Forbidden Zone

Rated: R | Running Time: 73 Minutes
From: MVD Entertainment
The Ultimate Edition available September 29, 2015

Want to see how the great Danny Elman got his musical movie start? Want to see Herve Villechaize as a King in a bizarre, musical world? Want to see a fat “Hitler?” How about a Servant Frog that’s just a dude with a frog head? How about a lot of boobs? Did I forget to mention “Chicken Boy?” If you are ready for some musical and movie weirdness, I believe you might be ready for “Forbidden Zone.”

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All American High Revisited

Rated: R | Running Time: 82 Minutes
From: Virgil Films
On DVD & VOD September 15, 2015

I graduated in 1985. Yes, in the eyes of the youngins I am now the old guy. We also just had our 30 year reunion, another reunion that I missed. I missed my 10 year because of covering a Bon Jovi concert. I missed my 20 year because of supposed to be covering a Bon Jovi concert but that falling through. I missed my 30 year because I just couldn’t swing the time off, but ended up at a Chicago Cubs game. I’m thinking we should have a 33 year reunion in Chicago so maybe I can attend.

What does my reminiscing have to do with a movie review? Well the review is of the documentary “All American High Revisited.” The original “All American High” was shot it 1984 from the perspective of a foreign exchange student, Rikki, who hailed from Finland, giving a look at the high school students of that year, as well as Riccki’s comparison with her life in Finland. Fast forward 30 years and Keva Rosenfeld comes across his documentary in a storage vault, along with some reviews of the movie, and wonders what has happened to some of the kids in the film. Luckily for us he finds a few.

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The Seven Five

Rated: R | Running Time: 104 Minutes
From: IFC Entertainment
On DVD September 15, 2015

I think three quotes best sum up “The Seven Five,” a documentary about the largest police corruption scandal in New York City. The first relates to how it started: “Money always feels good.” The second, to how it continued: “The cops around me would never give me up.” And the third to how it ended: “Welcome to east New York. Welcome to the land of fuck.”

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Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 90 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On Blu-ray, DVD and VOD September 1, 2015

Ahh, “Redeemer,” a vigilante movie where the martial arts fight scenes, or I guess I should say usually one-sided martial arts fight scenes are fun, the slow-motion sequences of blood-splattering are well done, and the end action sequence with the final kick to the head is rather fantastic. Sounds all well and good, but then there is the rest of the movie. Ugh.

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Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me

Rated: PG | Running Time: 116 Minutes
On Digital Download August 18, 2015 |On DVD and VOD September 1, 2015

The challenge: Make a documentary about a man facing Alzheimer’s disease in such a way that it ins’t “Oh, woe is me!”, “Feel sorry for me.”, or doesn’t paint things in a total, “You can have Alzheimer’s and all will be well!” kind of light. “Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me” simply shows many of the challenges Alzheimer’s patients, and their families, face, every day, seen in the world of Glen Campbell and his “Goodbye Tour.” Yes, the subject is sad because we know the eventual outcome, but even combined with the Alzheimer’s challenges, it is an awesome documentary on the musical brilliance that is Glen Campbell.

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Rated: R | Running Time: 92 Minutes
On Digital Download and DVD August 11, 2015

I will always admit that as a fan of Star Trek, and more importantly for this  review, Star Trek: The Next Generation, the challenge for me in seeing Patrick Stewart in any other movie is to separate him from his role as Jean-Luc, Piccard that is, from The Next Generation franchise. It was not very difficult when the movie “Match” started, mostly because he was spouting advice to a bunch of ballet dancers, but oh, that Jean-Luc, I mean Patrick Stewart accent! It is so awesome, as is he, in being able to transform you instantly into the role he is in, and for this movie it’s a very good thing because two of the roles in the movie were perfect, while one character, okay, Matthew Lillard, maybe sidelined by the actual role he was playing, lagged a bit. Continue reading Match

The Salvation

Rated: R | Running Time: 92 Minutes
On Blu-Ray and DVD August 4th

Ahh, an homage to the classic western and revenge movie genres, which generally means there aren’t many surprises, and yet I found myself not multi-tasking while watching “The Salvation.” How did that happen? Well, I’m not really sure, especially since, at the beginning of the film, I was worried that somehow I missed in the press release that the movie was going to be in Danish with English subtitles because our lead character, Jon (Mads Mikkelsen), is greeting his wife and child at the train station, speaking in foreign tongue, and the subtitles started rolling. Luckily she and the boy get murdered by the bad guys, everyone is back to speaking English in the wild west, and the movie could get to the good stuff like sweeping, gorgeous landscape shots, townsfolk scared of the brutal thugs, and Jon doing what he does best, kill the bad people.

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The Family Man

Preview Only
Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 125 Minutes
From: Universal Pictures

Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) is a big-shot businessman, thinking he has everything but still wondering what his life would be like if he had married his college sweetheart, Kate (Tea Leoni). Then one day he finds out as he wakes up in her bed, married, with kids, and trying to figure out if his life was better as the big-shot businessman or is better in suburbia.

This looks like a cute movie, especially as Jack tries to forget his big-shot lifestyle for life as a tire salesman. You’ll get the conflicting story of is it better to have money and no real love or better to have real love and not so much money, but if it’s done right it can work without getting to sappy. I’ll try to be there for Tea Leoni as I’m not a big fan of Cage, but this time it looks like this might just be a really good role for him.

That’s it for this preview! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side

Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 54 Minutes
From: 20th Century Fox Home Video

As the last few months have gone by I am slowly becoming a fan of “Family Guy.” Okay, I’m actually becoming a fan of half of “Family Guy” because here in Chicago they replay episodes at 10PM on WGN and my TV is generally on timer, set to go off at around 10:15PM.  So, as I’m drifting off to la-la land, I’m catching half an episode, but for the most part I am loving half the episode.  As such, being the half-fan that I am, and also being a huge fan of “Star Wars,” I was, I suppose, 3/4 interested in seeing “Something, Something, Something, Darkside,” Seth McFarlane’s and the Family Guy folk’s look at “The Empire Strikes Back.”  At the end of it all, and watching the episode twice (I’ll explain that in the DVD stuff), I can say I was 100% happy.

So pretty much we get the power going out in the Griffin home and the family wants to hear a story. “Black Snake Moan” doesn’t seem to foot the bill, so Peter begins the tale of “The Empire Strikes Back.”  Now I could go into the entire story, but please, we all know the story of “The Empire Strikes Back” (that’s the one with Lando Calrissian being introduced, the one where Luke finds Yoda in the swamp place, and where Luke gets his hand cut off in the “cloud” city). But this is a “Family Guy” episode, with the comical stylings of a “Family Guy” episode, so all of the “Star Wars” characters are portrayed by “Family Guy” characters, and it’s funny, yet oddly true to the “Star Wars” story, as hell.

Yup, Peter is Han Solo, Lois is Princess Leia, and Chris is Luke.  Then you get Stewie as a hilarious Darth Vader, Cleveland Brown as R2-D2, and even Meg gets some screen time as the space slug.  Incorporate them all, and yup, you get some “Family Guy” hilarity infused into the realm of “Star Wars,” and I loved it all.

Now, being a new fan of “Family Guy,” I will admit not having seen the predecessor to “Something, Something, Something, Dark Side” called “Blue Harvest,” which paid homage to the first “Star Wars” film, “A New Hope” (and yes, I know that’s actually Episode IV), so for most Family Guy fans I guess the “Something…” episode can just be some rehashing, but for me, it was fresh, it was new, and it reinforced my newfound love for the “Family Guy” clan.

I guess you can tell I really liked “Something, Something, Something, Dark Side,” so yup, it’s 5 stars out of 5 for the Blu-ray, and even better were some of the extras on the Blu-ray that I’m thinking a lot of “Family Guy” fans will love.  You get some commentary if you want it, you get a really great look at a lot of the work that actually goes into making an animated show, and for me, yes, I actually watched the entire episode again, in “Pop-Up” mode, where little balloons pop up during the episode giving tons of fun facts as well as keeping track of just how many different voice Seth McFarlane does for the episode.  Lots of fun, you get some swearing, so go ahead and get the Blu-ray for your adult, viewing pleasure!

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Failure to Launch

Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 97 Minutes
From: Paramount Pictures

Sometimes, as a movie reviewer, I find myself in the minority of movie reviewers, and such I find myself again in regards to the movie “Failure to Launch,” because, well, I actually liked the movie. First, let’s get to the movie itself…

“Failure to Launch” gives us Matthew McConaughey as Tripp. Tripp is in his 30’s and lives at home with parents Al (Terry Bradshaw) and Sue (Kathy Bates). This may sound odd, but with his utter fear of commitment, and the fact that his mom still makes him breakfast, washes his clothes, cleans his room, and they let him have his friends over, it’s actually a pretty sweet set-up. I mention the fear of commitment part because even though Tripp is good with the ladies, once he sees that look in their eyes that they want a more meaningful relationship, well, Tripp then takes them back to “his” place where once the girls find out he still lives at home, well, they’re out of there quicker than shit through a goose.

Well, Mom and Dad are getting a little tired of Tripp still living at home, and they find out about this service, or dudette as you will, who will let you pay her to get your kid moved out. Enter Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), said dudette. Yup, she gets hired to get Tripp to move out, and she things are going smoothly until, well, I know, you can guess it, she starts falling for Tripp. But she has a job to do, especially since she’s getting paid for it, so she keeps trying to work Tripp, who, in the meantime, is, of course, falling for Paula. With that Tripp knows it’s time to end the relationship, so he invites Paula “home,” except when Paula “finds out” Tripp lives at home, Paula throws a wrench into Tripp’s break-up plans by, well, not breaking up with him. Tripp is in new waters, Paula does the one thing she’s not supposed to do as part of her job, namely sleep with client’s son, but the movie must move along. In the meantime, one of Tripp’s buddies is falling for Paula’s friend, Kit (Zooey Deschanel), to give us a subplot.

Yes you can probably guess how things go, I mean, it’s pretty straightforward. You can guess that Tripp will find out Paula was hired by his parents to get him to move out of the house, and of course, this will not have a good ending. You can guess it will be revealed why Tripp still lives at home. You can also guess that Mom, Dad, Kit, and the friends, all connive a ways to get Tripp and Paula back together. And yes, you can probably guess that all live happily ever after.

Critics seem to be bashing this film because it is so predictable but sometimes predictable can be fun. Other critics are bashing that we really don’t need to see Terry Bradshaw’s butt, and even though I agree, I would rather have seen Zooey’s, I found the scene pretty funny. Still other critics just consider all of the characters, except maybe Kit, as complete idiots. Me, I laughed, and really, that’s all I wanted to do. I’m not saying “Failure to Launch” will make it into the annals of a “Sleepless in Seattle” romantic comedy, but I wasn’t the only one laughing in the theater so I don’t think I’m alone in liking it for what it was.

There are worse movies out there, and I’ll bet some dudes, as they get dragged to the theater to see this movie, whose relationships might be near the ending stage, might actually figure that Tripp has a pretty good set-up living at home. They might even wish they lived at home, too, so they could take their date home after the movie, sleep with them, have them figure out he lives with his parents, and they break up with him. You know what Tripp gets the morning after a break-up? A fantastic breakfast from Mom, he steals the sports’ section from Dad, and Mom cleans his room. Not too bad.

Nothing great, nothing horrible. I’d say pay for a matinee and it’s a solid DVD rental. With that, as opposed to most critics who seem to really not like this movie, I’m giving “Failure to Launch” 3 ½ stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!!