DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Star Wars Rebels – Season Four
  • wiki: link

Star Wars Rebels - The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray reviewThe final season of Star Wars Rebels begins with the Rebels helping the Mandalorians rescue Sabine‘s (Tiya Sircar) father and ends with a final battle between the Rebellion and the Empire for Lothal. In-between, the season offers several highlights including the loss of a member of the Ghost, a large victory for Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), the return of Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), and episodes exploring how Lothal’s creatures are tied to Rebel’s fate against the Empire. I know there are those that prefer The Clone Wars (and I’m happy to see it return in limited form), but I’d much prefer more episodes featuring these characters.

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Bikini Chain Gang

by Alan Rapp on July 30, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Bikini Chain Gang
  • IMDb: link

Bikini Chain Gang DVD review2004’s Bikini Chain Gang was a made-for-TV erotic thriller. It’s the kind of low-rent, poorly written and poorly acted, and highly sexualized movie you might find late night on Showtime or Cinemax. It appears this was made $12.50 on a lazy summer day by those with only a loose understanding of what a movie is.

We begin with a waitress (Beverly Lynne) unwilling to put out for her sleazy boss being framed as an accomplice to a robbery and sent to a Maximum Security Prison where she finds herself at the mercy of a sadistic prison guard (Nicole Sheridan).

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Game Night

by Alan Rapp on July 17, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Game Night
  • IMDb: link

Game Night Blu-ray reviewJason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star in this forgettable comedy as competitive couple Max and Annie who host a weekly game night for their friends Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), and Gary (Jesse Plemons) and his girl of the moment. When Max’s more successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) hijacks game night with an elaborate murder mystery trouble ensues as “coincidentally” Brooks just happens to be kidnapped for real on the same night he hired actors to kidnap him as part of the game. And no one realizes it isn’t a game.

The script by Mark Perez (Accepted, Herbie Fully Loaded) offers some cheap laughs and chuckles, if you can swallow the absurd pretense. Lots of time is given to the relationships of the various couples, but it’s really only when all are involved and the crazy is turned up to 11 (such as throwing a priceless piece of art around a gangster’s mansion) that things get interesting.

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The Death of Stalin

by Alan Rapp on July 9, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Death of Stalin
  • IMDb: link

The Death of Stalin DVD reviewVery often, comedy comes from tragedy. The Death of Stalin is an unusual film. The political satire set during the days immediately before and after Joseph Stalin‘s (Adrian McLoughlin) death in Russia, the film follows the infighting and backstabbing among Stalin’s most loyal subordinates who maneuver to control Russia following the party leader’s death.

Rather than assemble a Russian cast, director Armando Iannucci brings together a group of primarily English and American actors (including Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, and Michael Palin), allowing each to perform in his natural accent. The result only increases the absurdity of the proceedings which is counter-balanced by the darkness of Stalin’s policies.

While being one of my favorite forms of comedy, satire is hard which is the reason so few are made compared to the glut of physical and romantic comedies. Part satire, part political drama, and part farce, The Death of Stalin is an amazing and improbable piece of filmmaking that must be seen to be believed.

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Mary and the Witch’s Flower

by Alan Rapp on July 5, 2018

in Anime Reviews 

  • Title: Meari to majo no hana
  • IMDb: link

Mary and the Witch's Flower Blu-ray reviewBased on The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart, the Japanese anime Mary and the Witch’s Flower begins in fire prior to settling down and introducing us to the precocious Mary (Hana Sugisaki/Ruby Barnhill) living in the lonely countryside with her Great-Aunt Charlotte (Shinobu Otake/Lynda Baron). Despite her best efforts and sunny attitude, Mary struggles with the lack of other children to play with and still not quite fitting in with the adults.

Over the course of a handful of days, Mary will make several discoveries which will change her life beginning with meeting a neighbor boy and discovering the rarest of flowers deep in the woods. While not initially connected, both will be part of Mary’s introduction to a larger world of witches and magic which will amaze and frighten her as the flower and a broomstick, both left abandoned in the woods long, long ago, lead her to the gates of Endor College for witches.

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