With his good looks, Liev Schreiber (TV's Ray Donovan) seems born to play an astronaut. In Magnet Releasing's The Last Days on Mars, he finally gets the chance. As chief systems officer Vincent Campbell, he's part of Aurora's six-month mission on the red planet with only 19 hours left to go before heading home. What could go wrong?
According to The Slumber Party Massacre, young women love to have group sleepovers so fun that the girls don't have the good sense to leave the house when their party is crashed by the arrival of a drill-wielding serial killer.
We vilify people for bad behavior in real life, yet celebrate it in our entertainment, particularly on the small screen. When the results are as strong as the current crop, all new (or new-ish) to DVD and/or Blu-ray, why question the disconnect?
Prior to his Spider-Man trilogy, director Sam Raimi cut his superhero-movie teeth on 1990's Darkman, a character of his own creation. Although it's clearly not the most polished of his works, the summer sleeper plays even better as the years tick by. Look no further than Shout! Factory's colorful re-release on Blu-ray.
Someday, celebrity cyclist Lance Armstrong may regret hiring Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney to document his 2009 "comeback," but I doubt it. As The Armstrong Lie demonstrates time and again for two mostly gripping hours, the athlete is still unable to tell the whole truth and nothing but.
Last spring’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” caught me by surprise. Not only was it not painful, but it was genuinely funny — arguably the best family film of the past decade.
Given its success, a sequel was inevitable. Given how quickly its stars are aging, however, a sequel was also rushed. The one-year-later result is “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.” While it’s still enjoyable and full of goodwill, the quick production schedule shows in the seams.
Whereas the original focused on Greg Hefley’s (Zachary Gordon) jump into middle school and re-evaluating his friendship with his chubby, clueless best bud, Rowley (Robert Capron), the follow-up focuses on Greg’s ongoing rivalry with his older, bad-boy brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick), wannabe rock star. Tired of their constant bickering, Mom (Rachael Harris) bribes them to get along via a rewards system she terms “Mom Bucks.”
And so begins a series of scenes that play like loose sketches rather than a full story. Director David Bowers (“Astro Boy”) brings all of the charm but little of the comedic spark that Thor Freudenthal did the first time around. Often, “Rodrick Rules” feels not like a full-fledged feature, but a made-for-TV version, where the timing just didn’t make the leap along with the cast. And no offense to Bostick, who is fine, but the overall proceedings suffer from Capron being downgraded in screen time.
Still, this second round of misadventures for the “Wimpy Kid” doesn’t leave you checking your watch or wishing it ill will. For movies targeted to tots and tweens, that’s saying something. —Rod Lott