Posts Tagged ‘Tommy Lee Jones’

This week’s releases include: a stoner holiday special; a case of mistaken identity; a family from hell; a real-life terrorist hi-jacking; a classic K-9 love story; an ill-fated relationship; a space parody; a philosophical debate; and a severe cop drama. (more…)

This is by no means a definitive science fiction film collection, but it offers a well-rounded sampling of the genre from the 1980’s and 2000’s. The 12 films gathered by Anchor Bay Entertainment comes in standardized, shiny packaging that makes a bold statement about your good taste when displayed together.

Android, directed by Aaron Lipstadt (1982)
In the outskirts of deep space orbits ULZ-53, a forgotten research station manned only by intense scientist Dr. Daniel (Klaus Kinski) and his lonely android assistant Max 404 (Don Keith Opper). But when three escaped convicts, including a beautiful woman, arrive aboard, Dr. Daniel finds the missing element to his outlawed experiments while Max discovers his own forbidden urges.
Special features: commentary by Lipstadt and writer/actor Opper

Astro Boy: Greatest Astro Adventures
When a brilliant robot engineer named Dr. Boynton loses his son Toby in a tragic accident, the dedicated but heartbroken scientist uses his technical skills to construct a robot in the boy’s image. This is the first Astro Boy series created in full colour, showcasing the importance of kindness, compassion and selflessness in the face of life’s obstacles.

Black Moon Rising, directed by Harley Cokliss (1986)
When master thief Sam Quint (Tommy Lee Jones) is hired by the government to steal top-secret data from a crime organization, he hides the stolen data in The Black Moon, an experimental supercar. But when the car is stolen by high-tech car thief Nina (Linda Hamilton), Quint must steal it back from an impenetrable skyscraper.

Chrysalis, directed by Julien Leclercq (2009)
Paris 2025: a tough cop (Albert Dupontel) is haunted by a murder he could not stop; a young woman (Marthe Keller) is scarred by a dark secret from her past; and a killer with a taste for sadism is on the loose. All of this takes place in a city where sleek technology is stained with a conspiracy of violence and corruption. The visuals are eye-popping with shocking twists and explosive action scenes, merging to create a unique futuristic crime thriller.
Special features: a making of featurette

Cyclops, directed by Roger Corman (2009)
A terrifying Cyclops is terrorizing the Roman countryside, so the corrupt emperor Tiberius sends in his strongest general, Marcus. Soon the Cyclops is captured and brought to the great city to fight as a gladiator, but the tables are quickly turned on Marcus when he has to fight as well. Bitter enemies become allies to overthrow the tyrannical power.

Dead Space: Downfall (2007)
The story follows a select group of miner and crewmembers as they are confronted with an evil like none ever encountered by man. When a deep space mining operation discovers a mysterious alien marker, they believe they have finally found evidence of our creators. However, the removal of the marker unleashes a horrific alien species that was entombed within the remote planet. The feature-length animated movie is a prequel to the EA game.
Special features: deleted scenes and cheat codes

Lightspeed, from executive producer Stan Lee (2007)
The covert world of government ‘Ghost Squad’ agent Daniel Leight (Jason Connery) comes crashing down when he is critically injured in a building collapse triggered by the genetically mutated terrorist Python (Daniel Goddard). But when Leight’s radiation treatments are sabotaged, he discovers that he has the ability to move at hyper speeds only by risking potentially fatal metabolic damage.

The Man from Earth, written by Jerome Bixby (2007)
On a cold night in a remote cabin, Professor John Oldman (David Lee Smith) gathers his most trusted colleagues for an extraordinary announcement: he is an immortal who has migrated through 140 centuries of evolution and must now move on. These scientists and scholars are now forced to confront their notions of history, religion and humanity, all leading to a final revelation that may shatter their world forever.
Special features: commentary with director Richard Schenkman and actor John Billingsley; commentary with executive producer Emerson Bixby and author/sci-fi scholar Gary Westfahl; and four original behind the scenes featurette

Masters of Science Fiction (2007)
From the beginning, we have struggled to understand time, matter and the infinite universe: who we are, where we are headed, and if we are alone. Professor Stephen Hawking hosts expeditions into the outer realms of scientific imagination as the genre’s most legendary writers and directors provide wonderful and terrifying answers to these questions. The collection features all six episodes of the acclaimed series, including two ‘lost’ episodes never broadcast during its original network run.

Philadelphia Experiment, executive producer John Carpenter (1984)
The experiment that should never have happened 41 years ago is still going on. Philadelphia, 1943: a top-secret experiment is underway to make U.S. Navy ships invisible to enemy radar, but something goes horribly wrong and the Battleship Eldridge disappears. Two sailors jump overboard and are mysteriously transported 41 year into the future.

Recon 2020 & 2022, directed by Christian Viel (2004 & 2007)
Galactic Marine Infantry is the most highly trained, highly honoured and most decorated fighting force in the galaxy. They have gone up against the worst of the worst. They’re “the first to go, last to know.”

Recon 2020: the Caprini Massacre follows the squad on a recon mission to a remote planet, investigating recent reports that defy rational explanation. Once deployed on the planet surface, they begin to experience bizarre nightmares, from vampires to three-headed Hydras. But these are no ordinary bad dreams – these nightmares can kill.

Recon 2022: the Mezzo Incident chronicles a mission to an ice planet whose perils are more dangerous than just the blinding snow and constant cold. The squad encounters a city of cyborgs, while contending with giant snow worms and other bloodthirsty alien entities.

Sands of Oblivion, directed by David Flores (2008)
In 1923, legendary director Cecil B. DeMille constructed a replica of ancient Egypt in the California desert for his epic movie The Ten Commandments. When filming was completed, he mysteriously ordered the entire set buried. Now a soon-to-be-divorced archaeologist couple (Victor Webster and Adam Baldwin) and an Iraq War combat veteran (Victor Webster) have uncovered the secret DeMille could not keep hidden and unleashed a horror that cannot be stopped.

The Batman franchise is one of the most successful in comic book-movie history; and it continues to thrive.

The Batman Anthology contains the first four film installments, starring Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney in the title role.

In Batman, the caped crusader (Keaton) faces off against Joker (Jack Nicholson). At the same time, Batman’s alter ego Bruce Wayne tries to juggle a relationship with psychiatrist Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) while keeping his secret identity under wraps.

In Batman Returns, the dark knight (Keaton) has his hands full dealing with Penguin (Danny DeVito) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer). The latter battle is further complicated by an undeniable attraction between the two adversaries.

In Batman Forever, the big bat’s (Kilmer) enemies join forces to put the odds in their favour. Two-face (Tommy Lee Jones) and The Riddler (Jim Carrey) scheme together to uncover Batman’s true identity and prepare a surprise attack. Meanwhile, Wayne tries to mentor a young man (Chris O’Donnell) and prevent him from going down the same path of vigilante justice.

In Batman and Robin, the masked crime fighter (Clooney) and his sidekick (O’Connell) take on Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman).

The first two chapters were directed by Tim Burton. His dark sensibility was perfectly suited to the story. The invention of Catwoman in Batman Returns is exceptionally well-done. Under Joel Schumacher’s wing, Batman Forever aimed for a somewhat lighter tone, particularly with the casting of Carrey; and although it wasn’t a complete disaster it was not up to par. The fourth flick is by far the worst episode of the series, with the weakest character development and lamest story arcs.

But this neat little package makes even the worst of the films worth owning. Taking the lid off the box reveals four individually packaged Blu-ray discs and each disc contains more than five hours of special features. The bonus elements explore every facet of the film from start to finish with countless interviews with cast, directors and crew as well clips from each film, arranged in character profiles, documentaries, featurettes and director commentaries. Then there are extras like the Prince music videos for Batman Returns, which add another angle to the Batman experience. The high-def presentations of the pictures, particularly the first two that highlight all the varieties of darkness used, are stunning. Finally, a digital copy of Batman is included in the package.

Two of the Coen brothers’ more ambitious films about murder are being re-released together: No Country for Old Men and The Man Who Wasn’t There.

In No Country, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) opens a can of murderous worms when he stumbles upon a botched drug deal and finds a briefcase containing $2 million. The Mexican owners of the money bring in killer-without-a-conscience Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) to recover the cash. In the meantime, soon-to-be-retired Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) tries to track down Llewelyn and breach his stubbornness to prevent any more bloodshed.

The Man Who Wasn’t There is a dark and twisted film noir that takes place in a 1949 California town. Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) is a barber that wants to join the dry cleaning business but to gain the means to escape his dull life he turns to blackmail and revenge. The other players in Ed’s charade are his wife (Frances McDormand), brother-in- law (Michael Badalucco), his wife’s boss (James Gandolfini), a young pianist (Scarlett Johansson) and a big city lawyer (Tony Shalhoub).

No Country for Old Men is brilliant. The unusual wig adorned by Bardem is truly memorable and adds to the uniqueness of a haunting character. Brolin’s quiet determination and Jones’ weary professionalism is outstanding. The story is intriguing and the Coens give it their own special brand of style. The conclusion is entirely unexpected and unpredictable, which is initially troublesome but very smart.

The Man Who Wasn’t There looks stunning in stark black and white contrasts. The lighting and cinematography are excellent, creating a film reminiscent of classic noir pictures. Some scenes are so perfectly set, they distract from the narrative for a moment, but it enhances the film overall. Thornton’s performance as silent protagonist and unreserved narrator is also noteworthy. The only complaint is by the end it feels somewhat lengthy.

No Country‘s special features include a “making of” documentary; ”Working with the Coens,” which sings the brothers’ praises; and “Diary of a Sheriff,” which follows Jones’ character. The other DVD also has a “making of” documentary; an excessively long although informative interview with cinematographer Roger Deakins; and an amusing feature commentary by Thornton and the Coen brothers.

Guitar hero Jimmy Page, fashion icon Valentino, protests and a huge Chinese restaurant are some of the topics explored at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

David Guggenheim – the Academy Award-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth –celebrates the electric guitar in It Might Get Loud by examining the creative process of guitar gurus Page (Led Zeppelin), Jack White (The White Stripes) and The Edge (U2). Another musical addition is Jeffrey Levy-Hinte’s Soul Power, which documents the concert that accompanied George Foreman and Muhammad Ali’s “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire in 1974, with performances by James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers, The Spinners and more.

Valentino: The Last Emperor is bound to attract the glamour hounds as it tells the story of the renowned designer and his entourage through unprecedented access via Vanity Fair special correspondent Matt Tyrnauer.

Weijun Chen, the director of last year’s crowd-pleaser Please Vote for Me, returns with The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World, a look at the West Lake Restaurant in Changsha, China, which is said to be the world’s largest with a staff of nearly 1000 and 5000 seats. Another food-focused doc is Food, Inc., Robert Kenner’s investigation of the changes big business has imposed on our diet, drawing from the reportage of Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma).

A Time to Stir is Paul Cronin’s four-hour work-in-progress about the 1968 student strike at Columbia University that ended in police violence and will include a live discussion with three active participants of the strike. Sean Penn presents and narrates Dana Nachman and Don Hardy’s Witch Hunt, about a Bakersfield district attorney who sent dozens of innocent working-class parents to prison on charges of sexual abuse.

Other highlights among the 26 documentaries announced are Dan Stone’s At the Edge of the World, about Canadian environmental activist Paul Watson’s battle with Japanese whaling vessels; Megan Doneman’s Yes Madam, Sir is narrated by Helen Mirren and portrays the life story of India’s first woman police officer; Chai Vasarhelyi’s Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love is about the prominent African musician; a twenty-something Tommy Lee Jones plays football in Kevin Rafferty’s Harvard Beats Yale 29-29; Matthew Kaufman’s American Swing chronicles the rise and fall of New York’s notorious public sex club Plato’s Retreat; and Agnès Varda looks back on her life and work in Les Plages d’Agnès.

Festival organizers previously announced the much-anticipated Religulous from Borat director Larry Charles, which follows humorist Bill Maher as he travels around the globe interviewing people about religion and God.

For more TIFF ’08 coverage, click here.