If it's crap ... We'll tell you
STEP UP 3 (no 'D') (Blu-Ray/DVD)
There have only been a few films I've seen so far in the theater that I thought 3D added anything significantly to (other than 'suck'). "Avatar", "How to Train Your Dragon", and most of all, "Step Up 3". I'm not even kidding. Sure. the film is another formulaic exercise plot wise, with the young "Moose" from the previous film moving to New York to go to school, promising his parents he won't dance anymore (and mere moments later, running off to dance) and hooking up with a group of affiliated street dancers. Naturally, their converted warehouse that they practice at is in trouble, and the purse strings holder is one of the 'eeeeevvvillll' dance crew members and...well, it's all completely insipid. But the dancing, oh damn the dancing, is truly remarkable. "Step Up 3" positively (and often literally) sparkles with elaborate dance numbers that source from everything from 'Xandau', to Astaire and Rodgers musicals, to, um, taking acid while playing crazy Japanese rail shooters (that's the best comparison I could think of). Without the 3D, it's still an entertaining film, but there's no question that the glasses, for once, added some fun. And a story this lame could use all the fun it can get. I'm not sure that "Step Up 3" isn't being dumb on purpose, to poke fun at itself, but it's so hard to tell, as being this dumb in the series isn't anything really new. But being this shiny is.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Step Up 3 (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
STONEHENGE APOCALYPSE (DVD)
Seriously, Anchor Bay? Seriously? And I even watched this piece of shit just for you. Learned THAT lesson the hard way. It's one of those few films SO bad, and not even in a fun way, that it's not worth a review. If there's an apocalypse coming, it's because we live in a culture that actually lets films like this get made. We did it to ourselves. YOU BLEW IT UP! YOU MANIACS!
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Stonehenge Apocalypse
TURNING GREEN (DVD)
Forgetting for a moment that "Turning Green" is another irritating example of a box cover that features its most tertiary characters most prominently because they're the biggest names in it, this 2009 Irish-American coming-of-age comedy is actually a bit of a treat. The tale follows a teenage kid named James Powers and his younger brother Pete, who are growing up in Ireland in 1979 and spend their days getting drunk in the local pub (apparently, age was not an issue then) and taking bets from the townsfolk for a local bookie (Alessandro Nivola). James hates it there and is anxious to save money so that he and his brother can run away back to America, but the crime boss doesn't pay but a pittance. On a trip to London, he discovers porn magazines and sets up a delivery system with a magazine vendor there to send boxes of them back to him in Ireland where he sets up his own miniature porn empire. Things are going swimmingly until the crime boss and his head thug (Timothy Hutton) get jealous... "Turning Green" is endearing in the way that its so honest about its subjects. Usually anything with kids softballs any lack of innocence on their part, but not this movie. James' quest for identity is an entertainingly frank one to watch. Unfortunately, the dvd includes the producer's choice of ending, which is more dramatic and theme-ruining than (apparently) the director's alternate cut, which seems to have been much more appropriately whimsical. Image Entertainment doesn't even include it as an extra feature. Distribution (and producer) fail.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Turning Green
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS (Blu-Ray and DVD)
*yawn* Wake me up when someone cares. Wait, some people actually really liked this sequel to Oliver Stone's famous 1987 Charlie Sheen/Michael Douglas film that millions of proto-yuppies took away the entirely wrong message from? 23 years after the famous 'Greed is Good' mottoed Gordon Gecko (Douglas) is nailed for being involved in insider trading by his once-trusted apprentice (Sheen), and 8 years after he's been in prison for it, Gecko is released to a different financial world. Still known as a legend, Gecko starts doing lecture tours condemning the financial community for getting the country into its current economic woes. Meanwhile, young trader Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) is interested in making a splash in the financial world and is engaged to Gecko's VERY estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan). Against her wishes, he secretly contacts Gecko, selling himself as his chance for him to reestablish ties to his daughter if he will help Jake get revenge against rich scumbag Bretton James (Josh Brolin) who destroyed his beloved mentor's (Frank Langella) investment bank. I thought the human drama element of Stone's follow-up fell largely flat, as it has for most of his films over the last decade or so, but it's the story he tells about how Wall Street got us into the current crisis that has enough appeal to make the film worth a look, even if it never cuts anywhere near as deeply as you'd expect Stone to slice. There's nothing wrong with any of the performances, and some are actually quite good (Douglas easily remains once again, when he has screen time, the center of the audience's attention). It's that their story seems weightless compared to the bigger one at hand, the one that actually effects all of us. Shia's sex life woes aren't capable of measuring up. For fans, the blu-ray comes with a large package (at least compared to Shia's....zing) of bonus features, including some sizable subplots cut out of the final film.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Blu-ray + Digital Copy)