Tuesday Releases: The Great Gatsby & Pain and Gain

AUGUST 27TH, 2013

KON-TIKI // A masterfully crafted adventure film, “Kon-Tiki” elaborates off the true story and Academy Award winning documentary about a man bent on proving his theory that in pre-Columbian time, South Americans could have sailed to Polynesia on wooden rafts and settled there. A highly unpopular theory and what most people thought would be a death sentenced equates to a highly entertaining and effective expedition. With impressive visuals and graphics throughout the entire film, including sharks and whales that rival that of “Life Of PI”, and a completely convincing and powerful performance from Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen as Thor Heyerdahl, “Kon-Tiki” is not only Norway’s most expensive film ever, it is also Norway’s highest grossing film of 2012, and easily one of my favorite foreign films of the year.

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THE GREAT GATSBY // Baz Luhrmann’s take on the great American novel “The Great Gatsby” is not only visually enthralling from start to finish, but delivers some of the best performances so far this year, including an impossible-to-beat presence of Leonardo DiCaprio, who was born to play Gatsby. Carey Mulligan also steals the show, with a beauty beyond what you imagine Daisy to be. Joel Edgerton also steps out of his wheelhouse and captivates in his role. And in his first memorable major starring role since Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire handles himself impressively. Isla Fisher and Elizabeth Debicki are also gorgeous as ever, keeping pace with the mega-stars around them. The imagery is unforgettable in Luhrmann’s “Gatsby” with epic sweeping shots and enormous choreographed dance numbers accompanied by modern hip hop music and delectable covers of contemporary music. The film never feels “too Luhrmann” however, and one could even forget it was written and directed by Baz halfway through. Although I have yet to finish the novel for the first time, the first third of film was on par with bringing the novel to life in a new and exciting way. Not very often do I utter these words, but I may have to see this film again in 3D.

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PAIN & GAIN // Entertaining yet never quite exceptional, Michael Bay’s foray into the comical and violent true story of three Miami bodybuilders turned criminals starts off strong but fizzles off into a stylized and indulgent farce of an action film. Mark Wahlberg does his best to keep the momentum going, but with the macho, dimwitted dialogue burdening the entire film, there’s little he can do to save it from itself. Dwayne Johnson continues to break his typecast, delivering a sincere and childlike performance that is often the source of the film’s humor, basically allowing him to steal the show. Ed Harris is looking good and proves too well trained for a whimsical film such as this. I look forward to his future detective work in a film that actually deserves him. The biggest problem coming out of “Pain & Gain” is that by the end of the film, none of the characters are likeable, with Tony Shalhoub becoming the victim, even though you hate him most of the film. That, and the story gets so unbelievable that Bay has to remind you that this is “still a true story”. Though I am glad Michael Bay was allowed to make his passion project, I look forward to his return to big budget blockbusters like “Transformers 4”.

New Releases
At Any Price
A Company Man (2012)
The Great Gatsby (2013)
Kon-Tiki
The Lost Medallion: The Adventures of Billy Stone 2-denied2
Pain & Gain
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Stranded (2012) 2-denied2

TV Box Set

  • Call Me Fitz: Season Three
  • Ghost Hunters International: The Final Season
  • Grey’s Anatomy: Season Nine
  • Sapphire And Steel: Complete Series
  • Sons of Anarchy: Season Five
  • Tales of the City: 20th Anniversary Edition
  • The Walking Dead: Season Three

Special Editions/Other Releases

  • 33 Postcards 2-denied2
  • American Brawler
  • Among Friends
  • Billy the Kid
  • Black Coat Mob
  • Captain Battle: Legacy War
  • Collision Course
  • Eclipse Series 39: Early Fassbinder
  • Evil Inside
  • Grupo 7
  • Hanging for Django
  • The Human Body Collection
  • Koch 2-denied2
  • Life Love Soul
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Meddling Mom
  • Online
  • The Painting 2-denied2
  • Richard III: Martyr or Monster?
  • Ritual
  • Scatter My Ashes at Bergdof’s 2-denied2
  • Seattle Superstorm
  • Super Buddies
  • Tied
  • To Be or Not To Be: Criterion
  • Uncle Vanya (1963)

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