Comic books can be a thing of beauty, even in their darkest tales. Unfortunately one issue plaguing them today is lack of originality. That is certainly not to say it’s an issue across the board as there are great, unique titles like Chew and Punk Rock Jesus. Still, store shelves are often lined with watered-down stories and titles that are mere carbon copies of one another. It wasn’t until very recently that I came across one particular story that caught my eye. I discovered it on everybody’s favorite project-launching platform; Kickstarter. While Kickstarter is where dreams can be made, this book itself goes much deeper than someone’s hope to see their work in print.
This is the year that the Fast & Furious franchise came to play. While 2011’s wonderfully entertaining (and superior) Fast Five had the safety of an April release date to ensure its spot as a box office smash, Fast & Furiou6 (which is my preferred title for the film) arrives in theaters on Memorial Day weekend and is a true spectacle film that has large scale action sequences, frantic car chases, over-the-top characters, and a true need to fire on all cylinders in order to stand up with the other huge films of the summer. I have made it no secret that I have a soft spot for this franchise and have been eagerly anticipating the next film in the series, but Fast & Furiou6 really delivers in many of the best ways. It may not have the same urgency in its plot that the previous film did and if you couldn’t get on board with that film, this one is definitely more of the same, but the effort put in to go really big, while still utilizing what I consider to be strengths of the franchise, is absolutely there. Vehicular warfare may be on display in full force, but the series has not lost sight of what a fun summer movie should be.
The Hangover franchise is one of the best examples of diminishing returns. The first film in the series was a big success and generally well liked. Part II presented the same story in a different location, but had enough goodwill to make it a success anyway. Time has not been kind to Part II, as there are few that really want to stand up for it. Regardless, we now have Part III and it is awful. Some may want to commend the film for not rehashing the same plot again, which would be all well and good if this new take on the structure of the plot had something good or intriguing to offer. That really is not the case here. The Hangover Part III is a comedy that forgot to have good jokes. Do these actors and filmmakers with good comedic sensibilities know how to elicit a smile from their audience every so often? Of course, but it feels more than apparent that no matter how big this film wants to make itself seem, there is no real punch to it. It just sits there and the worst kind of movie for me is a comedy that isn’t funny.
Given how 2013’s Memorial Day weekend is packed with action and comedy for adults with both Fast & Furiou6 and The Hangover Part III hitting screens everywhere, it is only right to have some counter-programming for kids and family audiences. I only wish that the film Epic lived up to its title. As it stands, Epic is perfectly acceptable as a fairly unchallenging film, with some wonderful animation, rousing action sequences, and humor, I just wish it had more to offer. The film feels like a friendly, but action-heavy take on The Borrowers crossed with FernGully: The Last Rainforest. It flirts with a few interesting ideas, but overall, Epic is merely an average and fairly traditional animated feature.
Inspired by the true-life events confronting Abraham Lincoln and his monumental moral and political challenge to amend the United States Constitution to permanently abolish slavery, Lincoln is a rich and compelling historical and human drama that has been hailed as one of the best film of the year. In-depth bonus features on the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack takes viewers behind-the-scenes of director Spielberg’s life-long fascination with Lincoln and the 12 years it took to bring the story of one of history’s and mankind’s greatest triumphs to the screen. As a 2013 Oscar and Golden Globe Award-winner for his performance as America’s 16th president, Daniel Day-Lewis leads an all-star cast including Academy Award winners Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field. Also starring David Strathaim, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and James Spader, Lincoln is based on a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner. The film is scored by multiple Oscar-winner John Williams. Continue reading ‘Lincoln (Blu-ray Review)’
Academy Award winners Warren Beatty (Best Director, Reds, 1981) and Dustin Hoffman (Best Actor, Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979; Rain Man, 1988) star in writer/director Elaine May’s Director’s Cut of the legendary comedy Ishtar debuting for the first time on Blu-ray August 6th from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Two terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime. The film also stars two-time Oscar nominee Isabelle Adjani (Best Actress, The Story of Adele H, 1975; Camille Claudel, 1988), Charles Grodin (Rosemary’s Baby, The Heartbreak Kid), Jack Weston (Wait Until Dark, Cactus Flower), Oscar nominee Tess Harper (Best Supporting Actress, Crimes of the Heart, 1986) and Oscar nominee Carol Kane (Best Actress, Hester Street, 1975). If you haven’t seen this film you should give it a chance! Avoid the bandwagon mentality! Continue reading ‘Ishtar Gets Another Chance on Blu-ray this August!’
Let’s see…where did we last leave off? Oh yeah! When we last saw the Wolf Pack, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) had just surprised Dr. Stu (Ed Helms), I mean the dentist, with Mike Tyson at his Thailand wedding (read all about the good times here and here if you need a quick refresher). Now I don’t know about you, but wow! What a friend Alan is! I need a friend like him, and of course the mad cash necessary to have an exotic wedding like Stu did in Thailand wouldn’t hurt either. And now that two years have separated us from Part II’s bitter reception in 2009, I hope a lot of the complainers will at least give this one a chance and come into this with an unbiased attitude. I know that’s a lot to ask for and I know I’m guilty of not doing that myself, but for Pete’s sake, not Christ’s, give this third and final installment of the franchise a chance. Continue reading ‘Different’s Not Always Good: The Hangover Part III (Movie Review)’
Twisting and turning its way onto Blu-ray is Anchor Bay’s Pawn. It’s a film that lives on the plot twist, double cross and connectivity between characters. With so many new revelations and turns through the film’s runtime, this film should be a mess. However, it’s not clumsily handled, not expertly either, but well enough to make for an entertaining jaunt through its runtime. Continue reading ‘Pawn (Blu-ray Review)’
A long time ago, in a faraway land, legend tells an extraordinary tale of courage and friendship…. Get ready for swashbuckling adventure, unforgettable characters, memorable music, and lots of laughs in Disney’s Disney’s Robin Hood, one of the most cherished animated films of all time. Heroic Robin Hood — along with his trusted companion Little John and his devoted band of merry men — conjures up one famously funny and daring deed after another to outfox greedy Prince John and bring happiness to the residents of Sherwood Forest. Disney’s Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition also features a forest full of merriment with a never-before-seen stoyline, an alternate ending, games, and Disney Song Selection, plus a new digital transfer, 5.1 Surround Sound, and much more! Continue reading ‘Disney’s Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition Finally Arrives on Blu-ray this August!’
Humor, spectacle and magic rule in Walt Disney’s legendary classic tale The Sword in the Stone – now celebrating its 50th Anniversary with exciting new bonus features! Embark on an adventure-filled quest for an unlikely hero! According to legend, only someone with honor, decency and inner strength can claim the throne of England — by pulling out the enchanted sword that lies locked in a massive stone. Many brave knights have tried, so it seems impossible that a young apprentice known as Wart could succeed. But with the guidance of the wizard Merlin, help from some hilarious friends and true strength of character, Wart just might become England’s greatest king. There’s even more wizardry fun with marvelous new bonus features including the all-new Merlin’s Magical Academy game, animated shorts, Disney’s song selection and much more! The Sword in the Stone: 50th Anniversary Edition is a magical experience your whole family will want to share again and again. Continue reading ‘Disney’s The Sword in the Stone: 50th Anniversary Edition Announced’
See how the Muppets began, with the nearly 35th Anniversary Special Edition of the original, classic that started it all—The Muppet Movie, produced by the cultural icon and Muppet creator himself, Jim Henson! Witness the hilarious origins of everyone’s favorite Muppets–Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Animal, and the rest—as they embark on an inspirational and laugh-filled road trip to follow their Hollywood dreams. And now for the first time, you and your family can see the Muppets make the “rainbow connection” in vibrant Blu-ray Hi-Def. Continue reading ‘The Muppet Movie: 35th Anniversary Special Edition Arrives on Blu-ray this August!’
Black Rock is an incredibly simplistic thriller, which finds three women fighting for their lives after circumstances lead to them to dealing with some deadly individuals. The film is not terribly deep, as it is basically an extended period of setup, followed by standard chase thriller plot machinations, but it does reach points of effective, high stakes drama, matched with adequate filmmaking. Having females working together and playing against certain standards in regards to these types of films is notable as well. However, there are also many other genre stereotypes at play, along with a lack of logic in some instances. Given how minimal the story is overall, it works on an overall level of satisfaction, but I have seen other, similar films (The Decent), which make much better use of the ideas on display.
Alain Delon (The Leopard) was at his most impossibly beautiful when Purple Noon (Plein soleil) was released and made him an instant star. This ripe, colorful adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s vicious novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, directed by the versatile René Clément (Forbidden Games), stars Delon as Tom Ripley, a duplicitous American charmer in Rome on a mission to bring his privileged, devil-may-care acquaintance Philippe Greenleaf (Elevator to the Gallows’ Maurice Ronet) back to the United States; what initially seems a carefree tale of friendship soon morphs into a thrilling saga of seduction, identity theft, and murder. Featuring gorgeous on-location photography in coastal Italy, Purple Noon is crafted with a light touch that allows it to be suspenseful and erotic at once, while giving Delon the role of a lifetime. Continue reading ‘Purple Noon: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’
While this summer is packed with superhero and comic book movies, including Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel, there still is room for Hugh Jackman to reprise his role as one of the most popular mutants around, Wolverine. The Wolverine is the latest adventure for old man Logan, taking place after the events of all of the previous X-Men films and setting itself in Japan. The story is based in part on one of the most famous comic arcs for the character, developed by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. While X-Men Origins: Wolverine left many fans disappointed, The Wolverine looks like a step in a much better direction. Continue on to see the new trailer as well as a batch of very cool, character-based posters.
Many people have thoughts on how accurate the Oscars are. Many people wish certain things could have happened differently on Hollywood’s biggest night. Many people are also unaware of how much history repeats itself. Author Robert James has taken it upon himself to provide a very thorough look, from his perspective, at the history of the Oscars with his book, WHO Won?!?: An Irreverent Look at the Oscars, which is just Volume One of a multi-volume book series. It should honestly not have taken me so long to finally let more people know about this book. Call it a busy schedule and obligations regarding my weekly movie reviews, but as both a film fan (to say the least) and a history lover (it was my major), I was really happy to dive into this book and take in a lot of insight in regards to where the Oscars began and what can come from a detailed analysis of every winner and nominee, from a much more current (and humorous) point of view. Continue on to learn more about the first volume of Robert James book series, WHO Won?!?
Bruce Willis reprises his iconic role as police detective John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard, set against the backdrop of deadly corruption and political vendetta in Russia. McClane arrives in Moscow to track down his estranged son, Jack, (Jai Courtney), and is stunned to discover he’s working undercover to protect a government whistleblower, Komarov. With their own necks on the line, the McClanes are forced to overcome their differences in order to get Komarov to safety and thwart a potentially disastrous crime in the most desolate place on Earth – Chernobyl. Keeping audiences on the edge of their seats for 25 years, this latest chapter of the popular action franchise delivers the thrills and the ultimate father-son action duo as A Good Day to Die Hard debuts on Digital HD on May 14 three weeks before the Blu-ray and DVD release on June 4 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Continue reading ‘A Good Day to Die Hard (DigitalHD™ Copy Review)’
As I watched A Common Man, I wondered if Ben Kingsley knew or will ever find out what the other side of this movie looked like. The film is a clear case of throwing all the money in a super low budget film at a big name to shoot for a couple of days to hopefully sell your movie better. Slap his name above the title, prominently display him on the cover art with a misleading fiery explosion in the background and hopefully someone is going to pick this up thinking at the very least they’ll get a solid B action movie. Sadly, its far from as it looks as if almost every dollar went to Kingsley for a day or two’s shooting some boring scenes while the rest of the movie suffers from being a, at all too few times laughable, poor production. Continue reading ‘A Common Man (Blu-ray Review)’
Mud is the latest film from writer/director Jeff Nichols, who previously made Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter. It is a nice change of pace, as Mud is the Nichols’ film with the most humor so far. With Mud, Nichols continues to make wildly different films, despite setting them in the same type of locations with the same types of people. He has a knack for this sort of representation of Americana on film, with these stories set in rural and swampy areas, mainly because he gets great work from the people cast in his films. Matthew McConaughey is indeed fantastic in Mud, just as the rest of the cast is, given that no one feels out of place. The title may literally sound dirty, but it is a film that is a big success, given it feels both familiar and unique in the way it presents its story.
About three weeks ago I received a weird unmarked postcard in the mail. It was black with strange red symbols and the only text to be found on it were the words “Were You Chosen?” I snapped a photo of it and texted it to my girlfriend and Gerard Iribe. Neither one knew what it was. Gerard saw the Texas address on the reverse side of the postcard and said that’s Scott Wampler’s address. At first I was like wow, this must be a wedding invite from the man. I can’t believe I got one. I felt honored. But wait! That was my address! LOL. So I did what any rationale person would do after exhausting their lifelines. I “googled” it! It turns out that was a slogan for the newest Weinstein product, Dimension Films’ Dark Skies. And that was the end of that. I tossed the postcard aside disappointed it wasn’t anything more. I want adventure in my life. If it’s not, don’t waste my time. Continue reading ‘Dark Skies (Blu-ray Review)’