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Recent Reviews

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (Blu-ray)
Aquaman was a critical element of the rebooted Justice League's first comic book arc, so it was kind of a surprise that he was missing in action in War, the first adaptation in DC's New 52-inspired line of animated movies. His absence actually worked out for the best there: the broad strokes of the character -- and let's face it, broad strokes are all War could be bothered with -- were covered well enough by Wonder Woman, and Captain MarvelShazam taking his place introduced a completely different dynamic to the fledgling team. Turns out that Aquaman wasn't kept off the Justice League roster for character balance or whatever, though; DC was saving him for a movie all his own.

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As Justice League: Throne of Atlantis opens, Arthur Curry isn't some costumed hero ruling over the seven seas. He's an aimless, bedraggled shell of a man, drenching the grief of his father's recent death in whatever hooch the bar down the road will toss his way. Arthur has to know there's something that sets him apart from everyone else -- the man has gills, for crying out loud -- yet he could never have guessed that he's heir to the throne of Atlantis. Even in this world of Amazon warriors and intergalactic policemen with wishing rings, the lost kingdom of Atlantis has rarely been thought to be more than mere legend. The Atlanteans are all too aware that they can't hide behind the shadow of myth forever, though. Queen Atlanna envisions striking a peace with the world above, perhaps with her halfling love child Arthur bridging the gap between these two races. Her son Orm, meanwhile, seeks to protect Atlantis by wiping out mankind. He sees war as an inevitability, so why not stoke the fires now and accelerate Atlantis' proud march towards victory? Orm and his forces ravage...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Justice League: Throne of Atlantis]


Annabelle (Blu-ray)
The good news, I guess, is that if you haven't gotten around to seeing The Conjuring, this feature-length spin-off stands completely on its own. A few lines vaguely reference the Warrens, the psychic ghostbusters from that earlier film who aren't even mentioned by name here in-dialogue, but that's about it.

If you have seen The Conjuring -- and, with a box office tally north of $300 million, the smart money says you have -- let me save you some time. Grab that other Blu-ray disc off the shelf, fast forward to all the scenes with Annabelle, and mash stop afterwards. The Conjuring accomplishes a hell of a lot more in those few minutes than Annabelle can be bothered to deliver in an hour and a half. I mean, I get it. I don't know how anyone could experience The Conjuring and not shamble away with the image of that nightmarishly creepy doll seared into his brain. When you're coming off one of the highest grossing horror films of all time, sequels and spinoffs are practically a given. It's just that Annabelle is about as limp, lifeless, and shameless a cash-in as they come.

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Flip the calendar back to the tailend of the 1960s, and then picture Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis strolling in as the Form family. They're a picture-perfect young married couple cut from the Rock Hudson / Doris Day cloth. Mia is carrying her first child and looks like she could pop any day now, while not-quite-a-doctor John is on the verge of starting his residency. They know they'll have a lot to juggle in the coming months, but really, it's all sunny, suburban bliss. John's such a sweetheart that he gives his wife an impossibly rare doll to complete one of her sets...just because he loves her. Awww...! The only hiccup is that their neighbors' estranged daughter is a member of the Disciples of...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Annabelle]


Varsity Blood
No, wait, I had a really good Tomahawk Chop joke saved up for this. I thought I had it, but...


Eh, nevermind. Anyway, Hogeye High is all about the three Ps: pigskin, pilsners, and pounding pussy. Maybe that's four Ps, but you get the idea. Like any high school you're likely to run into on DVD, Hogeye has the usual social strata mapped out, and that even goes for the football team. You've got the geeky guys on the sidelines who dish out water and throw on that stuffy mascot costume all day, you've got your alpha male jocks, you've got your slutty cheerleader types, and, yeah, there's even the occasional good girl like Hannah (Lexi Giovagnoli). Beer doesn't give a shit who's drinking it, though, and maybe that's how all these very different people wind up at the same ssshhh! secret party at this hopelessly remote old house. The invite list was a little longer, but some nutjob dressed up as the school mascot got a headstart by hacking a few of those poor bastards to death already. With an oversized tomahawk and a longbow in hand, the Hogeye High Warrior is crashing this shindig and finishing the job.

Varsity Blood is a crimson-spattered Valentine to the slashers of the '70s and '80s. All the standard issue stuff is present and accounted for: masked killer, holiday theme, virginal Final Girl, unrequited love, boorish assholes, gaggles of dead teenagers, and more T&A than you can shake a stick at. What stands out the most about Varsity Blood, though, is how much it breaks from the familiar slasher formulas. It really is half Teen Movie, half Slasher. I might mean that literally too; the movie's more than half over by the time its second (and third) kill rolls around. Varsity Blood spends a lot of time letting viewers get to know its sprawling cast of characters. The idea's that once shit hits the fan,...[read the entire DVD review of Varsity Blood]


More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 1/25: Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • 1/18: Annabelle (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • 1/17: Clueless (Hdtv)
  • 1/3: Ladies and Gentlemen...The Fabulous Stains (Hdtv)
  • 12/30: Princess Mononoke (Blu-ray)
  • 12/27: Bubblegum Crisis (Blu-ray)
  • 12/23: Santa Claus (1959) (Hdtv)
  • 12/22: Saved! (Hdtv)
  • 12/22: The Holiday (Hdtv)
  • 12/22: Vault of Horror (Blu-ray)
  • 12/20: The Wind Rises (2-Disc Blu-ray +DVD Combo Pack) (Blu-ray)
  • 12/16: Guardians of the Galaxy (3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
  • 12/14: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (4K-Mastered + UltraViolet + Included Digibook) (Blu-ray)
  • 12/12: Tales from the Crypt (Blu-ray)
  • 12/10: Sleepaway Camp (Collector's Edition) (BluRay/DVD Combo) (Blu-ray)
More of my boring video log...
 
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 1/29: Zombie Killers (Blu-ray)
  • 1/25: Gone Girl (Blu-ray)
  • 1/19: Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • 1/18: Annabelle (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • 1/16: Fargo: Season 1 (Blu-ray)
  • 12/27: Bubblegum Crisis (Blu-ray)
  • 12/26: Arrow: Season 2 (Blu-ray)
  • 12/24: The Walking Dead: Season 4 (Blu-ray)
  • 12/19: The Beyond (3 Disc Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/29: Mad Men: the Final Season-Part 1 (Blu-ray)
  • 11/28: Squirm (Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/28: Tales From The Crypt / Vault Of Horror (Blu-ray)
  • 11/28: Sleepaway Camp (Collector's Edition) (BluRay/DVD Combo) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/28: Hell of the Living Dead/Rats Night of Terror (Blu-ray)
  • 11/28: Shock Waves (Blu-ray)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...


 
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