DVD Reviews 

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight

by Alan Rapp on February 8, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
  • IMDb: link

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight Blu-ray reviewThe latest DC animated feature adapts the first Elseworld story in which DC characters are reintroduced in other times and places. Taking several liberties with the source material, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight still takes place in Gotham of the late 19th Century where the new vigilante Batman (Bruce Greenwood) will match wits with the serial killer Jack the Ripper butchering women in the streets.

There are quite a few changes to the story in that the character revealed to be the killer in the graphic novel doesn’t even appear in the film, more of Bruce Wayne’s supporting cast is included, and Selina Kyle (Jennifer Carpenter), who wasn’t a part of the source material, is given a major supporting role as a friend to both Bruce Wayne and the Batman. The movie goes a bit out of its way to earn it’s R-rating (including an unfortunate take on Poison Ivy), but the setting and design, the mystery itself (including some nice misdirection), and fight sequences all make for a memorable (if flawed) feature.

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Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold

by Alan Rapp on February 5, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • wiki: link

Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold DVD reviewScooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold is an odd, but not unwelcome, merging of the two franchises. It feels neither like Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker) visiting an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold nor Batman (Diedrich Bader) guest-starring on Scooby-Doo but instead a mashup of the two that provides plenty of fan-friendly moments and a host of winks and nods for longtime Batman fans (ranging from the Riddler‘s cell number to one hero’s famous love of cookies).

Batman: The Brave and the Bold should never have been cancelled, and credit to this idea that allows many of the show’s voice actors and characters to make a return here as Batman inducts Mystery, Inc. into the Mystery Analysts of Gotham whose members include the Dark Knight Detective, the Question (Jeffrey Combs), Martian Manhunter (Nicholas Guest), Detective Chimp (Nicholas Guest), Black Canary (Grey DeLisle), and Plastic Man (Tom Kenny). And, we also get John DiMaggio reprising his role as a left-out Aquaman who keeps forcing himself into the action despite not being invited.

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Three Amigos

by Alan Rapp on January 11, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Three Amigos
  • IMDb: link

Three Amigos DVD reviewToday’s Throwback Thursday post takes us back to the 1986 comedy which united Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short as a trio of silent B-movie stars mistaken for the western gunfighters they portray on film. In many ways the film proved to be a precursor to Galaxy Quest (or, as I like to call it, the best Star Trek movie ever made) which took the same premise of Hollywood stars and threw them into a world they had only pretended to live in. While Three Amigos is no Galaxy Quest, the zany comedy still holds up relatively well three decades later with the trio’s amusing antics, the accidental death of the Invisible Horseman, and a trio of original songs from Randy Newman.

Borrowing the basic set-up from Seven Samurai, a woman from a small Mexican village (Patrice Martinez) seeks the help of gunfighters to defend her home against the bandit El Guapo (Alfonso Arau) and his outlaws. Watching part of a film starring the western heroes, and believing them to be gunfighters, Carmen enlists the help of the Amigos who mistakenly believe they are being offered a role in a prestigious film with an in-famous co-star. Hilarity ensues.

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Battle of the Sexes

by Alan Rapp on January 2, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Battle of the Sexes
  • IMDb: link

Battle of the Sexes Blu-ray reviewBattle of the Sexes works as a kind of CliffsNotes version of events leading up to the inter-gender 1973 tennis match between women’s champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and aging men’s star Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). The script by Simon Beaufoy offers glimpses at both players’ home lives, marital and emotional issues, and eventually the match itself. While Battle of the Sexes touches on the creation of the WTA and the rivalry with the men’s tour, I’d have preferred more insight here and overall better framing of the historical importance of the match.

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Stronger

by Alan Rapp on December 19, 2017

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Stronger
  • IMDb: link

Stronger Blu-ray reviewJake Gyllenhaal stars as Jeff Bauman whose life changes in an instant when he loses his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. Based on Bauman’s real experiences, the screenplay by John Pollono follows the man’s struggle to deal with his loss while an entire city embraces him as the symbol for “Boston Strong.”

Stronger spends a little more time on Bauman the screw-up and less on the man’s finding the strength to work through his accident (mostly shrunken down into a couple of montages) than expected. Post-accident, when the film focuses on Bauman’s struggle and that of his girlfriend (Tatiana Maslany) the film’s focus is clear, although the amount of side characters, including Miranda Richardson as Bauman’s mother and a host of friends and family (none of whom seem to understand what the man is going through, but are happy to cash in on his celebrity), aren’t nearly as strong or compelling.

[Lionsgate, Blu-ray $24.99 / DVD $19.98]

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