Divergent (2014) [DVD/Digital]


Ultimately the adaptation of “Divergent” is a mixed bag that left me conflicted toward the level of quality presented. The film is almost two and half hours in length that does nothing but set up the premise for future events, and yet I found the world unfolding to be pretty fascinating. When it tries to be anything other than simple science fiction fodder, it clubs us over the head with on the nose clunky metaphor and social commentary. When it stopped trying for profundity, it actually managed to entertain and kept me very engrossed in the events that unfolded. It’s not at all as intelligent as it thinks it is, but it’s a pretty solid epic all things considered.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)


It’s surprising that for a movie about anthropomorphic talking turtles that director Steve Barron takes the premise with as much seriousness as possible. Director Barron just seems to get the appeal of the Ninja Turtles, walking the line between the mainstream versions and the original Eastman and Laird R rated comic book. The turtles here have a hard edge, but are entertaining sympathetic heroes, and they’re the center of what is still a damn good action film about family, revenge, unity.

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Transcendence (2014) [Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet]


It’s interesting to see that Johnny Depp is at a point in his career where he can just film himself with the cast for twenty minutes worth of a two hour movie, and then just rely on special effects for the rest of the film. I imagine Depp was in a bungalow vacationing, and would interrupt his getaway to film his footage for a few days with green screen. For a film that revolves around demonizing technology to emphasize how it destroys humanity and human contact, it’s inadvertently comical to see most of Depp’s performance rely solely on him having zero contact with anyone in the cast. And even when Depp is on screen, you’d swear he was being played by a robotic double still figuring out that tricky concept called emotions.

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S.E.R.P. (2013)


Director Mark Schwab’s “S.E.R.P.” is thought provoking science fiction, but along the lines of “Primer.” Its considerable low budget confines it to one room where it’s very similar to a stage play, but opts to tell a very interesting story about the evolution of technology and the concept of consciousness and morality. While it’s by no means a perfect indie film, it has aspirations to do more than show off flashy effects and action. It’s based more around how scary cognizant technology is, and how it can be the undoing of pure evil in humanity.

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TV Guide Spotlight – Cop Shows of the ’70s (DVD)


For folks that like to collect these kinds of compilations, they’re really cheap best of DVD’s from select Mill Creek series comprised of various subjects. “Cop Shows of the 70’s” is definitely one of the better sets from Mill Creek, featuring various episodes from some of the best cop shows of the decade. I would have loved to see some “Hill Street Blues,” but all things considered this is a fun mixed bag with nine hours of mostly Aaron Spelling led crime thrillers.

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All Cheerleaders Die (2014) (DVD)


Director Lucky McKee and Chris Siverston attempt what many directors have in the past and remake their early film, “All Cheerleaders Die.” Now that they’ve reached a point of success, their considerably entertaining horror indie is now reworked in to a bigger scale, bigger budgeted, and gorier horror film. While the movie suffers from its caveats, “All Cheerleaders Die” works as a entertaining and twisted amalgam of “Heathers,” “I Spit on Your Grave,” and “The Craft.”

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CBGB (2013)


How do you make a movie about CBGB in the structure of a routine narrative? Where do you start? Why do we have to see the origins of CBGB through a comedy lens? “CBGB” is what Hollywood envisions the origins of CBGB were. It’s clean, it’s sanitary, it’s inoffensive, and it paints some of the most iconic bands in rock music as mere footnotes in the world of the iconic New York club. To make things worse, its star looks really bored with the material, almost as if he’s slogging through a character and a script that he doesn’t quite understand.

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Video Games: The Movie (2014)


One of the many things I really like about “Video Games: The Movie” is that it occasionally shares knowledge that not even vintage gamers like me knew. I was always convinced the term “bits” was a completely nonsensical buzzword invented to sell games, but surely enough it’s a real term. It’s not only real, but makes a big difference in regards to game consoles. While “Video Games: The Movie” may not shed new information for everyone, it’s at least a charismatic and entertaining celebration of the medium that’s become big business all over the world.

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Monday Movie Pause: Mad Max Returns

We’re big fans of George Miller’s epic trilogy about the apocalypse, and the man known as Mad Max. Mel Gibson breathed life in to the character and helped us root for his battles in the future against nomads, evil tribes, and Tina Turner. Tom Hardy seems like an excellent replacement, and we’re looking forward to the continuation/reboot of the “Mad Max” series. If there’s any movie series that deserves to continue, it’s “Mad Max.”

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)


It was established on the original “Planet of the Apes” series that there are many alternate realities to this universe. All of which end with the apes conquering the world and defeating humans. No matter what, the consequences are always the same. Director Matt Reeves returns to the concept once again, expanding on 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” to chronicle how apes conquered the world, and how, regardless of the efforts to establish peace, war is inevitable. “Rise” was an already stellar science fiction reboot, and director Matt Reeves takes the entire new timeline to vast heights.

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