Archive for March, 2010

We’ve always considered what would happen if aliens landed on Earth, but what if during our outer space explorations we landed on a planet that was already occupied? Planet 51 ponders this question.

American astronaut Chuck Baker (Dwayne Johnson) lands on Planet 51 ready to claim it with the U.S. flag, thinking he’s the first person to step foot on it. To his surprise, he finds the planet is inhabited by little green people who are happily living in a white picket fence world reminiscent of a cheerful 1950s America. Coincidentally, their only fear is that it will be overrun by alien invaders – like Chuck.

The voice talent involved in breathing life into this fish out of water sci-fi story is notable. Other than being well-known, they all provide the appropriate personality to their character. Johnson, a former WWE Superstar and renowned tough guy, actually raises his voice a little because Chuck is masculine, but cowardly. Justin Long and Sean William Scott were great choices for the geeks, while Gary Oldman portrays the commanding but hard-headed general perfectly. John Cleese is also a great quirky profressor. All the voice contributors do wonderful work.

The ’50s world created is familiar but different as designers put a slight alien twist on various items. The best tribute is the one to ’50s sci-fi pictures, which is a creature feature about a giant alien trying to suck out people’s brains; it’s called “Humaniacs.” Then like Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds, panic rises when word spreads that the “alien” has landed.

This is a cartoon that can be enjoyed by adults and children, consisting of humour for the young and older.

Special features include: “Run Rover Runt” obstacle course game; three extended scenes; “The World of Planet 51”; “Life on Planet 51”; “Planetarium – The Voice Stars of Planet 51”; a music video montage, animation progression reels; and interviews with the Quebec actors (in French only).


A parent’s worst nightmare is for their child to be stolen from them. When it happens, some parents never escape the nightmare.

Julia’s (Sigourney Weaver) life is torn apart after the mysterious disappearance of her three-year-old daughter. Sixteen years later, she’s still haunted by the loss when she meets Louise (Kate Bosworth), an eerily familiar, but unstable, young woman in need of help. Julia becomes a changed woman, but her disillusionment cannot last forever.

Sometimes the narrative appears overly contrived as Louise and Julia repeatedly cross each other’s paths or stumble upon reminders of the past; it’s difficult to view most of these events as simple coincidences. On the other hand, it is these so-called acts of fate that drive the story forward. The movie’s saving grace is its resistance of the “expected” ending.

Weaver’s personality switch from pre- to post-Louise is extreme but somehow genuine. She goes from zombie going through the motions to loving and living life. Bosworth is a manipulative pixie whose leaf turning is slightly less believable, which fits.

There are no special features.

Watchmen is not your average superhero movie. Most of the justice seekers don’t have superhuman powers and a couple of them shouldn’t even be allowed to carry a weapon.

The film is based on Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic novel, which takes place in a gritty and alternate 1985. The glory days of costumed vigilantes have been brought to a close by a government crackdown, but one of the masked veterans is inexplicably targeted and brutally murdered. An investigation into the killer is initiated by the washed up, but no less determined, masked vigilante Rorschach who sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. The reunited heroes set out to prevent their own destruction, but in doing so discover a deeper and far more diabolical plot.

The motion picture retelling of this tale is fairly true to the book. It’s well casted and appears to have used the original source to storyboard the movie (though Moore did not approve of the production). In an attempt to truly mirror the graphic novel, the director’s cut included here intertwines Tales of the Black Freighter into the overall narrative.

This “Ultimate Cut” is definitely the must-have edition of the movie as it contains all released supplementary material as well as new bonus features.

The four-disc set includes: commentary with director Zack Snyder; another commentary with graphic novel co-creator and illustrator Dave Gibbons; Under the Hood, a mockumentary based on Hollis Mason’s biography; “Story Within a Story: The Books of Watchmen,” how Tales of the Black Freighter and Under the Hood expand the world of Watchmen; “Real Superheroes, Real Vigilantes,” explores the psychology behind real world vigilantes; “The Phenomenon: The Comic the Changed Comics”; “Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World”; all 11 Watchmen video journals; My Chemical Romances’ “Desolation Row” music video; The Complete Motion Comic (12 episodes); and a digital copy of the theatrical feature.

Toronto-born actor and ‘80s heartthrob Corey Haim has died in California. He was 38.

Haim was found dead at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in his mother’s apartment according to the LAPD. An autopsy is scheduled to determine cause of death, but early reports suggest Haim died of an apparent accidental drug overdose.

According to Police Sgt. William Mann, Haim had flulike symptoms before he died and was getting over-the-counter and prescription medications. “He could have succumbed to whatever (illness) he had or it could have been drugs. Who knows?” said Mann. “He has had a drug problem in the past.”

A brief statement on the actor’s official website confirms his death. “It is with heavy heart that I report that Corey Ian Haim has passed away today,” the message states. It is accompanied by a photo of the actor dressed in black.

Haim starred in ‘80s hits such as The Lost Boys, License to Drive and Lucas. His first film role was in 1984’s Firstborn. Recently, he recorded two seasons of the reality show The Two Coreys with his best friend and fellow child star Corey Feldman.

Throughout his career, Haim struggled with drug addiction. “I lived in L.A. in the Eighties, which was not the best place to be. I did cocaine for about a year and a half, then it led to crack,” said Haim during a 2004 interview with Britain’s The Sun newspaper.

Celebrities have been reacting to Haim’s death on Twitter:

“Just woke up to the sad, sad news that Corey Haim passed away. RIP sweet boy,” wrote Alyssa Milano, who dated Haim from 1987 to 1990.

“Rip Corey Haim ‘Childhood hero,'” tweeted Ashton Kutcher.

“My thoughts go out to Corey’s family and friends today. So sad,” added Christina Applegate.

“Lost Boy goes home: Corey Haim, dead at 38. G’bye, LUCAS. You gave hope to the weird & unlikely,” wrote director Kevin Smith.

UPDATE: Corey Feldman posted the following statement on his blog in reaction to the death of his former co-star and friend:

“I was woken up at 830 AM this morning by my brother and sister knocking on my bedroom door. They informed me about the loss of my brother Corey. My eyes weren’t even open all the way when the tears started streaming down my face. I am so sorry to Corey, Judy, his family, my family, all of our fans, and of course my son who I will have to find a way to explain this to when he gets home from school. This is a tragic loss of a wonderful, beautiful, tormented soul, who will always be my brother, family, and best friend. We must all take this as a lesson on how we treat the people we share this world with while they are still here to make a difference. Please respect our families as we struggle and grieve through this difficult time. I hope the art he has left behind will be remembered as the passion of what he truly lived for.
Corey Feldman “The Two Corey’s” “

No one is able to depict the world of crime like master director Martin Scorsese. In 1990, he made one of the best gangster films of all time: Goodfellas.

Following a trio of gangsters over 30 years, we witness their rise up the criminal ranks and eventual falls to personal demons. Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) are a couple of half Irish kids that want nothing more than to be a part of the mob that runs their neighbourhood; however, their heritage guarantees they’ll never be full members of the crime family. Nonetheless, with their friend Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), the group makes their impression and gains the boss’ trust. Tommy’s temper and business choices threaten their careers many times, but they have each other’s backs almost to the end.

The illicit tale is based on true events, but Scorsese’s brilliant storytelling truly brings the narrative to life. It is also no surprise Pesci earned an Academy Award for his role, as he presented one of the most memorable personalities and delivered one of the most repeated pieces of dialogue in film history, which begins with “What do you mean I’m funny?” The film was also nominated for five other Oscars, including best picture and best director (both categories were lost to Dances with Wolves).

Goodfellas is on par with the greatest mob picture, The Godfather. And if imitation is the best form of flattery, then “The Goodfeathers” on Warner Bros.’s Animaniacs was a significant compliment.

Special features for the 20th anniversary edition include: commentary with Scorsese, Liotta, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Vincent, co-screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, producers Irwin Winkler and Barbara De Fina, cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and editor Thelma McDonald; another commentary with Henry Hill and former FBI Agent Edward McDonald; “Getting Made,” a making-of featurette; “Made Men: The Goodfellas Legacy” comprised of filmmakers such as Jon Favreau, Joe Carnahan, Antoine Fuqua and Frank Durabont discussing film’s influence; “The Workaday Gangster,” in which actors and filmmakers tell stories about growing up in a world of small-time hoods; ‘Paper is Cheaper than Film,” a glimpse into Scorsese’s creative process; Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film documentary; four mob-themed WB cartoons; and a 34-page book.

There have been many attempts to recreate and modernize the 1940’s detective film, but most fall flat; Give’em Hell Malone ranks a few levels above that.

Malone (Thomas Jane) is a private eye with a reputation of being so tough he can’t be killed. Hired to retrieve a briefcase from a seedy hotel, Malone walks into a trap set by the city’s most notorious crime boss. To protect the contents of the case a bombshell client (Elsa Pataky) that can be nothing but trouble, Malone battles the hulking Boulder (Ving Rhames) and an army of thugs.

The picture attempts to evoke a Will Eisner style, using ‘40s detective language and ‘50s cars; the men wear suits, ties and fedoras, and the women are in high heels and A-line skirts. The feel is right, going as far as to only use revolvers instead of automatic weapons. Furthermore, Jane delivers the lines like a classic gumshoe, managing to avoid being laughable for the majority. The one improvement would have been a grainier aesthetic to match the gritty atmosphere.

Sadly, even though a lot of effort was put into the appearance and sound of the movie, the actual plot is lacking. The story has several twists, but the connections and motivations are not concrete. In addition, the femme fatale is not very genuine and the villain is a cheap imitation of Batman’s Two-face. With a cast wholly capable of pulling off this style of film, it’s unfortunate they didn’t have better material with which to work.

Special features include: interviews with Jane, Pataky and Doug Hutchison.

Gone with the Wind is one of the grandest, spectacular pieces of filmmaking in history. It is not only a must-see classic, but a Hollywood epic.

In the South during the Civil War, the handsome Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) has a turbulent love affair with the sassy, headstrong heroine Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh). Scarlett thought Ashley (Leslie Howard) was her true love and she pleads with him to marry her instead of his cousin, but his mind will not be changed. Scarlett then fights to keep her plantation while everything falls apart around her. Rhett is practical and roguish, refusing to be play Scarlett’s games and uttering the famous line, “Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.”

There are several other well-known events in the film, including the making of Scarlett’s dress from large velvet green curtains and the burning of Atlanta as she and Rhett escape. The 70th anniversary of this picture, which won 10 Academy Awards including best picture, is definitely an occasion to be celebrated as it can be enjoyed by every generation of film lovers.

The Ultimate Collector’s Edition comes in a limited, numbered velvet keepsake box containing a 40-page hardcover Production History book with photos and production notes; a 20-page reproduction of the original and complete 1939 Souvenir Program; eight frameable 5×7 art prints; and a CD soundtrack sampler.

The two-disc Blu-ray includes: The Making of a Legend documentary; Restoring a Legend, chronicling the film/video restoration process; Dixie Hails Gone with the Wind, the 1939 premiere newsreel; The Old South, a 1940 MGM historical short; Atlanta Civil War Centennial 1961 premiere newsreel; international prologue, foreign language sample scenes; Melanie Remembers: Reflections of Olivia de Havilland; Gable: The King Remembered; Vivien Leigh: Scarlett and Beyond; and cameo portraits of the supporting players. Bonus features include:1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year, a new documentary about Hollywood’s watershed year narrated by Kenneth Branagh; Gone with the Wind: The Legend Lives On, exploring the film’s legacy; and Movieola: The Scarlett O’Hara Wars, a 1980 WBTV special never before on home video.