paradise

discs header i declare war

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. I Declare War A group of pre-teen boys (and one girl), some friends and some not, gather for a game of war in the back woods. Using sticks, a simple set of rules, and their endless imagination, the battle grows to include M-16s, grenades, bazookas, and more, but while all of those are allowed things soon take a dark turn. Jealousy and insecurity fuel one boy’s rage to the point where the war stops being a game. This Canadian import starts off like the perfect encapsulation of a day in the life of a twelve year old boy with its mix of physical activity and imagination-fueled violence. It becomes something more though as one of the boys begins to crack, and some of the kids enter a Lord of the Flies-like scenario built on fear and peer pressure. It’s a bit rough around the edges at times, particularly with some of the child actors, but it never lets go of its sense of fun. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentaries, featurettes, trailer]

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cody

Going from screenwriting to directing isn’t an easy transition for most. Some writers have found great success behind the camera, while others have buckled under the pressure. It’s a different job with its own set of demands. With Paradise, Academy Award winner Diablo Cody takes her first crack at directing with the story of a young girl named Lamb (Julianne Hough), who visits Las Vegas after a serious plane crash leaves her with burn scars and a desire to explore places outside of her religious community. Whether we’ll see Cody direct again is a real question mark. Instead of proclaiming how amazing her experience was, Cody expressed to us her problems with the job and the way certain critics respond to her flawed female characters. Here’s what she had to say about those critics, writing women and, of course, her take on Gravity:

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Paradise Movie

Diablo Cody isn’t for everyone. She has a voice of her own, and because of that, her films can be polarizing. Cody is a writer with plenty of strengths, and her last film, Young Adult, showed them off to their fullest. That’s her most honest, funny, and often brutal work to date. However, it left certain people cold, and her directorial debut, Paradise, may have that effect for a different (and more disappointing) reason. With her first bat behind camera Cody takes on a new kind of character: a Montana girl who is vanilla by most standards. Lamb (Julianne Hough) has been sheltered for all her life from what the real world has to offer, and while she was the popular Catholic girl that dedicated her life to God growing up she was left scarred by a plane crash. Her faith is shaken, and in response she attempts to live life to the fullest by committing a series of “sins” in Las Vegas. She wants to act like a “regular American,” indulging in characters traits Cody’s previous protagonists would’ve poked fun at.

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Paradise Movie

Diablo Cody already has an Oscar for screenwriting. Now she’s transitioning to directing with Paradise, and you’ve got to hand it to someone whose name means “Devil” for focusing on religion’s labor’s lost. In the movie, Julianne Hough plays a young believer who feels the bedrock of her faith falter after a horrific plane crash. Naturally, she heads to Las Vegas for a sinning spree with Russell Brand and Octavia Spencer as her guides, but as the trailer shows, she eases into it pretty slowly. Check it out for yourself:

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Charlize Theron hasn’t had a starring role in a major movie since Hancock, and even then she didn’t have just a massive amount of screen time. Not counting that, the last time she was front and center was Aeon Flux. To bring some perspective to the plate, Theron may very well be one of those actresses that’s incredibly famous, but hasn’t been in a great starring role for seven years. Sidenote: Aeon Flux does not count as a great starring role. However, it looks like the actress is kicking it into high gear, because her name is attached to all sorts of movies she can’t possibly do at once. She was in talks to appear in the J. Edgar Hoover biopic being made by one-take director Clint Eastwood, but she’s bowed out of that gracefully. Now, she’s only double booked.

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couplesretreat

From the long list of names on the posters and trailers, you’d think that this comedy would rise above the usual average drivel, but you’d be wrong.

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Top 10 Places You Should Never Visit, According to Hollywood

If Hollywood ran a travel agency, they’d really suck at it. We are reminded of the places that Hollywood has warned us about in the past. You won’t see this stuff on a AAA brochure.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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