Raunchy Adaptation of Classic TV Series Arrives on Home Video

 

Chips,  DVD Review, classic television, Ponch Poncherello, Jon Baker, California Highway Patrol OfficersChips

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Raunchy Adaptation of Classic TV Series Arrives on Home Video

Whenever a classic television series is made into a movie, the buzz always seems to be about whether the screen version will be a creative variation on the theme or merely a campy, cornball, take-the-money-and-run ripoff trading in familiar formulas and shopworn cliches. After all, for every inspired adaptation like Batman (1989), Charlie’s Angels (2000) and 21 Jump Street (2012) there are just as many bitter disappointments, al a  Dragnet (1987), I Spy (2002) and Get Smart (2008).

Fortunately, Chips is more in league with the worthwhile remakes rather than the ones leaving you wondering why they ever bothered. The picture was ostensibly a labor of Dax Shepard who wrote, directed, produced and also co-stars in it opposite Michael Pena. They  play California Highway Patrol Officers Ponch Poncherello and Jon Baker, the same characters popularized on TV by Erik Estrada and Larry Willcox.

The original, airing for a half dozen seasons starting in 1977, was a buddy action drama basically revolving around the heroic exploits of a couple of mismatched motorcycle cops, with Ponch often going rogue, much to the chagrin of his relatively-straitlaced partner.  This go-round, the script has been flipped, so that Jon is more of a misfit. At the point of departure, we find him getting a probationary badge and graduating from the police academy only because Sergeant Hernandez (Maya Rudolph) takes pity on him.

They’re both going through difficult divorces, although Jon is desperate to win back his wife (Kristen Bell). He hopes she’ll be impressed by his transition into a safer line of work after an accident-prone career as a professional motorcross bike racer.

He’s soon teamed with the veteran Ponch to solve a rash of armored car robberies suspected of being pulled off by a gang of crooked cops. They proceed to make a mess of the investigation at every turn, which only makes their terminally-exasperated boss (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) repeatedly blow his cork.

However, there’s little reason to pay attention to the intermittently-incoherent plot, for this kitchen sink comedy’s raison d’etre is to generate laughs by any means necessary. To that end, the politically-incorrect bottom feeder easily earns its R rating via an incessant indulgence in scatological, ethnic, sexist, slapstick, bodily function and gay panic fare.

A vulgar but funny enough departure from the classic TV series to warrant recommending. 

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated  R for crude humor, graphic sexuality, frontal nudity, violence, drug use and pervasive profanity

Running time: 100 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: This Is Not Your Dad’s Chips; Practical Pursuit;   Ducati: The Perfect Bike; director’s commentary; and deleted scenes.

To order a copy of the Chips Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack , visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B071DX64LP/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

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Southern Belles Vie for Union Soldier’s Affections in Sofia Coppola’s Sublime Tale of Seduction

 

The Beguiled is a Civil War saga based on the best seller of the same name by the late novelist/playwright Thomas Cullinan (1919-1995). The sublime tale of seduction was first adapted to the screen in 1971 as a melodramatic revenge flick starring Clint Eastwood. This relatively-refined remake was directed by Sofia Coppola whose effort was richly rewarded at Cannes where she became only the second woman to win Best Director in the history of the festival.The Beguiled

Film Review by Kam Williams

Southern Belles Vie for Union Soldier’s Affections in Sofia Coppola’s Sublime Tale of Seduction 

The Beguiled is a Civil War saga based on the best seller of the same name by the late novelist/playwright Thomas Cullinan (1919-1995). The sublime tale of seduction was first adapted to the screen in 1971 as a melodramatic revenge flick starring Clint Eastwood. This relatively-refined remake was directed by Sofia Coppola whose effort was richly rewarded at Cannes where she became only the second woman to win Best Director in the history of the festival.

The story is set in 1864 at a Virginia boarding school for girls run by prim Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) with the help of equally-proper Edwina Dabney (Kirsten Dunst). They have five students entrusted to their care, ranging in age from prepubescent to the late teens. 

At the point of departure, the sounds of battle are audible off in the distance. The raging conflict cuts a sharp contrast to the serenity of the idyllic campus where we find Amy (Oona Laurence) foraging in the forest for wild mushrooms. 

She stumbles upon a wounded Union soldier hiding in the woods. Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) had been felled by a bullet to the leg. The innocent adolescent instinctively brings him home, only to be criticized by an elder classmate (Angourie Rice) for rescuing a “dangerous enemy.”

The Beguiled,  Film Review, Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, Oona Laurence, Colin Farrell, Civil War, Thomas Cullinan

After initially issuing a stern warning that “You are a most unwelcome visitor,” their ordinarily icy headmistress inexplicably melts. She allows the ailing adversary to remain on the premises without even informing the Confederate army of his presence.

Personally assuming the responsibility of nursing their guest back to health, man-starved Martha soon finds herself swooning for the solicitous stranger. Trouble is, John proves to be quite the Casanova, knowing just the right words to surreptitiously charm the pants off each of the females, one-by-one.

The Beguiled,  Film Review, Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, Oona Laurence, Colin Farrell, Civil War, Thomas Cullinan

Of course, the cat’s eventually out of the bag, and his collective spell is broken. And after the heartbroken lasses put their heads together, he probably wishes he’d simply surrendered  to the Rebels rather than seek refuge.

Hell hath no fury like some Southern belles scorned!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality

Running time: 93 minutes

Production Studio: American Zoetrope

Distributor: Focus Features

 

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For movies opening June 23, 2017

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening June 23, 2017

Kam's Kapsules, Film Fun, Movies, Weekly, Entertainment, Previews, Big Budget Films, Foriegn & Independent Films

 

BIG BUDGET FILMS

The Beguiled (R for sexuality) Sofia Coppola won Best Director at Cannes for this sublime tale of seduction, a remake of Clint Eastwood’s Civil War saga about Southern belles competing for the affections of a Union soldier (Colin Farrell) wounded and abandoned by his unit. Ensemble cast includes Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst.

Transformers: The Last Knight (PG-13 for action, violence, profanity and sexual innuendo) Fifth installment in the sci-fi series finds Cade (Mark Wahlberg) leading the defense of the planet in humanity’s final showdown with an army of alien autobots. With Gemma Chan, Isabela Moner, Laura Haddock, Anthony Hopkins, Stanley Tucci and John Goodman.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

All the Rage (Unrated) Healthcare documentary chronicling Dr. John Sarno’s half-century campaign against the over-prescription of pain medication. Featuring commentary by John Stossel, Howard Stern, Senator Bernie Sanders, Larry David and Dr. Andrew Weil.

The Bad Batch (R for violence, profanity, drug use and brief nudity) Post-apocalyptic drama revolving around a young woman’s (Suki Waterhouse) struggle to survive after being dumped into a desert where she is soon surrounded by a horde of savage cannibals. With Jim Carrey, Jason Momoa, Giovanni Ribisi, Yolonda Ross and Keanu Reeves.

The Big Sick (R for profanity and sexual references) Romantic comedy recounting the real-life courting of fan (Zoe Kazan) by a Pakistani stand-up comedian (Kumail Nanjiani as himself). Supporting cast includes Ray Romano, Holly Hunter and SNL’s Aidy Bryant. 

Bwoy (Unrated) Homoerotic drama revolving around a closeted, former physician (Anthony Rapp) who starts cheating on his wife (De’Adre Aziza) with a hunky young Jamaican (Jimmy Brooks) in the wake of their son’s untimely death. Featuring Jermaine Rowe, Drew Allen and Ashton Randle.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: The Bad Boy Story (Unrated) Gangsta’ raptrospective  chronicling the career of Sean “Puffy” “Puff Daddy” “Diddy” Combs, as well as story of the hip-hop label he founded in 1993. With Lil Kim, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Clive Davis and DMX. 

Food Evolution (Unrated) Thought-provoking eco-documentary exploring the critical issues of sustainability and food security in a world marked by escalating competition for fewer and fewer natural resources. Featuring commentary by Bill Nye – The Science Guy, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Tamar Haspel. 

Paulina (Unrated) Dolores Fonzi plays the title character of this crime thriller, set in Argentina, as a lawyer who abandons a promising career in Buenos Aires to teach high school in her hometown, only to end up brutally assaulted by a local gang. With Oscar Martinez, Esteban Lamothe and Cristian Salguero. (In Spanish and Guarani with subtitles)

In Pursuit of Silence (Unrated) Noise-reduction documentary extolling the virtues of a little peace and quiet.

Ripped (Unrated) Buddy comedy, set in 1986, about a couple of stoners (Faizon Love and Russell Peters) who find themselves magically teleported three decades into the future after smoking a powerful strain of genetically-modified marijuana manufactured by the CIA. With Alex Meneses, Bridger Zadina, Kyle Massey and Carlos Gomez.

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Top Ten DVD List for June 20, 2017

 

This Week’s DVD Releases

by Kam Williams

Top Ten DVD List for June 20, 2017

 

 

Life

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XT9C1C9/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Car Wash

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XHGM6SZ/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Merlin

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B071DVMV36/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

The Paul Naschy Collection [Vengeance of the Zombies / Horror Rises from the Tomb/ Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll /Night of the Werewolf / Human Beasts]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XHSN8X4/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

La Granja

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0716C1BJ2/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Audubon

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XX4VY6H/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Isolation

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06ZYW67DB/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

The Lawnmower Man: Collector’s Edition

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XHSV95G/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Railroad Tigers

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XNQJZJR/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Workaholics: The Final Season
https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06ZZH3W7Z/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Honorable Mention

Nature: Forest of the Lynx

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06WVN6Z6D/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Nature: Hotel Armadillo

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06W5QC4CW/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Nova: Building Chernobyl’s Mega Tomb

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XC7X5YJ/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 

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Gyllenhaal Gives Great Performance in Sci-fi Horror Flick

 

Life, Blu-Ray Review, Kam Williams, outer space adventure, alien force, international space station, claustrophobic thriller, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan ReynoldsLife

Blu-Ray Review by Kam Williams

Gyllenhaal Gives Great Performance in Sci-fi Horror Flick

In recent years, Hollywood has started serving up some outer space adventures, a la The Martian (2015) and The Space between Us (2017), suggesting that the Red Planet is basically a benign environment free of any hostile creatures. But just when we thought it was safe to visit Mars again, along comes Life, a cautionary horror flick unleashing a terrifying alien force aboard an international space station.

Directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House), the claustrophobic thriller co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds as Dr. David Jordan and Roy Adams, respectively, the Pilgrim 7’s  flight engineer and chief medical officer. The balance of the six-person crew is composed of Center for Disease Control quarantine specialist Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), systems engineer Sho Kendo (Hiroyuki Sanada), eco-biologist Dr. Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) and the spaceship’s captain, Katerina Golovkin (Olga Dihovichnaya).

As the film unfolds, we learn that their appointed mission is merely to deliver a single-cell organism arriving via space probe from the surface of Mars. It all sounds easy enough as the disarming plotline initially devotes itself to developing the characters’ back stories, like how David is a disenchanted, Iraq War vet.   

Upon retrieving the capsule, they celebrate the discovery of the first incontrovertible proof of life beyond Earth. They even allow Sho’s daughter to give the ostensibly-innocuous substance a cute, cuddly name, oblivious of the danger lurking just over the horizon.

The plot thickens when “Calvin” begins reproducing via mitosis, and every cell of its luminescent ectoplasmic mass proves to be an irrepressible mix of brains and muscles. By day 25, the sentient creature develops proto-appendages and becomes strong enough to breach containment.

Initially, it nibbles on a finger of Hugh’s, who somehow discerns that “Calvin doesn’t hate us, but he’s got to kill us to survive.” Great. What ensues is a desperate race against time to return to Earth before the mushrooming monster devours them all, one-by-one.

Though reminiscent of such sci-fi classics as Alien (1979) and Species (1995), Life is a worthwhile addition to the extraterrestrial on the loose genre. Substantial credit in this regard goes to the ever-underappreciated Jake Gyllenhaal who turns in the latest in a long line of impressive performances which includes outings in Nocturnal Animals (2016), Southpaw (2015), Nightcrawler (2014) and Prisoners (2013), to name a few.

Strap yourself in for a cardiovascular screamfest that’ll keep you squirming from beginning to end.  A riveting reminder that it still ain’t smart to mess with Mother Nature!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for violence, terror and pervasive profanity

In English, Japanese and Chinese with subtitles

Running time: 104 minutes

Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Extras: Deleted scenes; Astronaut Diaries; Claustrophobic Terror: Creating a Thriller in Space; Life: In Zero G; and Creating Life: The Art and Reality of Calvin.

To order a copy of Life on Blu-ray, visit  https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XT9C1C9/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

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Canadian Librarian Courted by Hobo While Searching for Aunt in Delightful French Farce

 

Lost in Paris

Film Review by Kam Williams

Canadian Librarian Courted by Hobo While Searching for Aunt in Delightful French Farce

If you’re familiar with the surreal cinematic stylings of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon, then you have an idea of what sort of treat’s in store while watching Lost in Paris. The talented husband and wife team wrote, directed and co-star in their latest magical escape into the theater of the absurd.

The movie might best be described as a cross of Wes Anderson and Charlie Chaplin, as it is an unconventional, visually-captivating affair featuring little in the way of dialogue on the part of the mime-like leads. The lithe-limbed, rubber-faced duo entertain far more with their movements and expressions than with words.

Lost in Paris, Film Review, Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Wes Anderson, Charlie Chaplin

The film unfolds in Canada about a half-century ago, which is where we find Fiona (Gordon) bidding farewell to her beloved Aunt Martha (recently-deceased Emmanuelle Riva) who is moving to Paris. Fast-forward to the present when Fiona, now a librarian, receives an urgent appeal for assistance from her 88 year-old aunt.

In the letter, Martha complains that they’re trying to move her into an assisted-living facility for old folks. But the feisty free spirit will have none of it.

Fiona dutifully springs into action and the next thing you know she’s landed in France sporting a bright orange backpack festooned with a Canadian flag. Her troubles start right off the bat, when she gets stuck in a subway turnstile thanks to that oversized valise.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_NXqwh_76sk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The slapstick escalates further when the weight of the knapsack causes her to topple into the Seine while posing for a photo on a bridge. She has to shed the bag to survive the ordeal, and ends up separated from all her possessions, including her passport, cell phone, cash and clothes.

It is in these dire straits that Fiona crosses paths with Dom (Abel) an amorous hobo living in a tent pitched along the banks of the river who soon becomes hopelessly smitten. So, Fiona finds herself having to fend of the advances of an ardent admirer while frantically searching for her missing aunt.

The ensuing chase proves every bit as charming and sublime as it is hilarious and implausible. A disarmingly-endearing homage to the Silent Film era!

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

In French and English with subtitles

Running time: 83 minutes

Distributor: Oscilloscope Laboratories

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For movies opening June 16, 2017

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening June 16, 2017

Kam's Kapsules, Movies Opening, This Week, film, Big Budget films, Independent & Foreign Films

BIG BUDGET FILMS

47 Meters Down (PG-13 for bloody images, intense peril and brief profanity) Harrowing tale of survival revolving around two sisters (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt) vacationing in Mexico whose scuba diving adventure turns into a desperate fight for their lives when their cage drops to the ocean floor, leaving them surrounded by great white sharks and with less than an hour of oxygen. Featuring Matthew Modine, Yani Gellman and Santiago Segura.   

All Eyez on Me (R for violence, nudity, sexuality pervasive profanity and frequent drug use) Revealing biopic relating the untold story of Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp, Jr.), the talented hip-hop artist, actor and political activist who became a victim of the East Coast-West Coast rap wars when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting at the tender age of 25. Co-starring Kat Graham, Danai Gurira and Jamal Woolard. 

Cars 3 (G) Third installment in the animated auto franchise finds Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) relying on the skills of a talented young mechanic (Cristela Alonzo) to compete against a new generation of blazing-fast racers. Voice cast includes Kerry Washington, Chris Cooper, Bob Costas, Tony Shalhoub, Nathan Fillion and Larry the Cable Guy.   

Rough Night (R for crude sexuality, drug use, coarse humor, brief bloody images and pervasive profanity) Dark comedy about five BFFs (Kate McKinnon, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz, Jillian Bell and Ilana Glazer) whose wild, bachelorette party in Miami is ruined when they accidentally kill the male stripper hired to entertain them. With cameos by Demi Moore, Ty Burrell and Bob the Drag Queen.

   

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

The Book of Henry (PG-13 for mature themes and brief profanity) Jaeden Lieberher plays the title character in this coming-of-age tale as a precocious 11 year-old who, with the help of his mother (Naomi Watts), comes to the assistance of the abused, next-door neighbor (Maddie Ziegler) he has a crush on. Featuring Dean Norris, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Tonya Pinkins and Bobby Moynihan. 

Hearing Is Believing (Unrated) Musical biopic about Rachel Flowers, the blind musical prodigy who blossomed into a popular jazz, soul and classical artist, sharing the stage with Keith Emerson, Burt Bacharach, Arturo Sandoval, Dweezil Zappa and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. .

I, Daniel Blake (Unrated) Ken Loach directed this unlikely-buddies drama about an unsophisticated, 59 year-old, heart attack victim (Dave Johns) who joins forces with a struggling single-mom (Hayley Squires) to battle Britain’s welfare and healthcare bureaucracies. Cast includes Briana Shann, Sharon Percy and Dylan McKiernan.

The Journey (PG-13 for profanity, mature themes and violent images) Political drama about the historic meeting of a couple of Irish adversaries: Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney) and Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall). Featuring Freddie Highmore, John Hurt and Toby Stephens. 

Lost in Paris (Unrated) The husband and wife team of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon wrote, directed and co-star in this burlesque comedy about a Canadian librarian (Gordon) who finds herself pursued by a seductive homeless man (Abel) when she travels to France to search for her missing, 88 year-old aunt (Emmanuelle Riva). With Pierre Richard, Celine Laurentie and Charlotte Dubery. (In French and English with subtitles)

Maudie (PG-13 for mature themes and brief sexuality) Sally Hawkins portrays Maud Lewis in this inspirational biopic, set in Nova Scotia in the Thirties, chronicling her overcoming the rheumatoid arthritis that had crippled her since childhood to become one of Canada’s most celebrated folk artists. Supporting cast includes Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett and Zachary Bennett.

Moka (Unrated) Adaptation of the Tatiana de Rosnay best seller of the same name about a grief-stricken, Swiss mother’s (Emmanuelle Devos) quest to track down and exact revenge on the French woman (Nathalie Baye) who killed her son (Paulin Jaccoud) in a hit-and-run accident. With David Clavel, Diane Rouxel and Olivier Chantreau. (In French with subtitles)

Once upon a Time in Venice (Unrated) Action comedy, set in Los Angeles, about a Private Eye (Bruce Willis) who will stop at nothing to retrieve his beloved pet pooch from a ruthless gang. Featuring Famke Janssen, Jason Momoa, John Goodman, Kal Penn and Wood Harris.

The Recall (R for violence, profanity and some nudity) Sci-fi thriller about five friends whose vacation at a cabin in the woods is ruined by an invasion of aliens bent on abducting humans. Co-starring Wesley Snipes, Jedidiah Goodacre and Laura Bilgeri.

Score (Unrated) Musical documentary affording an inside look at the challenges associated with composing a Hollywood film score. Featuring commentary by Quincy Jones, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, and Randy and David Newman.   

 

 

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BFFS Reunite for Raunchy Bachelorette Party Reminiscent of “The Hangover”

 

Rough Night

Film Review by Kam Williams

BFFS Reunite for Raunchy Bachelorette Party Reminiscent of “The Hangover”

Jessica (Scarlett Johansson) and Peter (Paul W. Downs) are on the verge of tying the knot. But prior to walking down the aisle together, they’ve agreed to simultaneously throw themselves bachelor’s and bachelorette’s parties. But while she flies down to Miami for a swinging soiree’ with a quartet of her closest college classmates, his relatively-modest plan is merely to share a refined evening of wine tasting with a few a nerdy buddies. 

Rough Night,  Film Review, Scarlett Johansson, Paul W. Downs, BFF,bawdy bachelorette party,

Since Jess is also in the midst of a campaign for the state senate, she doesn’t want their reunion to get so out of control as to generate the sort of negative press that might hurt her candidacy. However, she’s blissfully unaware that decorum is the last thing on the mind of Alice (Jillian Bell), the girlfriend entrusted with scheduling their agenda. 

Alice sees the getaway as an opportunity for the BFFs to indulge one last time in the sort of depravity they enjoyed on campus a decade ago, when they would get wasted playing beer pong on a typical Friday night. Consequently, she’s prepared for a wild weekend which includes everything from cocaine to a male stripper.

Such activities might not sit well with another attendee, Frankie (Ilana Glazer). After all, she’s not only a lesbian, but a repeat offender worried about violating the “Three Strikes” law mandating a life sentence. However, pal Pippa (Kate McKinnon), a clown returning from Australia for a good time, is up for anything, as is overstressed Blair (Zoe Kravitz) who needs to decompress from an ugly custody battle.

Rough Night,  Film Review, Scarlett Johansson, Paul W. Downs, BFF,bawdy bachelorette party,

The mayhem starts right in the airport terminal when Alice uncorks a bottle of champagne in celebration, only to unwittingly trigger a stampede by passengers mistaking the pop for a gunshot. Then, upon arriving at their beachfront rental house, the girlfriends are invited by naughty, next-door neighbors Lea (Demi Moore) and Pietro (Ty Burrell) to participate in an orgy

The plot thickens soon after the exotic dancer Alice hired rings the doorbell. Before he has a chance to shed all of his clothes, he accidentally hits his head and promptly passes away. Against their better judgment, Jessica and company decide to dump the body in the ocean rather than call the cops. And what ensues is a relentlessly-hilarious, ever-escalating comedy of errors. 

Thus unfolds Rough Night, a raunchy romp most reminiscent of The Hangover (2009), although it also has moments likely to remind you of Bridesmaids (2011) and Weekend at Bernie’s (1989). The movie marks the phenomenal directorial debut of Lucia Aniello, the first woman to direct an R-rated comedy since Tamra Davis made Half Baked in 1998 with Dave Chappelle.

Laughs galore in a bawdy bachelorette party gone from bad to worst!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for crude sexuality, drug use, coarse humor, brief bloody images and pervasive profanity

Running time: 101 minutes

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

 

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Keanu Reeves Reprises Role in Splatterfest Sequel Arriving on DVD

 

John Wick: Chapter 2,  DVD Review, Keanu Reeves, Bridget Moynahan, Laurence Fishburne, The MatrixJohn Wick: Chapter 2

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Keanu Reeves Reprises Role in Splatterfest Sequel Arriving on DVD

When we first met John Wick (Keanu Reeves), he went on a bloody killing spree in the wake of losing the love of his life (Bridget Moynahan). And at the end of that revenge-fueled splatterfest we saw the wounded assassin walk off into the sunset with a puppy he just rescued from the dog pound.

  Picking up soon after the events of the original, Chapter 2 opens with Wick retiring after retrieving his stolen Mustang from a Russian gang. But before he has a chance to settle into a rocking chair, he’s recruited by Santonio D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) to perform one last hit.

The ambitious mobster wants his sister Gianna (Claudia Gerini) knocked off so that he can assume the reins of the powerful Mafia family left to her by their late father. Wick grudgingly agrees to kill her only because Santonio is holding his marker, a blood oath ironically taken in order to leave behind his grisly line of work.

So, he proceeds to Rome where he tracks down Gianna who quickly commits suicide once she realizes the reason for his visit. Nevertheless, her death doesn’t sit well with her horde of henchman, especially her personal bodyguard, Cassian (Common).

Next thing you know, Wick needs to waste wave after wave of minions while on the run through the catacombs. After a miraculous escape, things are no better back in America where the senseless slaughter simply continues.

That is the sum and substance of John Wick: Chapter 2, an unapologetic indulgence in blood lust. This high-body count affair is right in  Keanu Reeves’ wheelhouse, as he seems to excel when called upon to dispatch dozens, if not hundreds, of adversaries in a variety of creative ways, without ever having to exhibit much of an acting range.

The picture reunites Reeves with Laurence Fishburne, his co-star in The Matrix trilogy. Laurence only enjoys a minor role here, however, in favor of Common, a standout who proves to be the protagonist’s worthy adversary in a protracted hand-to-hand showdown.

A twisted Wick continues to burn bright!

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for profanity, brief nudity and pervasive violence

In English, italian, Hebrew and Russian with subtitles

Running time: 122 minutes

Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment    

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes; Retro Wick; Training John Wick; WICK-fizzed; Friends, Confidantes: The Keanu/Chad Partnership;As Above, So Below: The Underworld of John Wick; Car Fu Ride-Along; Chamber Deck: Evolution of a Fight Scene; Wick’s Toolbox; Kill Count;”Dog Wick” short; and an audio commentary with Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

To order a copy of John Wick: Chapter 2 on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit: 

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XWWZ955/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 

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Hilarious Caped Crusader Cartoon Spoof Comes to Home Video

 

The LEGO Batman Movie,  DVD Review, Chris McKay, Batman, Robin, Batgirl, superhero, clever, sillyThe LEGO Batman Movie

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Hilarious Caped Crusader Cartoon Spoof Comes to Home Video

Not since the campy TV-sitcom back in the Sixties has Batman been so successfully lampooned. Now, the much-beloved superhero again proves perfect fodder for parody in a madcap, animated adventure with a terribly-short attention span.

More concerned with jokes than plot development, this irreverent spoof is relentless in its rush to find the next punch line. Fortunately, the picture never disappoints in that endeavor, whether the laughs be generated by clever quips, silly sight gags or allusions to earlier incarnations of the enduring franchise.

For example, right before confronting a couple of villains, Batman (Will Arnett) informs Robin (Michael Cera) that, “We’re going to punch these guys so hard that words are going to magically appear out of thin air.” That’s a thinly-veiled reference to the cartoon bubbles (a la “Crack!” and “Pow!”) that would appear on the screen during fist fights on the old television series.

And it’s not just the TV Batman that gets knocked off a pedestal, here. For, every big screen version of The Caped Crusader is fair game in the eyes of Chris McKay, who makes a remarkable, feature film directorial debut with this frenetically-paced farce.

The picture does have a premise, though it does read like a stock Batman storyline. At the point of departure, we learn that The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is hatching a plan to level Gotham City with the help of a host of infamous supervillains. In turn, Batman enlists the assistance of  Robin (Michael Cera), Batgirl (Rosario Dawson) and his loyal manservant, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes).

However, before the typical tussle between these long-standing archenemies, we’re treated to an emotionally-charged exchange in which The Joker demands Batman finally commit to their adversarial relationship of 78 years by uttering, “I hate you.” When that phrase isn’t forthcoming, The Clown Prince of Crime vindictively responds with “I’m done, and on the way out I’m going to blow up Gotham City.”

The ensuing mix of mirth and mayhem is so mesmerizing, it’s easy to forget you’re watching LEGO figures. More fun than a barrel of monkeys, not that anybody still gets a kick out of watching primates at play.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated  PG for action and rude humor

Running time: 104 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Dark Hoser; Batman Is Just Not That into You; Cooking with Alfred; Movie Sound Effects: How Do They Do That?; The Master: A LEGO Ninjago Short; deleted scenes; Rebrick Contest Winners; film trailers; Lego Life trailer; social promos; director and crew commentary; and six more featurettes.

                     

To order a copy of The LEGO Batman Movie Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit:

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06W53FHJJ/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 

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