FUTUREWORLD Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 204 days ago

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In 1973, Michael Crichton wrote and directed Westworlda sci-fi classic that went on to influence The Terminator, Crichton’s own Jurassic Park and one of the best episodes of The Simpsons.  A few years later TV creators Richard T. Heffron, Mayo Simon, and George Schenck made a sequel that remains mostly forgotten.

Futureworld does attempt to take the Westworld concept in an interesting direction.  Had it worked, it’s not hard to envision a world in which the Westworld saga became a series of increasingly bizarre chapters ala Planet of the Apes.  The ingredients are there.  Cool robots, counter culture undertones and the awesome camp inherent in 1970s theme park design.  Unfortunately, despite some lofty goals, Futureworld is kind of a slog.  Hit the jump for our review of Futureworld on Blu-ray.

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 291 days ago

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If Disney ever made a film about the post-apocalypse, it might look something like the first twenty minutes of Beasts of the Southern Wild, a film so gorgeously designed, soulfully acted and inventively produced that I feel kind of bad for not liking it more than I did.

Hushpuppy, an adorable maternal orphan who speaks to animals lives with her drunk, terminally ill, possibly abusive father in The Bathtub (a sort of micro-Saint Bernard Parish; poor, ramshackle homes balanced on the edge of a grey sea and a massive levee protecting the “civilized” folks above).  When the ice caps melt, the bathtub is submerged and big-ass prehistoric pig monsters (called Aurochs, though in real life those were more like neolithic cows) emerge from the polar ice, she embarks on a quest to find her place in the universe.  Hit the jump for my review of the Blu-ray.

Venture Bros. Season 4 Part 1 DVD Review

by     Posted 3 years, 291 days ago

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One of the hallmarks of a great television series is the willingness to shake up the status quo, to risk alienating the audience in the service of letting the characters and story evolve.  No two creators seem to embrace this ethic more than Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick.  When we left The Venture Bros. at the end of their third season, Henchman 24 was dead, the boys had lost their clone-based immortality and, Brock Samson quit, replaced by recovering pedophile super-villain Sergeant Hatred.

Much of Season 4, part 1 concerns the ramifications of these events. Brock’s post-venture career, 21’s transformation from sweet-natured incompetent to deadly possible-maniac and the boys, finally, growing up. Because of season 4’s new format (2 sets of 8 episodes as opposed to 13), many of these story lines don’t play out until part 2. Nonetheless, there is still a lot of gold in part 1 and, when coupled with the still-unreleased part 2, makes for one of the strongest seasons of television in years. My review of The Venture Bros. Season 4 after the jump.

FROZEN Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 4 years, 18 days ago

The simple concept, well executed: Something of a holy grail for the indie auteur and something that Adam Green (Hatchet) managed to pull off with Frozen.

Too-handsome Dan (Kevin Zegers), his too-sweet-and-innocent girlfriend Parker (Emma Bell) and lifelong/douchey best friend Joe (Shawn Ashmore – who played Iceman in the X-Men movies (and whom you can go ahead and make your own jokes regarding that)) are low on cash and visiting a rundown New England ski resort.  Joe holds some resentment toward the new couple but that certainly won’t be the focus of character drama later, so don’t worry about it. The handsome/douchey guys convince Parker to get them onto the ski lift for free and, through a surprisingly plausible series of events, the trio end up trapped on the ski lift in the dead of night, fifty feet in the air and with the ski lodge closed for the next five days.

Oh, and there are wolves.  So, they’re fucked. Hit the jump for more:

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD Season One, Part One DVD Review

by     Posted 4 years, 39 days ago

Your opinion of Batman: The Brave and the Bold will be surmised by your reaction to the following sentence: “Batman in ‘Terror on Dinosaur Island!’” (exclamation theirs). If the preceding sentence caused you to scowl and declare it “stupid” or “childish” or “not at all dark and morose, the way I like my Batman,” while stroking your 18″ Sideshow Venom bust to the deep baseline of the Inception soundtrack, you should probably stay far away from this newest animated incarnation of the Caped Crusader.

WHIP IT Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 4 years, 248 days ago

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Roller Derby is a sport primed for cinematic treatment. A fast paced game of passion and pageantry played by colorful and attractive women, chock full of good-natured violence and brimming with personality. It is a rowdy, populist sport, reborn screaming from the heart of Texas in a deluge of Lone Star beer and fishnets where the leagues are owned by the players and the players are doing it for the love. From inspirational to exploitational, there are a thousand potential Roller Derby movies just waiting to be made. Whip It, despite its potential, is not a great Roller Derby movie. However, in focusing on what it isn’t (a great Roller Derby movie), one runs the risk of missing what it is (an empowering and potentially great movie for teen girls).  More after the jump:

WRONG TURN 3: Left for Dead Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 4 years, 340 days ago

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The Wrong Turn movies have carved a fun niche for themselves in the grim, serious and sadistic world of modern horror.  While the original was rescued from the backwoods meat-shack of mediocrity by a better-than average cast and some expectedly awesome makeup FX, the series really cam into its own with Joe Lynch’s Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, which took the hackneyed premise of killers stalking a reality TV shoot and managed to turn it into one of the most unrepentantly goofy, gruesome and entertaining cannibal hill-folk movies since Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead attempts to follow that formula and starts off well, with premise that should have been a lot of fun: A bus transporting inmates from a maximum security prison is waylaid by killer hillbillies. Boom! That’s all you need. A premise like that should write itself.  Unfortunately, it seems that the premise just provided a simple treatment before handing it off to a mortal production team who didn’t really know what to do with it.  More after the jump:

RENO 911!: The Complete Sixth Season DVD Review

by     Posted 5 years, 83 days ago

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Reno 911! is comedy TV’s old reliable. While it has never really captured the zeitgeist in the way that something like South Park or, hell, even Mind of Mencia did, for the last six years it has been chugging along, quietly producing one of the funniest and raunchiest shows on the air.

Created by former State-ers (is that the term? I prefer ‘Statesmen’) Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney and Robert Ben Garant, Reno is a completely improvised faux TV-documentary series. Sort of a cross between Cops and a Christopher Guest film, minus the former’s bleakness and the later’s earnestness.  Basically, they take a bunch of locations, add some incredibly talented comedians, film them for a few hours and then splice the footage, vignette style, over the course of the season.

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