Title: Chronicle

Format: DVD


Directed by: Josh Trank

Written by: Max Landis

Starring: Dan DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan

Studio: Fox Home Entertainment

Film Rating: ★★★½☆

DVD Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

The Film

Yes, Chronicle is a “found footage” film. Yes, it is another entry in the ever-crowded superpowers genre of films. And yes, it features a bunch of actors who will come previously unknown to many viewers.

And yet the film finds a way to buck the trends and provide an engaging experience that will leave many viewers satisfied beyond their expectations, but the same things that work to make it interesting also work to undermine what it is trying to accomplish at points. (more…)


Title: John Carter

Format: Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Directed by: Andrew Stanton

Written by: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Willem Dafoe

Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Film Rating: ★★½☆☆

Blu-ray 3D Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

The Film

John Carter may be best known in retrospect as a bad business decision. One that saw a lot of money spent and not nearly as much made. And that comes, I think, primarily from its source material.

John Carter is the kind of fiction that has attained a certain cult status – an incredibly loyal contingent of followers staunchly stand by the Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi adventure – but may be entirely unfamiliar to general audiences. And ultimately what happened is a group of those loyal followers pushed to get this made, and the mass audiences just weren’t there.

But that doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of the film. Financial success doesn’t always speak to quality, of course, but in this case there does seem to be a connection. What John Carter struggles with most is finding, or creating, an identity for itself. By the end of 132 minutes, we’ve all seen a lot of fantastic things but are left caring about very little of it. (more…)


Title: The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions

Format: Three-Disc DVD Set

Studio: WWE Home Video

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

WWE is digging into WCW’s archives once again, this time to release the three-disc DVD set, The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions. But while the show’s history seems like something deserving of such attention, the DVD set here seems to indicate otherwise.

Dusty Rhodes narrates the three discs, outlining the story of a show that abrasively debuted as a free program rivaling WWE’s top pay-per-view event of the year, WrestleMania. It wound up continuing over the years, but if the matches contained on this set are the best the show had to offer, it’s probably a good sign why WrestleMania continued mostly unfazed, and why WCW ultimately went out of business. (more…)


Title: Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous

Format: DVD

Produced by: Brian Ward

Written by: Joss Whedon

Illustration by: John Cassaday

Studio: Marvel Knights Animation, Shout Factory

Rating: ★★★½☆

Review by: Bill Jones

The motion comic formula is still a baffling one. Marvel Knights doesn’t quite commit to really animating something, but offers a way for people to watch, rather than read, their comics. The effect is cool but still altogether unnecessary, and the latest offering from Astonishing X-Men isn’t going to change many minds on it. (more…)


Title: IMAX Born to Be Wild

Format: Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy

MPAA Rating: G

Directed by: David Lickley

Written by: Drew Fellman

Narrated by: Morgan Freeman

Studio: Warner Bros.

Feature Rating: ★★★☆☆

Blu-ray Rating: ★★½☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

The Feature

Another nature film narrated by the great Morgan Freeman, IMAX Born to Be Wild tells several stories of the bond between humans and animals. It focuses on two areas in particular — the rainforests of Borneo, where primatologist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas rescues, rehabilitates and returns the animals to the wild; and the Kenyan savannah, where Dr. Dame Daphne M. Sheldrick does the same, but with elephants. (more…)


Comedy Central Round-Up No. 1
Jo Koy, J.B. Smoove, Patton Oswalt

Reviews by: Bill Jones

When it comes to stand-up comedy on television, Comedy Central more or less has the market cornered. And the network’s DVD and CD departments have been pushing out plenty of the television specials in the uncensored and uncut format (really, the right way to watch a comedian’s set) for home consumption. Pads & Panels decided to help its readers wade through some of Comedy Central’s latest offerings.

The Comedian: Jo Koy

The DVD: Lights Out

Rating: ★★★½☆

Many may recognize Jo Koy from his roundtable appearances on Chelsea Lately, which may also tell a lot of people whether or not this is a guy they want to check out. But don’t be deterred. Despite that background and some over-animated box shots, Lights Out proves to be an entertaining show. The comedy comes in a decidedly traditional formula, with Koy tackling topics like fatherhood, growing up with Filipino women and sleep apnea. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a good time watching this one-hour special. The DVD also contains two special features, one of which sees Koy’s mother interviewing him for the radio, which is a fun little twist. (more…)


Product: Batman Adjustable Baseball Cap

Company: ThinkGeek

Retail Price: $16.99

Review by: Bill Jones

I’m not a huge fan of adjustable baseball caps, compared to fitted ones, but there’s something that works really well with the entire design of this six-panel hat from ThinkGeek. The front two panels and top of the brim are white, with a “splatter-painted” Batman insignia embroidered on the front and a gunmetal thread that gives it a bit of a raised texture. (more…)


Title: South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season

Format: DVD

Creators: Matt Stone, Trey Parker

Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mona Marshall, April Stewart

Studio: Comedy Central, Paramount

Season Rating: ★★★★★

DVD Rating: ★★★★★

Review by: Bill Jones

The Season

After 15 years on television, it wouldn’t be unfair to assume most shows would be scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas. Luckily, South Park has evolved into a topical satire (though it often still remains a damn silly show) that hinges on weekly trends and can find humor in the mundane of everyday life. And after conquering Broadway, Matt Stone and Trey Parker don’t seem to be short on any ideas for the South Park universe they created. (more…)


Title: The Epic Journey of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Format: Three-Disc DVD

Studio: WWE Home Video

Rating: ★★★½☆

Review by: Bill Jones

“1995. $7 in my pocket. Thru blood, sweat and respect – I relentlessly chase greatness. This is who I am, this is what we do.” –Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, Team Bring It Strong

So reads the printed-to-look-handwritten inscription on the first foldout of WWE Home Video’s latest collection for The Rock, The Epic Journey of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, released just in time for his WrestleMania main event with John Cena more than one year in the making. It sounds like a good rags-to-riches story, but if the first DVD of the three-disc set is any indication, that’s far from true when it comes to The Rock. (more…)


Interview with WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes

WWE Extreme Rules Preview

Interview by Bill Jones – Images courtesy of WWE

Cody Runnels, better known by his ring name Cody Rhodes, is the son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, a fact he played into with the multi-generational stable The Legacy. Cody Rhodes cut his teeth in the WWE in tag team competition with Ted DiBiase, but in recent years, Rhodes has made a name for himself as a singles competitor poised to be a main eventer. He has had great feuds and even better matches with the likes of Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton and Booker T. But his current feud sees him up against the 7-foot 441-pound Big Show, upholding the time-honored pro wrestling tradition of fighting a giant, in this case a giant who beat him Sunday, April 1, for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania.

Rhodes will get his rematch Sunday, April 29, at the Extreme Rules pay per view, held at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. (Chicago). Rhodes was kind enough to take 15 minutes out of his busy travel schedule Thursday, April 26, to chat on the phone about the upcoming show and his career, delving into his mask, video games, his father, Chicago, twitter, the return of Attitude Era Superstars, dream matches, mystery stipulations and, of course, the Big Show. (more…)