DVD Reviews 

London Fields

by Alan Rapp on March 20, 2019

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: London Fields
  • IMDb: link

London Fields DVD reviewLondon Fields is a flawed but ambitious film that struggles mightily with adapting the 1989 novel of the same name for the big screen. The film’s biggest strength is Amber Heard, cast in the role femme fatale Nicola Six who toys with men’s affections for her own selfish gratification and amusement. Despite the film’s many failings, Heard’s performance isn’t one of them nor is the cinematography of Guillermo Navarro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and Pacific Rim) who so lovingly frames the beautiful star on-screen. Semi-clairvoyant, Nicola knows the time and place of her death (but not the identity of her killer).

Our other main character is American novelist Samson Young (Billy Bob Thornton) in London attempting to find inspiration for one more novel. Immediately buying into her tale, Samson convinces Nicola to let the author tell her story. Like with Heard, Thornton is put to relatively good use (although the scripting of the noir voiceover fails him at times – but also provides one of the film’s more clever moments as the film pauses to allow Samson to rewrite a scene).

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Robin Hood

by Alan Rapp on March 12, 2019

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Robin Hood (2018)
  • IMDb: link

Robin Hood Blu-ray reviewWhile marginally more successful than King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the latest take on Robin Hood suffers from many of the same mistakes such as injecting modern sensibilities into the legend. After a brief introduction to Robin (Taron Egerton) in England, the film races the Lord of Loxley through the Crusades only to return him two-years later after his compassion becomes a problem for his fellow soldiers. Robin returns to find Marian (Eve Hewson) shacked up with another guy (Jamie Dornan) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) taxing the locals into oblivion. With the help of the Arab (Jamie Foxx), Robin becomes an outlaw to restore justice.

Mixing various elements from other Robin Hood films, and stealing the Zorro/Don Diego set-up as Robin tries to both woo the Sheriff while also stealing form under his nose, director Otto Bathurst‘s film is a mishmash of stories we’ve seen done better before. The result is a somewhat entertaining but completely forgettable take on the character that even Egerton’s charm can’t save.

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The Reign of the Supermen

by Alan Rapp on March 6, 2019

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Reign of the Supermen
  • IMDb: link

The Reign of the Supermen Blu-ray reviewThe follow-up to The Death of Superman jumps forward six months later as four new Superman have appeared in Metropolis, each claiming to be the original. Adapted from the comic arc of the same name, The Reign of the Supermen introduces us to the Eradicator (Charles Halford), Superboy (Cameron Monaghan), Cyborg-Superman (Jerry O’Connell), and Steel (Cress Williams). Each attempts to fill the shoes of the fallen hero, but with different motives and ideals in mind. Of course, before the end, the real Superman (O’Connell) will return (clad in the black and silver suit from the original comic run) to save the day.

While mainly focused on Lois Lane‘s (Rebecca Romijn) grief and investigation into the new stand-ins, the plot also involves Darkseid‘s (Tony Todd) latest plan to invade Earth involving one of the Supermen and turning citizens into conduits for Boom Tubes. The odd plan comes so close to success it even requires Lex Luthor (Rainn Wilson) to save the Justice League.

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The Great Films – Unbreakable

by Alan Rapp on January 31, 2019

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Unbreakable
  • IMDb: link

“They say this one has a surprise ending.”

Unbreakable movie reviewToday’s Throwback Thursday post takes us back to one of my favorite super-hero movies. Overshadowed by writer/director M. Night Shyamalan‘s far more commercially successful first film and his subsequent slide into mediocrity, Unbreakable stands alone as the one film from his catalog that gets better with each subsequent viewing. A perfect origin story, Unbreakable is a super-hero film without any of the trappings of super-hero films. A low-key, slow-paced drama, the story slowly unfolds while staying true to the basic truths of comic book storytelling. If there’s an anti-Batman and Robin, it’s Unbreakable.

The film has everything going for it including a writer who understood his subject manner, stars perfectly cast as real-life comic book characters, a terrific humor, and some of the best shot scenes of any film from this decade by Eduardo Serra whose framing choices help mold and develop each character climaxing in the traditional birth of a hero that remains grounded in reality more than any super-hero movie before or since. It’s a perfect storm that results in an amazing film that holds up as well today as when it was released more than 18 years ago.

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BlacKkKlansman

by Alan Rapp on December 19, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: BlacKkKlansman
  • IMDb: link

BlacKkKlansman Blu-ray reviewBased on the insane true story of African-American Colorado Springs police officer Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) infiltrating the Klu Klux Klan, Spike Lee delivers one of the most fascinating and entertaining films of the year. Laugh-out-loud funny while also proving timely and relevant to today, Lee crafts an amazing film structured around the performances of John David Washington and Adam Driver as the Black and Jewish cops who performed something so miraculous that, if it hadn’t happened, Hollywood would have been forced to invent it. As a cherry on top, Topher Grace gives us his hilarious take on Grand Wizard David Duke whose white supremacist organization becomes the target of Stallworth’s investigation.

Lee and company provide a near-perfect film that holds up to multiple viewings. Available on Blu-ray and DVD, extras include a short featurette and an extended trailer for the film featuring Prince‘s “Mary Don’t You Weep.”

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