"NIP/TUCK: THE SIXTH
AND FINAL SEASON"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


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

    Not Rated
    Available on DVD June 8
    NipTuck.com
    Studio: Warner Bros.

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The groundbreaking and edgy FX drama “Nip/Tuck” comes to an end with a sixth season. In this last year, we see Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) snake out of his marriage to Liz (Roma Maffia) once he finds out he’s not dying, only to get back together with Kimber (Kelly Carlson) and resume his womanizing ways. Meanwhile, Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) struggles with a psychotic new wife, more trouble with his delinquent son and more family drama than a season of “The Jerry Springer Show.”

WHAT I LIKED
I’ve said this before about “Nip/Tuck”... the best part of the show is watching beautiful people with otherwise perfect lives stumble about with awful things happening to them. No one is a likeable character, and that’s why its so fun to watch their lives self destruct.

After five years, the sixth season manages to keep things fresh and out-of-the-box. We’re not just doing boob jobs and collagen injections. We see transgender surgery, leeches as alternative medicine and vaginal reconstruction. Just when you think the ideas get old, a new, bizarre cosmetic surgery element is thrown at you.

There’s a certain comfort in watching these characters, and as awful as they are, they do protect their own. When the claws come out, it gets ugly but fun. The character of Kimber gets a little more play this season, which is great, and Mario Lopez makes a great show in a relatively small part featuring his not-so-small parts.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
As satisfying as it was to watch the show come to an end, there’s always a desire for showrunners to give a positive spin on the characters. But like “Married with Children” and “Seinfeld,” you really didn’t want the leads to win, necessarily. The somewhat uplifting denouement isn’t quite in the spirit of the show, but it’ll do for the end of an otherwise fantastic series.

DVD FEATURES
By the time you reach the release of a TV show’s sixth season, there’s usually very little left in terms of special features. This DVD set may have the entire season, but it only has one featurette: “Tell Me What You Don’t Like About Yourself – The Psychology Behind Plastic Surgery.” It’s a neat little piece showing how real plastic surgeons deal with patients and body image issues. Basically, it gives the real professionals a chance to say how they are nothing like Drs. Troy and McNamera.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who like to watch bad things happen to beautiful people... at least until the end.

Watch this clip from "Nip/Tuck"







"THE EASTWOOD FACTOR:
EXTENDED EDITION"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


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

    Not Rated
    Available on DVD June 1
    Download the film On Demand here!
    Studio: Warner Bros.

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Filmmaker Richard Schickel examines Clint Eastwood’s extensive career on the Warner Bros. lot to coincide with his book and the release of the box set, “Clint Eastwood: 35 Years, 35 Films at Warner Bros.”

WHAT I LIKED
Having seen the half-hour version of this documentary, I found this extended edition to be a little more insightful. It is definitely made for the Eastwood fan. The best parts about it is the all-encompassing look at his career at Warner Bros., giving a great sampling of his movies over the decade. They pick the best ones (which is why you don’t see any emphasis on “Firefox” or “The Rookie”), so it definitely makes you want to rent some of his older films.

In particular, I found myself intrigued by the films that Eastwood acted in rather than directed. I have a real hankering to rent the “Dirty Harry” movies to experience them again, along with “Every Which Way But Loose” and “Any Which Way You Can.” Let’s see Eastwood get upstaged by an orangutan once or twice again.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
This film tends to gush a little bit. I imagine that director Richard Schickel is a huge Eastwood fan, but the narration sounds more like a marketing piece than a retrospective at times. With Morgan Freeman (who starred in several of Eastwood’s films) as the narrator declaring that “Invictus” is his most inspiring film, even I had to roll my eyes.

Plus, if you’re not well-versed in Eastwood’s films, you’re going to get a lot of spoilers thrown at you here. You really don’t have to see “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “A Perfect World,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Grand Torino” or “Unforgiven” if you watch this movie because they show the climactic scene for each of them. That’s bad form in any realm, in my opinion.

DVD FEATURES
Let’s face it... this is just an extended edition of the special feature on another disc. There’s no other bonus material.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Clint Eastwood fans.

Watch this clip from "The Eastwood Factor"







"UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION"
Blu-ray Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Rated R
    Studio: New Line Cinema

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The villain from “Undisputed II” comes back in heroic form in this third installment of the series. Boyka (Scott Adkins) is wounded and troubled in a Russian prison. But when the warden taps him for an elite fight-to-the-death with fighters from other countries, he trains to become the best again.

WHAT I LIKED
This was a gritty movie. This was a really gritty movie. But where some third installments that have a direct-to-video life turn into a low budget mess, “Undisputed III: Redemption” has a fantastic look. The cinematography is sharp, and it captures the brutality of these fights perfectly. This movie doesn’t look like it belongs in the direct-to-video bin, with the exception of its pretty much unknown cast.

“Undisputed III: Redemption” is a pleasant surprise that delivers exactly what you’d want – kick-ass fighting and a lot of action. It doesn’t get bogged down, and the characters and story are interesting enough for what it’s trying to do.

Scott Adkins has potential as an action hero, and his moves in the ring make him a formidable opponent on screen. I’d love to see him kicking ass again in “Undisputed IV.”

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
When it comes to a movie like this, you’re going to like it or not based on its genre. There isn’t much for the ladies, unless they’re interested in the bodies of the fighters. It’s brutal and bloody, so it is geared for the MMA fan and anyone who has watched ultimate fighting on television.

So, while I liked the film’s gritty brutality, plenty of people won’t.

BLU-RAY FEATURES
The Blu-ray disc comes with a second disc for Digital Copy and DVD viewing. Does that count as a bonus feature? Anyone?

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who likes MMA and a bunch of sweaty guys beating the crap out of each other... in a good way.



"THE MESSENGER"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


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

    Rated R
    Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Ben Foster plays an Army Staff Sergeant who is recovering from an injury and takes an assignment in the Casualty Notification service. Under the instruction of his superior (Woody Harrelson), he sees the most grueling aspect of military service... notifying the next-of-kin that their loved one has died in action. However, when he starts a relationship with one of the widows (Samantha Morton), things get a little too personal.

WHAT I LIKED
This was a pretty dramatic film, and it does suck the viewer in. One thing that was really nice about it was that it didn’t come at the issue with a political bent... well, not much of one, anyway. Regardless of the enemy, regardless of the time, there will always be a need for the Casualty Notification service, so this movie doesn’t point fingers at anyone. Rather, it shows the very stark realities of having a loved on in military service.

The acting is the strong point in this movie. Ben Foster is okay, as is Samantha Morton, but the real star is Woody Harrelson, who earned himself an Oscar nod for his performance. This is the glue that holds the film together.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Hollywood has been cranking out these modern war-at-home movies for years, and none of them have done very well. As much as the system wants to explore the deeper issues here, I just don’t think anyone cares outside of the filmmakers themselves. I know several folks in military service who wouldn’t watch this movie if you paid them.

Part of the problem is that every film makes the soldiers look like psychotic head-cases who can’t deal with what they’ve seen and drown their memories in ridiculously loud death metal music. The reality is that these soldiers are just regular people like you and me. That may not make them terribly interesting or dramatic, and giving them these overblown inner demons may make good drama but doesn’t honor them at all.

DVD FEATURES
There’s a nice range of special features on this disc, including an audio commentary with director Oren Moverman, producer Lawrence Inglee and actors Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson. There’s also a screening Q&A with the cast and crew, along with the shooting script and interviews with the cast. However, the best feature by far is “Notification,” a documentary about real-life Army Casualty Notification Officers, which pretty much shows a lot of what you see in the film is bunk.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who aren't tired of the rash of Iraq war-at-home movies.



"PREACHER’S KID"
Blu-ray Review
by Kevin Carr


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

    Not Rated
    Studio: Disney

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Angie King (LeToya Luckett) is a beautiful young daughter of a preacher in Atlanta, committed to her father and their church. However, when she attends a traveling gospel show, she gets an opportunity to take her singing talents on the road. When she leaves her home to work on the gospel show, she gets involved with the scoundrel star, abandoning her virtue as well. As her life spirals into dangerous habits, she still has a chance to redeem herself with her family and church.

WHAT I LIKED
The production value of a film like this is pretty impressive, especially considering the low budget nature of the film. With well conceived cinematography, this film looks good enough to stand with the major players. Additionally, the acting is pretty good, especially considering that several of the stars (including the lead LeToya Luckett and her on-screen love interest Tank) come from the music world rather than the acting world.

I will say that it’s quite interesting to get a somewhat realistic look at the behind-the-scenes of the otherwise well-intentioned production. We do get a glimpse at the fact that no matter how good your mission is, there’s plenty of bad things that can happen along the way.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I’m not exactly what you’d call well-versed in the gospel show genre. The closest I’ve come to this would be watching some of Tyler Perry’s movies in the theaters and on DVD. I’ll admit, these stories really aren’t my cup of tea. I find the plot developments to be pretty predictable, and the resolutions tend to be a little too easy. The stories tend to go to some surprisingly dark places, and things always wrap up in a unrealistic sort of way.

But I’m not who this film is intended for. Fans of a gospel play will enjoy this as it fits squarely into its formula. Plus, there’s plenty of music for fans of the genre, and I will admit that part is pretty impressive.

BLU-RAY FEATURES
The Blu-ray comes with more than 20 minutes of deleted scenes that reveal several excised subplots, including the background of the business manager and the sexual past with Angie’s friend. Additional bonus material includes four feautrettes: “The Prodigal Experience: Reflections on a Story,” “The Music of The Preacher’s Kid,” “LeToya Luckett: A Rising Star” and “The Preacher’s Kid in Atlanta.”

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of gospel plays.


    

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