FILTH Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 3 days ago

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Irvine Welsh made his reputation with both the novel and the filmed version of Trainspotting, with the latter creating the cinematic language that has been borrowed by every adaptation of his work that’s followed.  The most recent big screen Welsh adaptation is Filth, which was written for the screen and directed by Jon S.  Baird and stars James McAvoy as Detective Bruce Robertson, a corrupt cop who’s got some issues at home and in the workforce.  But where it has some of the flash of Trainspotting, it seems more like a Chuck Palahniuk adaptation, replete with a terrible third act twist.  My review of the Filth Blu-ray follows after the jump.

MUPPETS MOST WANTED Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 4 days ago

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The Muppets returned to the big screen with a self-titled relaunch in 2011, and it was met with a lot of excitement from fans, but was not a runaway success.  The follow up Muppets Most Wanted was received with less enthusiasm, and barely made fifty million domestically.  Which is too bad as it’s the slightly better film.  Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell are the main humans and are joined by all the main Muppets (like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and more) in this European caper.  My review of the Muppets Most Wanted Blu-ray of the film follows after the jump.

THE RAID 2 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 23 days ago

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Coming back for a sequel, Gareth Evans’ follow up to The Raid, The Raid: Berandal is a much bigger film in every respect.  It’s scope (2.35:1) instead of flat (1.85:1), it’s a full fifty minutes longer, and it features some of the craziest and greatest stunt sequences in the history of cinema.  But also with that two and a half hour running time comes some bloat, which may have been unavoidable with the scope of the film.  Iko Uwais returns as Rama, who this time goes undercover to take the most powerful bosses in the business, but to do so he most put a lot of his life on the line.  My The Raid 2 Blu-ray review follows after the jump. 

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 25 days ago

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Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night is one of the most exuberant and entertaining movies ever made.   Catching The Beatles phenomenon like getting lightning in a bottle, the film feels just as alive and inventive as it must have when it premiered fifty years ago.  John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr appear as themselves in a very loosely plotted story of the events that lead up to a fictionalized television performance.   Breezy and filled with great songs and jokes, anyone who dislikes this film probably has terrible taste.   My review of the Criterion Collection edition (which includes both the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film) follows after the jump. 

UNDER THE SKIN Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 26 days ago

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For some Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin will be known as the best science fiction film since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.  For others it will be known as the film where Scarlett Johansson gets naked, and will be famous to them for the screengrabs that revealed more than her leaked nude pictures.  In fact, it’s likely that some will be familiar with images from the movie but will never see the film.  Such is nudity in the internet era.  Which is too bad as the film itself is a striking work, though the film is more interested in tone than narrative.  My Under the Skin Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

THE LEGO MOVIE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 29 days ago

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The idea of making a movie out of LEGO toys sounds stupid on paper.  Though you have no narrative you’re stuck to (which is both good and bad), the film’s existence seems based on shilling a product.  That Phil Lord and Chris Miller were able to transcend that and deliver a movie with heart and great jokes is nothing short of a miracle.  The LEGO Movie is not only excellent, it could very well be an all-time great movie.  My review of the 3D Blu-ray of The LEGO Movie follows after the jump.

JODOROWSKY’S DUNE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 31 days ago

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One of the greatest movies never made, Alejandro Jodorowsky – famous for his midnight movies El Topo and The Holy Mountain – spent two years in the seventies attempting to make an adaptation of Frank Hebert’s Dune, only for his efforts to be spent in vain.  Assembling an international cast and an amazing crew of visual artists, the film might have come out in 1975 and altered the course of cinema forever.  It didn’t happen, but now Jodorowsky and many others who worked on the film have been interviewed for the movie Jodorowsky’s Dune, which gives us a look at what might have been.  My Jodorowsky’s Dune Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

WALK OF SHAME Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 43 days ago

WALK OF SHAME Blu-ray Review

Elizabeth Banks is one of the best comediennes working today, and she always brings something interesting to a part, be it big or small.  She should be a bigger star and films like Walk of Shame aren’t going to help prove it as the film ended up debuting in theaters and on VOD at the same time for a reason.  A high concept movie that leaves its star to wallow in embarrassment, there’s probably a sharp film to be made of the story of a woman who, after a night of casual sex, ends up having to make her way through the city to finally get her car and life back — but this isn’t it.  James Marsden and Gillian Jacobs co-star and my Walk of Shame Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

SABOTAGE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 46 days ago

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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the big screen can’t be called much of a comeback as The Last Stand, Escape Plan and Sabotage were all bombs.  Sabotage tanked the hardest as it was barely able to cross the ten million dollar mark.  Perhaps Arnie will regain his footing from his role in the upcoming Terminator sequel, but it seems unlikely that he will ever front a non-sequel again (or at least for another five years).  That’s too bad as Sabotage is a fun throwback to his early eighties action movies which delivers the “red meat city” PG-13 action movies of late are unable to do.  Mixing Commando with a slasher sensibility, Sabotage has Schwarzenegger leading a team of DEA agents (including Mireille Enos, Josh Holloway, Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello, and Sam Worthington) who are being hunted and by a mysterious killer.  My Sabotage Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 47 days ago

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As the supplements suggest, 300: Rise of an Empire is not a straight sequel to Frank Miller and Zack Snyder’s 300, as it can also be described as a prequel, sidequel, and probably some other words that have been invented to describe modern spin-off films that don’t pick up after the last film ended.  Rise of an Empire is meant to be like a glove to the first film, as it surrounds the original narrative with new material.  The results are a film that doesn’t totally work on its own terms, but does offer a delicious scene-stealing performance from Eva Green.  My 300: Rise of an Empire Blu-ray review follows after the jump. 

BLAZING SADDLES 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 60 days ago

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Warner Brothers must have both wanted to capitalize and mock the release of Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West, as they’ve just created a slightly new special edition of Blazing Saddles for the film’s 40th anniversary.  There was no way (and no offense to MacFarlane) that he could match or top Mel Brooks’ film, which is hard to call his masterpiece or even the best film he directed that year.  But that’s only because in 1974 both it and Young Frankenstein were released.  Which is the better movie boils down to preference.  That said, I prefer Saddles.  The film stars Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman and Madeline Kahn in this Western send up, and my Blazing Saddles Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

NON-STOP Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 62 days ago

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Liam Neeson has become the go-to asskicker of late.  Even more so than Jason Statham, audiences have responded to Neeson’s world-weary charms and commanding presence.  So it should be no surprise that Jaume Collet-Serra’s Non-Stop was a modest hit earlier this year.  Neeson stars as air marshal Bill Marks, who is forced to act when he’s contacted on an international flight to deliver a $150 Million ransom or a passenger will die every twenty minutes.  My review of Non-Stop follows after the jump. 

THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU and RED RIVER Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 77 days ago

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The Criterion Collection has issued both The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Red River recently, and though the two would seemingly have little in common, it turns out there are a number of parallels.  Both films begin with the main character losing someone close to them in a way that drives the narrative, both follow a driven and arrogant man who needs to see the error of his ways, both deal with great adventure, both deal with a father/son relationship, and both conclude with the main character coming face to face with their supposed enemy, only to realize violence may not be the answer.  Bill Murray and Owen Wilson star in the Aquatic for Wes Anderson, while John Wayne and Montgomery Clift star in Red River for Howard Hawks.  My review of both The Life Aquatic on Blu-ray and Red River follows after the jump. 

THE HONEYMOOERS: Classic 39 Episodes and I LOVE LUCY: Ultimate Season 1 Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 105 days ago

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With the release of The Honeymooners: Classic 39 Episodes, and I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1, two of the most important and influential sitcoms have now hit Blu-ray.  The former stars Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph, the latter stars Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley and Vivian Vance, and for those who grew up with these shows on television, these new 1080 masters are night and day in terms of picture quality.  My review of both on Blu-ray follow after the jump. 

RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11 Criterion Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 107 days ago

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Don Siegel’s Riot in Cell Block 11 is the perfect sort of film for the Criterion Collection to shine the spotlight on.  The film doesn’t have a lot of famous names in the cast (the most notable is Neville Brand), while it’s rarely mentioned as one of Siegel’s best (a distinction often given to Dirty Harry by default, but also in the conversation would be Charley Varrick and Invasion of the Body Snatchers), but definitely deserves to be reconsidered, as this tight narratives about the problems in a prison population is fascinating – it’s a low budget marvel.  My review of the Criterion Collection edition of Riot in Cell Block 11 follows after the jump. 

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