Showing posts with label opening 1/18. Show all posts
Showing posts with label opening 1/18. Show all posts

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Last Stand Advanced Screening #review #action

"I told you I'd be back," Schwarzenegger intones in his unmistakable accent, as the previews to The Last Stand begin, and back he is.  This time he's a small town, western sheriff, who's left a trail of dead coworkers from his well decorated LA days, for the quiet life in the desert outside of Las Vegas.

This show is hilarious and bound to be a hit, with it's overabundance of heavy ammunition, array of weaponry, and fast cars.   This is the tale of an inept, fugitive losin' FBI and a ragtag band of unlikely heros who thwart a drug cartel.   The familiar tale of an outnumbered band of scrappy underdogs winning against a well armed, well trained militia has been a favorite cultural myth, all the way back to the founding of our country.   

It was refreshing to have a strong,  female cop character in the otherwise all boys club.   And we got a kick out of Jackass' Johnny Knoxville as the gun hoarding wack job and unlikely hero.  We also liked the intimate, less is more aesthetic, of the mano a mano final combat scene.  

If you're a fan of Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville, Westerns, and/or action flicks, this one's a good bet for some mindless carnage.   

After leaving his LAPD narcotics post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with remorse and regret, Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) moved out of Los Angeles and settled into a life fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction. But that peaceful existence is shattered when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the western hemisphere, makes a deadly yet spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy. (c) Lionsgate

My biggest qualm is that The Last Stand plays out like a 147 minute propaganda piece for the NRA--with well armed grannies, lunatics and bumpkins as the last, best line of defense against evil Mexican drug cartels and armies of well trained soldiers. 
This show opens right when our country is engaged in the biggest gun battle ever, playing out politically in the form of pro and anti assault weapons legislation.  This idea of vigilant justice plays out well on the large screen, to large laughs and cheers, and provides for an entertaining night of gun fights and fast drives.   But I like both a lot less well when they play out on the streets of Chicago.   Everyone entering the movie theatre had to get screened by a metal detector and have their belongings checked, in case any real life, gun toting lunatics decided to put on a show of their own.   It's unfortunate that fact is fiction and escape reality.   And infamy is easier to achieve than fame. 

The Last Stand opens nationwide Friday 1/18.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mama Advanced Screening #review #horror

Mama gives "possessed by an evil spirit" a whole new level of disturbing meaning, as this bereft spirit saves the lives of two tiny potential murder victims.   She adopts and nurtures them, but takes the mothering instinct to lethal levels, as her psychopathic jealous streak kicks in.  She's possessive of their affections to a scary degree.  Check out the latest offering by Pan's Labrynth Guillermo del Torro as Executive Producer.

Mama hits theaters this Friday, 1/18, but ChiIL Live Shows got a sneak peek at a screening Tuesday.   Mama is archetypally creepy and compelling.   We dug the multifaceted layers of the creature under the bed, like the Mara of slovic folk tales--the biting night witch who gives you nightmares.  The character, Mama, is both protector and nurturer, as well as angel of vengeance.  Though the nightmares she projects to others are disturbing imagery, they actually make her a more sympathetic character, showing us her real back story.

Despite the PG13 rating, my kids are years away from being ready for this type of tale.   However, every kid is different, and some tweens and teens will no doubt dig it.   There are plenty of startle scares by the lethal creep in the closet or lurking under the bed.   But there are deeper, psychological layers to this disturbing drama as well.

We dug the surrogate parents, punk rock girl, Annabel (Jessica Chastain) and cool, artist uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).   If anyone could provide a creative, understanding home for the two feral, traumatized tots, these two would be my first choice, far and above the straight laced, meddling aunt.   The kids were a joy to watch and the way they moved was indelibly creepy.   One of the scariest things in Mama, however, was the betrayal by the psychologist, who should have had their safety and security as a priority. He selfishly put his own research above all, and recklessly endangered those he was supposed to be helping heal.


There was also a fascinating thread with little girl, Victoria's glasses, and her ability to see.   They broke in the initial car accident, before their abandonment, so she spent 5 years in the woods, nearly blind.   After her rescue and new life begins with a new pair of glasses, she still removes them to see the unseen, and Mama destroys the glasses she goes on a final murderous rage.   We're also intrigued with the black moths, that disturbingly emerged from her corpse and follow her spirit form everywhere, and we're super creeped out that little Lilly EATS them.   

directed by Andres Muschietti 

starring Jessica Chastain
produced by J. Miles Dale and Barbara Muschietti 
with Guillermo del Toro as executive producer

Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night. The day their father killed their mother, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished near their suburban neighborhood. For five long years, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home. (c)Universal

Early reviews for Mama are mixed at best, with some critics raving about it and others slamming the lack of cohesive plot, the contrived ending and lack of truly hard core scary scenes.   We liked it, above and beyond buckets of gratuitous blood and stupid teen slasher flicks, and enjoyed the cinematography, creepy locations, and layered plot.  Mama is certainly worth a look...just don't look in the closet.

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