Rules Don’t Apply

Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 127 Minutes
From: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Available on Digital HD: February 14, 2017
Available on Blu-ray & DVD: February 28, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Lily Collins as Marla in Rules Don't ApplyIs it wrong that I found Lily Collins’ acting refreshing and more enjoyable than that of Warren Beatty’s in “Rules Don’t Apply”? I mean, here’s Warren Beatty, screen legend and not really losing any steps, playing the eccentric Howard Hughes, but Lily was a spitfire as Marla, the wannabe actress looking for her big break in a Hughes’ movie.

All apologies to Warren, but that’s my feelings, and I’m sticking to them.

Let’s get to the movie…

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Cross Wars

Rated: R | Running Time: 98 Minutes
From: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital:  February 7, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Cross Wars ReviewFirst I have to assume the film people involved with “Cross Wars” were going for a B-Movie feel, which is fine. I generally like B-Movies and can usually enjoy the campiness of them. Sadly this movie didn’t make the grade of B.

In doing a little reading I found that “Cross Wars” is the sequel to “Cross,” a film trying to be in the “out of the comic book and on to your big screen” kind of movie. The basic rundown is that Callan Cross (Brian Austin Green) is handed down this Celtic cross amulet that has powers, and Callan is now kind of a superhero. He rounds up a team of folks to save the world from bad people.

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Call of the Wolf

Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 102 Minutes
From: Gravitas Pictures
Available:  February 7, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Call of the WolfLet me start with this: Some of the publicity is comparing “Call of the Wolf” to the horror classic “Saw,” and I wish they wouldn’t. Why? My wife likes a decent, psychological thriller as much as the next person, but when it comes to gore my wife hates it. She was immediately out of my living room screening of “Call of the Wolf” based on the preliminary “Revenant meets Saw” indication. Part of me, also, was waiting for the gore, but it never really came. The movie is a psychological thriller, true, and with that comes some violence, but none of it is the sadistic insanity that was “Saw.”

Okay, enough initial ranting, let’s get to the story…

Lester (Aleksander Ristic) wakes up in a cabin in the woods, confused. His supplies are limited, basically a rifle, some bullets, a Marine survival manual, a lantern, a walkie talkie, and whatever might be in a locked safe. It is through the walkie talkie that Lester is introduced to Wolf (Matthew Oliva), the dude who kidnapped Lester and left him in the cabin.

And the psychological messing with Lester begins, starting with Wolf telling Lester he was kidnapped because he has wasted his life.

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Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 122 Minutes
From: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray & DVD:  January 24, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

InfernoThere are a lot of “Why?”’s in “Inferno.” Sure, you could ask: Why can’t the people with a whole lot of technology, including a drone, catch two people running on foot? Or you could ask: Why are the dudes with the guns in this cavern no where near the action? However, there are no more important wonderings than “Why are there so many chases?” and “Why did they have such a convoluted ending?”

The movie is “Inferno,” the third following “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons,” and for me the movie folks seemed to forget that the clues were the fun to this franchise, not the chases.

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Lost & Found

Rated: PG | Running Time: 92 Minutes
From: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Available on DVD and Digital:  January 10, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Lost & Found DVD ReviewAhh, nothing better than a family-friendly movie about the quest to discover a buried treasure. Okay, there might be better, but while your young girls might be enjoying “Apple of My Eye,” this one, “Lost & Found,” is for the boys, or adventurous girls.

Let’s get to the story…

To start we find out that there was this dude who developed an island oasis. Hooray. He disappears one day at sea. Boo. He supposedly left a treasure on the island. Hooray. No one has been able to find it, and people have even died looking for it. Boo. Now a rich developer has bought the island and is ruining its tiny, island charm. Double-boo.

Enter Andy.

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Apple of My Eye

Rated: PG | Running Time: 85 Minutes
From: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Available on DVD and Digital:  January 10, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Apple of My EyeI can guarantee that I am not the target audience for “Apple of My Eye,” most likely it being a tween girl and her mom watching kind of movie, and in no way can I ever relate to either as I don’t have kids, nor am I a mother, but I will say that “Apple of My Eye” is a cute movie with many flaws that I doubt any tween girl would care about.

Here are the basics of the story…

Bailey (Avery Arendes) is an equestrian, training for national competition, and she falls off her horse. She appears okay, but her sight starts to get worse. She tries to hide it, but eventually, thanks to not seeing some sprinkles on some ice cream, the truth starts to come out.

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Brad Paisley – Life Amplified World Tour: Live at WVU

Rated: Not Rated
From: City Drive Films
Available on DVD, CD:  December 23, 2016 | Airing on PBS: January 27, 2017
Get it via : Amazon

Brad PaisleyIn the world of musicians I’d like to see in concert, but just haven’t made the time when they came through the Chicago area, Brad Paisley is one of those guys. I love a great guitarist, I love a guy who writes great songs, and I like seeing country girls at concerts. Brad Paisley has them all, and so does his latest live concert DVD/CD combo, “Life Amplified World Tour: Live at WVU.”

Filmed at, well, West Virginia University, in front of 15,000 folks, Brad Paisley does what he does best, entertain. It’s a DVD/CD filled with performances of his greatest hits, as well as a great rendition of the John Denver classic “Take Me Home Country Roads,” sort of the West Virginia anthem.

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The Dressmaker

Rated: R | Running Time: 119 Minutes
From: Broad Green Pictures
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, and VOD:  December 27, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

The DressmakerIn terms of some extra weirdness, “The Dressmaker” is right up there with the best of them, especially in the dark comedy genre. I mean, eventually most of the townsfolk women are walking around dressed in “designer” dresses, which wouldn’t seem that odd except it’s the 1950’s in a dirt-road, little town in Australia. Then there is the town Sergeant (Hugo Weaving), traipsing around in all of the flashiness of a matador at a bull fight. Clothes, however, aren’t really what brings Tilly (Kate Winslet in all of her sassiness) back to her hometown. Nope, she has to find out the truth about her past, a past that tarnished her reputation and left her as the town pariah.

As it is Tilly returns to town with a flash, at the rugby game, dressed to the nines which thoroughly distracts the rugby dudes. Enter Teddy (Liam Hemsworth), one of the team members, who tells Tilly she is distracting everyone causing Tilly to change outfits to something even more distracting.

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Violent Femmes in Concert

  • When: January 22, 1994
  • Where: Hermann Hall @ Illinois Tech, Chicago, IL
  • More stuff here:
    • None yet.
  • More stuff there:

To the Review….

Violent Femmes in ConcertFirst off, there was the first major concert in the HUB Auditorium in years, and that was, in case you didn’t hear about it, the Violent Femmes. I can’t really say I’m a big, giant, Femmes fan, but I have to admit the show was pretty cool. From the grandiose entrance down the aisle, to the “mosh pit,” to the variety of different musical instruments, I as pretty impressed.

The played, from what I’m told, a good mix of past favorites, and the crowd was rather reserved, just kind of sitting back and enjoying the music – yea right – the crowd was all over the place. Dudes and Dudettes were being hoisted in the air and carried across on a sea of hands (alright, some people crashed into a big wave and dropped to the bottom like a rock), people were slam-dancin’, bouncin’ off the security, and acting like a bunch of rowdy rioters – how cool!

But more about the show. Like I said before, they played what the crowd wanted – “Blister in the Sun, “Add it Up,” and this really cool song titled “Dance, Fucker, Dance.” But that wasn’t all. What really impressed me was the use of strange objects as instruments. From the “wash-basin” drum, to the big long tube/reed, I didn’t know how easy it really must be to find an instrument in the garage. And then, I must say, I’ve never seen anyone play a conch before. It was great.

So, the Violent Femmes get the coveted TWO BIG OL’ THUMBS UP from this reviewer. Everyone had a great time (well, almost everyone), and I’m sure some people felt just how much fun they had in the morning. It was good to see a major act here on campus, and I hope it doesn’t take billions and billions of years to happen again.

Next we hit the opening band for the Femmes, a group of talented buys called Rhodes and Craven. These guys have been at IIT before, and kept the crowd rockin’ in the Bog, but it was just unfortunate the crowd didn’t get into these guys until the end of the show.
Playing a good mix of some covers and originals, the band showed talent, but it’s just too bad they were cut a little short because it was at the end the crowd started really enjoying these guys.
Not too much else on these guys, but they do get TWO THUMBS UP for putting on a great show.
Alright, I’ll mention it even though I hate giving credit to people, but Jud, you did a good job in getting the Femmes here. Just goes to show what a little selfish initiative can do! And now to last Thursday.

Well, well, well. What do you get when you put one original member of White Summer, two guys from a band called Prezence, and some from a band called Innuendo? Quite a surprise! Alright, I really probably shouldn’t have told you all that, but hey, when something kinda good and neat happens, it should be noted. Yep, it was supposed to be White Summer, and kinda was – hell, they played a lot of Zeppelin, but there was more – and the crowd loved it. Things were a little fishy from the start when the lead singer, Todd McGuillary, botched a few lines here and there on some of the Zeppelin tunes, and got more fishy when he started singing “We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions” by Queen at the end of the first set and I said to myself, “Self, this guy should be singing in a Queen tribute band instead of a Zeppelin band.” Little did I know. Second set featured some more Queen, and back into Zeppelin. But more should be said about the rest of the band too (I guess with a show like this it’s the individual talents of the members that could pull off an excellent show and have most of the crowd fooled). Anyway, on lead guitar was a guy called Roger Alison, and he would have done Mr. Page pretty proud. He had more guitars than God, and God has a lot of guitars. He even pulled out the bow and sounded great and had some really cool acoustic work. Of course there was Steve Albue on keys and bass. A talent in his own right, he’s no stranger to playing at IIT. Years ago, he was with this really cool Blues Brothers band that played for this crazy “Hermann All Night Long” party upstairs by the DOSL office. So he’s been spanning the globe of musical variety in his career, and now keeps things going in whatever band he’s playing in. But then, then, then, there was this crazy guy. He was going nuts the whole show, and this guy just so happened to be one hell of a drummer. He had a gong, a timpani drum, and a hell of a lot of energy.

So, all in all, a pretty cool evening, even if it wasn’t really what it was supposed to be. I guess I really can’t rate the “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and cause that to ruin their rating since they sort of pulled it off out of nowhere. They tried to give some healthy advice to get along, hoped, as Todd kinda put it, “his advice didn’t bounce off their (the crowds) head like a Whammo Ball,” and even through in a Supertramp song for the hell of it. Well, well, well, I just can’t decide. As a Zeppelin tribute band there were OK (bring Prezence to the Bog), as a Queen band, they were OK (bring Innuendo to the Bog), but as a band kinda thrown together I was really impressed. So, I’m going to flip a coin (the easiest way to solve a tough decision). And the answer is—TWO THUMBS UP! Well, I guess fate decided that!!

Good to see the Bog crowds keeping up even on a slippery night like last Thursday. I just hope the crowds keep coming. So stop on by the Bog this week, have some fun, and just remember to Party Smart. And, as always, Rellim Reeb, Rellim Reeb!!!


Rated: PG | Running Time: 130 Minutes
From: Well Go USA Entertainment
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Platforms:  December 20, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Greater on DVDI will not lie – at the end of “Greater” i got a little weepy. The thing is it wasn’t really “sad” weepy, it was more of “what a great life, even if it seemed too short” weepy.

Yes, I will come right out of the gate and let you know Brandon Burlsworth died.

It’s not really a spoiler, I mean, if you do any quick Google search about him it’s right out there, but I had no idea. The press release didn’t mention it, the DVD case didn’t mention it, but instantly, as the movie opens with a stone slab for a tombstone my first thought, followed by Google confirmation was “Crap, he dies? So much for an uplifting movie.” But it is, even with his death.

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