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Red Penguins

by Alan Rapp on August 4, 2020

in Home Video

  • Title: Red Penguins
  • IMDb: link

Red Penguins movie reviewRed Penguins looks back at the Pittsburgh Penguins owner Howard Baldwin bailing out the once great HC CSKA Moscow hockey team. Completely unprepared for what they were getting into in a country still struggling with replacing Communism with Capitalism, the Penguins hoped to lay the foundation for Russian players making their way to Pittsburgh and the NHL. A young marketer named Steven Warshaw was sent over to try and drum up support for the flagging team and bring a bit of capitalist know-how and 90s marketing to the former Soviet Union.

The engaging documentary is a bizarre tale including interviews from both American and Russians about the partnership which only lasted two years but involved a strip club under the hockey rink, free beer, a culture clash, the Russian mob, a potential business partnership with Disney, the Russian Army, corruption, and the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite the insanity and mismanagement, the Russian Penguins (as they were rebranded) were a short-term success only to be mismanaged leading to the end of the team and leaving behind a bizarre legacy and a legend of dazzling failure.

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The Old Guard

by Alan Rapp on July 31, 2020

in Home Video

  • Title: The Old Guard
  • IMDb: link

The Old Guard movie reviewIn the first three minutes The Old Guard introduces not one but two action movie cliches. They will not be the last. We’re introduced to the movie through the voice of a grizzled veteran (Charlize Theron) who in the movie’s first scene is offered a mission she knows better than to accept. The leader of the elite covert squad made up of Marwan Kenzari, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Luca Marinelli takes the foursome to the South Sudan where they are promptly betrayed, ambushed, and riddled with bullets allowing the film to reveal its big twist.

The four characters are immortals who have walked the Earth for hundreds of years. Borrowing more than a little from the original Highlander, it doesn’t attempt to explain the immortals’ existence while offering a circumstance where they can die (along with flashbacks to lives throughout history). On the run from an evil pharmaceutical executive (Harry Melling), did I mention the script really loves cliches, who wants to use them as lab rats, the four attempt to keep their existence secret and deal with the birth of a new immortal (KiKi Layne) not ready to leave her old life behind.

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6 Underground

by Alan Rapp on July 31, 2020

in Home Video

  • Title: 6 Underground
  • IMDb: link

6 Underground movie reviewEven for a Michael Bay film, 6 Underground is a dumb action flick which isn’t much more than problematic story used to tie together a series of impressive action sequences. Despite these limitations, the film offers some basic dumb fun largely due to a cast better than its source material and several lengthy stunts including parkour, magnets, car chases, guns, explosions, and lots of dead bodies.

Our heroes are a no-name team brought together by billionaire turned would-be savior (Ryan Reynolds) who operates a private group hoping to do good in the world by performing coup d’etat (apparently under the nose of every intelligence organization on the planet). His team includes a spy (Mélanie Laurent), hitman (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), acrobatic thief (Ben Hardy), doctor (Adria Arjona), driver (Dave Franco), and sniper (Corey Hawkins).

The group’s mission, what we’re told is the first of many, after a botched opening mission that left one of them dead, involves taking down a foreign head of state (Lior Raz) and replacing the dictator with his more moderate brother (Payman Maadi).

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Spenser Confidential

by Alan Rapp on July 29, 2020

in Home Video

  • Title: Spenser Confidential
  • IMDb: link

Spenser Confidential movie reviewSpenser Confidential is loosely based on Robert B. Parker’s novels about a smart-ass Boston private investigator. And when I say loosely, I mean screenwriters Sean O’Keefe and Brian Helgeland may have glanced at the spine of one of the dozens of Spenser novels written by Robert B. Parker over the decades. The film re-imagines Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) as a recently-paroled cop who spent five years in prison after beating up his superior officer (Michael Gaston) on his front lawn after the police captain buried evidence on the brutal murder of a protester (Avery Grant).

With dreams of being a truck driver, Spenser is pulled back into the muck when the police captain and another officer are murdered on the day Spenser is released from prison. Although only a suspect for about five seconds, Spenser decides to look into the situation on his own. Hawk (Winston Duke) is re-imagined as a young kickboxer rather than the world-class hitman with a shared boxing past with Spenser. Alan Arkin co-stars as gym owner Henry Cimoli who, along with training Hawk and giving Spenser a place to stay, helps Spenser and Hawk on the case.

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Sonic the Hedgehog

by Alan Rapp on July 10, 2020

in Home Video

  • Title: Sonic the Hedgehog
  • IMDb: link

Sonic the Hedgehog 4K reviewSonic the Hedgehog is a borderline kid’s film likely too juvenile for those who grew up with the SEGA games and relying a bit too much on nostalgia to connect with younger viewers who may not know who Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) is. James Marsden stars in a role not dissimilar to the human he played in 2011’s Hop who befriends, and has his life turned upside down by, an animated character. After fleeing his home dimension, Sonic has been hiding in the woods outside of the small town where Tom (Marsden) works as sheriff while dreaming of being a big city lawman.

We’re told Sonic has managed to stay hidden for years (incredibly unlikely from what we see here). A power burst by the hedgehog brings in Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to hunt down Sonic who the mad scientist believes can power his various machines. Carey is completely over-the-top here and the script offers him plenty of opportunities to gorge himself on as much scenery as his appetite allows.

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