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Starring: Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Jinkee Pacquiao, Mark Wahlberg, Jimmy Kimmel, Dan Hill, Freddie Roach. Directed by Ryan Moore and Leon Gast. Narrated by: Liam Neeson. Running time: 87 minutes.
Though it was produced before Manny Pacquaio’s much yapped-about face-off against Floyd Mayweather and subsequent fan lawsuit alleging the whole thing was a fraud, this documentary directed by Ryan Moore and Leon Gast (of When We Were Kings fame) still has a sense of destiny to it, because in the end, that’s what you need in any fight movie – as well as any fighter. Great Buy Viagra 25 mg in Columbus Georgiawarriors believe they are fulfilling some unwritten prophecy, and from the moment Manny stepped into the ring as a scrawny, underage kid (he lied on his boxing forms), he felt God was in his corner. Actually, it was just boxing veteran and gym owner Freddie Roach holding the water bottle and towel, but Roach may as well be the man’s spirit guide. Though a victim of punch-induced palsy, he shines a gorgeous light over the whole non-fiction affair because out of all the people we meet in this film, from sleazy fight promoters to thoroughly greasy agents, Roach is the one person who really seems to care about Pacquaio. He talks about the first time the Filipino fighter came into his L.A. training centre and asked for a trainer, then gives us a rundown of all the regrets he’s had since – namely, introducing him to the Shinola-slicked Michael Koncz. It’s all surprisingly candid stuff for a straight-ahead sports doc that moves in rapid-fire bursts — much like Pacquaio’s fighting style – but it lands in a sweet spot, even as it leaves you black and blue because Pacquaio is so earnest, yet his reputation remains so tarnished. Born in abject poverty, Manny turned to fighting to give his family a future. The desperation – and all the compromise that comes with it — is part of who he is, so even after he’s broken records and captured belt after belt, he still feels a need to get better, go further and give back. About the only thing he can’t do well is make business decisions or sing, but that’s where Gast and Moore find the humour, and the looming cloud of tragedy. We watch Manny record a vanity version of ‘Sometimes When We Touch’ with Dan Hill, and though our narrator Liam Neeson says nothing, we can read the winces on Hill’s face from a mile away. The whole thing could have felt snarky, but the filmmakers are long on compassion. They keep the movie sympathetic, even as they explore the inherent corruption and legal irregularities that haunt Pacquaio’s career, along with the rest of the great contenders.
Special features: Manny vs. Mosley behind the scenes and in the ring, Manny’s Birthday Party, Manny Music Video.
American Sniper (2014)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ben Reed, Elise Robertson, Sienna Miller, Kevin Lacz. Directed by: Clint Eastwood. Running time: 132 minutes.
There’s no point in trying to pull this tragedy into a political realm, because no matter how hard both sides try to turn this Clint Eastwood movie into a cause, American Sniper is a movie about a soldier – which, by its very nature, requires the viewer to suspend moral judgment. Buy Viagra 25 mg in Columbus OhioChris Kyle was the most lethal sniper in US military history, reportedly racking up a body count in excess of 150 souls, and this is his sad story. Kicking off at a small town rodeo, we watch Chris (Bradley Cooper) make a running leap at manhood without much success. He’s a good ol’ boy without a purpose until he watches the Twin Towers fall on 9/11. Filled with patriotic emotion, he enlists, becomes a Navy SEAL and heads off to the Middle East to see action through the telephoto sight on his high-powered rifle. Chris is an effective killer because he doesn’t get bogged down in the implications of his actions, which is sort of the whole point of the movie: Eastwood presents war as a fact of modern civilization. Kyle is a specialized tool, and he recognizes his role in the larger political reality, which means we can’t judge him. If we’re going to judge anything, we have to judge the bigger picture that we’ve all created. That’s an uneasy place for the viewer to sit, and it’s the big reason why this movie generated so much controversy: We had to relive the war on a ground level, through the eyes of someone killing others in the name of our peace and safety. But Eastwood does not flinch. Neither does Cooper, who hands in a commanding performance as a man caught in the crosshairs of circumstance, struggling to survive another day on the job.
Special features on the enhanced edition include 10 videos with Chris Kyle, and images and descriptions of the weapons he used.
Starring: Aleksey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Roman Madyanov. Directed by: Andrey Zvyagintsev. Running time: 140 minutes. (In Russian with English subtitles).
It’s Russian, so be prepared for something that hits the back of your throat like home-still potato vodka. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the cover image of a dead whale skeleton sitting in mud flats. It tells you everything you need to know about this Buy Viagra 25 mg in Concord Californiamovie about one man fighting the power to keep his house. Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov) hears news that his little home overlooking the ocean is slated for demolition, so he takes his complaint to the mayor’s office – where we get our first lesson in Russian bureaucracy, and realize Kolya may as well burn the house down himself. Under the blue hue of natural light bouncing off institutional walls, everyone looks half dead – and that seems to be the whole point of this pitch black comedy. It shows us people slowly suffocated by a corrupt state, dying one shallow breath at a time, fully aware of their looming demise. Director Andrey Zvyagintsev stretches it out, too, ensuring we see every single character spiral downward – even the ones who represented nascent sense of hope, such as the handsome lawyer who takes the mayor’s office to task for procedure, only to end up threatened at gun point by the mayor’s minions. By the time the bulldozer and backhoe pull down Kolya’s four walls (like he had a chance), we’re already prepared for the worst because Zvyagintsev never takes his shin off our windpipe. We’re gasping for breath after the first scene, waiting for the inevitable, unpleasant end – hoping it doesn’t hurt too much.
Special features: English subtitles, making-of, trailer, deleted scenes and interview with the director.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015)
Starring Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Jason Jones. Directed by Steve Pink. Running time: 93 minutes.
No matter how many times you scour afterward, the filmy scum left by Hot Tub Time Machine 2 lingers like greasy dark ring around the brain. A sequel to the surprisingly okay 2010 comedy about four down-and-out dudes who are given a second chance at redemption with a trip to the past via the titular spa equipment, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 had some built-in appeal: Escapist Buy Viagra 25 mg in Coral Springs Floridaentertainment has its place in life, and sometimes, all you want to do is take off your cerebral corset and get naked in a hot bubble bath of silliness. Sadly, this one leaves you feeling pruny shortly after it starts as the boys are thrown into the future in an attempt to fix the present. You keep trying to tie the ends together, which is way more work than you really want in a movie like this. More urgently, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 isn’t funny. The big gag scene in the film revolves around a reality TV show called Choozy Doozy. Contestants are forced to sodomize each other in virtual reality before a live audience. Another big show involves trapped school children. As commentary on the future of popular culture, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 tries to achieve a level of satire equal to Mike Judge’s underrated Idiocracy, which included a show called “Ouch! My Balls!” and repeated scenes of a man getting a wrecking ball to the groin. Choozy Doozy’s elephant dance with homophobia doesn’t quite add up to the same spectacle, or any degree of satire, because it doesn’t keep step with theme. It only foreshadows its own warped vision of the future by forcing us to sit in an empty tub until the chill sets in.
Special features: Uncut DVD Blu-ray combo version includes additional footage.
Still Alice (2014)
Starring: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish. Directed by: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland. Running time: 101 minutes.
You can’t help yourself from hoping for the impossible: That after receiving a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, our smart, sensitive and truly beautiful screen heroine played by Julianne Moore will discover some magical cure with the help of an oddball scientist and some Buy Viagra 25 mg in Corona Californiamisfit kids. Of course it’s a stupid expectation, but that’s what years of carefully crafted denial cultivated by Hollywood’s bulletproof heroes has done to our collective psyche. To quote one of the greats: We can’t handle the truth, and the truth is there is no magical cure. We all die, and oftentimes, our exit is entirely random and seemingly “unfair.” Filmmakers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland are intimately acquainted with the cold hard fact of mortality: The two are long-term partners and Glatzer is currently living with ALS. Still Alice may be their last collaboration, but every scene etches a small emotional truth, culminating in a character arc that spans the distance of life and death. Moore’s Oscar-winning performance as Alice Howland, the fictional linguistics professor from Lisa Genova’s book, is the main reason why this movie works so well, but co-stars Kristen Stewart and Alec Baldwin are also responsible for much of the chemistry because as Moore’s character starts to fragment, they reflect the depth of loss. Through the carefully directed family interactions that embrace the epic as well as the mundane, we’re given a chance to look at the human condition from a variety of different perspectives. What Glatzer and Westmoreland craftily, and subtly, reveal is the ephemeral nature of personal identity. Moore’s character undergoes a significant transformation over the course of this story, but the love of her family remains unchanged. To them, she is still Alice, and will always be Alice, because as hokey as it is to articulate, love makes us who we are.
Special features: Directing Alice: making-of featurette, Finding Alice: cast, crew and Alzheimer’s experts discuss the creation of the film, deleted scenes.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Leehom Wang, Wei Tang, William Mapother. Directed by Michael Mann. Running time: 133 minutes.
I totally forgot I watched this movie until I searched my computer and realized I wrote a full review of this yawning thriller. That’s a really bad sign, especially since Michael Mann was the director, and he’s kind of a big deal. He’s also one of those guys you can’t knock without incurring a dent from some fat finger in your collarbone because a lot of people really like drawn-out, self-conscious Mann movies. And sometimes, his Buy Viagra 25 mg in Corpus Christi Texasmusky potion works wonders with the right cast, as it did with Ali and The Last of the Mohicans. But sometimes, he just feels like a dude with too much aftershave and too little charm pushing you to hang out for another round – just so he can finish his dull story. This particularly long yarn involves a malevolent hacker who threatens to override nuclear power plants around the world. Only a crack team of counter-hackers can save the day. Enter Chris Hemsworth as Nicholas Hathaway, the handsomest computer nerd you have ever seen. He’s an outsider and a maverick, but with the help of smart and sassy Viola Davis and the romantic interest, Wei Tang, our bad boy of bytes may just solve the nasty riddle. Like all of Mann’s work, there’s an undeniable mastery to the frames that makes you watch because they’re all so saturated and satisfying. He pulls you into his licorice shadows and keeps you searching for some outline in the darkness – blinking into the void, ever hopeful that something meaningful will come of it. In this case, nothing does, but you still get the novel experience of groping in the dark with Hemsworth – and conjuring thoughts of his alter-ego with the big hammer.
Special features: The Cyber Threat — interviews with a variety of sources and filmmakers on the authenticity of the events portrayed on-screen — Locations and Creating Reality: How real are the people we see in the film? (All on 1080p with different aspect ratios).
The Cobbler (2014)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Dustin Hoffman, Ellen Barkin. Directed by: Thomas McCarthy. Running time: 99 minutes.
Oddly enough, this film is memorable – and it stars Adam Sandler, a man who happily acknowledges (as he did when accepting his Showman of the Year Award from US theatre owners) he is neither “incredibly smart or handsome, but is still really, really rich.” He’s got his shtick. And it works. But Sandler’s success has been a creative anchor dragging along the bottom of the comedy Buy Viagra 25 mg in Costa Mesa Californiaocean, gathering crustaceans and Rob Schneider cameos. Occasionally, he comes out with something off-beat, if not totally out-of-character – such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love or the dramatically inarticulate Spanglish. These movies are entertaining, but only because it’s fun to watch Sandler try on a different hat, or in this case, shoes. Director-writer Thomas McCarthy (The Visitor) riffs on the old adage about not judging someone until you walk a mile in their shoes and places Sandler in the middle of a New York neighbourhood as the titular sole man. Max has no idea his leather stitcher has magical qualities, but after repairing a particularly swell pair of shoes, he’s tempted to try them on. In a flash, he’s become another man, and we have to buy into the premise that Max has assumed the body of someone else – as long as he’s in their shoes. It’s a fairy tale with loafers and snakeskin boots instead of a glass slipper, but there’s no big moral at the end of the story. McCarthy creates interesting vignettes, and Sandler taps his Chaplin-esque side with great skill, but the movie wanders around in circles as it searches for pathos in a size ten regular.
Special features: The making of The Cobbler, Trailer.
The Birder (2013)
Starring: Tom Cavanagh, Mark Rendall, Graham Green, Fred Willard, Tommie-Amber Pirie. Directed by Ted Bezaire. Running time: 85 minutes
What happens when your dreams don’t come true? Well, you can decompensate and have a temper tantrum, withdraw and cocoon, indulge in drugs and other self-medication regimes or, in a word, deal. For Ron Spencer (Tom Cavanagh), an enthusiastic birder who dreamed of becoming head of ornithology at the local park, the latter is the last thing on his mind. Ron wants to get Buy Viagra 25 mg in Dallas Texaseven with the interloper who stole his dream appointment, as well as all the other interlopers who’ve ruined his life, including the body builder who moved in with his soon-to-be ex-wife and daughter. His only friend is Ben (Mark Rendall), another outsider who used to be a student at Ron’s high school. Both men are dealing with a sense of loss, disappointment and abandoned dreams, but if they look hard enough at the foliage of their own experience, they might find a rare bird of happiness. Without breaking down the metaphor to a fine pulp, the script penned by Ted Bezaire and Michael Stasko is designed to showcase the transformation of our central hero, as well as pave the road for some comic interactions with the other characters – most notably Ben, the Park President played by Christopher Guest veteran Fred Willard, and his daughter (Cassidy Renee). Cavanagh does all the heavy lifting and he’s fantastic, bringing dimensions to dialogue that has all the energy of a bloodhound on a hot day, but you can feel a heaviness set in as the script veers into slapstick, leaving everyone flapping — but never taking flight.
Special features: Dolby.