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Well, here we are again.  It’s time once again for the MovieDruid.  And, the holiday train is definitely barreling down the track as the studios unleash their late year salvo on the movie-watching public.  You gotta love it.

Before we get started, I would like to mention that there is a new review up as well.  I know the reviews have not been coming regularly, but, to be quite honest, the MovieDruid has been so busy he doesn’t hit the cinema nearly as often as he would like.  Believe me, if I see it, you get my thoughts as soon as possible.

Now, let’s see what we have on tap this week…



Synopsis: A crew of officers at an armored transport security firm risks their lives when they embark on the ultimate heist — against their own company. Armed with a seemingly fool-proof plan, the men plan on making off with a fortune with harm to none. But, when an unexpected witness interferes, the plan quickly unravels and all bets are off.

MovieDruid’s Comments: The studios are either trying a different strategy with some films this year, or just have forgotten something.  “Armored” looks like a fairly solid film.  The director, Nimrod Antal, is a relative unknown in the U.S., but I don’t think that works against this film.  After all, he has a solid cast with Matt Dillon (“The Outsiders” & “Crash”), Laurence Fishburne (“Just Cause” & “The Matrix”), and Amaury Nolasco (“Max Payne” & TV’s “Prison Break”) among others.  But I don’t get the timing.  This is a summer film.  A solid Action/Thriller to compete against the popcorn films of July and August.  It seems somehow out of its element in December.  Maybe that’s the point, a different option for people who don’t like the typical holiday fare.  Whatever ther reasoning, I just don’t think it lines up.  This time of the year the competition includes major Oscar contenders.  A film like “Armored” may be out of its league.

“Everybody’s Fine”


Synopsis: “Everybody’s Fine,” a remake of Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Stanno Tutti Bene,” follows a widower who embarks on an impromptu road trip to reconnect with each of his grown children only to discover that their lives are far from picture perfect.

MovieDruid’s Comments: This film is the very essence of holiday drama.  The typical story of the slightly estranged family reconnecting.  Yes, it has been done many times with varying degrees of success.  There is nothing truly new or original here.  But, at the same time there is something intriguing in the trailers that I can’t place.  There is some ingredient here that seems to make this film greater than its cookie cutter story.  The director, Kirk Hall, is relatively inexperienced in the director’s chair so perhaps it is that fresh vision a young director is bringing.  Or perhaps it is the interesting casting with Robert DeNiro (“GoodFellas” & “Analyze This”), Drew Barrymore (“The Wedding Singer” & “Firestarter”), Kate Beckinsale (“Underworld” & “Brokedown Palace”), and Sam Rockwell (“Matchstick Men” & “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”).  Whatever it is, I find myself curiously drawn to this film.



Synopsis: A group of college students embarks on a wild, sexy and outrageous semester abroad at Razvan University. Located deep in the heart of the “cursed land” of Transylvania in a centuries-old castle, Razvan isn’t your typical institution of higher learning. The black leather-clad professors, three-foot-tall dean, instruction in crucifix-wielding, and topless vampiresses lurking in dark corners are just the start. It seems Castle Razvan was the property of the feared Vampire King Radu in the Dark Ages and he’s come back to reclaim it.

MovieDruid’s Comments: OK, as always I preface these comments with the fact that comedies of this type are not my cup of tea.  But, there are a few things I don’t get here.  First, the Scary/Epic/Teen/Insert Noun Here Movie franchises have been seeing consistent fall off in their ticket sales.  This one looks like just more of the same type of thing.  How do these things keep getting green-lighted?  Second, like “Armored” what is with the timing of this release?  The silly comedy thing is, once again, a summer movie staple.  The horror subject matter is October release fodder.  This one would have done fine anywhere from August to October.  But, this time of year, with so many other choices out there, is being different really enough?

“Brothers” – MovieDruid Pick of the Week


Synopsis: “Brothers” tells the powerful story of two siblings, 30-something Captain Sam Cahill and younger brother Tommy Cahill, who are polar opposites. A Marine about to embark on his fourth tour of duty, Sam is a steadfast family man married to his high school sweetheart, the aptly named Grace, with whom he has two young daughters. Tommy, his charismatic younger brother, is a drifter just out of jail who’s always gotten by on wit and charm. When his Black Hawk helicopter is shot down in the mountains Sam is presumed dead and the Cahill family suddenly faces a shocking void. Tommy tries to fill in for his brother by assuming newfound responsibility for himself, Grace, and the children. In the grief and strangeness of their new lives, Grace and Tommy are naturally drawn together. But, Sam is not dead; he and a fellow soldier have been captured by Taliban fighters. When Sam unexpectedly returns to the States, he grows suspicious of his brother and his wife. Their familiar roles now nearly reversed, Sam and Tommy end up facing the ultimate physical and mental challenge when they confront each other.

MovieDruid’s Comments: The story this film is telling is one that had to be handled with incredible respect, delicacy, and talent.  Luckily, the studio gathered a team that can fill that tall order.  The director, Jim Sheridan directed two of my favorite dramas of all time “My Left Foot” & “In The Name of the Father.”  His gift for combining the sweeping emotional scope of families in crisis with truly well-developed characters in a true talent.  And he was given three young performers who are quickly becoming seasoned veterans in Natalie Portman (“The Professional” & “V for Vendetta”), Tobey Maguire (“The Cider House Rules” & “Seabiscuit”), and Jake Gyllenhaal (“Donnie Darko” & “Rendition”).  Everything about the film, both on paper and in the trailer speaks to a thoughtful and respectful approach to this film that should make for stunning drama.


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