Reviews – Black Swan

If you told me a few months ago that I’d actually go out of my way to watch a movie about BALLET, I would have told you to give your head a shake and call you an idiot but all the Oscar buzz grabbed me by the throat and I made a point to see this movie.

Black Swan is the story of a Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a professional ballerina in the New York Ballet Company who like all professional dancers obsesses about perfection and to be the lead role in a large production. When she lands the lead in Swan Lake, she begins to obsess more about holding onto her part because of another girl who possesses the qualities of the Black Swan opposite Nina who is more the White Swan.

Darren Aronofsky seamlessly blends the best aspects of The Wrestler with Requiem for a Dream. On one hand he tells the story of an oppressed little girl whose never had any life experience due in part to her suffocating mother (an ex ballerina) and the constant need to please everyone around her and become “Perfect”. On the flip side, he takes Nina through a dizzying and scary journey mentally as she struggles to find the balance between the white swan with the black one in her every day life.

Natalie Portman is one of those beautiful actresses that surprise you with their range of ability. She exudes innocence when needed and sexuality at will. She was simply amazing in this movie and surely a shoe in for the Academy award. Mila Kunis was also quite good despite what I felt was a small amount of screen time. Gone is the visage of seeing her as Jackie on That 70s show as this role is surely to take her places beyond. The chemistry between Kunis and Portman was incredible – I’d like to see these gals in other movies together. And for the record, there is one EXTREMELY HOT scene about half way through.

Great movie that deserves all the praise it’s getting. My vote is for Natalie Portman.

Check it out!

Review – 127 Hours

Danny Boyle is one hell of a director who just seems know how to invoke a wide array of feelings, isolation and desperation in the face of severe adversity (Sunshine is one of my all time favorite Sci-Fi movies). I knew the story of Aron Ralston’s survival and immediately thought that Danny Boyle was the perfect director to tell the story and boy was I right.

For those of you living under a rock, 127 Hours is the true story of a young Canyoneer who sets out on an adventure on his own and gets his arm trapped between the Canyon wall and a boulder. For the next 127 Hours he fights for survival and reflects back on his past, present and what could possibly become his future.

It wasn’t long before I knew that I was going to love this movie just because James Franco presents Aron Ralston as a very personable guy, albeit a little self absorbed, who is thrust into an extraordinary situation and the viewer just wants him to succeed. During his time trapped in the Canyon, he reflects back on previous events in his life. Some that he’s thankful for and others he regrets. During one particularly powerful scene, he pretends to be on a talk show and videotapes himself on his camcorder asking himself questions and answering them. During this time, we see and understand more about who Aron Ralston is and where his priorities in life were perhaps wrong (always return your mothers calls dude).

James Franco was absolutely incredible. I’ve never had any issue with him as an actor prior to this movie but he really showed me what he was all about and capable of. Well done Mister Franco – You’ve got yourself a new fan an I’ll now be looking forward to anything you do from here on out.

Not only did Danny Boyle masterfully convey a story of survival, but he also gave us a story about self realization that had me hooked from the very beginning. His representation coupled with the great performance by James Franco inspired, frightened and touched me all the same. A remarkable movie.

Check it Out!!!

Henry Cavill is Our New Superman

I’ve been very vocal on a lot of boards and discussions I’ve had with other movie buffs that Brandon Routh was a great Superman and that I was more than a little pissed to know that he wouldn’t even get a shot at reprising the role. Yesterday the news broke that Henry Cavill, best known for his role in Showtimes series “The Tudors”, will done the blue tights and red cape.

“In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time, and I am honored to be a part of his return to the big screen,” Snyder said. “I also join Warner Bros., Legendary and the producers in saying how excited we are about the casting of Henry. He is the perfect choice to don the cape and ‘S’ shield.”

I took some time to absorb this information and look into this guy’s body of work dimensions etc and have decided that while I’m not overly excited about the news, I am cautiously optimistic. Under the watchful eye of Christopher Nolan and the incredibly direction of Zack Snyder one can only assume that this is the 1st step towards what I hope to be an incredible relaunching of my favorite Superhero.

Thanks for the XBL Price Hike MS. (Insert Sarcasm Here) I See the Value Now.

We all know that Microsoft raised the price of it’s wildly popular online gaming service by $10 for a years subscription. Sure it doesn’t seem like much and to most people they don’t care because they see a value in it.

XBL is without a doubt the most seamless and robust of the services available on today’s console but where exactly is this money going to? They like to point out all the fancy features that have been added to the network so let’s have a quick looksee at these features.

FaceBook: There’s really very little to no FB integration with games on XBL not that I want everyone to know what I’m playing or doing. What if my boss looked for me one day. Besides, typing with my gamepad just plain sucks and I’m not forking out the dough to get the chat pad.

– Twitter: I really don’t like Twitter. I use it but really for nothing more then to blow off a little steam with a profanity laced tirade about my recent customer support issue I had with MS earlier this month. I’ll admit that The team on Twitter did help immensely.

– ESPN: I love the idea of this and have friends in the US that say it’s great but the reality of it all is that this  feature isn’t even available here in Canada so why should we care? Why should I help to pay for it? Unless we’re getting something here in Canada soon, I want some money back.

– Netflix: Netflix is my new digital love and I have Xbox to thank for this ,but, my BluRay player, Boxee, PS3, Wii PC, and Laptop all allow me to use Netflix anyway. Somehow I’m supposed to feel like this is a great value to me? Bundle it in with the price of XBL Gold so I can take an extra monthly charge off my credit card and I think we’d be onto something.

– Adding to the Customer Support Infrastructure:  RIGHT!!! Then why did it take almost 1 full week, 4 different “support” people, receiving incorrect dashboard navigation, being hung up on, Twitter support (they were awesome) and a manager at the Xbox HQ to fix my problem? Something tells me a very small portion of my $10 extra per year is going to poorly trained ” support” staff in India.

– Paid for by the Government Ads: You read that right – The other day I saw an add from the government of Canada on my dashboard. Thanks but I get fed enough BS from the Canadian government in the news. Not to mention the bastards are always in my pocket taking money so I really don’t need to see them invade my gaming console. Surely they must have had to pay enough scratch to get that space.

New Video Featurettes: Did anyone catch those videos leading up to the release of Halo Reach?  Unfortunately I did and all I can say is I was damn happy when the screen went blank and we couldn’t see her. I hope she didn’t get paid because she was terrible. Also, do we really need a channel for that Kinect chick? Sure she’s nice to look at but give me a break. Leave Jessica Chobot right where she is though.

– Upgraded Voice Quality: How exciting.

I’m sure I forgot something somewhere so feel free to add to my list of exciting features that have been added to Xbox Live that surely must justify spending $60+ per year on a service that’s free in other places.

The Learning Company Announce Two New Facebook Games


Oh the childhood dreams of being an international man of mystery and later dying of dysentery while riding in a covered wagon are flashing through my mind… The Learning Company announced that two new facebook games, developed by Blue Fang Games, are coming in February; Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and The Oregon Trail.

I don’t know about you but these two games might just suck up what’s left of my free time (at least until the next childhood remake comes around).

Catch the trailers:

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? for Facebook: Official Trailer

The Oregon Trail for Facebook: Official Trailer

* Correction: Both games are coming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s consumer division, The Learning Company, and were developed by Blue Fang Games.
* Found announcement on the Huffington post.

83rd Academy Award Nominees Announced

Well the awards season is really in full swing now. The Razzies nominees were announced yesterday chronicling the worst of the worst for the year and today brings the crowning jewel in the movie awards world. The Academy Awards. Below is a full list of the noms. Personally I loved The Fighter and The Social Network. The plan is to see Black Swan (Hello Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis) and 127 Hours this weekend before I make any real picks.

Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”
James Franco in “127 Hours”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”

Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech”
Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

Animated Feature Film
“How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
“The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet
“Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich

Art Direction
“Alice in Wonderland”
Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”
Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
“Inception”
Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
“The King’s Speech”
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
“True Grit”
Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

Cinematography
“Black Swan” Matthew Libatique
“Inception” Wally Pfister
“The King’s Speech” Danny Cohen
“The Social Network” Jeff Cronenweth
“True Grit” Roger Deakins

Costume Design
“Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood
“I Am Love” Antonella Cannarozzi
“The King’s Speech” Jenny Beavan
“The Tempest” Sandy Powell
“True Grit” Mary Zophres

Directing
“Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky
“The Fighter” David O. Russell
“The King’s Speech” Tom Hooper
“The Social Network” David Fincher
“True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Documentary (Feature)
“Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz
“Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
“Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
“Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Documentary (Short Subject)
“Killing in the Name” Nominees to be determined
“Poster Girl” Nominees to be determined
“Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
“Sun Come Up” Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
“The Warriors of Qiugang” Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

Film Editing
“Black Swan Andrew Weisblum
“The Fighter” Pamela Martin
“The King’s Speech” Tariq Anwar
“127 Hours” Jon Harris
“The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Foreign Language Film
“Biutiful” Mexico
“Dogtooth” Greece
“In a Better World” Denmark
“Incendies” Canada
“Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)” Algeria
“Don’t Care” Todd’s Living Room

Makeup
“Barney’s Version” Adrien Morot
“The Way Back” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Music (Original Score)
“How to Train Your Dragon” John Powell
“Inception” Hans Zimmer
“The King’s Speech” Alexandre Desplat
“127 Hours” A.R. Rahman
“The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Best Picture
“Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
“The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
“Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
“The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
“The King’s Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
“127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
“The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
“Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
“True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
“Winter’s Bone” Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Writing (Original Screenplay)
“Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh
“The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
“Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan
“The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
“The King’s Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

The Company Men – or Somebody Please Give Ben Affleck Another Job



Mobile Movie Minute 170 hits its four year anniversary, but unfortunately hits it at another crappy flick. Rental only for Ben Affleck (who needs to get a life), Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner. Now, those guys can act. Ben, listen up and take a few lessons from the pros.

[pro-player]http://m.podshow.com/media/5937/episodes/265357/mobilemovie-265357-01-24-2011.m4a[/pro-player]

3.0 bags of see-it-on-TV popcorn for this tale of layoffs, firings and let’s-blame-the-banks-and-CEOs-for-the-mess flick. Trivial and humdrum.

The Mobile Movie Minute Archives are freakin’ unbelievable.

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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Image

Stumbled across this image of a burned out looking bike from the upcoming Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, during my morning web browsing and thought I’d share it. I’m not one of the people who hated the last movie. I thought it was decent. Perhaps Nic Cage is a little old to play the role and his hair looked rather cheesy but all in all it was a decent origin story.  The bike looks pretty sharp.

Hudson Entertainment Goes 3DS

More 3DS games announced for 2011, this time from Hudson Entertainment. Three all-new 3D titles for the Nintendo 3DS including; DECA SPORTS EXTREME, Bomberman and the brain-training puzzle game Nikoli’s Pencil Puzzle.

DECA SPORTS EXTREME will feature 10 3D sports: Soccer, Tennis, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Snowball Fight, Sumo Wrestling, Bowling, Snowmobile Racing, Sport Blowgun and Trampoline. Players can collect power-ups throughout each event to unleash powerful special moves such as a giant racket in tennis, a cannon dunk in basketball, or a rainbow shot in soccer. Compatible with up to four players through download or wireless play, DECA SPORTS EXTREME allows players to customize teams and choose from various venues. DECA SPORTS EXTREME will be available on the Nintendo 3DS this Summer.

Bomberman (working title) brings the “Blue Bomber” into eye-popping 3D with its world-famous multiplayer and an immersive single-player adventure. Players can navigate beautifully designed arenas and take in the sights of Central City. Bomberman takes full advantage of the revolutionary Nintendo 3DS to provide long-standing or existing and new Bomberman fans with a 3D gaming blast. Bomberman will be available in the Fall.

Nikoli’s Pencil Puzzle (working title) is the first brain-training game for the Nintendo 3DS. Gamers can engage their minds with four challenging puzzle games including Sudoku, Hashiwokakero, Shikaku, and Akari to invigorate the mind! From world-famous puzzle maker Nikoli, Pencil Puzzle brings fan favorite puzzles to players’ finger tips. Nikoli’s Pencil Puzzle will be available the Fall 2011.

Ubisoft Announces Eight 3D Titles

Hot on the heels of Nintendo’s 3DS announcement, Ubisoft announced eight three dimensional games for the new handheld device to be launched in the first six months of 2011.

Take a quick look at these upcoming titles:

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Sam Fisher is back in this masterpiece of the stealth/action genre, mixing the tension and realism that makes the essence of the franchise with unprecedented immersion and accessibility thanks to the stereoscopic 3D and innovative controls of the Nintendo 3DS.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars: The first tactical, turn-based Ghost Recon game, featuring eye-popping 3D cut scenes and in-game effects, deep team management options and a 1vs1 multiplayer mode on the same console.

Rayman 3D: One of the most popular franchises of all time lands on Nintendo 3DS with an outstanding platform experience that will take advantage of the Nintendo 3DS specifications with impressive graphics, stunning 3D effects and full use of the Circle Pad. An adaptation of the acclaimed Rayman 2 The Great Escape® original game on Dreamcast, Rayman 3D will feature major updates on key game play elements such as accessibility, progression and learning curve.

Rabbids Travel in Time (NA)/ Rabbids 3D (EMEA): Rabbids are bwaaaaaack and this time they have an infallible plan to invade the human world: conquer history in their first platform adventure developed exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS.

James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes: A brand new intellectual property developed exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS, James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes makes the player the main character in a mind-twisting puzzle adventure taking place in an interactive 3D world, with 150 puzzles and mind games to solve.

Driver Renegade: The first and exclusive action driving game on the Nintendo 3DS™ that lets the player experience the intensity and brutality of urban car chases in 3D. Players will embody the Driver series hero John Tanner and use the accelerometer to unleash their urban driving skills.

Combat of Giants® Dinosaurs 3D: This 3D take on the popular kids’ franchise mixes exploration and customization with real-time combats. Players ages 7 to 10-years old will be immersed into a cataclysmic universe and live the ultimate 3D fighting experience.

Asphalt 3D: Developed by Gameloft and published by Ubisoft, Asphalt 3D brings all the excitement and speed of the Asphalt franchise to stereoscopic 3D, featuring more than 40 licensed vehicles, 17 exotic track locations and complete StreetPass functionality.

For more information about Ubisoft’s Nintendo 3DS line-up, go to http://3ds.ubi.com.