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Today:  09/26/2017

Review: 'Conan' and 'Hercules' look great on 4K UHD

Posted September 19,2017 - 11:43 AM

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Here's the good news: with the new 4K UHD Blu-ray versions, Conan the Barbarian and The Legend of Hercules have never looked or sounded better.

Here's the bad news: the slick video and audio do little to distract you from the obvious conclusion. There is no amount of upgrades that could be done to allow these films to overcome their inherent flaws. The old idiom about putting lipstick on a pig comes to mind.

This week, Lionsgate debuts the two "swords and sandals" films on 4K UHD Blu-ray and the video and audio presentations are spectacular. They clearly demonstrate why this format is the future when it comes the enjoyment of Hollywood films in your home. I just wish someone would have spent more time in the development process before these films got their proverbial green light.


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Review: 'Cartels' proves that Steven Seagal should retire

Posted September 19,2017 - 09:49 AM

Cartels

At some point in the career of every athlete, there comes a point when he or she has that moment where they realize that it's time to hang up their skates, cleats, shoes, whatever. While actors and athletes are hardly interchangeable, there are some real parallels that can be drawn.

Action films require much of the same athleticism out of their actors that natural athletes possess, but rarely do actors have that epiphany of retirement. Instead, most of them overstay their welcome and we are left scratching our heads over films like The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Let's face it, there's nothing worse than watching an over-the-hill action star try to tack on one, two or ten films onto their career after they have reached that retirement moment. Case in point: Cartels.

Originally called ...

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Review: Celebrate good fun with 'Elena of Avalor'

Posted September 13,2017 - 04:20 PM

Elena

Disney is really doing some interesting things with their breakout new hit Elena of Avalor. They have shown a remarkable ability to adapt with their growing audience by creating content that appeals to a more mature crowd.

Of course, I'm not so sure that I'm ready to use mature in a sentence with my five-year-old daughter, but such is life. While she's no longer in the target audience for 157638{Mickey Mouse Clubhouse} and has gotten a bit bored lately with Sofia the First, she can't get enough of Elena of Avalor.

So, when I brought home Elena of Avalor: Celebrations to Remember to review, she demanded that we put it in and watch it immediately. A few hours and six episodes later, we had consumed the DVD and my daughter was politely begging for more.

While she'll have to wait for new...

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Review: 'The Mummy' fumbles Universal's expanded universe

Posted September 12,2017 - 05:05 PM

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With the popularity of "expanded universes" these days, you knew it was only a matter of time before they jumped the shark. And no, we're not talking about Sharknado, although those films might require you to use less suspension of disbelief than The Mummy.

It's not that The Mummy is a bad film (it's not), the reality is that Universal was so determined to have their own expanded universe that they forced too many disjointed things into this film that, forgive the analogy, it resembles another one of their classic monsters Frankenstein.

Don't worry, you won't have to wait long as Bride of Frankenstein is set up as the second film Universal's Dark Universe. It is currently slated to be released on Valentine's Day in 2019. How cute!

The problem is that the best expanded universes (see...

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Review: 'E.T.' comes home on a beautiful 4K UHD Blu-ray

Posted September 12,2017 - 04:23 PM

Et

This year marks the 35th Anniversary since the release of E.T.. Thirty-five years. After you get over the sudden realization that you're old, you'll realize just how much our lives have changed in the last 35 years.

I was one of those kids lucky enough to see E.T. in theaters when it came out in 1982, and at eight years old, I was the perfect demographic for Steven Spielberg's iconic film. While, as an adult, I was able to go back and discover his earlier films Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. was my Steven Spielberg gateway film.

Naturally, I do what I do today because of his early influence on me and the way that his films are able to connect on a human level whether the main protagonists are sharks, aliens or even dinosaurs. Steven Spielberg is a master storyteller...

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Review: 'The Hatred' starts strong, but fizzles quickly

Posted September 12,2017 - 02:57 PM

Hatred

I love horror films, there's no secret about that, but even I get a bit tired of seeing the same story told from 85 different angles. Give me something fresh and I'm a happy camper - hopefully, not one stuck in a Friday the th movie.

The Hatred shows a lot of promise in the first act. There's Wishmaster Andrew Divoff and I'm immediately in touch with my inner '90s horror nerd. Even better? His character has some intrigue and I'm left hopeful for the rest of the film.

Unfortunately, this hope is short-lived and the film quickly devolves into another clone of any number of cookie-cutter horror films that fail to live up the hype of Annabelle or even Ouija. It's pretty clear to see that these type of films were the gold standard for The Hatred, but it falls incredibly short.


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Review: 'Drone Wars' proves apocalypse fatigue is real

Posted September 12,2017 - 02:11 PM

Drone wars

When you call your movie Drone Wars there are certain expectations that immediately come to mind. The movie has to have killer special effects and it needs to be something original to hold the audience's attentions.

Sadly, Drone Wars has neither.

For a film billed to be set in the proverbial "post-apocalyptic future," the special effects should at least be better than what you see in most home-grown YouTube videos. Spoiler alert, they are not. In fact, the special effects are so bad that they become distracting. It gets so bad that at a certain point, you almost wish the survivors would ban together and lock themselves below ground and just talk to each other.

Yes, that's how bad the special effects are in this film. Of course, having the characters talk to each other probably...

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Review: 'The Cabin in the Woods' 4K UHD is no horror show

Posted September 05,2017 - 05:05 PM

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To call The Cabin in the Woods simply a horror film would be a disservice to the film - and to horror itself. True, the film is technically a horror film with a subtle science fiction bent, but it's so much more than that.

So too, the 4K UHD Blu-ray version of The Cabin in the Woods is more than just another catalog film being repurposed for a quick cash grab. No, it's pretty apparent from the opening moments that the studio went back and gave the 2012 film the attention it deserves. After watching this definitive version, you will easily understand how this film quickly became such a cult hit.

I have to admit that I was a bit slow to the party on this one, despite my affection for the horror genre in general. Despite the involvement of geek extraordinaires Joss Whedon and Drew...

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Review: 'Red' & 'Red 2' come out of retirement on 4K UHD

Posted September 04,2017 - 11:28 PM

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In 2009, Liam Neeson launched a new genre of geriatric action films with Taken and we have been better off (?) ever since. The following year, upstart film company Summit Entertainment was still riding high on the wave of their successful Twilight film when they brought their own entry in the geriatric action genre Red to market.

Summit banked their burgeoning franchise on one-time action star supreme Bruce Willis and a gaggle of his finest peers. The film was a rather unexpected success earning over $90 million at the box office. A sequel to Red was pretty much a guarantee by the time it made its debut on home entertainment.

Red made about half of the box office booty of its predecessor and the franchise died a premature death. But that doesn't take away from the fun that these two...

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Review: 'The Last Face' falls flat

Posted September 04,2017 - 06:56 PM

Last face

What do you get when you pair a couple of Academy Award winning actors with an Academy Award winning actor turned director? If you said, "an awards season contender that will appeal to all audiences," then you would be siding with logic. If, however, you were watching The Last Face, then you would have something different altogether.

Don't get me wrong, I love Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem has turned in some great work in the last decade, but something just seems off in The Last Face. The film is Director Sean Penn's follow-up to Into the Wild which is a film that I absolutely adored.

It seems to be a curious choice then that a decade later Penn would make this film his next directorial project. It seems that the world has changed a lot in the intervening ten years and the...

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