Need a good movie? Think of XFINITY On Demand as a multiplex cinema in your home. This month’s choices offer something for every kind of taste (blockbusters, action-adventure, romantic, indies) and every member of the family, including a trio of sequels to classic adventure sagas and a teenage house party to end all house parties.
Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Greek mythology take us tripping through time in ‘Journey 2: Mysterious Island,’ ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ and ‘Wrath of the Titans,’ respectively, while the R-rated comedy ‘Project X’ is an adolescent dream come true, a bash where the parents aren’t home that includes a missing lawn gnome, a little person in an oven, a flamethrower and a Mercedes being driven into the pool.
‘Journey 2: Mysterious Island’ is the sequel to the 2008 3-D film ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth,’ based on another Verne novel, ‘The Mysterious Island,’ though there are elements of Jonathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ as well in Richard Outen’s original spec script which served as the basis of the story. The movie stars the ‘The Hunger Games’’ Josh Hutcherson as Sean Anderson who sets out to find his lost grandfather with stepfather Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which leads them to an island where all things big are small and all small things are gigantic. Disney star Vanessa Hudgens plays the love interest, while Michael Caine plays the eccentric, explorer/grandfather who prompts the search in the first place. Entertainment Weekly said, “the movie flies by pleasantly… while Caine appears to enjoy himself… matching Johnson charm for charm.” The film was a box office success, grossing over $100 million. About the scene in which he bounces berries off his impressive pecs, Johnson says: “We wanted to take 3D beyond where James Cameron took it in ‘Avatar.’” If you’re looking for safe, fun moviemaking for the entire family, you can’t go wrong.
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Guy Ritchie’s ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ was the sequel to the director’s successful 2009 reboot of the franchise, toplined by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective and his sturdy sidekick Dr. Watson, spiffed up by all the special effects and action sequences of up-to-the-minute filmmaking. The film’s star-studded cast includes Swedish ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ star Noomi Rapace in her American big screen bow, ‘Mad Men’s Jared Harris, U.K. comic Stephen Fry and Rachel McAdams. Holmes sets out to investigate a series of seemingly unrelated murders, terrorist attacks and business acquisitions the investigator connects to Harris’ bad guy Professor Moriarty. Critics actually preferred the sequel to the original. Chicago Sun-Times’ Roger Ebert called it “high-caliber entertainment,” while Empire’s Ian Nathan said it was “a sequel confident in what’s it’s all about—bigger, better, funnier, without stretching the joke.” The movie scored with audiences, earning $187 million in U.S. box office, making it 2011’s ninth highest-grossing film. One of the movie’s highlights was Downey Jr. dressing up as a woman, insisting, “I thought I looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dwarf brother, or the lead singer of The Cure, Robert Smith.” This PG-13 rated film is recommended for fans of action and cross-dressing, in that order, of virtually any age.
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Like each of the previous two movies, ‘Wrath of the Titans’ is also a sequel, this one to the 2010 3-D hit ‘Clash of the Titans,’ itself a remake, once again starring ‘Avatar’’s Sam Worthington as Perseus, the demigod son of Liam Neeson’s Zeus, and brother of Ralph Fiennes’ Hades and Danny Huston’s Poseidon. Once again, the future of the world’s at stake, with monsters threatening to destroy civilization. Time magazine’s Richard Corliss wrote that the movie “radiates the straight-forward, straight-faced pleasures of the mytho-muscular epics like ‘Hercules’ and “Jason and the Argonauts.’ Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Glieberman called it “certainly more fun than its cheeseball predecessor.” The movie ended up grossing $83 million the U.S. and $218 million worldwide for a total of $302 million, compared to the original’s $493 million. A third installment is currently being written. “It’s a family story in the midst of a spectacular blockbuster,” says Worthington, which means it’s perfect for young and old to sit around, munch popcorn and enjoy.
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‘Project X’ is the one On Demand film to show when the adults are out of the house, because that mirrors the wacky, reality-TV-style plot of the movie about a monster party thrown by three high school losers looking to impress their friends, from ‘The Hangover’ producer Todd Phillips. The $12 million movie, presented as a home video taken by one of the characters, was cast mostly with unknowns. Following its release, the film inspired viral attempts to duplicate the party in the film, which might be a good idea for a Friday night, unless it’s your kids throwing the bash. The N.Y. Times’ Neil Genzlinger called the film the “‘Animal House of the iPhone generation, while Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman praised the film for updating the clichés of similarly themed films from the 1970s to the 1980s like ‘Risky Business,’ “so that they look just dangerous enough to make nostalgia feel naughty.” Oliver Cooper received a pair of ‘MTV Movie Award’ nominations for Best Comedic Performance and Best On-Screen Dirtbag, while Steve Aoki’s remix of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” earned a nod in the Best Music category. The film made a nifty $55 million in U.S. box office grosses, a cool four-and-a-half times its original budget. “I like to make movies about mayhem, bad behavior and bad decisions,” says producer Phillips, and he succeeds in spades, burning down the neighborhood in the process. Parents are forewarned about letting their kids access this one.
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These four titles are just the tip of the iceberg of new feature movies available this month on XFINITY On Demand. Here are other big titles and dates when are available.
JUNE HIGHLIGHTS: MOVIES ON XFINITY ON DEMAND
John Carter 6/5
Act of Valor 6/5
Safe House 6/5
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 6/5
Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds 6/12
Ghost Rider: Sprit of Vengeance 6/12
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 6/12
Big Miracle 6/19
Project X 6/19
Mirror Mirror 6/26
The Artist 6/26
21 Jump Street 6/26
Wrath of the Titans 6/26