Monthly Archives: April 2016

Sniper: Special Ops

sniperDirected by Fred Olen Ray, who is known for directing awful T and A movies, takes on Sniper: Special Ops with Steven Seagal.  The combination speaks cheesy to the third degree unless you are a devote Seagal fan.

The story is about a Special Ops Military Force, led by Sergeant Vic Mosby, played by Tim Abell, with a proficient sniper Sergeant Jake Chandler, played by Seagal, who watches over as the sniper. They go on a special mission to an isolated Afghan village. Once at the village, they extract an American Congressman being held by the Taliban. The rescue mission is a success, but Jake gets caught up in a firefight with the enemy and is separated from the mission and decides to stay back in order to help an injured soldier.

Sergeant Mosby distraughtly fails to convince Lieutenant Colonel Jackson, played by Dale Dye, to allow him and his team to go back and save the soldiers. Instead, he is commanded to take on a new mission that will retrieve a truckload of munitions. The munitions are vital for the military base, but Mosby doesn’t follow orders. He and his Special Ops Team head back to the village and rescue the abandoned soldiers. Outnumbered and outgunned, Vic and his men engage in a massive shootout against the enemy while Jake uses his proficient skills to help save them all from undeniable death.

Clearly, Abell has the bigger role compared to Seagal. With that, the movie authenticity is nowhere to be found with an army not wearing helmets in a war zone, including utter disrespect for military dress code. The story is predictable with cliché after cliché, and Pro Wrestler Rob Van Dam has a minor role.

The other problem with the movie is the director or lack of directing, depending on how you want to view it.  But, like I said if you are a devote Seagal fan you will want to see this movie because he is in it. That is about as good as it gets.

The Making of Trump

makingoftrumpI am a voter and want to really know our candidates because so many times our country has experienced the old bait and switch in the winners of the Presidential election. So, I am wondering if the documentary is truthful.

The Making of Trump is filled with interviews and sound bites of Trump’s successes and failures.  We meet the swagger, the ego, the outrageous claims, and of course…the hair. I never understood his do, but who am I to say. I am not a hairdresser.

The documentary is not really a story, but more of film clips that try to show how a kid from Queens took New York City and then the nation by storm. In truth, the documentary didn’t answer the question “What kind of leader might Trump make?”

I discovered in the documentary, which, by the way, doesn’t have a director, but a hand full of editors, his father loaned him a million dollars, which he turned into a ten-billion-dollar empire. Trump owns golf courses and is media-savvy. He authored best-selling books like “The Art of the Deal” and had a hit TV show called “The Apprentice.”  He has 5 kids, 3 sons, and 2 daughters, by 3 wives. His wives are Ivana, Marla, and Melania. Melania was born in Yugoslavia in 1970. Donald Trump announced he was running for president of the United States on June 16, 2015.

There are his interviews with Phil Donahue to statements from celebrities, politicians, and those close to him, rarely seen footage sheds some light. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a truly American phenomenon, and he has woken up our citizens by saying such things as, “So Bush certainly wasn’t the greatest, and Obama has not done the job. And he’s created a lot of disincentives. He’s created a lot of great dissatisfaction. Regulations and regulatory is going through the roof. It’s almost impossible to get anything done in the country.”

Here is the documentary in full:


misconductDirected by Shintaro Shimosawa, he guides an all-star cast and follows the dangers of power and ambition manifested in Misconduct.  I was fortunate to have a Blu-ray with Digital HD to view the movie. The movie is shot well by Michael Fimognari, who is known for shooting low-grade horror movies.

The intense legal thriller is headlined by Josh Duhamel with Oscar winners Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins to back him up with their solid acting.  Other strong cast members are Alice Eve, Malin Akerman, Byung-Hun Lee, Julia Stiles, and Glen Powell.

We follow Duhamel’s character, who is an ambitious lawyer. He is seduced by his ex-girlfriend, played by Akerman. At the same time, she presents evidence that incriminates her boss, a corrupt pharmaceutical executive.  He finds himself caught in a power struggle between the pharmaceutical magnate, played briefly by Hopkins, and his firm’s senior partner played convincingly by Pacino. When the case takes a deadly turn, he must race to uncover the truth before he loses not only his wife, played by Eve, but his career, and possibly his own life.

I was entertained by this movie because of the suspense, and the ending was believable. Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins are true talents and professionals. They were so real and engaging. I watched the movie with two other people, who also enjoyed the movie, so it is worth the rental and time.

If you decide to get the Blu-ray, the look behind-the-scenes of Misconduct includes in-depth special features including “The Making of Misconduct” and deleted scenes.


03139824135580_z_backrcluDirected by Michael Petroni, known for directing The Book Thief, combines paranormal with a mystery in a plot that twists suspense to an all-time high. The story is like The Sixth Sense  but in reverse. It is refreshing to watch a movie that is so different.

Oscar winner, Adrien Brody, and Sam Neill star in the spine-chilling thriller, Backtrack. Suspense is the key word because it kept me on the edge of my seat as the shocking story slowly unfolds.

We follow Psychologist Peter Bower, played by Brody, as his life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers that the patients he has been seeing are ghosts. Risking his own sanity, Peter delves into his past to uncover a terrifying secret which only he can put right.

I am not a fan of psychologists because the profession is built on the premise that man is an animal. I completely disagree. Though, this movie is really good.

The Blu-ray and DVD have some nice behind-the-scenes featurettes including “The Psychology of Backtrack.

All in all, Brody carries the movie along with strong supporting actors. The story is just as strong with a resolution that is believable.

Noma: My Perfect Storm

nomaI worked with a lot of chefs when I was a casting producer at Demand Media studios. Each chef was a unique and talented problem solver. When they are given their freedom to create in the kitchen, the results are bon appetite – marvelous.  With that freedom comes a lot of responsibility. In the feature-length documentary Noma: My Perfect Storm, we meet celebrated chef René Redzepi set against the backdrop of the Copenhagen-based restaurant, Noma, The Best Restaurant in The World 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Written and directed by Pierre Deschamps, the documentary stages Redzepi as a famous chef, rightly so, for his reinvention of Danish cuisine and pioneered approach to “foraging”, sourcing nearly all ingredients from the various environments of Scandinavia. Though the dishes do not seem appetizing, Noma is at the forefront of experimenting with new techniques in food. The documentary follows Redzepi, co-owner of Noma, on a creative culinary journey as he traverses the Danish landscape for inspiration, striving to achieve perfection and concoct bold, exciting dishes for travelers from around the world.

Truly a creative genius, Redzepi has been credited with revolutionizing the food world with his radical take on classic cuisine.  When I say radical, I mean, not everyone is going to like his dishes. Still, Noma has won its fair share of awards. That is what makes the documentary hold its own.  But, you need to be a foodie to appreciate all the complexities and personalities that go with celebrating a famous restaurant.

Casual: Season One

CAS1_DVD_OCard_3DSkewDirected by Jason Reitman, Valerie and her 16-year-old daughter Laura move in with Valerie’s brother, Alex, a bachelor for eternity and maestro of casual relationships. Together, they coach each other through the world of dating while raising her teenage daughter.

Casual: Season One is for the arrival for contemporary minds, and it received a Golden Globe nominee for Best Comedy Television Series. My copy came with Digital Plus, and I popped it into my player and behold.

I find out it is a Hulu original that follows Alex, played by Tommy Dewey, and his sister, Valerie, played by Michaela Watkins, as they manage to live with one another while attempting to keep Valerie’s teenage daughter, Laura, played by Tara Lynne Barr, on the right track. Several episodes prove that both Alex and Valerie are weak on the point of keeping her on track.

If is obvious Alex and Valerie hardly set a good example for Laura with a house full of one-night stands, bizarre encounters, and attempts to master the art of dating. The series is a drama as well as comedy with bittersweet notes and sugary laughter.

With Reitman being an Oscar-nominated director for Juno and Up in the Air, which both are worth watching, the series is high on a pedestal as a comedy that explores the funny and awkward dynamics of modern families and relationships.  With that, I am curious by whose standards are “funny and awkward dynamics.”

The DVD includes all 10 episodes plus the “Creating Casual” behind-the-scenes featurette.

Movies Giveaway

Movie Roar is giving away three movies. Each person who comments on this page will be entered in the giveaway. Once we have a good number of comments the winner will be picked from a drawing.

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger: United States of America v. James J. Bulger

WhiteyDirected by Oscar-nominated Joe Berlinger, we witness the sweeping and revelatory documentary film that follows the trial of the infamous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, using the courtroom action as a springboard to examine accusations of multi-faceted corruption within our nation’s law enforcement and legal systems. Some of you are familiar with Johnny Depp’s Black Mass will recognize this story which is dramatized in Depp’s portrayal of Whitey.




tangerineDirected by Sean Baker, it’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee, played by Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend, played by James Ransone, hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the sex worker and her best friend, Alexandra, played by Mya Taylor, embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles.



White God

whitegodA Hungarian movie and Cannes Film Festival winner, directed by Kornél Mundruczó, White God is an allegory of the human experience. Young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen because its mixed-breed heritage is deemed unfit by The State. After the separation, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called unfit dogs rise up under a new leader, Hagen, the one-time house-pet. Hagen has learned all too well from his Masters in his journey through the streets and animal control centers that man is not always dog’s best friend.


Perry Mason Movie Collection Volume 5

perrymasonV5Perry Mason Movie Collection Volume 5 continues to satisfy my viewer palate and is the final collection released by CBS Video. For a couple years now, CBS Video has been releasing the entire program of the Perry Mason TV series and movies.  That equals 271 episodes and 30 post series movies for television.

Growing up, Perry Mason was one of my family’s favorite television series to watch every week, and we were never disappointed by the stories because the writing never lets us down. The acting is first-class. There were no handheld camera shots or tight shots of beautiful women.  The series was pure plot-driven.  Perry Mason always found the real killer.

Some of you may have purchased the other Perry Mason Movie Collection Volumes, so you know what I am talking about. I hope you intend to purchase this final volume as well.  They are not cheap, but worth the value of good drama and priceless productions.

I was fortunate to be given a copy of Perry Mason Movie Collection: Volume 5.  The DVDs are in top quality condition with six wonderful and brilliant movies. Burr’s other co-star, Barbara Hale, had such wonderful rapport with him that can’t be reproduced in any other television show I have ever seen.

It can’t go without mentioning that Raymond Burr played a prosecutor in A Place in the Sun with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.  I guess, he was meant to be in the courtroom, though in Perry Mason he is on the other side of the court.

Below is the list of the final Perry Mason movies. The last four are without Raymond Burr and do not give the legendary series justice, but if you are going to collect these, you might as well have them all.

Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host (starring Raymond Burr)

Perry Mason: The Case of the Killer Kiss (starring Raymond Burr)

A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked Wives (starring Paul Sorvino)

A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle (starring Hal Holbrook)

A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Grimacing Governor (starring Hal Holbrook)

A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Jealous Jokester (starring Hal Holbrook)

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

drunkstoneGrowing up, I never became interested in the National Lampoon magazine and then the movement because the humor didn’t impress me. But, I cared more for the actors involved in the productions, like Animal House, which completely changed the stage for teenage comedies.

With that, Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead is a funny documentary that will shine humor for anyone who remembers the era of National Lampoon.

In the documentary, the story shows how the magazine came to fruition with examples of the covers, cartoons, stories, and funnies. I didn’t find myself laughing out loud, but I am sure a few of you will. Politically Correct hadn’t been invented yet, so National Lampoon used the freedom to upset the status quo and rock the stuff-neck-shirts of American and thus the world.

Clearly, the magazine had more freedom than we do today. There wasn’t college campus censorship or PC-police at standup comedy shows. No one pointed fingers at the magazine’s cultural humor that we don’t see today.

The documentary also notes the launching the careers of legends like John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Christopher Guest, and Gilda Radner.

The documentary clearly states the magazine changed comedy in America, and Hollywood is still trying to determine how they changed it and if they can bring it back.  The only way such humor can come back is if our culture would allow us to communicate freely and opening about social issues.


The Rise of the Krays

rise kraysDirected by Zackary Adler, The Rise of the Krays, is not a well-known subject in America because these twins became notorious in London. As amateur boxers, they used their brute strength to domineer the city in the 1960s.

The movie comes across as a thought-provoking historical piece.  Because knowing they were amateur boxers made sense that they could punch their way to power on the streets.  Their method was to attack first and attack hard.  They succeeded without remorse.

The story is told by a close friend of the twins.  One of the twins, Ronnie, played by Simon Cotton, was known as a volatile and complex young man. He was institutionalized, which proved to make him worse as psychiatric institutions do. Keeping him in check by his brother Reggie, played by Kevin Leslie, proved to be difficult. Still, they gained power and controlled the East end and spread out on the West side when gambling was no longer illegal.

The movie shows their violence, gang wars, and power over politicians. The acting seemed a little staged, but for the most part, the characters were believable.  Cotton and Leslie brought substance to the movie and strength to the true story.

If you can stomach raunchy, bitter, and violent movies that are a blood bath, then this movie is for you and not for the soft heart.