Wednesday, April 29, 2009
He was one of the most controversial and gifted emcees in Hip-Hop. Unfortunately, his life tragically ended when he was gunned down in LA back in 1997. So many theories floated around about the shooting. It seems that all the controversy and conspiracy theories overshadowed the music he left behind. Now, we have a full length movie that tells the life story of Biggie Smalls a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G. You’d think that this is just another movie about the hood. But no, Notorious is actually an inspiring piece of filmmaking! With a breakthrough performance by Jamal Woolard who got Biggie’s mannerisms down pact, Notorious tells the story of his journey from Brooklyn street hustler to rap phenomenon. It gives an inside look at his troubled relationships with Lil’ Kim and Faith Evans, and his well known feud with former friend and rapper Tupac. I played Biggie’s music quite a bit throughout high school, so to see the full story of how he rose to fame answered a lot of the questions I had about him. Rap fan or not, this is a great movie that shows we “Can’t change the world if we can’t change ourselves...”
There are some movies that come around once in a while to really affect its viewers in such a deep way. The Wrestler is one of those movies. Hailed as “Mickey Rourke’s comeback role”, this movie is an emotional look at someone who just wants to matter in life. Mickey did an awesome job as Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a washed out wrestler who’s trying to keep his head above water. He lives in a trailer home, wrestles on the weekends, and tries to start a relationship with a stripper while attempting to repair the torn relationship with his estranged daughter. There are so many layers to this film that it’s hard to mention everything. Here’s a character on film who you see hit rock bottom, but yet still tries to keep going in life. It’s one of the most touching and honest looks at life through the eyes of someone trying to piece his life together. The Wrestler is out on DVD now and I definitely recommend checking out this powerful film.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Have you heard the soundtrack for the massively popular Twilight? This soundtrack is a combination of songs by some seriously talented artists (Muse, MuteMath). The album opens with the not so new song (but still good) "Supermassive Black Hole" by Brit rock band Muse. Followed by one of Paramore’s better songs called "Decode", and a few other tracks I had a hard time getting into, the album hits its high point with track # 5, "Spotlight" by MuteMath. One of my favorite bands, they prove once again their skills with another energetic song. This album has some tracks that had me hitting the skip button on my CD player, but overall it’s a decent album with a really diverse set of songs.
Monday, April 27, 2009
The Mystery Inc. crew hits Asia!!!
The story starts off right in the heart of Tokyo where the mysterious Black Samurai is woken up inside a museum. What started out as an innocent trip to Japan suddenly turns into one of the most dangerous cases Scooby and the gang ever got involved with. Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword is the latest full length Scooby film on DVD and it’s a good one! There are ninja robots, a story with lots of twists and turns, and of course Shaggy and Scooby’s trademark comedy. With some kung-fu action and all the fun and laughter that’s expected from a Scooby show, Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword turns out to be a hit. With so many choices in the animation genre these days, it’s good to see more and more Scooby-Doo animated films being made.
Check it out!
Friday, April 24, 2009
More Peanuts fun on DVD courtesy of the world's coolest beagle. This latest Peanuts DVD titled Snoopy's Reunion finds the beagle and his blockhead owner Charlie Brown setting up a family reunion. This show reunites Snoopy with siblings Spike, Andy, Olaf, Marbles, Belle, Molly and Rover and it comes in a special Deluxe Edition DVD. The DVD comes with the very entertaining Snoopy's Reunion and includes a bonus feature called “Together Again: The Peanuts Voice-Cast Reunion”. Included here are special interviews with the show’s original voice talent. So not only do you get to see this fun show, but you get to see the actual cast that provided the Peanuts characters’ voices. With Snoopy's Reunion Deluxe Edition DVD, WHV has added another great title in the catalog of Peanuts DVD’s.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
It's about time.
One of the most innovative (and underrated) rock bands from the 90's up until today finally released a "Greatest Hits" album. Filter, the band best known for hits such as Hey Man Nice Shot and Take a Picture have released "The Very Best Things (1995-2008)". This album is truly a collection of the Filter's "very best" with 14 awesome tracks. This is an album I've been waiting for, and Rhino Records picked just the right songs to show Filter's best work over the years.
Track Listing for "The Very Best Things (1995-2008)":
- Hey Man Nice Shot
- Welcome To The Fold -
- (Can't You) Trip Like I Do
- Take A Picture
- Soldiers Of Misfortune
- Where Do We Go From Here
- I'm Not The Only One
- One (Is The Loneliest Number)
- The Best Things
- The Only Way (Is The Wrong Way)
- Thanks Bro
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
If you couldn't get enough of the Clone Wars movie, and haven't had the chance to see the show on Cartoon Network, fear not. WHV has brought four of the most popular episodes from the series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS on DVD. This first volume is titled “A Galaxy Divided" and it’s packed with lots of action and some awesome CGI animation. Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Ahsoka are all here to show off their Jedi skills in each adventure. I don’t get to see the show on Cartoon Network, so it was great to be able to watch them finally on DVD. I just wish there were more episodes on the disc. Well, four is better than none I guess. I hear that another DVD will be released in the summer, so be on the lookout for that one soon.
Streaks on the china, never mattered before, who cares.
If you know exactly what TV show that opening line came from, then you know all about THE MAN known as Mr. Belvedere. In the 80's, there were two sitcoms that had famous male housekeepers. The first was Tony on the classic show Who's The Boss. The other was the sarcastic and quick-witted Mr. Belvedere. Mr. Belvedere was an English housekeeper that worked for the Owens family. The Owens family was a group of 5 that needed some help, and not only with keeping the house clean. Enter Mr. Belvedere, who came into their lives and brought his English charm to help “whip them into shape”. Think of him as a much bigger and sarcastic version of Mary Poppins. I was surprised recently when I heard the show was finally brought to DVD. For a while I figured it was lost in pop culture oblivion to be forgotten. But lo and behold, Shout! Factory has brought this classic series back to life with a 5-disc set of Seasons 1 and 2. Fans of this show can now relive their favorite moments and episodes with this great collection. Shout! Factory did a decent job with the transfer of these episodes to DVD format. For an older show, the viewing quality is pretty good. I definitely recommend it for any fan of the show, or anyone curious to find out more about this classic from the 80’s.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Jim Carrey has still got it.
We’ve seen Carrey in a role like this many times before, but at least he still knows how to be funny. Remember Liar Liar? In that great film, he played a character that could NOT lie, no matter what. In Yes Man, he plays Carl, a guy who can NOT say the dreaded word “No”. That’s right. When his character reaches a low point in life, he reluctantly takes someone’s recommendation to become a “Yes Man”. It means that he has to say “Yes” to whatever is presented to him so he can open up the doors to all of life’s possibilities. That makes way for some hilarious (and gross) situations he finds himself in. Yes Man isn’t the most original comedy to come along, but Carrey and co-star Zooey Deschanel make it worth watching for some good laughs.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
"I have... DOUBTS!"
- Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius
Anyone who already watched the film Doubt knows that infamous quote leading up to the ending credits. The few days after watching the movie on DVD, I would walk around my house randomly shouting out that line to give my wife a good laugh. The film however, is not as funny as my interpretation of Sister Aloysius. When a film is based on a priest being accused of child molestation, you won’t find much to laugh at. Now, where do I begin? First off, Doubt has some of the finest acting I’ve seen in a film all year. Streep’s performance of the rigid Sister Aloysius and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s falsely accused (or did he do it?) Father Flynn were both awesome roles. I also need to mention Amy Adams performance of Sister James. This naïve nun played an essential role in the film that can’t be set aside. The film itself raises a lot of questions and doubts in the viewer’s head, but provides very little answers. I thought about the film for a good day or so after watching, so it at least succeeded in being a thought provoking film. Along with the film, the DVD has some great extras including an insightful interview with the cast. Doubt is not a typical film by Hollywood’s standards. It doesn’t end the way you expect most films to, but it’ll sure shake up any assumptions you may have and leave you thinking about it after the credits roll.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
You gotta love the old one-eyed beast.
Cyclops is one of the more fascinating mythological creatures. I remember being amazed at the beast whenever we read about him in mythology and always wanted to see him in his own film. Sure enough I got the chance recently on DVD! Now, when the most popular actor in a film is Eric Roberts, I don’t find myself getting excited. And when the most popular actor in the film (Roberts) acts with such blandness, it doesn’t make the film fare too well. In fact, most of the other actors in the film didn’t do too much better, except for Cyclops! Well he’s really a product of CGI, but still a main character! When the film started heading down the slope of extreme cheesiness, Cyclops came in and did some damage to make it a little interesting! I’d have to say he was the only interesting character in the film. In fact, they could have done without the cast, and just taped the entire movie with Cyclops wreaking havoc. If you have ever wanted to see the one-eyed beast in his own film, now is your chance. But like I was saying earlier, he’s the best actor of the entire cast. So if you're ok with watching a film where the best character is a CGI creation, then Cyclops should be just fine.
Friday, April 10, 2009
One of the most surprising tearjerkers of the year!
Talk about being taken for a ride. From the cover of Marley & Me, you'd think it's a cute little family film about a dog and its owners. Well, it’s not as cute as you think it would be. Marley is a dog adopted by newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston) after they move from Michigan to Miami. They have no idea how much “the world’s worst dog” is about to rock their world. This dog is a BEAST! For starters, he chews through dry wall, tears apart their home, and causes chaos at obedience school. And that’s not even half the destruction he causes! If that was real life, I’m sure any sane couple would have given that dog up in a second. But, since this is a movie, the dog must stay until the end. As important as Marley is, the film is primarily about John and Jenny’s family life, or I should say Marley’s effect on their life. Anyone who has a family can definitely identify with their struggles, especially after the kids come. All the Grogan family’s joy and pain are highlighted throughout the film in a very realistic way. Kudos to Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston for doing a decent job as a couple trying to get through life. Overall, it’s an entertaining film that’ll make you laugh and possibly shed some tears.
Just make sure you have a box of Kleenex at the end.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Danny Boyle is the man. After films like 28 Days Later and Sunshine, he has proved once again he’s a genius with Slumdog Millionaire. Rather then turn this into an ass-kissing essay on how great Danny Boyle is, let’s talk about Slumdog. This film is a celebration of life despite an extreme form of hopelessness that is rampant throughout third-world countries. It starts out with the main character Jamal Malik on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Jamal is a young guy who grew up in the slums of India. Each question he’s asked on the show somehow ties in to a specific event in his life that helps him come up with an answer. From seeing his mom killed to sleeping in piles of garbage to watching his older brother become a thug, Malik’s life is played out in the film showing that there is hope even in the darkest times. I honestly thought the film was all hype before I even saw it. I have this thing inside me that cringes whenever people glorify a movie too much. I can honestly say that Slumdog Millionaire is NOT all hype. It’s a film that can make you happy, angry, disturbed, and hopeful all at once. It’s rare that a film can come along and affect you in such a powerful way as this one does. Now that it’s out on DVD, I’m sure I’ll be watching it again and again.
That's what went through my head at the end of No Country For Old Men. Up until that point, the movie was great. There was some memorable dialogue, a thought provoking story, but the ending took away from what was already a great film. I won’t reveal any spoilers, but I felt it was too sudden. Other than that, this is one thrilling cat-and-mouse chase of a film. I just got through the Collector’s Edition DVD that was just released and it is a fine set to own. The 3 disc set contains the film plus over 5 hours of features AND a special digital copy of the movie. Like with most DVD bonus features, there’s the usual “Making Of” feature, which this one has. But the highlight of the bonus features for me was Josh Brolin’s (who had the best role, in my opinion) Unauthorized Behind-The-Scenes. This was a funny “behind the scenes” look at the film with some very sarcastic comments (all in good fun) made by the cast, including a very stoned looking Woody Harrelson. It was interesting to watch the cast of this very serious film goofing around and poking fun at each other. Overall, this is truly a great set to own for any fan of the movie.
I’m still not happy about the ending though.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
After more than 2 years since their last album release (besides the Closer EP), Jars of Clay is back with The Long Fall Back To Earth. This album, I believe, is truly their best as it picks up where Good Monsters left off. It’s one that will probably surprise naysayers that have brushed them off as a band floating around in a Christian music ghetto. For sure, The Long Fall Back To Earth shows this is the same talented band that surprised the music industry back when 90’s alternative rock dominated the scene. Only now they rock a little bit harder and really embrace a sound that’s influenced by 80’s music. The last few albums by Jars show that they like to pull out surprises in their musical bag of tricks. And this latest album has lots of good surprises. For older fans still not used to their new sound, give the album a few listens and really let it sink in. And for skeptical critics of their older sound, this album should make it loud and clear that this is not the same Jars of Clay you heard before.
The Long Fall Back To Earth comes out on April 21.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Don't mess with Bolt!
He's a dog with super powers that would rival any hero that you can think of, only on camera. In reality, Bolt is just a regular dog that happens to be a movie star. The only problem is that he really thinks he's a super dog in real life. He has no clue that it’s all a part of Hollywood movie magic. Even though he’s really not super, he’s got the fighting spirit of a hero. When he accidentally gets shipped to New York, he goes on a journey back to LA to save his owner and co-star Penny, who he thinks is in trouble. On his adventure across the country, he’s accompanied by an alley cat he meets in NYC (Mittens) and a hamster that’s Bolt’s “biggest fan” (Rhino). With some REALLY innovative CGI animation from Pixar, the voice talents of stars like John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, and a decent story, Bolt is a fun family movie. I must admit though, I wasn’t as blown away as I thought I would be. Throughout the film I couldn’t help but feel like I have been through this story before. Then it hit me. Toy Story! The part of the story where Bolt gets hit with the truth that he’s not “super” reminded me of what happened to Buzz in Toy Story. Now, that doesn’t mean Bolt isn’t a good movie. Even though it wasn’t what I expected, I thought it was very entertaining, and the animation is a HUGE leap from Pixar’s older films. It isn’t my favorite Pixar film, but overall Bolt was an enjoyable film that both kids and adults can enjoy.
As expected with most of the recent DVD releases from Disney, the Bolt Blu-ray + DVD + Digital File Combo Pack is AWESOME. In this pack you get the Blu-ray Hi-Def edition, the standard DVD version, and a DisneyFile Digital Copy. The quality of the video and sound on the DVD was crisp and clear, which made for a better movie watching experience. There are some scenes that might not have been that effective on the DVD, if not for the high quality of video and sound. Also included are some great special features. One in particular that stood out to me is the animated short “Super Rhino”. The little hamster gets to star in his own special where he has special powers and kicks some enemy booty! Overall, the Combo Pack really is an impressive set that’s loaded with extra features making it a great collectible.
Bonus Features also include:
A New Breed of Directors: A Filmmakers’ Journey - Directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard spill the details on the making of the film.
Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt - John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, James Lipton and Mark Walton showing off their voice talents
Creating The World of Bolt - The filmmakers explain the unique design of the film
BLU-RAY HI-DEF features include:
Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission - Interactive game!
Bolt Art Gallery - Check out the film’s early creative concepts