Alright all you die-hard Die Hard fans. As I am sure you are already aware Bruce Willis is back in action as John McClane only this time he is finding himself on foreign soil after traveling to Moscow to help his wayward son Jack — unaware that Jack is really a highly-trained CIA operative out to stop a nuclear weapons heist. With the Russian underworld in pursuit, and battling a countdown to war, the two McClanes discover their opposing methods make them unstoppable heroes.
We are giving away passes to see an advance screening on Tuesday February 12th (of course, Kansas City area only)
Enter the contest here. And don’t forget to click on the “tweet to confirm” button on the 2nd page of the form. We have several passes so be sure to pass a link to this post off to all of your friends so they can go to!
We all know how it begins: once upon a time there were a brother and sister, Hansel and Gretel. They were left in the woods by their parents. After being abandoned, they wandered the forest until they arrived at a cottage made out of candy. An evil witch owned the cottage and captured the children, fattening Hansel up with sweets and preparing to cook him in her oven. But thanks to the quick wits of Gretel, the children turned the tables on the witch and threw her in the oven instead. The end…or is it?
I’m not sure we were all clamoring for a ‘what next’ in the story of Hansel & Gretel, but “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” has stepped up to answer that question. And you know what? It doesn’t do that bad of a job. It’s not a great masterpiece, but it does provide some great campy badassery. As you can guess from the film’s title, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) grow up to be witch hunters in this R-rated take on the children’s fairy tale. There’s an evil witch, some surprises about their past, but really, the whole reason to see this film is because it is devilishly fun to watch the duo wielding machine guns in a fairy tale setting.
Renner and Arterton know they’re starring in an action for action’s sake film, so they’re hamming it up striking their action poses and trying to keep a straight face when dealing with dialogue like “here’s your porridge…not too hot. Not too cold. Just right.” Thanks, Goldilocks, I mean Ben (Thomas Mann). There were plenty of cheesy and wooden dialogue lines, but fortunately the dialogue was sparse and the weak writing was more than forgiven for the fights and the few gem lines. When the adult Hansel and Gretel find themselves returned to the candy house, Arterton delivers a perfectly exasperated, “Fuck, no.” Then the whole film was worth it when Renner had to say the “Mo’ witches: mo’ money” line. So bad, it’s good.
While the dialogue, isn’t exactly the most inventive, the film does get creative in the fights. Can I just say that I loved seeing a strong, female character that could take care of herself? Gretel kicks some serious ass and has some awesome attitude in this film. And while she wears the expected tight uniform of a female fighter in these types of film, they didn’t exploit her by oversexualizing her character. No, this film kept its focus on the violence and badassery, which I appreciated.
So yes, the makeup looks ridiculous. The dialogue is unnecessary (which is probably why it is so sparse), but the film excels at its purpose of making Hansel and Gretel look like bad ass mutha’ fuckers. And the 3D is actually quite fun in a film of this style. If you have a sweet tooth for action, this film will be just your taste.
Coachella has announced its (real) 2013 lineup. Headliners include The Stone Roses, Blur, Phoenix and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Also playing are a reunited The Postal Service. New Order, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Modest Mouse, Nick Cave, Wu-Tang Clan, Vampire Weekend and Passion Pit are among other acts set to appear.
This year’s festival takes place in Indio, California, April 12-14 and 19-21. Both weekends have the same lineup. Tickets are available starting January 29 at 10 a.m. PST and are sure to sell out fast.
Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, “Quartet,” will leave you asking for an encore.
The charming story takes place at a home for retired musicians and the plot is straightforward, but still enrapturing. The talented elderly residents are preparing for a fundraiser concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday and to raise the resources to keep their unique nursing facility open another year. Of course, not all the residents are looking for an encore of their life’s greatest hits, and the arrival of the curmudgeonly Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), a diva with a tumultuous past with another resident, throws things for a loop. A lot of the film focuses on rekindling Jean’s confidence and love of life and music. This responsibility of rekindling her interest in music falls on her former quartet singers: the frisky Wilf Bond (Billy Connolly), the sweetly innocent and forgetful Cissy Robson (Pauline Collins) and Jean’s heartbroken ex-husband Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay).
The story is based on real-life musicians (many of whom actually appear in this film) and is adapted by writer Ronald Harwood, who originally wrote it for stage. Hoffman does a great job capturing some of the movement and stagings one might expect from the theater, but also expanding them into settings that really allowed the audience to appreciate the uniqueness of a nursing home facility designed for the musical and play theatres’ greatest legends. The other area that Hoffman really excels at is in his pacing. The film clocks in at a tight 98 minutes, but nothing feels rushed or slow – it is as if Hoffman finds the film a natural tempo and cadence to follow. For every upbeat, light-hearted passage or phrase in the film, Hoffman counters with one of the more sour notes. When dealing with an elderly group of people, we do meet some who are in their swan songs, but the sad parts of the film feel natural and unforced. Then, they’re quickly balanced by some of the happier scenes.
A lot of the success of this film is due to the talented cast. They make even some of the more trivial things delightful. Connolly’s Wilf especially stole the show. I could have watched him making hilarious innuendos and playing out his shenanigans nonstop. Of course, I also loved the attempts of Courtenay’s stoic Reginald trying to relate Opera to a young classroom full of rap and hip hop listeners. As much as I applaud Hoffman’s directorial debut, he had a cast that probably made directing a breeze.
“Quartet” is a delightful film for the ears and the eyes. This is one night at the theater that you won’t want to miss.
We are giving away some passes to see an advance screening of Identity Thief on February 5th (Kansas City area only) Sign up for your chance to win a pass for your and a guest to attend by clicking the link below. Winners will be notified via e-mail on February 1st.
Unlimited funds have allowed Diana (McCarthy) to live it up on the outskirts of Miami, where the queen of retail buys whatever strikes her fancy. There’s only one glitch: The ID she’s using to finance these sprees reads “Sandy Bigelow Patterson”… and it belongs to an accounts rep (Bateman) who lives halfway across the U.S. With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Bigelow Patterson heads south to confront the woman with an all-access pass to his life. And as he attempts to bribe, coax and wrangle her the 2,000 miles to Denver, one easy target will discover just how tough it is to get your name back.
The Midland was packed Sunday night for a strange, but good night of music from the Strangeland tour. The UK’s alternative pop rock group was set to headline the evening with big, motivational singalong numbers, but first the audience was introduced to an energetic new rock band from California, Youngblood Hawke.
I would have expected a group like Youngblood Hawke to be touring with similar in sound bands such as Grouplove. Like the fastly gaining in popularity Grouplove, Youngblood Hawke’s music features gang vocals that mostly revolve a central harmony from a male and female singer. The music is upbeat even if the lyrics aren’t always. In an era when shows like, “Girls” reign supreme and all the 20-somethings are shouting “YOLO” from rooftops, Youngblood Hawke has perfectly tapped into that movement. Their most recognized number, “We Come Running” is the type of song you shout with your friends when driving in the summer with the windows down. It’s wild, fun and at times even a little sloppy. I think as the band plays some more live shows and tightens up their sound, they’ll definitely become a 2013 act to watch out for. hile most of the songs were new to the audience, the band did play a lot outside of their only release (a self-titled EP), which will be sure to whet the appetites for those ready for a full-length. The main downside to their set was that their sound, being so different from Keane’s, seemed to only appeal to half of the audience and lost the other half. This was an audience that came ready to sway and hold hands with significant others. Not jump up and down singing without care. Hopefully when the band returns, they’ll be on a bill with some more fitting acts on a show that will also draw a younger crowd that “gets” the play and live without abandon mantra. Speaking of playing without abandon–their drummer is astounding and a blast to watch when he lets loose. Keep an eye on him.
Youngblood Hawke’s Set List:
In Our Blood
Stars (Hold On)
We Come Running
Now as alluded to earlier, Keane’s crowd brought a bit of an older crowd out for their set, which not only says something about the wide appeal of their music for all ages, but it also says something about how long they’ve been going strong and how loyal their fans are. The band formed in 1997 and found success in the US with 2004′s Hopes and Fears. For fans there from the beginning, there were plenty of songs from that album to keep them happy including radio hits, “Everybody’s Changing” and “Somewhere Only We Know.” Balancing out the music from early in their career (and also some stuff from the middle) were also plenty of songs from 2012′s new release, Strangeland. The new music is great, but what really stood out from their set was just how seamless their earlier songs sounded with the newer material. Keane’s sound is very timeless and nothing sounded dated. Most eyes during the show were on frontman Tom Chaplin, but the heart and soul of the band is pianist Tim Rice. I think a lot of the credit for the timeless sounds are his beautiful piano melodies and some of the best moments of the set were when the lights dimmed on the rest of the band and a spotlight was brought up on him for a solo.
It was a night of diverse, but wonderful music for everyone, but the strange lineup pairing couldn’t have been more perfect for a visit to “Strangeland.”
Keane’s Set List:
You Are Young (shortened)
Bend and Break
On the Road
We Might As Well Be Strangers
Nothing in My Way
Silenced by the Night
She Has No Time
Spiralling (extended middle)
A Bad Dream
Is It Any Wonder
This Is the Last Time
Somewhere Only We Know
Sovereign Light Cafe
The first thing I thought of after seeing Mamawas wow what am I going to write for my review?? and I don’t mean that in a good way. I went into this movie with very high hopes. I am a self proclaimed horror movie enthusiast and the previews made it seem like it was going to be inventive and very scary. Also, Jessica Chastain is a fantastic actress (not to mention a Golden Globe winner), so of course she would only pick the best roles for herself, right? Wrong. On the outside, the movie’s plot summary has extreme potential. Two girls, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse), are left in the forest to live and survive (seemingly) on their own for 5 years, until they are found and brought to live with their uncle and his girlfriend Annabelle (Chastain). Except for the fact that the girls seem “outdoorsy” as Annabelle laughably puts it, the girls appear relatively normal given the circumstances. That all changes when they start talking about this person named Mama who was apparently with them for the 5 years they were missing. And it seems like Mama has somehow come back with them from the forest. Is Mama a real person? Is she a ghost? Is she a figment of their imaginations? This is the question that the movie tries to answer and entertain the audience with. Unfortunately, the writers decided to pick the cheesiest/”lack of effort” explanation of what “Mama” is. This movie had such potential to be a great scary movie, but unfortunately it falls way short.
The majority of the movie was just a complete miss in my opinion, but there were a few things I did enjoy. The cinematography was fantastic and the directors effort to have the movie display a creepy ambiance was extremely successful. There were a lot of “look around the corner” moments and I have to admit, I did close my eyes a few times for fear of what I would see on screen. Along with that, there were a lot of jumpy moments as well. However, the jumpy moments were met with audience laughter after we realized what it was that actually scared us. Case in point: the CGI/special effects used in this movie are horrendously laughable. I don’t know what movie exec signed off on these poor excuses for special effects being included but they should be fired. Also, the problem I have with a lot of horror movies is that they use too many details for something that doesn’t even end up mattering to the plot. This movie was no different. An example is that Jessica Chastain’s character Annabelle is a 35 year old goth in a punk metal band. These details do nothing to further enhance the story, so they leave the audience wondering why they were even included in the plot in the first place. I feel like the writers of this movie spent a lot of wasted time on little unnecessary details like that instead of developing relationships between all of the characters.
The acting from almost everyone involved was absolutely horrible. The only saving grace for this movie was the two actresses who portrayed Victoria and Lilly. They were equally creepy and endearing at all the right times. The story itself started out very strong, but it is almost like the writers gave up their creativity half way through the movie and just decided on the first thing that came to their mind as an ending. Let’s just say (without giving anything away) the ending can be summed up with a lot of moths, Harry Potter-esque music, extreme overacting, and an abundance of the oh-so-amazing special effects that I previously mentioned. When the credits rolled, I looked at my fiance and said outloud “that was probably one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen”. And let me tell you, I’ve seen a lot. Yes there were some great scares, but it was nothing I hadn’t seen before. If you still want to see it and are intrigued by the movie itself, then by all means give it a try, but maybe try to lessen your expectations more than I did.
Lady Gaga is partnering with private and group counseling groups for a one of a kind pre-concert experience on her winter tour.
Lady Gaga has always been a vocal artists not just on stage, but off stage with her initiatives to support her fans, anti-bullying campaigns and work to spread awareness on mental health issues. With her winter arena tour, Born This Way Ball, she’s bringing some of her off stage work with her and providing a one of a kind pre-concert experience for attendees.
This pre-concert counseling experience features the BornBrave Bus, a bus that offers information and free counseling for attendees. Organizations participating in this endeavor include The Trevor Project, Mentoring USA, To Write Love on Her Arms and more. The BornBrave Bus will also offer food, games and entertainment; the concept being that by making counseling “fun,” it will remove some of the stigma or embarrassment fears that often prevent some kids from seeking the help that they may need.
Mental health-related issues cover a wide spectrum of issues from body image and eating disorders to bullying.
Lady Gaga and the BornBrave Bus will be at Kansas City’s Sprint Center on February 4. For more tour dates and information, visit ladygaga.com.
Kanrocksas has revealed three of the acts set to be at the June festival at the Kansas Speedway.
The teaser video is below. The confirmed and revealed acts include rapper Kendrick Lamar, alt rock artists The Avett Brothers and DJ Tiesto. This is just a partial announcement as the festival is planning for 50 acts on 5 stages over its duration.
Discounted winter tickets are available for a limited time at Kanrocksas.com for $150 (20% off).
The gangster film is one of the most distinctly American film genres. Something about the lengths to which these characters would go was a somewhat imperfect representation of the American dream. Perhaps filmgoers just enjoyed the violence. At some point in time the narrative shifted; we still had our gangster pictures but now we had films that told the stories of those working to stop the gangsters. The glamour had worn off and was replaced by movies that showed the negative effects that the gangster lifestyle had on the normal law-abiding citizens.
Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) is trying to consolidate power in Los Angeles by killing off members of the East coast mob and driving off the rest. The Chief of Police (Nick Nolte), one of the few cops not on the take, decides to put together a team to stop Cohen. He hand-picks Sgt. O’Hara (Josh Brolin) to choose guys that are equally committed to the cause and more importantly guys that don’t mind getting their hands dirty. After choosing a team of old men and cast-off’s, O’Hara sets up a wiretap in Mickey Cohen’s house trying to figure out his latest scheme. Caught in the middle of the investigation is Grace Faraday (Emma Stone), Mickey Cohen’s etiquette coach and new squeeze, who has fallen for Sgt. Wooters (Ryan Gosling), one of the cops after Cohen.
Props to the casting department. The overall talent assembled here is excellent and everyone is right for their part. Brolin is the perfect choice for the lead. O’Hara is a character that is struggling to readjust to normal life after serving in the war. For him the war isn’t over until he’s made his city safe for his wife and their unborn child even if it means breaking the law trying to do it.Gosling does Gosling things (understated, quiet confidence and charm). His performance is good but I’d like to see him try something different or more challenging. Sean Penn’s Cohen is cartoonishly over-the-top. There are moments where he is terrifying and hilarious at the same time.
Unfortunately all the films performances are let down by a completely sub par script. While there are so many interesting characters and an enthralling story what fills out the film’s runtime is mostly strange pacing and throwaway dialogue. I’m pretty sure that the film wasn’t meant to be as humorous as I found it at times.
The movie is entirely disappointing because the script of the film is so lousy that the rest of the good parts of the film aren’t able to really shine. It is a somewhat enjoyable watch because the story is interesting (although not the least bit historically accurate) but I wish that I had instead watched L.A. Confidential again.