Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Upright Citizens Brigade – ASSSSCAT! (DVD)












It's funny! It's spontaneous! It's ASSSSCAT!

You're probably wondering, what's ASSSSCAT? Well, ASSSSCAT is an improv comedy show performed by the Upright Citizens Brigade. The "UCB" includes members such as Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live), Ian Roberts (Talledega Nights), and Matt Besser (Reno 911). This team performs unrehearsed skits in front of live audiences. The concept for ASSSSCAT is quite simple. An audience member shouts out any topic, and the Brigade has to do a skit related to it. Totally unrestrained, this comedy team feeds off each other to carry out the act, and keep the crowd laughing. Now, with ASSSSCAT released on DVD by Shout! Factory, the audience for the improv show extends to the homes of its viewers. Included on the DVD are skits related to Medicinal Marijuana and someone having a Divorce Party. And on this DVD, you get to see for yourself if these performers known as the Upright Citizens Brigade have true comedic talent as they try and pull off ASSSSCAT.

Friday, April 25, 2008

When Angels & Serpents Dance











When Angels & Serpents Dance
P.O.D.

Kickin' it to the homeys, the punks, and the believers. That's what P.O.D. does on their latest album When Angels & Serpents Dance. How does one band appeal to such a diverse audience? I think you would have to come out with an album not giving a fuck what the haters think, like how P.O.D. does here. The funny thing about P.O.D. is that while they are blatantly Christian in their beliefs, they don't get awarded the Cheesiness Medal that a lot of Christian artists get. They don't play it safe either, and usually catch a lot of flack from the conservative audience who are quick to discount them as believers. But that doesn't stop them from doing their thing. And I think people can dig that, whether they share the same beliefs or not. Like the previous albums, P.O.D. shines the most on when they rock harder on tracks like Addicted and Kaliforn-Eye-A, and God Forbid. On the song I'll Be Ready, they collaborate with the Marley Sisters to show their capability to produce a smooth reggae jam. Overall, this is a bold effort that turns out well by "the boys from the South".

Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me












Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me
Ben Karlin

Yes, men do have feelings. And not all guys are dogs. And guys get their heads (and hearts) fucked with just as much as women! I've known both guys and girls who have been in some kind of relationship that has torn them apart. But one thing they all had in common was that they gained valuable info from the bad relationships that helped them with future ones. (Holy shit, why do I sound like Dr. Phil?) Anyway, there's a book out called Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me that nails down the point I'm trying to make in a hilarious way. Edited by Ben Karlin (former executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report) this book contains essays written by people like Andy Richter, Stephen Colbert, and AJ Jacobs, where they all share (in a hysterical way) their experiences in a bad relationship, and what was learned from it. There were so many times I laughed out loud while reading all their confessions. To get an idea of the humor, here is a list of some of the essay titles:

Sex Is The Most Stressful Thing In The History Of The Universe
Girls Don't Make Passes at Boys with Fat Asses
Beware of Math Tutors Who Ride Motorcycles
The Heart Is a Choking Hazard

Along with being funny, I found there is some hidden wisdom that can be gained by reading it. Any guys out there planning to read this book, you and your current lover will be thankful you did.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

One Missed Call (DVD)












One Missed Call
Own it on DVD (4/22/2008)

Pray that you don't get a phone call. In One Missed Call, if you get a weird message on your phone dated in the near future, you're actually hearing yourself die. One Missed Call is a remake of the Japanese horror film Chakushin ari. Japanese horror usually has an advantage over American horror because they rely more on psychological terror instead of blood and guts. And that plays a big role in this film. I can't compare this version to the original, since I never saw the Japanese one. My reaction after seeing One Missed Call on DVD is that it was a well done horror film with some really disturbing images. Like other J-Horror films like The Ring and The Grudge, kids play a role in this. Remember how some of the creepiest scenes in horror films involve kids (The Shining)? Well they continue that tradition here with another kid who is frightening as hell. Along with the kid factor, you have all these images with some really disturbing looking masks (see the DVD cover) that appear to people after they receive their voicemail. To figure out why people keep dying after getting these phone calls, Jack Andrews (Ed Burns) and student Beth Raymond (Shannyn Sossamon) do some investigative work. It's personal to both of them because Jack's sister and Beth's friends have died after receiving phone calls. But just as they are getting close to finding an answer, Beth gets the dreaded call on her cell. Suddenly, they must find an answer because Beth's apparent death is approaching quickly. This leads up to a chilling ending that finds the two main characters confronting the evil that's responsible for the killings. Who will live and who will die? The answer lies at the end of this frightening film.

Monday, April 21, 2008

3 Pigs And A Baby












It's pretty cool when you can take old stories and put a twist on them, without trashing the original. In an attempt to do just that, the Jim Henson Company is releasing the "Unstable Fables" series. The latest one is 3 Pigs And A Baby. Until now, I only associated Jim Henson with the Muppets. So, I was a little confused when I saw the Henson logo on a CGI animated film. After watching 3 Pigs And A Baby, I was surprised when it turned out to be a funny and witty animated film! With Brad Garrett, Jon Cryer, and Steve Zahn providing the voices for the 3 pigs, this film has enough humor to appeal to both kids and adults. 3 Pigs And A Baby takes the fable "Three Little Pigs" and turns it into a modern story similar to 3 Men And A Baby (remember that?). Just like the fable, the wolves can't break into the pigs' home. So they devise a plan to drop a baby wolf on their doorstop, which the pigs will eventually raise as their own child. Once the baby is grown up, he'll fulfill is duty as a loyal wolf and let the others in to feast on the pigs. But, things don't go quite as planned when the wolf grows up thinking he's a pig. By the time he becomes a teenager, he rebels against his 3 dads and finds himself in the hands of the wolves. Then, he is unknowingly set up to finish the wolves' plan. However, once he figures out what's really going on, what will he do? Will he choose to help the 3 pigs who raised him, or the wolves? The ending will surprise you as it answers these questions. Overall, this animated comedy is sure to produce a lot of laughs among its viewers.

3 Pigs And A Baby is out now on DVD.

Flash Point (DVD)













Flash Point

We need more detectives in the world like the character Jun Ma in the film Flash Point. Gang warfare would surely drop if guys like this existed. Jun Ma (played by Donnie Yen) proves to be an unstoppable force as he breaks bones and bashes heads with his extreme martial arts skills. I haven't seen a cop so intense on film ever since Mel Gibson did Lethal Weapon. Flash Point follows Jun Ma and his undercover partner as they try to bring down a ruthless gang. No thugs can stop this human weapon. If he's not caught in a shoot-out, he's involved in some killer martial arts fighting. And that's where the strength of this film lies. The martial arts sequences are taken to another level. Think Bruce Lee meets Ultimate Fighting Championship, and you have an idea of the how the fighting scenes are. An added bonus is that they don't sacrifice the story just to make it a great action film. The film is engaging with its dramatic plot, as well as the explosive fights. And the ending? Let's just say that every time you think the film's about to end, they crank up the energy with more chases and fights, finally leading up to a deadly showdown. Will the hero come out alive? Or will the bad guys prevail? You'll have to see for yourself.

Flash Point comes out on DVD April 22. One thing about the DVD that I really enjoyed is that the dialogue is translated in English. I always had a problem with subtitles distracting me from the movie. But if you like subtitles, you have that option on the DVD as well.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture




















Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture
Daniel Radosh

I feel like I've been down this road before. Wait, I have. Last year, I read the book Body Piercing Saved My Life, which was an agnostic's experience in the world of CCM. That book dealt primarily with the Christian music genre. Expanding on that into the world of evangelical pop culture is Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture by Daniel Radosh. The evangelical subculture has recently gained sudden interest from outsiders of the group. There are some who criticize it with a vengeance. Then there are others who offer "fair and balanced" (I hate using that term) critiques, like Daniel Radosh. A self proclaimed secular Jew, Radosh explores this subculture with hardly any knowledge about it at all. It's quite comical to hear his reports as he interacts with Christians of all flavors. During the many scenes in the book, he meets with conservative and liberal Christians, takes a trip to a Christian book convention, goes to wrestling matches, rock music festivals, and even visits a "hell house" with Revolution Church NYC's Jay Bakker. Rather than getting a biased report from an inside evangelical, Rapture Ready turned out to be an informative (and entertaining) guide to a subculture that has practically gone unnoticed, until recently.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Batman Gotham Knight

Getting closer...
























Batman Gotham Knight will arrive July 8, 2008 on DVD.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRAILER!

a'tris - Lensing











a'tris
Lensing

It used to be that the popular bands out of Boston were New Edition and NKOTB. Those times have certainly changed. Lately there have been some quality alternative rock bands from the Boston area, such as State Radio, and now a'tris. a'tris is more than just a band with a catchy name that's spelled in all lowercase letters. Their latest album Lensing shows off the diverse skills this band possesses. Led by frontman Mason Taylor's ethereal vocals and tight keyboard playing, Lensing is loaded with experimental sounds that would make some veteran bands envious. The particular tracks that stood out to me were Paradise Is A Boxcar, Selling Oxygen, and Automatic Doors. Overall, Lensing is an album that puts a'tris in a category of bands to keep an eye on.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

SpongeBob Squarepants: Pest of The West













If only this show was around when I was a kid. I swear, kids have it made these days. I get more laughs from watching SpongeBob than all of the cartoons I watched during childhood. I just can't get enough. And if you're like me, you'll be happy to hear that a new DVD was just released titled SpongeBob Squarepants: Pest of The West. This DVD, which comes in a nifty Wild West themed cover, contains seven hilarious episodes of this famous cartoon. See how SpongeBob finds out he's related to a Western hero named SpongeBuck in the episode "Pest of the West". Or, if you're really fond of bathroom humor, see squeaky clean Spongebob versus bad hygiene Patrick in the hilarious episode "The Battle of Bikini Bottom". Those are just a couple of the episodes on the DVD that had me rolling with laughter. SpongeBob Squarepants: Pest of The West is out now on DVD and it is the perfect addition to any SpongeBob fan's collection.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Boy Jack













My Boy Jack
"Own it on DVD April 22, 2008"

It's very easy for a child actor to get stuck in the stereotype they get put in. In a smart move by Danielle Radcliffe (Harry Potter), he took a role as author Rudyard Kipling's son in the film My Boy Jack. After playing Harry Potter for the first 5 stories, Daniel stretches himself a bit in playing the role of Jack Kipling. The time is 1915 and Jack wants to join the military. With his dad speaking publicly to get England's support in the fight against Germany, Jack seems passionate to join the fight. Just as passionate as young Jack is, it seems Rudyard is more passionate than he. At one point, you start to wonder if Rudyard is the reason that Jack is joining the military. Anyway, things don't come easy for Jack. He first gets rejected by the Navy for his bad eyesight. And the chances for him to join the Army seem just as hopeless. That is, until his dad uses his influence to get Jack in. While all this is happening, World War 1 is about to begin and the numbers don't look good for England's troops. They are severely outnumbered by Germany's massive military. Once accepted in the military, Jack has a hard time adjusting with his glasses constantly falling off during weapons training. After his glasses are repaired to remain fastened to his face, his perseverance proves him to be a valuable soldier. Back home, family tensions rise as Rudyard begins to wonder if Jack going to war was the right choice. On top of that, his relationship with his daughter and wife get rocky as they are worried about Jack's safety. This film is a powerful example of how war affects not only a nation, but individual families as well. The emotion displayed by the family during this difficult time hits hard as you feel their pain. The DVD will be released by BBC Video on April 22, 2008 and it also includes exclusive interviews with the cast that includes Radcliffe, David Haig, and Kim Cattrall. I highly recommend this great film.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Aliens Vs Predator - Requiem (DVD)














Considering that this film has been bashed by a lot of critics, I will try and be as fair as possible here. After I watched Aliens Vs Predator - Requiem on DVD, I was curious what others had to say. Let's just say the results were not in the film's favor. Despite what most people have said about this film, what you expect from it will determine if it's "good" or not. If you go in expecting an Oscar worthy film, you'll be let down. If you're in the mood for a Sci-Fi/Horror film that doesn't tone down the gore, you might be satisfied. The gory scenes are a little more intense than some other traditional Sci-Fi movies. You have to admit, the idea of Predator and Aliens battling it out sounds like a cool concept. Now, take that battle to earth, and all hell breaks loose. It's bad enough dealing with just one of these things. Now, it's Predator AND Aliens causing much havoc. After being sabotaged by an alien, a Predator spaceship crashes into a Colorado town. The alien that attacked the ship is no ordinary alien though. It is a hybrid of an alien and a Predator, which is known as a Predalien. Before the Predator pilot of the ship was killed, he sent out a distress signal out, which was picked up by another Predator. This one that got the signal packs up and heads to earth to clean up this alien mess. After the aliens start wiping out the poor humans and begin breeding, you'd think the arrival of Predator is in favor of the humans. That is until he skins a man alive! Between these two forces, there really is no good vs. evil. The Aliens are wiping out the humans, and even though the Predator is hunting Aliens, he will kill any human who gets in his way. All of this drama leads up to a final confrontation between Predator and the Predalien. Two vicious beings going at it blow-for-blow. As far as the special effects, they are much more advanced than the previous Alien/Predator films. As much as you can find problems with the story, you can do the same for most other films as well, if you look hard enough. Even though this film wasn't what a lot of people expected it to be, I thought it was better than what some made it out to be.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Jayce and The Wheeled Warriors Volume One













With nostalgic fever rising everywhere, Shout! Factory has added to it by releasing Jayce and The Wheeled Warriors Volume One on DVD. From the first note of the show's theme song, you are immediately transported back to the 80's with this cartoon adventure. If you were a fan of the show, you will have plenty of time to relive those memories with this set. There are 4 discs worth of episodes to indulge in! In the show, Jayce (and his rockin' mullet) takes you on adventure after adventure as he searches for his missing father. Along the way, Jayce and his Lightning League find themselves up against an evil mutant league called the Monster Minds. With their high-tech machinery, the Lightning League heroically battles the Monster Minds as they seek to find Jayce’s dad, and combine two halves of a magic Root amulet. This magic Root amulet has the capability to destroy the evil army. Obviously, the Monster Minds won't go down without a fight. So Jayce and his crew have their work cut out for them along their quest. To sum it up, Jayce and The Wheeled Warriors is a cartoon that effectively combines fantasy with futuristic action to appeal to both younger and older generations.

Click here for more info.



Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder: John, Paul, Tom And Ringo













John Lennon, who was quite an intriguing artist, conducted his final TV interview with Tom Snyder in 1975. When Lennon was shot in 1980, Tom re-aired this interview in remembrance of him. In the interview, they covered topics like why the Beatles broke up, John's "shocking" actions (the nude album cover with Yoko), and thoughts about life and music in general. Out now on DVD is The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder: John, Paul, Tom And Ringo, which showcases that same interview, along with additional interviews with Ringo and Paul. I just finished it and found the interview to be quite interesting, as well as Tom Snyder's shaggy hairdo! I don't personally remember John's assassination since I was a toddler when it happened. But growing up as a music lover, I had tremendous respect for him and The Beatles. As with any other misunderstood artist, there are a lot of things that the press will say that paints a false picture of an artist. But when you hear the stories straight from the artist's mouth, you realize how far off the media is in their "facts" on someone's life. That was the case with John. Watching the DVD, Tom asked John some hard hitting questions that definitely cleared up some "controversies" that surrounded him. And I thought that Tom conducted the interview like a real professional. The questions he asked didn't seem like he was trying to get some shock value added to the show. Instead, he appeared interested in understanding John. The answers that Lennon gave are as relevant today for any artist as they were back then. Since this was aired right after he was killed, you really felt the somber mood as the show went on. As I was saying earlier, I was too young to experience how it felt when Lennon died, but this DVD had me feeling like I was there on that sad day. Overall, this is an enlightening DVD, whether you're a Beatles fan or not.

Click here for more info.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dark Matter













Coming to New York theaters on April 11th, and then expanding from there, is the independent film Dark Matter. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, and starring Meryl Streep, Aidan Quinn and Liu Ye, this film follows an ambitious Chinese science student named Liu Xing, who is pushed to the edge while adapting to life in America. Unable to deal with the politics of the academic world here, he is driven to the breaking point, in what I hear turns into a tragic ending. On April 7th, I attended the press release for the film in NYC. The attendees were actor Aidan Quinn and Liu Ye, along with director Chen Shi-Zheng. Despite the infamous tragic ending, this film seems to be one that will give a better understanding of the cultural differences, and what it's like to come to this land as a foreigner seeking a higher education. For a film with such a small budget, it was able to score a couple of big name actors. You can tell that the story, not the money, drew the actors to this film. When asked what moved Aidan to star in this with hardly any money involved, he replied with two words, "Meryl Streep". He spoke with a lot of respect for her work, and said as soon as he heard she was starring, he was in. From listening to the actors and the director discuss the story, I'm sure Dark Matter will spark some interesting dialogue after the end credits.

Gavin Rossdale's Wanderlust

Any former Bush fans out there wondering what the hell ever happened to them, check this out. Gavin Rossdale will be releasing a solo album titled WANDERlust.



From a guy who misses the songs from Bush such as Everything Zen, Machine Head, and Glycerine, I'm looking forward to this release.

WANDERlust will hit stores on June 3rd.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins - American Gothic













From their angst driven songs of the 90's, to their comeback album Zeitgeist (that showed a more hopeful outlook on life), the Smashing Pumpkins have given fans plenty of music to rock out to. Recently, an EP was released by them titled American Gothic. This 4 song EP shows a different side of the Pumpkins, as the songs are mostly acoustic. Yes, its style is toned down a bit compared to tracks like Tarantula or United States, but it still has that Pumpkins feel to it. Billy Corgan haunts each track with his poetic lyrics and trademark voice. As much as people like to put artists in boxes, thinking they've gotten them figured out, American Gothic shows that the Pumpkins are a band you can't quite pin down.

Track Listing for American Gothic:
1. The Rose March
2. Again, Again, Again (The Crux)
3. Pox
4. Sunkissed

Juno (DVD)













Just as the main character Juno got surprised finding out she was pregnant, this movie surprised many people when it became a big hit. It's not hard to see that this is about a teen getting pregnant, just by looking at Juno's huge belly on the cover. What follows after that is a complex story of a girl deciding to either have an abortion, or put the baby up for adoption. It's hard these days to discuss sensitive issues like this without people getting fired up. As serious as this theme is, the movie was hilarious. No, it didn't downplay the topic of teen pregnancy or abortion at all. In fact, considering that this is a comedy, I found it to be just as serious as it was funny. As good as the story was, it wouldn't have been effective if the cast didn't act as well as they did. Out of the cast that included big names such as Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman, it was Ellen Page as Juno who stole the show. Most of the scenes had her spitting out witty one-liners at rapid fire, which provided some pretty hilarious dialogue. As Juno's pregnancy advanced, the movie took a turn and headed toward becoming a tear-jerker. What did you expect from a film dealing with a pregnant teenager? However, there were still plenty of laughs in between the touching scenes.

Juno comes out on April 15th, and I highly recommend checking it out.

Alvin And The Chipmunks (DVD)













Jason Lee has always been one of my favorite actors. I think it was connected to the fact that he had an appearance in most of Kevin Smith's films (Mallrats, Chasing Amy). Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to see him play Dave Seville on Alvin And The Chipmunks. Now he won't win an Oscar for this role, but I thought he pulled off Dave pretty well. But the real stars of this show were Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. After a long wait, these chipmunks were brought to life through advanced CGI. Thankfully, they didn't sabatoge the film by changing their personalities. Other than the fact that they sing modern songs, I thought they stayed true to their personalities from the cartoon. This family film also takes an effort to poke fun at how mainstream entertainment has traided authentic creativity for the big bucks. More specifically, it addresses how overwhelming it can be for children in the entertainment industry. It highlighted how greedy executives overwork the hell out of some kids, just to increase their funds. I never thought I'd get that from watching this. I expected a fun family film (which it was), and surprisingly got more than that.

Alvin And The Chipmunks is out now on DVD.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Police












Here is one band that's sorely missed. You don't have to look hard to see the influence The Police had on music, even up until this day. Thankfully, on their 30th anniversary (2007), this ultimate collection of their songs from over the years was released. This 2-disc set contains 28 essential songs you need to understand how they turned into rock legends. I've been meaning to cover this for some time. Even though it was released last summer, it's never too late to mention a good thing. To understand what real music is all about, a good place to start would be this collection. Just listening to their songs intently, you can see that they were way ahead of their time. They're songs may be over 20 years old, but they remain timeless!

Track Listing:

Disc 1
1 FALLOUT
2 CAN’T STAND LOSING YOU
3 NEXT TO YOU
4 ROXANNE
5 TRUTH HITS EVERYBODY
6 HOLE IN MY LIFE
7 SO LONELY
8 MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
9 REGGATTA DE BLANC
10 BRING ON THE NIGHT
11 WALKING ON THE MOON
12 DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME
13 DRIVEN TO TEARS
14 CANARY IN A COALMINE


Disc 2
1 DE DO DO DO, DE DA DA DA
2 VOICES INSIDE MY HEAD
3 INVISIBLE SUN
4 EVERY LITTLE THING SHE DOES IS MAGIC
5 SPIRITS IN THE MATERIAL WORLD
6 DEMOLITION MAN
7 EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE
8 SYNCHRONICITY I
9 WRAPPED AROUND YOUR FINGER
10 WALKING IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS
11 SYNCHRONICITY II
12 KING OF PAIN
13 MURDER BY NUMBERS
14 TEA IN THE SAHARA

Rafter - Sex, Death, Cassette













Rafter, who's a part of Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty family, has released a new album. Sex, Death, Cassette is the title, and it is quite an eclectic mix of songs. Considering this one is released by Asthmatic Kitty, I would expect nothing less than something that's eclectic. On the album, Rafter shows that he is a byproduct of a generation of artists that have learned to channel their A.D.D through creating good music. With too many musical influences to mention, his songs continually hit you by surprise, since you never know what to expect to hear next. The term "cookie-cutter" definitely does not apply to his music. To hear something fresh and new, look no further than Rafter's Sex, Death, Cassette.

Muse - HAARP (CD/DVD)













From the moment they stepped foot on the stage in Wembley Stadium, you could feel the energy coming from the 75, 000 fans there to see Muse perform. With the fans chanting "No one's gonna take me alive" along with the band during the opening song Knights Of Cydonia, Muse started what turned into an electrifying performance for the London crowd. Their latest CD/DVD release titled HAARP captured this entire show. I haven't had the pleasure yet to catch their live show. After watching this, I will make it a point to attend one the next time they hit NYC. They put on an energetic performance of their most popular songs such as Supermassive Black Hole, Map Of The Problematique, Starlight, and finally closing their set with the chilling Take A Bow. The visual effects on stage that backed up their songs were mind-blowing, which fit perfectly for their type of music. If you've never been to any of their shows, this DVD will put you right in the front row of this memorable show. Along with the CD that's included in the package, HAARP will make the perfect addition to any Muse fan's collection.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Atonement (DVD)













Atonement

Out now on DVD is the widely praised movie Atonement. Considering all the press this movie has recieved, I think most people are aware of it by now. What most people probably aren't aware of is how complex it actually is. At first glance, you'd assume it's a love story. It is, but not the kind you'd expect. It's also about how a horrible mistake can alter the course of your life, leaving you to carry tremendous guilt. When I first saw previews of the film, I thought, "Ok, it's obviously a love story, but how does the word 'atonement' fit in there?" The definition for the word means "reparation for an offense or injury." So I thought maybe someone cheated on their lover and had to atone for their mistake? After seeing the DVD, I realized that I was way off. Also, I always had the impression that the movies that get the most nominations at the Oscars were also the most boring. I was wrong again. Far from being boring, this story had my attention fully engaged as it progressed into a deep story that dealt with love, jealousy, lying, guilt, and war in a very real way. This film will make shake up your emotions a bit, maybe even stir up a little anger, if you're like me. The acting in the film was convincing by all the main characters. One role that particularly stood out to me was James McAvoy, who played Robbie Turner. The only other role I knew him for was Mr. Tumnus in the Chronicles Of Narnia. Needless to say, this was a role where he got to show he could play much more than a furry character in the land of Narnia. I expect to see him cast in more films after this. The hell that he and his lover Cecilia (Keira Knightley) have to go through, because of one horrible decision made by another character, is devastating. And all that leads up to what the "atonement" is for. Because of this bad decision by another character, lives have been torn and relationships have been shattered. And by the time you reach the end, you'll see how one person has to come to terms after dealing with a life of guilt. There's so many themes to pull from this. The extras on the DVD do a great job of expanding on these themes with different interviews, and the background of how the film was made. So like I was saying, I was surprised at how much I liked this. And chances are, you might be too. Overall, it's a film that really lives up to all the hype that surrounded it.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I Am Legend













I Am Legend

The Last Man On Earth Is Not Alone...

From the time that line was shown in trailers leading up to the release date of the film, I Am Legend was one of the most anticipated movies all year. I was among the many who couldn't wait to see it. My excitement was also combined with a cynicism of Will Smith's acting, based on his previous roles. For some reason, I still always see him as the Fresh Prince. Even in his more serious roles, I find myself expecting him to deliver some sort of a punchline to get the audience laughing. That was before I saw I Am Legend. After watching it, my impression of Will Smith as the Fresh Prince quickly vanished. In my opinion, his portrayal of Robert Neville was the best acting he's ever done.

Now, this post-apocalyptic thriller has finally hit the DVD shelves. And it was definitely worth the wait.

Immune to a virus that seemingly wipes out humanity, Robert Neville is the only survivor in NYC, and maybe the world. But, like the title says, he is not alone. Neville and his dog Sam are surrounded by the infected, who are people that carry this virus that turned them into vampire-like beings. Unable to come out in the daylight, they prowl the city at night. While trying to stay alive despite being outnumbered by the ravenous infected beings, Neville works in his basement to find a cure for the virus. With his time only limited to being out in the day, he searches the city for animals to run his experiments on. The way they pulled off creating a barren NYC in the film was amazing. As barren as the city is, so is Neville's spirit. The effects of being isolated for 3 years brings him to the point where he resorts to talking to mannequins for company. And this is where Will Smith shines in this role. You really sympathize with his character as he conveys the pain and loneliness that Neville has to go through.

Included in the special edition DVD version is an alternate ending. For everyone I know that has whined about the original ending, this version should put a smile on their face. If you haven't seen it yet, you'll be shocked as you see how this one ends. It replaces the original ending with a much more hopeful one. Personally, I still don't know which one I prefer. But it's great to have this awesome DVD version to see the characters' fates drastically change with two different endings.

I Am Legend is out now on DVD.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Blue Man Group How To Be A Megastar Live! CD/DVD













Rather than pay $70 for a ticket to see Blue Man Group, you now have the convenience of watching their How To Be A Megastar Live show on DVD. Included with the DVD is an audio CD, so you can also play it in your car, or wherever you like to indulge in some good music. It's hard to find an act out there that can compete with the energetic, musical circus of a show that Blue Man Group puts on. I popped this DVD on this past Friday night, half-asleep at about 2AM. I quickly woke up after seeing what developed right under my eyes. Three blue faced guys, creating sounds by banging on white tubes and whatever else was around them. Backed up by a full band and a huge display of colors and lights, this show will have you feeling like you're in another dimension. How To Be A Megastar Live! is out as of today, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a creative, inspiring, and electric live performance.