DVD/Blu-ray review

Monday, December 30, 2013

Netflix dumps a slew of titles (with a few new ones on the way)

Posted By on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 4:29 PM

NO MORE CHICKEN LADY? Episodes of Kids in the Hall wont be available from Netflix starting Jan. 1 — unless theyre renewed.
  • NO MORE CHICKEN LADY? Episodes of Kids in the Hall won't be available from Netflix starting Jan. 1 — unless they're renewed.
Some diligent employees at Reddit have helped couch potatoes keep track of films and TV shows that are currently on Netflix Streaming but will no longer be available Jan. 1 and thereafter.

So Netflix watchers have one day to catch some classics and camp hits like Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Measuring up with UnHung Hero, Patrick Moote

"The best part of having a small penis was making this film, and making this film was the best thing for my penis."

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 9:08 AM

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The Youtube video of Patrick Moote having his marriage proposal rejected before a stadium full of people received 10 million views in 10 days. It was covered on major news stations and national talks shows. If this public humiliation wasn't emasculating enough, Moote's ex claimed one of the reasons she couldn't marry him was because his penis was too small.

Fueled by this rejection, Moote embarked on a globetrotting quest to answer two questions that are fundamental to masculine identity: 1. Does penis size really matter?, and 2. Are there any safe methods for increasing your penis size? The "cockumentary" of Moote's misadventures follows him from porn conventions to uncomfortable encounters with "dick doctors" in Third World motel rooms. Along the way Moote talks cocks with a wide range of experts, including doctors, anthropologists, penis pump pitch-men, and sexperts like Carol Queen, Dan Savage, and Annie Sprinkle. He also gets the opinions of a few porn stars like Ron Jeremy, Andy San Dimas, Allie Haze, and Axel Braun, and discovers what the man with the world's largest penis, Jonah Falcon, thinks about size.

I caught up with the UnHung Hero just before his cockumentary was unleashed on DVD, December, 10.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

DVD review: Give Me the Banjo is a warm look at an American original

Steve Martin narrates this doc about a truly American instrument.

Posted By on Sat, Jun 23, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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My grandmother lives and owns a thriving little business in Brevard, NC — the very bastion of banjo music where Steve Martin, the assuring narrator of Give Me the Banjo, established his own bluegrass band, the Steep Canyon Rangers. My grandmother and the banjo have a lot in common, too. They are complex souls with simple needs — not simple-minded, however. They each have legacies that precede them even if not everyone is immediately aware of how circuitous and exciting their pasts are upon first impression. Both command the attention of those around them with just their presence alone, and both lady and instrument make everything they touch at once familiar and unique.

Give Me the Banjo, an endearing and warm documentary about a quaint and misunderstood instrument, explores that pot-holed past with inspired though tiresome passion. It takes a basic route through the history of the banjo from its beginnings with African-American musicians through to its introduction to the limelight with famous folk singers and country-fried songsters, peppering in clips of performances and interviews with famous bluegrass musicians throughout.

Purveyors of the five-stringed banjo are acutely aware of and somewhat annoyed by the instrument's public image as a dingy and provincial doo-hickey upon which only tobacco-chewing cowboys play. But Give Me the Banjo reveals that the instrument is more expressive and playful than its more famous brother, the guitar (self-serious and overrated in the eyes of a good deal of "banjoists").

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Monday, June 11, 2012

DVD Review: Don’t Go in the Woods

Some movies are indie productions for a reason.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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“No phones, no weed, no booze, no girls.”

Someone sure knows how to have a good time. If you want to have a good time, avoid Don’t Go in the Woods.

Say hello to Nick, despotic band douche, who dragged his friends and emo-hipster bandmates out to BFE to record new songs for a demo in the quest for a record deal. Nick’s all about the concentration. No drugs. No drama. No distractions. No discussion about his decision to smash everyone’s cell phones with the axe he borrowed from the creepy hunting shack. It’s always a good idea to ditch all comms gear after ignoring an ominous sign telling you not to go in the woods, right?

So, of course, Nick is thrilled when his ex-girlfriend shows up with a load of groupies, drugs and booze — cell phones too. He tried to ward off temptation but temptation came to the band. You’d think Nick would be thrilled; not getting what he wants should be the perfect inspiration for the brooding, angsty whining music he makes.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Blu-ray review: Safe House with Denzel Washington

Posted By on Sat, Jun 9, 2012 at 3:00 PM

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There is absolutely nothing original about Safe House. The characters, story and cinematography all take a familiar path that we know from countless espionage thrillers. Much like main character Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), a fugitive C.I.A. agent who is surprised by little and impressed by nothing, audience members may come away from Safe House with an apathetic “been there, done that” attitude.

This was not the case for me, however. Is anything in Hollywood truly original anymore? Most everything has been done before, so is it so wrong to find enjoyment in a clichéd movie that's well executed?

The casting of Washington and Ryan Reynolds in the lead roles certainly makes the forgiveness easier.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Blu-ray review: John Carter journeys home

The Blu-ray release offers insight into the harried development of Disney's box office disaster.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 2:31 PM

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There are no simple stories in Hollywood.

Movie narratives are larger than life and then some. They often start out as simple jigsaw puzzles before twisting into variegated Rubik's cubes, winding through troves of characters and maze-like subplots. But the same can and should be said of the stories behind these movies, since the tortuous production histories of big budget blockbusters are just as revealing (nay, more revealing!) than any pre-show trailer or Entertainment Tonight insider special.

John Carter, is a fantastic new addition to the Hollywood compendium of behind-the-scenes chaos. In fact, this tale of Martian civil war that went through a great number of iterations and cycles in production Hell, is the epitome of movie-making mayhem.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

The Office employees are still awkward on Blu-Ray

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 7:00 AM

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I said throughout the seventh season of The Office that the show could actually benefit from the inevitable departure of Dunder Mifflin Scranton Manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell). At the same time, I wasn't too sure about the cast and crew's ability to produce a seventh season worthy of our time. Time will tell if my first hypothesis is accurate, but after a second viewing of this past season, it turns out that those who toil on The Office still had at least one more quality run left in them.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mars Needs Moms lands on Blu-ray

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 6:00 AM

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Disney's Mars Needs Moms, out on Blu-Ray and DVD on Aug. 9, follows the journey of Milo (Seth Green, Chris on Family Guy), a boy who's at the age when listening to your parents is not high on the list of priorities. One day Milo wishes he didn’t have a mother, and soon enough he doesn’t. Noises and bright lights lead Milo outside in the middle of the night to find that his mother (a motherly Joan Cusack) is being abducted by aliens.

Milo boards the spacecraft headed to Mars, where he learns that his mother's memory will soon be wiped clean and she will be put to work. Mars needs moms, you see, because its inhabitants aren’t capable of raising children. Instead of flesh-and-blood parents, the Martian children are reared by programmed drones which "learn" their parenting skills from human mothers. It's a clever idea, but one that MNM renders foggy and underdeveloped. Animated films aren't always the best at maintaining coherent plots or ideas, but the lapse here is glaring. This is a Disney product, after all, and the house that Mickey built usually aims higher.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Early Adam Sandler flicks Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore now out on Blu-Ray

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 2:20 PM

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They're as funny as they were back in the '90s, and now you can view them on Blu-Ray. Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore are two Adam Sandler classics, and mark the beginning of the comedian's rise to cinematic fame and fortune.

I don’t remember when I first saw Billy Madison, but I do recall watching it numerous times while growing up. Seeing it today, the movie is still hilarious. Adam Sandler may have already been a star from Saturday Night Live, but Billy Madison was the first in a series of movies that showed us the brilliance of endearing immaturity.

Sandler plays the title role, a 20-something loser who still lives off his father’s (the late Darren McGavin) business fortunes. He lounges at the pool with his friends Frank (Norm MacDonald) and Jack (Mark Beltzman), speaks gibberish at the dinner table in front of his father’s clients and has a few encounters with a human-sized penguin who may or may not be important to the storyline (he isn’t, but Billy is convinced otherwise).

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Monday, June 13, 2011

DVD Review: James Cameron's Sanctum

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 12:56 PM

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When I sat down to watch the James Cameron-produced Sanctum, a film based on real events, I wasn’t expecting much. Unfortunately, my expectations were met. The film — a survival story about a cave diving expedition gone tragically wrong — is definitely in the style of a James Cameron film, despite not having been written or directed by the famed filmmaker. Although it's a rather small film, especially in comparison to the likes of Titanic and Avatar, Sanctum contains all the familiar tropes of a Cameron action/disaster flick — from the larger than life sets and fancy technical work to the cheesy dialogue and exaggerated plot that we’ve seen before.

Scantum sacrifices good storytelling for melodrama and special effects. I found myself thinking about the similar 2005 horror film The Descent, which was decidedly mediocre, and thinking, “Wow, I’d legitimately rather watch that again than even finish watching this.”

Now in stores, the Sanctum DVD does offer some behind-the-scenes extras that will intrigue those who are particularly interested in the technical aspect of film production. The technical mumbo jumbo is, after all, how Cameron and his crew save their films from being contrived duds (though, in this case, that might be generous to say). But if you’re not so interested in green screens and motion capture, these extras just might put you to sleep.

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