Saturday, August 13, 2011

Recent DVD Reviews through August 13th.


This was a surprisingly good movie. However, it's about something that no parent should ever have to deal with. It'll make you squirm a bit. At the same time, I think it's important to watch. Basically the short version is that the movie is about a 13-year-old girl that's been chatting with a guy on line. He slowly continues to reveal to her that he's older than he's been letting on. This ultimately leads up to them meeting, and, well, I'll let you guess where it goes next.

The parents are played by Catherine Keener and Clive Owen. I thought Clive Owen was great! It was easily his most emotional performance. I would imagine any father acting just like him (I know I would have in the same situation). There's a moment where you think this is going to turn into more of a revenge-type movie, but fortunately, it doesn't happen. I think it would have been cheap if Trust had gone that route.

The daughter, played by newcomer Liana Liberato, gives a very convincing and emotional performance. She really goes through the full range of emotion in this and you go from thinking she's naive to feeling genuinely bad for her. You have to credit the director as well for pulling these kind of emotional performances out of his cast.

Wait what?! David Schwimmer directed this? Ross from Friends? Woah! Good job! Maybe he has a career in directing. Ben Affleck seems to have made a great transition from actor to director, maybe Schwimmer is next.

Anyway, I do recommend renting this. I think it's worth watching.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

This stars Superman and Jimmy wait...wrong movie. Dylan Dog stars Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington.

This is just a mess of a movie. Routh plays a private investigator who used to be involved in the paranormal. He's contacted by a woman who's father was apparently just killed by a werewolf. Initially, he doesn't want to get involved, but when Jimmy Olson, um I mean Sam Huntington's characters, is killed apparently by a similar creature, Routh has no choice but to get back involved.

I actually think the premise wasn't bad. There are some interesting ideas here, but the overall story is just bad. There are just things that don't really make sense or aren't consistent with other parts of the movie. For example:

- Throughout the movie you're told that Routh is no longer involved the monster affairs, because his last true love was killed by vampires and then he kind of went ape shit for revenge. He has that whole, "I'll never love again", angst about it. He has zero chemistry or flirtation with the lead female, but then all of a sudden they just start to make out and there isn't even any build up to it.

- At the end, the lead female brings forth some demon that she supposedly controls. The demon takes exception to this and throws her across the room. However, just seconds later they are able to defeat the demon by just killing the girl that's controlling him. Okay, but then how come when the creature threw her across the room it didn't affect him at all. It doesn't make sense.

Dylan Dog has a very generic TV feel to it. In fact, this felt like something that should have been a TV pilot and probably would have worked better on TV. Plus, it seemed really low budget. Plus, it seems like this is a movie that should have been played for laughs and it wasn't funny at all. The wr

I feel bad for Brandon Routh. It seem like he wanted to be in this. It's just a phoned in performance. In general, this start a bunch of people that have been much better in other movies, but here their performances are either hammy or just plain bad.

You can safely pass on this one.

Chain Letter

This is basically a Final Destination movie with computers, but somehow much, much worse. In this movie, someone is sending out chain emails to groups of people, but if you don't forward the chain email, you're the next to DIE!

I usually don't expect much with straight-to-video slasher flicks, but this one is just stupid. There's nothing about the movie that makes any kind of sense and even the deaths are lame and consistent. For example, the first death in the movie is basically a guy getting brutally beaten and tortured, but then the rest of the deaths were just standard hack and slash. The killer had no real MO. Plus, he appeared to be deformed for some unexplained reason. And super strong. He did have a chain tattoo on his forearms though, so you know it's consistent and stuff.

The dialog is pretty awful and makes no sense. At one point the father of the first person killed is screaming at the detective that he better figure this out before more people get killed. But how would he know more people are going to get killed at this point. This was only the first death. If I was the detective, I would have put that guy at the top of my suspect list.

Eventually, you find these murders are being done by a group of people that hate technology. Wait, if they hate technology, then why is their method to find people to kill is to chain email them and then kill the people that break the chain. Shouldn't they be sparing the people that break the chain? Most people hate chain email and hate it forwarded to them. Isn't not forwarding chain email a good thing? That's like saying, I hate telemarketers, but I'm going to kill people that don't answer telemarketer calls. You better answer that telemarketer call and then forward the call to someone else. Not say, kill the telemarketer or the person that sends the chain email?

Another thing I hate is when movies about computers are somehow written by people that know nothing about computers. It's nothing on the level of that typing 'access the secret files' crap, but still. The way the emails were handled were more like a computer virus, than an email sent through a normal email application. It's annoying when you actually know stuff about computers.

Anyway, if you haven't guessed already pass on this. However, this movie borders on the it's so bad, it's good territory. It might be fun to rent a few movies like this with friends and drink a bunch and make fun of them, but if you watch this is a stand alone film, no way.


Todd Solondz sure likes to make effed up movies. Like, Happiness, it's a movie about bad or unlikeable people doing bad or uncomfortable things. Somehow these movie end up hilarious, but you feel awful for laughing. After watching Storytelling, I just dirty afterwards and felt like I needed a shower.

Storytelling is two shorter, but unrelated stories in one film. The first story stars Selma Blair as a college student in a writing class. The professor of the class has a reputation for having affairs with his students. I'll let you guess what happens here.

The second story star Paul Giamatti and John Goodman, where Giamatti is doing a documentary of a high school student who's debating going to college and then going through the application process.

I don't want to get into the details, because I'd be spoiling much of the plot and fun of this, but also some of it just isn't all that appropriate to write about.

I recommend rending this, but be ready for some weird. If you've seen Happiness

Soul Surfer

If you already know the story of Bethany Hamilton, or are at least are aware of her, then much of this story is already known to you. I saw a thing about her on Shark Week a few years back, so when I saw that they were making a movie about this, I already knew what was going to happen.

I'm not really going to get into the story the trailers pretty much tell you everything you need to know. Hell, the DVD cover pretty much tells you what's going to happen.

You do have to feel bad for this girl though. She's jsut a 13-year-old that likes to surf and WHAM!! Shark bikes your arm off. That's horrible to hear to hear happening to anyone. It's hard not to find her story inspiring though. She barely skipped a beat on got right back out there. I didn't think they beat you over the head with the religious aspect of it either.

The performances were just okay. I've liked AnnaSophia Robb since Bridge to Terabithia and she's just okay here. It was nice to see Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt working, but they were just kind of there. It's weird that I thought Kevin Sorbo probably gave the best performance, but that's not saying much.

I will say the effects in this movie are pretty awful though. The shark looked like they just could have used a generic rubber shark and the effect's used for Bethany's arm were really inconsistent. It looked different from scene to scene.

I actually found Soul Surfer worth watching though. It's a little cheesy, but it's one of those true stories that I found worth watching despite knowing how it turned out and it didn't seem to take excessive liberties with the story.

I'd say it's worth a rental.


When I saw the cast and what the story was about, I was really looking forward to watching this. James Purefoy, Paul Giamatti, Brian Cox, Kate Mara, etc. The trailer shows lots of fighting and sword play. I was sold. Did Ironclad measure up? Sadly, no.

The story is basically about a group of Knights that hold out for months defending Rochester Castle against King John's forces. That's it. That's the whole story.

It's is really bloody and violent, which I didn't mind. At the same time, it was almost like a slasher flick. At times the gore bordered on being ridiculous and it actually was kind of funny for being so over the top with it.

There's just not much of a story though. They really squandered a good cast. You just don't care about anything that's going on or any of the characters. When they aren't fighting it's just boring to sit through. It was directed by Jonathan English, who doesn't have a lot of directing credits to his name and with movies like this, you can see why.

This is one of those 'based on a true story' movies, but doesn't actually follow what really happened. However, they never actually say 'based on real events' during the movie, but it's implied that it was a real event. There was a siege at Rochester Castle, but the outcome was different, so again, it was loosely based on real events.

Anyway, I really have to say pass on this, but if was available on streaming, I would say to watch the fight scenes and skip the rest.


This got really good reviews, but I just couldn't get into it. There were parts that I just thought were corny and it all seemed really lazy to me. You know how generally the Pixar films feel smart and nuanced (I'm excluding the Cars series from this statement)? I didn't think Rio had that. I guess the critics liked this one, so I'm in the minority on this. I just didn't care for it.

Maybe I'll try renting this one again in a few weeks and see if I still feel the same way.

Beer Wars

If you appreciate beer, then this documentary is worth a watch. It basically goes into the rise of the big three beer manufacturers in the US and then follows the stories of a few smaller beer manufacturers trying to get their beers in bars and stores.

Unfortunately, there is infrastructure in place that makes it very difficult for these smaller beer manufacturers to survive and it argues that the big three really have a monopoly on the beer market in the US. It will really make you want to support smaller beer makers and microbreweries a lot more.

Also, it'll make you never want to give another dime to Budweiser or any Anheuser-Busch product again. That alone makes me give this a high rating.

It's funny as this features some clips from some of the guys from Stone Brewing and I'm drinking a Stone right now. They really make the best beers and you should support them if you like beer.

I highly recommend watching this if you like beer at all.

Mars Needs Moms

I really didn't like this at all. It's clear this is kids film and I'm not the target audience at all, but I was 20 minutes into Mars Needs Moms and I was already picking apart things in the plot and being generally annoyed by the behavior and dialog of the characters. Then, I have to calm down and realize remind myself it's a kids film.

The dialog is just so poorly written. You can have smart dialog in a kids movie. It's okay. Making a kids movie is no excuse for being lazy or dumb.

I'm not even going to get into the plot, because there just isn't much of one. At least not one worth talking about.

The animation is nice as far as the non-humans, but the human animation was off-putting. There was too much of that Uncanny Valley look to it. It doesn't make sense as this is strictly a kids movie, so there's no reason why they couldn't have gone with more of a cartoony look with them.

I actually think this would be good for kids, because it's bright and colorful and the whole 'be nice to your mom/love your mom' message is a good thing for kids, but I can't see much entertainment for anyone over the age of 10.

Rent this, plop your kids in front of the TV and that's about it.

Jumping the Broom

Okay, I'm getting tired, so this one is going to be short.

Jumping the Broom is not that bad, but there's just nothing special about it. It has a good cast, and I thought the performances were fine for what they were given. I just thought the writing and story were pretty cliched. In fact, it's so cliched that I found myself getting frustrated with the characters because many of them seemed so unrealistic and unlikeable to me. They just seemed like standard characters put in movie like this.

It had a few laughs, but it wasn't consistently funny.

It wouldn't be the worst rental, but don't expect much.

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