DVD Releases for 08/03/10

Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Kids’ film.  Nice stuff.  No problems.  But let’s face it, it’s no A Prophet.

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DVD Releases for 07/20/10

Well, we’re all over the map this week.  But there’s something fishy about this group:

Cop Out – Kevin Smith tries buddy action, and Seann William Scott steals the show with the only funny moments (and they seem ad-libbed).  Fail?  Flounder.

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Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire

“You’re invincible.”

Earlier this year, a very limited group of American audiences had the opportunity to see the U.K.’s supremely powerful Red Riding Trilogy, and roughly a month later Niels Arden Oplev’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo slipped into art houses.  Now, heading into the heart of Summer, we are given the second chapter in Larsson’s abrupt trilogy (the author died in 2004 before he could complete what was to be an alleged ten-book series), The Girl Who Played with Fire.   Continue reading “Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire”

DVD Releases for 07/06/10

Four fine films that come from very different places:

Better Than You Heard Dep’t.:  Brooklyn’s Finest – Antoine Fuqua’s rather grim but powerful and thrilling tale of three cops (Richard Gere, Don Cheadle & Ethan Hawke) who face very different, very violent fates.  Gere is an aging who-cares veteran;  Cheadle is deep undercover;  and Hawke is a stressed-out strike force member who has too much guilt and too many bad ideas.  Great flick.

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Review: The Last Airbender

“We want to minimize their bender sources!”

There is a priceless moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when a crowd parts to reveal a swordsman who whips out his scimitar and performs an intricate display of handiwork, promising a difficult battle for the film’s hero.  Tired from a long, bad day, he simply pulls out his pistol and shoots the swordsman from several feet away.  Problem solved.  One wonders why no one in The Last Airbender, where certain characters have the mystical ability to “bend” elemental properties (air, water, earth or fire), just runs up and bludgeons the threatening “bender” before they can complete their obligatory (and similarly time-consuming) martial-arts-meets-tai-chi-style dance move.  It would have made the story, which already feels strangely truncated, much more brief and satisfying.  Clumsily filmed and acted, and filled with uninspiring special effects filtered through an unnecessary and woefully underutilized 3-D process (that was tacked on for the sake of box office dollars), The Last Airbender is a thudding failure. Continue reading “Review: The Last Airbender”