January 2014


by Alan Rapp on January 31, 2014

in Home Video

  • Title: Rush
  • IMDB: link

RushAlthough well-received by critics Ron Howard‘s last film chronicling the rivalry of Formula One drivers Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) leading up to and during the 1976 Formula One season, the film grossed just over $90 million worldwide and has been shut out at most of the major awards this year. That’s a travesty. Aside from being an engrossing dramatic tale split equally between the two leads that found a spot on my Top Movies of 2103, Rush should easily have won Oscar nominations for visual effects, cinematography, and sound.

Brühl is the standout of the piece, but Hemsworth is used better here than any any film so far (including Thor). And Alexandra Maria Lara and Olivia Wilde lead a supporting cast as the women who love them. Two character studies for the price of one, and featuring some of the most amazing racing visuals every put to film, Rush is just as good on Blu-ray as it was in the theater. For more on the film read my original review.

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  • Title: Community – Geothermal Escapism
  • wiki: link

Community - Analysis of Cork-Based Networking

The Save Greendale Committee face two important tasks (or what passes for important at Greendale Community College) in the latest episode. As Annie (Alison Brie) gets lost in the politics and labyrinthine, back-dealing, behind-the-scenes world of the college while trying to help Buzz Hickey (Jonathan Banks) get a simple bulletin board rehung in the cafeteria, Jeff (Joel McHale), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), Professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver), and Chang (Ken Jeong) create the theme for the school dance (not initially realizing where Chang got his brilliant ides of “Bear Down for Mid-Terms”).

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Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW

by Alan Rapp on January 31, 2014

in Comics

Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOWJust when I think Marvel’s numbering system couldn’t get any more ridiculous the company starts releasing .NOW issues. Sigh. Anywho, the latest issue of Guardians of the Galaxy is actually quite fun as it sets up the events of the crossover with All-New X-Men and the abduction of Jean Grey who the Shi’ar plan on putting on trial for the crimes as the Phoenix (despite the fact that this version of the character hasn’t committed them yet).

After being saved by Gamora and Angela, who rescue an unconscious Peter Quill from a Skrull bounty hunter posing as one of his teammates, the murder girls (as Rocket Raccoon likes to call them) and the rest of the team head to Earth after learning of the Shi’ar plot.

I’m not really looking forward to title jumping into yet another crossover, but on the other hand the galactic ramifications of Jean Grey’s trial make for an unique situation that fits this team perfectly. We don’t get much from Rocket, Groot, or Drax, but the early stuff with Quill is fun as is the continued female bonding of the murder girls. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Set Yourself Free

by Alan Rapp on January 31, 2014

in Advertisements

Halfway through this advertisement depicting the freedom and carefree attitude of youth it takes an unexpected turn (which is almost as surprising as when you find out who this PSA was made for).

  • Title: Labor Day
  • IMDB: link

Labor DayI’m a Jason Reitman fan. Young Adult made my Top Films of 2011, as did Juno a few years earlier. I consider Thank You For Smoking the best satire (by far) of the past decade, and Up in the Air was easily my favorite film of 2009. With a combination of wit, talent, and an eye for casting, the writer-director has produced some terrific films over the past few years. Sadly, Labor Day is not one of them.

Based on the novel by Joyce Maynard, Labor Day lacks Reitman’s usual flourishes or the trademark edge of the director’s previous work. Although competently acted and well produced, neither the director nor its stars (Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Clark Gregg, and Gattlin Griffith) can save the movie from trashy romance novel themes about the nicest escaped murderer (Brolin) this side of Mayberry and an implausible love story that is impossible to take seriously (but also not quite cheesy enough to laugh at or enjoy). It’s with neither malice nor spite, but with a heavy heart, that I dub the film the best produced Lifetime Movie for Women ever made.

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