COMING SOON...

COMING SOON...

THE HOT ROCK, CINDERELLA LIBERTY, ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL and DISTANT VOICES STILL LIVES

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DUCK DYNASTY COLLECTORS EDITION SEASONS 1-3 and DUCK DYNASTY SEASON FOUR: IF IT LOOKS LIKE A DUCK...



A lot has been written about the series DUCK DYNASTY lately. Most of that has revolved around the head of the family, Phil Robertson, and remarks he made in during an interview for GQ magazine. But what about where it all began? What about the series that put him in a position where a magazine like GQ would even consider talking to him? If you've never been exposed to the Robertson family and why they've become so popular now is the chance. All of the first four seasons are now on DVD.

While the first three seasons have been available for a while now, a boxed edition has come out that includes a camouflage bandana. If you watch these discs you'll see what the hubbub us all about. The Robertson family and the series itself can be summed up in one word: family. That's something you rarely hear about these days unless it's about the downfall of the family or an extended family or a family that has some sort of extenuating circumstances. Here you have a traditional family that lives together, works together and plays together. That's something rare on TV today.

It's not one particular episode that stands out among the first three seasons that made this show a hit. It's all of them. It's the chance to meet this family and know that somewhere in the mix you recognize them as your own. There're the brothers, Willie and Jase, who have a friendly rivalry going on to the point where they play pranks on one another. Or baby brother Jep that the two gang up on to tease. Then there's crazy uncle Silas, or Si, who spouts off enough witticisms to garner a book release of his own (SI-COLOGY). Their wives and children are also in the mix from episode to episode. And at the head of the family is the man who started the company himself, Phil Robertson, and his wife Miss Kay.

The story behind the family has Phil starting his own company making duck calls called Duck Commander. Son Willie and his wife bought the company and made it the leader in the field, no pun intended, making it a million dollar business. Through the series and the product placements to follow the entire family has become rich but they don't let it go to their heads. They continue to live like they always did, although in better homes it seems.

Episodes range from the family sneaking onto a golf course in the black of night to snag some huge frogs that Jase saw there that afternoon with the intent of Miss Kay cooking a mess of frog legs to Willie trying to teach his daughter Sadie how to drive. Okay so the first one might not be something we all would do but the second surely is. Each episode is filled with some of the funniest situations and dialogue found on TV today. It's those off hand comments and moments that fill all of our lives where we laugh at one another and tell each other how "you should write for television". This group has taken those moments, put them together and actually done so.

At the end of each show has come the moment that has caused controversy around the country and in the board rooms of A & E, the network that airs the series. The family always ends up sitting down to dinner around the table and doing what seems to offend so many: they pray! You would think this would amount to nothing more than what people always used to do but in fact at one time was a point of contention with the network. They wanted them to stop using the name Jesus for fear of offending someone. The family didn't back down on that one and why should they? Apparently the network wasn't afraid that they might offend those who found something good in it.

This week you can also lay claim to the fourth season of the series and it contains just as many fun moments as the first three. Here again, it's not one episode that stands out, it's the entire season. As you watch this group you find yourself thinking they'd be fun to be around, to hang out with or to have a meal with, prayer included. They're not the simple folk that some would like to portray them as (all of the sons have college degrees and one friend/co-worker Martin is almost finished with his masters degree) and that may be why some folks don't like them. They're not the Beverly Hillbillies. Then again maybe they are. That was a family that didn't care what others thought of them either. They just loved one another and enjoyed themselves. It would seem to me we could use more of that rather than less on TV these days.

So if you find families that bicker non-stop, that hate one another more than love each other, that try to include each diverse culture they can find or that come off more like the Bundy's than the Cleavers this may not be the series for you. But if you like this family, like the values they believe in, like the fact that they're not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, then you should pick up both DUCK DYNASTY SEASONS 1-3 COLLECTOR'S SET and DUCK DYNASTY SEASON 4. They'll be DVDs that won't collect dust as you go back and watch and laugh at each and every episode.

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Click here to order season 4.

INSIDIOUS 2: BRIDE IN BLACK RETURNS

There are few directors who can make a truly scary movie. I'm not talking about the run of the mill movie where something jumps at the camera, the music screeches and you feel that instant adrenalin rush from what happened. I'm talking about a scary movie that has a few of those moments perhaps but that has something deeper about it that makes you walk out of a theater or turn off the DVD player and wonder if something terrifying from the screen didn't walk off and stay by your side. James Wan is a director whose name you might not know but who makes movies exactly like that.

Wan first came to notice when he co-wrote and directed a small low budget film you may have heard of called SAW. Things he did in that movie, his creative use of light and shadow, of wringing a story to get everything out of it, can be found in the other films he's done in follow up. In 2010 he made another horror film called INSIDIOUS. The story of a haunting that wasn't of a house but of a boy was a hit with movie fans that made it a successful release. It ended with the boy and his father leaving the Further, a not quite limbo between the worlds it the living and the dead, and returning home safe and sound. Or did they?

INSIDIOUS 2 comes out on DVD this week to answer that question. Picking up immediately where the first film ended, Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) stay at his mother's house since their old house is now a crime scene with the death of Elise Rainier (Lynn Shaye), the spiritual investigator that helped rescue them. Within minutes of trying to go to bed things begin to happen. Renai is the first to realize that it hasn't ended yet.

In the first moments of this movie we see the past and discover that it wasn't the first time Elise had a meeting with Josh. As a child she was there to help as well. Under hypnosis she finds out what she needs to know about the haunting and thinks that using the hypnosis she can erase the knowledge of the Further from Josh's mind forever. Alas this isn't the case.

As things begin to happen in Josh's mother Lorraine's (Barbara Hershey) house, Renai is frightened once more for her family. But this time she also has a fear of Josh as well. While he may have rescued their son and brought him back from the dark place he went to, he seems somehow different. The police suspecting him of being the one that killed Elise doesn't ease her mind any.

As Lorraine begins to see ghostly figures in her home she and Renai begin to attack the problem from different angles, neither knowing at first what the other is doing. Lorraine approaches Carl, Elise's assistant from year's back who brought her into the case. Renai on the other hand approaches Elise's assistants Specs and Tucker. Eventually their pursuits cross paths and the trio teams up to help this family.

I won't give away the details of the reveal here but the fact is they give it away early on, as a matter of fact with Renai's fear that Josh isn't the man he was. Suffice to say that the bride in black from the first film hasn't gone off to her just desserts yet. As a matter of fact just who the bride is is revealed more here than in the first film. The jump scares aren't as many here but the depth of story is more fleshed out and when it is revealed it's a much creepier concept than originally brought out.

The actors do a wonderful job here with not one taking center stage. That's a tough job when there are 2 to 3 name actors who normally would dominate the film. Instead this feels more like an ensemble piece where each has a role to play in the telling of this story. The stand out character in this film is more the lighting and camera work on display. Both flesh out the tale more than the words and acting. This isn't denigrating the actor's performances, just noting that everything from start to finish is enhanced by the use of light and shadow.

It may seem odd for this to be the top release coming out the week of Christmas to DVD but horror films seem to be more widespread these days than ever before. The good news is that this one seems to fulfill every need that horror and suspense fans will love. That means that not only is this one worth watching but one to add to the collection as well. It's that good.

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2 GUNS: TWO STARS AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME

There's no denying that Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are two of the top action stars in film these days even though there is a considerable age difference between the two. So when the word came out that they would be involved in a buddy cop movie I was ready for it to be dynamite. Fortunately 2 GUNS turned out to be just that.

The two begin the film as a pair of crooks involved with diabolical Papa Greco (Edward James Olmos), a Mexican drug lord that Robert "Bobby" Trench (Washington) has bought passports for. Unfortunately the drugs that he was supposed to be paid with are being held back by Greco who would rather pay with cash. Instead, Trench tells him to hold on to the cash until he's ready to give him the drugs.

Michael "Stig" Stigman is another character altogether. Where Trench is a cool cat, Stigman is the hot youngster ready to go at it at the drop of a hat. Stigman, unhappy with the day's events, suggests to Trench that they do something different to get more money from Greco: rob a bank where he deposits cash every week. Their guess is the take will be about $3 million.

After the two head back to the U.S. the find themselves picked up by Immigration and are held for questioning. Here is where we learn that Trench isn't the crook we thought but an undercover DEA agent. He informs his controllers that the deal didn't go through but he's on the verge which results in him being given just 2 weeks to finish the case. With so little time he suggests to his main controller Deb (Paula Patton), who he also happens to be sleeping with, that he and Stigman actually pull off the bank job to get the ball rolling.

The duo follows through on their plan with one a few hitches along the way. First off they discover that there is more than just $3 million, more like $43 million. Secondly the arresting DEA officers that were supposed to show never arrive. And lastly when the time comes for Trench to reveal himself to Stigman, Stigman shoots him and leaves him in the dessert with a bottle of water.

Stigman reports to a group of friends and we now learn that he is working for Naval Intelligence to get to the money that was in the bank. When he discusses the fact that it was more than expected and that he left Trench alive, his cohorts open fire on him and try to take him out. He escapes but barely.

The duo reunites and puts together what information they have after kidnapping Greco to find out how much he knows. While interrogating him at Deb's house, the military guys show and the twists and turns of just who is working for who and which organization is doing the backstabbing begins to reveal itself.

The movie is filled with action from start to finish. Not only that but there is a comedic quotient on display here that harkens back to the LETHAL WEAPON films of the past. While Washington may be the cool character with some decent funny lines it is Wahlberg's character that has the more funnier moments. Between his wink, his attitude and his snappy come backs, he brings the humor to the film. As for the rest of the cast they do a remarkable job of playing out their roles and not hamming it up. Seeing as how this movie is based on a graphic novel the fact they can do so shows how well they do.

With plenty of explosions and gunplay, after all the movie IS named 2 GUNS, the action quotient is one that should fulfill the needs of all adventure fans. The stars show an ability to tussle with one another and the bad guys as well as offer some gunfire play that will make you wish that these two were on your team if the need ever arose. Is it one for the shelf? Maybe. Not mine but then some of you may be die hard fans of both actors. If so you'll want this one added to your collection. .

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SMURFS 2: A BLUE CHRISTMAS

Yes, it can be a blue Christmas at your house if you have kids and if they tend to like those adorable little creations known as Smurfs. That's because the movie SMURFS 2 has just come out on DVD. In the long run kids will love it and adults will find it slightly amusing. What could make a better Christmas gift?

I'll admit that I didn't see the first Smurfs movie but after watching this one I don't think it matters. We all know a little about them from years of Smurf cartoons and the like. This time around it is nearly Smurfette's birthday. The only female Smurf we know of, the rest of the Smurfs are busy planning a surprise birthday party for her. Unfortunately this leads her to believe everyone has forgotten about her.

Smurfette reflects on how she came to be, how the evil sorcerer Gargamel created her as an evil alternative to the Smurfs. But when she got to spend time with the Smurfs she changed for the better. Now she's afraid of becoming what she once was all over again.

About the same time this is going on, Gargamel is now in our world and playing to sell out crowds around the world as the most amazing magician known to man. The secret of his magical abilities lies in the fact that he is using Smurf essence to power his magic wand. But the amount of essence he has is dwindling so he creates new Smurfs, evil ones called Naughties named Vexy and Hackus. The problem is that they don't provide the pure essence that a real Smurf does so Gargamel sets out to recapture Smurfette and use her to alter his newest creations. If he can capture them all that works too and gives him the ability to rule the world.

A portal is made and Smurfette is brought back to our world in Paris where she spends time with Vexy and Hackus. They become friends and the duo tries to show her just how much fun being bad can be. Gargamel pretends to like her and cater to her needs in the hope that she'll lure the other Smurfs here.

Back in their own world the Smurfs realize Smurfette has been kidnapped and set out to rescue her. The problem is there are only enough special crystals for 4 of them to go. Led by Papa Smurf they head out to the home of Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris), the same human that helped them in the first film. When the explain what is going on Patrick, the Smurfs and his family, including the step father that Patrick has issues with (Brendan Gleason) all head for France.

Confusion reigns supreme from that moment forward as with most movies made these days for the under 10 crowd. The movie does take on some serious topics though as Smurfette must deal with being good or bad. At the same time her new friends learn what it's like to be around someone who is nice. And Patrick and his step father learn that all is not what it seems when it comes to memories of what happened in their past together.

The movie offers some good CGI animation (like most kids movies these days) and the comic moments involving the Smurfs is sure to bring out a number of laughs from the kids. The jokes may not be as amusing to adults, but they aren't so bad as to cause the continuous eye rolls that some movies do. The story lines are sure to create open ends to discussions you can have with your kids about being good or bad and about knowing what really happened in the past versus what they remember happened. Watch and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

All in all if you have kids this is a movie I'm sure you'll want to add to their collection. And if you're a Smurf lover you'll find yourself in Heaven watching their antics once again. As a bonus there is a great old style animated short included in the special area of the DVD that has the Smurfs dealing with the headless horseman in what appears to be a Halloween themed episode. This would make a great Christmas gift for the Smurf fan no matter what the age.

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MORTAL INSTRUMENTS, CITY OF BONES: A HIDDEN WORLD

Hollywood knows where it makes its money when it comes to theaters. That became apparent with the numbers raked up by the TWILIGHT franchise. Since that series is finished it's time for a new one and what better than another one based on a series of novels, THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES.

Clary Fray has been seeing things she can't explain. Signs no one else can read and images of people being murdered that no one else sees. After watching someone killed at a nearby club she returns home to find her mother gone and their apartment trashed. Enter Jace, the killer she saw at the club who explains to her what is going on and offers to help her find her mother.

It appears that Clary is descended from a line of Shadowhunters, a group of half human/half angel warriors that have battled evil for generations. Not wanting her to be aware of certain secrets, Clary's mother had a spell cast on her to hide images and knowledge so that no one could get them from her. But with her mother captured Clary isn't sure who to side with or who to trust.

Jace and the other Shadowhunters take Clary and her friend Alec in to their secret stronghold. It is there that they begin to tell her about who she is, who her mother was and just who is responsible for kidnapping her and why. Years before Clary's mother was part of a group of Shadowhunters who followed Valentine, a Shadowhunter who decided to use the method once employed to start their kind in the hopes of taking over the world. Clary's mother put a stop to that, stealing the sacred chalice that Valentine needs to accomplish his goal.

As the story unfolds it provides plenty of background material for those just coming into the series of stories but not in a way to be boring. Instead we get glimpses of the past of Clary's mother and of Clary herself, bits and pieces revealed to her and us at the same time. The story moves forward and alliances develop as does a love interest between Clary and Jace, much to the chagrin of Alec who has long been in love with Clary. Can you say Team Edward and Team Jacob?

But honestly that would be short selling this movie (and my guess the series of books on which it was based) which does offer something different and, for me at least, a bit more fulfilling than sparkly vampires. These Shadowhunters are fierce warriors willing to take on a room filled with truly hideous vampires in an effort to protect Clary. Their weapons are old school but don't let that fool you as they take on all comers with nary a drop of their own blood spilled.

The special effects are done to perfection here but yes of course they are CGI (Computer Generated Images) more often than not. At least they've made the effort to make them seem real as opposed to poorly done CGI (see any monster of the week effort on SyFy for an example of bad CGI). The heroics are nicely done and by the end of the film you find yourself hoping that more of the series will follow.

That may not happen as the movie's release didn't garner the attention or numbers that the TWILIGHT crowd displayed. That might change as the film head to DVD this week. It will give those who didn't see it in theaters a chance to see what it was all about and to decide if they want more. I for one am hoping that it happens. I found this movie to be enjoyable and action filled, a horror story with some oomph. Let's hope enough other people find the same thing so the series can continue.

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RED 2: RED ROUND TWO

If you saw the movie RED then you know the amount of fun there was to be had in the story of a retired CIA agent designated as RED or Retired Extremely Dangerous. Bruce Willis in the title role of Frank Moses carried the part of with perfection as did his fantastic supporting cast. With the exception of Morgan Freeman they all return for this sequel that, like most sequels, doesn't quite live up to the original but still offers a good night at the movies.

This time around Moses and his now girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) are settling into being a mundane average couple which he relishes but bores her to tears. One day at Costco they're approached by ex-spy Marvin (John Malkovich) who tells them he needs their help. Not wanting to put Sarah into harms way Frank turns him down only to see him blown up moments later.

But Frank isn't convinced that he's actually been killed and rightly so. When a group of agents captures Frank for an interrogation it is Marvin who rescues him. Not long after their friend Victoria (Helen Mirren) calls to let them know that MI-6 has given her a contract to kill her and the US has given the same contract to old foe Han (Byung-hun Lee). On the road the threesome do their own form of interrogation and discover that an old project they were involved in back in the seventies has spy agencies all over trying to track them down. Word has leaked they know something they don't and now the only way to survive is to find that information.

Their search takes them around the world beginning in Paris where they run into Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones). A top Russian spy she was often the weakness that Frank fell for. Whether she is there to help or hinder the group slowly unveils itself. In any event she puts Frank and Sarah at odds as any old flame would if she suddenly showed.

Eventually the group discovers that the project they were a part of involved a nuclear device that was smuggled in to Russia during the Cold War. Now it seems someone is trying to track down the device and activate it or at least take possession of it to use elsewhere. Just who is behind it all gets confusing at times and the end result isn't something you see coming at first.

Included this time around is Anthony Hopkins as Bailey, the weapons designer who created the bomb in the first place. His character offers some comic relief as he seems to be either out of his mind or heavily drugged by his captors. Either way he gives a new character some life that is up to the standards set by the rest of the cast.

While the movie offers less reality and tends to offer action along the lines of it's original format (i.e. a comic book), it doesn't matter. What it offers is spectacular entertainment from start to finish. The only thing that slows this film down is the constant jump from one country to another but each country they visit offers more obstacles to overcome which they do in grand scale.

There isn't a bad performance in this film. Standing out is Malkovich as Marvin. Malkovich is known more for his performance in heavier material but does a tremendous job being the comic foil to Willis' hard knocks hero. The only thing I was disappointed in was the parts offered Miller and Mirren. Both seem underused here but then maybe that's just my perspective.

All in all this is a fun movie that you can enjoy with a big bowl of popcorn. Just sit back and go for the ride, have some fun. I'm not sure yet if I would qualify this one to sit on the shelf in my collection but it is well worth watching.

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THE HEAT: BULLOCK & MCCARTHY TURN UP THE HEAT



I told you last week it was difficult to choose when two movies came out the same week that were both excellent choices to watch and just hinted that THE HEAT was the best comedy in ages. Well I decided that I had to come back and tell you once more and to let you know that if you're looking for a laugh then go check this one out today.

Sandra Bullock may have one an Oscar for her dramatic role in BLINDSIDE but she's more known for her comedic roles. But over the past few years she's released some decent comedies that just didn't take off like those in her past. That's made up for here. Bullock stars as FBI Agent Sarah Ashburn, a no nonsense top agent who solves more cases than most of her fellow officers. Unfortunately her attitude is in serious need of adjustment. Ashburn suffers no fools and often not only outshines her fellow agents but lets them know it too. To say she's not popular is an understatement.

When a possible promotion comes up she's informed of this problem and sent to Boston to help in an investigation of a drug lord that's been untouchable to date. Following up where the clues lead, she arrives at the Boston precinct just as a suspect has been placed in lockup. What she doesn't know is the police officer who arrested this suspect and the way she handles things.

Officer Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) is a die hard cop, one who is also no nonsense but in a more in your face manner. Mullins thinks nothing of slamming a suspect around or carrying more weapons on her than most Marines. She's so tough that the rest of the police officers around her are afraid of her, including her captain. When she learns that Ashburn is interrogating her suspect rather than co-operate she heads straight for her.

The two part ways but in an attempt to get the information she needs and to work with her counterpart, Ashburn tries to talk to her at a bar not noticing when Mullins slips the FBI case file out of her purse. With this information she shows up at the next suspect's house at the same time Ashburn does and the two make an attempt to work as partners. What develops as the film moves forward is a certain amount of respect that the two have for one another ala the odd couple as they attempt to find the bad guy and take him down.

There are several sub plots going on here as well, most of them dealing with Mullins family or the fact that while these two women are career minded they also tend to be loners. Neither has a deep friendship with anyone else but you know before the end credits roll that one will develop. Does that make the movie predictable? Sure but so what? People who dislike movies that are predictable need to look closer because nearly every movie made involves a story that's been told before. What makes a movie special is the way it comes together or as in this case the life brought to it by the stars involved.

These two ladies are tops in their field and bring the funny to what could have been a boring movie. Bullock's straight laced, attractive career girl with no man in her life and no one who likes her is loosened up by the very open Mullins. McCarthy does what she's best at as the brashest of characters whose love life is filled with guys she keeps running into but none that she wants to stay with. Watching her hard facade ease up as she and Ashburn work the case makes hers a more interesting character than one would expect.

A word of caution and that is that the movie has more F bombs in it than most films. While that makes it not a family friendly movie it does end up providing some of the laughs here. I've only seen two movies that have used the use of the word to full effect, this one and the car rental scene in PLANES TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES. While it might get overused here there are moments when it comes into play with the characters and their changes. Just go in expecting it because it's used not for shock value but for character development.

I've been surprised this past year. Twice I've seen comedies that have made me actually laugh out loud even the second time around that I watched them. THIS IS THE END was the first and this movie is the second. It may not be a movie I'll watch week after week but it is one I'll be glad to add to the collection of moves to keep. And when I need a good laugh, I'll put it in the DVD player and start up.

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CITIZEN HEARST: AN EMPIRE DEFINED

With the decline of newspapers and magazines in the age of the internet there are probably many who aren't aware of the name Hearst when it comes to journalistic empires. This movie should correct that quite a bit. At least it starts out that way.

William Randolph Hearst created a publishing empire in the early portion of the last century that he used to create politician, celebrities and people of interest. He abused his power often but no one could put an end to his reign. That would happen after he was gone and all because no one left was quite like him. Most people today get their glimpse of what he was like via Orson Welles' classic CITIZEN KANE, based largely on Hearst and his life. But he was more than that.

The beginning of this film is wonderful in recreating the story of Hearst from childhood through the days of his run as the top newspaper owner in the world. You hear the stories of what he was like behind the scenes, the way he used his newspapers and the way he abused them as well. For young people who don't know the power of the press you get to understand just a little bit better what the world was like when it came to shaping society by the way of the printed word. It is this portion of the film that entertains and informs the best.

But the latter part of the film feels more like a promotional piece for the waning days of the once behemoth that it was. The newspapers are falling to the wayside due to people getting their information more quickly off the internet. They still have a steady income from the magazines that were at one time the way people learned how to act and what was "in". Magazines like Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Town and Country were magazines most people read but these days just don't draw the readership they once did. 

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DARK FEED: HORROR WITHIN HORROR

Whenever I read something like "from the writers of..." I begin to worry. If you have to attach your name to a previous semi-successful project to get people to watch it almost always turns out bad. That doesn't quite happen with DARK FEED.

Scripted by the writers of John Carpenter's THE WARD, this film tells the story of a group of film makers making a low budget horror film. To save money on sets, they choose to shoot on location inside an abandoned mental hospital that's been left behind and in the worst condition imaginable.

As the film opens the writer of the movie being shot arrives and gets a walk through of the location as well as introductions to the crew. He immediately develops a crush on the assistant producer which comes in handy in a film like this. Those usually end up being the only people left alive by the end of the film. Yes, this film falls into formula territory early on.

As the shooting continues the crew becomes tired but forced to carry on since the producer wants to save money and shooting at night to get what they need is necessary. But as they continue shooting an evil presence takes over and the sets become darker just as their moods do. Things that go bump in the night turn up as do bodies of the cast and crew. It seems that the history of the hospital is something the producer should have looked into before they started shooting.

As the deaths pile up and the ghosts begin making themselves more apparent our couple does their best to simply survive and find a way out. You're never quite sure if they're going to make it until the end of the film and the scares that fill up screen time are done well enough to make those who don't frequently watch this kind of film jump but perhaps not the hard core horror fans.

While this isn't the best horror film ever made or perhaps not even included in the mid-range, it does offer a few nice items. Die hard horror fans will be disappointed though having sat through so many movies just like this. It doesn't offer anything new but does give you the same old same old in bearable enough fashion.

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SHADOW PEOPLE: A MOVIE TO MAKE YOUR SKIN CRAWL

I'm a big fan of horror films. The only problem is that it seems like lately they either use lame ideas or rework some past film into a new and improved version. So when an original film comes along I'm always ready to let other know how good it is. SHADOW PEOPLE is one of the good ones.

Charlie Crowe (Dallas Roberts of THE WALKING DEAD) is a late night radio DJ who takes calls from people who discuss weird topics from aliens to hauntings. One of his callers has sent him a package and later calls to tell him he's afraid to sleep for fear of dying, attacked by shadow people he's been seeing. While he at first believes the caller is off his rocker and in need of help, he changes his mind when he learns the same caller dies in his sleep.

Crowe begins digging deeper into the mysteries of shadow people, finding out that they have been studied and the results are not hopeful. He learns that this was not the first person to complain of the shadow people and their intent on killing and that others have died the same way, in their sleep. As he digs deeper he too begins seeing shadow people and one can only hope he finds a way to survive this experience.

The idea of shadow people is nothing new and most recently talked about in nearly every ghost hunting show around. The idea of these shadows as spirits stuck in a certain location is the way those shows describe it but in this film these shadow people are very mobile, moving from one person to another, location to location.

The way the film shows the shadow people uses limited special effects and offers small glimpses rather than full on in your face displays. This adds to the creepy feeling that they invoke. You never feel cheated in not seeing them rather they make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. The entire film has the ability to make you feel that way offering chills rather than thrills, something lacking in most horror films these days.

If you're looking for a movie that was made on a shoe string budget but that delivers some unique scares then this one is for you. It doesn't get in your face but does get under your skin. What more could you ask for in a horror film?

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THE BAY: NATURE RUN AMUCK

I was stunned to see that this film was made by Barry Levinson, the man behind such movies as DINER, RAIN MAN, GOOD MORNING VIETNAM and THE NATURAL. This just didn't seem like the sort of film he would make. Granted it rises above most films like this but still it just felt odd.

The movie is a combination of found footage and ecological horror film. The town of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, has something happening to the water supply. Apparently a combination of fertilizer run off combined with radiation and then being dumped into the bay only to have that water become the source of drinking water for the town results in the mishap. What follows is found footage after the government shuts down the town now a location of little more than dead bodies and pollution.

When the movie works it is actually due to the found footage design chosen by Levinson to reveal the story. It's not about select people though there are a few characters that we become enamored of before learning what happens to them. The footage is combinations of home movies, news footage and more that explain what people were going through and how things changed in the town. When added together it makes for a horrifying possible series of events that becomes a tad scary towards the conclusion when the last people to arrive on the docks show up.

The weak parts of the film are the belief that this would happen to this extent and that the government could actually cover up the disappearance of an entire town, especially since this is a summer resort where people from across the country would likely show up. If you can suspend your belief on these two items then you might enjoy this nature gets revenge type film. If you think that this is too extreme and left your ecology flag back in the sixties then you might not enjoy it near as much.

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KILL FOR ME: BETTER TITLE THAN FILM

This is one of those throw away movies that seem to come out straight to DVD and then disappear after a short time on the rack only to reappear on some lame channel that needs filler. That is to say it's not the worst movie ever made but it is far from being one you'll watch more than once if you make it through that.

The story revolves around a group of college students, two of which are home and one of which has gone missing. To help pay the rent the two girls take on a new roommate. It becomes convenient that this roommate is having problems with an abusive father since one of the two girls is having problems with an abusive father. Ala STRANGERS ON A TRAIN the two girls decide to help one another out by killing their respective abusers thus negating any connection that the police might find between the killer and the victim.

Along the way a semi-lesbian sequence takes place with the two leads finding themselves attracted to one another. As others who have watched the film have noted this seems intended to placate the supposed male need to watch two hot chicks have a go at it. Sorry but I've never found that something worth watching and when used as a sub-plot it seems more forced than natural anyway. It just becomes filler to make a movie that could have been shorter stretch out to 95 minutes.

The plot has been used before but that's not what makes the movie one to pass over. Instead it's the fact that not only have we seen this done before (and better) but that the supposed twists don't seem like twists at all. If you don't see the end coming early on then you've not watched many films. If the film is on when nothing else is on then you might want to watch. If you've become a fan of Katie Cassidy (David's daughter and star of TV's ARROW) then you might want to watch. Otherwise save your money.

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PACIFIC RIM: MONSTERS VERSUS ROBOTS!

It becomes difficult to pick a movie to write about when two fantastic movies both become available the same week. You have to choose one. So let me say THE HEAT is one of the funniest movies made in some time (though filled with the F bomb). That being said let me get to my pick for best new movie on DVD, PACIFIC RIM.

PACIFIC RIM did fantastic box office around the world but never quite caught on here in the US. That's sad because this is one amazing movie even with multiple viewings. In the near future a series of giant monsters rises from the Pacific floor to attack various coastal cities world wide. Known as Kaiju (Japanese for "strange creature") these monsters that look like a combination of Godzilla, dinosaurs and giant bugs, the world is forced to unite to save the planet.

The United Nations puts together a fighting force of giant robots, known as Jaegers, to combat these creatures. The stress on a single pilot to control these robots is too much and they learn it takes two pilots who can synch up via connections to their brains. One such pilot is Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) who synchs up with his older brother. During a fierce battle their robot is nearly destroyed and his brother is yanked out by the Kaiju they are fighting. Raleigh survives but loses his will to fight.

Five years later and a new problem faces the world. The attacks by the Kaiju are increasing and the robots have been decommissioned since the politicians think a giant wall around each country is the answer. Unfortunately the walls offer little resistance to the Kaiju and the few remaining robots are left to save the planet under the leadership of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), an ex-warrior and the man who ran the program. Stacker locates Raleigh and brings him back into the program with a plan.

The four remaining robots are to be used to plug the connection between worlds that allows the Kaiju to come over. That is if they can keep the world safe in time to do so. But things are never quite as easy as they seem. A fault in the plan comes along late in the plot, competition between Jaeger pilots arises and a full on attack by the Kaiju results in only two Jaegers left to get the job done. Toss in a scientist who has found a way to mind meld with the Kaiju to get info and you have a very interesting science fiction picture with more action than most movies released these days.

I can't begin to tell you how good this movie is. Even if you're not into giant monsters ala Godzilla you might find yourself loving this one. This is not your man in a bad costume type creature, these things seem real enough to warrant watching more than once with the pause button in hand. The robots are the most awesome creation seen in ages, something that every kid who ever played with toy robots will love.

The look of the film itself is stunning to see. The colors blast off the screen as much as the weapons used in the fights. It's a visual feast for the eyes that will be the second reason to keep the pause button handy. The last movie I remember seeing that used color to this extent was Warren Beatty's DICK TRACY. It virtually pops off the screen.

There isn't a bad performance in this film either. Each and every actor brings believability to their character enough that you root for them to win and mourn their losses when they die. Even the side characters are worth noting here, at least one a regular of director Guillermo del Toro.

When I saw this film in the theater I was stunned by the look, feel and emotions brought out by this film. As I watched the opening sequence at home I couldn't stop smiling. Everything about it felt right. Everything about it felt good. And it was as enjoyable watching this time as it was the first. This is not just a movie to rent; this is one to keep on hand for multiple viewings. It really is that good.

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WHITE HOUSE DOWN: WHITE HOUSE ATTACKED...AGAIN

Every once in a while it seems that Hollywood gets more than one movie based on the same idea produced. Coincidence? Chances are but it always seems odd when they come out at nearly the same time. The good news happens when both movies are actually well made and enjoyable. The bad news is when the second doesn't quite match up to the first. This is the case with WHITE HOUSE DOWN, a movie that is quite enjoyable on it's own but doesn't quite compare to the earlier released OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN.

WHITE HOUSE DOWN features Channing Tatum as John Cale, a D.C. policeman assigned to the protection of the Speaker of the House (Richard Jenkins). Divorced Cale is the typical absent father who is trying to get back in his daughters good graces.  Not an easy task seeing as how she's your typical pre-teen. When he tells her he has an interview to be a Secret Service agent working at the White House her attitude changes. She's a political junkie, especially when it comes to the home of the President.

Two other main characters come in to play about this time. Jamie Foxx is President Sawyer, determined to provide peace in the Middle East. He's just announced plans to bring every single military person back from that location to do so, something that doesn't sit well with the military industrial complex. The second person of interest is Secret Service agent Walker (James Woods). It's his last few days and Walker is set to retire. But something doesn't seem quite right with him.

Cale's interview doesn't go near as well as he had planned, especially since the person in charge of hiring him is agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal) an ex-flame of sorts from his college days. Knowing him for the goof that he was then as well as noting his penchant for not following orders (even though he's a decorated war hero), she passes. Rather than let his daughter know, he instead takes her on a tour of the White House while they're there.

It's at this time that a group of mercenaries explode a bomb at the Capitol, bringing down the famous dome. But this is just a distraction. Their real intent is to capture the White House and the President. For ransom or for some other nefarious reason? All is revealed as the film moves forward and as the traitor in the White House is revealed.

Separated from his daughter since she went to use the rest room, Cale sets out to find her before harm can come to her. Along the way he rescues the President and sets up communication with the outside. His first priority is supposed to be Sawyer and for the most part he follows this. But his daughter takes precedence when push comes to shove. Even the President agrees. A fight for the White House and control of the country follows in the building as well as outside. It isn't until late into the film that the reason for this whole take over is brought out into the open and before that happens plenty of explosions and gunfire takes place.

The good parts of the movie are the action sequences, all of which are well staged and set up. The acting is nothing outstanding but is well done. The bad parts are those that seem completely unreal. To think that removing all troops from the Middle East will result in peace is the first item on hand. The President choosing to run around the White House in Air Jordans (which leads to a joke) is another. And worst of all is the attempt to take something which should be a serious matter and trying to turn it into a buddy cop flick with lots of in jokes and offhand comments. It doesn't work.

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN took the material seriously and not only played at your patriotic heartstrings but got you involved in the story. You wanted to get the bad guys and reclaim the country. This film tends to take the Hollywood notion that right wing fanatics want to blow up the world and that just by being nice the world will become a better place. I'd say that's a bit of a stretch of the imagination. The movie does offer a nice piece of entertainment but compared to the earlier film using the same backdrop it falls far short of being something worth watching several times. In the end it might be worth watching but maybe not owning.

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HALLOWEEN: THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION : STILL STRONG AT 35

It's a running joke among fans that DVD company Anchor Bay will find a new way to release the movie HALLOWEEN every year. The thing is that even so those same fans will get in line for each new release. Each and every edition of the film to make its way to DVD has included something new in the extras that make it worth owning. This new release of the film is no different.

HALLOWEEN: THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION is the best way to watch this classic horror film and released just in time for the actual holiday. What movie matches the theme of the season any better than this one? Forget Freddy and Jason, when it comes to the holiday of Halloween Michael Myers is the name everyone remembers.

I've praised the film before and will continue to do so. For the very few that may not have seen this film at least once in the 35 years since it was released (I know, it's hard to believe it's actually been that long) it tells the story of Michael Myers who starts the film by killing his sister (no not a spoiler since it happens right away). Years later Michael has grown and due to the law must be examined to see if he can be released. Only the psychiatrist Dr. Loomis sees the evil that Michael actually is and warns them. But Michael escapes and heads back to his home town to kill again.

Side by side with this story is a group of girlfriends who are about to spend the night either with their boyfriends or babysitting. The main character is Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and it is around her that most of the movie centers. Why Michael chooses these girls is never explained but later films in the series tried. What we witness then is the moments of terror everyone goes through, fear of the dark, of what we don't know, of the boogeyman coming to get you.

Director John Carpenter does an amazing job with this film, touching all the right nerves at the right moment and eliciting screams that would wake the dead. Cinematographer Dean Cundey make this low budget film look like it was made for millions using light and shadow to bring on the scares and direct or misdirect the viewers attention from start to finish. Cundey was responsible for the new blu-ray transfer of this film and it has never looked better. Items that might not have been seen in shadow before are highlighted now and the look of the film is stunning.

The extras this time around include several that have been around before including a 25 years later examination of the locations used in the film, but it's the new ones that will catch collector's attention. Included this time is a new commentary track by Carpenter and Curtis together talking about the film for the first time. Also included is a short film called "The Night She Came Home" about Curtis' appearance at the Horrorhound horror convention last year, the first convention appearance she's done since the film came out.

Fans will want to add this edition to their collection. If you don't have it in yours now is the time to add it. If not for the extras than for the near perfect remastering of the film itself. This is the way HALLOWEEN was meant to be seen.

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THE CROODS: DEFINITELY NOT THE FLINTSTONES

It seems like Hollywood has learned that there is money to be made in children's animated features. Perhaps not the time consuming drawn animation but the computer animated feature. Almost every month a new animated film hits the theaters. For fans this turns into something precious with the release of those same films on DVD to own and treasure for years to come. Are all worth it? Perhaps not. But THE CROODS is one that should be.

The movie opens in the early life of a planet much like Earth (with what follows it doesn't appear to be here but close enough). While most families disappear the same can't be said of the Croods. That's because father Grugg lives by a simple rule: don't do anything. The problem is that he has a teenage daughter named Eep who, like most teens, just doesn't seem to want to listen. She wants to explore, to wander the world and see what's out there. Grugg just wants to get by, stay in their cave and go out only as a group to find food. As she points out to him this isn't living, it's existing.

One night Eep sees a light shining outside of their cave. She moves the stone placed in front enough to get out and follows the light. What she finds is someone completely unlike her and her family, a young man named Guy. It's apparent that Guy is a bit further along the evolutionary scale than Eep and her group. Not only does he seem different, the light she saw was something she's never witnessed before, namely fire.

Guy tries to warn Eep that they all need to move because the end of the world that they know is coming. Their only hope is to make their way to higher ground, a mountain he has seen in the distance. When Eep takes this news back to her family they panic and dismiss Guy's warning. That is until the land begins to shift and shake and the lower mountains on either side of their cave collapse. Had they been inside they would have all perished. Instead they find themselves taking Guy's advice and moving on.

This is where most of the story comes from, this fear of the unknown and being willing to take a risk to find out what lies beyond the horizon...literally. While they've always lived their lives in a cave, in fear of any and everything outside of it, there is a whole wide world that the Croods have never seen let alone experienced, a world filled with danger certainly but also with great beauty and mystery as well. Now, with no other options, they will experience this new world first hand.

Along the way there is also a rift that develops between father and daughter. While Grugg only has Eep's best interest in mind, she and the rest of the family begin to look up to Guy instead and follow his lead. A defeated Grugg feels he has lost his family but that soon changes.

The movie is a delight for the eyes and features some hilarious moments as well. The adventure factor involved is spot on and holds your interest from start to finish. Some of the running jokes in the film, especially those involving Grugg's mother in law, work well and remain funny from start to finish. But most importantly the love shared between the members of the Crood family is one that will offer a great lesson to children of all ages.

While the Croods are a far cry from the "sophisticated" cavemen seen in the Flintstones, they do offer some amusement for the length of the film. Not only does it entertain it offers life lessons as well and one couldn't ask much more of a children's film these days. This is one that needs to be added to everyone's shelf.

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BEFORE MIDNIGHT: 19 YEARS IN THE MAKING

It seems hard to believe but it's been 19 years since director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy brought out a surprising hit romantic film with BEFORE SUNRISE. That movie captured audiences slowly and became not only a great date film but a movie that showed two young people who meet on a train, spend time together and fall in love, even if only for one night. Ten years later they followed that up with BEFORE SUNSET and had Hawke's character Jesse, a successful writer who wrote about that evening, meeting up with Delpy's Celine once again. Both movies left an open ending with people unsure of what happened next. BEFORE MIDNIGHT answers some of those questions and leaves new ones by the end of the film.

It is now 9 years since the last film and Jesse has left behind his wife and family to be with Celine. The pair have two children of their own, twin girls who are the light of their lives. The film opens with them about to end a vacation in Greece and Jesse taking his son Hank to the airport to fly home. His wife has custody and as they part, Jesse begins to dwell on his responsibility to his son and feeling how he hasn't been there for him. As he and Celine drive back to where they are staying, the home of another author they were invited to, they discuss their lives; what each one wants, Celine's possibly taking a job in Paris, Jesse feeling that he should be nearer Hank and what they both want from life.

In a nutshell all things stem from those questions. The second segment has them at the friend's house over dinner where different couples relate their own views of love and relationships. From there it moves on to a walk that Celine and Jesse take through town. The last act ends up with them in a hotel room their friends have presented to them as a gift, a chance to get away from the crowd and the kids for a nice romantic evening. Oddly enough things never seem to turn out as planned.

What could sound like a boring film is actually quite entertaining and interesting. There is no action and no extended scenes of lovemaking. Instead the art of conversation is seen from beginning to end. The fact that these actors could play through these scenes seamlessly is a credit to their abilities. From the conversation in the car to the round table discussion over dinner, every actor does an amazing job. The culmination of the relationship between Jesse and Celine at the hotel room is stunning to watch and as accurate a depiction of real life and romance as one will see in a film.

It is obvious that both characters are in love with one another but the selfish side for each comes out at the worst possible moments and leads to one misunderstanding after another. Anyone in a long term relationship knows that wrong things are said, meanings are misunderstood and that love fluctuates from infatuation to anger in the blink of an eye. All of that is represented in this film as the pair tries to find the love they shared through the years. While we might all dream of storybook/fairy tale romance, the reality is always much different but also much deeper.

I watched this film at the end of the night, tired and fearful that I might fall asleep not due to the film but because of the hour. Instead I found myself captured by the tale of Jesse and Celine, wanting to find out their solutions if any were found and hoping that their love would come through in the end. Sorry but you'll have to watch yourself to find out the answer to that one. It will be well worth your time.

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KEVIN HART, LET ME EXPLAIN: RISING STAR

There are concert films released of comics all the time. The most confusing thing these days is to know which came first, their being comics or having starred movies. It seems the two are connected more often than not. In the case of Kevin Hart my first exposure to him was via movies and TV. Now that I've had a chance to see his stand up performance I see bright things ahead for him.

KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN begins somewhat different than most stand up comic performances. Instead we open at a party being held by Hart in celebration of his success. The problem is that now that he's successful he's found all the baggage that being there adds on. Slams for not being funny to not being all that he can be etc. lead to his shutting down the party and heading for Madison Square Garden so he can set the record straight. In all honesty it's an interesting premise to start with but goes too long, nearly 10 minutes of a 75 minute film.

Hart arrives at the Garden and walks out to roaring applause and a humongous stage that has shooting flames, part of a joke he shares with the audience that he pops up now and then. It is here that he starts the stand up portion of the film and the start feels a bit rocky. The excitement that Hart feels is on display from the get go as he starts out with such a rapid fire delivery that by the time you get one joke he's already three past it. His delivery even sounds like he's gasping for breath before he can get out his next line.

Eventually he slows down this delivery and begins to offer his take on life and more importantly the life that he is now leading. Hart is the type of comedian who gets his humor not from writing simple jokes that start out with a set up and end with a punch line. Hart tells stories that are funny. Some of the best comedians have done this in the past, most notably Bill Cosby. Hart has the potential to become as successful as Cosby with the way he delivers his stories and how they drag you in the longer they become.

 With only 60 minutes or less of material on display (the rest is the intro, applause and a heartfelt moment at the end) Hart gives you plenty to laugh at. No spoiler warning here as I don't intend to spoil any jokes he offers by sharing them. Just know to expect some truly funny tales. Also expect to find one thing that's always bothered me about young comedians which is the need to use the bluest of language. If Hart were employing a swear far at a quarter a pop just for his use of the F bomb you could feed a family of four at a nice restaurant. If this doesn't offend you then you'll never notice it.

By the end there were two things that stood out for me with this performance film. The first was the potential that Hart shows. He really can be quite funny and not just in a film performance way but with his delivery and body language joined together to make something that will evoke laughs. The other thing was the heartfelt moment near the end when he walks back onstage to thank the audience for supporting him and for coming out to the show. As one of few comedians to sell out Madison Square Garden it brings him to tears of appreciation for his fans. Anyone willing to acknowledge those who brought them this far earns respect from me.

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AFTER EARTH: FATHER AND SON

Movies have made some incredible science fiction films in the past. Everything from FANTASTIC VOYAGE to THE MATRIX  have displayed various worlds and dimensions that living in the real, normal world we never get to go to. Far off planets, microscopic worlds and the land of imagination are available on film. Movies have been done to warn us of the dangers we impose on our own world if we don't change our ways like SILENT RUNNING. While AFTER EARTH appears to be part of that sub-genre at first, it steers clear of heading down that path in exchange for another.

In the future the Earth has been so contaminated by man that survivors are placed in space ships and shuttled to a new universe to live in, hopefully not making the same mistakes. But a bigger problem follows when an inhospitable alien race tries to wipe man out by sending in bug like creatures called ursas that find humans by smelling the pheromones we emit when we fear something. A select group of soldiers known as Rangers develop a way to stop their fear thus making them invisible to these creatures so we stand a fighting chance against them. The leader of this group and most controlled is Cypher Raige (Will Smith).

Gone from home for some time and having lost his daughter to an ursa attack, Raige is ready to retire. At the same time his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) is in training at the academy, pushing himself as much as possible to live up to the legend that is his father. Both seem to have disconnected somewhere down the line. In an attempt to shore up that divide, Raige asks his son to accompany him on his last mission, a simple transport that includes a captured ursa.

But things don't go as planned and caught in an asteroid storm the ship is damaged and forced to land on a restricted planet. That planet is Earth. When Kitai wakes after the ship crashes he finds that he and his father are the only two survivors even though his father is severely wounded with 2 broken legs. Their ship was broken in two, their homing beacon damaged and now the only chance they have is for Kitai to reach the other half of the ship to turn on the homing beacon there.

While the adventure aspect of the film ties into what Kitai faces while making the near 100 mile trek to the other half of the ship, the film revolves more around the dynamic between father and son as they first come to terms with their problems and secondly must learn to trust one another as Cypher guides Kitai to the other half of the ship while trying to stay alive. This back and forth between father and son that must be solved for them both to make it, a slow process that sees them rebuild their connection is what makes up most of the film.

This is not to say that the film doesn't have several problems to overcome. To begin with the pacing is slow at times which makes it more a movie where we get to see images of a future redeveloped earth and its animal inhabitants instead of getting more story. Will Smith, confined to a seated position for the entire film, plays Cypher as an emotionally detached man who not only hides his fear but every other emotion as well which gets kind of boring after a time.

The person who will take most of the criticism for this film (and has from fans already) is Jaden Smith. A young actor with few parts to his credit already is bound to have those attacks, increased by some who scream nepotism on the part of his father. While Jaden's performance here isn't Oscar worthy he does turn in a decent performance and like his father in his early career has learned that being in fit form is one way to make an impression with audiences.

AFTER EARTH will not be a landmark when it comes to science fiction movies. It will offer a nice evening's entertainment though and should keep you interested from start to finish. Bypass the nitpicking of most on this film and give it a watch.

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THIS IS THE END: APOCALAUGHS

When writing reviews of comedies it becomes quite difficult. On one hand if it's really good you want to let people know that the movie is hilarious. At the same time if you start telling the jokes or setting up the stories prior to punch lines then the jokes aren't funny for those going to see the movie (I was once told BLAZING SADDLES was hilarious but knowing the jokes didn't find it near as funny). So let's see what I can do in letting you know about THIS IS THE END just released on DVD.

It's hilarious. Okay so I know I have to go further than this. The movie involves real movie stars playing themselves, sort of. Seth Rogen stars as Seth Rogen picking up his friend Jay Baruchel at the airport for a visit in LA. They head back to Seth's house where he has everything prepared for a wonderful visit. But before the night gets too far gone he suggests they head over to James Franco's house to visit. Jay isn't quite interested because in his mind this is Seth's new friends which have helped the two part ways lately.

Of course they show and are greeted by Franco who shows them around the house he helped design. All of the gang is there too including Jonah Hill portraying himself as the nicest of guys you could ever want to meet. Craig Robertson is there as his usual laid back self. While not there at first Danny McBride makes his presence known as well. All of these actors have been together in movies one way or another over the last few years. But they're not alone.

Small parts are played by others from this same group who've been in some major hits over the past 6 years. Michael Cera (who I've never been a big fan of but who does a tremendous job of tearing apart his squeaky clean image here), Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Krumholtz, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Mindy Kaling, Emma Watson, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari and Rihanna all make an appearance at this party. And yes each one takes a turn at making fun of themselves and Hollywood culture.

As the night moves on Seth does what Jay predicted he would which is leave him behind to spend more time with these new LA friends. Of course Jay also sets him up for failure not realizing that Seth has talked to his LA friends about accepting Jay as one of them. Eventually the duo head out to pick up a pack of cigarettes for Jay and on the way talk about the whole situation while walking. And then it happens.

In a quick mart the ground trembles, windows shatter and suddenly people are being beamed into the sky by bright blue lights. Yes it's the Armageddon and those deemed worth are being taken to Heaven. The rest are left behind. In the midst of destruction and chaos the pair return to Franco's party to discover no one there has noticed anything happening at all. A few tremors later and heading to the front lawn they discover LA a flaming mess and the ground in front of the house opening and swallowing various celebs.

So you're probably saying well gee...this doesn't sound funny at all. Trust me when I say that as the end begins so do the major laughs. I know it's hard to believe but it's true. What follows is the celebrity gang's attempt to survive and find a way to get out. The comedy plays off of their attempts at survival, their better than the rest attitudes concerning life and their confrontations with the demons and such released on this world.

The laughs come naturally in all of this world end mess rather then being forced. Comedy bits involving character, dialogue, physical comedy and situational comedy are all found here and to give up even a taste would be to ruin the movie for viewers. I saw this film at the theater and laughed more openly than I had at a comedy in years. Being able to watch it on DVD gave me the chance to hear/see the things I missed and to be able to pause if I laughed too hard.

One thing you need to realize up front though is that the humor here is some of the crudest found in some time. Jokes involving bodily fluids, sex acts and language are strewn throughout. If you've seen movies involving these actors then you already expected that. For me it didn't offend and seemed more in line with what I would actually expect from most of these actors in real life.

I can't begin to recommend this movie enough. As I said it had me near rolling on the floor at times and that was when I saw it in the theater. At home I can roll around with no one giving me the eye except for our dogs and cats. I would venture to say that this is one comedy I'd have no problem watching over and over again. My guess is, knowing a tad of what to expect, you will too.

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