Aug
30

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As Above/So Below is a frightening descent into the human psyche & the Parisian catacombs

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With a relatively unknown cast and a setting in the creepy catacombs lurking below the streets of Paris, does ‘As Above/So Below’ deliver on pre-Halloween season scares?

 

Ah, Paris. It’s been about a decade since I visited the City of Lights during my junior year of college. With its alluring architecture, decadent foods, plethora of historical sites I’d always dreamed about in books, and dizzying array of lights, my heart was easily stolen like countless other hearts before mine. Little did I know what was sinisterly lurking just beneath its streets – an impressive catacombs network hosting the remains of somewhere between 6 and 7 million people. I’d never thought about it before, but this is an enticing setting for a horror movie. Kudos to Universal Pictures and the filmmakers of As Above/So Below for coming up with such a fresh, brilliant concept.

As Above/So Below features the most impressive movie poster artwork I’ve seen in a while. Perhaps you’ve noticed it while driving or walking by your local movie theater. You can’t exactly miss a crimson poster with a picture of an upside-down Eiffel Tower surrounded by skulls. It’s a very striking visual and it made me want to see this movie even though it didn’t star any big names and I knew next-to-nothing about its writers, director, etc. And while some critics out there aren’t raving about it, I’m glad I saw it.

As Above/So Below is like a mash-up of Indiana Jones and The Blair Witch Project.

As Above/So Below is like a mash-up of Indiana Jones and The Blair Witch Project. That’s perhaps the best way I can describe it. The story revolves around a young archaeologist’s quest to locate the fabled philosopher’s stone, continuing the work of her late father. The movie is done like a mock documentary with narrative and the shaky hand-held camera style made popular by The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. If you’re not a fan of the shaky cam style or are in any way claustrophobic, this is probably not the best movie for you to see on the big screen. Fair warning: it made my roommate dizzy and nauseous, but I was fine. Continue reading 'As Above/So Below is a frightening descent into the human psyche & the Parisian catacombs' »

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
Aug
29

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Watching Kundo is like watching a Korean take on Quentin Tarantino

1200987_Kundo-Age-Of-The-Rampant

‘Kundo’ is slow to start but has a killer finish, filled with all the fighting and tragedy you’d expect from a classic martial arts epic or western drama.

 

An homage is a tricky thing, because it’s easy to screw up. And when there’s a language barrier, it can be even trickier. But sometimes you can get past all that merely by being sublimely ridiculous.

I usually don’t review Korean movies (the last — Masquerade – was nearly two years ago), but occasionally I get the chance if they open locally. Oddly enough, Kundo (also called Kundo: Age of the Rampart overseas) also takes place in the Joseon Dynasty, a once powerful and influential Korean state for many centuries. This movie takes place in 1859 at the time when the Dynasty was beginning to fall apart. At the time, there was massive corruption among the nobility, who hoarded their riches and stores of food from the poorer country folk. This is the real historic backdrop to a very violent and stylized take on Robin Hood meets kung fu historical epics meets spaghetti westerns. There are a lot of characters here, but most aren’t that important. The interesting ones quickly stand out and the others tend to blend into the background. And the story? It’s relatively simple. Relatively.

Continue reading 'Watching Kundo is like watching a Korean take on Quentin Tarantino' »

Photo Credit: Showbox/Mediaplex, Well Go USA
Aug
29

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Love is Strange is a lovely and bittersweet tale of an older couple

Film Set - 'Love Is Strange'

‘Love is Strange’ is exactly what you’d expect from an indie movie about an older gay couple – slow but worth it if you like that sort of thing.

 

Ah, love. Who can say what it is? I’m certainly not about to try. But one thing that is inarguable is that it is something that can be held by people of any age and background. As I’ve said many times before, there are a lot of stories being told about older people and their lives these days, and the trend is unlikely to slow anytime soon. There’s a new wrinkle to the idea though; what about relationships normally only looked at about young people? What about lives that would have been considered taboo (and sometimes still are) a generation ago?

There are real people growing older and falling in love, and just because they may not be the sort usually seen in movies does not mean they do not reflect reality. But there’s more. Society doesn’t make things easy for people with a different sexuality. And people from that or any older generation will always have a disconnect with younger people, regardless of how they are connected or related. When you’re used to doing things a certain way, it can be hard or impossible to adjust. Even if you really want to.

Love is Strange follows an older couple, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), who live in Manhattan and have just gotten married after being together for nearly forty years. So far, nothing’s the matter per se; George’s steady work as a music teacher at a Catholic school support the struggling artist Ben, who hasn’t painted in years. But because they are now “officially” out, George gets fired from his job and the two are forced to find elsewhere to live. And for the first time in four decades, they must live apart. Ben stays with his nephew and his family, including wife Kate (Marisa Tomei) and son Joey (Charlie Tahan), while George finds accommodations from two close friends, a younger gay couple who are also NYPD officers (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez, the younger mirror of Ben and George). Naturally, neither is particularly happy with the situation. Ben’s eccentric behavior clashes with Kate and Joey, slowly falling apart. George is handling things a bit better, but the hard partying lifestyle of his younger friends makes things difficult for him.

Continue reading 'Love is Strange is a lovely and bittersweet tale of an older couple' »

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics
Aug
27

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The November Man tries to be a sleek, sexy James Bond thriller but comes up a little short

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When former James Bond Pierce Brosnan and former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko return to the world of foreign espionage in ‘The November Man,’ is it a hit or a miss with spy thriller aficionados?

 

“Peter Devereaux, you know what we used to call you? The November Man ‘cause after you passed through, nothing lived.”

That is hands down one of the most badass quotes used in a movie trailer I’ve seen in a while. However, I don’t think the trailer for Relativity Media’s The November Man does it justice. Based loosely upon the novel There Are No Spies by Bill Granger, the film had an interesting plot in that Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is an ex-CIA operative forced out of retirement to embark upon one final personal mission that finds him pitted against high-ranking CIA officials, the Russian president-elect Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski) and his former protégé David Mason (Luke Bracey), who is like the hot-headed, impetuous son Devereaux never had. Devereaux’s mission is to find and protect a former refugee who may hold the secrets to the Russian president-elect’s political undoing and the unraveling of a decades-old conspiracy.

While this film tries really, really hard to be a smart, sleek and sexy spy thriller in the vein of James Bond, it comes up a little short of the prize. 

Of course I knew Brosnan had been James Bond in fan favorites GoldenEye, Die Another Day, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough, but I didn’t realize the film’s leading lady Alice (Olga Kurylenko) had been a former Bond girl starring opposite Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace. While this film tries really, really hard to be a smart, sleek and sexy spy thriller in the vein of James Bond, it comes up a little short of the prize. Like any other movie in this genre, there are a plethora of swerves along the way – some of them you will see coming a mile away because they’re that clichéd, while others may take you by surprise. If you go into this blindly and aren’t bothered by the foreign names and accents that are sometimes difficult to follow, the confusing and at times unnecessary plot twists, the sometimes uncomfortable scenarios and the fact that this far removed from the Cold War I don’t think anybody really cares about Russian politics anymore, then you should be fine.

Continue reading 'The November Man tries to be a sleek, sexy James Bond thriller but comes up a little short' »

Photo Credit: Relativity Media
Aug
22

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a brutal, bloody, and mostly fun repeat of the first one

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‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ is basically ‘Sin City’ again, so you’re likely to like it if you liked that one, and hate it if you didn’t.

 

Nine years is a long time in between a movie and a sequel. Of course, it’s not the longest; a quick glace at Wikipedia reveals ten years for The X-Files movie, another niche film, sixteen years for the Dirty Dancing sequel, and a whopping sixty-three years for a sequel to Bambi. Although that’s a different sort of movie altogether. The first Sin City movie came out in 2005 from director Robert Rodriguez, sharing the directing credit (a bit controversially at the time) with Frank Miller, who had created the graphic novel the movie is based on.

Later, Frank Miller went to direct The Spirit, another graphic novel adaptation, but it was a critical and commercial failure. Now the two have teamed up again for a sequel/prequel to Sin City. But the world isn’t the same as it was nearly ten years ago, not just in terms of technology, but also art and culture. Sin City blew me away when it came out; it was brutal, stylized, and jumped straight off the comics page. People had never seen such an accurate version of comic books, nor did they expect the crazy, violent world of Frank Miller. I wasn’t really familiar at the time, and have since read some of it; I like the movie more. But is the sequel still fun or is it drag?

Continue reading 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a brutal, bloody, and mostly fun repeat of the first one' »

Photo Credit: Weinstein Co.
Aug
22

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When the Game Stands Tall inspires but fails to tell a good story

When the Game Stands Tall Jim Caviezel Michael Chiklis

‘When the Game Stands Tall’ tries to tell the inspiring story of the De La Salle football Titans, but gets mired down in telling too many tangentially related off-the-field stories. The team overcomes many obstacles the movie was unable to avoid.

 

The high school level of athletics might be one of the few remaining places where one could find purity in sports. Professional sports are rife with stories of cheating, of individualism and commercialism. College – at least in the major sports – is no better; while only the smallest of percentages will play professionally, the sports there might be less pure than their professional counterparts. So there is the international level – an area that has been largely ignored in cinema history – and high schools.

From Hoosiers to Remember the Titans, the history of the high school sports film focus on that purity. Even darker stories like Friday Night Lights and – to an extent – Varsity Blues generally include a nice moral lesson; for every Charlie Tweeter there is a Billy Bob, for every Basketball Diaries there is a Coach Carter. When the Game Stands Tall lives in the shadow of the inspirational stories; it very much wants to be Titans. Unfortunately director Thomas Carter and screenwriter Scott Marshall Smith spend most of the film trying to figure out what story they want to tell.

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Photo Credit: Tracy Bennett/CTMG, Inc
Aug
21

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Download passes for The November Man in Denver or Salt Lake City

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Denver and Salt Lake City readers can be the first to see Pierce Brosnan in ‘The November Man’ at a special advance screening. Read on to see how you can download a pair of free passes.

 

CliqueClack has partnered with Relativity to offer readers in Denver and Salt Lake City an opportunity to attend an advance screening of the new action thriller The November Man starring Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Eliza Taylor, Caterina Scorsone with Bill Smitrovich and Will Patton.

Code named ‘The November Man,’ Peter Devereaux (Brosnan) is an extremely dangerous and highly trained ex-CIA agent, who is lured out of quiet retirement on a very personal mission. He must protect valuable witness, Alice Fournier, (Kurylenko) who could expose the truth behind a decades old conspiracy. He soon discovers this assignment makes him a target of his former friend and CIA protégé David Mason (Bracey). With growing suspicions of a mole in the agency, there is no one Devereaux can trust, no rules and no holds barred.

Continue reading 'Download passes for The November Man in Denver or Salt Lake City' »

Photo Credit: Relativity
Aug
20

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Get free passes to see As Above/So Below in Boston and Hartford

Film Title: As Above/So Below

Something lurks beneath the streets of Paris, and you can find out what by attending a free screening of ‘As Above/So Below’ in Boston or Hartford. Carefully read the rules to find out how to get your free passes.

 

UPDATE: This offer is now closed. Follow CliqueClack on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr for contest alerts, reviews and breaking news.

CliqueClack has partnered with Universal Pictures to offer readers in Boston and Hartford an opportunity to attend an advance screening of the new thriller As Above/So Below starring Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, and Edwin Hodge.

Miles of twisting catacombs lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls. When a team of explorers ventures into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead. A journey into madness and terror, As Above/So Below reaches deep into the human psyche to reveal the personal demons that come back to haunt us all.

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
Aug
19

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Hiddleston and Swinton share eternal love in Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers Left Alive

Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton star in Jim Jarmusch’s new vampire tale ‘Only Lovers Left Alive,’ proving that love is indeed eternal.

 

I always thought being a vampire would just be so glamorous. Sleep all day, play all night, change into a bat or a wolf or even smoke, and of course eternal life … provided no one put a wooden stake through your heart while you slept.

You get a sense that the life (or afterlife) of a vampire is rather solitary.

But after seeing Jim Jarmusch’s latest film, Only Lovers Left Alive, you get a sense that the life (or afterlife) of a vampire is a rather solitary, solemn way to exist. In the film, we’re introduced to three individuals: Adam (Tom Hiddleston), Eve (Tilda Swinton) and Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) who is, in fact, THE Marlowe who was a contemporary (and definitely not an admirer) of Shakespeare.

Eve and Marlowe are in Tangiers and Adam is in Detroit. Turns out Adam and Eve are married, but he insists on living in the desolate city so he can create music and remain in a completely solitary existence save for his own Renfield, Ian (Anton Yelchin), a go-fer and confidant who gets Adam a wide range of exquisite musical instruments and other odd items like a specific type of wooden bullet.

Continue reading 'Hiddleston and Swinton share eternal love in Only Lovers Left Alive' »

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics
Aug
18

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Win free passes to see The November Man in Baltimore or DC

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You can be among the first in Baltimore and DC to see Pierce Brosnan return to the big screen in ‘The November Man.’ Read the rules carefully to find out how you can enter the contest.

 

UPDATE: This offer is now closed. Follow CliqueClack on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr for contest alerts, reviews and breaking news.

CliqueClack has partnered with Relativity to offer readers in Baltimore and DC an opportunity to attend an advance screening of the new action thriller The November Man starring Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Eliza Taylor, Caterina Scorsone with Bill Smitrovich and Will Patton.

Code named ‘The November Man,’ Peter Devereaux (Brosnan) is an extremely dangerous and highly trained ex-CIA agent, who is lured out of quiet retirement on a very personal mission. He must protect valuable witness, Alice Fournier, (Kurylenko) who could expose the truth behind a decades old conspiracy. He soon discovers this assignment makes him a target of his former friend and CIA protégé David Mason (Bracey). With growing suspicions of a mole in the agency, there is no one Devereaux can trust, no rules and no holds barred.

Continue reading 'Win free passes to see The November Man in Baltimore or DC' »

Photo Credit: Relativity