Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Son of Batman
Releases on DVD May 6th, 2014
Not Rated
1 hr 14 mins

Trailer:


Director:

Ethan Spaulding

Cast:

Jason O'Mara - Bruce Wayne / Batman
Stuart Allan - Damian Wayne / Robin
Morena Baccarin - Talia al Ghul
Dee Bradley Baker - Man-Bat, The Joker
Xander Berkeley - Dr. Kirk Langstrom
Thomas Gibson - Slade Wilson / Deathstroke
Giancarlo Esposito - Ra's al Ghul
Sean Maher - Dick Grayson / Nightwing
David McCallum - Alfred Pennyworth
Diane Michelle - Francine Langstrom
Andrea Romano - Suit #2
Bruce Thomas - James Gordon, Ubu
Fred Tatasciore - Waylon Jones / Killer Croc
Kari Wahlgren - Rebecca Langstrom

Review by Stephen M.


One of the more popular Batman story lines in a long time at least for me.  Son of Batman originally written by Grant Morrison in 2006 in the comic books is adapted in a full length animation.  The story introduces Damian Wayne who as you guess from the title is Bruce Wayne's son courtesy of a date rape by Talia al Ghul so it seems.


The story starts off with an attack on Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins at their base.  The attackers are led by Deathstroke who in the film seems to be a former protégé of Ra's.  I was hoping for a nice long battle between the two classic powerhouse villains.  Sadly that was not to be the case.  The beginning is a setup of course for Damian to join his father in Gotham.  Jason O'Mara in his second film voice acting Batman does a decent job.  Stuart Allan as Damian fits perfectly as does Morena Baccarin as Talia.



One of the things that I enjoy about the story is the contrast of characters between Damian and the rest of the Bat family.  The play by the book good guys vs. the little kid trained as a child to be a killer.  I wished we could've seen more of the interaction between Nightwing/Dick Grayson and Damian.  The action in intense in the film, from Batman vs. Killer Croc to Damian vs. Deathstroke.  If you can't stomach a child getting beaten, albeit a cartoon child, then you may want to skip it.  Unlike the DC animations of old, the death counts piles up quickly in the last few DC films including this one.


Overall, I really enjoyed the film.  The animation is well done, as well as good acting to go along along with a well written plot.  The violence and language is a bit harsh for younger kids to watch this.  I am also glad they decided not to squeeze in what happens to the Wayne Enterprise heir in comic books recently.  Also of side note, while we get to see Dick Grayson as Nightwing.  There are no mentions of another rebellious Robin in the form of Jason Todd or even Tim Drake in this movie.  Most of Batman's other rogues also are only seen in fleeting seconds as Batman walks through Arkham Asylum.

Rating: 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Camp Dread
Released on DVD April 15th, 2014
1 hour 34 mins
Not Rated

Trailer:


Director:

Harrison Smith

Cast:

Eric Roberts as Julian Barrett
Danielle Harris as Sheriff Donlyn
Felissa Rose as Rachel
Kyle Patrick Brennan as Jerry
Ashley Caspermeyer as New Sarah
Nicole Cinaglia as Adrienne
Apryl Crowell as Young Rachel Steele
Brian Gallagher as John Hill
Gnomi Gre as Missy
Alexander Mandell as Matty
Montana Marks as Katie
Angel Anthony Marrero as Calvin (as Angel Valerio)
Susan Moses as Myrna
Joe Raffa as Novak
Davy Raphaely as Vinny
George Roberts as Interviewer

Review by Stephen M.

"The "Summer Camp" horror trilogy was one of the most popular franchises of the 1980s. However, the decade ended and so did director Julian Barrett's career. Now Barrett plans to resurrect his gory series via a modern reboot patterned after reality film making. With his former leading lady and an eclectic group of 10 young “contestants,” Barrett returns to the same locale where his old splatter-fests were filmed. When one of the campers is found savagely murdered, they realize there’s more at stake than just fame and fortune. Each of them is in a fight for their lives as they realize summer is over – forever."

A throwback to the 1980s horror films Camp Dread has an interesting premise but rather goofy execution.  The little known cast aside from Eric Roberts and "Halloween" alumni Danielle Harris, shows their inexperience.  They're not entirely to blame given the script they were handed.  The movie is not without its bright spots though.  Despite the movie feeling "campy", the Director does an excellent job in building up tensions and scares.  Unfortunately, most of the death scenes that follows doesn't live up to the potential of the buildup.


The pacing of the deaths are uneven with long droughts and yet no one questioning the disappearances attributing them to being "eliminated" from the reality show they think they're being film or is being film.  I am still not sure on the latter, as the ending or rather motivation is a bit confusing on the part of the killer.  Because if it is not for the filming as the motive why go through all that motion when there are easier ways?


While I enjoyed Eric Roberts and Danielle Harris in their roles.  The amount of screen time, with especially the latter is rather minuscule.  Most of the delinquent kids or young adults play out certain stereotypes such as the lesbian, the clown, tough guy, etc.  My favorite would be the unsuspecting Adrienne played by Nicole Cinaglia.  She has the most interesting background of all the kids.  Sexually abused by her brother until she couldn't take it anymore.  All of the kids have baggage and that's why they are at the camp.




Overall, while I enjoyed the film, I would not recommend purchasing the DVD.  Rather, rent it if you can, or wait for it to pop up on Netflix one day.  There's enough going for it to not avoid it completely.  However, there are just much better horror films to spend a dark stormy evening then to watch this one.  If you like classic 1980s horror movies centered on a camp then watch Friday the 13th.

Rating: 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Locker 13
Released March 28th, 2014; DVD Releases April 29th, 2014
1 hr 43 mins
Rated R
Drama, Suspense/Thriller

Trailer:

Director:
Bruce Dellis - "The Byzantine Order"
Jason Marsden - "The Author"
Matthew Mebane - "Down and Out"
Adam Montierth - "Suicide Club"
Donovan Montierth - "The Other Side"

Cast:
Krista Allen as Patricia
Tatyana Ali as Lucy
Jason Marsden as Suicide Jack
Jon Gries as Archie
George Newbern as Robert Diener
Rick Schroder as Tommy Novak
Curtis Armstrong as Clifford
Bart Johnson as Eugene MacClemore
Jon Polito as Don Dillon
Rick Hoffman as Armando
Thomas Calabro as Harvey
Carmen Perez as Marcia
David Huddleston as Floyd
Jesse Garcia as Ray
Vanessa White as TV Personality #1 (voice)
Steve Eastin as Doc Herman
Jimmy Gambina as Jesse
Jose Rosete as Jake
Elizabeth Bond as TV Personality #2 (voice)
Cathy Rankin as Lola
Brad Raider as Skip
Victor Campos as Nate
Marina Benedict as Rachel
Deonte Gordon as Boxer
Bob Rue as Linus
Steve Briscoe as Manfred
John Schile as B.B.O.N.E.O. Member
Maria White Mebane as News Anchor (voice)
Ed Gary as Supporting
Montgomery Maguire as Ring Announcer
Herb Dean as Trainer
Steven Motta as Billy 'Thunderheart' Marco
Michael Anthony Rosas as Cut Man / Corner Man
Lamar Newmeyer as Grover
Rory Pierce as Supporting
Klor Rowland as Gavin

Review by Stephen M.

Locker 13 has quite some potential with its series of stories within a story as told to a nighttime supervisor of an Old West theme park.  While each of the stories features an interesting premise and twist.  The stories often stop short of satisfying the twisted macabre desires within each of us.  Rarely do you ever feel scared out of your wits in these "chilling" tales.


In "Down and Out" we get a washed up fighter played by Ricky Schroder who gets back in the limelight due to some old gloves that seems to have a mind of its own.  As a fan of boxing, I enjoyed this story the most and thought it could have been fleshed out a bit more.  The twist ending was good, though more could have been told.  My least favorite would probably be "The Author" in which an assassin who is hired to killed a wealthy womanizer, is inspired to write a book about his killings.  The assassin has abducted three woman with ties to the wealthy man to determine who had hired him.  As with the other films, so much more could have been done with this story but what you can't escape from is the goofiness of the assassin played by Rick Hoffman.


As with the above mentioned stories as well as the others, "The Byzantine Order", "Suicide Club" and the main story "The Other Side", the actors all perform quite well given the material they have to work with.  You have to love the janitor Skip's reaction to what's on the other side pictured above in "The Other Side."  I'm not too crazy with the ending of "The Other Side" as compared to the others though.  


Overall, I would recommend this DVD to fans of the old TV series Twilight Zone from the 1960s or Amazing Stories from the 1980s.  The film is clearly a low budget film which may have limited the film from its potential.  With a Rated R rating, they could have gone more toward the darker route, instead of merely tight roping across the line.  The stories don't necessarily tie well together other than each having a locker with the number 13 on it except for the "Suicide Club" story.  If there's one thing to take away from each of the stories is that they're all about second chances in life and what you do with it.  

Rating: 

Friday, April 25, 2014


The Suspect
Released January 23rd, 2014, Available on DVD April 22nd, 2014
1 hr 38 mins
Rated R
Suspense/Thriller

Trailer:


Director:
Stuart Connelly

Cast:
Mekhi Phifer as The Suspect
William Sadler as Sheriff Dixon
Sterling K. Brown as The Other Suspect
Derek Roché as Deputy Riley
James McCaffrey as Polaski Sheriff
Rebecca Creskoff as Shannon
Lizzy DeClement as Heather
Bernadette Quigley as Meredith

Review by Stephen M.

The Suspect is an interesting film with many twists as the story unfolds.  We learn that there is more to the suspect or rather suspects than meets the eye.  Mekhi Phifer and Sterling K. Brown are bank robbers with a secret.  Unbeknownst to the local cops of the small town they are hitting, they are part of social/psychological experiment on racial profiling, and tolerance in law enforcement where the suspects are black and the cops are white in a predominantly white town.

But behind their story there's another story going on that's interesting but not told very well.  You get hints of what they're really up to now and then.  The movie relies heavily on flashbacks, but does so in a way that can be quite confusing than being helpful to understanding what is going on.  What you will like though is the strong performances the various actors including Mekhi Phifer and William Sadler displays.  The bank robbers are not the only one with secrets.


Overall, I enjoyed the film despite parts of the movie meandering for much longer than it should have.  The point of bank robbers could have been made much earlier but I guess the Director wanted to prolong the suspense of what was actually going on.  It is because of the slow plod to the end, some may be turned off from the movie.  The ending to me was just so so, as I would have hoped for a happier ending than was given.  Still the end ties nicely to the beginning and throughout as to the motivation of the two suspects.


The DVD extras include commentary by the Director and Producer, conversation with the Director, music video, extended scenes, making a scene and trailer.

Rating: 



The Other Woman

Opens April 25th, 2014
1 hr 49 mins
Rated R

Trailer:



Director:

Nick Cassavetes

Cast:

Cameron Diaz as Carly Whitten
Leslie Mann as Kate King
Kate Upton as Amber
Nicki Minaj as Lydia
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Mark King
Taylor Kinney as Phil
Lisa Maffia as Lydia's sister
Olivia Culpo as Raven-Haired Beauty
Madison McKinley as Waitress
Don Johnson as Frank

Review by Stephen M.


Sometimes you wish you can go back in time and wish you never watched a film and this was one of them.  This "chick" flick was just painful to watch for me.  My female friends enjoyed the movie, but I hated the lack of acting by Kate Upton and Nicki Minaj, the overacting of Leslie Mann and just the way the plot meanders along making it almost 2 hours long.



The movie is about how a cheating husband drives his wife and his girlfriends together to get back at him.  Fairly simple premise, should make for a fairly simple movie right?  The overly complicated wife, Kate (Leslie Mann) makes what could be hilarious scenes, way too long that sucks away the laughter from the film.  Even with the beautiful eye candy that is Kate Upton doesn't make up for this as her character has about as much charisma as a porcupine.  Yes, naturally she would play the rather dim witted naive sexy blonde, but her character is so meaningless in the overall film, you would be better serve to buy the last Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue if your only point is to watch her in a bikini.



Speaking of another improperly used character would be singer Nicki Minaj who plays Lydia.  She's the carefree assistant of Cameron Diaz's character Carly that dishes out advice that is suppose to make you laugh but mostly have you confused.  The guys in the film, the cheating husband Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his brother in law Phil (Taylor Kinney), along with Carly's dad played by Don Johnson are the only ones that I don't grimace at too often during the film.


Overall, I would recommend waiting for this on Netflix if you're really bored and there is nothing better to watch.  And even then I would say  go re-watch There's Something About Mary than this.  But if you're a fan of these films than you may enjoy this one as well.  I usually don't mind these films but for me, it was just poorly done and predictable.

Rating: 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Brick Mansions
Opens April 25th, 2014
1 hr 29 mins
Rated PG-13
Drama, Suspense/Thriller

Trailer:

Director:
Camille Delamarre

Cast:
Paul Walker as Damien Collier
David Belle as Lino Dupree
RZA as Tremaine Alexander
Robert Maillet as Yeti
Carlo Rota as George the Greek
Kwasi Songui as Big Cecil
Paskal Monfret as Lil Cecil

Review by Stephen M.

Brick Mansions which is a remake of a French action film District B13 is one of Paul Walker's last full films before his death.  Unfortunately it is not a film that will bring any of the actors or filmmakers accolades.  Aside from the cool parkour moves that David Belle displays, the rest of the film is full of cliches, bad acting and questionable cinematography.


The movie starts off with some promising premises that reminds me of Vertigo's DMZ comic book and HBO's The Wire.  Throw in some insanely slick moves of Parkour as we see Lino (David Belle) escape from Brick Mansions drug lord henchmen, and you have a promising beginning.


Brick Mansions is Detroit's answer to criminals, by walling them up in a neighborhood to do as they see fit.  No law enforcement, social services, fireman and hospitals are around anymore.  Entrances are guarded by a somewhat shady army.  Lino a local resident sick of the drug dealings has an uphill battle against an army led by the drug lord Tremaine (RZA).  Tremaine is your typical crime boss, a left over character tossed away by HBO's The Wire.  His lieutenants are not much better, and elicits more laughs than frights of terror.


Luckily Lino is not alone with police officer Damien (Paul Walker) on a mission to bring down Tremaine as well.  When the Mayor of Detroit asks Damien to retrieve a stolen bomb, Damien and Lino becomes unlikely partners.  Aside from the atrocious acting from the said above, the action while good is unbelievable and not in a good way.  A sniper on the roof unable to hit anything.  A car with a heavy artillery gun unable to hit lick in a high speed car chase.  There's just not a whole lot of dying in the film despite all that shooting.  Why wouldn't the official be able to activate the device by remote from his office?  Yeah, not a whole lot makes sense.


Overall, the film makes a good lazy watch on Netflix one day but not if you have to pay full price at the theaters.  Paul Walker while respectable in the film, is very generic in character, even having some racing scenes in a sporty GT.  If you're a fan of parkour, it's pretty cool to see it in the movie though most of it is just in the beginning.

Rating: 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Neighbors
Opens May 9th, 2014
1 hr 37 mins
R
Comedy

Trailer:



Director:

Nicholas Stoller

Cast:

Seth Rogen as Mac Radner
Zac Efron as Teddy Sanders
Rose Byrne as Kelly Radner
Dave Franco as Pete
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Scoonie
Lisa Kudrow as Carol Gladstone
Craig Roberts as Assjuice
Ike Barinholtz as Jimmy
Jake Johnson as Billy Jessup
Hannibal Buress as Officer Watkins
Halston Sage as Brooke

Review by Stephen M.


Neighbors hits you right at home especially if you have children albeit without the drugs.  The comedy features new parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) moving into a new house.  With a little one to take care of now, they find that their lives are altered drastically from their care free life they were used to before.  When a fraternity moves in to their house next door, merriment is aplenty until an agreement between the fraternity leaders Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco) and the parents is broken.




 The film has many hilarious scenes, and is well played up by the various actors.  As the rivalry builds between the two sides, things just get crazier and crazier.  The acting is a bit suspect at times.  But the jokes more than cover up for it.  From the scene where the fraternity imitates Robert De Niro's roles in various movies to a drunken favorite Batman male bonding, the movie will have you cracking up.




It's nice to see Lisa Kudrow back on the big screen as Dean Carol Gladstone.  I really enjoyed Dave Franco and Zac Efron's performance up until towards the end when they are feuding.  I was not a big fan of Rose Byrne's performance.  Despite having to be milked and tough it up against the portly Seth, she was not particularly interesting or convincing.


Overall, I would recommend the film if just to see a shirtless Zac and Seth.  The film may not be for everyone due to its content and type of humor.  But as far as mindless comedies right now, they're leaps and bounds against anything else out this month or next.  Fans of movies like Old School or Seth Rogen fans will definitely enjoy this film.

Rating: 

Monday, April 21, 2014


I hope everyone had a great Easter.  My family and I spent it at Awesome Con which is a fairly young convention out in Washington, D.C..  From what I hear, this was their second year and they really had a growth spurt thanks to backers on Kickstarter.com.  Their impressive guest list includes media guests Billie Piper (Dr. Who), Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, Robin Hood: Men in Tights), Jewel Staite (Firefly, Serenity, Stargate Atlantis), as well as comic guests George Perez (Teen Titans), Steven Niles (30 Days of Night) just to name a few.

We only attended on Saturday but was quite impressed with what they offered and would recommend this convention if you're in the area next year.  Below are some pictures of the wonderful Cosplayers we came across with my favorite actually being the male Rogue that is pictured above.  Unfortunately, my picture of him from the front did not come out.  He did an interesting twist by putting white on his beard which you would normally see in Rogue's hair.

 Bishop

 Poison ivy

 Zatanna

 Rogue

Sailor Saturn

 Super Girl taking on the Yelp girl

 Princess Leia

 Harley Quinn

 Super Girl, Robin and Wonder Woman

 Marko (Saga)

 Rogue & Bishop

 Black Widow & Harley Quinn

 Sif

 Captain America

 Bane & Poison Ivy

Black Cat