Nick’s Picks – July 29, 2015

Pixels

PIXELS

When I read that there was going to be a movie merging my favorite arcade video games and a “save the world” scenario I was as happy as a kid in a candy store. When I heard it was starring Adam Sandler, my heart dropped, but I still held onto the glee of seeing Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man and others on the big screen. After seeing Pixels, I can only emphasize and fervently beg “Please, please, don’t let Adam Sandler make any more movies!”

How can someone take a unique, fun, entertaining premise and turn it into a mushy, gooey oatmeal mashup of disappointment? Sandler has a long string of film duds over the past several years, yet they just keep letting him make more movie duds. Great concept, poor execution. Even Tyrion Lannister can’t save this hodgepodge of crap.

Here’s the story in a nutshell… aliens attack earth in the form of arcade video games. Directed by Chris Columbus (best known for Home Alone movies and two of the Harry Potter films) it’s a shocker that this film wasn’t any better. The special effects are creative and the arcade aliens are the best part of this tasteless casserole. Seeing the “Centipede” game and the “Galaga” game wreak a pixelated havoc over major cities and attack earth brought back a lot of childhood memories of hours and rolls of quarters spent at the arcade.

The President (Kevin James) comes up with the bright idea of bringing in old school arcade gamers, champions back in the day, to save the world and stop the impending doom by arcade aliens. James calls upon his childhood best friend and former gaming prodigy Sam Brenner (Sandler), along with former child gamer champions Ludlow (Josh Gad), Eddie (Peter Dinklage) and a weapons expert, Lt. Col. Violet Van Patten (Monaghan) who creates the weapons to be used against the aliens.

Columbus has directed one of the year’s biggest film disappointments if not the decade. Chris Columbus who is so adept at special effects movies (hello!?! Harry Potter) and great storytelling (Home Alone!?!) drops the ball on this one. Any scene with dialogue and acting just falls flat. The nostalgia feeling that’s so inherent throughout the movie plays well with the special effects and it seems this is where Columbus shines. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing Pac Man munching his way through the streets of New York City? Unfortunately, we have Sandler and his overrated crew of comedic talent to blame for this fiasco. The one actor not labeled as a “comedian” (Dinklage) gets the most laughs in this farce. Monaghan must’ve drank the Sandler Kool-Aid and becomes another victim of the “Sandler” curse, much like Salma Hyek (Grown Ups 1 & 2) demolishing her credible acting credits to participate in this unfunny, terrible acting, dung filled film. What a waste of good talent (Dinklage and Monaghan) and a good story (inspired by a short film of the same name.)

Stay away from this production from (UN)Happy Madison Productions and any future productions. Terminate Sandler’s comedy standup membership because as he gets older, his shtick is no longer funny

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Michelle Monaghan
Director: Chris Columbus
Company: Sony Pictures
Now Showing: In Theatres
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (language and suggestive comments)
Grade: D

 

FREE DVD GIVEAWAY

Diviner Giveaway Lets Learn Kindness GIVEAWAY

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of The Water Diviner, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing.
Best of luck!

THE WATER DIVINER – Warner

Academy Award winner Russell Crowe directs and stars in this post-war drama that follows an Australian man who travels to Turkey after the tragic World War I Battle of Gallipoli in search of his three missing sons. This film also stars Olga Kurylenko and Jai Courtney. Crowe’s directorial debut was shot on location in Turkey and the wilds of the Australian Outback.

LET’S LEARN KINDNESS – Nickelodeon

Let’s Learn: Kindness is an educational program that is truly well done. Teaching some of the best lessons surrounding manners and forgiveness. Included are episodes of other popular Nickelodeon favorites including the Bubble Guppies, Dora, Team Umizoomi, Blues Clues and more!

LIFE ON THE REEF – PBS

Over the course of a year, Life on the Reef follows those who live in one of the most extraordinary places on the planet, Australia s Great Barrier Reef where man meets wild and nature calls the shots. It s high stakes and high drama across our greatest marine wilderness.

WHITE GOD – Magnolia

When young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen because its mixed-breed heritage is deemed unfit by The State, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called unfit dogs rise up under a new leader, Hagen, the one-time house-pet who has learned all too well from his Masters in his journey through the streets and animal control centers that man is not always dog’s best friend.

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: XXIII – Shout Factory

You purchase the latest collection of episodes from the beloved TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000. Now you are forced to endure four of cinema’s crimes against humanity. If you think you can take on low-rent gangsters and seedy nightclubs, choose Disc One. If you want to go head to head with a gigantic tarantula, choose Disc Two. If you think you can reform a bunch of 1950s juvenile delinquents, choose Disc Three. And if an old television pilot that somehow wandered into a movie theater doesn’t unnerve you, choose Disc Four. Or choose to enjoy all of these adventures, because your sherpas are some of the funniest people and robots ever created. The plots meander, the characters mystify you, and the filmmaking upsets you. But you laugh all the way through, so any way you turn, you’ve made the right choice.

3 HEARTS – Cohen

A touching and tense drama about destiny, connections, and passion, 3 HEARTS presents a headily romantic look at a classic love triangle. One night in provincial France, Marc (Benoît Poelvoorde) meets Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) after missing his train back to Paris. Instantly and intensely drawn to one another, they wander through the streets until morning in rare, almost choreographed, harmony. A thwarted plan for a second meeting sends each in a separate direction Sylvie reunites with her ex and leaves France; Marc falls in love and marries. What neither knows is that Marc s new bride is Sylvie s sister, Sophie (Chiara Mastroianni). Upon Sylvie s return to France, the spark between her and Marc is reignited in ways that will forever alter the relationships between sister to sister and husband to wife.

COMET – IFC Films

Justin Long and Emmy Rossum are star-crossed lovers whose relationship blooms and unravels over the course of six years in this mysterious, dazzlingly original romance. When a chance encounter brings together the cynical Dell (Long) and the quick-witted Kimberly (Rossum), the stage is set for a tempestuous love affair that unfolds like a puzzle. As the film zigzags back and forth in time from a meteor shower in LA, to an encounter in a Paris hotel room, to a fateful phone call an unforgettable portrait of a relationship emerges. Sumptuously shot and boasting incredible chemistry between the leads, COMET is a one-of-a-kind cosmic love story.

MAMA’S FAMILY: Mamas Favorites Season 6 – StarVista

The formidable Mama puts the “diss” in dysfunction, dispensing her no-nonsense discipline and unfiltered advice to the hilarious cast of characters, with frequent guest appearances by Betty White and Carol Burnett. Jam packed with Mama’s Favorites from season six!

TANGERINES – First Run Features

A story of awakening humanity in the midst of violence, told with intimacy and elegance by writer/director Zaza Urushadze, Tangerines is the spare, yet haunting tale of an older Estonian man who cares for two wounded soldiers from opposite sides of the 1990s-era war in Georgia. The film reveals compassion to be the ultimate response to centuries of political, cultural and ethnic conflict, a compelling and relevant message for contemporary audiences.

SONG ONE – Cinedigm

Anne Hathaway stars as Franny in Song One, a romantic drama set against the backdrop of Brooklyn s vibrant modern-folk music scene. After Franny’s musician brother Henry is injured and hospitalized in a coma following a car accident, Franny returns home after a long estrangement and begins to use his notebook as a guide to how his life has evolved in her absence. Franny seeks out the musicians and artists Henry loved, in the course of her journey meeting James Forester, his musical idol, whose success and fame belie a shy and private man. As a strong romantic connection develops between Franny and James, the question becomes if love can bloom even under the most adverse circumstances.

FUTURE JUSTICE – MVD

In the future Saturn’s moon of Titan houses a prison where Earth’s worst criminals are kept awaiting their return to Earth for trial and execution. One of those criminals, Python Diamond, is being flown back to Earth, escorted by five members of the military police. Upon their return to Earth, they find that a cataclysmic nuclear war has reduced the world to a near-lifeless husk. Searching for survivors and any clue as to the cause of the destruction leads the six to a warehouse bunker housing scientists who constitute Earth’s last remaining hope for the future. Unfortunately, their landing spacecraft drew the attention of one of the gangs that roam the ruined countryside in search of food and resources, leading them straight to the carefully hidden and well-provisioned shelter. The gang lays siege to the warehouse, fighting their way inside in a bloody battle that takes lives on both sides.

TOOKEN – Cinedigm

In this spoof film on the TAKEN action-film franchise, Bryan Mills (Lee Tergesen) is an ex-CIA agent now working as a mall security guard. He keeps finding his things are being taken from him his wife, his dog…his daughter s virginity. With the help of his ex-CIA elderly mother, Bryan battles his nemesis BrownFinger (Margaret Cho) to free his family and a pound of dogs in danger of exploding.

THE BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES: Series 1 – Acorn Media

Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd (Neill Rea) arrives on assignment in Brokenwood, a small town where memories-and animosities- run deep. He’s an experienced cop with a 1971 “classic” car, a collection of country music cassettes, and an indeterminate number of ex-wives. The new woman in his life is his assistant, Detective Kristin Sims (Fern Sutherland), a by-the-book investigator nearly 20 years younger than her boss’s car, who quickly has to get used to his lone-wolf ways. As Shepherd adapts to the slower pace of life away from the city, he soon discovers that Brokenwood is a place of secrets and suspicions. Everyone and everything is connected, and the serenity of the countryside can easily be shattered by violence and death. Filmed amid the beautiful landscape of New Zealand’s North Island, these four feature-length mysteries show that murder can haunt even the most idyllic locations.

KILL ME THREE TIMES – Magnolia

Kill Me Three Times is a darkly comedic thriller from rising star director Kriv Stenders. Simon Pegg plays the cunning assassin, Charlie Wolfe, who discovers he isn’t the only person trying to kill the temptress of a sun-drenched surfing town (Alice Braga). Charlie quickly finds himself at the center of three tales of murder, mayhem, blackmail and revenge.

Synopsis used with permission

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