Jurassic Park 3D Review (Kirk Haviland)

jurassicpark3d1Jurassic Park 3D Review

Starring: Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Jeff Goldblum, Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, BD Wong, Wayne Knight and Samuel L. Jackson

Written by David Koepp and Michael Crichton based on Crichton’s novel.

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Back in theaters 20 years after its initial release, and yes that statement may make you feel really old, is the landmark summer blockbuster from Steven Spielberg that changed how movie theaters were equipped for sound and racked up major box office dollars, Jurassic Park. Being retro fitted for 3D for this reissue, Jurassic Park still remains the most realistic film to depict dinosaurs on screen but the question is how does the 3D transfer effect the film’s visuals and does it add anything to the experience.

Jurassic-Park-3D_10 Continue reading “Jurassic Park 3D Review (Kirk Haviland)”

Home Video Spotlight Mar 26- April 1: Lincoln, Parental Guidance and more


Home Video Spotlight Mar 26- April 1: Lincoln, Parental Guidance and more

Here’s a look at some of the titles new in stores this week.

lincoln bluLincoln (Disney Home Entertainment)

Steven Spielberg’s take on the last 4 months, and also the most turbulent 4 months, of Abraham’s Lincoln’s life and presidency comes to DVD and Blu-ray after winning Daniel Day-Lewis a well-deserved Oscar for his performance. Dealing with Lincoln’s efforts to get the 13 amendment endorsed by the House of Representatives while the end civil war also looms, and the impending peace could threaten the chance of the vote on the abolishment of slavery to go through.

Lincoln is a very script and monologue driven film that in many ways feels like a stage play as opposed to a feature film presentation. The cast is superb though, with Day-Lewis, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader and the impeccable Jared Harris emerging as the standouts in a star studded package. The location and set design is also stellar and really evokes the time period and setting that Lincoln himself lived in. In the end the performances lift the film and make the effort through the dry spells of the script well worth the effort. Lincoln on Blu-ray is a recommend.


parental bluParental Guidance (Fox Home Entertainment)

The latest from Billy Crystal and Bette Midler sees them playing babysitting Grandparents to the 3 children of their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) as she and her husband are out of town for his business. The children each have issues of their own as they live in an over protective environment that has resulted in a very high strung environment. The Grandparents get up to all sort of trouble with the kids resulting in bodily trauma, temper tantrums and a black eye.

Parental Guidance is a very low-aiming, flimsily scripted and tired premised excuse for a family film. Crystal is still stuck using the same schtick he has been pushing since 1991’s “City Slickers” and the rest of the adult cast seem content to phone it in. Of course the poor script should probably take part of the blame for giving them less than nothing to do. The saving grace of the film is the charming performances from the 3 children , but even that is not enough to save this film from the doldrums. Parental Guidance is a definite non-recommend.


lego star dvdLego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out (Fox Home Entertainment)

The Lucas Star Wars Universe gets a skewering thanks to those loveable Lego’s in this brand new animated adventure. After debuting on the cartoon network the 22 minute stand-alone special comes to DVD for the first time in a special collector’s edition set with a mini Lego Darth Vader figure. The special starts after the destruction of the original death star but quickly goes array, including aspects of all of all six films. We get sibling rivalry between the two sith lords Darth’s Maul and Vader, a visit to the planet of Naboo where are heroes are washed away by the overly salivating Boss Nass and crew an even get Luke Skywalker impersonating his father all while the Emperor tries to assemble his ‘Death Star building kit’.

The writing is smart and just as funny for adults as it is children. The amount of cross movie interaction is hilarious and it’s actually quite impressive the writers were allowed to go as far as they did a familiar and protected franchise such as Star Wars. The animation is fun and as is traditional with all Lego productions everything from Strom Troopers getting blasted to ship crashing explodes into Lego blocks. And with a price point less than $10 dollars at most retailers, even the scant 22 minute run time becomes a non-issue. Lego Star Wars: The Empire strikes out is a definite recommend.

Bangkok-RevengeBD-2D-818x1024Bangkok Revenge (Well Go USA Entertainment)

The story of a wronged man looking for revenge at the end of his fists, also new this week is the premise behind Bangkok Revenge. Manit’s (John Foo) family was killed during a home invasion and he was the only one to survive, after taking a bullet to the head no less, and is taken in by a Muay Thai master who raises and teaches him. The bullet in his brain has rendered Manit unable to feel emotions such as anger and pain which help him as he goes after vengeance from the people responsible for killing his family and injuring him.

Foo does show some talent as a fighter but the film suffers from production issues and the decision to noticeably speed up all of the fight scenes. The script is barely existent and is full of 2D supporting characters spouting clichés. Our lead lacks the charisma of a Tony Jaa or Iko Uwais and speaks with a defined UK English accent which is never explained in the film, just flimsily explained away in a running gag that does not work. Bangkok Revenge is a non-recommend.


Till Next Time

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Lincoln Review (Nadia Sandhu)

Lincoln (2012)

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and David Strathairn

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Don’t let the period costumes in the trailers fool you, Lincoln is no ordinary biopic. In point of fact, this film is not a biopic at all, but rather a snapshot of a final heroic act of politicking by one of the smartest  politicians to ever grace monetary currency.  The film opens as Lincoln is re-elected to a second term and the Civil War is dragging on towards its foregone conclusion.  Political intrigue and legal maneuvering are the order of the day as the president races to codify his maybe not so legally binding Emancipation Proclamation in the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution  – the abolition of slavery.

You won’t get to see how Abraham went from log cabin to the White House, or why his election in 1860 caused rich plantation owners who didn’t vote for him to rise up and secede from the Union (I’m looking at you @realDonaldTrump).  Rather, Lincoln is a movie about the vision and tenacity that makes a great leader and stands in marked contrast to the recent US Election Sideshow.  One hopes newly re-elected President Obama watches this film for useful political instruction STAT.  Actually one hopes the Republican backroom boys head out en masse as a timely reminder that political leadership is not the same thing as good business management and maybe, just maybe, Karl Rove’s heart will grow two sizes as he is reminded what being a Republican has meant to his country. I digress.

Masterful filmmaking meets THE acting performance of the Millennium (to date) as director Steven Spielberg and lead actor Daniel Day Lewis pull back the curtain on a dramatic, violent, emotional period where a pragmatic, rational, but no less visionary man used every trick in the book to successfully perform a political sword dance that safe guarded basic principles of democracy while still maintaining the sanctity of the law (even if it had to be bent to achieve the former).

It is not every day that a film comes along that everyone must see, but this is that film. See it tonight. Skyfall can wait! (Ed – Skyfall can’t wait, see both!)

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