DVD Reviews 

Re-Released on Home Video: Mallrats

by Alan Rapp on April 18, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Mallrats
  • IMDB: link

MallratsI know some who believe Mallrats is Kevin Smith‘s best film. I don’t. Although I think you can enjoy the slacker young adult comedy for what it is, Mallrats hasn’t aged all that well. The film stars Jeremy London and Jason Lee as best friends hanging out at the mall attempting to win back their girlfriends, one of whom (Shannen Doherty) is now dating Ben Affleck and another who (Claire Forlani) is a contestant on a dating game show taking place that night in the mall.

Filling out the cast with an assortment of odd characters the likes of slacker drug dealers Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) as well as Stan Lee (playing himself), Michael Rooker (as the overprotective father of Forlani’s character who ropes her into performing on the dating show causing the break-up), Priscilla Barnes (as a low-rent psychic), and Renée Humphrey (as a sexually experienced minor whose sexual adventures play a major role in the final sequence of events).

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The Counselor

by Alan Rapp on April 15, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Counselor
  • IMDB: link

The CounselorDespite the talent of director Ridley Scott, screenwriter Cormac McCarthy and an all-star cast, The Counselor is a mess. To be sure it’s a well-acted and well-produced mess with stand-out scenes, but it’s a mess none the less. The movie’s major flaw, other than McCarthy attempting to over-think a drug deal gone bad, is the less-than-believable dialogue from several of the film’s stars who come off as reading lines they haven’t quite fully bought into rather than delivering it naturally from the the mouths of fully-embodied characters.

Michael Fassbender stars as a character only ever referred to as “the Counselor,” a lawyer who makes the bad decision to get into the drug smuggling trade only to put the lives of himself, a friend (Javier Bardem), associate (Brad Pitt), and his beautiful fiance (Penélope Cruz) in danger.

Unfortunately for the Counselor, his friend’s crazy girlfriend (Cameron Diaz) has her own plan for the drugs, leaving everyone else to take the fall after executing her plans from the shadows.

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The Family

by Alan Rapp on April 13, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Family
  • IMDB: link

The FamilyAfter mixed success in the low-rent action genre, writer/director Luc Besson turned his attention to dark comedy with 2013′s The Family. The results of an American mobster (Robert De Niro) and his family (Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo) in Witness Protection in small town in Normandy, France, is actually better than some of Besson’s other recent efforts (such as Taken 2).

Centered mostly on the family’s inability to adapt to new surroundings yet again after being forced to relocate by the FBI agent (Tommy Lee Jones) in charge of their safety we see several instances of “The Blakes” using violence, intimidation, and even explosives to get what they want.

De Niro has fun with the mobster’s selfish actions involving attacking both a plummer and the head of a local chemical plant polluting the water supply while working on memoirs no one in the FBI ever wants to see the light of day. He even agrees to speak at a local film debate where his real personal experience comes in very handy.

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Psych – The Eighth (And Final) Season

by Alan Rapp on April 8, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Psych – Season Eight
  • wiki: link

Psych - The Eighth (And Final) SeasonThe final season of adventures for fake psychic Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend pharmaceutical salesman Burton Guster (Dulé Hill) offers Psych a chance to go out in style beginning with Shawn and Gus’ trip to England featuring the return of notorious art thief Pierre Despereaux (Cary Elwes) in the season premiere, and end with a finale that offers new beginnings in San Fransciso for most of the core characters, a proposal for Juliet (Maggie Lawson), appearances by Billy Zane, the real Val Kilmer, and Bud from The Cosby Show, and Shawn struggling with saying goodbye to his best friend.

Highlights of the season include Lassiter‘s (Timothy Omundsonstruggles with impending fatherhood, Gus’ obsession with the murder of a man whose life mirrors his own, a 60s flashback episode with the cast playing new roles, Shawn and Gus going into the food truck business, murder at a paranormal consultant convention, and Gus’ attempts to solve his fear of loosing Shawn in dream therapy.

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2004 – Walking Tall

by Alan Rapp on April 2, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Walking Tall (2004)
  • IMDB: link

Walking TallOn this date ten years ago Dwayne “It’s Okay to Call Me The Rock Again” Johnson‘s remake of 1973′s Walking Tall hit theaters. Loosely based on real events, the simple premise finds war hero Chris Vaughn (The Rock) return home to find his home town at the mercy of an unscrupulous businessman (Neal McDonough) and old high school rival who keeps a stranglehold on the small Washington town with a shady business dealings and rigged casino.

Discovering the man’s total disrespect for the law, and after being assaulted and almost killed by the man’s hired thugs, Vaughn finds no help from the local police which causes the former Army Special Forces ass-kicker to bust-up the casino with only his fists and a two-by-four before running for office on the platform of cleaning up the town.

Along for the ride the film casts Johnny Knoxville in the role of comic relief as Vaughn’s idiot best-friend and Ashley Scott as a childhood friend turned stripper turned love interest.

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  • Title: Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher
  • IMDB: link

Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & PunisherI’m disappointed that DC Animation is headed full-speed into the New 52 era, but I guess I should count my blessings that despite falling from their former greatness at least they aren’t sharing the gutter with Marvel animation. There’s so much awful it’s impossible to know where to begin when discussing their latest straight-to-DVD feature Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, but I’ll start here: This is the worst Punisher movie I’ve seen (and that’s saying something!).

The story features a forced team-up between T&A Bishoujo Black Widow (Jennifer Carpenter) and murdering Punisher (Brian Bloom) to take down the terrorist group Leviathan who is using stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. technology to create mind-controlled soldiers. Featuring an anime-inspired style Marvel has fallen in love with recently (and even DC is using more of), the storyline also involves Black Widow’s former lover turned terrorist (Grant George) and a mid-level thug (Kyle Hebert) the Punisher is killing his way through the streets to get his hands on.

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Continuum – Season Two

by Alan Rapp on March 30, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Continuum – Season Two
  • wiki: link

Continuum - Season TwoContinuum‘s Second Season continues the adventures Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols), a time-displaced cop from the future trapped in the present to find a stop a group of rebels from 2077 who plan on changing history. Highlights from the season include Keira reconnecting with an older version of her partner from the future (Karin Konoval), Keira finding her cyber-systems temporarily shutdown by a CMR psychological program (Alessandro Juliani) to determine her psychological fitness, the reveal of the the mysterious Mr. Escher (Hugh Dillon), the trial of Julian Randol (Richard Harmon), and Kiera being arrested for Agent Gardiner‘s (Nicholas Lea) murder.

Ongoing stories involve both Kiera and Alec (Erik Knudsen) questioning why Kiera and Liber8 were sent into the past, Alec’s relationship with Emily (Magda Apanowicz), the rise of Theseus, and the splintering of Liber8 into separate factions led by Travis (Roger R. Cross) and Sonya (Lexa Doig).

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Justice League: War

by Alan Rapp on March 29, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Justice League: War
  • IMDB: link

Justice League: WarBased on DC Comics’ New 52 reboot and the first arc of the current Justice League series by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, Justice League: War isn’t as awful as I suspected. It’s not actually a good movie, but most of the issues here have to do with the source material itself rather than any mistakes in the adaptation into the film.

Replacing the missing Aquaman with Captain Marvel (Sean Astin), who I still refuse to call him Shazam, the storyline is basically intact as the various heroes of the Justice League come together to defeat Darkseid (Steve Blum) and the invading armies of Apokolips. As with Lee’s original designs, everything looks and feels too muted including the super-hero costumes, particularly those of Superman (Alan Tudyk) and Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), that lack any pop. And although (thankfully) the film chooses to stay away from that awful yellow piping on the Flash‘s (Christopher Gorham) costume we saw at the end of The Flashpoint Paradox, Green Lantern (Justin Kirk) is still stuck with the unnecessary light-up pieces of his costume.

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Atlantis – Season One

by Alan Rapp on March 24, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Atlantis – Season One
  • wiki: link

Atlantis - Season OneThe BBC version of Atlantis comes to DVD and Blu-ray in this collection of the show’s First Season. Featuring the misadventures of lost wanderer Jason (Jack Donnelly) along with his new-found Atlantian friends Pythagoras (Robert Emms) and Hercules (Mark Addy), most of the show’s initial season sets up the workings of the world and various supporting characters including an Oracle (Juliet Stevenson) who knows far more about Jason’s destiny than she’s willing to share, the standoffish King Minos (Alexander Siddig) and his evil wife Pasiphae (Sarah Parish), and the beautiful Princess Ariadne (Aiysha Hart) who captures the hero’s heart.

Among the uneven First Season’s highlights are the opening episode involving Jason fighting The Minotaur, a goofy episode involving Jason being cursed by the goddess Hectate, Jason entering a hero’s tournament to prove himself to Ariadne, Hercules’ attempt to sacrifice himself for the woman he loves, and the two-part season finale which finally reveals Jason’s true parentage.

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  • Title: Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness
  • wiki: link

Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Aweomeness - The Kung Fu StrangerCollecting seven more episodes of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Aweomeness, the third DVD release is named for Po‘s (Mick Wingertadventures as a masked vigilante who continues to fight crime after Kung Fu is outlawed. My favorite episode of the collection involves Shifu‘s (Fred Tatasciore) back injury and new bureacracy preventing the Furious Five to use Kung Fu to stop crime which forces Po to impersonate his master while strapping an over-medicated Shifu to his stomach.

Also included on the set are Fung (John DiMaggio) bringing Terra Cotta warriors to life, Po’s mistake which threatens to prolong a war between two gorilla armies, the unexpected difficulties which arise when Mr. Ping (James Hong) temporarily moves into the Jade Palace, the side effects of Mantis (Max Koch) choosing to drink a growth potion, and Po’s prank on Monkey (James Sieblowing up in his face.

[20th Century Fox, $14.98]

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