DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Pretty Little Liars – Season Four
  • wiki: link

Pretty Little Liars - The Complete Fourth SeasonYear Four is a tumultuous one for the Liars beginning with the murder of Detective Wilden (Bryce Johnson) and Hanna’s mother (Laura Leighton) being charged with the crime, which isn’t helped by Hanna (Ashley Benson) rash actions at a college party, and ending with the girls learning the truth that Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) is alive and finally getting a few answers.

Relationships are hard on the Liars this years as Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and Toby‘s (Keegan Allen) romance is strained first by her keeping secrets that might help her boyfriend investigate his mother’s death and later by the recurrence of her pill-addiction. Emily‘s (Shay Mitchell) swimming future and scholarship chances will be derailed by a shoulder injury which also begins the first of many problems with Paige (Lindsey Shaw). Hanna will lose Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) to the show’s spin-off. And Aria (Lucy Hale) will dump Jake (Ryan Guzman) and return to Ezra (Ian Harding) which becomes doubly-complicated when the Liars begin to suspect he might be A.

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Pompeii

by Alan Rapp on June 8, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Pompeii
  • IMDB: link

PompeiiJudged as an action film Pompeii isn’t awful, but there’s nothing all that remarkable about it either. Judged as a Paul W.S. Anderson film it’s actually better than expected. Gladiator-lite meets destruction porn in this tale of a Celtic warrior (Kit Harington) sold into slavery who makes his way to Pompeii on volcano day with just enough time to fall in love with a nobleman’s daughter (Emily Browning) and exact revenge on the men (Kiefer Sutherland, Currie Graham) who led the raid that killed every member of his village.

Teasing us with tremors and small quakes, the first two-thirds of the film center nearly completely on Milo’s gladiatorial life and Cassia’s (Browning) relationship with her parents (Carrie-Anne Moss, Jared Harris) on her return home from Rome and a Roman Senator (Sutherland) who follows her. The action is competently done, as is the eventually eruption of Vesuvius, but the movie certainly struggles to make the more dramatic scenes effective.

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

“Hello Miss Walker.”

Covert Affairs - The Complete Fourth SeasonThe Fourth Season of Covert Affairs sets Annie (Piper Perabo) up against her most ruthless opponent yet when she risks everything to take down Henry Wilcox (Gregory Itzin). Pairing Annie and Auggie (Christopher Gorham) up romantically for the first time, it’s an uneasy road for the couple with Annie’s new mission and the arrival a trio of new characters in Calder Michaels (Hill Harper), Arthur‘s (Peter Gallagher) terrorist son Teo Braga (Manolo Cardona), and Auggie’s not-so-dead former partner and wife Helen Hanson (Michelle Ryan) who will play major roles is disrupting their lives over the course of the season.

Highlights from the season include the fruition of Henry’s master plan, Annie choosing to fake her own death to pursue Henry and her painful reunion with Auggie following the death of Helen, Vincent Rossabi (Noam Jenkins) getting screwed over by Annie and the CIA again, Annie attempting to turn Henry’s ex-wife into an asset, an undercover mission in Hong Kong, and the finale pitting Annie against Henry for the final time.

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The Art of the Steal

by Alan Rapp on June 3, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Art of the Steal
  • IMDB: link

The Art of the StealWritten and directed by Jonathan Sobol, The Art of the Steal is your basic heist flick centered around getaway driver Crunch Calhoun (Kurt Russell) who, after spending seven years inside a Polish prison thanks to his brother Nicky (Matt Dillon), gets the old gang (Kenneth Welsh, Chris Diamantopoulos), his new apprentice (Jay Baruchel), and Nicky together for one last score.

The movie also includes a B-story involving a buffoonish Interpol agent (Jason Jones, hamming it up like a SNL skit) and his criminal consultant (Terence Stamp) which play much more lighthearted than the rest of the film giving it an inconsistent tone that doesn’t quite pay off.

Despite the cast (Baruchel being the stand-out and Dillon something of a head-scratching miscast), and some pieces of the story that work well, The Art of the Steal isn’t as smart as it thinks it is or as smart as it needs to be to pull of the big twists it has in store (most of which you should see coming).

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The Legend of Hercules

by Alan Rapp on June 2, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Legend of Hercules
  • IMDB: link

The Legend of HerculesEven for a throwaway B-action-flick, The Legend of Hercules is a bad movie that doesn’t even really deliver on its title. Rather than offer a movie centered on the legendary achievements of Hercules, writers Sean Hood, Daniel Giat, Giulio Steve, and Renny Harlin (who also directs) offer audiences a bland origin tale centered around the god-like Prince Alcides (Kellan Lutz) whose father King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) sends on an impossible mission to get the boy killed guessing correctly that Alcides isn’t his son.

Surviving a slaughter and life as a gladiator, Alicides eventually makes it home under the name Hercules, which Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) wanted to name him, to take on his father, brother (Liam Garrigan), and rescue the woman (Gaia Weiss) he loves all while being told he has a greater destiny to fulfill (which the movie then completely ignores). Cribbing the storyline from Gladiator, without any of its style, The Legend of Hercules is an impressively bad movie that doesn’t even offer cheesy enjoyment in its many faults.

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Homefront

by Alan Rapp on June 1, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Homefront
  • IMDB: link

HomefrontAdapted from Chuck Logan‘s novel of the same name by Sylvester Stallone, Homefront stars Jason Statham as former DEA Agent Phil Broker who moves with his young daughter (Izabela Vidovic) to a small town in the Louisiana Bayou after Broker’s last undercover assignment leaves both the former agent and young Maddy with prices on their heads by a biker gang out for blood.

Better written than many of Statham’s films, Homefront casts Kate Bosworth and Marcus Hester as a quarrelsome couple whose son gets into an altercation at school. Not letting the matter rest the mother enlists the help of her villainous brother (James Franco) which leads to all kinds of hell eventually erupting around the sleepy small town. Playing on basic themes of revenge and an unbeatable but reluctant hero unwilling to be pushed too far, the film works as a very well-trod B-movie action-thriller.

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Vampire Academy kinda sucks

by Alan Rapp on May 31, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Vampire Academy
  • IMDB: link

Vampire AcademyBased on the series of young-adult novels by Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy is a mash-up of Harry Potter, Underworld, and Mean Girls that is far less interesting than it sounds. Set in an actual Vampire Academy, the story centers around a vampire princess (Lucy Fry) and her half-human/half-vampire protector and best-friend (Zoey Deutch) traversing not only the terrors of high school but a much dangerous plot as well.

The confusing tale of vampires, mind-control, magic, teen drama, student vs. teacher dynamics, secrets, and first love is a clunky mess only saved, at times, by Deutch whose charms are wasted on this dog of a film that struggles to make use of a large ensemble which includes Sarah Hyland, Olga Kurylenko, and Gabriel Byrne.

Released on both Blu-ray and DVD, extras include an alternate opening better explaining the three vampiric races, a short introduction by Mead, and a collection of deleted scenes. The Blu-ray also includes an Ultraviolet digital copy of the movie.

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Nikita – The Final Season

by Alan Rapp on May 29, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Nikita – Season Four
  • wiki: link

Nikita - The Final SeasonThe shortened final season of Nikita involves Nikita (Maggie Q) hunted for the assassination of President Spencer (Michelle Nolden), uncovering The Shop and Jones‘ (David S. Lee) army of duplicate soldiers around the globe, attempting to stop The Shop from starting a war between Afghanistan and the United States for their own profit, Nikita and her friends going from terrorist assassins to world heroes, and the show’s finale which pits Nikita in one final battle against Amanda (Melinda Clarke).

Along the way Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) will be framed as a terrorist, Sam (Devon Sawa) will struggle against his own nature to rediscover a bit of the good man he was as Owen, Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) will reunite with his father (Judd Nelson), Michael (Shane West) and Nikita will spend much of the season working through their relationship issues, and Ryan Fletcher (Noah Bean) will sacrifice his life to reveal a final threat.

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  • Title: Batman: The Brave and the Bold – Season One
  • wiki: link

Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Season OneOdds are if you’re a Batman: The Brave and the Bold fan you’ve long ago picked up the episodes on DVD. Tired of waiting years for a complete set (or even separate full season sets) I eventually picked up the heavily discounted the previously half-season releases. However for those who have been holding out, or those unfamiliar with the show until now, the Complete First Season has finally arrived on both Blu-ray and DVD.

The set-up was relatively simple. Borrowing both its premise and its title from DC’s long-running team-up book which ran from 1955-1983, the show teamed Batman (Diedrich Bader) up with a revolving cast of guest-stars heroes (from both the Silver Age and pre-New 52 Mondern Age) to take on various threats and super-villains over the show’s three-year run. Collecting the first 26 episodes of the series on 4 discs (or 2 Blu-rays), which is arguably the weakest of the bunch as you can tell the show was struggling to find the right mix of Bat-tastic adventure and Silver Age campiness which became its trademark style.

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I, Frankenstein

by Alan Rapp on May 27, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: I, Frankenstein
  • IMDB: link

I, FrankensteinWritten and directed by Stuart Beattie, I, Frankenstein is a ridiculous action-thriller setting Frankenstein’s monster, known here as Adam (Aaron Eckhart), in present day in the middle of a war between heavenly gargoyles and demons led by Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy).

With dialogue as laughable as the plot itself involving Naberius’ plans to use Frankenstein’s research to create and army of unstoppable warriors, I, Frankenstein is really only worth viewing for the special effects and Yvonne Strahovski as a modern-day scientist working on reviving Frankenstein’s work without realizing who exactly she’s working for.

Available on both DVD and 3D Blu-ray, extras include digital Ultraviolet copies of the movie, audio commentary from Beattie, and a second commentary from Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, James McQuaide, and Kevin Grevioux, trailer, and a pair of featurettes on Adam, the make-up, special effects, and monsters of the film.

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