DVD Reviews 

5 Film Collection: Sci-Fi

by Alan Rapp on June 5, 2017

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: I Am Legend, Gravity, Midnight Special, Jupiter Ascending, The Book of Eli
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5 Film Collection: Sci-Fi DVD reviewThe highlight of this three-disc set is Alfonso Cuarón‘s Gravity. While similar to Avatar in the movie experience isn’t quite complete outside of an IMAX 3D theater, the compelling look at an astronaut’s (Sandra Bullock) struggle for survival following tragedy high above Earth was compelling enough to earn the #2 spot on my best of 2013 list.

The rest of the collection certainly isn’t up to that standard. However, Midnight Special is a solid film about a father (Michael Shannon) attempting to look out for his son (Jaeden Lieberher) who a cult wants for the boy’s mysterious gifts.

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Wonder Woman

by Alan Rapp on June 1, 2017

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  • Title: Wonder Woman (2009)
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Wonder Woman DVD reviewReleased on home video eight years prior to the character getting her own theatrical live-action film, the animated feature 2009’s Wonder Woman offers an origin story for Diana (Keri Russell) loosely based on the 80s comic reboot by George Perez following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. While the film may have not been the critical or monetary success DC hoped for, it’s held up fairly well.

As with the new theatrical film, Wonder Woman gives us the basics of Diana’s origins, the arrival of Steve Rogers (Nathan Fillion) on the island of Themyscira, Diana winning the right to be called Wonder Woman, and the return of Ares (Alfred Molina) who plans to wreak havoc on Earth.

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Brewster’s Millions

by Alan Rapp on May 23, 2017

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Brewster’s Millions
  • IMDb: link

Brewster's Millions Blu-ray reviewThe 1985 comedy stars Richard Pryor as a struggling minor league baseball player who comes into a small fortune. However, there is one catch. To earn the entire estate Montgomery Brewster (Pryor) must spend $30 million within 30 days to inherit $300 million. He must not accumulate any assets, and he is also barred from telling anyone the truth about his increasingly odd behavior.

While director Walter Hill‘s film may never be quite as funny as it should be, Brewster’s Millions does deliver some wacky hijinx with Monty’s spending sprees, his interactions with his teammates and best friend (an underutilized John Candy), and the various forces working against him. Lonette McKee also stars as his accountant/love interest.

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Split

by Alan Rapp on May 19, 2017

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Split
  • IMDb: link

Split Blu-ray reviewWhen all is said and done I’m less interested in Split than the movie it may eventually lead to (a true sequel to the writer/director’s best film). That said, M. Night Shyamalan‘s film is easily the best thing he’s created in more than a decade (although given the level of crap he’s put out over that time period that’s hardly a high bar to clear).

Set in an universe Shyamalan once said he had no interest in returning to, James McAvoy stars as a schizophrenic with at least 24 distinct personalities who kidnaps three teenage girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula) to feed the darkest of his personalities referred to only as “The Beast.” For at least three-fourths of its running time the movie lacks the tension it should, partially because we’re unsure how seriously to take McAvoy’s character, partially because Shyamalan wants to hide aspects of the man for as long as possible, and partially because the script jumps around a bit too much rather than staying focused on the girls’ dilemma.

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Vixen: The Movie

by Alan Rapp on May 9, 2017

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Vixen
  • wiki: link

Vixen: The Movie Blu-ray reviewVixen: The Movie collects all the episodes from the two-season run of the animated web series and puts them together in a single film. As each season has an ongoing arc where one short leads directly into the next, the flow works fairly well cut together as a single film. The story stars Megalyn Echikunwoke as Mari McCabe who discovers the animal totem left to her by a family she never knew has the power to grant her strength and abilities of an animal for a short period of time.

Over the course of the two seasons Vixen uses her newfound powers to learn the truth about her past, and fight off others who would use the totems powers for their own ends including her sister (Anika Noni Rose) and an old family enemy (Hakeem Kae-Kazim). Several regulars make cameos voicing their animated selves including Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), the Flash (Grant Gustin), and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). While it’s a nice bit of fan service and continuity, the lack of voice acting experience by the group is certainly noticeable.

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