"NATURE’S GRAVE"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Jim Cavezel as PETER
    Claudia Karvan as MARCIA

    Rated R
    Studio: Screen Media Films
    Directed by: Jamie Blanks

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Jim Cavezel and Claudia Karvan star in this horror movie remake about a couple visiting the wilderness. They don’t have respect for Mother Nature, and so Mother Nature bites back. Peter (Cavezel) and Marcia (Karvan) are a couple whose relationship is on the rocks. They try to patch things up on a camping trip. However, when they start to hunt without reason or cause, it seems that the natural order of things around them starts to exact revenge.

I like a good horror movie, and I’ve been a fan of the limited scope film like this one. Unfortunately, the execution of this movie leaves a lot to be desired. Jim Cavezal is a fine actor, and he carries the film well. Claudia Karvan is new to me, but she also does a fine job in the role.

The problem I had with this film was the fact that I had no sympathy for the charcters. They are, at their core, wretched people who deserve to have their relationship fall apart. The key to a good horror movie is to have a certain degree of relatability to the characters. If you don’t fear for their safety, the threat doesn’t seem real.

This film is a remake of film “Long Weekend” from 1978, which I haven’t seen. I suppose the original could be good. It’s a decent premise. I might check it out in the future, but I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those instances where the remake just doesn’t live up.



"THE GARDEN"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
    Directed by: Scott Hamilton Kennedy

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Decades ago, the city of Los Angeles allowed working-class families to use a 14-acre plot of land to build their own vegetable gardens. This became a center of the community and offered a chance for families to grow their own crops and build their spirit. However, when a real estate developer who claimed to own the land prepared to start construction there, the neighborhood fought back to keep its community garden.

This documentary was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature this past year, and as far as documentaries go, it was very well made. It was refreshing to see a real documentary that didn’t rely on whimsical narrative (a la Michael Moore and Morgan Suprlock) to tell a real story. I respect the hell out of director Scott Hamilton Kennedy for actually documenting an event and letting it play out as it happened, warts and all.

This is an interesting film simply for the complexity of this issue. You would think that a community garden wouldn’t have such a dark history behind it, but there are many forces in this community pulling in different directions.

Ultimatley, there’s a lot to learn from this film, the biggest thing being some lessons about the legal system and real estate. These families owned nothing, but they felt an entitlement to the garden. The landowner may have had some nefarious dealings, but he understood how to manipulate the system.

On one hand, I felt bad for the people whose garden was under fire. However, these events should serve as a lesson to them to not take things for granted. It’s better to own your own land than to rely on the govenment to give it to them.

However, whether you agree with either side of the argument, it is an interesting film. You can learn a lot from the mistakes these folks made on all sides, and “The Garden” serves as a stark reminder of what happens when you put your own fate in other people’s hands.

The DVD comes with a feature-length commentary with the filmmakers and community members. There’s a slew of extended and deleted scenes as well as an in-depth interview with the director by Movie City News’ David Poland.



"MARTIN LAWRENCE PRESENTS:
1ST AMENDMENT STAND-UP"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Doug Williams as HIMSELF

    Not Rated
    Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Directed by: Michael Bohusz

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Let’s get something straight. I’m a big, fat white guy from the Ohio suburbs. So I have no idea what is good and what is not with urban comedy. But Martin Lawrence does, and he gives it out with his Starz show “1st Ammendment Stand-Up.”

Season three of the show is now available on DVD in a two-disc set featuring more than five hours of stand-up comedy. The list of comedians include Don “DC” Curry, Rickey smiley, Rodney Perry, Bruce Bruce, Deon Cole, Joe Torry, Lavell Crawford, Steve Mazan, Kym Whitley, Rudy Rush, Roz, Memphis Red, B Phlat, Teddy Carpenter, Luenell, Rod Man, Will-E Robo, Raymond Grady, Gary owen, Shang, Joey Medina, Redd Grant, Meshelle, Darryl Brunson, Carmen Barton and Berry Boyz.

Martin Lawrence’s “1st Ammendment Stand-Up” should do for urban comedy what Russel Simmon’s “Def Comedy Jam” did a decade or two ago. These comedians are hard-core for the black audience. It’s none of that sanitized mainstream stuff you’ll see in a Chris Rock show. So if you’re into the black urban comedy, you’ll love. If you’re a white dude, like me, you might get a bit uncomfortable with some of the jokes.

Like any comedy DVD set, the laughs come and go with different comedians. Some are better than others, and some branch out of the racial humor more than others as well. I found about half of them really funny while the other half leaned on some comedy crutches and didn’t get too creative with their jokes.

Still, for more than five hours of stand-up comedy, you get wall-to-wall performances. This DVD set is all about your personal tastes and racial experiences. If you want an unfiltered blend, here’s a good deal for you.



    

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