Monday, November 24, 2014

DVD - New Streaming and DVD November 25

Big Holiday weekend here and maybe this is the time you get caught up on some movies you may have missed.  There are some big ones this week.

Keep in mind we only feature major motion picture releases and not TV coming to DVD, games, or straight to video.  Where applicable, I will like you back to my original review from the theater run, so you can gather some info before you rent or pay per view.

New This Week-

The November Man

This is an action thriller starring Pierce Brosnan.  This is pretty good movie that few way under the radar.  Good story.

The Expendables 3

This series is a guilty pleasure set for me.  The third installment of this series, with many new action stars introduced. Highly violent and adult.

The Giver

This was supposed to be a smash hit. It wasn't. Another bleak outlook of the future.  Good cast, but this is marginal.
A Madea Christmas
Can we just stop?  Please?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving - Card Table Lessons

Happy Thanksgiving! Somewhere between sitting at the huge, ornate, and fancy dished dining room table, and being spoon fed strained peas and small chunks of cut up turkey from a high chair lies the card table at Thanksgiving. 

It's true in almost every American home. The Card Table, or maybe better known as the Kids Table. You know that table that sits adjacent to the main table and is the home of those not yet old enough to sit at the table of royalty some 5 feet away.  It's the place where the dishes are different. So is the table cloth, as well as the silver ware and certainly the conversation.  

It's the home of a few more spills and jiggling water glasses when someone is cutting their lukewarm turkey.  It's a rickety legged table with chairs that aren't very comfy, and certainly the home of not enough chairs.  Someone, or two -  is sitting on a piano bench, or an office chair.   And it is also the last bastion of childhood for that one person about 22 getting ready to graduate Akron U or Kent State. Who has to sit with the small kids still, because their rightful place has not yet opened up at the main table. Maybe next year.

So with that said one would think that the Card, or Kids Table is as remote as an Antarctic outpost, and the Main Table is the lap of luxury on the Riviera.  But in reality, it's not at all true.  The Card Table is a place where much fun is had, and has much to teach us.  C'mon, where else can kids have an inappropriate dinner conversation without the parents hearing.  All the while silently learning valuable life lessons and memories that will be with them for a lifetime.

The Card Table Lessons are many as it teaches us all that patience is rewarded.  I mean, it does take the turkey about an hour to get there for some reason.  It shows that good things really do come to those who wait.  For many it's the first table they eat at without mom and dad hawking over them.  It also shows us that many times in life, better things that certainly lie ahead have to be earned over time  - as we watch the adults feast like kings at the stable table while we try not to collapse one of the semi-locked table legs.

All of this is good in the long run.  I think it's actually good for kids to see that. It makes them far less likely to flame out when their big moment arrives.  On that golden moment when they are officially summoned, and they too join the fabled table from on high. Or when a left-handed person is needed at the big table to sit on the end. 

In short, the Card, or Kids Table is like the minor leagues of eating.  You are warming up in the bullpen before entering the big game. Honing your mad skills until you are allowed to show them off at a later date.  It's also a Thanksgiving tradition that I quite frankly hope never really goes away.  I sat there, and I'm sure you did too.  It's a lifetime of giggling cousins bonding together at the best of holidays over a 3,000 calorie meal. And for the 22 year old still saddled there?  Next year you will probably be jettisoned to softer chairs, more elbow room, hotter turkey and fewer fart jokes during your meal. 

Long live the Card Table!  We salute you!  It's a place where kids can be kids during a big meal. Shall you continue to teach us all life lessons without even meaning to.   Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW - Hunger Games:Mockingjay Part 1

It's time to check in again on Katniss Everdeen and the rest of The Hunger Games Bunch in, The Hunger Games:Mockingjay Part 1. 

This is the third in the Hunger Games series, and for some this will be the best one yet. And for others it will leave them wondering what happened?   This is far less action based than the first two, and that's a risk.  But the book stories are what they are, and when you bust the final book down into two parts, this can be the by-product.  But for me, this series seems to be getting better as the movies pile up.  But many will wonder where all the violence and killing is.

MJP1, is much more political and actually far smarter than the first two.  I like this series.  This is far more than an action series.  In this installment , there are no acutal "hunger games" like we had in the first two. Instead, we catch up with Katniss at the end of the second acutal hunger games.  And since her last victory was so stellar, now the Districts are rising up to face the Capital and challenge its authority, and restore freedom.  The "rebels" need a face, a leader, so it's Katniss as the Mockingjay.  Can she rally a nation, and give the repressed hope?

This whole storyline of course takes place in the way far future.  Although it's never revealed in the movies themselves, it seems to be about 500 or so years in the future.  And it takes place in North America which is now called Panem, that has risen after an also never disclosed apocalyptic event. 

This story focuses on the propaganda of war that seems to have survived the centuries.  It shows the medias place in the future, and actually makes a loud commentary on today's media as well.  This movie is far more of a story, and far less action.  This is becoming far more cerebral, and imaginative.  It also continues to successfully develop Katniss' character, as a leader, a fighter, now a soldier, and actress, and most importantly a woman. 

Yeah, there's a bit of Twilight in this.  A young women seemingly playing two men against one another, and toying with young studs' emotions but that's part of the allure for some.  Jennifer Lawrence again is great at Katniss, and although she as a critical actress has far outgrown this, this will end just in time for her to get on with her real career of great projects far richer and with the pressure off.  She also leads a all star supporting cast here, with way too many to mention.

Overall, this is good, entertaining and stays remarkably fresh as compared to other ongoing teen and young adult dramas.  Even with the seemingly eternal  and endless backdrop of gloom and doom as we look to the future.

The Hunger Games:Mockinjay Part 1.  This is good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW -Beyond The Lights

Beyond The Lights is out, and is one of the most surprising movies of the year.

This is a romantic drama that is reminiscent of movies similar, most notably The Bodyguard.  But that's been a long time, and this stands up well on its own two feet.  This has opened to very little fanfare, but this is worth a view.

BTL is the story of a young pop singer named Noni.  She is a beautiful young woman trying to make it with a super controlling mother at the wheel calling the shots.  In a fit of weakness, after an awards show, Noni attempts to kill herself by jumping off a 9 story balcony.  But at the last second, she is saved by a really nice young cop, Kaz.  He pulls her to safety.

As time goes on, Kaz and Noni strike up an unlikely romance.  Each come from very controlling families that have a plan for their kids, that may not be the same as themselves.  What this is, is a love story that's a little bit Bodyguard, Romeo And Juliet, and a few other music driven movies. And when you shake it all out, this is OK.

Overall, the story holds up well, and although there are a few convenient holes in it, and some of this could have been done much better, it's still OK.  Our performances are strong by the main stars and the supporting cast.  There are also a slew of cameo's that give it credence in the music and entertainment real world.  And the music is really good.  In fact they were really smart, and didn't forget the music would be pivotal here.  And they didn't let the love story dominate this so much, that the music would be in the back seat.  Let's remember, Noni is a young pop star.

Is this perfect?  No.  But this is pretty darn good, and opened to very little buzz with Disney's animated flick and Interstellar, and Dumb And Dumber dominating the box office.  But don't be afraid, this is a nice diversion from the cartoons, special effects, and those two morons going through mid-life crisis on the screen.

Beyond The Lights.  This is pretty good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

DVD - New Streaming and DVD November 18

As we move closer to holiday shopping time, the list of new movies coming to your DVD store or streaming service is growing. This week there is something for everyone.

Keep in mind, we only feature major motion pictures here and not straight to DVD, games, or TV series making their way to video.  Where applicable, I will link you back to my review from the original theater run to help you make the an informed decision before you rent or buy.

New This Week

Into The Storm

Big action flick from August, that deals with the biggest storm ever. Tons of holes in the story, but this is a special effects fest. Acting and story week. Special effects - old.

And So It Goes

Romantic comedy for seniors, starring Micheal Douglas, and Diane Keaton. BTW, she is in every romcom for seniors.

If I Stay

Chole Grace Moretz is a great young actress.  She is good in this teen tragedyBut better work is ahead for her. This is a heavy movie

22 Jump Street

Sequel to 21 Jump Street with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in the bro-comedy. Tatum is surpisingly funny as a stoner cop.  But this is growing thin.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW - Dumb And Dumber 2

There were a few words that kept running through my mind during the screening of Dumb And Dumber 2. The one most frequent was - sad.

20 years after the raunchy, but guilty-pleasure ridden original, film makers The Farrelly Brothers re-hired Jim Carey, and Jeff Daniels to be Lloyd and Harry again.  Right off the bat, it's sad the Farrelly Brothers have to rehash an ancient idea, can't leave well enough alone, and have no new ideas. 

Equally sad, is that two humongous multi-millionaires Carey and Daniels agreed to look like morons again, this time at 50+ years old, with the same jokes from 1994. Daniels especially has moved so far beyond this type of thing as an actor, it is miles beneath him to reprise this. Carey is who he is.  So, after making a bunch of good movies since, that too expanded his horizons, he fell back in the septic well too.  All they had to say was - no.  And we are all spared from this.

Really sad is the free fall from grace of the once great, Kathleen Turner.  She is in this, and it almost hurts to see her here.  There is a little known supporting cast that now can cash a nice paycheck, and keep their careers going, as this will be a hit one way or another.  This will do well at the theater, and if not, certainly for home streaming and DVD.

There isn't much to review here. It's the same movie as before.  A ton of poop and pee jokes, always trying to gross us out.  A bunch of silly dialogue that sounds amazingly similar to the original.  Plus, they again go out on the "no group left un-offended" list.  And just for good measure, they have to play the lets gross everyone out as much as possible card with a nursing home scene that designed for big laughs, is simply horrible.  And fell shockingly flat with the theater audience today.

In short, it's all about the cash.  They got away with this once, and that's fine.  This is clearly designed to re-boot this franchise, and introduce Harry and Lloyd to a new generation of fans who simply won't watch a 20 year-old movie.  There's enough 7th grade humor to go around.

Dumb And Dumber 2.  Yeah, there's a few laughs, but the emphasis is on - a few.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

DVD - New Streaming and DVD November 12

This week, is another week where there is something for everyone. As we approach the Holiday gift buying season, get ready to more major releases to be available for your home theater.

New This Week

How to Train Your Dragon 2 

Sequel to the wonderful original, that I feel is none of the really great animated movies ever. 

Let's Be Cops

Sheesh!  Another raunchy comedy from August. 2 dudes pose as police officers for personal gain.  


Melissa McCarthy stars in another movie where she plays the exact same character then she was in the last movie she did.  Funny parts, but the act is tired.