9.27.2016

Barbarians Rising [Blu-ray]

  • Number of discs: 2
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: Sep 27, 2016
  • Run Time: 336 minutes

  • PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
  • Experience the rise and fall of the Roman Empire in HISTORY®’s epic four-part miniseries, Barbarians Rising™, arriving on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital HD) and DVD (plus Digital) on September 27 from Lionsgate. Along with stunning drama sequences from the perspective of barbarian icons — Hannibal, Spartacus, Arminius, Boudica, and Attila — this thrilling saga also includes extensive interviews from authoritative historical experts and contributors. HISTORY®’s Barbarians Rising™ will be available on Blu-ray™ and DVD for the suggested retail price of $19.99 and $19.98, respectively.

  • OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
  • Action-packed visuals and reenactments bring to life the epic stories of how the brave barbarians waged a 700-year fight for freedom, bringing the mighty Roman Empire to its knees and shaping the world to come.

  • CAST
    Steve Waddington The Imitation Game, The Last of the Mohicans
    Richard Brake Batman Begins, Spy
    Ben Batt TV’s “Shameless,” Captain America: The First Avenger
    Tom Hopper TV’s “Black Sails,” TV’s “Merlin” 

    PROGRAM INFORMATION
    Year of Production: 2016
    Title Copyright: Barbarians Rising, Cover Art and Design © 2016 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Barbarians Rising, HISTORY, the “H” logo and A+E Networks are trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. Distributed by LIONSGATE® under license from A+E Networks.
    Type: TV-On-DVD
    Rating: NA
    Genre: Documentary, Action
    Closed Captioned: N/A
    Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH 
    Feature Run Time: 5 Hrs., 36 Mins. 
    Blu-ray™ Format: 1080P High Definition, 16x9 Widescreen 1.78:1 Presentation
    DVD Format: 16x9 Widescreen 1.78:1 Presentation
    Blu-ray™ Audio: English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio
    DVD Audio: English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio

Neon Demon [Blu-ray]

  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: 
     
     Restricted
  • Studio: Broadgreen
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2016
  • Run Time: 117 minutes

For a chance to win a copy of your own simply send an email to giveaway@mungleshow.com with "NEON DEMON in the subject line. No cost or obligation, standard contest rules apply. MUST BE 21 or older to enter. 

  • SynopsisWhen aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

  • Review: There are several reasons why the new film, THE NEON DEMON, from writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn should be on your must see list. And luckily that list is longer than the reasons you should not see it. It is a stomach turning, mind bending, brain punch that will leave you questioning the art of cinema. (Note: That is a reason TO see it if you are keeping track).

  • The story is an unapologetic thrashing of the body image culture that is engulfing the world of beauty and fashion. (2:0) Pretty, skinny people may take the greatest offense or they may receive it as their rally cry and rejoice around a burning pile of silicone. Regardless it is a message that too few are saying and especially in the manner that NWR does here. (3:0) It is so brutally forthcoming that you often think he must be going for humor. Because it is that brazen. 

  • Jesse (Elle Fanning) is a 16 year old, I mean 19 year old, model fresh of the bus in LA. She is taking the modeling world by storm and leaving a lot of angry, calorie counting ladies in her dust. Heads are turning from all the big wigs and everyone wants her. But this shy, meek, young girl might be fooling them all by her modest and humble demeanor. Each scene has you second guessing the last. This can be frustrating and exhilarating at the same time. (3:1)

  • The supporting cast simply cant be trusted. They never give you complete cause but you just know it. The shady hotel manager (Keanu Reeves), the eccentric photographer (Desmond Harrington), and the too friendly make up artist (Jena Malone) all have enough creep factor to warrant a sideways glance. Refn uses them as a shady backdrop for Jesse to pose in front of. (4:1) Elle Fanning seems an odd choice for the role of Jesse but may be brilliance in disguise. Her character is complex but Elle doesn't do anything more than any other hundred young actresses could have done. 

  • It has been decades since a film took on the look of Stanley Kubrick. This one seems to resurrect him in body and spirit. Long spans of frames with Tron like lights and odd imagery will upset many. You have to love artistic design to appreciate the style. If arty is not in your like column then you will despise this one and go away missing the point. It often feels like a composition in color rather than a dramatic narrative. (4:2) This will be met with cheers and boos alike. 

  • The twists in genres make this a hard movie to categorize  It goes from cultural relevant art work to a demented and twisted horror flick with not even the slightest tap of the brakes. (5:2) Often you will say to yourself, "surely he isn't going to" only to follow it up with "wow, he really did." The more salacious moments teeter on the bring of thinly sliced shock value. Refn is not afraid to spit in the face (or mouth) of polite society. He handles most of these scenes well but a few times he comes close to slipping into the arena of the amateuristic. (5:3)

  • THE NEON DEMON is rated R for disturbing violent content, bloody images, graphic nudity, a scene of aberrant sexuality, and language. You have to embrace the direction NWR is going or you are going to take anything away. If you try and separate graphic from narrative then you miss the big picture and end up wasting your time. I give it 3.75 out of 5 eye shadows. This one stayed with me for days and the longer I was away from it the better I liked and appreciated it; and I can't wait to see it again. (6:3)

9.26.2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Review

PG-13 | 2h 7min | Adventure, Fantasy 
Review - Matt Mungle

*In theaters September 30th 2016 *

SynopsisWhen Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.

Review: At first watch you will wish you would have read the book series before seeing Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. But fans of  Ransom Riggs' novels will quickly tell you that this film strays so far that very little is recognizable. Sure you can just sit back and enjoy the signature styling of director Tim Burton, which is enjoyment enough, but if you want to have any idea what is going on you will need some fore knowledge.

For those who have not read the book the story (at least in the movie script) is about Jake (Asa Butterfield) who is dealing with the mysterious death of his grandfather (Terence Stamp). Since Jake was a wee lad his grandfather has told him stories of a wonderful home full of peculiar children. Now Jake must find this place in order to figure out exactly what happened to his grandfather and who is responsible. 

Tim Burton is a master at creating whimsical other worlds. No one can come close to his style and depiction of oddity. So the film looks fantastic. You want to freeze certain frames just to take in all the detail of the surroundings. The children are creepy to say the least and their haunting look will linger with you long after viewing. But sadly imagery isn't enough and those unfamiliar with the characters have little more than outward appearance to appreciate. 

While watching the film you get the feeling that Butterfield is also not on board with the character. Asa is a better actor than what we see here. He stumbles his way through the dialogue with no grounding or conviction. Once he arrives at the home we get a very fast introduction to the children and their peculiarity but with no depth. This causes you to lose interest in their well being and once the peril begins you sort of lose interest. Yes the scary things are scary (nightmarishly scary) but we do not know where they came from or what their agenda is. Other than a fast narrative about the Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) and his need for immortality you get nothing concrete

If any person stands out in this it is Miss Peregrine (Eva Green). Her dark demeanor and piercing eyes make for a memorable character. Her speech and movements demand respect. She takes her responsibility serious and has dedicated her service to these younglings. Trust me you do not want to get in her cross hairs. But she is alone in this accolade. The rest of the talented cast (Jackson, Judi Dench, Chris O'Dowd) are wasted on a horrible script and thin veil of intrigue. 

Imagine if the entire Harry Potter series were one movie. Now that I have your attention take note that two plus hours is not enough to cram everything in for this. Fans of the book will feel cheated of their favorite parts and find they are replaced by random story lines not even in the books. That is inexcusable.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and peril. I would caution parents about letting younger kids see this. The imagery and characters are creepy. The peril is intense and left me spooked. I only give it 2 out of 5 contact lenses. I am mostly saddened for young fans of the book series who deserved a better film. The rest of us get even less.

9.23.2016

DEEPWATER HORIZON - Review

PG-13  |  107 min  |  Action, Drama, Thriller 
Review - Matt Mungle

*In theaters September 30th 2016 *

SynopsisA story set on the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Review: Most people remember the event but few know the name of the oil rig, DEEPWATER HORIZON. The new film from director Peter Berg shows us what took place during those tragic hours and the crew that lived through a fiery hell. Part Towering Inferno and part Poseidon Adventure this action thriller graciously overcomes its many flaws. Just keep your eyes on Wahlberg and all will be fine. 

Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) kisses his wife (Kate Hudson) goodbye as he hops on a helicopter to head back to work on the oil rig, Deepwater Horizon. The Chief Electronics Technician is joined by Installation Manager Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell), and Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez). When they arrive they are greeted by BP executives (John Malkovich) and discover that all the much needed safety tests have gone undone. A decision that will have devastating results just a few hours later.The explosion and aftermath of rescue and survival are the meat of this film and its sole redemption. Oh, and Mark Wahlberg. 

The first half hour of the film is a mottled script of technical jargon and confusing discussions about who did or didn't do what. It is easy to understand the point of the opening scenes and luckily none of the dialogue matters after the action starts. The main point is a common one. Corporate executives cutting costs with no real idea or concern for the outcome. The crew know what needs to be done but the suits and ties do not want to hear it. It is a conversation that takes place in every office around the country. Bottom line: BP bad. Crew good. But the rig is not a respecter of persons and when its fury is unleashed it will take them all to the bottom with her. 

Mark Wahlberg has the ability to make you like his character immediately. You instinctively trust him and hope that others will follow. Williams and Harrell are fed up with the execs but their hands are tied. Russell is perfect as the seasoned install manager who knows the job backwards and forward. It is up to these two to do what needs to be done once the proverbial feces and fan have their meeting. 

Kate Hudson unfortunately gets the worst part of the script. The lines she is asked to read early on are cliche and dripping with Hollywood pulp. You hear the collective groan from the audience as she converses with her hubby. Thankfully they are quite few. She is redeemed later when you see her as the distraught wife watching the event on TV and wondering if she will ever see her husband alive. Malchovich is by far one of the greatest actors ever and he is forces here to take on some Cajun bayou accent that is as horrifying as the explosion itself. So much so that no more should be said about it. 

Again once you get passed the initial setup of what should have been done the film takes on a whole different, and better, element. It becomes a fast paced catastrophe film that looks and feels like a shot for shot narrative of the real events. You are engulfed in the horror of smoke, fire, and melting iron. It is an edge of your seat white knuckler that holds you riveted until the final body is taken from the water. 

While the event is true I am sure the writers took a few liberties with the characters interaction and participation. If you go back and read the actual case transcripts you can find some faults. But why would you? The film is correct in how it makes you feel and the anger that boils over against the company that allowed this to happen. It is the same aggravation that hit America when the event happened.

DEEPWATER HORIZON is rated PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images, and brief strong language. It is best suite for those 15 and up due to the horrific imagery and emotional moments. I give it 3.5 out of 5 told you so's. A solid action thriller that delivers where it needs to. 

9.22.2016

Is That a Gun in Your Pocket? - Review

R | 1h 35min | Comedy
Review - Matt Mungle

*In select theaters September 16th 2016 *

SynopsisLife in this idyllic Texas town is turned upside-down when a gun incident involving Jenna’s son spurs her to rethink their obsessive gun culture. Jenna ignites a movement by convincing the women to withhold sex until every gun in town is vanquished. A wild and hilarious showdown ensues between the sexes. 

Review: The gun debate is always a hot topic and never have folks gotten as heated as seen in the new lighthearted comedy, IS THAT A GUN IN YOUR POCKET. Despite the long title the film is not short on laughs. Regardless of which side of the debate you support it is fun to set that all aside for some small town Texas humor.

Jenna (Andrea Anders) wasn't sure what would happen when she decided to withhold sex from her husband (Matt Passmore) until he got rid of all the guns in the house. But soon all the townsmen feel the pressure as their wives take up the cause. It becomes a no holds barred match of will and strength as the men try and keep their right to bear arms sacred and upheld. Can family values win out over the concept of liberty? It is gonna be a hard fought battle for sure. 

If you are looking for a serious anti (or pro for that matter) gun piece then this is not the film for you. Both sides are allowed to plead their case but it is clear that the film makers are trying to show how very silly gun owners can be. Viewers up north might think this is a fairy tale and no one could be that serious about owning a weapon. But in the south the film comes across more as a horror film. Men will be waking up in a cold sweat fearful it could happen to them. 

Is the film sexist? Maybe. But that is what makes it so fun. In one seen a preteen boy asks his father, "is sex that important to a man?" The reply to which is a serious, "Yes, it is." The women are portrayed as the weaker, stay home and clean the house while the men make a living, variety. What will really make the feminists cringe is that the women in the film are ok with that. They like that role. They just want to make their homes and towns safe and are using the most powerful weapon at their disposal to do it. 

The gun lobbyists are the ones that look the most ridiculous. As news spreads about this small Texas town the big guns are brought in to help stop it. But they are no match for women on a mission. Even the plan to bus in some "professional women" to help ease the men's suffering is easily thwarted. 

The cast is wonderful and Anders has the perfect balance of small town sweetness and southern backbone. You want her to win just to see her smile. The supporting cast are all great at comedic timing and never shy away from the ludicrous moments. They own the roles and dialogue which is so important in a film of this nature. It makes the humor easier to laugh at. Horatio Sanz, John Michael Higgins, Max Lloyd-Jones, and Fernanda Romero are so fun to watch. Rounding out this troupe are equally crafted David Denman, Cloris Leachman, and Lauren Bowles. 

IS THAT A GUN IN YOUR POCKET is rated R for sexual content and language. For the right audience this is a truly sweet, touching, and outright hilarious movie. The couples may fight but in the end they all want the same thing. Marriage is the great equalizer and love always triumphs. The right audience will be the ones ok with the strong language, sexual innuendos, and crude banter. In a movie about sex and guns you can bet the puns are a plenty.