Recent Reviews

Black Panther (Ultra HD Blu-ray)
When Ben Parker said that with great power comes great responsibility, Wakanda was surely the furthest thing from his mind. Hardly anyone on this side of the Atlantic had even heard of the tiny African nation prior to the events of Captain America: Civil War. To those who have, "it's a third world country: textiles, shepherds, cool outfits." There's little reason for the world at large to give Wakanda more than a second thought.

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That's entirely by design. Wakanda is, in fact, the most advanced civilization on Earth. Their incomprehensibly massive stores of vibranium – the most valuable mineral the world over – has led to the development of technology that few could dream possible. Wakanda has hidden in plain sight for centuries. Their tech masks the grandeur of their Golden City, and that third world façade doesn't inspire much of anyone to bother digging beneath that deceptively unremarkable surface.

Still, though: power...responsibility. That's the core of the conflict in Black Panther. Should Wakanda's primary responsibility be towards its people and its traditions? With the gifts that Wakanda has to offer an increasingly embattled world, should the long-isolated nation open its arms to help? Embracing refugees means subjecting oneself to their troubles. Fully revealing its resources and technology exposes Wakanda to exploitation and perhaps even war. Even in the best of outcomes, the culture they so treasure cannot help but be transformed. So, yes, there is continuing to live in isolation. There is charity and the pursuit of a greater peace. There is also the possibility of Wakanda raising arms, distributing their devastating weapons across the globe to at long last release the stranglehold of a racist status quo.

The conventional Wakandan...[read the entire Ultra HD Blu-ray review of Black Panther]

Gun Crazy (Blu-ray)
Gun Crazy opens with the committal of a crime.

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This comes as little surprise; Gun Crazy is, after all, a film noir. However, we're not talking about a crime that would quickly ensnare a hapless protagonist. It doesn't truly presage the dark path down which our central character would soon walk. This burglary, committed by a teenage boy, is instead used in a lengthy courtroom sequence and a series of flashbacks to establish two key points. The first is that Bart Tare, true to the film's title, is wholly and completely obsessed with firearms. That compulsion is why he couldn't resist the urge to smash open a hardware store window to swipe a revolver, replacing the one he'd made the mistake of bringing to school. Second, and no less significant, is that Bart cannot kill. He's as talented a sharpshooter as they come, despite his tender years, but nothing living will ever again find itself in his crosshairs.

These two characteristics continue to define Bart: through reform school, through a stint teaching sharpshooting in the Army, and, hopefully, through the next chapter of his life, perhaps in a career performing shooting demonstrations for a weapons manufacturer like Remington. Amiable and as well-adjusted as possible given his singular obsession, all indications are that Bart (played as an adult by Rope's John Dall) has seen his life of crime begin and end with that one youthful lapse in judgment.

...and then he meets Laurie (Curse of the Demon's Peggy Cummins).

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Cute as a button in her cowgirl costume, Laurie at first blush looks to be worlds removed from the sultry, smoky femmes fatale so often associated with noir. That is, until she quite literally aims her sights towards Bart mere seconds later. Laurie capitalizes on her own prowess...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Gun Crazy]

Batman Ninja (Blu-ray)
At one point early in Batman Ninja, Lord Joker's ancient Japanese castle sprouts robot arms that chuck oversized shuriken at the Batmobile, for all the good it does. Cornered moments later, Lord Joker gives the Dark Knight a choice: capture him or rescue a mother and child from being crushed by one of those gigantic cyber-hands. Batman blasts off in the Batcycle (we're, like, three Bat-vehicles deep in the space of a single sequence), racing the rapidly plummeting hand to ground level. Once those tires do touch down, the movie sets aside the whole rescue angle for a moment, forgetting about mommy and daughter in favor of a brawl with Sumo-Bane. Sure, this morbidly obese take on Bane may have a few hundred pounds on ol' Bats, but the odds are quickly evened as the Batcycle transforms into mech armor.

Pretty much every scene in Batman Ninja is as gloriously unhinged as that. I mean, before we're even two minutes in, the Dark Knight has already been flung through time back to feudal Japan by a talking gorilla.

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Not that a coherent narrative is perched atop Batman Ninja's list of priorities, but the story goes something like this: Gorilla Grodd is tired of all the lesser criminals in Gotham City throwing a spanner into his machinations, so he decides to quite literally get rid of the competition. I mean, he could just snap their necks or feed them to feral pigs or something, but Grodd would rather send Arkham's inmates as far away as he possibly can. ...and, y'know, things don't get a whole lot further away from modern-day Gotham than feudal Japan. As plans go, it's...a plan, I guess, but here comes Batman to muck it all up.

Don't sweat it, though. Batman is tossed through time as well; it's just that he lands two years after half his rogue's gallery and the entire...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Batman Ninja]

More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 5/19: Of Unknown Origin (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 5/19: Of Unknown Origin (Blu-ray)
  • 5/15: Black Panther (Uhd)
  • 5/15: Black Panther (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 5/14: The Disaster Artist (Blu-ray)
  • 5/13: The Room Blu-ray (Blu-ray)
  • 5/13: Clowntergeist (Hdtv)
  • 5/11: Gun Crazy (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 5/11: Gun Crazy (Blu-ray)
  • 5/9: Puffs (Theatrical)
  • 5/9: Batman Ninja (Blu-ray)
  • 5/9: Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light (Blu-ray)
  • 5/8: Lady Bird (Blu-ray)
  • 5/7: The ReZort (Hdtv)
  • 5/5: Night School (Blu-ray)
More of my boring video log...
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 5/18: Satellite Girl and Milk Cow (Blu-ray)
  • 5/10: Black Panther (Uhd)
  • 5/10: Of Unknown Origin (Blu-ray)
  • 5/4: Gun Crazy (Blu-ray)
  • 5/4: Batman Ninja (Blu-ray)
  • 5/1: Mary and the Witch's Flower (Blu-ray)
  • 4/26: Night School (Blu-ray)
  • 4/26: From Hell It Came (Blu-ray)
  • 4/11: Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay (Uhd)
  • 4/8: It (Uhd)
  • 4/4: Push (Uhd)
  • 4/3: Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle (Uhd)
  • 3/28: Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (Uhd)
  • 3/27: The Man Who Invented Christmas (Blu-ray)
  • 3/27: Camp Nowhere (Blu-ray)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...

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