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Fri
06
Dec

Ready or Not a Foray into Comedic Gore-Porn

Ready or Not Blu-ray

When Grace (SAMARA WEAVING) accepted a marriage proposal from Daniel Le Domas (ADAM BRODY), she expected her life to change. After all, the Le Domas clan was richer than Croesus, and their reputation was global. What she didn't plan for, however, was the wedding night tradition of midnight game play. The Le Domas dynasty had been built on marketing games, and it had been a long-standing tradition that upon any wedding, the new family member would be assigned a random card from a puzzle box, detailing the game to be played. It could be checkers, chess, backgammon...anything at all.

But one game required different rules than all the others: Hide and Seek. That's the game when the family knew their ages-old benefactor demanded a sacrifice be made. So when Grace pulls that card, and goes off to find a hiding place, she is completely unaware that the family is preparing to come looking for her -- armed to the teeth!

Wed
27
Nov

Stars Shine But Dimly in By-the-Book Buttons: A Christmas Tale

Buttons a Christmas Tale

I will say this for Tim Janis's BUTTONS: A CHRISTMAS TALE: it's heart is in the right place, and it delivers familiar faces -- and voices -- at every turn. Beginning with narration from KATE WINSLET and ROBERT REDFORD, we waste no time in being introduced to legendary actor DICK VAN DYKE, leaving a note at the doorstep of Mr. & Mrs. Hill (PAUL GREENE, ABIGAIL SPENCER). A child is at the hospital awaiting adoption, and the Hills are too eager to rush there to fill that role.

At that same time, Emily (NOELLE PARKER) is brought to the hospital, brought to Mother Genevieve (ROMA DOWNEY), to the chagrin of the doctor (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION's JOHN De LANCIE). He makes it clear that she can't stay past the night, as this is a private hospital for paying patients.

Tue
26
Nov

Official Secrets Compelling Window into Iraq War Run-Up

Official Secrets

The events of OFFICIAL SECRETS are true, and that's what makes the film so magnetic. It's not overblown with explosions, high-speed chases, or tense confrontations. It's a sequence of human decisions, facts, denials, and consequences.

Katharine Gun (KIERA KNIGHTLEY) was working as a translator for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British counterpart to the United States' NSA. Between the events of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq, she was one of several recipients of a confidential email from the NSA, requesting assistance from GCHQ to dig into the backgrounds of several United Nations representatives for the purpose of finding leverage on them that could garner their votes for an invasion. Torn between duty and conscience, Katharine ultimately printed the email and, through a series of back-channels, got it into the hands of reporters at The Guardian.

Fri
22
Nov

Blinded by the Light of Bruce Springsteen

Blinded by the Light

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is a coming of age tale set in a small town in Britain. Javed (VIVEIK KAIRA) is a British young man of Pakistani descent. His father and mother (KUVLINDER GHIR, MEERA GANATRA) both emigrated from Pakistan for a better life. But this is the UK of the 1980s, and teens walk the streets wearing swastikas. Pakistani homes are assaulted with grafitti, and Pakistani men are attacked on the street.

Javed is uncertain what path his life will take, but he knows he doesn't want it to be the path his father puts him on. He writes lyrics for his best friend, Matt (DEAN-CHARLES CHAPMAN), who fronts for a rock band, and he dreams of going to London to make it on his own there.

Tue
19
Nov

When the Subplot is More Engaging than the Main: Angry Birds 2

The world is all divided into three parts. On the first, there is the island of the flightless birds, who get around in the air through the use of giant slingshots. On the other island live the green pigs, with whom the birds are at constant prank war. Chief among the warrior birds is Red (JASON SUDEIKIS), who is revered because he protected the island from the pigs and their leader, Leonard (BILL HADER) with the help of his friends Chuck (JOSH GAD) and Bomb (DANNY McBRIDE).

But there is a third island, an island of ice, newly discovered and declaring war upon the lands of both pig and bird, launching giant iceballs through the air and reigning down not pranks but destruction. Having a common enemy, birds and pigs forge a truce to work together and stop the mad plans of Zeta (LESLIE JONES) who seeks revenge against the one who jilted her years ago -- Mighty Eagle (PETER DINKLAGE).

Sat
16
Nov

Dora Brings Nostalgic Chuckles, But Inconsistencies Plague This Nickelodeon Release

Dora and the Lost City of Gold Bluray

The idea of adapting the Nickelodeon pre-school cartoon series, DORA THE EXPLORER, into a matured teenaged jungle expert is, quite frankly, an idea that should have been money in the bank. From the trailers, we see all the classic DORA touchpoints that seem deservedly odd in a live-action film, such as young Dora breaking the fourth wall and asking the audience if they can say a word. That's a cute throwback to the cartoon series. 

When we first meet Dora, she's six years old, and living in the jungle with her parents, Elena (EVA LONGORIA) and Cole (MICHAEL PEÑA), and her cousin Diego. When Diego has to go back home to the city (Go, Diego! Go!), Dora is left with no one her own age with whom to relate.

Fri
15
Nov

Catch-22 Showcases Absurdities, Atrocities of War

If I'm asked to summarize CATCH-22, the HBO miniseries adapted from the Joseph Heller novel, I would say, "It's M*A*S*H, but earlier and far more tragic."

The setting is World War II, the European theater, where John Yossarian (CHRISTOPHER ABBOT) is a bombardier who goes on missions into enemy territory over northern Italy during the end of the war when the Germans are on the defensive. His goal is to fly the number of missions he's assigned so that he can fulfill his duty and go back home.

Sat
02
Nov

Lion King Roars onto Blu-ray

Lion King Bluray

Disney is on a roll when it comes to producing "live action" versions of their animated classics, and their release of THE LION KING is no exception. Now, with Christmas on a collision course with all of us, the House of Mouse has released this CGI masterpiece to the home video market, including Blu-ray and Digital.

Sat
02
Nov

Warner Brothers' Batman Beyond Collector's Set Ideal Gift for Bat-Fans

Batman Beyond The Complete Series

There have been a few moments in the Batman mythos that have been truly memorable, have truly changed the landscape for the fans. (If you ask Robert Greenberger, there are at least 100 of these, but that's a review for later this week.) 

One such moment came in 1999, when a new animated series took Batman into the near-future; where Bruce Wayne (KEVIN CONROY) is a retired octogenarian, and Terry McGinnis (WILL FRIEDLE) as the latest heir to the mantle, in a New Gotham that has a whole new set of problems.

When we are introduced to the series, Bruce is wearing the jet-black, tricked-out costume. But his age is catching up with him, and his heart isn't holding up. When he finds himself grabbing a dropped gun to defend himself against a common thug, he's horrified at what he's doing, and seals up the Batcave for good.

Tue
29
Oct

The Crew of the NSEA Protector Returns in Steelbook Edition of Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest 20 Year

Has it really been twenty years since TIM ALLEN, SIGOURNEY WEAVER, ALAN RICKMAN, TONY SHALHOUB, SAM ROCKWELL and DARYL MITCHELL took off aboard the NSEA Protector to explore the farthest corners of the galaxy -- only to have their voyage cancelled on a cliffhanger? See, GALAXY QUEST was just a television show, a science fiction classic beloved by fans and made into the centerpiece of conventions, much to the chagrin of the actors of the series -- Jason Nesmith, Gwen DeMarco, Alexander Dane, Fred Kwan, Guy Fleegman, and Tommy Webber -- who found themselves typecast into their roles and condemned to make a living through special appearances and autographing photos. The only one really into it is Nesmith (ALLEN), but when he overhears two teens talking about how pathetic his life must be, it shakes his confidence.

Mon
28
Oct

Arrow Video Releases RINGU on Blu-ray (Video Review)

RINGU Collection

In 1998, director Hideo Nakata (Dark Water) unleashed a chilling tale of technological terror on unsuspecting audiences, which redefined the horror genre, launched the J-horror boom in the West and introduced a generation of moviegoers to a creepy, dark-haired girl called Sadako. The film s success spawned a slew of remakes, reimaginations and imitators, but none could quite boast the power of Nakata s original masterpiece, which melded traditional Japanese folklore with contemporary anxieties about the spread of technology.

Sat
26
Oct

Legends Collide in Lon Chaney Biopic, Man of a Thousand Faces

Man of a Thousand Faces

I've been at this gig of reviewing movies for a while now; enough to call it a career. And it's always good when something pops up to remind you that this industry has been going on a lot longer than your little blip on the radar, and produced things of a caliber that 3D CGI multip-part franchise stunt casting will never attain.

Case in point: MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES. This two-hour biopic presents the life of Lon Chaney, an icon of the industry known for his commitment to parts, but moreso for his ability to portray any role, no matter how foreign or grotesque.

Fri
25
Oct

Charlie's Angels Go Full Throttle Back to Blu-ray Before Taking Flight in Theaters

Charlies Angels Full Throttle Blu-ray

With CHARLIE'S ANGELS preparing for yet another attempt at theatrical acclaim, it seems almost counter-productive to release CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE on Blu-ray to remind viewers of just how well things went in the past for this franchise's attempts to make it on the big screen.

Let's face it. FULL THROTTLE was purely for self-referential nostalgia, in-jokes, and gratuitous giggle-and-jiggle. The plot was thinner than Twiggy, with the Angels having to track down two metal rings that, together, decrypted into the full list of Federal Witness Protection participants. The full list. Think about that. Yes, it could fit on two rings easily enough with micro engraving and compression coding. But... every time someone new has to enter the program, you have to have both rings brought in and re-engraved. Seems to be a rather clunky way to handle security, unless you need a Macguffin to drive a plot.

Mon
21
Oct

How Can a Serial Killer Be in Two Places at One Time? We Review Night Hunter on Blu-ray

Night Hunter

HENRY CAVILL (MAN OF STEEL) is Marshall, a law officer gone terminally cynical from the job, which makes relating with his daughter particularly difficult. Concerned about protecting his daughter from anything and anyone, he finds himself suddenly embroiled in a case of a serial killer who preys on young girls. He catches a break on the case when a former judge turned vigilante, Cooper (BEN KINGSLEY) loses his literal jailbait partner, Lara (ELIANA JONES), to the killer, thinking him merely another predator for them to take off the board. Fortunately for Lara, she wears a tracking device, leading both Cooper and Marshall to her and Simon (BRENDAN FLETCHER), a mentally handicapped man holding Lara and several other girls hostage and putting them through torture.

But while Simon is in custody and being profiled, his captors are targeted for murder and extorted into effecting his escape. Begging the question: Do they have the right man, or does he have an accomplice.

Sat
19
Oct

We Watch Netflix's Veronica Mars Season One Without Prior Exposure to the Series.

Veronica Mars Season 1

I had, of course, heard of the VERONICA MARS television series. And when Rob Thomas made history with his record-setting Kickstarter to make a VERONICA MARS movie, we were all over it, and reviewed the film upon its release. But the movie is, admittedly, my only exposure to the world of VERONICA MARS and her mystery-solving entourage. So we came into what is being touted as the First Season (it's chronologically the fourth) with an unmuddied opinion, free from canon and shipping.

What we got was, we thought, a pretty entertaining mystery series featuring a quick-witted private investigator (played by KRISTEN BELL) and her equally on-the-ball father, Keith Mars (ENRICO COLANTONI). She's in love with Logan Echolls (JASON DOHRING), who returns in this first episode from some top-secret trouble spot on the globe, and in possession of a set of skills that come in handy when Veronica has to crack a case.

Sun
13
Oct

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines Resets Origin Told in Previous Animated WW Flick

Wonder Woman Bloodlines

WONDER WOMAN: BLOODLINES is a callback to the DC Universe crossover event of several years back. It has nothing to do with that event however, so don't get excited if you were a fan. Rather, this new release from the DCAU represents the origin of Wonder Woman (ROSARIO DAWSON), with Steve Trevor (JEFFREY DONOVAN) crashing near Themyscira after attempting to shoot down an incursion of Apokoliptian parademons. This serves to tie the story in better to JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR, to cement Diana into the mythos.

Diana sacrifices her life on Themyscira, defying her mother, Hippolyta (CREE SUMMER), and losing her life on Themyscira for good in choosing to help Trevor and defend Man's World.

Sun
13
Oct

Enter to Win The Haunting of Hill House Season One on Blu-ray From Critical Blast and Cosmic Comics Belleville

Haunting of Hill House Blu-ray

Our giveaway this week is too scary for us to handle by ourselves. So we've got our friends at Cosmic Comics Belleville here to keep us company while we keep the lights on.

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is the critically acclaimed modern reimagining of Shirley Jackson's legendary novel about five siblings who grew up in the most famous haunted house in America. Now adults, they're reunited by the suicide of their youngest sister, which forces them to finally confront the ghosts of their past... some of which lurk in their minds... and some of which may really be lurking in the shadows of the iconic Hill House.

For the first time, experience even more thrills with three extended Director's Cut episodes featuring never-before-seen footage and go deeper inside HILL HOUSE with four exclusive commentaries from Creator and Director MIKE FLANAGAN (DOCTOR SLEEP).

Thu
10
Oct

Gators Attack in Alejandre Aja's "Crawl"

Crawl

During a devastating hurricane, a young woman finds herself trapped in the crawlspace of a house with two enormous alligators. Cue the terror.

Haley (MAZE RUNNER's KAYA SCODELARIO) is a professional swimmer who gets a call to check on her estranged father as a hurricane barrels down on the state. Defying evacuation orders, she drives through a roadblock to ensure her father (BARRY PEPPER) is safe.

He's not.

While making a repair in the crawlspace of the family home, he got mauled by an enormous alligator. Fearing him dead, Haley barely escapes the maw of one alligator, but her luck runs slimmer the longer she's forced to find a way out of the crawlspace as the floodwaters rise, threatening to drown them both.

Wed
09
Oct

Death and Return of Superman Releases as Single Movie Experience

Death and Return of Superman Bluray

Previously released in two parts, THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN and REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN have now been edited together into a seamless, single movie experience.

Superman (JERRY O'CONNELL) is struggling. As Clark Kent, his relationship with Lois Lane (REBECCA ROMIJN) is difficult to commit to as he has been keeping a huge secret from her. He becomes particularly nervous about this when his parents come to town and meet Lois for the first time. The advice of his fellow Justice League members is that he should open up to her if he wants her to be a larger part of his life.

Tue
01
Oct

Why DC's Doom Patrol Deserves a Shiny Winged Statue

Doom Patrol Season One BD

After having endured the dark debacle that was passed off as TITANS on the DC Universe streaming service, I was once bitten, twice shy about DC Universe's other original series, DOOM PATROL, a spin-off of the TITANS series (having made a guest appearance that season).

Trepidatiously, I began watching the opening season, hitting the play button like clicking the pull/spin switch on video slot games, hoping this one was going to roll up better results than TITANS did.

Jackpot!

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