DVD Reviews 

The Ice Pirates

by Alan Rapp on February 9, 2016

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Ice Pirates
  • IMDb: link

The Ice PiratesWhile I admit for a 9 year-old boy the tongue-in-cheek space adventure about a motley crew of smugglers stealing the universe’s most valuable resource (water) was a hell of a lot of fun, it’s equally hard to ignore as an adult that The Ice Pirates is a mess of a movie. The PG-rated movie offered funny castration jokes, space herpes, odd robots and aliens, and a time-displaced climactic battle. It also offered bad writing, cheesy special effects, and nearly as many groans as laughs.

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Hotel Transylvania 2

by Alan Rapp on January 27, 2016

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Hotel Transylvania 2
  • IMDb: link

Hotel Transylvania 2The sequel to 2012’s Hotel Transylvania doesn’t stray far from the themes of the first film. After a series of short scenes involving the marriage of Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny (Andy Samberg) and the birth of their son, the movie jumps forward to the eve of young Dennis’ (Asher Blinkoff) fifth birthday. The driving force behind the film is the concern of Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) that his grandson hasn’t show any vampire tendencies. The Count will use the weekend away from the boy’s parents to enlist the help of his old friends to bring Dennis’ monster genes out.

Available on both Blu-ray and DVD, extras include a digital copy of the film, deleted scenes, a character gallery, music video, audio commentary from director Genndy Tartakovsky, and a second audio commentary from Sandler, Allen Covert and writer Robert Smigel. Also included are some kid friendly featurettes such as lessons on how to draw the characters in the film and how to put together a Halloween party, a short featurette on the new characters, and karaoke sing-a-long.

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  • Title: Hotel Transylvania / Monster House
  • IMDb: link
  • IMDb: link

Hotel Transylvania / Monster HouseAvailable in both DVD and Blu-ray, the Family Fun Collection double-pack of Hotel Transylvania and Monster House collects two good (but not great) recent Halloween-themed animated movies. Of the pair, I enjoyed Hotel Transylvania, the adventures of Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his 118 year-old daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) in their hotel from monsters, more. Some younger children might find Monster House, the adventures of three kids (Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke) battling a local haunted house intent on devouring innocent trick-or-treaters, a bit too scary.

As with most collections of this sort the extras are paired down from what you would get buying each separately on either Blu-ray or DVD. I’m not sure you save enough for that to be worth it (although at this time you might struggle to find Monster House in the format you prefer in stores), but if you only want the movies, and don’t care about the extras, this collection would suit your needs. For more on each movie, read my full review of Hotel Transylvania and my full review of Monster House.

[Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, DVD $19.99 / Blu-ray $25.99]

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The Walk

by Alan Rapp on January 11, 2016

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Walk
  • IMDb: link

The WalkThrough the use of interviews, stills, and reenactment footage, the 2008 documentary Man on Wire offered audiences an excellent look back at wire walker Philippe Petit‘s high-wire walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center. The Walk, writer/director Robert Zemeckis‘ biopic starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit, may not be as engaging as the documentary, but Zemeckis (using similar set-up same set-up with Gordon-Levitt narrating past events) still manages to capture a bit of the magic by recreating Petit’s improbable stunt.

Without attempting to explain Petit’s obsession or the drive behind it, Zemeckis takes us along on the man’s journey as he attempts to achieve his dream. Beginning with a bit of a backstory for Petit including the relationships with his mentor (Ben Kingsley), girlfriend (Charlotte Le Bon), and the co-conspirators (Clément Sibony, César Domboy, Steve Valentine, James Badge Dale) who would eventually help him pull of his high-wire act, the movie doesn’t kick into high gear until its second hour where the caper truly begins.

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Heartbreakers

by Alan Rapp on January 10, 2016

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Heartbreakers
  • IMDb: link

Heartbreakers2001’s Heartbreakers, a film about a mother/daughter (Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt) team of con artists working to scam to separate a wealthy man (Gene Hackman) from his money, is more notable for its cast than its plot. Yearning to get out from under her mother’s thumb Page (Hewitt) decides to target her own mark in a goodhearted bar owner (Jason Lee) she inevitable falls for. The women also must deal with their last previous mark (Ray Liotta) who shows up looking for his money.

More dumb romcom than smart heist/con film, Heartbreakers is a mixed bag, although it does provide some humorous moments. The cast (including appearances by Anne Bancroft, Ricky Jay, and Sarah Silverman) is fine but they’re mostly slumming it here in movie that belongs on home video. Re-released on Blu-ray, the movie includes the previous behind-the-scenes feturettes and deleted scenes but lacks the audio commentary from the DVD release.

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