DVD Reviews 

Everly

by Alan Rapp on May 28, 2015

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Everly
  • IMDb: link

EverlyEverly is a gritty revenge drama that fails because it refuses to embrace how ridiculous its premise is while delivering hard-boiled action verging on torture porn which would have been far more palatable as a more straightforward shoot ‘em up.

Salma Hayek stars in the title role as a sex slave who, after four years, has finally had enough and starts to fight back. Taking place entirely in the apartment where Everly has been kept for years, the body count continues to grow as the the woman with no hand-to-hand combat or weapons training coninues to kill the odd range of prostitutes and killers who show up to collect the bounty on her head.

Written by Yale Hannon and directed by Joe Lynch, the movie also includes a subplot involving Everly’s daughter (Aisha Ayamah) and mother (Laura Cepeda) whose safety is her primary concern now that the shit has hit the fan. Available on DVD and Blu-ray, extras include two separate commentary tracks and a music video. Notable only for Hayek’s involvement and its bizarre assortment of characters, Everly is a misfire that never finds its target.

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  • Title: The Mentalist – Season 7
  • wiki: link

The Mentalist - The Complete Seventh SeasonWith Red John defeated, half of the cast having moved on to other projects, and consisting only 13 episodes collected on three discs, the final season of The Mentalist feels more like an epilogue than than a full season of the show. Along with the case of the week, the season will continue to deal with the now romantic relationship between Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) and Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) culminating in the pair’s wedding in the series finale.

Emily Swallow doesn’t return but the series replaces her with Josie Loren as fresh-faced new Agent Michelle Vega who tragically won’t live to see the end of the season. Other highlights include Jane and Lisbon feeling out their relationship in the season premiere, Lisbon going undercover in jail, Lisbon temporarily taking on the role of fake psychic, and the much-anticipated return of Erica Flynn (Morena Baccarin). Extras include deleted scenes and a look back at Jane’s journey over the course of the series.

[Warner Home Video, $39.98]

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  • Title: Covert Affairs – Season Five
  • wiki: link

Covert Affairs - The Complete Fifth SeasonAnnie Walker‘s (Piper Perabo) spy adventures come to an end in the final season of Covert Affairs. The Fifth Season introduces a new love interest for Annie in Ryan McQuaid (Nic Bishop), whose guilt or innocence in a terrorist plot against the United States takes up a big chunk of the season, and sees Annie leave the CIA over medical issues the Agency feel could compromise her effectiveness in the field.

Highlights include the season premiere which introduces McQuaid and brings Annie back into the CIA following her takedown of Henry Wilcox (Gregory Itzin), Annie going to work for McQuaid, Amy Jo Johnson joining the cast to investigate the Chicago bombing, Annie and McQuaid’s trip to Caracas, the final appearance of Eyal Lavin (Oded Fehr), Auggie (Christopher Gorham) getting lost in a conspiracy, the struggle to prove McQuaid’s innocence, Auggie’s abduction and torture by Aleksandre Belenko (Shawn Dowyle), the revelation of how Annie spent her summer, the return of Natasha (Liane Balaban), trips to Paris and Azerbaijan, and the final two episodes of taking down Belenko.

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Batman vs. Robin

by Alan Rapp on May 9, 2015

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Batman vs. Robin
  • IMDb: link

Batman vs. RobinThe sequel to 2014’s Son of Batman inserts Batman‘s (Jason O’Mara) contentious relationship with Damian (Stuart Allan) into a streamlined version of the Court of Owls arc from DC’s new 52 featuring a secret society of zombie ninja assassins and their 1% overloads all clad in an owl motif. Oh, and they’ve been around ruling Gotham from the shadows unnoticed for decades and have a giant maze in their basement. Yeah, it’s as ridiculous as it sound.

Truncating the unwieldy long arc and motivation of the Court of Owls helps sell the story but the real meat comes not from the new villains but from the struggle of Bruce and Damian to properly connect both as father and son and as Caped Crusaders. Building on events from Son of Batman, Batman vs. Robin may not be as strong as the former but it does continue to develop the relationships set-up in the first film, offers some visually interesting fight sequences, and is a far shade better than DC’s other attempts to turn problematic New 52 stories into features.

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4 Film Favorites: Movies that Rock

by Alan Rapp on May 3, 2015

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Rock of Ages, School of Rock, Detroit Rock City, Empire Records
  • IMDb: link
  • IMDb: link
  • IMDb: link
  • IMDb: link

4 Film Favorites: Movies that RockCollecting four movies with plots revolving around music 4 Film Favorites: Movies that Rock includes Rock of Ages, School of Rock, Detroit Rock City, and Empire Records.

Although none of the four are standouts, the highlight of the collection (in terms of both star power and musical performances) is likely the theatrical adaptation of the jukebox stage musical Rock of Ages starring Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Malin Akerman. Read the full review.

Empire Records is a B-movie version of High Fidelity starring Anthony LaPaglia, Rory Cochrane, Robin Tunney, Renée Zellweger, Ethan Embry, Liv Tyler, and Johnny Whitworth as employees of a struggling record store. School of Rock stars Jack Black as a struggling musician who takes over the job as a substitute music teacher. Detroit Rock City stars Giuseppe Andrews, James DeBello, Edward Furlong, and Sam Huntington as four teens struggling to make it into a KISS concert in 1978.

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Sharky’s Machine

by Alan Rapp on April 22, 2015

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Sharky’s Machine
  • IMDb: link

Sharky's MachineA product of its times Sharky’s Machine feels every bit the early 80s cop drama it is. Adapted from William Diehl‘s novel of the same name Burt Reynolds stars as Police Sergeant Tom Sharky. In the movie’s opening scene the reckless hero cop is demoted from Homicide to Vice after a drug bust goes bad. Stuck in the lowest rungs of the department, Sharky begins investigating a string of high-priced call girls one of whom (Rachel Ward) he falls for while surveilling for weeks.

Slow-moving with much of the plot centered around surveillance of a prostitute’s apartment where not much actually happens, Sharky’s Machine is an R-rated film that could probably be shown today on prime-time network television today except for language and a dark final act involving the torture of our hero. It’s also filled with bizarre WTF? moments (such as when a police informant is killed by ninjas). And it features some old school Bond-style romancing of damsels in distress by slapping them around a bit when necessary.

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Eddie and the Cruisers Double Feature

by Alan Rapp on April 21, 2015

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Eddie and the Cruisers / Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!
  • IMDb: link
  • IMDb: link

“I want to be remembered for the music or not at all.”

Eddie and the Cruisers Double FeatureReleased in 1983 Eddie and the Cruisers was a box office bomb despite a hit soundtrack that got the film a second theatrical release the following year. A rock and roll mystery, the film told the story of frontman Eddie Wilson (Michael Paré) through flashbacks and interviews with the other members of the band (primarily the keyboard player played by Tom Berenger) by a reporter (Ellen Barkin) hot on the story of the band’s missing second album and questions as to what really happened to Eddie Wilson. Despite it’s lack of response from both theatrical audiences and critics the movie has become a cult hit that even spawned a sequel in 1989.

Where the first film focused on the fallout of Eddie’s disapperance to those he left behind, Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! picks up the threads of the first film finding Eddie Wilson alive in Canada pushed to give music a second chance thanks to the release of the Cruisers lost “A Season in Hell” and an Eddie Lives! campaign by the studio that ruined his life.

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  • Title: How to Beat the High Cost of Living
  • IMDb: link

how-to-beat-the-high-cost-of-living-blu-rayReleased in 1980, How to Beat the High Cost of Living starred Susan Saint James, Jane Curtin, and Jessica Lange as an unlikely trio of friends who turn to crime to pay for the high cost of inflation slowly strangling each of their lives when Jane’s (Curtin) husband drains their bank account to run off with his secretary, Louise (Lange) is being sued by her husband (Richard Benjamin) fighting off an IRS audit, and the divorced Jane (Saint James) with a homeless father (Eddie Albert) and three kids is struggling to make ends meet with another baby on the way.

The goofy screenplay by Robert Kaufman involving the three women working to rob a giant glass ball full of money in the local mall during its anniversary sale isn’t exactly high concept, but the three leads, and a supporting cast that includes Benjamin, Albert, Dabney Coleman, and Fred Willard, somehow makes (most of) it work as a guilty pleasure heist flick most memorable for Jane Curtain’s striptease during the middle of the mall robbery.

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The Majestic

by Alan Rapp on March 28, 2015

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Majestic
  • IMDb: link

The MajesticI’ve always had a soft spot for director Frank Darabont and screenwriter Michael Sloane‘s sentimental (many would argue overly sentimental) 2001 movie The Majestic. Jim Carrey stars as screenwriter Peter Appleton who while fleeing an appearance in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the height of the Red Scare has a car accident and finds himself stumbling into a sleepy small town without his memory and a striking resemblance to one of the town’s missing sons.

Derided by many critics and a commercial failure, the film is a throwback to Frank Capra playing on broad themes of patriotism, small town values, and a duty to stand up for what’s right even in the face of overwhelming odds. Is it schmaltzy and emotionally manipulative? Sure, but (despite its length) it’s also entertaining making great use of its star and supporting cast. The film hangs on Carrey as a man who looses his memory but finds his soul while helping a struggling time rediscover its heart as well.

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Blade Triple Feature

by Alan Rapp on March 24, 2015

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Blade, Blade II, Blade: Trinity
  • wiki: link

Blade Triple FeatureRe-released in a new three-pack Triple Feature Blu-ray Wesley SnipesBlade trilogy is far from the best comic book movies have to offer. Collecting Blade, Blade II, and Blade: Trinity, the set has one good movie, one mediocre flick, and one so awful it might as well be an Underworld movie. Each comes with its original special features including commentaries for each film and assorted featurettes and trailers.

Snipes is fine as a human/vampire half-breed based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The first film, other than introducing the world and its core characters, is largely forgettable. Blade II, involving the hero teaming with a group of vampires (most notably Leonor Varela and Ron Perlman) to take on a new deadly version of vampires known as reapers, is the only one that holds up to multiple viewings. As for the horrifically bad third film, introducing Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel as vampire hunters and Dominic Purcell as the most ridiculous version of Dracula ever, the less said the better.

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