Assassination Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Gianna Jun
  • Directors: Choi Dong-hoon
  • Format: Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: December 1, 2015
  • Run Time: 139 minutes



            Assassination is a historical action film, a period ensemble blockbuster with many twists and turns in the narrative and enough characters and tonal shifts to force audiences to work for their entertainment. This doesn’t make for a bad film, just one that requires a bit more attention to fully appreciate the spectacle. Although I am always an advocate for appreciation of international cinema, this is also a film likely to carry additional relevance for those who have lived through (or are at least familiar with) Korean history.

    Jimmy’s Hall Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Aisling Franciosi, Karl Geary, Conor McDermottroe, Denise Gough, Mikel Murfi
  • Director: Ken Loach
  • Producers: Rebecca O'Brien
  • Format: Blu-ray, AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: November 17, 2015
  • Run Time: 109 minutes


            Some films based on a true story are banking on the unbelievable nature of the narrative, whereas Jimmy’s Hall has a screenplay that never hits an unexpected note. Even at the peak of the story’s excitement, the volume of the action remains subdued enough to remain tied to realism above all else. While this may make for accurate storytelling, it does little for the excitement of the entertainment. Though director Ken Loach is able to accurately capture the feel of the period and place in Jimmy’s Hall, this attention to detail does little to improve the thin narrative and underdeveloped characters in Paul Laverty’s screenplay.


    Bad Boys I & II: 20th Anniversary Collection Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith
  • Format: Blu-ray, AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: November 10, 2015
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2018


            What is most remarkable to me watching Bad Boys again, 20 years after its initial release, is how early in his career Michael Bay began the bad habits we now associate with his overblown style of filmmaking. Most disturbing among the similarities Bad Boys shares with his future films is the blatant objectification of Téa Leoni, who looks unbelievably similar to Megan Fox in The Transformers. The manner with which Bay poses his actresses and allows his camera to leer at them is prime example of the “male gaze,” which is as much his signature as large explosions are.


    The Great American Dream Machine Review

         Actors: Marshall Efron, Andy Rooney, Chevy Chase, Charles Grodin, Albert Brooks
  • Director: Peter Lance
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, THX
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • DVD Release Date: October 20, 2015
  • Run Time: 650 minutes


            PBS has a longstanding tradition of blending education with entertainment and the arts, and with the early satirical sketch show, “The Great American Dream Machine,” they brought politic discourse into the mix during a time it was most needed. When the series began its short-lived run in 1971, Americans were wrestling with a number of political issues, from the Vietnam War to environmental conservation. “The Great American Dream Machine” provided an outlet for a humorous approach to the conversation, only able to exist because of the unique alternative that PBS provided to traditional commercial networks.