[The following contains major spoilers for Sucker Punch]

Battle: Los Angeles. I Am Number Four. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Clash of the Titans. The Wolfman. Resident Evil: Afterlife. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

What is it that these tentpole action films have in common?

They all received better reviews than Sucker Punch.

Yes, once hailed as being among the more anticipated cinematic outings of the year, writer/director Zack Snyder‘s fantastical pop culture mash-up was unleashed in theaters this week only to be met with an overwhelming amount of sneering hostility and ridicule. And yet, amidst the critical excoriation of the film for its spastic overindulgence and numbing stupidity, as well as the outright repudiation of its girl power themes (even /Film’s own Angie Han has shared her thoughts on the failed feminism of the film), I stand alone to shamefully whisper: I kind of liked it. And I think it’s about time to give this film its due. Read More »


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This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

Skip It

You’ve heard of crimes of passion. The Tourist is the opposite. It’s a film so deprived of spirit or spontaneity that it seems to vanish from existence the moment its credits roll — or at least it would were it not for the spectacularly inane surprise ending, carelessly followed by a wholly inappropriate song selection (by the nonetheless great MUSE, who were also weirdly featured in the film’s trailer). Both inclusions close an already inert romance caper on a final, “Fuck you, we really don’t care.” Which is fine, because I didn’t either. How could anyone? The movie devotes all of ten minutes to Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie engaging on any level that could be deemed romantic, and even then they share zero romantic chemistry. It didn’t bother me at first, because I was operating under the assumption that their relationship had yet to be developed. Little did I know that only moments later would Depp be declaring his resounding devotion to Jolie, indicating that perhaps I had missed a scene where the actors conveyed even the slightest hint of genuine affection for one another. I hadn’t.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A director commentary, 2 featurettes (“A Gala Affair”, “Bringing Glamour Back”), and an outtake reel. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as 3 additional featurettes (“Canal Chats”, “Action in Venice”, “Tourist Destination – Travel the Canals of Venice”).

TargetBest BuyFry’s
Amazon – $15.99
TargetBest BuyFry’s
Amazon – $22.99

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Not everyone was thrilled with the casting of Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games, director Gary Ross‘ adaptation of the first in a trilogy of popular young adult novels written by Suzanne Collins. Despite her Oscar-nominated turn in Winter’s Bone catching the attention of many a filmmaker and studio, some couldn’t overlook the implications of her casting, and took the decision as yet another sign of Hollywood’s creative and moral bankruptcy. Read More »

It’s always upsetting to see major roles for animated characters go to high profile celebrities who have no business voice acting — or acting at all, in this case — when there so many more capable voice actors out there struggling to find consistent work. Such is the business of Hollywood. Audiences see a name they recognize, and they’re more likely to buy a ticket. That’s presumably the reason why Zac Efron was cast in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, and it’s almost definitely why singer Taylor Swift has been added to the voice roster as well.

Learn more about that, and the potential casting of Jude Law and Aaron Johnson in Atonement director Joe Wright‘s adaptation of Anna Karenina, after the break. Read More »

For years, we’ve awaited developments on the planned feature adaptations of the two novels by author Joe Hill — the son of Stephen King — but studios continued to sit on the rights with little movement. Recently though, he caught a break with his comic book series Locke & Key, which Fox is bringing to the small screen under the supervision of showrunner Josh Friedman (the man behind Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. And now he’s catching another one: Progress is finally being made on Mandalay Pictures’ adaptation of his bestseller Horns, about a man who wakes up one morning to find horns growing out of his head. Learn more after the break. Read More »

A year ago, almost to the day, Summit attached Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted) to produce and possibly direct a new genre franchise kick-starter they’ve been setting up titled The Last Witch Hunter. (Guess what it’s about.) The film was one of many projects being stacked atop his very full roster, and as such, was more or less lost in the shuffle. Fast forward until now, and the director’s busy getting Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter prepped for production, making it unlikely that any witch hunting would go down anytime soon. But Summit can’t wait around forever. Twilight has been a reliable cash cow to the studio, but the series’ end is imminent, and they’re looking to get their next big money maker off the ground. Enter The Crazies and Sahara director Breck Eisner, who the studio is eyeing to take over the project. Read More »

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This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

Rent It

[*Warning: Obvious spoiler ahead*]
Great care was paid to ensure that The Fighter be as authentic a true story as possible, which is also why its ending feels a tad misguided. Was it necessary to close the film on a note of uplifting triumph? That’s the expected conclusion, certainly, and it’s not as though there’s ever a moment where The Fighter seems like it might be veering down a path that hasn’t already been laid out for it in countless other sports films. But the humanity of the picture stems from its acrid family dynamics, and it’s in those moments that the film transcends the genre in which it’s forced to reside. In fact, so much time is dedicated to observing and developing the raw, complex relationships between the film’s central band of characters that when the pat, encouraging conclusion finally comes, it feels largely unearned. This is not a story with an easy resolution, and it’s a shame that The Fighter feels the need to provide it with one. The rest of the movie, thankfully, is good enough to overcome it. Christian Bale is mesmerizing as the jovial junkie who’s always the center of attention, and Mark Wahlberg is appropriately understated as the passive brother who’s continuously overshadowed by him. Their relationship is the driving force behind the film, and it’s also the narrative thread that satisfies most by the film’s end. While Bale steals the show early on, there comes a time when the character’s constant self-adulation grows (deliberately) tiresome, gracefully affording Wahlberg’s Micky the opportunity to step up and show his mettle—not merely in the ring, but amongst his controlling family. At that point, I was resolutely invested in the ensuing drama, and against better judgment, awaited a denouement that wouldn’t let an unwarranted “inspirational” finale undermine the complicated history of this combative lower class family. If only the film had the conviction to see all of its relationships through, rather than put the focus on the need to win a boxing match.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A commentary by director David O. Russell, and a Warriors Code: Filming The Fighter featurette. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as deleted scenes, a Keeping the Faith featurette, and a digital copy of the film.

TargetBest BuyFry’s
Amazon – $14.99

TargetBest BuyFry’s
Amazon – $19.99

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“This is gonna be like watching STAR WARS with Darth Vader right there in the audience!”

Here’s one way to draw a crowd. As per his proposed self-distribution strategy — which is already proving quite promisingKevin Smith is currently touring with Red State, and a recent showing of the flick had a dozen or more special guests: The infamous Phelps family, whose Westboro Baptist Church is the basis for Smith’s film. Read More »

There was a big stir at the end of The Walking Dead‘s first season, with reports circulating that series creator Frank Darabont had fired his entire writing staff. That report was later revealed to be false, much to the chagrin of viewers who felt the show was in desperate need of a writing and directing overhaul — myself included. Was that pessimistic attitude selling Darabont’s abilities as a showrunner short? Maybe so. He may not have ditched his writers, but he is looking to bring in some fresh new talent — as proven by his request to have Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director Edgar Wright take on an episode of the show’s second season. Read what Wright had to say on the matter after the break. Read More »