August 2008

Mamma Mia! Sing-Along

by Alan Rapp on August 29, 2008

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Mamma Mia!
  • IMDB: link

“Audiences at these specially selected theaters are invited to bring friends and family to experience the smash hit movie musical in a whole new way by singing along to the songs they love.  Mamma Mia!: The Sing-Along Edition will feature the lyrics to every musical number on the screen, and you are invited to sing and dance along.”

I enjoyed Mamma Mia!, but it has a few flaws (read that review) and seemed to be missing something.  It turns out what it was missing was an active audience.  This new Sing-Along Edition, released today in select theaters, provides karaoke style lyrics and the bottom of the screen for all of the musical numbers.  The audience is encouraged to sing along with the actors.

If you can get into a theater at least 2/3 full of Mamma Mia! fans this is the best way to see the film.  First, the audience singing along with the stars helps some of the actors (mostly the men) who struggle with their numbers.  And second, it’s just fun!

Now, if you aren’t an ABBA fan this isn’t going to change anything, but this active experience (much like the Buffy-Sing-Along or The Rocky Horror Picture Show) adds energy, magic, and fun, to the film making it an enjoyable time at the movies.  If, over time, the experience is tweaked even further with the addition of props and audience activities this film could earn a long life in late night screenings.

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Tube Watch – Fall Preview 08 Week 1

by Alan Rapp on August 28, 2008

in Television Reviews 

It seems like Summer lasted about three weeks, but Fall is pushing itself back onto the calendar and nowhere is it more evident than on the TV.  Fall brings back old favorites (and head-scratching awfulness we curse the gods and wonder how it stays on the air year after year) plus a slew of new shows.  Our Fall TV Preview begins today with a look over the shows hitting the airwaves over the next week which include returns of Bones, Prison Break, The Shield, and a revamped 90210.

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The Lone Ranger #12

by Alan Rapp on August 28, 2008

in Comics

  • Title: The Lone Ranger #12
  • Comic Vine: link

“There’s a reason I make them out of silver.”

Issue #12 picks up with the Lone Ranger back on the trail of Cavendish.  Reunited with Tonto and finally coming to terms with who and what he is, and what he’s willing to do to keep his vow, the Ranger sets out for justice.

There’s a lot going on in this single issue from the Ranger’s opening moments pumping Winthrop for information (in sharp contrast to Cavendish’s attempts later on),  to admitting his past mistakes to Tonto, to Cavendish’s gleeful reintroduction as the series major villain..

However my favorite scenes from this book come from the interaction between the Ranger and his brother’s widow and young son.  The scene with Linda peals away another piece of the Lone Ranger legacy by explain why the masked man uses sliver bullets and what they symbolize to the Texas Ranger turned outlaw vigilante of justice.

Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello provide a great story with art to match.  And not to be outdone John Cassaday provides another cover that can only be described as damn cool.

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In Plain Sight

by Alan Rapp on August 28, 2008

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: In Plain Sight
  • tv.com: link

I was a little unsure of In Plain Sight when it began at the beginning of the summer.  The hard-edged main character, US Marshall Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) straddles the line between a hard-ass and unlikeable character, and in the first couple issues she leans more to the later.

I stayed around to see if the show would come together, and it did, at least for me, in its forth episode “Trojan Horst.”  Dave Foley guest-starred as the only witness who could identify a high-priced contract killer.  The episode brought other sides to Mary’s personality with the wounding of her partner Marshall (Fred Weller) and show the practicality of her no nonsense take charge attitude on the job.  The show not only helped fill-out the main character but also better define the business relationships of Mary’s life.

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Traitor

by Alan Rapp on August 27, 2008

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Traitor
  • IMDB: link

“I need to know the truth.”

Samir Horn (Don Cheadle) is a bomb maker, a devout Muslim, and a terrorist.  Or is he?  Based on a story from wild & crazy Steve Martin (yeah, that Steve Martin) comes a suprisingly smart tale about the lengths people will go to both commit and stop terrorism.  If you were expecting a good action film you will get it, but oh so much more as well.

Cheadle is excellent in a role that has to carry the film, but not give away too much too soon.  This is one of those films I’d advise you not to watch the trailer which tells a bit too much of the plot.

So what is the plot?  The simple explanation is it’s about a man cut-off and immersed in a complicated world that expects several things from him – not all of which he’s comfortable delivering.

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Comic Rack

by Alan Rapp on August 27, 2008

in Comics

Hmm, we’re about to talk about comics so it must be Wednesday!  Welcome to the RazorFine Comic Rack boys and girls.  Pull up a bean bag and take a seat at feet of the master as we look at the new comics set to hit comic shops and bookstores today from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, WildStorm, Vertigo, IDW Publishing, Dynamite Entertainment, Devil’s Due Publishing,  Archie, and Image Comics.

This week includes Army of Darkness, DMZ, Justice Society of America, Star Wars: Rebellion, Wildcats, X-Men: Legacy, the first issues of Final Crisis: Superman Beyond, Guerillas, Marvel: Your Universe Saga, newuniversal: Conquerer, and the final issues of Catwoman, Project Superpowers, The Secret History of The Authority: Jack Hawksmoor, and Star Trek: Year Four – The Enterprise Experiment.  Also don’t forget the truckload of new graphic novels including America’s Best Comic Primer, The Astounding Wolf-Man Vol. 1, Daredevil by Brain Michael Bendis Omnibus Vol. 1, Metal Men, Roy Rogers Archives, She-Hulk Vol. 6: Jaded, Suicide Squad: From the Ashes, and much, much more.

Enjoy issue #85

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DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures

by Alan Rapp on August 26, 2008

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures
  • IMDB: link

This two-disc set collects 18 cartoons made by Filmation during the late 1960’s and features some of the heroes of DC Comics.  Those familiar with the heroes, and with some affection to them already, should have a good time here as the cartoons give them the respect they deserve.  Though they could have used some better (and more varied) stories – and villains.  Not one of the classic DC baddies, from any of the characters’ rogues galleries, makes an appearance!

These short episodes were mainly used as filler between the big episodes on The Superman Aquaman Hour of Adventure.  There’s only so much you can accomplish in eight minutes, so don’t expect much character development.

Each of the heroes’ episodes have their own intros which, like the show, are narrated by Ted Knight.  More than the actual stories themselves these intros are what really stick out on the collection.

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This Week in Foreign Film

by Alan Rapp on August 25, 2008

in Film News & Trailers

  • Title: Ballet Shoes
  • IMDB: link

Emma Watson, Yasmin Paige, and Lucy Boynton star as orphans in London during the 1930’s who are adopted by a mostly absent eccentric explorer (Richard Griffiths) and find themselves raised in the theater where they learn to sing and dance.  Emilia Fox, Victoria Wood, Marc Warren, and Gemma Jones also star.  The film, adapted from the Noel Streatfeild novel and originally shot for BBC, is getting a small American theatrical run in select cities (check here to see if your city is on the list) beginning on Tuesday.  Check out the official site.

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The House Bunny

by Alan Rapp on August 22, 2008

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The House Bunny
  • IMDB: link

“But I’m 27.”
“That’s 59 in Bunny years.”

The day after her 27th birthday Shelly (Anna Faris) is thrown out of her comfy lifestyle in the Playboy Mansion.  Her initial forays into the real world aren’t too successful, and an unlikely misunderstanding with a cop (Dan Patrick) even lands her in jail for a night.

Her luck changes with the discovery of an entire street of mini-Playboy Mansions and a new calling as a House Mother for the lamest sorority on campus, the one full of the kind of misfits you only find in movies like this and Sydney White (read the DVD review) and is constantly facing probation, expulsion, or both.  From here you can guess what happens next.

Shelly uses her gifts to turn all the other girls (Emma Stone, Kat Dennings, Katherine McPhee, Dana Goodman, Rumer Willis, Kiely Williams) into hotties, fights off the mean sorority girls across the street (Sarah Wright, Rachel Specter), learns an important lesson about herself, and saves the Zeta’s house in a last-minute impassioned plea to the Dean.

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Rock Me Sexy Jesus

by Alan Rapp on August 22, 2008

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Hamlet 2
  • IMDB: link

“It was stupid, but it was also theater.”

A rather strange high school teacher puts together a musical sequel to Shaekespeare’s play which involves sex, profanity, a time machine, and Jesus Christ.  Say what you want about the film, and there are many valid criticisms you can make, but this original little gem, even when it goes off-course, is rather enjoyable.

Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) is a former actor turned high school drama teacher in Tuscon, Arizona (which the movie reminds repeatedly is the worst place on Earth).

Dana’s simple life is complicated when his class of two (Phoebe Strole, Skylar Astin) is increased by other art and computer classes being shutdown, followed by the news that the Drama department is the next to get the axe, leaving Dana unemployed.

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