"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Feb 282021

From the Big Screen:

Monster Hunter

photo for Monster Hunter (2020) Behind our world, there is another: a world of dangerous and powerful monsters that rule their domain with deadly ferocity. When an unexpected sandstorm transports Captain Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her unit (TI Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta) to a new world, the soldiers are shocked to discover that this hostile and unknown environment is home to enormous and terrifying monsters immune to their firepower. In their desperate battle for survival, the unit encounters the mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures. As Artemis and Hunter slowly build trust, she discovers that he is part of a team led by the Admiral (Ron Perlman). Facing a danger so great it could threaten to destroy their world, the brave warriors combine their unique abilities to band together for the ultimate showdown. Based on the global video game series. Vitals: Director: Paul W.S. Anderson. Stars: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung, Ron Perlman. 2020, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 99 min., Sci-Fi Action, Box office gross: $9.374 million, Sony. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray with digital code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, VOD, Digital. Read more here. 2 stars


photo for Fatale (2020) After a wild one-night stand, successful sports agent Derrick (Michael Ealy) watches his perfect life unwind when he discovers the mysterious woman he risked everything for is a police detective (Hilary Swank) who has entangled him in her latest investigation. When his charming bed partner turns out to be a corrupt officer, he finds himself in a living nightmare, as she lures him into an intricate web of lies and deceit, and he has to pull out all the stops to try and save his family, his career, and even his life. Vitals: Director: Deon Taylor. Stars: Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy, Mike Colter, Danny Pino, Tyrin Turner, Damaris Lewis. 2020, CC, MPAA rating: R, 106 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $4.284 million, Lionsgate. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo with digital code, VOD, Digital. Extras: Audio commentary with director-producer Deon Taylor and producer Roxanne Avent Taylor, “Making Fatale,” “The Right Direction,” “Cinematography: Finding the Killer Look,” alternate ending. Read more here. 1 stars

Half Brothers

photo for Half Brothers When an uptight aviation executive finds out he has an American half-brother he never knew about, the unlikely duo finds themselves forced to go on a road trip together — and they soon discover they are on the same path their father took from the United States to the Mexican border. Will they continue their brotherly love after the trip is done or will they go their separate ways? Vitals: Director: Luke Greenfield. Stars: Luis Gerardo Mendez, Connor Del Rio, Juan Pablo Espinosa, Vincent Spano, Alma Sisneros, Jose Zuniga. 2020 — Mexico, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 96 min., Comedy Drama, US box office gross: $2.241 million, worldwide $2.241 million, Universal. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray with digital code, VOD, Digital. 2 stars

All My Life

Jennifer Carter (Jessica Rothe) and Solomon Chau (Harry Shum Jr.) are a sweet, fun-loving, newly engaged couple whose whole life seems ahead of them. But when Sol is diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in December, their plans for a summer wedding become impossible. In a race against photo for All My Lifetime, Jenn and Sol’s friends and family launch an online fundraiser to help the couple create their dream wedding in just two weeks. In the process, they unleash an outpouring of generosity and attention from people around the world who want to celebrate the power of love with them. Through it all, Jenn and Sol’s commitment to each other only deepens, becoming a heartwarming reminder that the strength of true love knows no limits. Vitals: Director: Marc Meyers. Stars: Jessica Rothe, Harry Shum Jr., Marielle Scott, Ever Carradine, Keala Settle, Jay Pharoah. 2020, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 93 min., Drama, US box office gross: $.913 million, worldwide $1.965 million, Universal. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray with digital code, VOD, Digital.
2 stars

From TV to Disc:

“Rick and Morty: Seasons 1-4” (2015-20) includes all 41 episodes from the first four seasons of the Adult Swim series. After having been missing for nearly 20 years, Rick Sanchez suddenly arrives at daughter Beth’s doorstep to move in with her and her family. Although Beth welcomes Rick into her home, her husband, Jerry, isn’t as happy about the family reunion. Jerry is concerned about Rick, a sociopathic scientist, using the garage as his personal laboratory. In the lab, Rick works on a number of sci-fi gadgets, some of which could be considered dangerous. But that’s not all Rick does that concerns Jerry. He also goes on adventures across the universe that often involve his children, Morty and Summer. From Warner … “Victor and Valentino: Folk Art Foes” (2019) is a single disc with 18 episodes. An animated supernatural adventure comedy about two half-brothers — very opposite from each other — who spend a summer with their grandma in Monte Macabre, a small, mysterious town where the myths and legends of Mesoamerican folklore come to life. From Cartoon Network/Warner.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Cheer! Rally! Kill! 5-Film Collection”
Twisted tales of campus queens, awkward teens, ambitious daughters, and overbearing mothers in five cheer-driven thrillers. “The Secret Lives of Cheerleaders” (2019) with Savannah May and Denise Richards: An incoming transfer student reluctantly tries out for the cheerleading team at the insistence of her overly-ambitious mother; “Identity Theft of a Cheerleader” (2019) with Gail O’Grady and Maiara Walsh: A 30-year-old woman takes on a teenage identity and goes back to high school; “The Wrong Cheerleader” (2019) with Vivica A. Fox, Cristine Prosperi and David Meza: An intelligent and sociable high school senior tries out and earns a photo for Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 uniform on the cheerleader squad but becomes the prey of an obsessive boy; “The Cheerleader Escort” (2019) with Alexandra Beaton: A woman goes off to college and joins the cheer team only to find that it’s a front for an escort ring; and “Undercover Cheerleader” (2019) with Kayla Wallace: A transfer student goes undercover as a cheerleader to expose the cruel culture, only to find that her expose is linked to a series of attacks by a mysterious assailant. From Lionsgate … When a master samurai arrives to duel the disgraced Yoshioka dojo, he walks into an ambush in “Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1” (2020 — Japan), starring Tak Sakaguchi, Kento Yamazaki and Yôsuke Saitô. In the world’s first 77-minute, one-take action film sequence, Miyamoto Musashi (Tak Sakaguchi) fights for his life against 400 warriors, earning a place in history as the Crazy Samurai Musashi. OnDVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA … In “Nitro Rush” (2016 — French Canada), starring Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge, Michel Charette, Raymond Bouchard, Antoine Desrochers and Myriam Tallard. Max, in prison, learns that a criminal organization has just recruited his 17-year-old son Theo to use him for the production and distribution of a new drug. Desperate to get him out of the situation, Max escapes, and his car chase and athletic skills prove to photo for 400 Bulletsbe a great asset. Read more here. From Breaking Glass Pictures … “400 Bullets” (2021), starring Jean-Paul Ly, Andrew Lee Potts and James Warren, is an edge-of-your-seat military action story about what it means to fight for honor instead of profit. The film packs plenty of gun battles, epic hand-to-hand fight sequences and witty dialogue. One cold winter night in Afghanistan is about to get a whole lot worse for Rana Rae, a Gurkha soldier left to guard a British military outpost, when Captain Noah Brandt arrives looking for refuge from a group of rogue special ops and a cell of heavily armed Taliban. The two soldiers must fight for their lives as they attempt to call for backup before the rogue squad, led by the backstabbing Sergeant Bartlett, can hunt them down to retrieve a case of missile guidance chips that Noah intercepted. Read more here. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Shout! Factory … In “Scare Me” (2020), starring Josh Ruben, Aya Cash, Rebecca Drysdale and Chris Redd, two strangers, Fred and Fanny, are stuck in their Catskills cabin during a power outage. Looking to pass the time, they decide to tell each other scary stories. But the more Fred and Fanny commit to their tales, the more the stories come to life. As the horrors of reality manifest, Fred confronts his ultimate fear that Fanny may be the better storyteller, forcing him to craft the most horrific tale imaginable and put an end to the competition for good. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films.

Foreign Films:

In “1942: Unknown Battle” (2019 — Russia), starring Sergey Zharkov, Ivan Batarev and Oleg Gayanov, it’s WWII, 1942, Rzhev, USSR. After one of the many brutal battles between the Red Army and the Nazis near the village of Ovsyannikovo, only half of the Red Army’s company survives … for the moment. Freezing cold, with little to no reinforcements and the Nazis encroaching ever closer, the company receives the impossible order from Soviet headquarters to keep the village at all costs. While pinned in this crucial strategical position, the members of the company cope with their fear while also finding the strength to believe in their unlikely chance of survival. From Capelight Pictures.

Special Interest:

“Zappa” (2020): With unfettered access to the Zappa family trust and all archival footage, this documentary explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career of Frank Zappa, which never shied away from the political turbulence of its time. Director and writer Alex Winter’s (“Bill & Ted Face the Music”) assembly features appearances by Frank’s widow, Gail Zappa, and several of Frank’s musical collaborators, including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White and more. Read more here. On DVD, Blu-ray from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers, and Power 10 subwoofer.

 Posted by on February 28, 2021  Add comments

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