Now that it’s July, you’ll notice most of the movies released on disc are crap. That’s because the big Oscar winners have already come out and now we’re moving into discs from January through March. Traditionally these flicks are the worst of the worst due to studios knowing American dollars have all been spent on the holidays. It works out nicely since we’ll be spending our bucks on the summer movies we’ve all been waiting for anyway. Highly anticipated films like Katy Perry: Part of Me and Premium Rush. Oh…wait…

In Theaters Now


The Amazing Spider-Man (July 2012)


Genre: Action, Drama


I smell a lawsuit.

There’s a lot to like about this flick, except none of it warrants a reboot. Expectations aside, the relationship between Gwen and Peter is the best part of the film. That said, for a summer movie the action was rather limp, save for an exciting battle at the high school. I could have done without the sickeningly stupid sequence involving the New Yorkers coming to Spidey’s rescue and the film’s pacing is wonky with long stretches of romance then chunks of action. It’s also rather silly how instrumental Oscorp is in this new Spider-Man origin. Might as well call him Oscorp-Man.

Grade: C+


To Rome with Love (July, 2012)


Genre: Comedy


Penelope Cruz. Fulfilling dreams and taking names.

Like any anthology film, there are parts you’ll like more than others and things don’t exactly crescendo since the film is made up of three separate stories. Fortunately I didn’t find myself bored and while some laughs fell flat, Woody Allen was hilarious and each story had a nice ebb and flow. The casting is once again amazing and you’ll find you like nearly every character. The narrative convention used with Alec Baldwin is surprisingly good and really works.

Grade: B

Recently Released on Disc


God Bless America (May 2012)


Genre: Comedy, Drama


“Adding guns to American Idol improves it by 154%,” say some Fox producers.

This is all sarcasm, no story. No character development, just one big message about how stupid America has become due to reality TV. You may snicker, but mostly it’s a message ala “The Network”. It’s also hard to like something that’s so obvious. It’s tongue-in-cheek, but after awhile it’s more Looney Toons than anything.

Grade: C+


Bullhead (February 2012)


Genre: Comedy


In soulette he has such little arms. Symbolism!

Heart wrenching and complex film about a man who is powerless to a life changing event and attack on his masculinity. Beautifully shot and emotionally resonant. The lead is amazing, but I wasn’t a fan of most of the supporting cast and the pacing leaves one bored for long stretches at a time.

Grade: B


21 Jump Street (March 2012)


Genre: Action, Comedy


Bullet proof couches. Only in the movies.

On second viewing the hilarity drops a bit; I gave this flick an A- back in April, so I’m dropping this ish down a notch. The premise is great the first round but many of the laughs fall flat in round two. Still a great way to get off a couple laughs.

Grade: B+


The Artist (November, 2011)


Genre: Drama


If you hate dancing you’ll hate this film. Unless you just hate the sound of dancing, in which case you’ll love this film.

Upon further inspection the film has gotten a lot of its credibility for doing something different. A silent film in the 21st century is a rare thing. Does that hold on second viewing? It does, because it does so many things right. It’s got a ton of whimsy, fantastic acting, a great score and a very enjoyable story. I was worried this neo-silent film would hit boring patches, but it mixes everything up very nicely playing with the genre in multiple ways.

Grade: A-


Wanderlust, (February 2012)


Genre: Comedy


“Commune,” if Hollywood is to be believed, is just another word for “orgy”.

Sadly, with a dream cast, David Wain doesn’t hit a homerun. Cliches of the commune life are a plenty here, but hell, it’s a comedy, so who gives a shit? There are many funny moments, but the story is very predictable and there are stretches of smirking with no laughter.

Grade: B


Goon (March 2012)


Genre: Comedy, Sports


This is not a horror movie. It’s a hockey movie…sometimes the same thing.

If you like hockey see this at once. If you like a surprisingly good flick with humorous moments and a great sense of drama you should also see this. If you hate unicorns you’ll probably hate this. You hate everything, unicorn-haters. I hate you.

Grade: B

Oldies, But Goodies?


Summer with Monika (1953)


Genre: Drama, Foreign


If you stand like this, you’re a whore.

Originally marketed as a sexploitation film, but by cutting out everything but the nudity it’s nothing close to exploitation on any level. You can’t go wrong with Ingmar Bergman and once again he takes a good story and delivers it to screen with all pieces working smoothly. I’d wager every person in the world has known a woman like the one here. Seemingly alive and free, but ends up being selfish and irrational.

Grade: A-


Strip Nude for Your Killer (August 1975)


Genre: Horror, Mystery, Foreign


This title is a tease.

This is an actual sexploitation film, although it came out a good 20 years later than the film above. This schmaltzy Italian slasher flick isn’t made any better by the laughably pointless naked women. There are some attempts to incorporate talking points regarding chauvinism and abortion that spruce up an otherwise boring film.

Grade: D