Ever since its release in 1988, “Die Hard” has been the action movie that spawned a million imitators. It’s almost become a joke to those who pitch films… “It’s like Die Hard on an aircraft carrier!” (“Under Siege”). There’s Die Hard in a mall (“Point Blank”), Die Hard in a prep school (“Toy Soldiers”) and even Die Hard on a mountain (“Cliffhanger”)! Bonus points to “Executive Decision” which did Die Hard on a plane exactly 6 years after Renny Harlin did it in “Die Hard 2″. Ok, well that was Die Hard in an airport, but still… close enough. In any event, Roland Emmerich the man who brought us such shallow, yet enjoyable blockbusters as “The Day After Tomorrow” and “Independence Day” presents “White House Down” or Die Hard in The White House. Even if it’s not the deepest movie out there, it sure is a fun time. Read more
Archive for Blu-Ray
One has to be skeptical when reading that a film is based on or inspired by a true story. It’s almost like buying juice boxes: how much of the stuff is real? This one’s 10% juice, this one’s 20%… this one is 100%, but it’s been diluted with apple juice. How much really occured and how much is the result of “artistic license”? There’s clearly a bit embellished upon in Lavinia Currier’s “Oka!”, coming to Blu-Ray 10/22. Based in part on ethnomusicologist Louis Sarno’s book “Last Thoughts Before Vanishing”, the film takes us on a beautiful, humorous and sometimes trippy journey through Central Africa. In some ways it reminded me of an episode of “This American Life”… but with elephant steaks and a whole lot of smoking. Read more
Walter White has done what poor, old Stephanie Tanner couldn’t – he’s single handedly made meth pop culture’s drug du jour. Need proof? You could run out to Best Buy and check out “Grand Theft Auto V” with its meth dealing anti-hero Trevor. Better yet, you could go half way around the world to Hong Kong and scope Johnnie To’s new action thriller “Drug War” to see how far this trend has gone. What? You don’t want to hop a flight to Asia? You’re in luck! On 10/15 Well Go USA brings the film to Blu-Ray, right here in the States. This badass film is fun, exciting and violent… and while it doesn’t share much with “Breaking Bad”, you might think of it as a Hong Kong movie version of “GTA”. I don’t think anybody would complain about that. Read more
The whole month of October is like one big celebration. Oktoberfest brings beer, the fall harvest brings pumpkin-y goodness and Halloween brings ghouls and goblins. Nothing is more fun than bundling up on a cool fall evening, sipping some pumpkin ale and watching a scary movie… unless that scary movie features Danny Trejo as a zombie killing priest! Well thanks to the good folks at Well Go USA, said movie, “Zombie Hunter” hits Blu-Ray on 10/8. While it isn’t exactly scary, the film promises plenty of zombies getting their butts whooped.
And who can resist seeing Trejo kick ass for the Lord? Read more
Sixty (!) years ago, Columbia Pictures released Fred Zinnemann’s “From Here To Eternity”. Based on the novel by James Jones, the picture scored thirteen Academy Award nominations and won eight of them… including Best Supporting Actor for Frank Sinatra. It essentially resurrected Ol’ Blue Eyes’ film career, though he had to lobby awfully hard for the part. Remember the horse head in “The Godfather”? That was rumored to be based on Sinatra’s audition. Is that what really happened? Who knows… but he’s good, nonetheless. See for yourself, as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has just released “From Here To Eternity” in dazzling Hi-Definition. If you enjoy classic movies or just want to see “The Chairman” beat Ernest Borgnine with an actual chair, this one’s worth your time. Read more
Every September I get this feeling of dread cut through my gut. It happens whenever I see signs for “Back To School” sales. It’s been years since I’ve sat in a classroom, but there’s still some sort of psychological hold it has on me. Growing up sucks. While I now look back on my school days with fond memories, at the time there was lot of unnecessary anxiety and pressure that seemed so damn important. It wasn’t. Yet, I still get that feeling… like an amputee’s ghost pain shooting through a phantom limb. I never want Summer to end!! Well, what if it didn’t have to? On 9/24 “The Kings of Summer” will arrive on Blu-Ray and attempt to run away from responsibility, heartache and the cold autumn of adulthood. Read more
It’s pretty safe to say… no, it’s very safe to say that Chow Yun-Fat is one of the biggest badasses ever to grace a movie screen. The man has well over 100 films to his credit going back to the ’70s. From his work in John Woo’s Hong Kong pictures, to more recent Hollywood blockbusters, he’s shown an international appeal that few actors are able to achieve, much less maintain. For this reason alone, Mr. Chow must have been the only choice to star in Wong Jing’s new film “The Last Tycoon”, available on Blu-Ray 9/17. Part “Casablanca”, part “Grand Theft Auto”, he plays a gangster in 1930′s Shanghai at the top of his game, exuding a ruthless calm that only comes from years of being the baddest around. This is far from Chow Yun-Fat’s first rodeo, but he’s still riding hard. Read more
“What the hell did I just watch!?!” That one line review, often blurted out immediately as credits roll, is the whole reason I started Cinema Judgement Day. It doesn’t mean you saw something bad, per se… but you did see something out of the norm. Such is the case with “An American Hippie In Israel“, coming to Blu-Ray on 9/10 from Grindhouse Releasing. With a story so pretentious it’s infantile, the film is chock full o’ hilariously bad acting and more body hair than the Kardashian family has combined. It’s the very definition of “so bad it’s good”… and is easily the most enjoyable film I’ve reviewed all year. I have no idea what the hell I just watched, but I do know that it was awesome.
There’s a danger in adapting a true story for the screen. For an audience that’s been weened on the traditional, three-act Hollywood film, it would be a frustrating, fruitless experience to watch a literal adaptation of someone’s life. Real lives don’t have neat dramatic arcs. Real people tend not to learn their lessons. Somewhere along the line, liberties must be taken. Events are shuffled and condensed. Characters are cut and composited. All in an effort to give structure to what seems like chaos. So, how much of that story stays true? It’s an intriguing question. Fortunately, The Iceman is so engrossing, you won’t have time to think of it. Read more
Ever have a facebook “friend” that annoys you with everything they write? Maybe they constantly brag about their life while masking it in a complaint? For example: “I was just at the supermarket and heard a lady complaining about the brand of caviar they carry. I HATE living in Beverly Hills.” Ugh. One of the worst offenders on my friends list is a girl I went to school with who’s snobby, materialistic and a master of the passive-brag-gressive post that makes me want to throw my computer out a window. While she had nothing to do with the production of the movie, her voice was all over “Slightly Single in LA“, a film that’s as engaging as a slideshow of your neighbor’s family vacation… only “hipper”. It’s as if Writer/Director Christie Will decided to take her social media wall and reenact every post with a collection of fading 90′s stars.