Home Video

King Kong

by Alan Rapp on March 29, 2021

in Home Video

  • Title: King Kong (1976)
  • IMDb: link

King Kong DVD review1976’s King Kong holds up fairly well nearly 45 years after its release. The first remake of the 1933 film, producer Dino De Laurentiis and director John Guillermin‘s film is memorable for its practical effects including the mechanical Kong mask developed by Carlo Rambaldi and Rick Baker giving Kong’s face a wide range of emotion. While some of the composite shots merging Kong with the world aren’t as effective today, there’s still quite a bit of movie magic. Baker also credits cinematographer Richard H. Kline whose work he felt hid the limitations of what could be done with Kong at the time.

Updating the story a bit to fit with the times, the ship isn’t searching for exotic locations but instead that of an oil company executive (Charles Grodin) looking to drill. Stowing away is paleontologist Jack Prescott (Jeff Bridges) who has his own reasons for wanting to visit the island. The ship also picks up the sole survivor of a shipwreck, aspiring actress Dwan (Jessica Lange), who completes a cast supplemented by the ship’s crew and the natives they will encounter on the island.

[click to continue…]

Boss Level

by Alan Rapp on March 17, 2021

in Home Video

  • Title: Boss Level
  • IMDb: link

Boss Level movie reviewB-movie actor Frank Grillo, best known for his role of Crossbones in the Marvel Universe films, stars as soldier Roy Pulver stuck in a time loop reliving the same day over and over again. Structured like a video game, although the explanation for the loop turns out having nothing to do with a video game, Ray fights through the army of oddball mercenaries every day but always ends up dying at some point.

The story behind Ray’s predicament traces back to his ex-wife (Naomi Watts), her latest scientific breakthrough (which of course is never adequately explained), and her evil boss (Mel Gibson) who apparently has a never-ending rolodex of ridiculous killers on hand and a hard-on to kill Ray. The film is structured by showing us some sequences over and over again, and other times jumping forward to only the new moments. It does make use of ideas in both Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow in Ray using his unique situation to learn more skills to survive. Sadly, writer/director Joe Carnahan‘s film is nowhere near as good as either of those films, or last year’s far more enjoyable entry into the genre Palm Springs (also released on Hulu).

[click to continue…]

Boys State

by Alan Rapp on March 1, 2021

in Home Video

  • Title: Boys State
  • IMDb: link

Boys State movie reviewBoys State offers a glimpse into the annual tradition the American Legion has held in since 1935 where high school juniors are brought in to learn about government and politics firsthand. The documentary focuses on the Texas Boys State working in two separate political parties to build a representative government, create a political agenda, and run for various offices including Governor.

Allowing us to look at the next generation of potential political operatives, Boys State shows us teenagers have already learned the some of the worst lessons of politics from those they have watched govern them. While several of the students don’t take the opportunity seriously, offering bills for change the pronunciation of “W” or trying to impeach an elected official they dislike personally, the film turns on the introduction of Steven Garza who plants his flag on the idea of cooperation, combined self-government, and honestly helping others which offers a nice change of pace from the pro-gun and anti-abortion message that otherwise permeates the debates. Although we don’t have to wait long before personal attacks begin to change the narrative.

[click to continue…]

A Nice Girl Like You

by Alan Rapp on February 24, 2021

in Home Video

  • Title: A Nice Girl Like You
  • IMDb: link

A Nice Girl Like You DVD reviewLucy Hale stars as pornophobic violinist who attempts to become less inhibited following her break-up with her boyfriend (Stephen Friedrich). Adapted from Ayn Carrillo Gailey’s book Pornology, the idea for the film is to follow the misadventures of a “good girl” investigating the world of pornography and sexual enlightenment with the help of her friends (Mindy Cohn, Jackie Cruz, and Adhir Kalyan) while also dating a new man (Leonidas Gulaptis) and struggling to earn a prestigious position with the New York Philharmonic.

While the book has received praise for being witty and hilarious, the film far is more luke-warm romcom than edgy sexcapade. Hale is likable enough in the role of the wide-eyed innocent entering a different world out of curiosity, and to prove something to herself, but the script doesn’t offer much of interest despite the subject matter. And for a film presumably based on real-life experiences, A Nice Girl Like You too often feels cliched and over-the-top. Some of the “humor” involves a horse taking a huge crap during a wedding, a public humiliation from a sexual psychic (Nadia Quinn), and a “cute” pregnancy scare.

[click to continue…]

1991 – The Silence of the Lambs

by Alan Rapp on February 16, 2021

in Home Video

  • Title: The Silence of the Lambs
  • IMDb: link

The Silence of the Lambs movie review30 years ago, on Valentine’s Day, The Silence of the Lambs was released in theaters. While not the first of Thomas Harris‘ novels to be written about Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), nor the first to be adapted to film, The Silence of the Lambs stands out from the rest for the odd pairing central to its story. With prequels, sequels, and even television series, Hollywood has searched for a way to recreate the magic of a film that took home Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay while earning a reputation as an instant classic. 30 years later, they’re still looking.

The first thing you notice about watching The Silence of the Lambs is how well it holds up building tension and teasing the audience where the story will lead next. We start with the introduction of a FBI trainee sent to interview the former psychiatrist and currently incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer. The unusual relationship between the pair will provide the heart of the film as Lecter offers to help Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) hunt down a current serial killer, and former patient, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), as the tabloids have named him, who is killing and skinning young women.

[click to continue…]