Recent Action Posts

November 27, 2007

Hitman (The Movie) Review

Although it is not getting drug through the mud by press, the movie was a disapointment. Jordan and I went to see it before Thanksgiving, and we should have seen Beowulf.

In the video game series, Agent 47 is a clone, all the assassins are clones. In the movie, they are just orphans raised to be silent assassins. So the fact that they have bar codes tatood to the back of theirs heads makes no sense in the movie. They have bar codes in the game because they are clones.

The movie has many plot threads, a couple of which are just plain confusing, and the hooker plot thread is entirely uneeded. Why does 47 need her again? One plot line, maybe more, were not fully resolved, but I am not about to see it again to try and figure it out.

The movie has a heck of a lot of action. The action is not bad. But this is a movie based on a video game called Hitman, not Blow Shit Up All The Time. Its the same thing as if they made a movie and called it Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid and in realiity it was just Die Hard 4 with the title of Splinter Cell.

Agent 47 makes stealth kills, that is his job, and that is how he gets paid. Hells bells, the second game is even called Silent Assassin.

While Dougray Scott played a believable role, Timothy Olyphant is not a cold hearted killer. He looks like a big ole' teady bear with his head shaved. He worked in Die Hard 4 quite well, not in Hitman, though.

The movie has a funny sex scene. Nika gets on top of 47 and tries to seduce him into having sex. Having no social skills whatsover, he plants a syringe in the topless womans neck, nocking her out.

Another funny bit, as 47 breaks through a hotel window running away from the Russian police, two kids are playing Hitman: Blood Money. It is a split second clip, but you see the iconic back of 47's head (in the video game).

The movie had decent action, a couple scenes with tits, and some rye humor, but it was not a Hitman movie.

It is worth seeing at the matenee price.

May 23, 2006

DVD Review: High Tension

High Tension makes no sense. There's no need to discuss plot points, dialogue, or acting, because this movie makes no sense. The ending is the real killer here, not the guy walking around with a saw chopping people up. It's a shame too, because the movie lives up to its name until the final moments.

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April 25, 2006

DVD Review: Breakdown

Every once in a while, movie fans are blindsided. In the case of 1997 in the midst of all the hype over Titanic, out pops tiny and ignored Breakdown. This small $35 million masterpiece of a thriller is engrossing from the moment it begins to a classic movie bad guy death that's appropriate for the superbly fleshed out villain. It's one of Kurt Russell's finest and one of the best the genre has ever seen.

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November 23, 2005

DVD Review: King Kong (1933)

There has never been anything like King Kong. Not the remakes, not the cartoons, and certainly not any book. It’s a visual treat, even now over 70 years later, and a testament to what can be achieved on film.

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November 16, 2005

Walking Tall (2004) DVD Review

Walking Tall needs to breathe. This has to be one of the shortest movies to come from a major studio in some time, but the length is perfect for what it is. If you want straightforward action, Walking Tall is what you're looking for.

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November 1, 2005

Star Wars: Episode III DVD Review

The first film in the series to be rated higher than PG, this is a dark, brutal, and incredible farewell to the series that couldn't avoid being criticized simply based on expectations. Episode III is unrelenting in special effects, flawlessly creating worlds we've never been to, making this a fresh sequel that still meshes with the rest of the series. The dialogue is brutal to sit through though.

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October 26, 2005

Batman Begins DVD Rant

This is not a DVD review. I will leave it up to someone more qualified to rate the audio quality and video transfer of this DVD. This is merely a rant.

There are two flavors of this DVD - a single disc and a two disc Deluxe Edition with extra features. An employee of an unnamed store told me there was a problem with the Deluxe Edition because of the comic book on the second disc, and they only got eight of them, with no more coming. It looks like I can buy it from Amazon, though. So I do not know what he is talking about. And I cannot find anything about a problem with the DVD by searching through many sites.

Here comes the rant part. Even the two disc set has no commentary track by Christopher Nolan. While I would like to see the features (they do look impressive), I am not going to buy it if there is no commentary from the director.

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August 30, 2005

Ong-bak DVD Review

There are hardly any words to describe the visual flair of Ong-bak. Tony Jaa is as intense as anyone on screen, refusing wires or special effects assistance. That's something you need to be aware of before watching. Most of the stunts included here shouldn't even be humanly possible without assistance, yet they're here.

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August 18, 2005

Cellular DVD Review

Written by a phone-obsessed Larry Cohen (he also wrote the tense Phone Booth with Colin Farrell), Cellular is a movie that relies on some logic gaps to get started. Characters do dumb things, and you can only yell at the screen in an attempt to help them overcome their mind block. Once things begin rolling, the action scenes start, and the tension can build, all of that is excused.

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August 5, 2005

Jaws 3 DVD Review

There was potential for Jaws 3. The original title, Jaws 3, People 0, would have made it the greatest film ever just based on the title. Anyone involved knew there was nowhere left for the series to go. Let's all take a moment to thank Universal for shooting that idea down and leaving us scarred for life with this disaster.

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August 4, 2005

Orca DVD Review

Not content to just destroy King Kong in 1976, a year later Dino De Laurentiis decided the success of Jaws was enough to warrant Orca. This "killer whale gone mad" flick might have had some merit if it's obvious the release wasn't so obviously a cash-in. There's a fantastic performance by Richard Harris, and Bo Derek takes her first role in a movie that's just not worth watching.

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June 5, 2005

Airwolf: Season 1 DVD Review

Airwolf is one of those 80's shows that simply wouldn't work today. It has nothing to do with the quality, and everything to do with the way it was filmed. There's no model work, no CG, and everything was done the way it should be: live. That's not to say corners were not cut to save on the budget (said to be around $1 million per episode), it's just refreshing to go back 20 years and see stunts like this pulled off without the assistance of computers.

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March 8, 2005

Pirates of the Caribbean DVD Review

They don't make them like this anymore. From the production values, witty script, to the booming soundtrack by Klaus Badelt, "Pirates of the Caribbean" is an incredible, wild ride worthy of the term "new classic." Regardless of its flaws, this is a movie that will sneak right into your memory and stay there for countless reasons, not the least of which is Johnny Depp's performance.

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January 10, 2005

The Punisher DVD Review

It's great to see a movie make no compromise in staying true to the comic book it's based on. "The Punisher" is unrelenting when it has a chance to be violent, something other adaptations have failed to do. That means little when you see the final product.

Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) has made his final bust and is planning his retirement. When things go awry during a party, his family is murdered and he is thrust into a battle with Howard Saint (John Travolta), a Tampa underworld king. Seeking vengeance, Castle begins to dismantle Saint's group one by one until his revenge is complete.

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December 26, 2004

Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban DVD Review

Whether or not you read the books, there's hardly any denying that the "Harry Potter" movies work really well. Now on their third iteration, the films continue on the same path, even with a change of directors. "Prisoner of Azkaban" offers up and incredible amount of entertainment for just about any age group while adding to the lead characters story better than any other film in the series.

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December 11, 2004

Spiderman 2 Collector's DVD Gift Set Review

If super heroes really did exist, we would take them for granted. That or we would submit them to non-stop genetic experiments to find out what makes them tick. Seems that Peter Parker is starting to figure all of this out in the incredible "Spiderman 2." It doesn't make for a bad DVD set either.

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December 3, 2004

Riki-Oh: Story of Ricky (Lai wong) DVD Review

Certain movies require a little investigation before viewing. You shouldn't just walk into the video store and grab whatever you see. If you do, you may very well walk out with something like "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky." Never has such a level of gore been attained in a feature film and unless you know what you're getting into, you probably shouldn't be putting this one into the DVD player.

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Aladdin Platinum Edition DVD Review

Not everyone had the opportunity to grow up during the peak of Disney animation. "Bambi" was likely ancient by the time most of us were born. That doesn't mean it's any less enjoyable, but every generation should have one to remember their childhood by. For a lot of us, that movie is "Aladdin."

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Blade II DVD Review

After the surprising success of "Blade," it's no surprise that four years later a sequel was spawned. A new director in tow, "Blade II" is the typical sequel, a lesser version of the original. That's not saying that the film is a failure, just a step down due to a few missteps and some really nasty CG work.

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December 1, 2004

Blade DVD Review

Simple creatures as they are, vampires have been around for what seems like eternity. They have also filled our movie screens for seemingly just as long. No will likely ever forget Universal's original treatment back in 1931, but much like the legend itself, the movies have tweaked their origins to suit themselves. "Blade" is a fantastic, brutal, and wild ride with a great new look at how these creatures live. And die.

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November 21, 2004

The League of Extraordinary Gentleman DVD Quickie Review

I have heard good things about this DVD. I picked it up used yesterday and I am very glad I did. I probably should have spent the money to see this in the theater. What a wild ride! Great movie, a lot of fun.

The DVD extras are great, and more then I expected from just reading the box. The Behind the Scenes documentary was longer and better then most. 12 deleted scenes too!

The Good: Another comic book/graphic novel brought to life that does not suck! The twist from super heros to literary figures is a nice change, Tom Sawyer was a nice touch.

The Bad: The worst CG in the movie was when the building blows up in Kenya at the beginning of the movie. The fire looked fine, the initial explosion look really bad.

There is defiantly a market for the comic book genre, and not everyone thinks these movies are hot. That being said, this niche has proven lucrative for the movie industry.

Final Thought: Great movie and great DVD.

October 14, 2004

The Day After Tomorrow DVD Review

Some people have the will to survive. No matter the situation, this small group of humans will find a way to make it out alive. In the case of "The Day After Tomorrow," this seems to be every major character. A simple yet spectacular looking disaster movie in the first hour, the film takes a wild and totally incomprehensible turn in the second half all while leaving logic out of the script.

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September 19, 2004

Die Hard: With a Vengeance DVD Review

For an action franchise to succeed, the series must continually up the ante, throwing characters in even more unbelievable situations. "Die hard: With a Vengeance" does just that. It's fast, it's funny, and light years ahead of the disappointing "Die hard 2."

Once again, John McClane (Bruce Willis) finds himself on the wrong end of a bad day. A terrorist bomber named Simon (Jeremy Irons) is holding the entire city of New York hostage, requesting only McClane perform a wild series of tasks. Caught up in the mix is Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson), forced to tag along after inadvertently getting involved. With the police caught up in the situation, the terrorist group begins their plan of robbing the Federal Reserve Bank of $140 billion worth of gold.

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Die Hard 2 DVD Review

Vaulted into international superstardom with the release of the $80 million blockbuster "Die Hard," Bruce Willis became a household name practically overnight. Two years later, most of the cast and crew return for another round of action and comedy, but something went wrong. Missing the frantic pace of the original (or any respectable acting), "Die Hard 2" falls flat.

John McClane (Willis) waits for his wife who is soon to land at Dulles Airport in Washington. Suspecting something is wrong, he is soon entangled in terrorist plot to rescue a drug lord from captivity. Leading the technically advanced group is Colonel Stuart (William Sadler) who soon discovers his plans going awry when McClane makes the first kill. Keeping his wife's plane in the air as a threat by cutting power to the landing strip, McClane has a short amount of time to help the numerous aircraft stranded in the air and make sure the escaping fugitive fails to make an exit.

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Die Hard DVD Review

Bruce Willis was a virtual unknown at the time he secured the lead role of John McClane in "Die Hard." His biggest stint was on the TV series "Moonlighting," making this film just a slight change of pace. Add in a mix of Hollywood's best action writers, producer and director, and you've got an American classic.

John Mclane (Willis) gets off his plane in New York, hoping to meet his estranged wife during a business party at Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve. After finding her inside the 40-story building, a group of international terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) begins their plan to steal $640 million worth of bonds from a secured safe inside the building. Unbeknownst to them, the 11-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department beings to slowly dismantle their plans along with the help of a few friends.

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September 14, 2004

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III DVD Review

It has to be hard to keep a movie series going for three installments. "Jaws 3" failed miserably, "Robocop 3" was abominable, "Alien 3" didn't do so well, and it's better to forget "Critters 3." Yet another failure was "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III" which premiered a bit late into the merchandising phenomenon. The "Power Rangers" had settled in for their invasion and it doesn't take much thought to figure out that a distinct lack of care presides over this final film in the series.

April O'Neal (Paige Turco, reprising her role from the second film) finds an ancient Japanese scepter at a pawnshop. Preparing to present the gift to Splinter, it suddenly sucks her into a time warp, sending her back Japan in the year 1603. The Turtles figure out the scepter and send themselves back in order to rescue April. Stuck in Japan, the four shelled heroes now must also defend a small clan from an overbearing warlord and his English counterpart.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II DVD Review

You'll find a lot of people who consider the original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" to be a classic. I'm one of them. However, I'm in the minority of people who considers the sequel to be a classic as well, just on an entirely different level. Though it doesn't follow the comic book, lightening the mood and upping the humor level gives the film the tone of the cartoon that more people are familiar with.

The Shredder, surviving the fall into the garbage truck at the end of the first film, kidnaps Professor Jordan Perry, head of TGRI, the company responsible for mutating the turtles. Creating two monstrosities of his own named Tokka and Rahzar with the scientists help, Shredder takes the advantage and even has the final canister of ooze that could mutate the heroes back into normal amphibians. With the deck stacked against them, the Turtles head into action with their new partner Keno (Ernie Reyes Jr.) to stop the Foot Clan from a complete take over of New York.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles DVD review

Pop quiz: Name the most successful independently produced film in Hollywood history. Stumped? You're reading a review of the DVD right now. Hotter than Pokemon at their peak, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a merchandising machine, and their current comeback is pretty strong as well. It didn't get much bigger than this however, the first feature film.

Four mutated, talking, teenage turtles and their master, a giant, mutant, talking rat name Splinter, begin to defend New York against a major crime wave. At the heart of this big news story is the Foot Clan, led by Splinter's old nemesis Iroku Sakai, otherwise known as Shredder. With their master kidnapped by this group of thugs, the turtles join together with news reporter April O'Neal (Judith Hoag) and Casey Jones (Elisas Koteas) to rescue Splinter and save the city from the menace.

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Rambo III DVD Review

Believe it or not, Rambo is named after a brand of apples. Yes, one of the single greatest Green Berets in movie history is named after a fruit. I can't say for certain if the apple company still exists, but the movies are still revered by many as the greatest action films of all time. The series ended here with "Rambo III," a disappointment at the box office when it failed to make back one of the largest budgets in movie history at the time. This couldn't possibly be a surprise to anyone viewing it.

Working at a monastery and stick fighting on the side for extra cash, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) now lives the solitary life. He is once again approached by his former commander, Colonel Samuel Trautman (Richard Crenna) to head into Afghanistan to help rebel forces fend off a Russian invasion. Refusing the offer, Trautman goes in with planned group but is captured. Unable to accept his commander and friends are held behind enemy lines, Rambo agrees to go in with minimal help to rescue the hostages.

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September 12, 2004

Rambo: First Blood Part II DVD Review

The "popcorn movie" is a tradition in Hollywood. These are the movies that lack any sort of logic, plot, or believable acting, but are so much fun, you find yourself enjoying them in the anyway. It could be argued that "Rambo II: First Blood" is the original. You'll never see another movie with such a low level of logic produced again anytime soon. But, who cares? It's fun.

John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is serving a rather short prison sentence for his crimes in the first film. Recruited by Colonel Samuel Trautman (Richard Crenna reprising his role), the man who trained him, Rambo is sent back in to Vietnam to see if any P.O.W.s remain. Though told only to photograph, Rambo takes things into his own hands along with Co Bao (Julia Nickson-Soul), learning the truth behind the camp in the process.

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First Blood DVD Review

It's a shame that the "Rambo" series de-evolved into a cheap knock-off of other countless action movies. Most people write off the first film like they do the sequels. The original is a brutal, vicious, fight for survival against a small town that rejected the Vietnam War hero, based off an even more violent book. "First Blood" is not for the squeamish, but a great way to spend an evening if you don't mind some pretty grim scenes.

John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) visits the small town of Hope, trying to find a friend he met in Vietnam. Upon his arrival, he finds his friend is dead (from cancer caused by the war) and is ushered out of town by the local sheriff (Brian Dennehy). Refusing to leave, he is taken in and abused by the authorities. After lashing out, he heads for a forest just outside of town where the battle between the Green Beret and local police force begins.

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August 15, 2004

Kill Bill Vol. 2 DVD Review

Ever watch a movie in a theater and leave being completely unsure about what you've just seen? You get into the car and just kind of stare blankly at the dash, baffled by what just unfolded. "Kill Bill Vol. 1" was one of those movies except for the fact that I stared at my TV screen after watching the DVD. I was confused, unsure if what I had just seen was entertaining. "Kill Bill Vol. 2" solved my quandary. The Bride (Uma Thurman), having finished off two people from her "list," immediately begins seeking vengeance on the final three people who tried murdering her during a wedding rehearsal. Budd (Michael Madsen), Elle (Daryl Hannah), and of course Bill himself (David Carradine), prepare for the wrath of the Bride. What she doesn't know is that her daughter is actually alive and in the hands of Bill. Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" opens with an ingenious segment in which all of the films main characters are finishing off a meal. The segment leads into a highly entertaining argument about tipping the waitress. Though it has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film, this single scene enables viewers to get a feel for each of the characters in brilliant fashion. The snappy and witty dialogue the director is famous for tries to be transferred into this second chapter of the "Kill Bill" saga. One has to wonder what went wrong. This is a film so wildly different from the first you have to wonder how they can be connected (they are technically the same movie, simply split into two parts). Where the first edition was kinetic, fast, and full of energy, this second part is dull, lifeless, and lacks any real tension. You would have to be an idiot not to figure out that Bill would meet his demise by the end of the film. The plot of the entire saga is as paper-thin as an ancient 8-bit video game: "You're out for revenge against those that betrayed you! Fight off the 5 bosses and give them what they deserve!" Of course, that's really not what's important here. Tarantino is as gifted as they come with a camera and it shows here. Even if you know nothing about the way a film is made, you will still appreciate some of the shots produced here. The acting is also great, particularly David Carradine. The problem here is that the maddening pace and dialogue just don't work. In a nearly 20-minute scene, Tarantino gives a wonderful homage to 70's Chinese kung-fu films with Gordon Lu playing the old and wise martial arts expert. While certainly a well produced segment (probably the best in the film, including the classic quick-zoom camera shots) it's only purpose is to give an explanation for how The Bride finds her way out of an early tomb in ridiculous fashion. Most of the character-oriented segments here are not the least bit entertaining, funny, or dramatic. The characters that were so wild and fun in the first film are nowhere to be found. Gone is the dark comedy from the opening scene from part one. Gone are the wonderfully over-the-top and wonderfully shot fight scenes. All that's left are some minor conversations that really have no reason to be included. In this one, we get a drunken bouncer and a woman who's only purpose is to add a minor piece to the Gordon Lu segment mentioned above. Nearly all of their conversations are useless. Towards the end, Thurman makes a stop in Mexico, which I see absolutely no reason for. Usually in a Tarantino film this is welcome pacing, but here they just don't have underlying comedy that fills his other films like "Pulp Fiction." Admittedly, the final 30-minutes are great, if only for David Carradine's outstanding performance. This is the point of the movie where the dialogue finally kicks into the Tarantino style. It just works, even if he does drag on a bit too long. Carradine rambles on about a dead, stepped on fish, and other completely insane topics, all the while making his character even more inherently evil. THAT'S what this movies dialogue needed for the entire running time: Purpose. (** out of *****) Miramax presents "Kill Bill Vol. 2" in 2.35:1 widescreen, preserving the wonderful cinematography the way it should be. The color is here is way over the top, but it looks gorgeous and it all holds together. Some severe edge enhancement is noticeable early on, but about a half-hour in, you won't notice it again. A few of the scenes have excessive grain, but this is usually for effect. The black-and-white segments have excellent black and contrast levels. Compression is never an issue, making this one just shy of reference quality. (****) Viewers have the option of listening to the film in either standard 5.1 or DTS. The DTS track seems almost unnecessary considering most of the film is front loaded, but the "buried alive" scene must be heard using the format. Only a few brief moments feature rear speaker usage. Fight scenes are disappointingly dull, even though they have numerous opportunities. The LFE channel is used effectively when it is called upon, but these are really the only highlights. (***) It's already been said (in a rather controversial style) that these films will eventually be treated to massive special editions, so the extras here are less than adequate. A roughly half-hour feature on the making of the film talks about some key scenes and how they were done, but interest level here is low. The only other extras include a brief deleted scene and a musical performance from the film's premiere. (**) This is a movie I was definitely looking forward to. I didn't have the opportunity to see it in theaters, but it's hard to believe the big screen would make this anymore tolerable. The few flashes of brilliance are marred by twice as many moments of sheer boredom. This is a film that needed to be trimmed down quite a bit before release.

June 15, 2004

Treasure Planet DVD Review

Treasure Planet was an ambitious project for Disney. The cost was astronomical, but it shows through on screen. The odd mix of traditional hand drawn animation and computer generated imagery is hit or miss but it certainly has a look all its own. Sadly, the movie was the biggest flop in the history of the long standing studio making a meager $32 million back from a budget close to $200 million. This is probably the reason the DVD was released only in single-disc form as opposed to this and a separate 2-disc limited edition like most of their new films. Treasure Planet retells the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale of Treasure Island with a futuristic sci-fi twist. Rebellious teenager Jim Hawkins (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) stumbles upon a map leading to a planet that is loaded with buried treasure. Along with Doctor Delbert Doppler (David Pierce), he sets off on a ship to find the legendary planet, unaware that some of the crewmembers are not on board just for the flight. The new spin put on this classic is certainly imaginative and the characters are lively, but the entire experience is just dull. It almost seems like the film is just going through the paces without any real effort. Sure the animation is strong (superb even), but all the action just seems contrived and forced. In fact, there is very little here that separates this one from a standard Saturday morning cartoon (only this is 90 minutes). But, as mentioned before, the animation here is just stunning. The mix of CG and classic hand drawn animation works through most of the film. There are a few moments where it doesn't seem quite right, but you might be surprised to learn how some of the CG was used. The budget was certainly put to good use. Sadly, this is just about the only thing the film has going for it. This is a standard cartoon that will likely please some of the younger kids, but as far as a family film goes, this one completely misses the mark. (** out of *****) Treasure Planet is presented in 1.66:1 widescreen. Kudos to Disney for including liner notes as to why this is the best way to watch the film. Of course, they also say to use the zoom feature to eliminate the "black bars," but at least they tried something to show people the superiority of the format. This is a direct digital transfer, something the company has been doing for sometime. This is a miraculous transfer thanks to this process that completely eliminates film grain. Some of the brighter reds and blues exhibit some compression problems, but this is only apparent a few times. It's not quite as sharp as say, A Bug's Life, but this is still one of the best looking animated films on the market today. (****) Immersing you into the film's world is a great 5.1 Dolby Surround mix, assaulting the viewer from every angle. Numerous scenes contain ambient sounds in the rears while the characters move around the front sound field. Action scenes are stunning; a few of them reference quality. The bass is occasionally weaker than it should be, but this is a minor complaint. (*****) The disc isn't the packed extravaganza you would expect from such an expensive film, but a few features are interesting. Oddly, the menus here are just awful, with the same features scattered across different segments of the disc multiple times. The special features menu is split into four sections: Space Adventure, deleted scenes, behind the scenes, and commentary. First up is the unique commentary that not only features a few of the producers and directors talking about the film, but cuts away to various features so you can learn even more. When the clip is done, you'll go right back to the film where you left off. Once you select this, you will have to watch all the features. You can't choose which you want to watch. Three deleted scenes are included and feature not only an alternate ending, but a new opening as well. These three scenes are in various stages of completion and are introduced by the directors. There are 5 different small featurettes that cover various stages of the production, none of them much longer than 5 minutes. Disney's Animation Magic is a 14-minute feature hosted by Roy Disney that looks at the process the studio goes through to create a feature like this. There is some great information here and it is worth a look. Next is a 12-minute look at pirates, from the myths to the facts. Finally is an adventure game that takes place on a tour of the RLS Legacy, the main ship in the film and a music video. (***) This will likely be the final time Disney tries this combination of CG and hand drawn animation so it's a shame the movie wasn't better. It is truly a unique look and as a DVD enthusiast, this one is probably worth a look, but the movie itself is hard to recommend. The special features are hardly up to par either, though worth a look if you rent the disc. Otherwise, this one is for the younger set only.

June 5, 2004

Flight of the Navigator DVD Review

The years following the release of the classic Steven Spielberg movie E.T. brought on a flurry of cheap rip-offs, each one trying to cash in on the movie's popularity. One of those was the 1986 Disney film Flight of Navigator, directed by Randal Kleiser (Grease). This time travel family film brought in a meager $18 million at the box office. It deserved a lot more. 12-year old David Freeman (Joey Cramer) is all set for a great 1978 Fourth of July celebration when he falls down a ditch deep in a forest looking for his brother. When he wakes up, he's 8 years in the future and hasn't aged a day. He's lost, confused, and scared as his parents have not only moved, but of course aged. The authorities get a hold of NASA who soon take David to study him. At the same time, they find a flying saucer that seems to have a connection with the child. With the help of an intern (a young Sarah Jessica Parker), he escapes for a wild ride on the ship with the help of Max (Paul Reubens), a computerized robot eye. I'm not sure what to say about this movie. Anyone who seen it as a child loved it during the theatrical run back in 1986 and anyone who sees it today will have fun. This is a perfect family film with some great special effects, strong acting, and it's a wild ride throughout. The time travel aspects can be confusing to a child (I had no clue what was going on when I was younger), but they'll still have fun thanks to the spaceship, cute creatures, great music, and wisecracking robot. After you've shown the young ones E.T. for the first time, sit them down with this one next. (**** out of *****) Flight of the Navigator is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. I'm unsure if this is the proper aspect ratio as I've read from various sources that it was filmed as wide as 2.35:1 and some people even say it was cropped for theaters (highly unlikely). Regardless, this is the best the movie has ever looked, suffering from only excessive grain in some scenes (especially early on). Colors are perfect without any bleeding and black levels are solid. It's not reference material, but considering the age of the film, this is superb. (****) Listening to the film is quite a treat even though it's only presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround. The sound field is quite active, especially the soundtrack. Check out the music around the 47-minute mark for a nice showcase. Some of the sound effects make their way into the rears as well. The lack of any real bass is a disappointment, but this a great 2.0 mix and probably one of the better uses of the format I've heard. (***) Sadly, this disc is completely void of extras. The disc starts up with some full-screen previews for other Disney features, but that's it. Chapter stops are minimal. There isn't even a trailer for the feature. (*) If you have kids under the age of 10 in your house, this movie is an absolute must have. Actually, you should probably have it anyway. Completely underrated and almost forgotten, this movie has stood the test of time. Disney has done a great job with the presentation of the movie as well. It's a shame that it's devoid of features though.

May 23, 2004

The Haunting DTS DVD review

Based off not only a book but a 1963 movie regarded as a classic, Jan De Bont's "The Haunting" has alot to live up to. Both the book and original movie are held in high regard so the advent of computer special effects should take this story to new heights. Then again, the man who gave us Speed 2 could completely blow it and make one of the most awful movies in recent years. Yeah, that's more like it.

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May 19, 2004

Enter the Dragon Special Edition DVD Review

Bruce Lee is probably one of those people who will never be forgotten. His legacy is simple invicible, staying alive in movies like this. Enter the Dragon is the epitome of martial arts movies, a genre bogged down by so many cheap low budget knock offs that it's downright disgusting. Here is the pinnacle on DVD yet again, this time in a 2-disc form for the first time. Han, a rich, mysterious man invites a group of the worlds best fighters to his island to compete in a tournament. Here, he trains hundereds of students in the martial arts and completes some rather shaky buisness deals involving illegal drugs. Bruce Lee gets caught up not only in the tournament, but has been hired by the British government to figure out exactly what Han is doing on the island.

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May 15, 2004

Bad Boys II DVD Review

I can't imagine what it's like to make a movie with Jerry Bruckheimer, Don Simpson, and Michael Bay. These guys know one thing: How to make things blow up. Bad Boys was a huge hit for the crew back in 1995 and here we are in 2003 with a long time in coming sequel. Though far from the quality of the original, there's still enough here to recommend for people who like things blowing up and a car chase that rivals anything else ever put on film. Martin Lawrence and Will Smith return, playing 2 Miami cops, this time to catch a violent ecstacy dealer smuggling the substance in the most unusual way imaginable. Countless sub-plots are tossed in, one involving Will Smith and Lawrences sister and yet another dealing with Lawrnces emotional issues. It all leads to an explosive finale in Cuba for the final showdown. There is very little story here. Most of the character interaction only serves to extend the running time way over the 2 hour mark. The superb action sequences are a sight to behold (including the stunning car chase mentioned above), but the minute storyline surrounding them doesn't make them anymore intersting like it should. Smith and Lawrence are gut-busting hilarious, but the language used here is asinine. Not that it's offending, but it's mostly used as an attempt to increase the comedy factor. That's not good writing. Also, some of the CG effects used in the action scenes are painfully obvious. Still, this is a sequel that does what it's supposed to do: Make everything louder, bigger, and crazier. In that, is succeeds. (*** out of *****)

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May 8, 2004

Twister DVD DTS Edition Review

Twister still ranks high as far as summer movies go. This one drew huge crowds and the money this one raked in is disgusting, much like Jan De Bonts other actionfest, Speed. Did it deserve it? Probably. This is a great popcorn action flick and an outstanding disc to boot. Bill Paxton stars as a storm chaser along with his extranged wife played by Helen Hunt. Their goal is to get a look inside a tornado with the newly developed machine called "Dorothy." It sends up hundereds of tiny little receptors that capture all the data about the twister and send it back to their computers. Of course, there is a rival group with better equipment out to do the same thing. It's an intense ride that has them not only battling the elements, but trying to save thier jobs as well. This is not a movie you should expect to go into expecting a deep plot. The romantic storyline is really unnecessary and only serves to give a little bit of backstory to the characters, setting it up for the disaster to come. This one is all about insane action and spectacular effects that still hold up. Some of the sequences are just ridiculous, but as far as braindead action movies go, this is a classic. (**** out of *****)

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April 27, 2004

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 1 DVD review

At age 7, it caught me: Ninja Turtle mania. Mere words cannot express my love at that age for these comic book creations. For countless years at Halloween (and other days I deemed neccesary), I'd don the home-made-by-mom costume of Donatello and kick some major ass.....well, thin air actually. But that's beside the point. Now their on DVD in animated form and my life couldn't be better (or sadder if you stop to think how overjoyed I am about a nearly 15 year old cartoon being on DVD....and still remembering the lines). This set contains all 5 episodes of season 1. Yeah, only 5 episodes. But, Artisan has been kind enough to toss on 4 extra episodes that never made it to the airwaves when the show finally met its demise in the mid 90's. So, that brings us to a total of 9 episodes (roughly 3 hours of glorious entertainment) forever preserved digitally. The first 5 episodes deal with the origins of the turtles, the beginnings of Shredder and Krang's "relationship," and the beginnings of other various characters who would become the centerpiece of the series. The extra 4 episodes are better off forgotten, one including the mutated amoeba known as the "Globfather" (yeah, Globfather). The single DVD package is housed inside a cardboard slipcase featuring embossed artwork. Each episode is presented in full frame and is surprisngly clear. Compression problems will be evident on high end set-ups, but everyone else should have little trouble. The only scratches occur on the animation cells themselves and are really bad in a few episodes. It's hilarious to see a fingerprint suddenly appear and then dissapear. The newer (unaired) episodes look a bit better than the older ones, but only in the area of the colors which are a bit brighter. This is most likely due to the tone of the episodes than the DVD itself. The sound is basic Dolby 2 channel stereo and is hardly better than any VHS version. Come on, you KNOW you loved TMNT II. Vanilla Ice prancing around a stage proclaiming "Ninja Rap!" is too much for anyone not to enjoy. Though the cartoon never quite reached those cinematic highs, anyone who grew up with this classic series should immediately pick up this disc. Here's hoping season 2 is not far behind.

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April 23, 2004

Master and Commander 2-DVD review

Ten Academy Award nominations is alot for any movie. Whether or not it deserved that many could certainly be debated, but Master and Commander is still decent entertainment. Plus, as far as a home theater film, they don't come much better. Oh, and it has cannons too....lots of cannons. Master and Commander tells the story of the HMS Surprise and it's humungous crew. Their mission on the waters sends them out to capture the Acheron, a French boat headed off to potentially start a war. As expected as a viewer, things don't quite go as planned and the more advanced French boat hands them a beating. Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) is determined to complete his given task and pursues the boat against the will of his crew. This is the furthest thing from an all out action movie I've seen in some time. Don't be taken by the trailers. It's still a great movie, but there is far too much padding and unneccesary development. Take about a half hour off the running time and you've got a near perfect movie. Granted, I know nothing of the acuracy of the film (I've never even ridden a paddle boat at a theme park), but it looks real to these eyes. The final action sequence is also confusing as it's nearly impossible to tell who is actually killing whom, but hey, it's got cannons......lots of cannons. M & C is available in 3 DVD seperate editons. There is a standard single disc edition in both full screen (ack!) and widescreen. Also available for a ludicrous price of $29.99 or $34.99 depending on where you shop (more on that later) is a 2-disc "Collectors Edition," packed with features. The movie, print, and sound is presumed to be the same quality on all 3. Reviewed here is the 2-disc. Presented in a very wide 2.40:1 aspect ratio, this movie is gorgeous. The print starts off very dark to set a claustrophobic mood and the contrast with the bright skin tones is awe-inspiring. A few of the foggier sequences have noticeable grain, but this could also be the effect of the fog. It's very hard to tell. The sequences shot on the Galapogos islands are spectacular in their beauty and the DVD captures everything with fine detail. Now, I think I may have mention cannons a few times. Simply put, their a home theater fanatics dream weapon. This movie proves it with the best sound field I've heard all year in either DTS or DD 5.1. The LFE channel literally sounds like it's exploding right along with the cannons and oh, those glorious water effects. Even duruning non-action sequences, rest assured you'll hear water hitting the boat, people walking on the floors above, and thunder roaring in the background from every angle. You can even track the movement of those wonderful cannonballs by just listening. Simply put, if your hearing to this movie through a set of TV speakers, your not really hearing this movie. Now....about that price point: I have no idea how Fox can logically get away selling a measly 2-disc set for an outrageous $34.99. The Lord of the Ring 4-disc sets hardly sell for that price. Hell, I bought the plexi-glass encased Schindlers List gift set this weekend for only $27.99. That comes with a senitype, 40+ hardbound page book, soundtrack, and more things that have slipped my mind. There's not even a cool case to go along with M&C. The only notable inclusion is a 28-page book full of purty pictures. Granted, this set is packed with special features. Sadly, I'm going to do something that I don't normally do because I'm not feeling all that well. The following is IGN's overview of the features. I'm just not up to typing this much right now: "The only thing that keeps this from scoring a ten for extras is the lack of a commentary track. I must admit I'm surprised, because we get so much insight in the extras, you'd think director Peter Weir would lend his voice for the commentary track. Starting on disc two is a 70 minute documentary The Hundred Days, which details many aspects of the shoot, from pre-production to post-production. It's a genuine, in-depth documentary, not EPK fluff. Shot in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen video with two-channel audio, it's a great guide through the work done on this film, from building the mock up to training the crew to live like sailors. In The Wake Of O'Brian is a 21-minute featurettes hosted by Weir, since O'Brian died in 2000, discussing the adaptation work of the novels. Cinematic Phasmids is a 30 minute featurettes, the first of three, on the effects of the film. This was quite insightful, as they showed how many scenes were shot without using CG. All of these segments are in 1.85:1 video as well. Sound Design is a 20-minute featurette on capturing the sounds of the movie, and proves rather comical as we watch these Hollywood sound men out in an open field in snowy Michigan firing off Civil War-era cannons to record the sound. There's also an Interactive Cannon Demonstration, which lets the viewer listen to the cannon firing recordings from different locations. The last featurettes is the HBO First Look, which is the most redundant and fluffy of the featurettes. There are a total of six scenes running a whopping 24 minutes, presented in widescreen but boxed in on all four sides on my TV. All of these were slower scenes that would have really dragged the movie down, so they were wisely jettisoned. There are three Multi-Angle Studies showing the filming of three scenes from a variety of angles, including one from the director's perspective. The Split-Screen Vignette lets the viewer access all the cameras at once via split screen. Finally, there are four Still Galleries, including concept art, Naval art and technical drawings, and a selection of trailers for the film." There you have it. You decide if it's worth $30+ or not. The single disc should please enough people with it's incredible display of video and sound. The movie itself is strong enough as well. Oh, and if you love this movie and don't have a home theater yet, you now have a reason. Note: Best Buy includes an exclusive 3rd disc that features a nearly 30 minute documentary on the movie. Not great, but it's a nice touch and a better documentary than the HBO First Look.

April 5, 2004

Panic Room 3 disc DVD set review

Panic Room is a great, tension filled, somewhat action oriented movie from David Fincher, probably most famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) for Alien 3. Sony has just released a 3-disc feature packed set to make up for the intial featureless Superbit disc. While the debate could be brought up as to whether or not this movie is actually worthy enough for a set like this, there's no denying this is one of the most comprehensive looks at the art of filmaking ever put together. Panic Room follows Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her diabetic daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) as they settle into a new house. A specific room of this new residence is obviously the focal point of the film. When their house is invaded by 3 thugs (led by Forest Whittaker), the mother and daughter combo rush off into the panic room and lock themselves inside. Problem here is that the entire reason the criminals broke into the house lies within the panic room. What follows is a great story of two groupos of people trying to outwit each other and make it out with their lives. What makes Panic Room so unique is it's intense camera work and undeniable style. Very little light ever makes it's way into the film and the camera moves which are done traditionally as well as CG. Jodie Foster puts on a great performace, looking truly terrified throughout the entire running time. It's not perfect as it can be a bit slow, but there's no way the tension build up can be ignored. The first disc of this set features the movie (duh) and 3 seperate commentary tracks. The video on this disc is actually better than Sony's overhyped "Superbit" release. Grain is kept to an absolute minimum and the black levels (completely neccesary to the film) couldn't be much stronger. This really makes their entire Superbit line looks like a joke. The only thing missing is the DTS track, but the 5.1 mix included here is only marginally weaker. Most people won't even notice a difference. Disc 2 is laid out wonderfully. Each of the 3 discs feature outstanding menus with a CG replica of the house and a camera that takes you room-to-room depending on what you've selected. Pre-production takes you through the testing of the lighting, prep, storyboards, multi-angle storyboard versus final segments (with commentary), and more stuff you'd never even think you'd need to do to make a movie. Prduction includes a roughly hour long documentary on the actual shoot and a look at some of the makeup effects. Surprises include the fact that the entire house was built on a sound stage (inlcuding the street outside and next-door- apartment complex) for $6 million and something as simple as a cell phone was created using CG. Disc three continues the run through production and looks at some specific sequences and breaks them down piece by piece. Thanks to some text, you'll know how many frames per second the scene was filmed in, what type of camera was used, and what type of film stock. Even though I had no clue about what half of it meant, it's still fascinating. Another section leads viewers through each special effect sequence, some of which are hard to even imagine being a special effect. 21 shots in total are covered. Sound design and the films soundtrack are also covered extensively. This is one of the most complete and comprehensive DVD sets ever produced, even coming close to the massive Lord of the Rings 4-disc mega sets. If anything is wrong here, it's the packaging. The front simply says "Panic Room" in bold, red lettering on a black background. No picture, only Jodie Foster gets credit, and I can't imagine anyone picking this set up out of curiosity. The back doesn't even list a plot or storyline, only special features. Inside, things don't get much better. The 3 discs are housed seperately on plastic holders bound together by thin plastic strips. I don't see these lasting very long. Also, it too much to ask for a booklet or something? Obviously, this release will only appeal to 3 sets of people: Those deeply interested in filmmaking, die hard DVD fanatics, and those who dearly love the movie. I can't see it creating new fans thanks to the horrific cover art and those who are curious will be just fine with the single disc Superbit release. This set however will defintely be on "best of" lists by the end of the year, that much can be guaranteed. Thanks to it's outstanding look inside the process, better quality picture, and flawless menu system. This is a must buy for DVD fans.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) DVD Review

Matt recently reviewed the original. I'm sure every single die-hard fan of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre groaned loudly when they heard their 1974 "classic" was about to get the Hollywood treatment. Having not even seen the original, I still groaned. What's the purpose of remaking it when you could very easily produce another sequel? Well, here it is in 2-disc special edition glory from New Line.....and regardless of your thoughts or feelings, this is a must own set. Come on, do you really need a sypnosis? It's a teen-slasher flick. A group of kids (supposedly from 1973) all wearing clothes from the GAP they bought yesterday pick up a hitchiker. After blowing a hole in her head (in the movies only truly gruesome segment), the teens head into town to report the suicide. Well, this is the typical horror movie styled town and the kids get caught up in a sick game of cat and mouse. In this version, they are the mice, the cat weighs 300 pounds, and carries a chainsaw. This is hardly a great movie. It's hardly a scary movie. Hell, it's not even much of a massacre. It's bland and it doesn't even try to appease fans of the original. The documentary style feel (the only real saving grace of the original in my opinion) is gone which is enough to bury the entire movie. Anyone who gets scared by anything in this movie has obviously never seen a horror film within the past 20 years. The only saving grace is R. Lee Ermey who adlibs almost his entire role. Now onto the good stuff. This 2-dsic set (also available as a single disc, standard edition) is unreal. Presented in it's original ratio of 1:85:1, this movie is gorgeous. Dare I even say it's one of the best looking DVD's ever? Yes. This is going up against Pixar's digital stuff and Star Wars: Episode 2 which was shot entirely with digital cameras. Grain is completely missing, skin tones are miraculous, and the nightime sequences are flawless. This will be a hard disc to top for quite some time. As if the picture wasn't good enough, audio fanatics get treated to an obscenely good DTS ES 6.1 track. A 5.1 EX track is also available. The rear speakers get a stunning workout, the LFE channel couldn't get any deeper, and dialouge is crystal clear. This is by far one of the most immersive tracks I've heard this year and will undeniably keep that acclaim until years end. Of course, there is a reason why 2-discs are inside this case. The features on disc one include 3 seperate commentary tracks, each one focusing on a different aspect of production. Disc two is where the real meat of the set lies. Viewers get treated to a nice selection deleted scenes with commentary as to why they were cut. There's nothing spectacular here, but the cuts the MPAA forced them to make are weak to say the least. There's a 20 minute look at Ed Gein, the man who "inspired" the movie. It also looks at other films that follow in the same path including "Psycho." There's some screen tests, trailers, art galleries, and a music video as well. That's still not it though. The real heart of the disc is the 70+ minute behind the scenes making of feature. Though it does fall pray to the usual "actors kissing up to other actors" formula, it's an otherwise perfect look at the filming process. What's amusing is that early on they take cameras to a 30th anniversary showing of the original film. There's not a single person in that crowd who was looking forward to the remake. At the end of documentary, they grab some random people who had just walked out of the remake and everyone of them praises it. Come on guys, we all know your showing the only 4 people who actually njoyed it. How about a follow up with those who had seen the original? Still, this is a great look at the making of this movie and it's even presented in widescreen with 5.1 audio. Can't ask for much more that this. Or can you? Crammed into the verticaly unfolding case are "crime scene photos." As cheesy and unidentifiable as they are, their still better than the so called "metal faceplate." It's a piece of metal with the DVD cover art on it. That's it. It's doesn't attach to the front or anything. I'm completely baffled by what it is exactly that I'm supposed to do with it. Regardless of how much you dislike the movie, the filmmakers for "ruining the legend," or the wooden acting, if your a DVD fan you know you have to have this disc. Not even counting the great special features, this is a set worth owning for it's picture and sound quality alone. However, if you think that a "metal faceplate" is a mega cool bonus, then mayeb this set isn't for you.

March 31, 2004

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) DVD Review

The Texas Chainsaw Masacre is one of those movies you probably grew up hearing about. Too young to view it, you'd proudly proclaim to friends that you had seen it and make up all kinds of little white lies. Eventually, you'd finally have the pleasure of viewing Tobe Hoopers horror flick. Well, that time never actually came for least up until this week anyway. Thanks to the big budget theatrical remake, we get a DVD release to coincide and take advantage of the name. The story revolves around the usual group of teenagers, brought together due to a string of grave robbings. They decide to head out to a small Texas town and make sure a recently deceased member is still where they should be. What follows is a supposed retelling of semi-serial killer Ed Gein's story. Though loosely grounded in facts, the story is hardly true. It's a slasher flick that would set the ground rules for all those to follow and use the killers name to raw some more interest. Now, I'm well aware this movie was shot dirt cheap, somewhere in the $150,000 range. I'm well aware that this was pretty much the "first." I'm also well aware that countless other movies would go on to blatantly copy this one. Simply put, I don't care. It's terrible. It's poorly paced, the kid in the wheel chair couldn't be more annoying, that freakin' girl won't stop screaming, and the killings are the furthest thing from gruesome I've ever seen. The only pluses are the semi-documentary like film style and the dinner sequence near the finale. It's hardly been worth a 23 year wait for me. This DVD release doesn't help any either. The video is presented in a supposedly (and I quote) "painstakingly restored widescreen print." If this has been restored at all, it's a small miracle. Colors bleed, nightime sequences can hardly be made out, and grain dominates the print. The sound suffers a fate along the same lines. The new surround mix is hardly immersive as the packaging states. The rear speakers are used all of 5 times throughout the entire running time. The only other option is the original mono track. Extras seem promising enough. Deleted scenes, outtakes, trailers, still photo's, and a commentary track. Well the deleted sequences and outtakes not only feature zero audio, but are in such bad shape you can't make out what's going on. The photos are fine and feature various posters and still shots. Same goes for the trailers. The commentary has Tobe Hooper, the director of photography, and Leatherface himself, Gunner Hansen. I fully apologize to those who have firm memories of enjoying this film. This is just not a good movie. Other directors and filmakers have done so much better over the years, this one just gets buried. Note that I love low budget stuff and alot of my collection is nothing but B-movies. This one simply doesn't belong.

March 27, 2004

Rundown DVD Review

If there is such a thing as paint-by-numbers movie making, "The Rundown" is a perfect example. It's so cliched, so predictable, and so generic, you can actually guess half the dialouge and plot points before they even happen. However, when it's this much fun, who cares? The Rock/Dwayne Johnson plays Beck, a bounty hunter type who's tiring of the buisness and wants out. He agrees to one last job to earn $250,000, enough to live his dream: open his own restraunt. That job leads him into the heart of the Amazon to retrieve Travis, played hilariously as always by Sean William Scott. Things don't pan out quite as easily as Beck had planned. What follows are some of the most ludicrous action seqences ever put on film, using everything from CG to "wire-fu." It's dumb, it's fun, and it's a great ride for the full hour and half. Assuming you bought the proper disc, the film is presented in it's orignal 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It's a gorgeous print with deep blacks and some extreme color. In fact, the color is SO strong, I found it neccesary to fiddle with my otherwise perfect TV's color settings. I've never had to do this before with any movie. The sound is likewise spectacular with a full mix that immerses viewers directly into the action. The opening sequence in the dance club is a perfect example of how well mixed this disc is. Thumping bass, lots of screaming, and tons of things breaking make for a refrence quality sequence. While not an all-out special edition, the disc does have a nice variety of special features. There's a nice stack of deleted/extended scenes, a look at how they made Hawaii and California look like the Amazon, and a stupid look at the monkey sequence. 2 commentaries are also available for those interested, with the Rock featured on one having a blast talking about the movie. While certainly not a film for anyone who only believes art-house movies are the only ones worth watching, this is a mainstream movie where you could put your mind at ease and just laugh. It's not a classic actioner, but it's more than a worthwhile while to kill almost 2 hours. The Rock is here and I have a feeling we'll be seeing quite a bit more of him in the future.

November 28, 2003

X-Men 2 DVD Review

I'm a firm believer that the first X-Men surprised a lot of people. Not knowing much about the X-Men, I went in planning to be bored out of my mind. Needless to say I felt pretty ignorant by the time the credits rolled. By the time the necessary sequel made it's appearance, I was even more baffled since it was not only superior, but one great ride that can hold anyone's interest for the 2-hour running time. The film is a direct continuation of the original film, but it can still be followed by anyone who may not have indulged in the first. After an attack on the president by Nightcrawler, the already oppressive human society bears down on the mutants further. It immediately takes a sharp turn as the "Xavier School for the Gifted" is invaded on order by the president. Not only do the X-Men have to protect themselves, but disable an attack that could very well decide the fate of every human on Earth. Everything from the first movie has been crammed into this one, but it's of course bigger and much more fleshed out. It's pace is relentless, there's some spectacular scenes of tension, and the action is jaw dropping. The story does focus on Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) for the most part, but there's a nice cast of new characters as well, most notably Nightcrawler. The makeup used to create his look is uncanny and the film really helps develop his character for the proposed sequel. Also take note of the clues that drop hints at what new characters may be included. You may have to look a bit harder, but there's quite a few.

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