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"Broadchurch" Uncovers A Tiny Bit More Of The Procedural

19 April 2014 8:39 AM, PDT

In the quiet, seaside town of Broadchurch, a child has been murdered. Eleven-year-old Danny Latimer’s (Oskar McNamara) body is found on the beach. Despite the giant cliff above the site, they discern that his death wasn’t from jumping/falling off. They also discern that the crime scene is not where the murder actually happened. So begins an 8-episode, months-long investigation into who killed Danny Latimer that will rock the entire community.

Newly hired Di Alec Hardy (David Tennant) is in charge of the investigation. He’s harboring some secrets from his past, having chosen to relocate to this small town to avoid the scandals associated with them. His hiring snubs DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) who was promised his position. Her resentment for this and Hardy’s own off-putting demeanor create immediate strife between the two of them. Ellie has enough on her plate as it is, considering »

- John Keith

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"Scooby-Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery" Delivers Exactly What It Promises

18 April 2014 11:15 PM, PDT

In this collaborative film, the Scooby-Doo team works with WWE to tell an animated crossover story. Scooby (Frank Welker) and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) obsessively play a WWE video game, and when Scooby beats it on the hardest level and successfully completes an elaborate victory dance, he wins admittance to WWE City. While Fred (Welker), Velma (Mind Cohn), and Daphne (Grey DeLisle) are hesitant to go on a road trip to the wrestling capital, Shaggy manages to guilt them into doing something he wants to do for once (because, obviously, Shaggy and Scooby can’t go out in public without adult supervision).

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- John Keith

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Take A Trip Into "The Past"

18 April 2014 8:49 PM, PDT

The latest film by Asghar Farhadi, The Past, could have used the same title as his last film A Separation. Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris to finalize his divorce with Marie (Berenice Bejo) after a four-year separation. But when he returns to his old home, he finds that a lot has changed.

Marie has taken up with a new man, Samir (Tahar Rahim), who comes with his own baggage. He has a wife, who is currently in a coma. And his presence creates tension in Marie’s relationship with her daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet), who is not actually related to Ahmad (but to a derelict in Brussels). However, because Ahmad is the closest to a father figure in Lucie’s life, he attempts to reconcile the differences between Lucie and Marie. But he uncovers even more secrets in the process.

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- John Keith

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Not Too Many "Bible Secrets Revealed"

18 April 2014 7:53 PM, PDT

The History Channel’s six-week, 270-minute special entitled Bible Secrets Revealed is a hefty undertaking. The series launches in Qumram, the discovery site of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and quickly pushes the differences between the modern Hebrew Bible and the books found in the Scrolls front and center. So begins a meandering, detailed examination of the mysteries and obscurities found in history’s most famous text and its various predecessors with their traditional differences. Moving away from the rigid “Word of God,” the series is an interesting, if not entirely fresh, look at an ancient text’s origins before being appropriated by a world that has done unspeakable acts of both immense good and unconscionable bad in its name.

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- Kyle North

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This Movie Is Worth Getting "Contracted"

18 April 2014 5:53 PM, PDT

Do you need a tampon?

When you think you've done a tinkle and you find the toilet looks like the inside of an abattoir, it might not just be a heavy flow. In Contracted (2013), Sam (Najarra Townsend), a budding botanist, is date raped by a shadowy creeper and wakes up with a nasty hangover and some messy sheets. She tries to deny it, but as her symptoms get worse (and worse), no answers present themselves. Somehow, she lets her ordinary problems take precedence, especially her deteriorating relationship with Nikki (Katie Stegeman). Her mother (Caroline Williams) and friends, like Alice (Alice Macdonald), try to steer her towards help, but she might have got something that nobody can help her with.

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- Jason Ratigan

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New "Anchorman 2" Cut At Least 23% Funnier

16 April 2014 9:15 PM, PDT

I approach this review at a bit of a crossroads. Do I review Anchorman 2 as it exists on this awesome three disc set as the theatrical cut or do I dare explore the absurdity of the Super-Sized R-Rated Version? For those unfamiliar with the Adam McKay Ron Burgundy films, the actors often provide an insane amount of takes and dialogue options often with hilarious results. The original Anchorman film, for example, when released on DVD through Best Buy, included a wholly separate movie, comprised of sub-plots that were cut from the theatrical feature. It was pretty impressive. I decided to take a similar approach to one I’ve made in the past, and reviewed sections of the film at different cuts.

The results, predictably, were hysterical. Often, you’ll see a few of these takes used in commercials or in credits sequences, alternate takes, etc. One of the more »

- Robert Ottone

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"Philomena" Is So Good, You'll Want To Pronounce Its Title Correctly

16 April 2014 8:19 PM, PDT

You think I should do a human interest story?

Of all the films nominated for Best Picture this year, Philomena (2013) is the only one I would describe as flawless. As a piece of old-fashioned human interest, unlikely to be confused for an "important" film, it was primarily seen as a showcase for Judi Dench. Thus, its nomination for Best Picture is rather strange which greater transparency in the voting process might have illuminated. Perhaps those voters saw a film that is tender, funny, terrifically produced and tells a true (and thus un-editable) story with a massive stutter step right in the middle that should have destroyed it. That it not only survives the 'twist', but then resolves its story to absolute satisfaction will be credited greatly to the performances and the charm of the true heroine, Philomena Lee. Maybe a little of it should go to Stephen Frears and screenwriters Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope. »

- Jason Ratigan

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"Warrior Assassin" Slain By Its Mortal Enemy-Competence

16 April 2014 6:13 PM, PDT

He wants to kill every kung-fu fighter in the world.

Oh no. A martial arts movie that looks and sounds like a soap opera. Can a low budget film be overproduced? Funny you should ask, because the answer is, apparently, "Yes, yes it can." How did director Dou Xiao get no money for the camera equipment--it looks dreadfully cheesy--but still get a crane and horses? Warrior Assassin (2013) is the story of two kung-fu adherents who seek revenge on a common foe. Sounds interesting and might actually have been interesting if it wasn't the barest excuse to string together a line of relatively bland and aimless fight scenes. What is there to save this film from being a total waste of time? Irony.

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- Jason Ratigan

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"Inn Of The Sixth Happiness" Finds A Home On Blu-Ray

13 April 2014 5:20 PM, PDT

Help? How can you help?

The single greatest aspect of the wide expansion and adoption of blu-ray on home video is that underseen films like The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) are reborn for a new generation looking as good or better than they ever did in cinemas. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness is an epic biography of Gladys Aylward (Ingrid Bergman) and her joyfully tenacious attraction to missionary work in China in the early half of the 20th century. While it is not a masterpiece, it is a thoroughly pleasant film that will appeal to many, whether fans of Bergman, historical epics, exotic travel, or plain old classics. Most plot summaries describe the long trek Gladys undertook to bring children out of harm's way, but there is a great deal more to it than that. It is a film like many others--South Pacific (1958), The King and I (1956), Dances with Wolves »

- Jason Ratigan

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