DVD Reviews 

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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The Death of Superman

by Alan Rapp on November 28, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Death of Superman
  • IMDb: link

Death of Superman Blu-ray reviewThe Death of Superman marks the first time DC’s animated division has remade a straight-to-video movie (the events from the Death of Superman storyline were originally covered in Superman Doomsday). Even though it unfortunately takes place in the New 52 version of the DCU, The Death of Superman is an improvement over the previous efforts focusing on the events leading up to Superman‘s (Jerry O’Connell) battle with Doomsday, his relationship with Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn), and the death of the hero. The other Supermen (who will appear in the sequel) are foreshadowed here as well.

The best of the New 52 Justice League movies (likely because the story came decades before this version of the DCU that DC Comics has already decided to distance themselves from), The Death of Superman feels a bit incomplete with only half the story told, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I’m not a fan of either the design nor performance of Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, but he’s a marginal player here.

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Crazy Rich Asians

by Alan Rapp on November 20, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Crazy Rich Asians
  • IMDb: link

Crazy Rich Asians Blu-ray reviewCrazy Rich Asians offers your basic going home to meet the parents tale, notable for two things. First, the romantic comedy features a talented all Asian cast. And second, it contains far better writing an acting than most romcoms. Our couple in love is Rachel (Constance Wu) and Nick (Henry Golding). Despite being nearly ready to propose, Nick hasn’t come clean with his girlfriend that his family is crazy rich (and also just plain crazy). Rachel discovers this for herself while accompanying Nick to Singapore for a friend’s wedding.

The film features what you’d expect. Nick tries to balance love and family obligations. Rachel struggles to fit in with his family and deal with his disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh) before learning to stand-up for herself and teach the Youngs a few lessons of their own. The supporting cast includes the over-the-top Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Jimmy O. Yang, and Nico Santos, and the more understated Gemma Chan who bonds with Rachel over her own marital troubles.

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Isle of Dogs

by Alan Rapp on November 13, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

Isle of Dogs Blu-ray reviewWriter/director Wes Anderson‘s return to stop-motion may not measure up to Fantastic Mr. Fox, but the quirky tale of an injured boy searching a quarantined island for his lost dog hits most of the right notes. When the dog population becomes infested with Dog Flu, all the dog’s in Japan are quarantined to an island of trash where the nephew (Koyu Rankin) of the mayor crash lands in search of his loyal dog.

The story is presented mostly from the point-of-view of the dogs (voiced by Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Murray), who are unable to communicate with the the boy but instinctively set-out to help find his lost dog. Even the reluctant stray (voiced by Cranston) discovers why young boys are a dog’s best friend.

The plot gets a bit over-complicated by a conspiracy within the Japanese government, drones and robotic hunting dogs sent to bring back the boy, an exchange student (Greta Gerwig) at a school newspaper’s search for the truth, and a romantic subplot between a couple of the dogs.

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