Now Showing On Cable: “Rio”

Making its debut on home tvs via the magic of premium cable this weekend was last year’s animated flight of fancy, “Rio”. Brought to you by the creators of “Ice Age”, the film features celebrity voicing courtesy of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Will.I.Am, Jamie Foxx, Tracy Morgan and Jemaine Clement.

It tells the story of a Blue Macaw (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg), “Blue”, who was raised in captivity as a pet. When it’s discovered that he’s one of the last remaining birds of his species, he’s returned to Brazil with the intention of mating him with a female Blue Macaw (Anne Hathaway) who is currently held in captivity.

Of course, she’s not too keen on the idea. Nor is she fond of being held in captivity. So it’s not long before the mismatched couple are on the run… With one major problem.

“Blue” can’t fly.

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Now Showing On Cable: “Zookeeper”

Premiering this weekend on HBO was last year’s “Zookeeper”, starring Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, and a host of celebrities lending voices to animals, including Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone and Cher.

This movie would have had the distinction of being the first movie I’d reviewed during its theatrical run and then again when it hit premium cable, except I skipped it in theatres, running a “review” that simply said, “Yeah, right. I’d rather get poked in the eye.”

I did, however, view it as part of my “research” for the MAJOR Awards. It was a strong contender for a “Worst Picture” nomination. It didn’t wind up in the field though… Does that mean I actually liked it?

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Now Showing on Cable: “Priest”

Making its premium cable channel debut this weekend on Starz was 2011′s “Priest”, starring Paul Bettany, Maggie Q and Karl Urban.

“Priest” is a movie set in the proverbial “Dystopian Future”, where large city states are controlled by a religious hierarchy, while outside their walls, vast wastelands are overrun with vampires. Due to vampire’s traditional weakness to religious artifacts and items, the warriors in charge of defending the cities and fighting vampires are priests.

When one of the priests hears that his frontier relatives have been slaughtered by vampires, and their daughter kidnapped, he leaves the protection of the city in order to prowl the wastes in search of the girl.

Comedy ensues.

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Now Showing on Cable: “The King’s Speech”

Now making the rounds on Showtime is 2010′s “The King’s Speech”.

Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech” is the story of a British Royal with a debilitating speech impediment. He has a nearly paralyzing stammer. He seeks the help of a speech therapist and the two of them work towards his recovery.

The film was the recipient of last year’s Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Colin Firth) Best Screenplay and Best Director (Tom Hooper).

The question before us is, was it deserving?

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Now Showing on Cable: “Red Riding Hood”

HBO’s premiere movie this weekend was this Spring’s “Red Riding Hood”, starring Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen and Shiloh Fernandez.

“Red Riding Hood” is a full length movie, based on the classic fairy tale. The fairy tale, as everyone knows, isn’t all that long… it’s pretty much three scenes tops, right? Red Riding Hood walking to Grandma’s and meeting the Wolf, the Wolf racing ahead to Grandma’s before her, and then the climactic “What big eyes you have” and the rescue by the Huntsman.

As such, they had to expand the mythology a little in order to flesh out a feature-length film.

I’m certain a thousand reviewers have made a wide variety of plays off of the classic quote, but I can’t help myself… I have to say, “My, what a silly¬†movie you have!”

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Now Showing on Cable: “Hall Pass”

Premiering this weekend on H.B.O. was this year’s “Hall Pass”, starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, and Jenna Fischer.

“Hall Pass” is the story of a pair of friends (Wilson and Sudeikis) who are constantly bemoaning the fact that they can’t have sex with any other women aside from their wives. They apparently spend all of their free time together having Jr. High School level sexual discussions and ogling women.

When their wives discover how they actually act when “unsupervised”, they give them each a “Hall Pass”. A week off from marriage in order to act out their impulses.

Is there a comedic equivalent of erectile disfunction?

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Now Showing On Cable: “The Adjustment Bureau”

Premiering this weekend on HBO was this January’s “The Adjustment Bureau”, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.

Based on a short story by famed science fiction author Phillip K Dick, “The Adjustment Bureau” is the tale of a young congressman, played by Matt Damon, who gets crushed in his run for the Senate. The night of his defeat, however, he runs into a free-spirited young woman and falls in love at first sight.

Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t in “the plans”.

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Now Showing on Cable: “Unknown”

Premiering Saturday night on Home Box Office was this year’s mystery thriller, “Unknown”, starring Liam Neeson, January Jones, Aidan Quinn and Diane Kruger.

It’s the story of a man named Martin Harris (Liam Neeson), an American arriving in Germany with his wife (January Jones) to speak at a biotechnology symposium. While checking in to his hotel, he gets separated from his wife. The taxi they arrived in took off with some of their luggage, and he hops in another cab to follow after it. When the cab he’s in gets in to a serious accident, he is nearly killed, winding up in a coma for a handful of days.

When he comes to… He’s been “replaced”. Another man is claiming to be him, and his wife is denying she knows him. He has no way of proving his identity, his memory is faulty, and he’s in foreign country with little money and no one he can trust.

How can he prove he’s himself?

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Now Showing on Cable: “Gnomeo and Juliet”

Premiering this weekend on Starz was this year’s animated offering, “Gnomeo & Juliet”, featuring the voices of Emily Blunt and James McAvoy.

Two neighboring yards, the Montague’s and the Capulet’s are both littered with Garden Gnomes. The small figurines come to life when no humans are present, and spar with each other over and around the fence which separates the two lawns. The Redbricks and Blueberries are sworn enemies, but Gnomeo, a blue, and Juliet, a red, meet and fall head over heels for each other.

Which leads the movie to explore the time honored question…

“What’s in a Gnome?”

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Now Showing on Cable: “The Dilemma”

Premiering this weekend on HBO was “The Dilemma,” a comedy released in January of this year starring Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder.

“The Dilemma” is the story of two best friends and co-workers. When one of them (Vaughn) catches the others wife (Ryder) having an affair, he has a “dilemma”. Does he tell his friend (James) or not?

Comedy ensues.

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