Review: 3-star DVD, “Sinners and Saints”

Sinners And Saints

Surprisingly good, January 24, 2012

A gritty, cop-action thriller that accomplishes everything it set out to do except make bucks at the box office. This is a straight-to-dvd movie that deserved a better fate. It’s a throwback plot with hints of the first “Lethal Weapon” in Johnny Strong’s lead cop. He’s amazingly good in this. Reviewers may rip the indie flick for breaking no new ground, but it’s still a gripping story well-told, well-acted and well-directed. The biggest-name star in the cast (Tom Berenger) sleepwalks through his relatively small role, but everyone else is spot-on. The film’s main weakness is that it was released in 2012 instead of 1992, when it wouldn’t have had to complete for screen time with all the epic 3D mega-blockbusters.

Review: 4-star DVD, “Look, Up in the Sky!”

Look, Up in the Sky!: The Amazing Story of Superman

Good for Super-fans, January 8, 2012

If you grew up with him and still like All Things Superman, this is a fun ride. It was originally a made-for-TV documentary, but the DVD aspect ratio is enhanced to fill the screen on your 16:9 TV, and it has Dolby 5.1 sound. Lots of fun visuals and information here, including perhaps some surprises even for Superman aficionados. Bryan Singer’s direction (X-Men, The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie) produces a good cut above most TV documentaries, and it’s a kick to hear Kevin Spacey’s narration when he points out that the movie “Superman Returns” stars Kevin Spacey. Most fascinating for me were the visuals and information from before I was born (1953), lots of stuff I didn’t know. Only downside for me: I usually purchase DVDs only when I think I will enjoy them repeatedly; not sure how many viewings I’ll want out of this.

Review: 4-star DVD, “Millions”

Millions

Sneaks up on you, January 8, 2012

It’s a little film that — if you weren’t aware of the fine reviews it got in its theatrical release — might catch you unaware and leave you with an unexpectedly warm glow. There’s an indie weirdness to it and guest appearances by various saints that make you go, “huh,” but the acting is superb and the message is feel-good. One suggestion: use the “English subtitles” function on your DVD. The accents are thick, and some of the lines are mumbled, so you really need subtitles to make sure you don’t miss any of it. I do the same thing when watching “Billy Elliot” on DVD.