If you’ve ever wandered the aisles at the video store or surfed the DVR pay-per-view options and seen a bunch of movies that you’ve never heard of, chances are John has watched them. Why? He loves movies. All kinds of movies. Good, bad, so-bad-they’re good, even the truly unwatchable ones. He mostly loves horror and science-fiction and drive-in exploitation movies that most upstanding model citizens wouldn’t dare watch. Then he writes up his thoughts so you can decide - watch, don’t watch or avoid at all costs. Sometimes he even gets to talk to the cool folks who make some of your favorite films.
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New Releases for Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Posted Jul 14, 2012 by John Allman
Updated Jul 14, 2012 at 02:28 PM
What’s new in stores and on video shelves this week:
Wrath of the Titans
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Run time: 99 minutes
The Lowdown: Just to clear the air, let me be right upfront: I hated the remake of “Clash of the Titans.”
I hated everything about it from the weak, subpar 3D to the tinkering with the story to the ridiculous looking Kraken and heavy-CGI Medusa.
To say I was less than enthused to watch a sequel to a lesser remake of a childhood classic, well, that just really wouldn’t begin to adequately describe the level of apathy I felt when placing the disc in my player.
But the funny thing about reviewing movies for a living is that sometimes, not often, but every blue moon or so, you get completely blindsided by a film that you truly expected to despise.
And that’s exactly what happened with “Wrath of the Titans.”
Everything that I loathed about the remake suddenly didn’t bother me so much. The computer-generated creatures were more impressive, the story – free from the constraints of trying to live up to the original – actually was enjoyable and the multiple big-ticket action sequences popped.
In essence, “Wrath of the Titans” is everything that “Clash of the Titans” aspired to be. It’s a thoroughly entertaining popcorn movie with some truly impressive special effects and just enough heft to its tale of warring gods and half-mortal, half-god humans to make you care.
Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes tackle their respective roles as Perseus, Zeus and Hades with enthusiasm. Fiennes, in particular, seems to be having a blast playing the lord of the underworld.
And several scenes really stood out, especially when Kronos is unleashed from his fiery prison in Hell.
Watching “Wrath” was like taking in double truck panels ripped straight from a comic book, and it definitely stirred my inner fanboy, the giddy kid who loves giant monsters and flying horses and warriors battling seemingly insurmountable odds.
If, like me, you were less than impressed the first time around, I say this: Give “Wrath of the Titans” a chance. It’s not epic fantasy cinema by any stretch, but it’s a blast to lose yourself in for an hour and a half, and you won’t feel jilted once the credits roll.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Minimal.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Kronos, the father of the Gods.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
Blu-Ray Bonus Features – Maximum Movie Mode, featuring two tracks, Path of Gods and Path of Men; Featurettes; Deleted scenes.
On the Web – http://wrathofthetitans.warnerbros.com/dvd/
21 Jump Street (Sony, 110 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): Who knew, Channing Tatum. Who knew.
You’re actually a funny, likeable dude given the right source material.
And the 21st-century reimagining of “21 Jump Street,” the guiltiest of high school TV pleasures, has a lot more pop than anyone probably expected.
Pairing Tatum with Jonah Hill, who struck such an impressive balance in “Moneyball,” proves to be comic inspiration. Hill is adept at channeling his inner-geek, but he also displays surprising action chops in a role that easily could have been one-dimensional and played for the basest of juvenile laughs.
“21 Jump Street” is full of winking nods to the genre. High school students call Tatum out for looking like a grown man pretending to be a high school student. The scenes where the unlikely duo act out clichéd cop show tropes, like leaping across the hood of their car, register genuine laughs.
But it also celebrates the worst aspects of high school – the social cliques, the misplaced idolatry, and, yes, the perils of prom – in a way that shows unexpected personal growth.
One of the best moments, and the worst kept secret, is a brief cameo by original “Jump Street” alum Johnny Depp as Det. Tom Hanson. Depp is a riot. And kudos to him for demanding that he get to bring back another familiar face, actor Peter DeLuise as Officer Doug Penhall. Other former stars Holly Robinson Peete and Richard Grieco also get a moment to shine and soak in the fan love in brief walk-on roles. The only person missing is Steven Williams as hard-nosed Capt. Adam Fuller, the original shepherd of the undercover crew.
Sector 7 (Shout! Factory, 101 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): Korea’s first 3D monster movie, “Sector 7,” requires a little patience.
After a mysterious and interesting start, “Sector 7” plops you straight onto an oil rig in the ocean and all hell is breaking loose with a stuck drill bit. A host of characters are introduced so fast that you can barely keep up.
Personal dynamics dominate the early going, which is where patience is required. On the first pass, I found myself pausing the film to go finish chores, coming back for a few minutes, then pausing again.
Thankfully, I shut off the ADD and sat down because about 40 minutes in, “Sector 7” becomes a great monster from the deep movie with fantastic CGI effects and a topical storyline that explains the origin of one of the most inventive creatures to come along in some time. Suffice to say, without giving too much away, the creature’s biological composition makes it a possible alternative energy source, but to harness that energy, the creature and its brood would essentially have to be tortured. That’s a pretty original idea, and a difficult moral quandary, something I haven’t seen before.
“Sector 7” owes a lot to “The Host” and “Cloverfield,” but it never feels derivative. I’ve read other reviews that rightfully cite influences from the 1980s, namely “Leviathan” and “Deep Star Six,” and those comparisons are also spot-on.
The action keeps coming at a furious clip, and the characters eventually distinguish themselves and, better yet, make you care about who may or may not survive. One of the highlights involves a battle on the top platform of the oil rig with various characters clinging to the side, dangling near certain death, as an infuriated beast wreaks havoc.
This one is a guaranteed fun time for fans of “Godzilla” and other giant beasts who fight back when poked by greedy corporate suits with little concern for the natural world.
The Artist – Best picture winner, and a mostly silent film to boot!
Mirror, Mirror – The other Snow White movie, the one that should have been a visual smorgasbord because the director is Tarsem, the visionary behind “The Cell” and “The Fall.”
Damages: The Complete Fourth Season
Best Laid Plans
Sound of Noise
Law & Order: Criminal Intent – The Complete Seventh Season
The Decoy Bride – David Tennant alert! Pay attention, Whovians. Your favorite Doctor toplines this romantic comedy.
A Thousand Words – Oh, Eddie Murphy, I’m so sorry. I really don’t know what happened.