Critic views of films starring the women of Smartasses, Asian movies, and some DVDs you may have overlooked.
Jonah Hex / Salt / Machete | DVD Reviews – SA Magazine
Jonah Hex (2010) 3/5 Stars
“‘I realize choppy fight scenes are a way to improve bad choreographics, but the quick-cut style here was enough to send you running for porcelain with vertigo.”
Jonah Hex DVD Review – Didn’t love the movie… but could have. Hex is actually a very cool character, and I wouldn’t mind seeing parts II, III, and IV come along to treat this like a serial. Unfortunately, I doubt there will be enough buzz from the original to warrant even one follow up.
All in all the movie was really pretty darn good, it just fails to wow on any level. With that said, it was fairly original, and Brolin’s version of Hex is a character you really want to follow. As for the rest of the cast, Malkovich is Malkovich, Will Arnett is Will Arnett and there are no real performance stretches here. As for Megan Fox’s role as Lilah, shaky acting skills aside… the character is sorely underused. Her bit parts, and ensuing heroics in the film are terribly under-explained and there just isn’t enough of her. Truthfully, her part in the film would have been better served being left on the cutting room floor- if she wasn’t Megan Fox.
I assume fans of the comic will be able to pick out bits and pieces that they recognize which surely add to (or take away from) the film. Having never read the comic regularly, I still found the movie entertaining. Hex’s ability to talk to the dead, and an under-construction-Washington D.C. of 1876 were cool elements. However, this film will not be winning any awards for editing. I realize choppy fight scenes are a way to improve bad choreographics, but the quick-cut style here was enough to send you running for porcelain with vertigo. Minus one star for that alone.
DVD Features: Region 1 Note: Trailer Dual Layer Letterbox Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 – English, French, Spanish Subtitles – English. – CD Universe
Blu-ray Disc Features: Note: Additional Scenes Widescreen – 2.39 Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo – English, French Dolby Digital 5.1 – English, French DTS HD Master Audio – English, French Subtitles – English, French, Spanish. – CD Universe
Salt (2010) 4.5/5 Stars
“Non-stop action that grabs you by the short hairs and keeps you wondering from the very first minute of the film on whether Salt wears the black hat, or the white one”
Salt DVD Review – Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber. Director Phillip Noyce (The Bone Collector, Patriot Games) is at it again, with another fast paced, CIA thriller. For fans of the Tomb Raider films and erm… Mr. & Mrs. Smith (as if) you will surely agree that Jolie was the de facto, perfect choice to play the part of Evelyn Salt.
Fans and Hollywood types will immediately want to make ‘female’ comparisons to Bourne and Bond. Bond, no way. Bourne, perhaps, simply because the movie is gritty, angry and grounded in realism. Either way, the movie is literally non-stop action that grabs you by the short hairs and keeps you wondering from the very first minute of the film on whether Salt wears the black hat, or the white one. With that said, Salt is one of the best movies I’ve seen in awhile, and as quintessential to Jolie as ‘Scrooged‘ was to Bill Murray.
What is nice about the DVD version is that you get some behind the scenes extras, though they are much too short. But best of all, you get three versions of the film. Yes, three- the theatrical version, the unrated director’s cut, and the unrated extended version. The first two options pretty much guarantee a sequel and have a very unique ending for what is considered normal in Hollywood. I appreciate unique, so there are some props for that. But I personally enjoyed the extended version best. The middle of the movie had to change to set up a different ending in the extended version, but I liked this ending better, and I believe the extended version kept you guessing more throughout the film as well.
Either way, it’s perks like these that people forget when they brag about how great their video on demand, or streaming (or bootleg) movie watching methods are. Not to mention that your video on demand doesn’t even play in surround sound (betcha didn’t know that), it’s nice to have different film versions, extras, and commentary if you like.
One of the perks that I enjoyed was that the sound was crisp, and even throughout the film. I believe the people at Sony have figured out that we don’t need a veritable audio-roller-coaster to enjoy a film- crazy audio mixes that leave apartment dwellers scrambling to turn the volume down for every explosion and intense musical interlude… and then cranking it back up all over again just to be able to hear simple dialogue. It seemed that every movie since the birth of surround sound didn’t understand this, but in the last two or three years movie companies are beginning to catch on. Thankfully, the makers of this DVD were some of the smart ones.
DVD Features: Region 1 Note: The ultimate female action hero Spy disguise: The looks of Evelyn Salt Radio interview with director Phillip Noyce Filmmaker’s commentary Widescreen – 2.39 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 – English, French Subtitles – English, French, Spanish. – CD Universe
Blu-ray Disc Features: Note: The ultimate female action hero Spy disguise: the looks of evelyn salt Radio interview with director Phillip Noyce Filmmakers’ commentary Top secret blu-ray exclusives! – Salt: declassified – an undercover look at the secrets of making Salt The real agents The modern master of the political thriller: Phillip Noyce False identity: creating a new reality Spy cam: picture-in-picture track Movie iq Director’s Cut Unrated Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo – English, French, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 – English, French, Spanish DTS HD Master Audio – English, French, Spanish Subtitles – English, French, Spanish. – CD Universe
Machete (2010) 3/5 Stars
“The end result is so watered down and so married to the original fake preview, that Robert Rodriguez seemingly runs out of material and reduces the film to the kind of camp one might find in a Wayans Brothers Film.”
Machete DVD Review – Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson. Robert Rodriguez’s follow up to the Grindhouse collaboration which featured a faux trailer for the then fake movie Machete. The follow up, is in and of itself, the movie that the phony trailer was supposedly for. Do I have you confused yet? No need to be. If you saw the pretend trailer, then you’ve seen this movie.
Although Rodriguez attempts to lace a thin plot (with a thick theme) in between the previous footage, and does so in the name of ‘B-Movie exploitation’, the end result is so watered down and so married to the original fake preview, that he seemingly runs out of material and reduces the film to the kind of camp one might find in a Wayans Brothers Film. Where Grindhouse had a gritty film noir feel to it and used a good deal of tongue in cheek humor along the way, Machete fails to dedicate any amount of time to true character development, and unfortunately, just doesn’t have Tarantino’s much needed touch. Don Johnson’s character is sorely under used for example, and Alba’s character seems to switch souls in mid sentence.
Fortunately, both Trejo and Alba are extremely likable, M-Rod brings to the screen an absolutely new level of indefinable hotness, and Jeff Fahey delivers on all levels as the heavy. As a result, it was enough to make the movie worth a rental, despite Steven Segal’s seemingly paralyzed face and De Niro’s lackluster performance. Grab it for sure, but viewers expecting Deathproof or Planet Terror will be sorely disappointed.
DVD Features: Region 1 Dual Layer Widescreen – 1.85 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 – English, French, Spanish Subtitles – English, Spanish. – CD Universe
Blu-ray Disc Features: Blu-ray Disc Features: Note: Exclusive Deleted Scenes Dual Layer Widescreen – 1.85 Audio: DTS HD Master Audio – English, French, Spanish Subtitles – English, Spanish. – CD Universe