Title: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

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

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Written by: Terry Rossio & Ted Elliott

Starring: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Kevin McNally

Studio: Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Walt Disney Pictures

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review by: Sarah Jones

If there was ever a pirate who could escape any situation, it would be Captain Jack Sparrow. Although he acts silly, Sparrow seems to stumble into the right situations at the right time to find the treasure or escape capture. However, this movie begins with Sparrow in custody by the English. Of course, he escapes and starts on his journey for the Fountain of Youth aboard Captain Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

As the new lovely lady in the Pirates’ world, Penelope Cruz features as Blackbeard’s daughter, Angelica, with whom Sparrow once had a romantic relationship with. To add more drama, Blackbeard and crew are not the only ones seeking the fountain. Barbossa, who makes a return from previous movies in the series, and the Spanish are both on the hunt for the fountain for their own reasons. (more…)


Title: Dumbo

Format: 70th Anniversary Edition: Blu-ray + DVD

Directed by: Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen

Written by: Joe Grant, Dick Huemer, Otto Englander

Studio: Disney

Rating: ★★★★½

Review by: Bill Jones

When I was a little kid, my uncle gave me a VHS tape of Pinocchio that he dubbed for me, and at the beginning of that tape was (what I remember being just part of) Dumbo, to fill out the length of the tape. So I had always been exposed to Dumbo, but I never really considered it a feature on its own (at 64 minutes, it technically is one, though obviously on the short side), but more like a “short” that I’d watch before…unless I decided to skip it.

Skipping it was common, though, because despite the fantastic imagery and simplistic nature of the tale that should have appealed to my childhood self, I never really cared for Dumbo. And upon watching it some 20 years later (and 70 years after its initial release), I cannot say I’ve been converted. I respect the animation, and can see why it has remained a classic, but ultimately it’s nothing I’d go out of my way to watch again and again. (more…)


Title: Arthur

Format: Blu-ray+DVD+Digial Copy

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Directed by: Jason Winer

Written by: Peter Baynham

Starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Luis Guzman, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Garner

Studio: Warner Bros.

Film Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Blu-ray Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

The Film

It has been a long while since I’ve seen a movie quite as bad as Arthur. Imagine, for a moment, a drunkenly obnoxious friend who for cannot be begged for one moment to stop his antics. Stretch that out to a 110-minute feature film, and give that friend infinite wealth and take away half of his brain and you’ve got Arthur, the latest remake atrocity from Warner Bros.

Based on a 1981 film of the same name, Arthur tells the tale of its titular character (Russell Brand), who is a millionaire playboy, who, much like many of the famous children inheriting wealth nowadays, constantly finds himself in the public eye, embarrassing his family with his antics. And this is not good for business, with investors worried about getting involved with a company that Arthur is anywhere near. (more…)


Title: Warrior

Directed by: Gavin O’Connor

Written by: Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis, Cliff Dorfman

Starring: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison

Studio: Lionsgate

Rating: ★★★★★

Review by: Bill Jones

By the end of most fight films, there is a well-defined “good guy” and a well-defined “bad guy.” We know who to root for; we know who we want to see win. We’ve seen the good underdog work to overcome the odds, and we’ve seen dubious deeds by his opponent, cementing him as the oppressing evil that must be stopped in its tracks. In Warrior, this is not the case. By the end, we don’t know who we want to see win. We don’t know who to root for. We can’t fathom what will happen if either man loses. Warrior is, by far, the most distinctive fight film I’ve ever seen.

To even call Warrior a “fight film” doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s a drama, through and through – crafted by Miracle director Gavin O’Connor – though it truly earns the fight genre as well, with absolutely engaging mixed martial arts fights, choreographed and filmed exceptionally well. But at the center of it all we have three characters that we grow to care about – characters who are introduced by the tip of the iceberg. We see these characters first on the surface, and then as Warrior rolls along we learn more about them, about the plights that have landed them where we are today, and by the time it all comes to a head we are fully invested in them, which is as much as any film can ask. (more…)


Title: Red Riding Hood

Format: Digital

Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke

Written by: David Johnson

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Julie Christie

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review by: Sarah Kumley

Teen books (and movies) these days are often about one of three things: vampires, werewolves or forbidden love. Although Red Riding Hood is a reimagining of the well-known fairy tale, it still manages to contain two of the three criteria to snag teenagers’ attention. Throw in a love triangle and attractive leads and the package is complete to draw in a crowd. There is sufficient tension throughout the movie and the sets look like a medieval village, but the story is mostly predictable and unforgettable. (more…)


Title: 28 Days Later: London Calling

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Writers: Michael Alan Nelson

Artists: Declan Shalvey

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review by: Eric Stuckart

London Calling catches up with Selena, one of three survivors from the original 28 Days Later, who is now hiding out in Norway after escaping the nightmares of a London completely infected with the Rage virus, turning all in its path into rabid, bloodthirsty monsters. Clint Harris is an American reporter looking for someone to lead him into quarantined London after getting a tip that a U.S.-led NATO force will be going in to start restructuring the area. Initially, she tells him to piss off, then something changes her mind. She joins Clint and his team – four “hardened” journalists who think they’ve seen it all and can withstand anything. Quite frankly, they’ve never withstood the Infected, and when the shit hits the fan by the end of the book, they’re left for dead on an island full of zombies. The main problem with the book is that the claustrophobic feel of the films is lost in the transition back to the comic book medium, and Selena is portrayed more like a badass zombie hunter, rather than a survivor fighting for her life. Although the artwork is good, the book is more action than suspenseful horror, and that’s where it forgoes what could have made for a great start to the new series. (more…)