WALK OF SHAME Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 10 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 13 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 14 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 27 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 29 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 44 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 72 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 74 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. 

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, and THE HIDDEN FORTRESS Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 113 days ago

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Criterion has recently released Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Color, Errol MorrisA Brief History of Time, and Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress on Blu-ray.  What do these films have in common? Absolutely nothing.

Hit the jump for my Blue is the Warmest Color Blu-ray review, my A Brief History of Time Blu-ray review, and my The Hidden Fortress Blu-ray review.

FROZEN Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 119 days ago

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It’s no shock that Frozen — the great animated film by Disney — became a hit, but it’s a little surprising it became a phenomenon.  Currently the film is still in theaters, even though it’s now on DVD and Blu-ray, and it’s about to cross the $400 Million dollar mark domestically, while it’s now the twelfth highest grossing film of all time worldwide (unadjusted, of course), and could cross into the top ten when all is said and done.

Hit the jump for my Frozen Blu-ray review.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 120 days ago

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Quentin Tarantino recently pointed out that with most directors there’s a notable falling off of quality as they get older.  That their last three films are often their worst.  And it’s true that with most directors that’s the case.  Martin Scorsese is currently 71 years old, and is a notable exception.  The Wolf of Wall Street is one of his best films.  It joins such established masterpieces as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas in the upper echelon of his work, and it’s the best performance that Leonardo DiCaprio has ever given.

Hit the jump for my Wolf of Wall Street Blu-ray review.

AMERICAN HUSTLE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 122 days ago

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It may speak to the year or the film itself, but David O. Russell’s American Hustle exploded on the scene, arriving to quickly become an Oscar front runner, and netting ten nominations in the process (while also grossing nearly $150 Million at the box office).  But by the time of the awards ceremony, Hustle went home empty handed, even though stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence we all nominated.  The film turned out to be all sizzle and no steak.  Which is actually the story of the movie as two hustlers are put on the spot by the FBI to help catch bigger swindlers.

Hit the jump for my American Hustle Blu-ray review.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 128 days ago

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It’s hard not to be impressed by blockbusters right now.  2013’s top three films were The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Iron Man 3 and Frozen.  All good to great movies.  Catching Fire proved the most successful of the lot, grossing well over $400 million, and even outperformed the first film.  Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, who is forced to compete in a battle royale yet again in the savage Quarter Quell with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) at her side, and with her love Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) watching from a distance.  My The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Blu-ray review follows after the jump. 

OLDBOY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 134 days ago

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At this point Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy is something of an underdog.  One of 2013’s bigger bombs, the film got shellacked by critics who found it lacking in comparison to Park Chan-wook’s original adaptation of the manga, while audiences had no interest in the movie, which – for whatever reason – opened Thanksgiving weekend.  It’s not that bad, it just is hard to watch without comparing it to the original, which is clearly superior.  This film tries to do its own things, and there are moments of inspiration, but… Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley and Elizabeth Olsen star in the remake, and my Oldboy Blu-ray review follows after the jump. 

GRAVITY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 137 days ago

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Gravity just won seven Oscars, including two for editor/director Alfonso Cuarón, and was a blockbuster at the box office, grossing over $270 Million domestic and over $700 million worldwide.  It was a theatrical experience, meant to be seen in 3D on Imax in a Dolby Atmos theater.  Which means it’s exactly the sort of film that might not be as much fun to watch at home.  So how does it fare on the small screen? Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in the film, and my 2D version of Gravity Blu-ray review follows after the jump. 

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