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The Blu-Ray & DVD Review Board April Showers, Spring Flowers Edition
So arrives and goes another month so far and its' been very interesting month to date in terms of releases.
Maps To The Stars (**) Universal/2014/R/1 Hour 52 Minutes/1:85.1 Aspect Ratio Sick, twisted and at times, very interesting look at the lives of young child star, a self help guru (John Cusack), his manager wife (Olivia Williams), an obsessive actress (Oscar Winner Julianne Moore), an aspiring actor/writer (Robert Pattinson) and a mysterious young woman (Mia Wasikowka) who's arrived from Florida that has a connection to every single one of them and unearths a deep and dangerous secret that could lead to a tragic end for everyone. This film has a lot of twists and turns throughout and filled with many characters that you just loathe from the onset with the exception of Mia Wasikowa's character which actually has redeeming traits to her. This is definitely not one of David Croenenberg's best moments as a director and definitely one of his worse despite the cast.
The Cobbler (**1/2) Image Entertainment/2015/PG-13/1 Hour 38 Minutes/1:85.1 Aspect Ratio A surprisingly not bad Adam Sandler film from director Tom McCarthy of the film "Win Win" which was an indie hit years ago. Sandler stars as the owner of a shoe repair shop who discovers that he has the ability to become anyone of his customers by simply wearing their shoes both with comedic and violent consquences. The film features a surprise twist involving an Oscar Winning actor which won me over at the end along with a good cast including Melonie Diaz and Steve Buscemi. Method Man you can pretty much live without.
Taken 3 (***) Fox/2015/PG-13, 1 Hour 49 Minutes/Unrated, 1 Hour 55 Minutes/2:40.1 Aspect Ratio. Mindless, but entertaining finale (hopefully!) to the exhausting but thrilling third entry of the indestructible former CIA agent Liam Neeson. This time, Neeson is framed by a mysterious entity for the murder of his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and goes on the run to clear his name being pursed by a relentless LAPD detective (Oscar Winner Forest Whitaker). The film is filled with endless action and suspense which is a trademark of these films, but lacks the emotional depth or energy of Pierre Morel's previous two films. Despite this, the film is will no doubt satisfy die hard fans of the series. The unrated version features six extra minutes of more action.
Inherent Vice (**) Warner Bros./2014/R/2 Hours 28 Minutes/1:85.1 Aspect Ratio. This film which had a wonderful noir set up just simply fails and surprisingly from the excellent visual and character voice of Director Paul Thomas Anderson who's Boogie Nights is still his greatest achievement for me. The film based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon, stars Oscar Nominee Joaquin Phoenix as a hippie detective named Doc Spordello in the 1970s involved in a convoluted mystery involving a bulldog detective (Josh Brolin), his runaway hippie girlfriend (Katherine Waterson, the only saving grace in this film), a coked up doctor (Martin Short), a NYPD detective in hiding (Owen Wilson) and an assorted cast of goofballs and criminals including Reese Witherspoon, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jena Malone and Benicio Del Toro, who are pretty much wasted here. This isn't PT Anderson's worst film and definitely not his best. This had the potential to be a Long Goodbye of this milleninum but will never equal that film. Phoenix is a complete turn off here in a role more suited for someone like Woody Harrelson or Vince Vaughn with more energy.
Accidental Love (*) Milleninum/2015/PG-13/1 Hour 41 Minutes/1:85.1 Aspect Ratio Awful, awful movie which has a very checkered history going back to 2008! The film which was directed by Oscar nominee David O.Russell, who took his name off the film after serious financial problems forced the production to shut down several times over the years with several key scenes not being able to be filmed due these troubles. Jessica Biel (Timberlake) and Jake Gyllenhaal star in this film that deals with an important issue in the healthcare field, but because the film is so awful, you don't care either way! One that everyone involved doesn't want to speak of and rightfully so. It should've stayed buried!
Twilight Time, Time!
Richard III (****) Twilight Time/1995/R/1 Hour 44 Minutes/2:35.1 Aspect Ratio Sensational retelling of William Shakespeare's lavish play starring Sir Ian McKellan in the lead role as famed Richard, during a war torn era applies his devious plans to take over the throne of his country through betrayal and dominance leading a fateful and unforgettable demise. Featuring a knockout cast featuring Robert Downey, Jr., Oscar Winner Annette Bening, Nigel Hawthorne and The Wire's Dominic West, featuring exceptional direction by Richard Loncraine and a solid score by Trevor Jones, this film is one of the best interpretations of Shakespeare's famous plays.
Zardoz (**1/2) Twilight Time/1974/R/1 Hour 45 Minutes/2:40.1 Aspect Ratio This is without a doubt the strangest and most convoluted films I've ever seen. The film stars Sean Connery as Zed, an exterminator (a person who eliminates people unworthy of living in the wasteland of the future) who practically eliminates the God of the wasteland named Zardoz and captured by a strange group of worshippers who intended to examine his thoughts and feelings. As Zed starts to figure out the mysteries of a crystal that may or may not decide his fate. This is a film that has garnered cult status over the years and I can see why. It is a good looking film and Connery is perfectly cast as this gruff outsider. But the film tries to be way too ambitious for its' own good and if the story was streamlined a little bit more, it would've been a true sci-fi classic. It is an interesting film nonetheless.
Remains Of The Day (***) Twilight Time/1993/PG/2 Hours 15 Minutes/2:35.1 Aspect Ratio The most celebrated film in the James Ivory- ismael Merchant collaboration which nominated for Best Picture ultimately losing out to Schindler's List. The film stars Oscar Winners Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson as both butler and maid to Lord Darlington who at odds with each other at first, but slowly grow fond of each other during a period where politics where have blinded his Lord to whom he serves. A beautiful, lush film that features everyone in their A-game including supporting performances by James Fox, Hugh Grant and Christopher Reeve, before his tragic accident years later. I'm not a huge fan of this sort of film, but it's one of the better ones for sure.
The Fanasticks (***) Twilight Time/1995, 1 Hour 50 Minutes/2000, 1 Hour 27 Minutes/PG/2:40.1 Aspect Ratio. One of the last films that late Director Michael Ritchie would direct before his untimely passing which was delayed for close to five years by MGM and eventually re-cut and released years later by Francis Ford Coppola, who had a hand in trimming down the film based on the famous Broadway show. The film based on a version of Romeo and Juliet or so it seems about a pair of feuding neighbors (the great Joel Grey and Brad Sullivan) who are actually very close friends who try to hatch a plan to get their daughter and son (the lovely Jean Louisa Kelly and Joey McIntyre of New Kids On The Block) down the aisle! A sparkling movie that deserved a release in tact in 1995, but due to flops like Wild Bill and a part in the bomb, Cutthroat Island caused the film to be delayed and worse. The film features a fabulous soundtrack and great performances lost to all of the studio woes and this features the restored 110 minute version that had been circulating in circles over the years and that's the version reviewed here. A great package to be had, especially for those who love musicals.
April Love (***) Twilight Time/1957/NR/1 Hour 39 Minutes/2:35.1 Aspect Ratio Charming and lush looking film starring singer Pat Boone and the lovely Shirley Jones as troublemaker and a country girl respectively who meet and ultimately fall in love as she tries to set him on the straight and narrow with the help of a horse. An innocent little romance film that is a nice little romantic time waster especially for those who really appreciate films from this genre like I do. Very nice.
Scooby, Scooby Doo X 2
For fans of the hit series and theatrical films, here's your enjoy two of Warner Bros. latest releases.
Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo The Complete Season 1 1979-1980 Warner Bros./2 Discs/343 Minutes This was a spinoff of the hit original series by Hanna Barbera which features the original Scooby Doo gang and Scooby Doo this time following along with the group is Scooby's nephew, Scrappy Doo as they try to solve more mysteries involving ghosts and creepy crawlers. The series would last until 1983, and this set is the first of a series that fans of the show will really want to get a hold of in the near future.
Scooby Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: Surf's Up Scooby-Doo! 2012/Warner Bros./2 Discs/272 Minutes Features 13 fun filled episodes of Scooby-Doo and company enjoying themselves on vacation in tropical paradises while they also try to solve more mysteries involving underwater creatures, giant sea monsters and sharks! Kids of all ages and fans of the original series will really enjoy these fun filled episodes in the tradition of the original 1970s series.
Odds and Ends
The Barber Arc Entertainment/R/1 Hour 30 Minutes Interesting and occasionally entertaining twisty thriller starring Scott Glenn (Training Day) as a barber in a small town with deep, dark secrets when the son of former lawman who committed suicide twenty years earlier arrives with his own agenda. A good little time killer, not great though.
Murder Of A Cat Anchor Bay/2014/NR/1 Hour 42 Minutes Dark, goofy comedy produced by the great Sam Raimi featuring recent Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons along with Twilight's Nikki Reed, Blythe Danner and Greg Kinnear. The film revolves around a man child played by Fran Kratz who's cat is murdered and demands justice to find the one responsible. Soon aided by Reed, they start to uncover a conspiracy that would put them way over their heads.
Always Woodstock Anchor Bay/2014/NR/1 Hour 37 Minutes Nice little film about an aspiring singer played by Allison Miller stuck in a dead end New York job who decides to go back home upstate and things start to change from rekindling a romance to getting help with her career from a famous local singer played by Sons Of Anarchy's Katey Segal. Not a great film, but a harmless one that is worth seeing.
Hit By Lightning Anchor Bay/2014/NR/1 Hour 29 Minutes A messy, low brow comedy starring Two and A Half Men's Jon Cryer as a desperate lonely guy who manages a fast food place until his best friend (Will Sasso of Mad TV) encourages him to give online dating a try. Immediately he gets a hit from a mysterious woman (Stephanie Szostak) who wants to meet him on a blind date, who isn't what he expected. They immediately begin an affair after she reveals that she's married to a bore and as Cryer falls hard for her, she figures out a way to rid of her husband with his help. Not a bad film from the guy who wrote The Ringer starring Johnny Knoxville ten years ago with some good jokes sprinkled here and there.
Picks Of The Month
The Imitation Game (****) Starz! Anchor Bay/2014/R/1 Hour 54 Minutes/2:40.1 Aspect Ratio Thrilling and engaging true story about mathematical genius Alan Turing (brilliantly played in an Oscar worthy performance by Benedict Cumberbatch) who is hired by the British military as a codebreaker along with a feisty group of fellow geniuses as he develops a machine that will eventually help solve the advance of the Nazi forces throughout Europe. His handicap is the fact that he is a closeted gay man and despite a relationship with his best friend and companion (Keira Knightley, in her best role and Oscar nominated performance) who accepts his predicament despite and was willing to marry him to elude suspicion. Turing eventually died in the 1950s after the British courts literally castrated him through medications. The film is a riveting look of both sides two different wars that Turing was fighting and it is a beautifully shot, scored and well produced film that in any other year, might have won the Oscar for many. This is still worth seeking out for many reasons and they're all great ones. Thumbs Way Up.
Frank Sinatra 5-Film Collection 1945-1964 Featuring:
- Anchor's Aweight 1945/NR/2 Hours 19 MInutes/1:37.1 Aspect Ratio
- On The Town 1949/NR/1 Hour 38 MInutes/1:37.1 Aspect Ratio
- Guys And Dolls 1955/NR/2 Hours 29 Minutes/2:55.1 Aspect Ratio
- Ocean's Eleven 1960/NR/2 Hours 9 Minutes/2:40.1 Aspect Ratio
- Robin And The Seven Hoods 1964/NR/2 Hours 3 Minutes/2:40.1 Aspect Ratio
Wonderful five disc Blu-Ray collection featuring all of the Chairman of the Board's best performances for the studio which features the unforgettable musical, Guys And Dolls also featuring future Oscar Winner Marlon Brando and of course, the two films featuring the rat pack in, Ocean's Eleven, which of course we remade 40 years later with Oscar Winner George Clooney and Brad Pitt and Robin and the Seven Hoods. A wonderfully packaged set featuring a full hardcover photo book and a wealth of wonderful special features, this is a gem of a package for fans of Sinatra and fans of his films.
- Inherent Vice, Warner Bros.
- The Gambler, Paramount
- Paddington, Starz!/Anchor Bay
- The Wedding Ringer, Sony
- The Boy Next Door
- Selma, Paramount 5/5
- GoodFellas: 25th Anniversary Edition (Remastered 4K) 5/5
- Mr. Turner, Starz!/Anchor Bay 5/5
- Black Or White, Fox 5/5
- Fifty Shades Of Grey, Universal 5/8
- Blackhat, Universal 5/12
- Mortedcai, Lionsgate 5/12
- Still Alice, Sony 5/12
- The Cobbler, Image 5/12
- Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts, Warner 5/12
- American Sniper, Warner Bros. 5/19
- Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Unrated), Paramount 5/19
- Orange Is The New Black Season 2, Lionsgate 5/19
- Cymbeline, Lionsgate 5/19
- The Seventh Son, Universal 5/26
- The Loft, Universal 5/26
- Ray Donovan Season 2, Paramount 5/26
- Jupiter Ascending, Warner 6/2
- Focus, Warner 6/2
- Apollo 13: 20th Anniversary Edition (Remastered), Universal 6/2
- The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water 3D, Paramount 6/2
- McFarland, USA, Disney 6/2
- Kingsmen: The Secret Service, Fox 6/9
- Project Almanac, Parmount 6/9
- The Duff, Lionsgate 6/9
- Run All Night, Warner 6/16
- Chappie, Sony 6/16
- Unfinished Business, Fox 6/16
- The Lazurus Effect, Fox 6/16
- The Newsroom Complete Third (and Final Season), HBO 6/16
All release dates are subject to change at anytime look at Vanilla Sky! which has delayed six times now!
That'll do it for this month, so please stayed tuned for this upcoming months releases. To recap the new releases:
Thumbs Down for Inherent Vice
Thumbs Way, Way Down for Maps of the Stars
Marginal Thumbs Up for Taken 3
Marginal Thumbs Down for The Cobbler
Thumbs Way Way Down for Accidental Love
© 2015 DANNY GONZALEZ