Monday, July 16, 2018

New on Blu-ray and DVD July 17, 2018 "Rampage" and "I Feel Pretty"

I Feel Pretty
Starring: Amy Schumer and Michelle Williams
Rated PG-13   
A woman struggling with self-esteem issues finds herself irresistible after falling and hitting her head during an exercise class. Her newly found confidence allows her to carry herself in a new way that allows her to live a more fulfilling life.

“I Feel Pretty” is a light hearted comedy focusing on the idea that beauty is only skin deep and that how perceive ourselves on the inside will translate to the outside.

Amy Schumer, who also produced the film, is the reason “I Feel Pretty” works. Schumer has just the right amount of comic timing and energy to pull of the role of the ugly duckling who is now (in her head) a swan.

And even though the comedy is uneven and has some pacing problems, the film entertains and even delivers some unexpected tenderness.

All in all, “I Feel Pretty” is an enjoyable comedy about perception and coming to terms with the reflection in the mirror.

It gets a B and is rated PG-13.

Starring: Dwayne Johnson and Naomie Harris
Rated PG-13   

Rampage,” which is loosely based on the 1997 video game, is a throwback to the 1950's monster films, where man through science brings about devastation by trying to control nature. Then it was radiation. In today's world it's gene splicing.

Primatologist Davis Okoye shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent gorilla who has been in his care since birth.

When George along with a crocodile and a wolf are accidentally exposed to a gene-altering serum, they begin to mutate and take on violent tendencies.

It's up to Dwayne Johnson, once again playing the reluctant hero, to stop the world from ending, all the while saving his primate friend's life.

Rampage” is a silly and fun popcorn movie. As a fan of Godzilla, King Kong and other golden age monster flicks, I liked the familiarity the film brought to the screen.

It gets a B and is rated PG-13.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

New in Theaters July 13, 2018 "Skyscraper" and "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation"

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
Starring the vocal Talents of: Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez
Rated PG   
Taking a vacation on a summer cruise with his family, Count Dracula makes a romantic connection.

“Hotel Transylvania 3” is a summer kid's film, but being the 3
rd in the series it has almost run its course as the movie is losing its freshness.

Some of the comedy works and will keep your kids smiling, but there are no big laughs in the movie as the humor degenerates into jokes involving gas passing which are repeated over and over and over.

That's not say the film isn't likable it still has a little charm left, but overall Drac and the rest have overstayed their welcome and need to check out.

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” gets a C and is rated PG.   

Starring: Dwayne Johnson and Neve Campbell
Rated PG-13   

In the film, Dwayne Johnson plays an ex FBI agent who now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he's been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, he must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building.

Skyscraper” is basically a mash-up between “Die Hard” and “The Towering Inferno,” but without any of the intensity of either. The script steals liberally from both films, but really never adds in anything new or original.

In the first 30 minutes of the film, one gets the impression it going to be played somewhat for laughs or at least have a sense of itself, but unfortunately no.

The audience isn't that lucky, as the film takes itself much too seriously.

“Skyscraper” is an exercise in escalation, as the film stacks more and more ridiculous obstacles in front of our hero. To the point where, at least in the screening I attended, one audience member shouted out, “Oh, come on!.”

The movie, which should have been a total popcorn muncher, disintegrates into a frustrating mess that fortunately will be forgotten on the drive home.

Skyscraper” gets a D and is rated PG-13.   

Monday, July 9, 2018

New on Blu-ray and DVD for July 10, 2018 "Chappaquiddick" and "A Quiet Place"

A Quiet Place
Starring: John Krasinski and Emily Blunt
Rated PG-13 

Written, directed and starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, the film takes place in a few years from now and focuses on a family who must live in complete silence as they are surrounded by creatures that hunt by sound. One sound can summon these horrifying aliens who shred anything in their path.

Last year the horror film “Get Out,” was a surprise hit because the film took its time to unwind for the audience, building the horror and the intensity slowly.

This year, “A Quiet Place,” which also paces itself meticulously, is simply the best horror film of the year and a sign that the horror genre, overall, is heading for a kind of rebirth.

If you're a fan of the thriller / horror genre,“A Quiet Place” is a must see.

It gets an A and is rated PG-13.

Starring: Jason Clarke and Ed Helms
Rated PG-13   

The film explores Ted Kennedy's involvement in the fatal 1969 car accident that claims the life of a young campaign strategist, Mary Jo Kopechne.
“Chappaquiddick” is well-told and acted and focuses on powerful political dynasties, like the Kennedy's. After the assassinations of both President John F. Kennedy and Senator Bobby Kennedy, both the Democratic party and Teddy Kennedy had they're eyes on the White House.

Those aspirations were derailed by the events at Chappaquiddick.

The film goes into detail about how Kennedy used his family's name and power to manipulate the criminal justice system.

“Chappaquiddick” is a mesmerizing political thriller and gets an A.

It's rated PG-13.

Friday, July 6, 2018

New in Theaters July 6, 2018 "The First Purge" and "Ant-Man and the Wasp"

The First Purge
Starring: Y'lan Noel and Lex Scott Davis
Rated R   
After the rise of a third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, an experiment is conducted, no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one must stay during the experiment yet there is $5,000 for anyone who does.

The First Purge” may go down in history as the worst movie of 2018.

The film is obviously trying to offer up a political platform wrapped in a horror format, but fails miserably on every front. What could have been a very cool origin story ends up being a terribly biased movie focusing on poorly constructed stereotypes, unlikeable characters and gratuitous gore and violence.

From its pathetic story replete with over the top bad acting to its ridiculous ending, “The First Purge” is nothing more than cinematic garbage.

Don't waste your money on this terrible trash. “The First Purge” gets an F and is rated R

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas
Rated PG-13   

As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.

Ant-Man and the Wasp” is the sequel to the 2015 blockbuster “Ant-Man.” The film, surprisingly is not a rehash of the first movie. 

It is a crisp and well paced superhero film that perfectly balances humor, CGI special effects and action.

Both Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are in top form as the title characters who must overcome their relationship and learn that true power doesn't come from their super suits.

But the real star of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is the movie's brilliant, funny and original script, which I hope will be remembered at Oscar time.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is well worth the ticket in.

It gets an A and is rated PG-13.   

Monday, July 2, 2018

New on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy for July 3, 2018 "7 Days in Entebbe," Beirut" and "Blockers"

Starring: John Cena and Leslie Mann
Rated R   

In this modern day sex romp, three high school graduates decide to lose their virginity on prom night and make a solemn oath to do so. When their parents find out about the pact, they go off on a quest to stop their daughters.

“Blockers” is a very funny raunch fest. Although the roles have been reversed from other teen sex films like “American Pie,” “Super Bad,””The Girl Next Door,” “She's Out of My League” and others, but the formula still works when handled correctly.

“Blockers” isn't really breaking any new ground, but it does deliver on its promise to make you laugh and at times... uncomfortably.

It gets a B and is rated R.

Starring: Rosamund Pike and John Hamm
Rated R   
Caught in the crossfires of civil war, two CIA operatives must send a former U.S. diplomat to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.

“Beirut” is falling under some heavy scrutiny since it wasn't filmed on location and it is not historically accurate.

Taking that into consideration, I found the film to be a better-than-average thriller. Both John Hamm and Rosamund Pike are extremely watchable in this fast-paced story about a missing agent and the attempt made to rescue him.

In the end, “Beirut” is a film about friendships and cultures and the price paid for diplomacy and political gain.

"Beirut" gets a B and is rated R.

7 Days in Entebbe
Starring: Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruhl
Rated R  

Inspired by the true events of the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight en route from Tel Aviv to Paris, and the most daring rescue mission ever attempted.

7 Days in Entebbe” is a complex political film that examines two sides of an event. 

On one side are the hijackers, who see what they are doing as a last effort to be heard. 

These revolutionaries begin in total solidarity with each other but as the drama unfolds, there is a shift as some of the hijackers may be changing their minds about the taking of the hostages.

On the other side is the Israeli government's attempt to quell the event as quickly as possible, but as times is running out for the hostages, and the long-standing rule not to negotiate with terrorists comes into question.

7 Days in Entebbe” is a political thriller and a good one.

It gets a B and is rated PG-13.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

New in Theaters June 29, 2018 "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" and "Uncle Drew"

Uncle Drew
Starring: Kyrie Irving and Shaquille O'Neal
Rated PG-13  

After draining his life savings and losing his basketball team to his longtime rival, a man convinces the retired basketball legend “Uncle Drew” (NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving) to return to the court one more time.

“Uncle Drew” is a 'wig comedy' meaning that everyone important in the film is hidden behind old-age make up and wigs. The film, which is based on those internet Pepsi ads, offers up a little bit more than an hour and forty-three minute Pepsi commercial.

The film does have some heart but loses itself in needless subplots and poorly constructed, tacked on sight gags.

What is fun about “Uncle Drew” is watching lots of basketball greats including Reggie Miller and Shaquille O’Neal having a good time and riffing through dialogue.

All in all, “Uncle Drew” is an uneven comedy with a few good moments, but not enough to lift it out of the mundane.

It gets a C and is rated PG-13   

Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Starring: Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin
Rated R   

The drug war on the US-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the erratic Alejandro.

“Sicario 2” is a study in 'politics as usual,' as the film presents us with the idea that the manipulation games governments play oft times are aborted and agents are left without support, making them vulnerable targets.

“Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado” gives us a mission that at the beginning is all about bringing the drug cartels to their knees but when the powers that be have no belly to follow through and pull up stakes, the agents and soldiers left behind have to fight their way back home without support.

Although the film tells this story in brutal and gritty fashion, “Sicario 2” loses itself as the two leads indulge in uncharacteristic sentimental moments, giving the movie an uneven feeling and an ending which could be easily converted to a Coke commercial

Sicario 2” gets a C and is rated R.   

Monday, June 25, 2018

On Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy for June26, 2018 "Pacific Rim: Uprising" and "Midnight Sun"

Midnight Sun
Starring: Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger
Rated PG-13   

A 17-year-old sheltered since childhood and confined to her house during the day by a rare disease that makes even the smallest amount of sunlight deadly.

Fate intervenes when she meets Charlie and they embark on a summer romance.

“Midnight Sun” is a teen romance film that actually is much better than expected. Although still following the tried and true formula, “Midnight Sun” manages to overcome the mundane and deliver to its audience surprisingly good performances.

The film gets a B and is rated PG-13. 

Check out our interviews with Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger!

Pacific Rim: Uprising
Starring: John Boyega and Scott Eastwood
Rated PG-13   

Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, is recruited to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.

“Pacific Rim: Uprising” had all the makings of fun popcorn film. It's got giant robots, aliens, tough as nails recruits, kids and scientists.

But “Pacific Rim” manages to let, what was a sure thing, slip through its mechanical fingers and become a boring, uneven rusty mess with terrible CGI and even worse dialogue.

When the film opened in theaters I was less than impressed and gave it a D, however the movie fares better on DVD and Blu-ray with its bonus features and extras raising the film's grade to a C. It's rated PG-13.