Here’s a very quirky comedy that turns on the charm with some twists that you won’t see coming. The D Train now on Blu-ray and DVD does have its moments showing a lot of off color humor with Black kicking up his character old style much like days of his movies past. However directors Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul depend on James Marsden to carry the heavy role to make the film work and there’s no doubt that his performance saves the day. Read more
An inspirational drama The Surface comes to Home Video with very good acting and a different kind of story. The movie takes a look at the lives of two men and how they have to come to terms with their past. Directed by Gil Cates Jr. with script written by Jeff Gendelman the central theme is about despair and overcoming difficult odds at sea. The DVD has special extras that are well worth the watch. Read more
Sex, drugs and 1970’s San Francisco, what more do you need to tell a story about a coming of age teenager? Fortunately there’s enough to make the movie The Diary of a Teenage Girl, a wild and wacky film that leaves nothing to the imagination. Easy to burst testosterone levels of male teens, this feature should sell a lot of tickets to any PG-13 rated film so they can pull off an auditorium shuffle.
Relentlessly brutal the movie No Escape takes the audience into a different kind of survival. Just as violent and all-consuming as the tsunami film The Impossible, the only difference comes with humans killing humans instead of nature. The momentum builds so quickly that you’ll find yourself glued to the electrifying run for your life story on the screen. Your hands are grasping the arm rests and that drink you have in the cup holder is getting watered down by the ice melting. You have become a witness to an emotional bond between a family that will not give up and with no end in sight and you just turn away from them until the final curtain.
Aimed at male teens the action film Big Game sets up a fun adventure that involves saving the President of the United States. To that audience, it pretty darn good showing how even the youngest of teens can achieve if they try. Even though the story gets a little farfetched, the sincerity and strong will acted out in the film make up for the highly fictional script. Now on DVD your more mature youngsters should enjoy this fast moving adventure. Read more
Using the backdrop of the BP oil spill for this political drama, the film The Runner works more as an open forum about legislator inappropriateness than a sincere interest in the devastation the spill caused. Although well-acted, the film drags in parts, gets a little repetitive and easily predictable. Now on Blu-ray it’s a challenging film that opens old wounds.
And now for something different. You may have seen a lot of action comedies, but I venture to say there’s nothing more wild and crazy than American Ultra. Filled with sight gags, surprises, laughs a plenty and a whole lot of thrills, this stoner film equals classics like Up in Smoke, 30 Minutes or Less, Pineapple Express and even Ted. Starring two of the screen’s finest dead pan actors Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, the off-beat film provides an excitement jammed rollercoaster ride that never stops until you exit the theater. Read more
One of the better foreign films I’ve seen this year Marshland (La isla minima) paints a very morbid picture of a serial killing. Well-acted the film grips you from the very beginning never letting you go till the credits roll. Although it may give you a feeling of déjà vu from the myriad of both screen and TV films that feature the same subject, this film puts a different twist on the sordid crime. If you are not tired of the worn out theme and would like to see what Spain has to offer, check out Marshland opening in theaters this weekend. The film took 10 statuettes at the Goya Awards (Spain’s Oscars). Read more
Taking on a daring role and giving a very good performance, Nicole Kidman works her magic in Strangerland. Taking her back to her Australian roots, Kidman looks like she’s right at home in the vast openness of the unbridled territory. The captivating film has a fine cast and incredibly stunning cinematography that uplifts the good, but somewhat challenging storyline. Now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Read more
In the brooding, dark Blood Cells indie audiences will find the film filled with emotion, despair and psychological conflict. It’s their cup of tea with an extra spoonful of sugar. Extremely well-acted, directed and photographed the movie digs deep into the soul of the protagonist on his journey from hell. Now on DVD for home video it would make a nice centerpiece for invited guests who share the same interests.
Emotional, disturbing and astounding the film Straight Outta Compton takes its audience on a journey from ghetto to greatness. The biographical film tells all showing how five creative music artists broke away from a life of crime or degradation to a career that allowed them to speak their piece. Told and created by the guys who lived it, the film puts a stamp on the beginning of the rap era that took a stand against social intolerance by raising their voices in the best way they knew how. Read more
A sly little film with a lot of drama from a small cast Cop Car stands toe to toe with the outstanding Indies released this year. At first I thought that it was another episode of “Fargo” with the kind of sick humor that last year’s cable show delivered, but on its own the movie just plays out with that kind of fell to it. Nicely written and excellent direction, if you like movies that get more twisted as it goes along, then Cop Car’s for you.
With a good measure of supposition that most people will have been exposed to the 1960’s TV Show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is a mistake on the part of the producers of this low energy spy adventure. Even though it’s mainly an introduction to the characters and a set-up for future sequels, it has no charm, oomph or likable protagonists or villains. Slow and steady does not win the race in this turtle speed spooling of this James Bond style movie and falls flat. Give me a stand out thriller and a roller-coaster ride when it comes to spy action films, this one is too slow and sophisticated for my taste. Read more
The perfect expense thriller The Gift entertains those who like their dramas filled with mystery. Packed with a punch, the movie sets up an intriguing story, moves along with a good tempo, become very compelling then turns the table with a finale that you thought you saw coming, but not the twist. It has all the necessary elements of good acting, direction and photography that work together to make the cunning story work. Read more
Dropping below the level of the previous sequel, Fantastic Four fails to entertain. Slow moving, lacks excitement, fails to intrigue and for all intense and purposes, unremarkable. The movie that reboots the Marvel characters does nothing more than rehash the story of how they came to be and the introduction of Doctor Doom. The production does not match the Disney’s Avengers products that have taken the superhero genre by storm. Dismal sets, novice direction and 80’s TV special effects doom the film. Originally intended to be remastered for release in 3D, the producers must have realized the film as a failure and trashed the idea to save money.