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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

1. Prisoners* (Warner Bros.)

2. Don Jon* (20th Century Fox)

3. Despicable Me 2* (Universal)

4. The Lone Ranger (Disney)

5. Fast and Furious 6* (Universal)

6. Insidious: Chapter 2 (Sony)

7. Elysium (Sony)

8. The Family* (20th Century Fox)

9. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters* (20th Century Fox)

10. The Wolverine (20th Century Fox)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Elysium (Sony)

2. The Lone Ranger (Disney)

3. Prisoners* (Warner Bros.)

4. The Family* (20th Century Fox)

5. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters* (20th Century Fox)

6. Despicable Me 2* (Universal)

7. Fast and Furious 6* (Universal)

8. The Wolverine* (20th Century Fox)

9. Kick-Ass 2* (Universal)

10. 2 Guns* (Universal)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

I’m not a hater of X-Men Origins: Wolverine; I thought it was stupid fun. I am in the minority, though, so along came The Wolverine, a new attempt to take Hugh Jackman’s Logan into a freestanding franchise.

Directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma), The Wolverine goes in a darker, more-serious direction, although the film still includes some fine action scenes. (The opening scene in Nagasaki and a fight above a bullet train are both incredible.) Jackman, who has a lot more veins popping than he did last time, again has a blast in the title role.

The plot involves an old friend of Logan looking for the key to eternal life—a key which Wolverine actually has, making him a mutant of extra purpose and value. Most of the action takes place in Japan, and Wolverine loses his powers for a stretch, so we get the odd sight of him bleeding and getting lethargic.

Mangold and his crew deserve credit for filming two of the world’s most beautiful women: Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima. The also-remarkable-looking Famke Janssen makes some dream appearances as Jean Grey—and stay through the credits to get what some might consider to be the film’s best scene.

While I didn’t hate X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I acknowledge this effort is a better movie. Next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past looks like the stuff of a comic-book-lover’s wet dream, and is sure to give Mr. Jackman another wondrous showcase for those sideburns.

Special Features: The extended edition comes on its own disc and features about 12 more minutes, as well as a commentary by Mangold. You also get the theatrical version, with a nearly one-hour documentary on the film’s making, and an alternate ending. There’s also a short preview for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

1. Fast and Furious 6* (Universal)

2. Despicable Me 2* (Universal)

3. The Wolverine* (20th Century Fox)

4. 2 Guns* (Universal)

5. We're the Millers* (New Line)

6. Getaway* (Warner Bros.)

7. The Smurfs 2 (Sony)

8. Man of Steel (Warner Bros.)

9. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Sony)

10. Red 2 (Summit)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. The Wolverine* (20th Century Fox)

2. We're the Millers* (New Line)

3. 2 Guns* (Universal)

4. Red 2 (Summit)

5. The Smurfs 2 (Sony)

6. Man of Steel (Warner Bros.)

7. Jobs* (Universal)

8. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Sony)

9. Getaway* (Warner Bros.)

10. Paranoia* (20th Century Fox)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

Lady Gaga and the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular (Thursday, Nov. 28, ABC), special: So this is happening: a 90-minute “avant-garde twist on the classic holiday variety show” featuring the Muppets and Lady Gaga that’s not at all a pre-Christmas infomercial for her (relative) flop of a new album, Artpop. Sure, Gaga’s recent hosting gig on Saturday Night Live proved she can handle comedy, but can middle ‘Merica handle a primetime Thanksgiving dose of hot girl-on-puppet action? Good luck explaining to the kiddies who guest stars Elton John and RuPaul are. The Only TV Column That Matters™ will leave the turkey-dress jokes to lesser TV critics.

The Walking Dead (Sunday, Dec. 1, AMC), midseason finale: The bleak—even for a zombie apocalypse—first half of Season 4 concludes with, but is not limited to, The Governor, a tank and a body count. Will the Walking Dead gang finally be forced to leave the prison? Who’s going to be left of said gang? Will the next encampment be somewhere a little more fun, like an abandoned Dave and Buster’s? So many questions, so long to wait. (The Walking Dead returns in February 2014.)

Rick and Morty (Monday, Dec. 2, Adult Swim), series debut: Drunk-but-brilliant-but-somewhat-insane scientist Rick (voiced by show co-creator Justin Roiland) and his grandson, Morty (also Roiland), travel the universe and run afoul of alien races on nightly adventures—which, naturally, has a negative affect on Morty’s schoolwork and general well-being. Despite the crazy worlds encountered, Rick and Morty has a more coherent comedy vision than the majority of Adult Swim offerings, thanks to co-creator Dan Harmon (Community) and a longer running time (30 minutes instead of the usual 10 to 15 minutes), but relax: It’s still as sick, twisted and wrong as anything on AS. Hell, they even sent me a flask in the promotional pack.

Kirstie (Wednesday, Dec. 4, TV Land), series debut: Post-Cheers, Kirstie Alley has made some terrible (Veronica’s Closet), funny (Fat Actress) and just plain sad (Kirstie Alley’s Big Life) television choices, but it was inevitable that she’d end up on TV Land, where careers go to eat dinner at 5:30. In Kirstie, she plays Madison Banks … she’s not even named Kirstie? Whatever … she’s a manic, hard-partying Broadway star who’s suddenly confronted with the son she gave up for adoption 26 years ago (Eric Petersen). With the help of her assistant (Cheers co-star Rhea Perlman) and chauffer (Seinfeld’s Michael Richards), she and the kid are gonna make sense of this nutty Manhattan life! Too bad TV Land mandates the canned laugh track of “classic” (read: tired) sitcom tradition; this probably could have been good. Well, tolerable. At least it’s better than Sean Saves the World, OK?

Mob City (Wednesday, Dec. 4, TNT), miniseries debut: Frank Darabont isn’t just The Guy AMC Fired From The Walking Dead; long before he was dumped by the Asshole Money Channel, he directed films great (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) and not-so-great (The Majestic). His new Mob City, adapted from the nonfiction book L.A. Noir, is essentially a six-hour movie spanning three weeks—a ’40s gangster period piece with an expansive, impressive cast: Ed Burns, Neal McDonough, Jeremy Luke, Robert Knepper, Simon Pegg and even The Walking Dead’s very-dead Shane, Jon Bernthal. Mob City is faster-paced and snappier than Boardwalk Empire, far less stoopid than Gangster Squad and, at the very least, more recent than obvious comparison flick L.A. Confidential. It’s also story-rich enough become a full-fledged series—provided Darabont and TNT continue to play nice.


DVD ROUNDUP FOR DEC. 3!

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

When teen-girl Mandy (Amber Heard) heads out on a weekend booze ’n’ drugs getaway with a bunch of horny boys, things go bad, and bros get dead. Made in 2006, long before Heard’s thespian tour-de-force Drive Angry. (Anchor Bay)

Demon

An FBI agent with an impressive collection of tight white shirts (Jasmine Waltz) goes to Florida to solve several bloody murders, possibly perpetrated by a government-created (?) Chupacabra. How the hell did Syfy miss this? (Maxim Media)

Drinking Buddies

Funny people Olivia Wilde, Ron Livingston, Anna Kendrick and Jake Johnson star in the inexplicably, painfully unfunny love-quadrangle story of pals who work at a craft brewery. Punchline: There isn’t enough beer to make this tolerable. (Magnolia)

Duck Dynasty: Seasons 1-3

Sure, after you’ve seen one episode, you’ve seen ’em all—but now you can own all 41 episodes of the first three seasons! And the set even comes with a Duck Dynasty bandana! You know someone who’s getting this for Christmas, don’t you? (A&E)

The Wolverine

In the not-sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Logan (Hugh Jackman) travels to Japan to take on the Yakuza and the Silver Samurai—but he’s no longer immortal! That’s as dumb of a mistake as not titling this Wolverine: Tokyo Drift. (20th Century Fox)

More New DVD Releases (Dec. 3)

Doug Stanhope: Beer Hall Putsch, Hot In Cleveland: Season 4, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: The Complete Series, Night of the Naked Dead, Rise of the Fellowship, Running Wild, The Simpsons: Season 16, The Smurfs 2, Step Dogs, Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams.

Published in TV

I’m not a hater of 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine; it was fun, albeit stupid fun. Still, many despised it, and this is a new attempt to create a film franchise around Hugh Jackman’s Logan.

Director James Mangold takes this film in a darker, more-serious direction, but he proves quite adept at creating an action scene. (The opening scene in Nagasaki, and a fight above a bullet train, are both incredible.)

Jackman, who has a lot more veins popping than he did the last time we saw him, again has a blast in the title role. The plot involves an old friend of Wolverine looking for the key to eternal life, which Wolverine actually has—so this makes him a mutant with extra purpose. Most of the action takes place in Japan; Wolverine loses his powers for a stretch, so we get the odd sight of him bleeding and getting lethargic.

Mangold and his crew also get credit for bringing to film two of the year’s most beautiful women: Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima. Good lord, these two are remarkable-looking.

Famke Janssen makes some dream appearances as Jean Grey—and be sure to stay through the credits to see what some might consider the film’s best scene.

The Wolverine is playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

The Summer Movie Season starts earlier every year. In fact, one could argue that March releases like Oz the Great and Powerful and Jack the Giant Slayer were summer-season-caliber, big-budget extravaganzas with lots of Hollywood pop. Yes, they blew ass, but they had a summer-season pedigree.

For organization’s sake, let’s just say the summer season starts on May 3 this year with the release of Iron Man 3, and ends around Sept. 6 with Vin Diesel’s Riddick. Here’s a round up of some of the biggies that look great—and others that offer reasons for concern.

Iron Man 3 (May 3): How in the heck are they going to top The Avengers? It looks like Marvel and company are going to try, starting with this, the first stand-alone superhero film after last year’s massive roundup. Shane Black, who piloted Downey to one of his best performances in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, takes over the franchise from Jon Favreau. I think this franchise will avoid the dreaded third-in-the-series curse that has afflicted superhero films before (Spider-Man 3, Superman 3).

The Great Gatsby (May 10): Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the title role for director Baz Luhrmann. (The two worked together before, on Romeo + Juliet.) This was originally slated to be released last year; let’s hope the delay was to make it better, and not because it stinks like Luhrmann’s overblown Australia.

Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17): Will this be J.J. Abrams’ last time in the director’s chair for this franchise now that he is taking over Star Wars? My guess is yes. If this is half as good as Abrams’ first blessed effort with the Trek characters, then we are in for a good time. Have you seen the footage of the Enterprise underwater? This one has to be good!

The Hangover Part III (May 24): I’m betting on a return to form after the lousy second chapter in what director Todd Phillips promises will just be a trilogy. The preview footage of a euphoric Zach Galifianakis and his giraffe has me excited. However, if Mike Tyson shows up and sings again, this will get an automatic “F.”

After Earth (June 7): Uh oh … somebody has given M. Night Shyamalan a lot of money to do science fiction again. Will they ever learn? In Shyamalan’s favor, he has the likable duo of Will Smith and son Jaden starring as a father and son crash-landing on Earth many years after humans have left. Also … Shyamalan only contributed to the script, rather than writing it all himself. So there is hope. There is hope.

Man of Steel (June 14): After doing a decent job with Watchmen and then sucking balls with Suckerpunch, director Zack Snyder takes on the Superman franchise. This time out, Henry Cavill (who was really bad in Immortals) wears the cape, replacing Brandon Routh, who actually did a great job in Superman Returns. Amy Adams is on hand as Lois Lane, and oh my goodness, there’s Michael Shannon as arch villain Zod. OK, I want to see this.

This Is the End (June 14): The likes of Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jonah Hill play themselves in this apocalyptic comedy. While they’re hanging at Franco’s place, the apocalypse strikes, and they don’t deal with it in the best of ways. If this isn’t the year’s best comedy, I will be disappointed.

Monsters University (June 21): A prequel to Monsters, Inc., this will make millions upon millions upon billions upon trillions of dollars, whether it is good or not.

World War Z (June 21): Another postponed movie from last year, this one has Brad Pitt squaring off against crazed zombies. I love the previews, but its delayed status is worrisome.

The Heat (June 28): Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy play an FBI agent and a cop teaming up to take out a drug kingpin. McCarthy got an Oscar nomination the last time she was with director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids); I doubt that will happen this time out. Still, it could be fun.

White House Down (June 28): Following in the footsteps of Olympus Has Fallen, this is another film in which the president and his pad are in jeopardy. This time, we get Jamie Foxx as the president, and Channing Tatum as the hero.

The Lone Ranger (July 3): The idea of Johnny Depp playing Tonto—not to mention his crazy getup—has me concerned. Gore Verbinski directs, with Armie Hammer as the title character. This could be very, very bad.

Pacific Rim (July 12): Big alien-monster-type things strike the Earth, and huge robots piloted by humans are sent to defend the planet. This looks amazing, and Guillermo del Toro is directing, so this will be something to see. I’m hoping this puts MichaelBay’s big robots to shame.

Grown Ups 2 (July 12): I miss Adam Sandler. That dude used to make me laugh—and laugh hard. The key phrase is “used to.” His first Grown Ups was one of his worst movies, and it looks like his Sandler comedy slump will continue with this one.

The Wolverine (July 26): I thought the first solo Wolverine movie was OK, but many people hated it. James Mangold directs this film, which is set in Japan. There’s no word on whether Jackman sings live on set.

The Smurfs 2 (July 31): This movie is proof that Satan loves you.

2 Guns (Aug. 2): The good news is that this film stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. The bad news is that it is directed by the guy who did Contraband.

Elysium (Aug. 9): From the director of District 9, this stars Matt Damon (with a shaved head) in a future in which the Earth has gone to shit, and the rich live in space. Jodie Foster co-stars.

Kick-Ass 2 (Aug. 16): Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse all return for a new round of comic vigilantism. Jim Carrey joins the cast as Colonel Stars and Stripes, and all signs point to hilarious.

The To Do List (Aug. 16): Aubrey Plaza blew my ass out of the water with her performance in Safety Not Guaranteed. This one has her starring as a soon-to-be college freshman looking to get some things out of the way before starting college.

Riddick (Sept. 6): After The Chronicles of Riddick, I never wanted to see Riddick again. Hell, I never wanted to see Vin Diesel again. After seeing the teaser—a teaser that features weird monsters—I’m optimistic this will be a return to the coolness that was Pitch Black

Published in Reviews