Randall Unger

Staff Writer

A product of the 1980s, his first cinematic experience was seeing Ghostbusters II with his parents at the tender age of 4. His favorite movies include the Back to the Future TrilogyJurassic Park, Batman and Glengarry Glen Ross. Tom Hanks is his idol and his second home is Comic Con.



She Attends A Bellydancing Competition, "Just Like A Woman" Review

Friendship and female bonding are fascinating themes film tends to explore on occasion. Girl power as it were, can be a a truly entertaining and meaningful topic to elevate a movie. Just Like a Woman is one such movie and it feels like a watered down, less chaotic Thelma & Louise. The women of this adventure are sexy, smart and ready to face challenges head on.

Marilyn (Sienna Miller) is a young woman in Chicago struggling with many things in her life. She takes a bellydancing class to alleviate her stress and learns of a bellydancing competition in Santa Fe. Mona (Golshifteh Farahani) is also a young woman in Chicago struggling with some issues of her own. The two women are mere acquaintances but when their lives come crashing down, they decide to join forces and drive to Santa Fe so that they can compete in the bellydancing competition together.

Nov
11
2013
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Dramedy "Best Man Down" Is a Strange Creation Review

Dramedies are pretty commonplace this day and age. They are perhaps, the best genre to imitate real life since life is usually a crazy blend of drama and comedy. The two genres can mesh either beautifully or tragically. Best Man Down is a perfect example of this phenomenon and while it doesn’t really know whether it’s comedy or drama, that is just the point and the results are actually pretty solid.

Scott (Justin Long) and Kristin (Jess Weixler) are getting married. They are a very cute couple about to tie the knot and things just couldn’t be better. That is until Scott’s obnoxious yet lovable best man Lumpy (Tyler Labine) dies in a freak accident. Lumpy’s death causes the happy couple to cancel their honeymoon so that they can attend his funeral. Along the way, they encounter a teenage girl who was romantic with the deceased and this turn of events only serves to complicate matters.

Nov
09
2013
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"Monsters University" Gets A Passing Grade Review

In 2001, audiences young and old were treated to a visual and artistic masterpiece. That masterpiece of course was Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., one of the film studio’s greatest computer-animated achievements. Not only did it feature some of the most gorgeous animation work ever put on screen but it told a story that was heartwarming, hilarious and action-packed. Monsters University is a prequel do the 2001 animation juggernaut and the results are actually surprisingly somewhat mixed.

Nov
07
2013
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"Latino Americans" Will Work Just Fine While The Substitute Puts On A Video Review

When it comes to documentary programming, PBS is among the industry’s leading channels. They continually explore interesting and important topics in meaningful and engaging ways. Latino Americans is yet another example of why PBS is king when it comes to documentary filmmaking. With six episodes spread out over two discs, Latino Americans certainly manages to educate and enlighten its viewers.

Latino actor Benjamin Bratt narrates Latino Americans, a documentary which highlights the importance and influence of a 500 year-old culture full of rich diversity and strong heritage. The program delves into expansionism, Manifest Destiny, the Wild West, various wars, the rise of organized labor, the Great Depression, the post World War II boom, the Civil Rights movement, globalization and the effects of different technologies.

Oct
21
2013
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Good Thing Duhamel Took The "Scenic Route" Review

Josh Duhamel has made a career playing studly leading men. From Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! to Las Vegas to the Transformers films, the man certainly knows how to own the screen and make women and sometimes men swoon. His latest film Scenic Route is actually a major detour from his standard beefy hero roles. It is a psychological thriller which tests the actor’s abilities in a truly powerful way.

Though a direct-to-DVD film, Scenic Route has all the trappings of a gripping theatrically-released thriller. The film focuses on two old friends, Mitchell (Duhamel) and Carter (Dan Fogler) who, while driving in the California desert, their truck breaks down. Once they are stranded and eventually struggle to survive, their friendship is tested as they each slowly begin to lose their grip on reality and resort to truly nasty behavior.

Oct
17
2013
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"Unfinished Song" Is Worth Finishing Review

Romantic dramedies featuring older leading actors are not very commonplace. Usually, younger actors star in such lighthearted vehicles. Well, Unfinished Song goes a bit against the norm and stars Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave, two thespians in their mid-seventies. It is a film about love, hope and the power of song.

Marion (Redgrave) is terminally-ill. She participates in a seniors’ choir led by youthful and chipper Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton). Marion’s husband Arthur (Stamp) is grumpy and apathetic when it comes to the choir. With time running out, Arthur’s attitude is put to the test where he must chose and make sacrifices in the name of love.

Oct
16
2013
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"Little Mermaid" Still Making Waves Review

1989 marked the beginning of the Disney Renaissance, an era of animated films which focused on adapting well-known stories and enhancing them with state-of-the-art animation, a gorgeous soundtrack and all-star voice talent. The Little Mermaid was the first film in this era and Disney continued to follow this trend up until 1999’s Tarzan. The film went on to win numerous awards and the hearts of not only children but adults alike. The Little Mermaid is a beautiful film and it’s legacy lives on in this dazzling Blu-ray set.

Oct
09
2013
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Ain't No Roast Like A Dean Martin Roast Cause A Dean Martin Roast Is Powered By Alcohol Review

Before Comedy Central began roasting celebrities mercilessly on stage, entertainer Dean Martin did it on a pretty regular basis. Starting in 1974 and ending in 1984, the alcoholic singer/actor hosted The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and with each special, he along with other dais members ripped into a well-known celebrity for about an hour. The hour would be a highly amusing one and would be remembered for years to come by not only the roastee but by the audience viewing said roasting.

Oct
09
2013
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"Perry Mason" Doesn't Fare Quite as Well in Old Age Review

In 1957, the overly dramatic legal drama Perry Mason premiered on CBS. In it, Raymond Burr played the titular role for nine seasons and he even appeared in the role for 26 made-for-TV films after the show’s run. 1966 was the final year for the Perry Mason series and fans can now rejoice as they complete their DVD collection with season 9: volume 2.

In every episode, Mason is assigned a client who he must defend in the pursuit of justice. He is sharp, focused, highly intelligent and will never rest until his job is done. His clients range from kidnappers, murderers and everything in between. His methods may seem unorthodox at times but this simply the way in which Mason works and his clients seem to benefit from this.

Sep
23
2013
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"A Company Man" Should Be Expecting His Pink Slip Review

It’s very hard this day and age to find an action-thriller that has heart. South Korean import A Company Man tries very hard but sadly, falls short. It is a film with cool martial arts moves, imaginative gun battles and attractive actors. These are the highlights but unfortunately, the story and script seem all too familiar and just not worthwhile.

A Company Man revolves around Hyeong-do (SO Ji-sub), a young hitman who is having a change of heart when it comes to his shady profession. He meets a woman and decides to live a normal life but his former employers make this goal rather difficult to reach. Car chases, hand-to-hand combat and bullet fly in this lukewarm action-thriller.

Sep
15
2013
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"Scary Movie 5" is Further Proof that Good Spoofs are Hard to Do Review

So, apparently spoof films are still being made. There was a huge surge of them in the early to mid 2000s and this was sadly a case of quantity over quality. The Scary Movie franchise lampooned horror films of the late 90s and on and after five installments, they haven’t exactly gotten better, in fact they’ve gotten worse. Scary Movie 5 is the latest and hopefully, the last piece of dreck.

The film starts off spoofing Paranormal Activity and maintains this direction all throughout. Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan play an overtly sexually couple who encounter spiritual disturbances. Similar spookiness plagues a young couple (Ashley Tisdale and Simon Rex) who have recently adopted Sheen’s abandoned children. Their new home is outfitted with security cameras and demonic forces soon wreak havoc on the family.

Sep
08
2013
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Prepare for a Very Weird Italian "Reality" Review

Foreign films are usually hit or miss. It’s hard to say where the dark Italian comedy Reality falls. It has elements that are boring and uninteresting but then again, there are moments that are pretty damn funny and full of life. There seems to be tug of war match going on with this film with one side struggling to drag it into the mediocre mud and the other trying to bring it to greatness. The fine folks at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival seem to have gone with the latter road and awarded the film the prestigious Grand Prix award. I just don’t see the “greatness” that they saw.

Sep
06
2013
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"Closed Circuit" is Doomed to be Recorded Over Review

It would appear that the crime thriller genre has suffered something of a decline in recent years. Stories about conspiracies, international intrigue and paranoia just don’t seem to pack the punch and sustain audiences’ attentions the way they used to. A new entry into this genre Closed Circuit tries to rejuvenate the dying genre but the results are pretty lame. The film tries to be slick, cool and interesting but it just fails miserably.

Martin Rose (Eric Bana) is a lawyer in London who must team up with fellow lawyer and former love interest Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall). The two join forces when a terrorist bomb attack rips through a market place in London. During the course of the trial, they are surveilled by MI5 so that they don’t leak any information to the public and what have you.

Sep
02
2013
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"The Great Gatsby" Boasts Flash and Style But Little Else Review

In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American literary classic The Great Gatsby was first published. It is a tale rich with conflict, colorful characters and strong themes. Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!) has taken Fitzgerald’s story to new heights with his visually dazzling and strongly acting film. The Great Gatsby is a very visual ride that features an all-star cast, brilliant sets, costumes and special effects. It is essential to view this film on Blu-ray. The richness of colors and eye candy were basically made to be seen in HD.

Aug
31
2013
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Our "Epic" Tour of Blue Sky Studios

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In animation, anything is possible. Worlds and characters are created and grace the screen, captivating audiences and leaving an indelible impression on both young and old (mostly young). On Tuesday, August 13th, I had the immense privilege and pleasure of visiting Blue Sky Studios, an animation studio responsible for such films as Ice Age, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, and Rio. The incredibly talented people behind these films are basically wizards who, through the use of skill and technology, create films that not only look great but tell interesting stories. The purpose of this event was to promote the Epic Blu-ray/DVD combo pack which is now available for purchase.

Aug
22
2013
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Nitehawk Cinema: August Series

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“You have the right to remain silent… FOREVER!” This is the tagline for the cult 1988 slasher flick Maniac Cop, a film which, by its title alone, needs no introduction. This is just one of the many random and hilariously bad films screened at the hipster-friendly movie theater the Nitehawk Cinema. Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this theater is home not only to current independent cinema but to a number of obscure films as part of its usual film series. Maniac Cop falls under its “August Midnite: I Heart New York Horror” series, a delightfully gory and over-the-top collection of horror films which take place in the Big Apple. Another series, “Live + Sound + Cinema” presents classic or cult films while live music is played simultaneously, sort of a throwback to the silent film era. The very cheesy sci-fi comedy Dark Star was also screened.

Aug
20
2013
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Lee Daniels Serves Up an Oscar Contender with "The Butler" Review

Every once in a while a film comes along that hits all the right notes, a film that not only entertains but digs deep and explores tough topics. Lee Daniels’ The Butler is one such film and it is both a history lesson and one heck of a story. With an ensemble cast featuring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, John Cusack, Liev Schreiber, Terrence Howard, Mariah Carey and Robin Williams, The Butler has all the trappings of an Oscar contender and then some.

The film is based on the true story of Eugene Allen, an African-American man born on a cotton field, only to end up as the head butler of the White House, serving eight presidents over the course of 34 years. Forest Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines (name changed from Allen) and witnesses key events throughout American history, all on the sidelines as a quiet and trusted servant. The presidents he serves all ask Cecil for his two cents every now and then, making him a valuable member of the White House staff.

Aug
16
2013
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"Defiant Requiem" Preserves Another Piece of the World's Musical Beauty Review

Music can be a very effective and powerful form of therapy. The beauty in a piece of music can fill one with raw emotions rarely felt by other art forms. The documentary Defiant Requiem explores the use of music and its meaningful purpose in a time where hope ran low and survival was everyone’s main objective: the Holocaust.

Defiant Requiem details the events at Terezin, a concentration camp in Praque where many unfortunate Jewish prisoners were kept. Rafael Schächter was one such individual, a Czech opera-coral conductor who was held there, mistreated and abused like everyone else until he found an unused piano in a cellar and decided to play and teach other prisoners to sing the “Verdi Requiem”. This piece of music was eventually performed in front of high ranking Nazi officers and was a demonstration of hope and courage set against a backdrop of evil.

Aug
11
2013
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"In a World..." That's Ideal, Everyone Would See This Comedy Review

Voice-over acting is a timeless art that has existed for decades. The late great Don LaFontaine’s God-like voice is cemented in the minds of anyone who has ever heard a movie trailer in the latter half of the 20th century. His famous line “In a world…” is one of American pop culture’s greatest gems. His art has been imitated time and time again though few people have come close to duplicating his talent. The new indie comedy by Lake Bell, In a World…, takes the viewer on a fascinating and often amusing look into the cutthroat world of voice-over acting.

Carol (Lake Bell) is a vocal coach and daughter of voice-over legend Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed). Things are moving along for Carol but not at the pace she so desires, that is until she manages to book two major voice-over gigs. With a fresh female voice in a male-dominated industry, Carol is determined to break barriers even if she is in direct competition with her father.

Aug
09
2013
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"Femme Fatales" Walks the Dangerous Line Between Softcore Porn and Just Flat Out Porn Review

It is widely known that sex sells. Nude women in particular seem to be the best selling attraction. This is what the makers behind the semi-softcore porn program Femme Fatales strongly believe in and in a very unsubtle way. Cinemax, or one should say “Skinemax”, has put together a show that features beautiful women, lots of softcore sex and truly idiotic storylines and dialogue so one can argue whether this is porn or not.

The show has been promoted as a sort of hybrid of classic film-noir and science fiction. It is an anthology series with varying storylines featuring strong women in the lead. The plots vary from love triangles and affairs to time travel and murder. It is an eclectic mix of storytelling but one thing is consistent here and it is the naked women, and there are lots of them. The makers of the show also through in random guest stars to improve the proceedings but stars Vivica A. Fox, Eric Roberts and Casper Van Dien do little to enhance the quality of the show.

Aug
08
2013
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