Tuesday Releases: Jack The Giant Slayer & Stoker

JUNE 18TH, 2013

THE BRASS TEAPOT // Not bad for her first feature film, Ramaa Mosley creates a believable world of want and greed in “The Brass Teapot”. Starring one of my recent favorite actresses on the rise, Juno Temple sells this film far beyond what any other actress could. She makes this film and her role embodies the reasons that I enjoy her so much, including her tenacious sexuality, unrelenting stares, and a generally positive aura around her. Michael Angarano also makes this film better with his immersing into this role, developing a nice guy humor all his own, that is actually quite hilarious. The plot and delivery are simple and that makes “The Brass Teapot” easily accessible, hitting all the emotional marks needed for a successful, first-time feature. With a tight cast, including supporters like the gorgeous Alexis Bledel, the humorous Alia Shawkat, and nice guy Kenneth Parcell, and a solid, clean quality to the entire film, Mosley does not disappoint. You’ve seen films like this before, where the main characters come across a item that gives them power (or in this case a teapot that rewards physical and emotional pain with cold hard cash), but never in a way so entertaining and fresh than in “The Brass Teapot”.

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JACK THE GIANT SLAYER // Not nearly as bad as I expected it to be, “Jack The Giant Slayer” creates a fantasy world with kings and peasants, giants and magic beans, a fairy tale that I never would have imagined could actually be translated into film. Even though this PG-13 film is designated more for children, the darkness of the film is almost too much for adults at times, let alone children. I imagined many parents have the “death” talk after this film. Nicholas Hoult holds his own as the film’s protagonist, Jack, playing opposite the lovely Eleanor Tomlinson, who proves she deserves more work in Hollywood than she’s getting. What had me most worried walking into the film was the caricature performances coming from Ian McShane and Stanley Tucci, but both hold their own quite steadily, helped mostly by the adult-nature of story at times, especially in battle. Ewan McGregor also proved me wrong, capturing the spotlight quite nicely whenever he was involved and actually became one of the best parts of the film. Getting invested in CGI-driven films can be hard if the material is weak, but with continued great voice acting from Bill Nighy (bringing back the villainous voice of Davey Jones from “Pirates of the Caribbean”), the films is helped immensely. However, with a thin story like “Jack and the Beanstock” being your premise and the plot progression basically becoming a large game of king of the mountain that eventual becomes more build up than epic conclusion (a massive game of tug-O-war), “Jack the Giant Slayer” is a huge feat for children’s film-making, marking a film that probably would have been one of my favorites if I were ten years or younger, but in the grand scheme of film-making, it is a sub-par, CGI heavy venture that has little pay off.

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THE LAST EXORCISM PART II // All credit must be given to Ashley Bell, the wonderful young actress who, yet again, takes on the role of Nell Sweetzer, reprising her role from the previous film “The Last Exorcism”. In “Part II” of this hopefully two part saga, Nell returns from the events on the farm, a tormented and reclusive young girl. She’s placed in a group home and attempts to return her life to some sort of normalcy. Obviously, we can assume this won’t happen lightly, if at all. Along with Bell’s impressive performance, including a vulnerability and naivety that could easily have been overdone by any other young actress, the scares help keep this film afloat, building tense moments with ease, starting from scene one in a stranger’s bed. Made even more creepy by being placed on the streets of New Orleans, not only does “The Last Exorcism Part II” delve further than I possibly could have imaged, it actually does so in a somewhat refreshing and unique way. Had the ending been stronger and less of a throwaway, this could have been an above average film. Instead, it rises from its preconceptions and gains at least some sort of respectable stature.

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STOKER // “Stoker” is the perfect English debut from director Park Chan-wook. In this eerie thriller, Mia Wasikowska boldly plays a young woman named India, who is not only dealing with the loss of her father, but her insatiable mother, played by Nicole Kidman and the emergence of a distant uncle, Charlie, played brilliantly by Matthew Goode. Chan-wook displays his prowess with strong attention to detail, providing one of the most intense and creative sound designs I’ve ever experienced along with a keen eye for impeccable imagery. There is a strong sense of rhythm and punctuation in the film’s editing, with impressive transitions, coinciding with the film’s strong central cinematography. “Stoker” is poetic, and like the piano parts played throughout the film, it is filled with highs and lows, crescendos and decrescendos, and is ultimately a study of perspective with which one little change can make the same series of events mean something completely different, to which we revisit constantly throughout the film. The performances are tight-knit, the production of the film is masterful, and Chan-wook now has the impossible task of topping his latest film.

New Releases
21 and Over
The Brass Teapot
Come Out and Play (2012)
Jack the Giant Slayer
The Last Exorcism Part II
Movie 43 2-denied2
Quartet (2012)
Stoker

TV Box Set

  • Body of Proof: Season Three
  • Call the Midwife: Season Two
  • Drop Dead Diva: Season Four
  • Fraggle Rock: Season Four
  • Moonshiners: Season One
  • Springhill: Series One
  • Web Therapy: Season Two
  • Wilfred: Season Two
  • Workaholics: Season Three

Special Editions/Other Releases

  • The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse
  • American Mary
  • Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan
  • Boys in Brown
  • Defiant Requiem
  • Delhi Safari
  • Dino King
  • Everyone Must Die!
  • The Evil Clergyman
  • Flame of Barbary Coast
  • The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
  • God Has A Rap Sheet
  • The Howling: Collector’s Edition
  • In the Dark
  • Mara (2012)
  • Of Human Bondage: Kino Classics
  • One Touch of Venus
  • Prank (2012)
  • Profile of a Killer
  • Rectify
  • Safety Last: Criterion
  • Sex, Lies And Depravity
  • Showdown at Boot Hill
  • Summoned (2013)
  • Things to Come: Criterion
  • Tourist Trap
  • The Wedding Party
  • Wonder Women (1973)
  • Zero Killed

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