjusting to the changed dynamics at home.


The strength of brothers is in the emotionally charged performances by the three lead actors. Tobey Maguire is particularly strong as the emotionally fragile Capt. Sam Cahill. The transformation from the pre-duty Cahill to the damaged man that returns home is entirely believable and powerful to watch. Jake Gyllenhaal as Tommy and Natalie Portman as Grace also give superb performances.


Brothers is a really strong movie that while difficult to watch at certain scenes is worth watching for the solid performances, especially Tobey Maguire. Buy it or rent it.

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Brothers DVD Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

Brothers is an American adaptation of the 2004 Danish film Brødre. As the film opens, marine captain Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire), on leave from Afghanistan, is bringing his brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) out of prison after serving time for robbing a bank. Sam’s wife Grace (Natalie Portman), two young daughters and stepmother welcome Tommy, but their father, ex-marine ‘Nam veteran Hank (Sam Shepard) makes his disappointment in Tommy as clear as his pride in Sam. Back in Afghanistan, Sam is shot down and presumed dead, but he has been captured and brutally treated. Meanwhile back home Tommy does what he can to keep out of trouble and support his brother’s family, renovating their kitchen and spending time with Grace and the girls. Just as feelings between Tommy and Grace start to develop further, Sam is rescued and brought home with severe PTSD and survivor guilt, leading to alienation of his kids and an obsessive suspicion about Grace and Tommy that could end tragically.


Despite some brutal moments, the sensitive script and excellent performances make Brothers a very satisfying life-affirming film.

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Consensus: Brothers is a powerfully acted film about the relationship between two brothers. ***3/4 (Out of 4)

DVD Review: Astro Boy

Astro Boy – An E1 Films’ Release

http://www.astroboy-themovie.com/

DVD Release Date: March 16th, 2010

Rated PG for some action and peril, and brief mild language.

Running time: 94 minutes


David Bowers (dir.)


Osamu Tezuka (comic series)

Timothy Harris (screenplay)

David Bowers (screenplay)


John Ottman (music)


Nicolas Cage as Dr. Tenma (voice)

Kristen Bell as Cora (voice)

Samuel L. Jackson as Zog (voice)

Bill Nighy as Dr. Elefun (voice)

Freddie Highmore as Astro Boy (voice)

Donald Sutherland as President Stone (voice)

Nathan Lane as Ham Egg (voice)

Eugene Levy as Orrin (voice)


Our reviews below:

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Astro Boy DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Astro Boy is based on a popular Japanese anime series. It is the story of a scientist whose son is killed, and he deals with the guilt by building a robotic copy of his son, Toby. Astro Boy must deal with his father’s resentment, as he fights crime and comes to terms with being a robot. If you can get past the slightly strange subject matter, it’s actually pretty good.


Though it’s nowhere near as good as Robots or Meet the Robinsons, and isn’t even mentionable in the same sentence as Pixar’s masterpiece WALL•E, three films that it takes more than a little inspiration from, it is still inventive in its own way. It has enough good parts, especially the stuff with the robots, to make it worth watching, especially for kids.


The DVD includes several featurettes, and some bonus animation.

___________________________________________________

Astro Boy DVD Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

The story of Astro Boy begins in Metro City, a floating city above the trash-covered earth. The whole city is full of robots that help run the town, under the command of humans. After losing his genius son, Toby, in a freak accident, Dr. Tenma, the scientist that designed most of the technology for the whole city, uses Toby's DNA to make a robot version of him. His new 'son' is Astro Boy. The first part of the movie seemed kind of mediocre to me, but I started to really like the film more, once Astro ends up accidentally crash landing back down on ground-level Earth.


Once on the surface, he meets a group of 'street kids', and for the first time realizes that there are those who live outside the 'perfect' world of Metro City. He also meets a rag-tag group of robots that are part of what they call the RRF, or Robot Revolutionary Front. They are trying to up rise against the injustices of robot slavery, and the fact that when they break down, they are just discarded by being thrown down to the surface. He also finds himself in the middle of robot gladiatorial games that take place in this 'new world' he's found. Eventually though, he has to return to Metro City to save it from 'The Peacekeeper', which is a robot controlled by a corrupt president seeking reelection, as it is now destroying the town.


By the end of the movie, the film has turned out to be actually quite an enjoyable ride, and while not really as enjoyable outside the 6-12 market as other films, both that group, and fans of the original Astro Boy comics and shows, will want to see this one. Depending on where you fall in the target groups, either rent or buy this one.

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Astro Boy DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Based on the Japanese cartoon of the same name, Astro Boy is a fun kid’s film that is inventive and funny enough for adults. Reminiscent of WALL•E, the story begins in Metro City, a floating community that sits above a trash filled Earth. Dr Tenma, a brilliant scientist, is proud of his genius son, Toby. When Toby is killed in a terrible accident, Dr. Tenma creates a robotic clone of him out of Toby’s memories, and a positive energy known as “blue energy.” The robotic child ends up on the land below, and meets up with a group of street kids, various robots, a robot repair guy, and a hilarious trio of Monty Pythonesque robots known as the RRF. The boy becomes known as Astro Boy, spreading a message of peace.


Astro Boy is a good film for families. The voice cast is good, and the storyline, while similar to other films such as Robots, is still very original. The underlying messages in this film are good too. Astro Boy is worth owning on DVD, especially if you have children in the 6-12 range.

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Astro Boy DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Astro Boy is a fun and exciting animated adventure about a Pinocchio kind of hero. Toby/Astro Boy (voiced by Freddie Highmore) has to discover his strengths and weaknesses and figure out what’s right and wrong to save both people and robots on futuristic Earth’s Metro City.


While the story starts out rather slowly the pace and fun picks up when Astro Boy heads back to Earth. There he meets up with a group of street kids and an interesting assortment of robots. The robots in this movie are what make it appealing. I especially liked Eugene Levy’s submissive servant robot and the RRF (Robot Revolutionary Front) robots. They are all quirky and fun to watch they reminded me of both WALL•E and Robots.


The animation in Astro Boy is well done and the voice acting features an all-star cast. The adventurous story along with the appealing robots make this a very watchable movie. Though Astro Boy will appeal more to the six to ten year old demographic adults and older kids will also find this fun. If you have kids who like to watch a movie more than once, than Astro Boy is worth the purchase price. Otherwise this would make a good weekend rental for the family.

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Astro Boy DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Astro Boy is based on an amime series that I was unfamiliar with. From accounts of fans of the series, it is a faithful rendering of the original, including the rather dark back story of how Astro, fitted out with all the powers of an Iron Man, was a robot copy of the scientist Dr. Tenma’s genius son, killed by a super robot commissioned by the corrupt president Stone.


Produced in Hong Kong by Imaji Animation Studios, Astro Boy is not in the same league as Pixar or Dreamworks, but I enjoyed it more than some other recent features such as Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and way more than Planet 51. Its rather conventional plot is enriched by inspired casting, notably the title character (Freddie Highmore). Dr. Tenma (Nicholas Cage), the “tricky Dick” president (Donald Sutherland), the grovelling robot servant (Eugene Levy), the rogue robot repairman (an amimated version of Nathan Lane), and the pythonesque schtick from a trio of cockney junkyard robot protesters.

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Consensus: Though not in the same league as some other animated films, Astro Boy is a surprisingly fun and inventive animated film, especially for kids. *** (Out of 4)

Friday, March 19, 2010

DVD Review: The Twilight Saga: New Moon

The Twilight Saga: New Moon – An E1 Films’ Release

http://www.newmoonthemovie.com/

DVD Release Date: March 20th, 2010

Rated PG for violence and frightening scenes

Running time: 130 minutes


Chris Weitz (dir.)


Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay)

Stephenie Meyer (novel)


Marcus Miller (music)


Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan

Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black

Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen

Anna Kendrick as Jessica

Michael Sheen as Aro

Dakota Fanning as Jane


*Read our thoughts on Twilight here!*


Our reviews below:

_____________________________________________

New Moon Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

In The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Bella (played by the usual one-note Kristen Stewart) has a tough choice to make. She has to choose between suicidal vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson - still not sure he's much of an actor, but he gets points for trying), and wolfman Jacob (Taylor Lautner - who is topless in the majority of his scenes). Jacob is the obvious better choice, but I think we all know where Bella's "priorities" lie.


New Moon is arguably a bit better than the first Twilight in terms of better special effects, but it is arguably worse in terms of pacing. Neither one is a bad movie, but they aren't exactly great either. They're both just kind of average, though in my opinion, Twilight was a better film. Either way, I still don't quite get the mass appeal.


The film's major flaw, besides soliciting some unintentional laughs, is that it is about 30 minutes too long. It clocks in at a grandiose 130 minutes. Not much actually happens, and the scenes that should be “tense” just look silly. Ultimately, New Moon is worth renting if you're curious, but worth buying if you're a "Twihard."


The DVD includes audio commentary with Director Chris Weitz and Editor Peter Lambert, a 6-part behind the scenes documentary, and a few music videos. The approximate running time of the bonus features is 78 minutes.

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New Moon DVD Review By Erin V.

**1/2 (out of 4)

Well, the wolf's out of the bag - in New Moon, Bella's officially crazy, and not just crazy in love with Edward. Why does she stick with him?


In this sequel to Twilight, Bella Swan is still swooning over, and then becoming more depressed over vampire Edward Cullen. But why is Bella so crazy? Well, she does a lot of crazy things, since the Cullen’s leave Forks at the beginning of the movie because people are starting to notice that they never age... So, the only way to see Edward, (in a vision), is to do reckless things that cause near death experiences. She's too fixated on Edward in my opinion.


This movie though, also shows more of her relationship with her childhood friend in Forks, Jacob Black. Jacob just happens to turn into a wolf when becoming angry or protective. But, even as a wolf, he seems more appealing than Edward.


You see, she could just be with Jacob, and try to get past the whole Edward fiasco. But, I guess she has trouble picking between the two opposite guys she loves. Edward as a vampire has ice-cold skin, while Jacob as a half-wolf is warmer than usual for example. Wow, when picking a boyfriend that must be a hard choice. Why snuggle up with a wolf, when you could be with a vampire... I don't know, safety maybe? The wolf option seems far safer to me.


The real question though, is why on Earth would Bella put herself through all of this craziness? Because it writes a good story. If the character was a reality, she would certainly be in therapy (you'd hope) - not crashing motorcycles or jumping off cliffs to see visions of her undead boyfriend.


If you ask me, I don't see why Edward would appeal more than Jacob. It's not a believable choice. As for comparing this movie to the first movie, Twilight, it's pretty close for me. The action scenes at the end of the first one had slightly more of a danger feel, while at the end of this one were just a lot of laughable whooshing special effects. Although, the technical elements of the special effects were way better in this one - especially with the CGI wolves - the tenseness wasn't really there. I liked some parts of the middle of this one better, since Taylor Lautner's definitely a better actor than Robert Pattinson, but in neither is Kristen Stewart a standout - she seems to always have the same expression on her face.


Both films could have had shorter running lengths. Looking over my review, I think this movie both bored and annoyed me enough to cause a bit of a character analysis rant... Eclipse, the next one in the series, comes out in June. Will the series ever get any better? One could only hope.

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New Moon DVD Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Following where Twilight left off, New Moon further develops the characters from Twilight. Now, it is Bella's 18th birthday, and she is becoming aware that while she ages, Edward doesn't. The fact that the Cullens don't age means that they must move often.


After a near disaster at Bella's birthday party that is like the shark scene in Finding Nemo, Edward, now depresses at the prospect of having to leave Bella, goes on a suicidal trip to the Volturi, a secret group of vampires in Italy, who will destroy any vampire who reveals himself to the world.


Meanwhile, back in Forks, Jacob develops feelings for Bella. He also realizes that he, like a few others in his tribe, has the ability to transform into a wolf the size of a Shetland Pony. The pack of young, horse-size wolves, exists to protect humans from man-eating vampires. (As an wildlife artist with a fondness for wolves, I was pleased that the wolves, while ridiculously larger than life, look and move accurately.)


Jacob saves Bella from some of the dangerous hobbies that she engages in (Edward appears to Bella if her life is in danger.) Jacob feels, that as a living creature, Bella would be better with someone big, warm, and fuzzy, as opposed to someone cold and undead. But Bella's heart is with Edward, and she will do anything to get him back.


The special effects in this movie are better than in the first film. The acting is decent enough, and the score by Alexandre Desplat is hauntingly beautiful. At 130 minutes, however, it is a little long. The Twilight Saga is also not without controversy. Some Christian groups have expressed concern about the prospect of losing one's soul to become a vampire, as well as this film's romantic portrayal of reckless behaviour. However, if viewed as a fantasy, fans of the saga will be entertained by this film.

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New Moon DVD Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Some people might say that New Moon, the second instalment in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, has gone to the dogs. In fact the first half of the movie focuses on Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) and his deepening friendship with Bella and his emerging protector werewolf side. With Edward gone in his attempt to keep Bella safe, Bella comes to rely on Jacob. Bella in her anguished attempts to have glimpses of Edward engages in reckless activities that keep her in peril and call Edward and Jacob to the rescue.


It is only in the second half of the movie that we see much in the way of vampire activity with most of the activity taking place in Italy with the Volturi clan. Unfortunately the vampire scenes lack the energy and intensity of the first Twilight movie.


The real shining light in New Moon is Taylor Lautner. His role as Jacob is believable and strong. The same can't be said for Kristan Stewart's Bella and Robert Pattinson's Edward. The score by Alexandre Desplat is absolutely beautiful and one of the few highlights in the film.


I really preferred the first half of New Moon and found the first Twilight to be a way more entertaining movie. However true Twilight fans will want to add New Moon to their DVD collection for continuity purposes and for the extras.


Those who are merely curious about New Moon can rent the DVD. Despite New Moon's disappointing efforts compared to Twilight, I am looking forward to the next installment, Eclipse, in theatres this June.

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New Moon DVD Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Twilight New Moon is the second feature of the saga. It will surely please the fans while providing the rest of us with moderate entertainment value and a few unintentional laughs along the way. Just as Edward the vampire attempts to simplify Bella’s life by leaving town, things become more complicated when Victoria comes back hungry and Jacob and his werewolf clan come to her defense. When Edward thinks Bella has died, he tries to get himself executed in Italy by the vampire enforcers known as Volturi.


Now directed by Chris Weitz with a much bigger budget, New Moon is technically better than the first installment but it still is too long with the same brooding atmosphere and gratuitous slow motion whenever Edward walks or Laurent’s dreads are waving. The corny dialogue within the triangle that shapes up between Bella, Edward and Jacob is at least commensurate with their performances. Despite enough action to keep us mildly interested I didn’t experience the same suspense as in the first film. At least there were a few amusing cameos from Anna Kendrick as Bella’s valspeaking shopping companion, Michael Sheen as the Volturi capo and Dakota Fanning as one of his red- eyed minions, and a decent score by Alexandre Desplat.

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Consensus: Though the special effects are technically stronger, in terms of pacing, New Moon is not as good as Twilight. It is simply too long at 130 minutes. Still, it is worth a rental if you're curious, although "Twihards" will want to buy this one. **1/2 (Out of 4)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bandslam Now Available on DVD

After an unprecedented 7 months, E1 Films is finally releasing one of the nicest surprises of last summer, Bandslam, on DVD today. I remember going into the theatre not expecting much, and leaving very pleasantly surprised. This is a very good, smart little film.


We reviewed the film when it opened on August 14th, we all highly recommended it. Our consensus was:


“A surprisingly good movie, with great music, humour, and heart. Bandslam is one that you really should check out this Summer. It's a lot of fun. ***1/2 (Out of 4)”


With that said, it still plays just as well on DVD. The DVD includes audio commentary with the director and cast, deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and 2 music videos.


-John C.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

One Movie, Five Views would like to wish all our readers a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Princess and the Frog on DVD Today

Walt Disney Pictures return to hand-drawn animation is available on DVD today. I fondly remember seeing this film in theatres - I had a huge smile on my face for the entire running time, except for the few moments when I had to wipe a tear from my eye. This is a great film, an instant classic, one of the very best of last year.


We reviewed it when it opened in theatres on December 11th. We all loved it, our consensus was:


The Princess and the Frog is an instant Disney classic, filled with lovable characters and a great soundtrack. With exquisite animation, this is one to bring the whole family to see on the big screen. **** (Out of 4)”


It is available as a Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo-pack. This is one film to add to your collection.


-John C.

Clash of The Titans (1981) Now Available on Blu•Ray

On April 2nd, Warner Bros. is releasing a new Clash of The Titans re-make theatrically. To coincide, Warner Home Video is releasing the original 1981 film as a Blu•Ray/book.


The case itself is a little Blu•Ray sized hardcover book with the disc at the back. The book includes a bit of history of the film, bios for the cast and characters, as well as some info about the special effects, trivia, and an image of the original theatrical poster.


Also included in the package is a little advertising booklet about the new, (judging by the trailers, considerably amped-up), version of Titans coming out next month.


For fans of the original film, this will be a fun disc/book to get. Also, it’s worth checking out if you’ve never seen the film, but are curious about the original the new one is based on.


- Erin V.

DVD Review: Good Hair

Good Hair - An Alliance Films’ Release

http://www.goodhairdvd.com/

DVD Release Date: March 9th, 2010

Rated PG

Running time: 94 minutes


Jeff Stilson (dir.)


Chris Rock, Jeff Stilson,

Lance Crouther, and Chuck Sklar (writers)


Marcus Miller (music)


Special Features: Audio Commentary with Co-Writer and Executive Producer, Chris Rock and Executive Producer Nelson George; Featurette: “Afro to Jheri Curl”, Deleted Scenes, “Andre Harrell’s Greatest Hits”, “Civil Rights Barber”


Program Content and Package Artwork: © 2009 Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Package Design and Summary: © MMX Lions Gate Films Inc. All Rights Reserved. Key Art Design: © MMIX Roadside Attractions LLC. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.


Our reviews below:

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Good Hair Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Hosted by Chris Rock, Good Hair is a funny and entertaining documentary, that tackles deeper issues, like self-esteem among African-American’s, particularly over not having “good” hair. This makes for some interesting interviews and set pieces, like a trip to India showing where the add on hair pieces, “weaves”, actually come from.


My only real complaint is that the film is a little long, and could have been edited by about 15 minutes. But this isn’t as much a complaint about this film, as it’s rare to see a documentary that isn’t a little long. Good Hair is an engaging, funny, and well made documentary, that’s worth seeing on DVD.


The DVD includes audio commentary with Chris Rock, and producer Nelson George.

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Good Hair DVD Review By Erin V.

***1/4 (out of four)

For those that aren’t familiar with the whole industry of trying to achieve ‘good hair’ among some African Americans, this documentary is a real window into that world. Formed around the question ‘Why don’t I have good hair,’ put forth to writer Chris Rock, by his young daughter, this film really looks at some of societies views on beauty today.


The interesting thing is about this whole branch of the hair industry is that while the upkeep of the expensive hairpieces and such is often done by African Americans themselves, the real benefitors of the industry financially, are Asians, for it is their straight/wavy black hair that is sold for most of the weaves. A visit by Chris Rock to India poses some interesting questions in itself.


So, what makes supposedly “Good Hair? For some, it is putting harsh chemicals on their heads in order to make their hair straighter, or wearing a ‘weave’, which is hair pieces woven over your own netted hair, in order to wear a more stable kind of wig. The question is, why in our society are there only certain types of hair that’s ‘good’? I think, what you’re born with is what matches you best, and learning how to embrace it will bring out more beauty than covering it up ever will.


This is definitely a worth watching documentary, at least once. I’d say rent it or buy it. It’s quite interesting, and made in an entertaining way too.

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Good Hair DVD Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

When Chris Rock’s three year old daughter came up and asked him “Why don‘t I have good hair?”, he was inspired to create a documentary about hair and self esteem in the African-American community. Chris Rock interviews various celebrities, asking them what they do about their hair. Rock visits a hair salon, and finds out that some women (and some men) are not pleased with their African-American crinkly hair, and will go to great lengths to get rid of their “black” hair. Several straighten out their hair with sodium hydroxide, a chemical hair relaxer which can melt soda cans, burn skin, and cause lung damage. Some of the women interviewed also wear weaves, natural hair extensions that are tied onto the individuals own hair. The hair for weaves comes from Hindus in India who shave their heads for religious rituals. People pay thousands of dollars on weaves, just so they can have bouncy hair.


Rock also visits a hair styling show for African-Americans, where the main stylist is white. Here, only a few of the participants wear their hair natural. Most want hair that is smooth and shiny. What Chris Rock realizes, in our body image obsessed society, is that few people are happy with who they really are. This funny documentary takes a critical look at self esteem, fashion, and cultural identity.


While some of the language and sexual content makes this documentary unsuitable for elementary schools, this documentary has a good message and would be a good choice for a high school class. Chris Rock is hilarious throughout the entire film, keeping a fun, fast-pace for 95 minutes. This DVD is worth checking out.

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Good Hair DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Good Hair is a highly entertaining and informative documentary about the culture and history of hair care for black people. narrated and written by Chris Rock, he was inspired to create this film when his young daughter asked him “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?”


Through visits to beauty salons, hair care shows, laboratories, and Indian Temples he uncovers the secrets, expense, and great lengths many African-American woman, and some men, will go to for smooth, shiny hair opposite of its natural texture.


Chris Rock uses his talent as a comic to keep viewers interested in the technical side of hair relaxers (a rather scary chemical called sodium hydroxide), and the ins and outs of hair weaves. He certainly manages to get his point across that in our image obsessed world, people will risk their health and finances to achieve a different look rather than embrace and be proud of their own natural beauty.


I learned a lot about the culture of African-American hair care in Good Hair and laughed out loud throughout. Chris Rock fans will want to check this one out as well as will those interested in fashion and beauty. Good Hair is a real eye-opener or should I say hair-raiser.

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Good Hair DVD Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Good Hair refers to the hair of African Americans, mainly women, that has been “relaxed” to take out the kinks, or hidden by “weaves” of expensive hairpieces imported from south or east Asia. As the proud father of two little girls, Chris Rock has produced and hosted this documentary in an attempt to counter the overwhelming public pressure on African Americans to reject the beauty they were born with and buy into the hype. The film focuses on the huge Atlanta trade show for African American hair care with its flashy competition for four salon superstars. Between trade show segments the film travels extensively. A factory for relaxing cream reveals the active ingredient as sodium hydroxide (aka lye or caustic soda), used among other things as a drain cleaner, whose application must be strictly controlled to avoid hair loss or worse. In a visit to India, the best hair is collected from pilgrims having their hair “tonsured” or ritually shaved as a show of penance or gratitude to the gods. For me the best part of the film is the interviews, ranging from girls as young as four, through high school, to young women and the older generation of Maya Angelou and Al Sharpton.


With few exceptions, the women and some men are resigned to a life of very painful chemical treatments or unaffordable weaves. Ironically, men interviewed in a barber shop are not that supportive, admitting they are often intimidated by good hair women whose weaves portend a life of high maintenance and untouchability from the forehead up. As expected, there is always humour. For example, weaves that escape salon doors are shown blowing around black neighbourhoods like tumbleweed. Finally, Chris Rock trying to sell a bag of African hair to Asian American dealers is met with predictable incredulity.


I can only hope that Good Hair has the desired effect of getting black women off the treadmill of pain or penury that the hair care industry has them in. I share the opinion of the barber shop guys that it is really not worth it, but then I have always preferred natural beauty, such as the “before” pictures in eye makeup ads.

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Consensus: Good Hair is an interesting look at the ideas of beauty and an industry that is booming because of it. Chris Rock makes it funny and entertaining to watch, and although it’s still a bit long, this one is definitely worth a rental. ***1/4 (Out of 4)

DVD Review: Wonderful World

Wonderful World - A Mongrel Media Release

http://www.wonderfulworldfilm.com/

DVD Release Date: March 16th, 2010

Rated 14A

Running time: 95 minutes


Joshua Goldin (dir.)


Joshua Goldin (writer)


Craig Richey (music)


Matthew Broderick as Ben Singer

Sanaa Lathan as Khadi

Michael Kenneth Williams as Ibu

Philip Baker Hall as The Man


Our reviews below:

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Wonderful World Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) is a close-minded cynic. But then again, his life isn’t exactly exciting. He lives in a small apartment with his roommate, Ibu (Michael Kenneth Williams), he only sees his daughter on weekends, and his job security may not be as secure as he thought. Then the unthinkable happens. Ibu ends up in a diabetic coma. The chemistry between Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan is undeniable and believable, and the scenes with Ibu are very nice.


The film draws obvious comparisons to such great films as The Visitor and Goodbye Solo. Though it is not in the same league as those great films, it is still worth seeing. Despite a few moments that don’t quite gel with the rest of the movie, overall Wonderful World is a good film, with a few moments of near-greatness. If the film had ended a few scenes earlier, though, with a scene vaguely reminiscent of Magnolia, then perhaps it would have had more of a profound, lasting effect.


The DVD includes a couple of featurettes on the characters and making-of the movie.

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Wonderful World DVD Review By Erin V.

*** (out of four)

Wonderful World tells the story of Ben, a cynical man who seems to have lost the ability to see the beauty in the world around him. He used to play music, but has all but abandoned this, and being divorced, barely sees his 11 year old daughter who finds some of his remarks too depressing. His roommate, Ibu, from Senegal is the opposite of him in many ways though, always trying to get him to see the lighter side of things. But when Ibu becomes sick, Ben has to figure some things out for himself.


Wonderful World is a good movie that's worth a rental, but there were parts of it that kept it from becoming something more. There is a scene near the end, that could have been the last scene in the film, leaving a more emotional effect, but then the film continues on for a good five minutes more. That scene was one of my favourite scenes in the film, and if you want to know what scene I mean (perhaps after seeing the film), you can get a clue by looking up the word 'gleb' in this book.

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Wonderful World DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Wonderful World is a sweet, low key film about friendship. Ben, (believably played by Matthew Broderick), is a depressed man, who lives with his Senegalese roommate, Ibu. Ben, who used to be a children’s folk singer, is now a cynical, divorced individual who only sees his daughter on weekends. Ibu is Ben’s only friend, who tries to help Ben see a positive view of the world. But when Ben finds Ibu in a diabetic coma, Ibu’s sister, Khadi, comes over from Senegal to take care of both of them. Ben begins to fall in love with Khadi. She brings Ben to a new perspective on what is really important in life.


While the DVD package describes Wonderful World as a dark comedy, it is more of a drama along the lines of Goodbye Solo or The Visitor. With good acting, an interesting, quiet score, and a good storyline, Wonderful World is worth checking out.

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Wonderful World DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Ben’s (Matthew Broderick) life would be described as anything but wonderful. His job is uninspiring, his relationship with his daughter is strained, he is a weekends-only Dad, he lives in a small place with a Senegalese roommate, Ibu, and his parking lot neighbour is a jerk. Ben is not a happy guy.


When Ibu (Michael Kenneth Williams) has a medical emergency, Ibu’s sister Khadi (Sanaa Lathan) arrives to lend a hand. The unexpected turn of events turn out to be a turning point for Ben. Maybe Ben does’t have to remain pessimistic.


Wonderful World is optimistically low-key. Matthew Broderick is completely believable as the pessimistic, stick it to the man, Ben. The rest of the performances by the other actors are also believable and heartwarming. The music score by Craig Richey is really nice and matches the movie’s mood nicely.


I enjoyed Wonderful World. It has a nice even pace and comes to a nicely, believable conclusion without being sentimental. Wonderful World is worth checking out.

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Wonderful World DVD Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) is going through a cynical and depressed midlife, seen through a haze of pot smoke in a flat shared with Senegalese immigrant Ibu (Michael K. Williams), an entry level proofreading job he has held for eight years, and weekend visits to his preteen daughter. Having been stung once, he doesn’t see a way out without giving in to “The Man” (personified by actor Philip Baker Hall, appearing to him several times like a ghost). When Ibu is hospitalized in a diabetic coma, his very attractive sister Khadi (Sanaa Lathan) comes to help out, sharing the flat with predicable and not so predictable consequences. Despite setbacks, the film ends on a hopeful note once Ben realizes what is really important.


Not as good as The Visitor and Goodbye Solo, Wonderful World deals like those films with an uptight American enriched by contact with a third world roommate. Unlike their previous counterparts, the immigrants here are played by American born actors. Though the film is somewhat brooding and confused at times, Matthew Broderick has enough residual charm to carry us through it.

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Consensus: Wonderful World is a fine film, though there are a few scenes that could have been cut. Although it is not in the same league as The Visitor or Goodbye Solo, it is still a well-acted, worth checking out drama. *** (Out of 4)

DVD Review: The Brothers Warner

The Brother Warner - A Warner Home Video Release

A Warner Sisters Production

http://www.thebrotherswarner.com/

http://www.warnersisters.com/

DVD Release Date: March 9th, 2010

Rated PG

Running time: 94 minutes


Cass Warner Sperling (dir./writer)

Kate Amend A.C.E (editor)

Stephen Malik (co-editior)

Arlene Donnelly Johnson (dir. of photography)

David Campbell (music)


Our reviews below:

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The Brothers Warner Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

The Brothers Warner is the untold story of the bond and betrayal between the four brothers that started Warner Bros. Pictures. Though interesting, this film more has the feel of an added bonus on a DVD collection, rather than a standalone feature.


It will draw some comparisons to The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story, but as a movie, is nowhere near as good as that excellent documentary. With The Boys, something truly special was brought to the screen, here, with The Brothers Warner, the feel is pretty cut-and-dry documentary.


The DVD includes no bonus features.

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The Brothers Warner DVD Review By Erin V.

***1/4 (out of four)

As illustrated by director Cass Warner Sperling at the beginning of this film, when you ask people about who the actual Warner brothers are, most can’t tell you, and some aren’t even sure there really was a group of brothers. This documentary clears that up, telling the interesting story of the making of a company and the rivalries between siblings that came with it.


Unlike The Boys, about the Sherman brothers, The Brothers Warner doesn’t pack the same emotion, due in part to the fact that it is slightly further removed. The Boys was made by one son from each brother, and the brothers were featured themselves in the film, while The Brothers Warner was made by the granddaughter of one of the brothers, and only can feature the brothers in old footage.


Still, this is an interesting documentary that for those looking to know the history, and social roots of Warner Bros. Studios, is a really well made documentary. Feeling like something you’d see on TV, a shorter 60 minute cut of the film has aired on PBS. It’s definitely worth checking this one out.

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The Brothers Warner DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

The Brothers Warner is an interesting family portrait of one famous family. This documentary tells the rags to riches story of the Warner Broters, Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack. Cass Warner Sperling, Harry's granddaughter, retells how the brothers revolutionized film, by mainstreaming "talkies" (films with sound), and creating social commentary films. While not as personal a documentary as The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story, The Brothers Warner is a decent film that is worth checking out.

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The Brothers Warner DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

The Warner Brothers label is familiar to many people. What most people don't know is the story behind the Warner Brothers studio. The Brothers Warner is an interesting documentary by Cass Warner Sperling. As the granddaughter of one of the founders, Harry Warner, Sperling provides an inside look at the origins of the Warner Brothers studio. Told through black and white archival photos and footage and many interviews the documentary reveals the evolution of the relationship between the four brothers. Those interested in film history will want to check this one out.

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The Brothers Warner DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

The Brothers Warner is a fine documentary on the four sons of Polish Jewish immigrants who went from a storefront theatre with a used projector, a screen made from a hanging sheet and chairs borrowed from an undertaker to build one of the greatest Hollywood studios. As in all families, they each had different strengths, which they used to their advantage. The eldest Harry was the strong head, “gentle giant” Albert was a loyal executive mediating between Harry and the gregarious but volatile Jack. It was Sam’s technical expertise which helped them build out the studio and theatre chain to support it, and produce the first sound film The Jazz Singer at considerable risk, before he died tragically young in 1931.


Produced by Cass Warner Sperling, the maternal granddaughter of Harry, with extensive interviews from her mother and other family members as well as various industry personalities, it puts Harry in a particularly good light, largely to counteract the revisionist memoirs of the last surviving brother Jack who never lost an opportunity to take credit for everything. From extensive archival footage going back over a century we are given an excellent overview of the history of American film and the impact the Warners had on it. For example, besides bringing in sound, which met fierce resistance from rival studios, they were the first studio to boycott the lucrative German market in the 1930s as Hitler rose to power, and were known for films of social conscience and many of the best film noir titles.

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Consensus: The Brothers Warner is an interesting documentary for those wanting to know more about the beginning of the famous studio. *** (Out of 4)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bindi Irwin, star of 'Free Willy 4: Escape from Pirate's Cove' talks to Students at Toronto Zoo

This week, March break events are in full swing at the Toronto Zoo, although for a group of Bendale PS students, the real excitement was last Tuesday, when they were treated to a special screening of the straight-to-DVD sequel Free Willy 4: Escape from Pirate’s Cove, and a Q & A with star Bindi Irwin. At the event, all of the kids were given little plush orca whales, and 10 kids were selected to ask her questions.


“It was so different making a feature movie,” Bindi told the class in answer to their first question. “Usually, I just have done documentaries, where there is a crew of only about 3 people - this time there were over 100!” Talking about her favourite part of making the film she mentioned doing a scene where she gets really angry. “That was so unlike me,” she said laughing “my mom said she’d never seen me that angry - and neither had I.”


She said that it was really great as a young first time movie actor to work with someone as experienced as Beau Bridges, who plays her grandfather in the film. And she talked about what an experience it was to be filming on location. “The whole thing took 7 weeks to film, which was fun, since we got to stay in Africa” she said. “There, along with the penguins on set, I also got to meet wild penguins on a beach while collecting shells. It was really funny, since we went to play in the water, and when we turned around, the penguins had taken our shells. One of them was sitting on them! Eventually he lost interest though, and we got them back.”


Then, asked about her favourite animal, she named one that the students may not have heard about before. The echidna. “I love crocs and snakes,” she said, “but the echidna is my favourite.” Along with the platypus, the echidna is one of only two egg-laying mammals, she went on to explain to the kids in the room. “It’s called a monotreme.”


When asked how she related to the character Kirra in the movie, Bindi replied, “I think I relate to her, because she cares about animals like me. She was trying so hard to save the orca. In real life, I am trying to save the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.” Asking the students for their help she said, “As kids, we’re the next decision makers of the future. We should be speaking out for what we believe in.” She explained that it’s good to write to governments about things like this. “And, there’s a petition you can sign at www.australianzoo.com.au


Her favourite place in the world she said next, is Bali. “I used to go there with my dad when he would film documentaries there. The people and places are so nice there, and it brings back a lot of memories for me.”


The last two questions asked her about who she depends on the most and who’s her hero. “The two people I depend on the most,” she said, “are my mom and my brother, I love them, and they’re like my best friends. And my hero would have to be my dad. He taught me so much about conservation and I love him so much. Actually, when I found out that I would be doing this movie, one of the reasons I was really looking forward to it, is because he made a movie as well, called The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, so I really liked the idea that I was making one as well.”


At the end of the Q & A, Bindi was given a huge round of applause from the kids. She is a great thoughtful young speaker and assured this event will be a field trip the students there will never forget. Before she left, the students also got a group picture with her.


The DVD of Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove will be available in stores on April 20th from Warner Home Video.


- Erin V.