Friday, March 27, 2015

The Stephen Sondheim Collection is coming out April 20th, 2015.  Featuring five films including:
Into the Woods, Company, Sunday in the Park With George, Follies In Concert, Sweeney Todd, and Sondheim: The Birthday Concert.  

Directed by James Lapine, Lonny Price, Michael Houldey, and Terry Hughes, the various musicals star Bernadette Peters, Carol Burnett, Neil Patrick Harris, David Hyde Pierce, Jon Cryer, Stephen Colbert, Patti LuPone, Adolph Green, Anika Noni Rose, Audra McDonald, Barbara Bryne, Barbara Cook, Charles Kimbrough, Chip Zien, Christina Hendricks, Craig Bierko, Dana Ivey, Davis Gaines, Elaine Stritch, George Hearn, Joanna Gleason, John Aler, Liliane Montevecchi, Lisa Vroman, Liz Callaway, Mandy Patinkin, Martha Plimpton, Mary D'Arcy, Robert Westenberg, Stanford Olsen, Stephen Sondheim, Timothy Nolen, Tom Aldredge and Victoria Clark.

The DVD SRP is $129.98, but you can preorder now at Amazon in the below link for $77.99 (40% off!).

Stephen Sondheim Collection (Into the Woods, Company, Sunday in the Park With George, Follies In Concert, Sweeney Todd, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert)

About the movies:
INTO THE WOODS (1990, NR, 153 Mins) – A baker and his wife journey into the woods in search of a cow, a red cape, a pair of golden slippers and some magic beans to lift a curse that has kept them childless. Tony Award winners Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason and the rest of the original Broadway cast weave their magic spell over you in Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece, directed by James Lapine, a seamless fusion of fairy tale characters and what happens after "happily ever after." With oft-recorded songs such as Children Will Listen and No One Is Alone, INTO THE WOODS is a music lover's delight from start to finish—and will forever cement Stephen Sondheim's unparalleled position as the giant of the American musical theater. 

 COMPANY (2011, NR, 145 Mins) – Set firmly in, and often about, New York,  follows five married, once married, or soon to be married couples and their mutual friend, Robert, a 35 year old bachelor who has been unable to connect in a long-term relationship. The relationships are presented in a series of vignettes, primarily through Bobby's eyes, so that we see the less than ideal aspects of commitment. However, it is obvious to the audience that the committed are happy. Eventually, Bobby learns that while relationships aren't perfect, they are a necessary part of "Being Alive." 

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE (1986, NR, 147 Mins) – A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte by Georges Seurat is one of the great paintings of the world, book writer James Lapine and composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim bring a story based on the work brilliantly to life. While the painting depicts people gathered on an island in the Seine, the musical goes beyond simply describing their lives. It is an exploration of art, of love, of commitment. Seurat connected dots to create images; Lapine and Sondheim use connection as the heart of all our relationships. 

 FOLLIES IN CONCERT (1985, NR, 90 Mins) – The incomparable Stephen Sondheim brought his sensational Follies to the stage in 1971 where it was hailed as "monumental theater" by The New York Times. Fourteen years later, the magic was recreated by an unparalleled gathering of stage and screen luminaries performing with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center for a wildly enthusiastic audience. This one-night-only performance became a legendary event in Broadway history! The evolution of this unique, historic event is exclusively captured in this film, from the first rehearsal—just four days before the show—to the last second butterflies just before the curtain rose. This is a rare treasure for all fans of musical theater. Includes the memorable songs Losing My Mind and I'm Still Here and an all-star cast! 

SWEENEY TODD (2001, NR, 132 Mins) – This delicious production, is a musical thriller of revenge and romance set in Victorian England, features Broadway diva Patti LuPone as Mrs. Lovett and veteran stage actor George Hearn in the title role. Premiering in 1979, the legendarySweeney Todd—winner of nine New York Drama Critics Circle Awards and eight Tony Award—is recorded with the San Francisco Symphony as conducted by Rob Fisher.

SONDHEIM: THE BIRTHDAY (2010, NR, 116 Mins) – Join us for a rousing celebration of the life and work of one of Broadway's greatest legends – the one and only Stephen Sondheim. For the master composer and lyricist's 80th birthday, many of musical theater's brightest stars gathered to perform more than two dozen sensational numbers from Sondheim's illustrious career. Many of these enduring songs are rarely heard and several are performed by the original Broadway cast members. David Hyde Pierce hosts this magical event with Stephen Sondheim'o;s longtime collaborator Paul Gemignani conducting the New York Philharmonic. 

Purchase here at 40% off:
Stephen Sondheim Collection (Into the Woods, Company, Sunday in the Park With George, Follies In Concert, Sweeney Todd, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert)

Get Hard
Releases March 27th, 2015
1 hr 39 mins
Rated R


Director: Etan Cohen
Writers: Jay Martel, Ian Roberts, Etan Cohen

Will Ferrell as James King
Kevin Hart as Darnell Lewis
Alison Brie as Alissa
Edwina Findley as Rita Lewis
Craig T. Nelson as Martin Barrow
T.I. as Russell
Ariana Neal as Makayla
Dan Bakkedahl as Rick
Gary Owen
Jay Pharoah
Ron Funches as Jojo
Jon Mayer as Himself

Review by Stephen M.

Get Hard is Will Farrell's latest attempt to make you laugh out loud.  He plays filthy rich stockbroker James King, who is heading to the big house in 30 days for fraud.  Not wanting to be someone's little b*tch in maximum prison he enlists Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) who owns a car wash operation running out of the garage of James's workplace's sub-level.  The movie plays into all kinds of stereotypes, making this film racist only if you don't have a sense of humor.

Kevin Hart continues to be on a roll, making him one of the more bankable comedians out there to partner up with for a movie.  While there are many similarities to his other roles, his consistency and comedic timing and delivery continues to be spot on making this iteration as funny as the last.  Will Farrell has moments of brightness in this otherwise unbelievable plot.  His performance as well very typical of his previous roles of playing a buffoon actually wears us a bit more thinly.  The funniest moment for me is when he tries to enjoy Darnell's cousin Russell (T.I.)'s gang.  The two that shines the most in the film for me are Alison Brie as Jamie's fiancée and Craig T. Nelson as the father-in-law to be and boss.

The two biggest problems with the movie are that the plot is incredibly ridiculous, and it shares too many similarities to other movies.  Jamie King's character ignorance of the street life as a Wall Street big shot is not that atypical.  However, his highly touted gift of making money in the financial markets alludes to some sort of higher intelligence.  In regards to similarities to other films, you only need to go back one on Kevin Hart's filmography in bringing up Wedding Ringer.  Kevin Hart in that plays a guy helping out a white guy enlisting the aid of his motley crew of friends and helps to foil some shenanigans in the end.  Does that describe Wedding Ringer or Get Hard?  Yes, both!

Overall I would recommend this film as a matinee.  The film is not horrible but it is really nothing you really have not seen before.  You will get a couple of really good laughs, especially if you are a fan of either comedian.  But if you are expecting something great, then you might come out a bit disappointed.  One thing that was interesting is the lack of dialogue humor into regards to the two stars' drastic height difference.  We see a couple of physical jokes such as Will bench pressing and throwing Kevin, but no verbal insults as to his height.  As well the ending was a bit awkward.  If it had ended with the twerking in jail, that would have been the perfect ending.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Released March 13th, 2015
1 hr 25 mins
Not Rated


Director: Bert Marcus
Writer: Bert Marcus

Evander Holyfield as Himself
Bernard Hopkins as Himself
Mike Tyson as Himself
Larry 'Ratso' Sloman as Himself
Dalton Conley as Himself
Naazim Richardson as Himself
John Pfaff as Himself
50 Cent as Himself (as Curtis Jackson)
Mary J. Blige as Herself
Lou DiBella as Himself
George Willis as Himself
Al Bernstein as Himself
Francisco Aguilar as Himself
Mark Wahlberg as Himself
Spike Lee as Himself
David J. Leonard as Himself
Micky Ward as Himself
Craig 'Boogie' Jones as Himself
Ron Howard as Himself
Denzel Washington as Himself
Maureen Schafer as Herself
Tyler Felix as Young Mike Tyson
K.J. Powell as Young Bernard Hopkins (as KJ Powell)
Chris Hall as Teen Evander Holyfield
Isaac Alisma as Teen Bernard Hopkins
Dre Sawyer as Mike Tyson's Mother
Florence Avognon as Evander Holyfield's Mother
Don Blocker as Evander Holyfield's Trainer
Jordan Wilson as White Boys & Girls Club Boxer
Deloris Heard as Bernard Hopkins' Mother

Review by Stephen M.

Champs is an interesting look into three of the greatest boxing champs during the 1990s and 2000s.  Those individuals being Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins.  The documentary starts from their meager and often troubled beginnings to their entry into boxing and their rise and fall from boxing.  With reenactments, old footage, and interviews, we get a rarely seen side of boxing and what it takes to be a champ.

What I love about the film is the stories that the filmmaker is able to put together.  A lot of it can be seen as common information, but that is paired with behind the scenes footage and insight that adds to the legacy and legend of these three mighty boxers.  All three individuals of which the documentary is about are hands on and fairly open in the documentary which is a must.  From Bernard Hopkins's stint in prison to Mike Tyson's rape charges and imprisonment to Holyfield's meager beginnings we see them not only at their best but at their worst too.  I especially enjoyed the segment about Holyfield's Olympic failure due to a controversial decision, and Tyson's loss in failing to make the Olympic team.

While the focus is on the three former champs, the documentary often touches about the overall problems with boxing as it is today.  For example, the lack of a minimum wage or health care for the low ranking boxers that their income pales in comparison to minor league baseball players and bench players for the NBA and NFL.  The film of course could have filled an entire hour discussing this matter but the focus is on the three greats.  They do talk about how they are still involved in boxing now trying to educate the next generation of boxers on the pitfalls and snakes of the business side of the game.  The only other flaw with the film as slight as it is, is the inclusion of actors and actresses as part of the interviews.  For example, someone like Mark Wahlberg who has played a boxer or Mary J. Blige who is noted as a "boxing enthusiast."  Adding them simply for the "star" power is a good tactic but not very necessary.

I would highly recommend the film especially if you are a fan of boxing.  The film will make you yearn for the yesteryears when Heavyweights ruled the planet and larger than life personalities like Bernard Hopkins and Mike Tyson was on the television screen ever week making headlines.  The documentary walks the fine line in being both entertaining and informative.  Already in theaters, catch it while you still can.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Furious 7
Releases April 3rd, 2015
2 hrs 14 mins
Rated PG-13
Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller


Director: James Wan
Writer: Chris Morgan

Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner
Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Chris Bridges as Tej Parker
Lucas Black as Sean Boswell
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw
Elsa Pataky as Elena Neves
Kurt Russell as Frank Petty
Tony Jaa as Kiet
Ronda Rousey as Kara
Nathalie Emmanuel as Megan Ramsey
Djimon Hounsou as Jakande
John Brotherton as Sheppard
Ali Fazal

Review by Stephen M.

The latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise Furious 7 is a thrilling sky high ride and a touching sendoff given that it is Paul Walker's last film.  While the movies have always had insane car stunts, each iteration of the film has taken it up a notch and 7 is no different.  With cars parachuting from a plane, taking on military drones and of course insane car chases the movie has no shortage of action.

Besides the insane action, what really makes this a great film are the great camaraderie and sense of family the story instills on you.  With the majority of the cast having been together since at least the first or second movie.  Each member getting fairly equal screen time with the newest edition being the villain of the film Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) out for revenge for his brother.  As well we're introduced to savvy hacker Megan Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) who seems to be a possible fixture going forward.

There are few things to fault with the film in my opinion.  Perhaps the pointless cameo of Iggy Azalea.  Or the lack of use of rising action star, sometimes UFC Women's Champion, Rhonda Rousey.  Or how about the fact that Deckard Shaw a top black ops assassin being so sloppy in going after guys with no military experience.  And finally a military helicopter with a known international criminal with so much air time in a major city with no confrontation by the US military.

I would highly recommend the film especially if you love the last film.  Is it better than Fast & Furious 6?  In terms of action and stunts most definitely.  Overall, I enjoyed both immensely and look forward to more films even if it's unfortunately without Paul Walker.  As I have said before there is a touching tribute in the end.  Because of the angles and distance in which the frames were shot, his brother filling in is hardly noticeable.  Thanks Paul for one last great ride, as he says in the film "going old school."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Digital HD release of The Hobbit The Battle of The Five Armies is upon us!

The final installment of The Hobbit is here! Warner Bros. is proud to bring you the Digital release of The Hobbit The Battle of The Five Armies! Mouse over the Interactive map of Middle-Earth and take the quiz to find out what is your Middle-Earth weapon of choice!

A (Digital Copy) of The Hobbit The Battle of The Five Armies

How to Enter!
  1. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter if you don't already.
  2. Either share or Facebook or Twitter about this giveaway and include @Geekwithmak and #TheHobbit
  3. Comment below your weapon, as well include your Facebook or Twitter account in which you shared about the contest in step #2.
  4. Use the app below and take the quiz to uncover your Middle-Earth Weapon of choice.
Contest ends March 31st 2015 Midnight ET.
Giveaway open to the U.S. and Canada

About The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Digital
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.


Own it on Digital HD NOW

Own it on Blu-ray March 24th

Fine Print:
Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Digital Download Coupon for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Secret of Water
Releases March 20th, 2015 (Limited)
1 hr 16 mins
Not Rated


Director: Jirka Rysavy, Saida Medvedeva
Writers: Jirka Rysavy, Kimba Arem, Saida Medvedeva

Lex Lang as Narrator

Review by Stephen M.

An incredibly power message about the essential component of life is unfortunately delivered in a dry documentary format that may turn most movie goers away.  Unnecessarily long and methodical, the movie provides tons of valuable research data and interviews that are quite interesting but lacks the personality of water that is vibrant and alive as the narrator would say of water in its purest state.

Lex Lang may not be a household name to most movie goers, but chances are you have heard his voice before as his resume as a voice actor runs the gamut from Anime to Animation to Live Action films.  He does a good job in narrating the film, which is essential in these type of films.  As I said before some of the studies are quite fascinating.  Probably my favorite would be when Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto puts in three separate glass containers, rice and water and interacts with the three in three different ways.  His analogy to water and how we treat children is amusing in how spot on it is when I think about my child.

My biggest gripe with the film is the presentation of the facts and research in a manner that reminds me of videos back in high school or various science topics.  While some may be interested in this no nonsense type of information sharing, to me with people's short attention span, which is most everyone, will be turned off by the film.  I would compare the presentation style of the film to the mandatory five hour DMV pre-licensing course in New York.

Overall, I would recommend watching this film at least once in your life.  The information in pieces is incredibly interesting and will help to improve your life.  I would recommend waiting for it on Netflix however.  Perhaps on a Saturday morning after saying thanks to a glass of water and refreshing your body with it.


Divergent Series: Insurgent
Releases March 20th, 2015
1 hr 58 mins
Rated PG-13
Action/Adventure, Romance


Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback (based on novel by Veronica Roth)

Shailene Woodley as Beatrice "Tris" Prior
Theo James as Tobias "Four" Eaton
Octavia Spencer as Johanna Reyes
Jai Courtney as Eric Coulter
Ray Stevenson as Marcus Eaton
Zoë Kravitz as Christina
Miles Teller as Peter Hayes
Ansel Elgort as Caleb Prior
Maggie Q as Tori Wu
Naomi Watts as Evelyn Johnson-Eaton
Kate Winslet as Jeanine Matthews
Mekhi Phifer as Max
Ashley Judd as Natalie Prior
Daniel Dae Kim as Jack Kang
Keiynan Lonsdale as Uriah Pedrad
Suki Waterhouse as Marlene
Rosa Salazar as Lynn
Emjay Anthony as Hector
Janet McTeer as Edith Prior
Jonny Weston as Edgar

Review by Stephen M.

As intriguing as Divergent was, Insurgent just downright disappoints.  Lost is the mystique of what it means to be "Divergent", with poor dialogue and shoddy acting taking center stage in the sequel.  The filmmakers are quite dauntless in offering this out to the public.  I have not read the books so cannot say how it compares to the movies.

There are few things to like about the movie, but the strongest thing going for it would be the amazing special effects especially when Tris (Shailene Woodley) is in a faction's simulation test.  I especially enjoyed the scene of the runaway flying house that is on fire as Tris attempts to rescue her mother that is inside.  Shailene Woodley puts on a good performance, as does her counterpart Theo James and Daniel Dae Kim. Kate Winslet among others also put on good but not necessarily memorable performances.

As far as what I don't like about the film, my two biggest gripe would have to be the dialogue and predictability of the plot.  Thrown in several corny characters like the Faction-less train leader, and Tris's brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and you get an audience laughing out loud at scenes that you suspect was not intended to elicit such emotional outbursts.  And their friend Peter (Miles Teller) whose character is made for comic relief just doesn't have his timing down quite right.

Overall, I would recommend waiting for this film on Netflix.  If you are a huge fan of the first movie or the novels you would probably enjoy this more than I did.  Also if you do plan on seeing this anyway, I would suggest you watch or re-watch Divergent again just to familiarize yourself with the structure of their society and the numerous characters that pop in and out.  Some background information is given but not enough.  As a member of Candor would undoubtedly say, this movie will disappoint you, so save your money.

To read our review on Divergent visit here.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Releases March 20th, 2015
1 hr 32 mins
Not Rated
Suspense, Drama/Thriller


Director: Adam MacDonald
Writer: Adam MacDonald

Missy Peregrym as Jenn
Eric Balfour as Brad
Nicholas Campbell as Ranger
Melanie Mullen as Lola
Jeff Roop as Alex
Ashley Nay as Ice cream attendant

Review by Stephen M.

Backcountry based on a true story reaffirms my belief that camping and hiking is always a bad idea.  Written and Directed by Adam MacDonald, the first time filmmaker brings us a chilling tale of horror when you are lost, isolated from the urban and digital world, hunted by one of God's great (and vicious) creatures.  The best horror stories are always the ones that are believable in that it can happen to any person (that goes camping).

What I like about the film are the setups by the Director in setting up and building the tensions in the film.  The atmosphere which you can cut with a knife especially when the couple Jenn (Missy Peregrym) and Alex (Jeff Roop) who's gone hiking meets a stranger early on in their trip. Little things such as leaving his axe in the tree and returning to the camp without it is what makes for great suspense.  I particularly enjoyed Missy Peregrym's performance as well as the stranger, Brad played by Eric Balfour.

The story's few faults include dragging of the feet a bit in the early beginning.  As well, the movie was much bloodier than I was expecting especially with dead carcasses.  As far as the acting, while I enjoyed Missy Peregrym and Eric Balfour, the rest of the cast including Jeff Roop's performance was simply not memorable.  A bit predictable at times, a bit confusing other times.  For example, why Jenn is using her flares when she did.

Overall, I would recommend the film unless you have a weak stomach.  The gore, the mauling, the bone breaking is not for the weak of heart.  That big black bear isn't Winnie the Pooh and he's not in the park to make friends.  Adam MacDonald's first full feature film is a good one that will make you think twice about camping again.


Releases March 27th, 2015
1 hr 34 mins
Rated PG


Director: Tim Johnson
Writers: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember (based on book "The True Meaning of Smekday"
by Adam Rex)

Rihanna as Gratuity "Tip" Tucci
Jim Parsons as Oh
Jennifer Lopez as Lucy Tucci
Steve Martin as Captain Smek
Matt L. Jones as Kyle

Reviewed by Stephen M.

Home is your perfect family animation this season.  With a grooving soundtrack, humor that will amuse both kids and adults and lovable characters, there are few things to fault on this adaptation of the book "The True Meaning of Smekday" by Adam Rex.  We have gotten glimpses of the alien race the Boov before from shorts prior to various Dreamworks Animation films.  In their first full feature film we see them hilariously take over Earth and teach us about family and friendship over the course of the movie.

Besides the beautiful animation, the lightheartedness of the film is what really takes a hold of you at the creativeness of the filmmakers.  With underlying themes of world conquest, separation, and isolation, you would think that the film would be depressing.  Jim Parsons plays the naive but free spirited lead character, Oh.  So named because every time he enters a room, his "friends", go "oh", as "oh, it's him..."  Jim does a good job as Oh, helped by witty yet straightforward dialogue.  He reminds me a lot of Baymax of Big Hero 6 or even Chappie as they were first getting acclimated to our world.

While the movie is good, it is not really distinctive which is the only gripe I would have with this film.  While many of the ideas of the film are not necessarily new, it is the way Dreamworks packages it together that makes up for it, making the film enjoyable.  Using adult actors Jim and Rihanna as the leads instead of a younger actor or actress is an interesting choice.  Perhaps just to add a bit of star power to the veteran comedian Steve Martin.

Overall, I would highly recommend this film that makes you "put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care."  The movie is appropriate for the whole family including very young kids.  While you do not necessarily need to re-watch the short films of the Boov, they are definitely worth catching and just add to the enjoyment of the film.


Monday, March 16, 2015

The Cobbler
Released March 13, 2015 (Limited)
1 hr 39 mins
Rated PG-13
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy


Director: Thomas McCarthy
Writers: Thomas mcCarthy, Paul Sado

Adam Sandler as Max Simkin
Dan Stevens
Dustin Hoffman as Abraham Simkin
Steve Buscemi as Jimmy
Melonie Diaz as Carmen Herrara
Ellen Barkin as Elaine Greenawalt
Clifford "Method Man" Smith as Ludlow
Sondra James as Anna Stevens
Dascha Polanco as Macy
Lynn Cohen as Mrs. Simkin

Review by Stephen M.

The Cobbler despite its many celebrities fails miserably in entertaining with a confusing plodding plot.  Adam Sandler is at his best when he is played by others, in this typical role swapping movie.  Adam Sandler plays Max, a rather disinterested long line of cobblers, or shoe repairmen.  His life changes one day when he uses his father's old stitcher that when the shoe is repaired with it and worn by another person, the wearer of the shoes take on the appearance of the owner of the shoes.  Magical Jewish Cobblers, as bizarre and interesting as that may sound, opens the door to too many questions that even the filmmaker may seem at a loss to explain.

The surprisingly best performance comes from Method Man as we see both the thug and softer side of him as Adam's character.  Aside from him, the rest of the supporting cast is quite unmemorable including the great Dustin Hoffman and Sam Buscemi.  The film is not without its moments of good humor, especially when Adam is first discovering his new found gift.  The glee from his new toy quickly becomes old as does the predictable jokes.

As you would expect there are jokes as far as "sole" searching, but the biggest problem is the many directions the movie takes you without really tidying up the plot.  An example is what happened to Method Man's character at his meeting with Max in his apartment.  It's implied what happened but never really gone into detail.  Another example is Dan Stevens's character's lifestyle that is touched upon but with no conclusion.  As well the ending sting by Max is as well more confusing than clever and never really explained well as well.  And the ending... well, that just opens more cans of worms.

Overall, I would recommend waiting for this one on Netflix.  It is a limited release in the US currently.  Given the number of people in the theater for the matinee viewing I attended, it doesn't appear that it will last very long in theaters.  As much as I would have love to like Adam Sandler's movie because I still remember his great films like Happy Gilmore, Water and 50 First Dates, I cannot remember a recent movie of his that just wows me.  The Cobbler is far from a wow.  Growing up in the Lower East Side, where many of the scenes are filmed especially on Essex Street.  Seeing where the neighborhood and Chinatown featured in the film which was predominantly Jewish is the only other joy I get from watching the film.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age SmackDown!
Releases on Blu-ray and DVD March 10th 2015
0 hrs 50 mins
Not Rated


Director: Spike Bandit, Tony Cervone
Writers: Jed Elinoff, Scott Thomas

Jeff Bergman as Fred Flintstone
Kevin Michael Richardson as Barney Rubble
Tress MacNeille as Wilma Flintstone
Grey Griffin as Betty Rubble
Russi Taylor as Pebbles Flintstone
Eric Bauza as Bamm-Bamm Rubble/Dino/Hoppy
John O'Hurley as Mr. Slate
The Bella Twins as Brie Boulder and Nikki Boulder
John Cena as John Cenastone
Rey Mysterio as Rey Mysteriopal
Vince McMahon as Mr. McMagma
Daniel Bryan as Daniel Bryrock
CM Punk as CM Punkrock
The Undertaker as Himself
Mark Henry as Marble Henry

Review by Stephen M.

It has been a long while since I have seen any type of Flintstones animation, which use to be a regular staple along with the Jetsons for me.  Most kids nowadays are not familiar with the Honeymooners copycat (nor the Honeymooners), so it made for a great idea to pair them with something more mainstream like WWE.  The film which includes several of their more well-known stars, including the recently departed CM Punk makes for a great animation for young boys with its action and humor.

For long time Flintstones fans, a lot of it will seem familiar which is good.  As with the old episodes, you know that Fred will get into a hair brain scheme that will eventually back fire for him and Wilma will eventually work things out with him in the end.  We get all the familiar characters including the supporting ones like Mr. Slate and the toddlers and pets.  You also get the familiar puns with the animals used as every day gadgets and accessories.  The voice acting led by Jeff Bergman as the lead Fred Flintstones does a good job in coming close to the classic voices that we grew up with.  The wrestlers with limited speaking roles aside from CM Punk and John Cena all also does a decent job in their characters translating their wrestling personality over to the cartoon world.

The biggest disappointment with the film for me would be the mature themes and wrong messages that it gives despite being a children's animation.  From the sexual innuendos, to teaching answering violence with violence, you would think the animation was targeting men.  I was hesitant in showing this movie to my eight year old daughter because of these reasons.  The inclusion of Vince McMahon into the story is a bit of useless self-promotion for himself adding nothing to the story.

Overall, I would recommend this film to older Flintstones and WWE fans.  The animation is well done but the unfortunate message of answering violence with violence makes it difficult for me to recommend it to families with young children.  Sure the Flintstones had its violent moments in the past with Bam Bam tossing people around.  The Flintstones have always used physical sight gags with their invulnerable characters, but you figure some things would change a little with the sensitivity towards violence in cartoons since the "stone age."


Something Wicked
Released September 12, 2014, DVD March 17th, 2015
1 hr 35 mins
Rated R


Director: Darin Scott
Writer: Joe Colleran

Shantel VanSanten as Christine
John Robinson as James
Brittany Murphy as Susan
Julian Morris as Ryan
James Patrick Stuart as Bill
Robert Blanche as John
Angelique Perrin as Zeal
Betty Moyer as Ellen
Lance Rosen as Doug
Jerry Buxbaum as Ed
Joe Feeney as Dave
October Moore as Donna
Mike Hawkins as Sgt. Ellis
John Breen as Sheriff
Gilberto Martin del Campo as Cop 1
Patricia Malley Thacher as Cop 2
Katie O’Grady as Erica
Daniel Wallace as Administrator
Haley Snyder as Welfare Teacher

Review by Danale H.

The storyline of the cover reads, Something Wicked is about, a young couple - Christine and James (played by Shantel VanSanten and John Robinson) - who as they embark upon their wedding plans, gruesome secrets from their past collide with sinister forces of the present to ensure these newlyweds do not live "happily-ever-after."

I feel like this summary is misleading in covering the plot of this movie. Yes, Something Wicked is about a young couple who would like to make their relationship official as husband and wife. However, what happens throughout the movie has nothing to do with supernatural forces, or does it? If you decide to see this movie, you will understand why I ask this. Also, the past, as presented in this summary, seems to convey somewhat of a distant time. This is not the case, as the haunting occurrence is very recent.

The cinematography and acting did not seem low budget. Overall, the acting was very good, including big names such as Brittany Murphy which this happens to be her last film before her death. There were a couple of times where the actors weren't believable. For example, when Christine and her brother, detective Bill (played by James Patrick Stuart) found out about their mom and dad passing. This was a crying scene, which should have evoked some sort of sad emotion on the viewer. It didn't, it just felt trying. Also, it wasn't much of a horror film. Though it was creepy, thanks to Bill and Ryan who played James' co-worker.

 The movie was long and kind of boring at times with holes, and twists that were confusing and at times hard to follow.  For example with the ghosts of Christine's parents.  Is Christine possessed or did she go insane? Why is she seeing images and hearing the voices of her parents’ ghosts? And Ryan, I mean who is he, what is his back story, where did he come from? Why does he fit into the role Christine has created for him? Or is there no reason? Throughout the film, I kept thinking about the holes, though some of them may have been covered in the end, it was frustrating to have to continuously wonder when, what, or why something happened.

Overall, because it was a pretty well put together movie for a low-budget film, I give it 2 stars.