Inside Pulse » Ryan Reynolds http://insidepulse.com A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:00:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Ryan Reynolds http://insidepulse.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://insidepulse.com R.I.P.D – Review http://insidepulse.com/2013/07/22/r-i-p-d-review/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/07/22/r-i-p-d-review/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 14:00:41 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=336152
Not the worst film of the year … but close

The one thing about R.I.P.D that needs to be said is that it’s not the worst film in the world. Far from it. The pre-release buzz, especially in a year where big budget films are flopping all around us, has been that of it being just another awful film that is about to lose a ton of money. It’s being labeled the worst film of the year, etc, and the final proof that Ryan Reynolds isn’t a movie star. While the latter may be true R.I.P.D isn’t the worst film of the year, century, decade or ever. It’s far from it, actually.

That’s not to mean it’s good, either. In fact it’s pretty bad … it’s just not awful.

It’s a fairly intriguing premise. Nick (Ryan Reynolds) is a Boston cop who’s a bit on the dirty side. He’s starting to feel remorseful, though, and his ex-partner (Kevin Bacon) has a problem with that. He’s a true crooked cop, not the one with the heart of gold like Nick, and opts to kill Nick during a raid on a drug dealer. Nick doesn’t wind up being dead, though. He’s given a chance to work for the Rest in Peace Department to atone for his sins by being a lawman for the undead world. Partnered with a cowboy from the Wild West (Jeff Bridges), we follow Nick as he has to save the world from the Apocalypse.

If the plot sounds familiar it’s because this is a film that’s essentially a re-imagining of Men in Black but with the undead instead of aliens. Unfortunately the film doesn’t have a lot of the good qualities of that film, starting with its main star. The film does have an intriguing premise, though, enough to make the first act fairly engaging.

The concept of Nick trying to let go of his mortal life, which his partner advises him to do, while he learns this world of “deados” who won’t leave the mortal coil could make for a great film. It’d make for a better television series, most likely, but as a film there’s enough out there to be the start of a John Carpenter style police procedural/action film. There’s enough in this that Nick becoming a undead police officer, with his wacky partner, could be something special.

The setup is there but the execution is sloppy, mainly because it has a dull story, uninspired dialogue and nothing much to distinguish it from every other generic action film. And a lot of it has to do with Ryan Reynolds just not quite having presence enough to make the film feel bigger with his presence.

Ryan Reynolds has always been pushed as a big action star and for good reason: he looks like he should be starring in big budget action films every summer. He’s good lucking, always in tremendous shape and has a good comedic presence as well. If there was a “movie star draft” based on potential alone he’d be a high first rounder, for sure, just based on everything he brings to the table. If you wanted to make a movie star Ryan Reynolds would be the guy you’d be drooling over if you were a movie star scout; he’s got everything you’d want in a movie star (on paper) and yet … he’s never really crossed the line to become one.

And R.I.P.D needs a movie star in the lead, not just another actor, which is a big chunk of its problems.

Reynolds just doesn’t have that presence one needs to carry a film like this. That’s the difference between this and Men in Black, which is about as good in overall quality. Will Smith’s ability to be a massive movie star and bring his presence to the role is what turned that film into something that’s been his biggest franchise. One imagines that Reynolds agreed to do the film because of the same reasons, of course, but he just doesn’t quite have the big presence to be a movie star of the magnitude required to carry a film like this. He’s a good actor but he’s not a movie star; if there ever was a part designed to showcase Reynolds taking that next step and becoming a movie star R.I.P.D would be it.

Unfortunately it would appear he doesn’t and as such the film doesn’t quite fire off without it. This is a film that needs Reynolds to be that guy because it needs someone to elevate its rather shoddy material. The film’s inherent flaws of script and structure come out because there isn’t someone in the lead with enough star power to make us forgive it. The flaws of this film become exposed because Reynolds doesn’t have that Will Smith ability to make us forget about them.

Ultimately R.I.P.D winds up as a star vehicle needing a star … and has an actor in the lead.

Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi, based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name
Notable Cast:
Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak
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R.I.P.D Trailer Directly Rips Off Men in Black Trailer, No One Cares Because Ryan Reynolds Is In It http://insidepulse.com/2013/04/22/r-i-p-d-trailer-directly-rips-off-men-in-black-trailer-no-one-cares-because-ryan-reynolds-is-in-it/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/04/22/r-i-p-d-trailer-directly-rips-off-men-in-black-trailer-no-one-cares-because-ryan-reynolds-is-in-it/#comments Mon, 22 Apr 2013 16:00:10 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=330606 It’s interesting to watch the trailer for R.I.P.D; it looks an awful lot like Men in Black. You can compare both below.

Plot Summary: After a young cop is shot dead in the line of duty, he joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest In Peace Department and tries to find the man who killed him.


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The Place Beyond the Pines – Review http://insidepulse.com/2013/04/11/the-place-beyond-the-pines-review/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/04/11/the-place-beyond-the-pines-review/#comments Thu, 11 Apr 2013 12:00:46 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=329853
Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine follow up is ambitious but also frustrating.

The moment The Place Beyond the Pines started I was giddy. The reason: director Derek Cianfrance decided to open the film with an extended tracking shot. Love those. We follow a bleached-blond guy with tattoos up and down his arms as he makes his way through a carnival crowd, arriving at the main tent containing the hundreds of spectators that have paid to see some death-defying stunts. The tracking shot is similar to what Darren Aronofsky incorporated with his film The Wrestler and in both cases they set up stories involving men who take high risks.  Both perform in carnival acts to an extent in professions that leave their lives and bodies in shambles.

However in the case of Cianfrance’s film, it evolves beyond the scope of a singular daredevil, as we are offered two more acts which more or less presents us a tale about how the sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons. A lot of what happens later on in the story depends on consequence, and much of the last act relies heavily on coincidence. The narrative offers three stories but they are interrelated and told with straightforwardness; no need to confuse audiences with vivid flashbacks as a means to piece it all together.

Even with one film under his belt – the incredible Blue Valentine, which depicts the dissolution of a marriage – Cianfrance has quickly shown himself to be an actor’s director. He embraces their courageousness in doing things that he’s too cowardly to do himself. So when an actor of Ryan Gosling’s stature suggests that his character should have a face tattoo along his left eye (a dagger with dripping blood), Cianfrance is game only for the fact that he trusts Gosling’s judgment. Then again, Gosling admitted to the director on the first day of shooting Pines that maybe he was too overzealous when it came to the face tattoo. It’s those types of regrets that play into his character, and the film as a whole.

The Place Beyond the Pines is an ambitious film about the pivotal moments that define the lives of those who question how they are going to makes ends meet. The problem is that after a terrific first act the story sort of deflates when it should be building on opening momentum, instead. That would explain the considerable 140-minute length. Still, the acting is so strong for the first two acts that it’s easy to forgive Cianfrance’s slip up when it came to the shifting narratives, as we see the main character change from Chapter One to Chapter Two. As for the leads in the final segment, they aren’t on par with a pair of Oscar-nominated actors.

Ryan Gosling is the carnival performer Luke Glanton, a motorcycle daredevil who, along with two other riders, zips around and upside down inside a metal cage, to the exultations of a paid attendance as he defies gravity and common sense.  Satisfied with his nomadic lifestyle working the carnival circuit going from town to town, his life is turned inside out when he learns he fathered a child as the result of a brief dalliance with Schenectady waitress Romina (Eva Mendes). Remembering his own childhood and the father who was never there, Luke makes the commitment to be an active participant in caring for his son. Only he doesn’t know how. Newly unemployed and with a limited skill set, Luke gets a job with a local mechanic (Ben Mendelsohn), a man who teaches him that his motorcycle skills offers him more lucrative ways at being a family provider. Better to get rich quick than be a poor grease monkey.

Rookie officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) is ambitious and as strait-laced as they come. A law grad who decided he wanted to join the rank and file of Schenectady’s Finest to fight injustice, rather than follow in his father’s footsteps as a New York State judge, he finds himself in a situation where he is branded a hero but can’t deal with the consequences. As someone who learns the reality of wearing the badge by dealing with a network of corrupt cops, Avery is put into a situation where his own conscience comes into play.

High school friendships happen in different ways but for Jason (Dane DeHaan) and AJ (Emory Cohen) it comes as the result of Jason’s drug-dealing connections and AJ’s expendable income. Of the two, Jason is the outsider and AJ is the life of the party. Jason is AJ’s shadow and as his number two reaps the rewards of such a friendship. However both share a secret that neither is aware.

The risk-taking nature of Luke provides us with a compelling powder keg of a first segment. A man of desperation, Luke relies on his daredevil instincts in hopes of giving his son a better life than he had. As he tells Romina, “My father was never around and look how I turned out.” It leads to a shocking turn that definitely took me by surprise. Ryan Gosling’s Luke has deliberate mannerisms and speaks quietly; much like his nameless character from Drive. But once he lets loose be prepared for fireworks.

Bradley Cooper may have shared top billing with Gosling, but the second-best character may just be Eva Mendes. Having never had that Pretty Woman-esque breakout to be a mega star, it looks like Mendes has taken to venturing well outside her comfort zone. Pines follows her appearance in the Leos Carax mind-bending film Holy Motors. Under Cianfrance’s direction she delivers some strong work alongside Gosling. Seeing her frustration bubble in a few scenes it’s interesting to note that she stormed off set one time, tired of Cianfrance constantly pushing her buttons as an actress, not just a pretty face in another movie.

Pines takes a great big detour when Bradley Cooper’s and Ryan Gosling’s characters cross paths, which allows us passage into a world of crooked cops and moral dilemmas. Ray Liotta plays one of the crooked officers and it is again typecasting. Hard to argue; when the script calls for a scene-chewing shifty fellow, the once goodfella is on the short list.

As ambitious as The Place Beyond the Pines is, it can’t hold on to greatness all the way through. The final act dilutes the entire film. Therein lies the frustration. It’s just not up to snuff what Derek Cianfrance has created. Not helping matters is its sluggish pace. It’s worth applauding what Cianfrance wants to accomplish with his closure of the epic drama. Too bad his reach for greatness couldn’t match the intensity he gave us for the first ninety minutes.

Director: Derek Cianfrance
Notable Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Rose Byrne
Writer(s): Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, Darius Marder

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Cartoon Network Announces Fall 2013 Programming: Young Justice: Invasion, Green Lantern: The Animated Series & Star Wars: The Clone Wars ALL GONE! http://insidepulse.com/2013/01/28/cartoon-network-announces-fall-2013-programming-young-justice-invasion-green-lantern-the-animated-series-star-wars-the-clone-wars-all-gone/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/01/28/cartoon-network-announces-fall-2013-programming-young-justice-invasion-green-lantern-the-animated-series-star-wars-the-clone-wars-all-gone/#comments Mon, 28 Jan 2013 22:00:20 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=324447


UPDATE: As with the recent DC Nation Hiatus, a petition concerning the lack of Young Justice and Green Lantern in CN’s Fall Line-Up has been started on Change.Org. More here.


With Disney’s purchase of Star Wars a few months ago, it is no surprise Star Wars: The Clone Wars isn’t on Cartoon Network’s Fall 2013 line-up. Expect it show up on Disney XD. However, it is interesting that Cartoon Network will be featuring the Lego / Star Wars Yoda Chronicles.

With the writing on the wall, Young Justice: Invasion is cancelled after its second season. This was a quality show that reached its syndication milestone. Many cartoons, particularly those NOT exclusively geared to children, don’t get so many episodes. It will be missed.

A surprise is Green Lantern: The Animated Series’ cancellation. However, with the Ryan Reynolds live-action Green Lantern film not living up to expectations, this cartoon’s axing shouldn’t have been a surprise.

We knew Beware The Batman and Teen Titans Go were coming to Cartoon Network’s DC Nation Block programming. However, I thought it would be staged with YJ cancelled and GLTAS getting a second season. Looks like it is a clean sweep: two out, two in.

On the bright side, Scooby Doo Mystery Inc returns! That is a great series.

Still no news of G.I. Joe Renegades. I guess that’s gone too… along with the new Thundercats. :(

Below is Cartoon Network’s official news release.


Press Release

CARTOON NETWORK NEW SERIES

Incredible Crew: Incredible Crew, is a live-action, half-hour, sketch comedy series from producer and entertainer Nick Cannon. Every episode of this high-energy, fast-paced show delivers hilarious comedy bits, outrageous hidden camera pranks, original music videos and commercial parodies all with a distinct attitude—a contemporary blend of internet sensibility mixed with kid imagination. Incredible Crew showcases six up-and-coming young comedy stars featured in diverse roles in every genre Shauna Case (American Horror Story), Shameik Moore (Joyful Noise), Tristan Pasterick, Chanelle Peloso (Level Up), Jeremy Shada (Adventure Time) and Brandon Soo Hoo (Enders Game, Tropic Thunder). Nick Cannon serves as executive producer of Incredible Crew along with Michael Goldman and Scott Tomlinson. The series is produced by Cartoon Network Studios in association with NCredible Entertainment.

Steven Universe: Slated to debut in 2013, Steven Universe is a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Steven, the youngest member of a team of magical Guardians of the Universe. The animated series was conceived as part of the shorts development initiative at Cartoon Network Studios, and is created by Emmy® and Annie Award-nominated writer and storyboard artist Rebecca Sugar (Adventure Time). Sugar is Cartoon Network’s first solo female show creator.

Uncle Grandpa: Also slated for 2013, Uncle Grandpa is based upon the Emmy®-nominated short of the same name and follows the exploits of Uncle Grandpa—everyone in the world’s “magical” uncle and grandpa. Created and executive produced by Pete Browngardt (creator of Cartoon Network’s Emmy®, Annie and Annecy Cristal Award-winning Secret Mountain Fort Awesome), Uncle Grandpa was conceived as part of the shorts development program at Cartoon Network Studios.

Clarence: From creator Skyler Page, Clarence is a new original animated series about an optimistic boy who wants to do everything. Because everything is amazing! Clarence was conceived as part of the shorts development program at Cartoon Network Studios.

Teen Titans Go!: Featuring the return of Robin, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy and Cyborg in all-new, comedic adventures, Teen Titans Go! will premiere in April 2013. Character-driven comedy is the order of the day as this new take on the superhero series focuses on the funny business that happens between saving the world and living together as teenagers without adult supervision. The series stars the principal voice cast from the original Teen Titans, and is produced by Warner Bros. Animation.

Beware the Batman: A cool, new take on the classic Dark Knight franchise, Beware the Batman incorporates Batman’s core characters with a rogue gallery of new villains not previously seen in animated form. Along with backup from ex-secret agent Alfred and lethal swordstress Katana, the Dark Knight faces the twisted machinations of Gotham City’s criminal underworld led by the likes of Anarky, Professor Pyg, Mister Toad and Magpie. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, this action-packed detective thriller deftly redefines what we have come to know as a “Batman show.” Featuring cutting-edge CGI visuals, Beware the Batman, based on characters from DC Comics, is coming to Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block in Summer 2013.

Legends of Chima: In the mystical land of CHIMA, Laval the Lion and Cragger the Crocodile are the best of friends. An innocent escapade results in Cragger getting his first experience with the CHI, a powerful and sacred resource important to the delicate balance of CHIMA. The CHI gives awesome power to the user but needs to be managed carefully and certainly not by young adventurous animals. From LEGO, creator of Cartoon Network’s powerhouse action-adventure series Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, Legends of Chima will premiere in Summer 2013.

Grojband: 12-year-old Corey is the front man for a rockin’ garage band. There’s just one problem: Corey’s lyrics stink. He just can’t think of anything cool to write about, until…he finds his sister’s diary that’s full of “teen angst and junk” and decides to use each diary entry as inspiration for crowd pleasing, heart stopping, foot stomping hit songs. Grojband is distributed by FremantleMedia Ltd. and produced by Fresh TV, creator of the hit animated reality franchise Total Drama Island.

The Tom and Jerry Show: The iconic cat and mouse rivals are back in The Tom and Jerry Show, a fresh take on the classic series. Preserving the look, characters and sensibility of the original, the all-new series shines a brightly colored, high-definition lens on the madcap slapstick and never-ending battle that has made Tom and Jerry two of the most beloved characters of all time. The Tom and Jerry Show is produced by Warner Bros. Animation.

Total Drama All Stars: Total Drama is back, but this time the team at Fresh TV have assembled the best loved and most hated contestants from seasons past to compete – Heroes vs. Villains style! Total Drama Island is produced by Fresh TV and distributed by CAKE Distribution.

SPECIALS AND MOVIES

Adventure Time Special: Highly-regarded comedic actors Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and Donald Glover (Community) will be featured in a special episode of Cartoon Network’s hit animated series Adventure Time. The episode, “Bad Little Boy,” is slated to premiere February 18 as part of the series’ fifth and current season. Reprising his role as Prince Gumball from season three’s much-loved gender switch episode “Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake,” Neil Patrick Harris will join Donald Glover, as Marshall Lee, the musical male counterpart to fan favorite Marceline the Vampire Queen in this second installment of the Fionna and Cake (derived from Finn and Jake) saga. In this special episode, the princesses are sick and tired of Ice King’s crazy Fionna and Cake stories, so Marceline stops by the Ice Kingdom to show him how it’s done.

Regular Show Special: Regular Show, Cartoon Network’s Emmy® Award-winning animated comedy featuring best friends Mordecai, a six-foot-tall blue jay and Rigby, a hyperactive raccoon, is slated for a 30-minute Thanksgiving special, Regular Show style. Mordecai and Rigby accidentally ruin Thanksgiving and must find a way to save it before their families arrive for dinner. The gang pulls together to help make it the best Thanksgiving ever! Regular Show, currently in its’ fourth season, has become an instant hit continually ranking #1 in its time period among all key boy demos across all of television according to Nielsen Media Research.

The Powerpuff Girls Special: “Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice…plus a dash of mysterious Chemical X” were the essential ingredients that created Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup—also known as The Powerpuff Girls. This groundbreaking and Emmy®-winning series, created by Craig McCracken, ran on Cartoon Network from 1998-2005 and will soar again as a brand-new, redesigned and re-imagined CG special coming in 2013 where the trio of pint-sized super heroines will be called upon to rescue not just the city of Townsville, but the USA and the world! Featuring an original song “I Wish I Was A Powerpuff Girl” performed by Beatles legend Ringo Starr, who also portrays Townsville’s most famous flamboyant mathematician, “Fibonacci Sequins,” this all-new original special comes from a powerhouse creative team featuring animation talent from around the globe including acclaimed director Dave Smith and award-winning art director Kevin Dart and is produced by Cartoon Network Studios in association with UK’s Passion Pictures. The special also features the original voice cast reprising their iconic roles and will premiere later this year.

The Yoda Chronicles: LEGO Star Wars returns in epic style with THE YODA CHRONICLES, a thrilling, funny and action-packed new LEGO Star Wars story told in three animated TV specials! Set in the “Prequel” Star Wars timeline, THE YODA CHRONICLES stars the one and only Yoda—the Jedi Master who has seen it all, done it all, and taught generations of Jedi Knights—in an all-new adventure. With the help of a fresh class of Padawans, Yoda leads the Jedi in a desperate fight to stop Darth Sidious and his minions from creating a new super-weapon that could crush the Republic and win the war for the forces of Evil.

RETURNING SERIES/SPECIALS

-Adventure Time

-Regular Show

-Annoying Orange
-MAD

-The Amazing World of Gumball

-The Looney Tunes Show

-Ben 10 Omniverse
-Dreamworks Dragons: Riders of Berk

-Scooby-Doo! Mystery Inc.
-Johnny Test
-Pokémon Black & White: Adventures in Unova

-Beyblade Metal Fury

-Almost Naked Animals
-Scaredy Squirrel


Staying Connected

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BabosScribe is the handle. :)


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Blu-ray Review: Fireflies in the Garden http://insidepulse.com/2012/03/17/blu-ray-review-fireflies-in-the-garden/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/03/17/blu-ray-review-fireflies-in-the-garden/#comments Sat, 17 Mar 2012 10:00:03 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=291755 Fireflies in the Garden is a dysfunctional film about a dysfunctional family. The main problem is that the ideas and themes scattered throughout the story are never fully thought out and in the end all that’s left is a fairly cut and paste story about love and loss that never hits the emotional levels with its audience that a film like this has to hit in order for it to work.

The story takes place in both the past and present, interweaving both stories throughout, though when it does swap it’s never really doing it for any particular rhyme or reason. It’s not as though something in the present triggers a memory of something in the past; it’s more like something happens in the present, and then we’re shown another moment from the past that shows how this family has issues.

The film’s protagonist is Michael Taylor, who is played by as an adult by Ryan Reynolds in the present and by Cayden Boyd as a child. In the past storyline, Michael is constantly belittled and tormented by his emotionally abusive father, Charles (William Dafoe), who seems to be the cause of most of the family issues.

Luckily, Michael has his mother, Lisa (Julia Roberts), who loves him and protects him as much as she can. There’s also Michael’s Aunt Jane (played by Emily Watson in the present story, and Hayden Panettiere in the past) who – in the past storyline – visits with Michael’s family for the summer. It should be pointed out that Jane is only a few years older than Michael, and it’s a rather awkward story the two share due to a few scenes that may give the viewer the wrong implication.

At one point, Michael has to give Jane a list of rules that his father makes them abide by. He knocks on her door to give it to her, and she answers in a tight tank top and her underwear. Being a young boy, he gets caught looking at her chest, and Jane plays off this, partially brushing against him before closing the door in his face.

While it’s obvious she’s just teasing him, there’s the small implication here that something may happen. It may be the smallest of implications, but if it makes the viewer’s mind go in that direction at all, it should later be clarified that nothing happened. Instead, writer/director Dennis Lee only muddies the water by having present day Jane and Michael have a discussion about Michael’s latest book (as he is now an author) and pleads with him not to publish it. Her reasoning? That everyone will find out, and it will kill his father.

While I’m someone who prefers to have things implied instead of having characters explain every single thing they’re doing and why, situations like this could really use a bit more clarification. Simply stating at some point that Jane had an abortion (which is why she stayed with them that summer, and which is what she’s actually afraid that everyone will find out) and that all the anger and resentment Michael directs at his father in the book is actually what would kill him would help make their story come across better, and leave no room for people to get the wrong idea.

The above example is the problem with the entire movie: it’s just not clear in what it’s trying to say. There are plenty of stories going on within this family, and yet, Lee jumps all over the place instead of simply focusing on the broken relationship between Michael and his father, and the tragedy that brings the family back together.

With the story being as muddled as it is, the acting is the only thing that actually makes the film watchable. Reynolds does solid work here, as his delivery is as funny and believable as ever. Dafoe is also great, really coming off as someone you want to see get his for all the pain he’s inflicted on his family, which is how the character needed to come across. Roberts is also great, though her role is minor in comparison.

The supporting cast is really strong as well, with Watson and Panettiere doing good work as past and present Jane, though Panettiere’s role may even be smaller than Roberts. Carrie-Anne Moss also has a small role, as does Ioan Gruffudd and George Newbern, all three of which are good in their own right, even if only Gruffudd’s character has any true value to the story.

Fireflies in the Garden is a movie that has lots of recognizable stars on the cover of the Blu-ray, and that’s its selling point. How can a movie that got this many big names to sign on be bad? I can’t answer that question, but someone must have called in a lot of favours. There are moments where it’s noticeable that this could have been a solid enough story to at least have the viewer make a small emotional connection; however, poor storytelling and pacing leave it looking like an idea that was never fully conceived.




The audio and visual elements of Fireflies in the Garden are clean and clear, and overall they both work – unlike the film itself. There are no major complaints to be had in either department, though with a film like this there’s no need to go above and beyond.


There are no extras on the disc, which is a shame, as I would have liked to have seen what the actors thought about the film, and get some insight as to why they all chose to do the project.


Fireflies in the Garden is a film that will catch people’s eyes do to the fact that some big stars are involved. Try not to be fooled, as this is an average made-for-TV movie with Hollywood stars at best, and a complete wreck that’s saved only by the actors involved at worst.


Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents Fireflies in the Garden. Written and Directed by: Dennis Lee. Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hayden Panettiere, Ioan Gruffudd, Julia Roberts. Running time: 99 minutes. Rating: R. Released on Blu-ray: Feb. 21, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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Just Seen It Movie Review: Safe House [Video] http://insidepulse.com/2012/02/21/just-seen-it-movie-review-safe-house-video/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/02/21/just-seen-it-movie-review-safe-house-video/#comments Tue, 21 Feb 2012 06:38:59 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=294257 After a decade on the run, rogue CIA agent Tobin Frost is captured. But when he is brought into Matt Weston’s safe house, they are attacked and must run for their lives. Matt must protect a man he does not trust against an army out to kill them both. Starring Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Patrick, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson and Sam Shepard. Directed by Daniel Espinosa. Written by David Guggenheim. Produced by Scott Stuber. Genre: Spy Action Thriller.

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First Poster for Dreamworks The Croods Debuts Online http://insidepulse.com/2012/02/17/first-poster-for-dreamworks-the-croods-debuts-online/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/02/17/first-poster-for-dreamworks-the-croods-debuts-online/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2012 14:00:48 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=289976 The first poster for Dreamworks latest animated fare, The Croods, has found its way online. You can view it below.

Plot Summary: A comedy adventure that takes us back to the beginning – to a previously undiscovered era known as the Croodacious – a time when Mother Nature was still experimenting and the flora and fauna we know today hasn’t evolved yet.


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Safe House – Review (2) http://insidepulse.com/2012/02/11/safe-house-review-2/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/02/11/safe-house-review-2/#comments Sat, 11 Feb 2012 23:00:38 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=289244
Part Bourne Identity, part 3:10 to Yuma, overall ineffective.

Safe House is a pretender. While it may look like a decent spy thriller, with its Bourne Identity-inspired car chases and hand-to-hand combat, the movie goes through the motions, content to be knock-off of the franchise that made Matt Damon out to be an action star instead of trying to stand alone.

Our hero, Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), is a bottom feeder for the Central Intelligence Agency. He’s so far down on the rung that he can’t even get a caseworker assignment in the Paris branch. Instead, Weston is a glorified housesitter in an empty apartment wing in Cape Town, South Africa. Internally, he’s chomping at the bit to prove his worth. Until that moment arrives, though, he must settle for maintaining the safe house, making sure everything is in working order – security cameras, snack foods and (most importantly) plenty of cream for the coffee!  All he’s asked to do is be at the ready in the event a valued asset is transferred to the facility to be interrogated through waterboarding. But it’s been months without any new arrivals. At least Weston’s hand-eye coordination hasn’t gone to waste; when bored, he throws a tennis ball across a room and catches it on the way back. Nothing exciting ever happens.

Then the safe house takes in Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), the CIA bogeyman that everyone apparently fears, who was also one of the Agency’s elite operatives until he went off the grid a decade ago. His resurfacing in Cape Town and later walk-in to the U.S. Consulate in South Africa sets off all kinds of red flags, but by that point we already know more than the entire defense department. Never a good move if the intent of the spy thriller is to keep the audience on its toes.

It isn’t long after his arrival that the safe house is cracked by a hit squad and Weston has to make haste with a handcuffed Frost in the trunk of a commandeered BMW. Such a quick transition, one can’t help think the filmmakers missed a golden opportunity to make the most of Frost’s psychological expertise to turn the tables on his interrogators prior to the firefight. While he does make an informed remark about the grades of towels used to administer the waterboarding, psychoanalysis is undervalued and is replaced with more hairy situations that involve any combination of the two principal stars.

On the surface, Safe House should be firecracker entertainment. But it’s a makeshift production that overvalues the need for frenetic action as opposed to dialogue and story. When I learned Denzel Washington helped to shape the story over a six-month period – newsflash: several A-list stars have carte blanche when it comes to rewriting their roles – it just instills the idea that there was probably a good movie here that lost focus with its uneven pace, textbook double-cross fakes, and an anticlimactic ending. Even the film’s title sounds weak. Call it what it is: Denzel Washington Kicks a Lot of Ass.

David Guggenheim’s screenplay does little to the spy thriller genre that we haven’t already seen. Though to his credit he does not try to create a buddy dynamic between the two leads, which backfires since there’s a lack of spontaneity. Reynolds and Washington are adversarial all the way to the almost end. Their character interactions bare some resemblance to Christian Bale and Russell Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma. Even when the story becomes Weston having to move Frost to another safe house the 3:10 comparison is warranted. Still, unlike the western, where Bale and Crowe’s interaction only strengthens as the story progresses, Reynolds and Washington are merely sharing space on screen.

For Denzel Washington, Safe House is another in a line of throwaway films where he’s played characters with limited reach. His Tobin Frost, while a clear and present danger to the guys back in Langley, isn’t likely to be recalled when discussing the actor’s more memorable roles. Although his cool, confident composure, even when thrown into a new action scene every ten minutes, is more reassuring than the push for Ryan Reynolds to be a mega action star. He may have the physique but he would play better as the deadly, erudite sidekick (think Windsor Horne Lockwood III from Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar novels).

In a year that has seen the box office dominated by restricted features, Safe House is likely to continue the streak. Denzel Washington is a movie star that crosses generations and race, and Ryan Reynolds is a matinee idol that brings sex appeal so to the studio that’s a win-win. Hopefully by summer’s end, though, the true Bourne Identity spin-off (The Bourne Legacy) will supplant it as the better spy thriller.

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Notable Cast: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick, Nora Arnezeder
Writer(s): David Guggenheim

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Safe House – Review http://insidepulse.com/2012/02/11/safe-house-review/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/02/11/safe-house-review/#comments Sat, 11 Feb 2012 14:00:57 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=289284
A slightly poor man’s version of Three Days of the Condor

When it comes to leading men, Ryan Reynolds has everything that would make you think he ought to be front and center on a marquee. He’s good looking with a chiseled physique, has charisma to spare and a genuine screen presence. Unfortunately for him it just hasn’t quite translated to anything outside of comedy. Last summer a good portion of the lack of success for the Green Lantern adaptation was placed on his shoulders. And if Safe House was made to prove that Reynolds can hold his own in an action thriller, they shouldn’t have cast Denzel Washington opposite him.

Matt Weston (Reynolds) runs a CIA safe house in South Africa in which nothing generally happens. That is until one of the most wanted men in the planet, Tobin Frost (Washington), walks into an American consulate and is sent to Weston’s hotel for wayward spies. When a hit squad breaks in to their secure location and takes apart the squad assigned to protect Frost, it’s up to Weston to get Frost back into CIA custody as he goes on the run in Cape Town with his fugitive in tow. But Frost isn’t the most cooperative and as such a game begins between the two.

Shirking the buddy formula that usually happens between a cop and a crook, ala Midnight Run, it becomes an adversarial relationship between the two. Weston is inexperienced in operations and is out of his depth in handling it. Frost knows this and uses this to his advantage, getting the better of Weston in many occasions. The problem with the film, which operates in the same way Three Days of the Condor famously did, is that Denzel Washington at half speed completely overpowers Ryan Reynolds on the screen.

Washington is such a dynamic leading man in his own right that one imagines it must be difficult to act opposite of him in this capacity. It takes a special type of actor, like Russell Crowe, to really keep pace with him. Reynolds isn’t that actor and he looks completely out of place next to the iconic double Oscar winner. Reynolds wouldn’t be out of place in this film with nearly any other actor of similar stature; next to Denzel he’s being taken to acting school on many occasions. The few moments when he isn’t with Washington on screen he’s not completely out of place. Weston is the typical “rookie cop” type role, albeit as a CIA operative, and doesn’t feel out of place for the most part.

Washington isn’t anywhere near his best, as Frost is the sort of super-spy that only exists in film, but even at half speed Reynolds just doesn’t keep up. Washington has such a presence that Reynolds doesn’t rise to the occasion enough to keep up. Throughout the film Washington feels like a genuine movie star and Reynolds merely someone who’s just popular, to borrow a phrase from Chris Rock. Reynolds can’t match his presence or his charisma, of course, but he seems to shrink on occasions in which he needs to blossom.

It’s a shame because Safe House is an engaging spy thriller. Throwing in the usual twist in the end about double agents and whatnot, one that most should be able to see if you concentrate hard enough, Safe House also suffers from its rather interesting visual style. Daniel Espinosa takes a page out of Tony Scott’s book by trying to mix things up visually and using a shaky cam effect on many occasions; he’s not that good at it, unfortunately, and Scott’s influence on him is fairly obvious from that perspective. He’s a good story-teller though; for the faults of Safe House Espinosa has crafted an engaging story interesting enough to fit in with some of the better films of the genre.

Safe House is the sort of film that needs a powerhouse performance from a lead actor to keep up with Denzel Washington being his usual self. Unfortunately it doesn’t have it.

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Notable Cast: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick, Nora Arnezeder
Writer(s): David Guggenheim

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Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds Are Front And Center On Poster For Safe House http://insidepulse.com/2012/01/04/denzel-washington-ryan-reynolds-are-front-and-center-on-poster-for-safe-house/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/01/04/denzel-washington-ryan-reynolds-are-front-and-center-on-poster-for-safe-house/#comments Wed, 04 Jan 2012 18:00:51 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=284991 A new poster for the Ryan Reynolds/Denzel Washington headlined Safe House has been released, which you can view below.

Plot Synopsis: Washington plays a rogue CIA agent, who comes back onto the grid after a decade on the run. When the South African safe house he’s remanded to is attacked by mercenaries, a rookie operative (Reynolds) escapes with him. Now, the unlikely allies must stay alive long enough to uncover who wants them dead.


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