Sep
19

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This Is Where I Leave You leaves no cliché unturned

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‘This Is Where I Leave You’ strands some good actors in a sea of clichés, but the performances just may be enough to elevate it beyond a TV Movie of the Week.

 

Family dynamics are a crazy thing. Most families get along, or at least pretend to get along during holidays and special gatherings, and others just can’t be in the same room together without some unfortunate event taking place.

The Altman family, from the new comedy-drama This Is Where I Leave You, falls squarely into that second category. Oldest son Paul (Cory Stoll) feels like the “responsible” son who took control of the family business while his younger brothers fled their hometown. Middle son Judd (Jason Bateman) seems to have a successful career and marriage … on the surface, and youngest son Phillip (Adam Driver) is seen as the irresponsible one who is now dating a much older woman. Then there’s sister Wendy (Tina Fey) who seems more like a mother to them all than their actual mother.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Sep
19

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The Maze Runner is a surprisingly engaging entry into the dystopian teen genre

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‘The Maze Runner’ is a pretty enjoyable movie, even if the ending is a bit … franchisey.

 

Ah, the copycat movie. Or copycat book, as the case may be. When there is something popular with readymade sequels (like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter) there’s a rush to discover what the secret formula there was for the success. Was it sexy teens? Dark, brooding settings? Not entirely thought out sci-fi dystopia? There is of course no such perfect formula, but that doesn’t stop moviemakers from trying. The young adult dystopian genre has had its true successes, but also its failures — look at this year’s flop Divergent. That was nearly identical to the Hunger Games concept, but it didn’t draw the numbers. Why? Well, for one, the book wasn’t anywhere close to as popular. It also just seemed to be marketed as yet another in a stream of such genre stories and therefore didn’t really stand out. Something like The LEGO Movie, you remember that. But the same could be said for the unending mindless action movies, which also do not have guaranteed success. For every pandering Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doing well, there’s The Expendables 3 bombing utterly and completely. So today’s question becomes: Will this movie break the streak of failure?

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Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox
Sep
18

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Prepare to meet Annabelle at an advance Hollywood screening

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Before ‘The Conjuring’ there was ‘Annabelle,’ and you can be among the first to see this frightening new film at a special advance screening in Hollywood. Read on to find out how to get a pair of passes.

 

CliqueClack has partnered with Warner Brothers Pictures to offer readers in Los Angeles an opportunity to attend an advance screening of the new horror thriller Annabelle starring Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, Tony Amendola and Eric Ladin.

John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia — a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia’s delight with Annabelle doesn’t last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now … Annabelle.

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Photo Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures
Sep
18

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Attend an advance DC screening of Hector and the Search for Happiness

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Simon Pegg stars in ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’ and you can attend a special advance screening in Washington, DC. Read on to find out how you can get a pair of passes.

 

CliqueClack has partnered with Relativity Studios to offer readers in the DC area an opportunity to attend an advance screening of the new comedic drama Hector and the Search for Happiness starring Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgård, Jean Reno, Christopher Plummer.

Hector (Simon Pegg) is a quirky psychiatrist who has become increasingly tired of his humdrum life. As he tells his girlfriend, Clara (Rosamund Pike), he feels like a fraud: he hasn’t really tasted life, and yet he’s offering advice to patients who are just not getting any happier. So Hector decides to break out of his deluded and routine driven life. Armed with buckets of courage and child-like curiosity, he embarks on a global quest in hopes of uncovering the elusive secret formula for true happiness. And so begins a larger than life adventure with riotously funny results.

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Photo Credit: Relativity
Sep
18

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Turn Back the Clock offers a unique glimpse in history from 1910-1933

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This week’s Throwback Thursday installment takes us all the way back to the good ol’ days of 1910, as we ‘Turn Back the Clock’ with Lee Tracy, Mae Clarke, Otto Kruger and Peggy Shannon.

 

Time travel, particularly when the main character uses it to correct past mistakes, is certainly a popular subject in literature and film. Whether part of the sci-fi, romance, action/thriller or comedy genre, it’s a subject that fascinates everyone from the very young to the very old and all those who remain young-at-heart. Thanks to the continuing efforts of the Warner Archive Collection, I recently watched Turn Back the Clock, one of the earlier films dedicated to the subject.

Released in 1933 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Turn Back the Clock stars Lee Tracy and Mae Clarke as Joe and Mary Gimlet, a husband and wife who own a small cigar store in New York. The couple makes just enough money to take care of their basic needs – they have a meager, but cozy apartment above the store, and there’s always food on their table, even if it is just beef and cabbage. They’ve managed to save up $4,000 in 15 years, which in 1933 that was a great deal more than it is now. That’s not exactly enough to retire in style, but it’s a pretty decent nest egg for a hardworking couple in their early 40s. Not to mention this was in the midst of the Great Depression, a time in which many were far less fortunate than that.

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Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios
Sep
16

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Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, The Big Bang Theory, Grimm and more come to home video

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TV on DVD and Blu-ray September 16 includes ‘Arrow,’ ‘Grimm,’ ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ The Big Bang Theory,’ ‘About a Boy,’ ‘Alpha House,’ ‘Bones,’ ‘Castle,’ ‘From Dusk Till Dawn,’ ‘Hannibal,’ ‘Hawaii Five-0,’ ‘The Carol Burnett Show,’ ‘Highway to Heaven,’ and much more!

 

It’s a big week for TV on home video as the new fall season starts to roll out. This week, you have the opportunity to catch up on several of last season’s shows before the new season starts, including Arrow, About a Boy, Awkward, The Big Bang Theory, Bones, Castle, Grimm, Hannibal, Hawaii Five-O, Sleepy Hollow and South Park. For those whose cable systems don’t yet carry Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey channel, the first season of From Dusk Till Dawn makes its home video debut, while streaming series Alpha House and Burning Love also get home video releases. Classic TV fans can now get The Carol Burnett Show Ultimate Edition from retailers other than Time Life, and Highway to Heaven and Tour of Duty also get new season releases. For kids and families, there’s Ben 10 Omniverse, Denver the Last Dinosaur, Dragon Ball Z, Marvel Knights, Slugterra and more. For a look at the September 16 highlights, check out our alphabetical shopper’s guide after the jump. Click on a link to make a purchase or to get more information.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
Sep
16

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Godzilla, The Fault In Our Stars, and more come to home video

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Movies on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital September 16 include ‘Godzilla,’ ‘The Fault In Our Stars,’ ‘The Battery,’ ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Eraserhead,’ ‘Avalanche,’ ‘Meteor,’ ‘The Party,’ ‘The Nutty Professor,’ ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,’ and much more!

 

Two major titles come to home video September 16 — Godzilla and The Fault In Our Stars — along with Blu-ray releases celebrating the anniversaries of two comedy classics, Ghostbusters (30!) and The Nutty Professor (50!). Newer films getting early Digital releases include the indie hits Chef and Obvious Child, as well as summer box office giant Tranformers: Age of Extinction. Other films getting anniversary releases this week include Silent Night, Deadly Night (30) and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, newly restored for its 40th anniversary. For fans of the weird, the Criterion Collection is releasing David Lynch’s Eraserhead on Blu-ray, and cult classics Avalanche, Meteor, Flesh & Blood and The Party also get some high def love. These are just a few of the titles hitting DVD, Blu-ray and Digital this week. To see more of the highlights, have a look at our alphabetical shoppers guide after the jump, and click on a link to get more information or to make a purchase.

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Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox
Sep
16

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Godzilla gets a second look on Blu-ray

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Godzilla stomps his way from the big screen to the home screen, but does the new Blu-ray release do the film justice?

 

When Godzilla was released theatrically I, along with many others, was stoked to see the big guy back on screen. His last US outing didn’t turn out so well, so Warner Brothers did a great job marketing the new reboot by barely showing the iconic monster. The feeling amongst the fans was that you have to have a pretty strong movie to promote it without even showing the title character.

Turns out there wasn’t a whole lot of Godzilla to be seen on screen. (Someone recently made a rather cheeky YouTube video to satisfy all the Godzilla fans who felt the film lacked Godzilla by piecing together all of the scenes in the movie that feature Godzilla. It runs less than eight minutes.) The film spends an inordinate amount of time on the other monsters, the M.U.T.O.s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Objects) and a collection of characters spread throughout the story with little emotional connection for the audience.

The story’s biggest misstep was (SPOILER ALERT) killing off its biggest star 40 minutes in. The early ads featured said star prominently, so I felt I had a good idea of what the movie was going to be going in to it, but past that point it turned into a meandering tale that needed (a) the star and (b) Godzilla. But now that the movie is out on home video, I decided to give it a second look to see if my feelings about it had changed knowing what the story was going to be.

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Photo Credit: Warner Home Entertainment
Sep
15

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Attend an advance screening of The Equalizer in Baltimore, DC or Virginia Beach

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Denzel Washington updates the TV classic ‘The Equalizer,’ and you can be among the first to see the new big screen version of the show. Read on to learn how you can get a pair of passes to the advance screening.

 

ALL PASSES HAVE BEEN CLAIMED. COMMENTS ARE CLOSED. WINNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED BY EMAIL.

CliqueClack has partnered with Sony Pictures to offer readers in Baltimore, DC and Virginia Beach an opportunity to attend an advance screening of the new action thriller The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour with Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.

Denzel Washington plays McCall, a man who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when McCall meets Teri (Moretz), a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her. Armed with hidden skills that allow him to serve vengeance against anyone who would brutalize the helpless, McCall comes out of his self-imposed retirement and finds his desire for justice reawakened. If someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.

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Photo Credit: Sony Pictures
Sep
12

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Hardy and Gandolfini make The Drop worth seeing

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Mystery piles on top of mystery in ‘The Drop,’ but are the performances of Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini good enough to make the movie worth seeing?

 

I’ve not read a book by Dennis Lehane, but I have seen several of the movies based on his books (of which he is usually the credited screenwriter). Some of those films I have enjoyed and some I have not, mainly because they all seem to have a sort of commonality to them – cold, grey, extremely bleak with nary a character you can actually root for (case in point: Mystic River). Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island were more successful, in my book, perhaps because the directors made the material interesting (and Shutter Island certainly divided audiences with its extremely ambiguous conclusion).

The latest Lehane novel to make it to the big screen is Animal Rescue, which now goes by the title The Drop. The Drop is another cold, grey, bleak story about Brooklyn. Specifically Brooklyn’s neighborhood bars and the organized crime element that uses those bars as nightly drops for all of the money collected during the day. One such bar is Cousin Marv’s, run by Marv (James Gandolfini) and his cousin Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy), but owned by the Chechen mob.

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Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight