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.



24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to NHL Winter Classic Review

Go beyond the game! The NHL Winter Classic is becoming a yearly tradition. The game happens every year around New Year’s Day and what makes the game so unique is that it takes place outside, usually in a stadium or arena. The 2011 matchup put the Pittsburgh Penguins versus the Washington Capitals but to the average NHL fan this game was more than epic match up of Sidney Crosby versus Alexander Ovechkin. 24/7: The Road to the NHL Winter Classic aired on HBO, and was an episodic series that took you through four weeks of unprecedented “backstage” access to both teams leading up to the game. Both teams are contenders for the coveted Stanley Cup Trophy at the time of filming. Their match up is highly televised every time the puck is dropped. The Winter Classic was another epic battle between the two heavyweights.

Dec
28
2011
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The Hangover Part II Review

In 2009, audiences were introduced to The Hangover, a raunchy Frat Pack-esque comedy about a small group of men who overdo it when they celebrate one of their own’s bachelor party in Las Vegas. With a crew consisting of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha, insane hijinks and ridiculous R-rated debauchery ensue. After the film’s enormous success, a sequel was eventually more than likely to be made and that is the subject of this review. The Hangover Part II is now out in a nifty Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo pack and what a perfect stocking stuffer it is for the holiday season.

Dec
21
2011
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Frontline: Faith & Doubt at Ground Zero Review

Spirituality and religion are elements many people in the world possess. The idea that there is something out there bigger than ourselves is fascinating and helps people cope with the difficulty and pain that often come with life. PBS and Frontline have put together Faith & Doubt at Ground Zero, a truly insightful and thought-provoking documentary which sheds light on the spiritual and religious activity surrounding 9/11. This wonderful program is now out on DVD and it is truly enlightening and certainly worth your time.

Dec
14
2011
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The Adventures of Tintin: Season One Review

The character of Tintin has been around for many decades-as early as 1929. He was originally featured in a series of comic books created by Belgian artist Georges Remi (a.k.a Herge) and Tintin’s fictional adventures have been well-documented ever since in a variety of mediums, from books, magazines, radio programs, theater productions, film, and for purposes of this review, television series. The Adventures of Tintin was the second animated series to feature Tintin and ran for three seasons starting in 1991. Season one has just been released on DVD in a “subtle” way to help promote Steven Spielberg’s upcoming motion capture Tintin film.

Dec
07
2011
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The Crow Review

What happens when Batman, the wrestler Sting and Edward Scissorhands all have a love child together? You get one hell of a cool superhero film. The film I’m talking about is The Crow and if you have overlooked this gritty crime thriller in the past, then I highly recommend giving it a try now. It’s out on Blu-ray and digital copy and it would be the perfect stocking-stuffer for your Goth/alternative significant other.

The Crow is a dark and violent tale of a man named Eric Draven (Brandon Lee), who on the night before Halloween known as Devil’s Night gets murdered along with his fiance by a random gang. The couple were to be wed on Halloween but a less fortunate outcome awaited them. One year later, a crow sits on top of Draven’s gravestone and seconds later, Draven emerges from the grave alive and disoriented. The crow’s touch somehow brought Draven back to life and after a few moments of confusion, Draven remembers who killed him and his fiance and soon decides that he will avenge those who murdered him and his fiance.

Nov
22
2011
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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale Review

Christmas and thriller. These two words are typically not used together but Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, directed by Jalmari Helander, has attempted to make the words compatible. The movie begins in the Finnish mountains, where we see a conversation between a driller and the benefactor of what appears to be an expedition. The driller says that they found some sawdust in the mountain, something that obviously doesn’t exist inside a mountain. At this point, the benefactor demands that the crew must keep drilling and gives the driller rules to follow as he continues his work. A closer examination shows these are basic rules for any one good person to follow, such as not to swear and make sure to wash behind his ears. The camera pans out to show that two children are spying on the drillers: Pietari, our protagonist and his friend Jusso. Pietari, our very young protagonist makes a very educated and seemingly random guess that the drilling has something to do with Santa Claus. After this opening scene, shots during the opening credits show us that Santa Claus was in fact, evil and that over time the folklore has evolved to what we know Santa Claus to be now.

Nov
21
2011
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The Howling Reborn Review

Werewolf movies have a long and hairy past. Ever since Universal’s golden age of horror cinema, unfortunate individuals who get bitten by Lycans transform into snarling beasts and terrorize hapless victims all under the eerie glow of a full moon. The topic of werewolves has been a successful entity over the years in film and now yet another movie has been released to further showcase these nasty monsters. That film I’m referring to is a direct-to-Blu-ray reboot of the 80’s horror franchise The Howling and it is called The Howling Reborn.

Nov
20
2011
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Devil's Playground Review

The zombie genre has been done and redone and just seems to be producing the same stuff again and again. This movie is no different. Devil’s Playground is directed by Mark McQueen and stars Craig Fairbrass as Cole, our heroic protagonist. Cole is that tough Jason Statham like dude that all the zombies are scared of. A chemical company creates a zombie clan with a new drug. You can actually tell who the zombies are in this movie because of the large and apparent dark veins coming out of the zombie’s bodies. Chaos ensues in an England town as the zombies run rampant, big and eating the flesh of the commoners.

Oct
31
2011
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Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On Review

Pop diva Bette Midler (a.k.a. The Divine Miss M) has enjoyed a long successful career in a wide array of mediums most notably on stage. She has a wonderful stage presence and is liked by many. Her three-year Las Vegas show The Showgirl Must Go On which began in February of 2008 and ended in January of 2010 featured many songs that the performer made popular including “From a Distance” and “Wind Beneath My Wings”. Now, The Showgirl Must Go On is out on Blu-ray so fans of Midler’s can rejoice and enjoy her show in crystal-clear high definition.

Oct
17
2011
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The Lion King: Diamond Edition Review

Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase! Now that The Lion King: Diamond Editionis out on Blu-ray and DVD, you will probably be singing the classic film’s delightful tunes in the shower all over again. And if the first time around was any indication, the Disney merchandising mills and t-shirt printing presses will be primed and ready to ride the second wave of Lion King madness! Originally released in 1994, Disney’s The Lion King was met with enormous praise both critically and commercially. During its initial run and its subsequent re-releases, the film has made a whopping total of over $800 million worldwide. It is the highest grossing hand-drawn animated film of all time and its legacy is still being honored through a very successful show on Broadway, two sequels, piles of merchandise and a TV spinoff. It is obvious that The Lion King’s influence is strong and a recent 3D reissue coinciding with the release of the Blu-ray/DVD Diamond Edition reinforces that fact.

Oct
08
2011
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40 Days and 40 Nights Review

Once upon a time in the early 2000s, the tall and lean heartthrob Josh Hartnett had a relatively promising film career. He made a splash in the late 90s with the popular horror films Halloween H20 and The Faculty. He then continued into the 21st century with the military blockbusters Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down. He seemed to be destined for even more success but once he branched off into comedy, he kind of ran out of steam. One of the films that derailed him was 2002’s 40 Days and 40 Nights, a lackluster romantic comedy that proved that Hartnett has zero range as an actor. The film is now out on Blu-ray but seriously, why would you want to punish yourself by buying it?

Oct
06
2011
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The Others Review

Ghost stories have been a strong staple of entertainment and folklore for centuries. The existence of life after death and the supernatural seem to fascinate and often times frighten people. Spirits that neither end up in heaven or hell linger around on Earth because they have unfinished business to take care of and usually that unfinished business encroaches on the daily activities of the living. Nicole Kidman seems to be stuck in this type of paranormal dilemma in 2001’s horror-thriller The Others now out on Blu-ray.

Oct
04
2011
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Dressed to Kill (Unrated) Review

The thriller genre has a long-established history of keeping audiences on their toes and delivering some well-timed scares. Intelligent mysteries, tight writing and expert acting are just some of the many elements that make up a quality thriller. 1980’s Dressed to Kill is one of these finely tuned suspense films and now the unrated version of the film is out on Blu-ray so you better think twice about hopping in that cab with that attractive stranger.

Sep
28
2011
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The Shunning Review

Hallmark is known the world over for their sweet, heartwarming and sometimes syrupy products. From greeting cards to gifts to music to movies, the Hallmark company sure knows how to tug at one’s heart strings. Beverly Lewis’ The Shunning, a made-for-Hallmark TV movie continues this trend of stirring up emotions and entertaining the masses however the results are somewhat lackluster.

Katie Lapp (Danielle Panabaker) is a young woman living in an Amish community in Pennsylvania. She leads a very conservative life and rejects many of the extravagant electronics and modern conveniences of the outside world, however she has a secret passion for “English” music.

One day, her simple world is rocked when she discovers evidence that suggests that her origins are different from what she believes them to be. The truth that has been kept from Katie all her life is slowly revealed through the course of this cinematic soap opera. Is Katie really who she thinks she is or has her entire life been a lie covered up by the very people she loves.

Sep
11
2011
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Sigmund and the Sea Monsters: Season One Review

In the late 60s and early 70s, the sibling team of Sid and Marty Krofft produced a number of strange yet imaginative children’s shows. These shows featured bizarre puppets and low-budget special effects. Their vivid and colorful programs (The Banana Splits, H.R. Pufnstuf and Land of the Lost) entertained young ones while at the same time, prompting parents to ask “Were the makers of these shows high when they made them?” Sigmund and the Sea Monsters is another fine example of the Krofft brothers’ zany style. The first season is now available on DVD and perhaps you too will ask that very same question.

Sep
07
2011
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The Beaver Review

In recent years, Mel Gibson has been down, shall we say a rather dark and awkward path. After directing the religiously controversial film The Passion of the Christ and several drunken encounters and rants that offended pretty much everyone, the man just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. This however, has not prevented him from continuing to act which is news you may either hate or feel pretty nonchalant about. His latest film, the Jodie Foster-directed dramedy The Beaver is now out on Blu-ray and this subtle piece of cinema is actually worth checking out.

Walter Black (Mel Gibson) is a struggling toy company's depressed CEO whose wife, Meredith (Jodie Foster), is fed up with him and kicks him out of the house. Walter, having hit rock bottom, attempts to commit suicide. Failing to do so, he soon comes across a beaver puppet in a local dumpster. Walter then comes up with a ridiculous yet highly effective form of therapy: using the hand puppet as a means to communicate (with an Australian accent, no less) around his depression, splitting Walter’s personality in two. His depressed actual self and the Beaver share the same body but are two different “beings” entirely.

Aug
30
2011
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The Minnesota Twins 1991 World Series Collector’s Edition Review

The history of baseball is filled with many miraculous moments. The World Series of 1991 contains a few of these nuggets of magic. The Minnesota Twins (American League) faced off against the Atlanta Braves (National League) in seven epic games over the course of a little over a week. After 69 nail-biting innings, the Twins emerged victorious and left a permanent impression on the history of America’s greatest pastime. Now out in a very robust and complete DVD set, the 1991 World Series is now yours to own so you can relive the pure excitement over and over again.

Aug
25
2011
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C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower: The Further Adventures Review

Author C.S. Forester’s fictional character Horatio Hornblower has been featured in a wide array of books, film and television programs. The popular British character is an adventurer, a hero and a naval legend. His exploits have been the subject of many forms of media and now A&E has released C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower: The Further Adventures on DVD, a set which contains two feature-length made-for-TV movies. They are The Duchess and the Devil and The Wrong War. They come in a robust 2-disc set which is filled to the brim with so-so acting, decent dialogue and exciting high sea adventure.

Originally released in 1999, The Duchess and the Devil comprises the first disc and it is a very melodramatic and uneventful tale. Ioan Grufford who played Mr. Fantastic in the Fantastic Four films stars as Horatio Hornblower, a young Royal Naval officer who rises through the ranks due to his quick thinking, bravery and unwavering sense of leadership.

Aug
21
2011
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Spy Kids 1, 2 & 3 Review

In 2001, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez introduced the world to Spy Kids, a family-friendly action-comedy of big proportions featuring small actors. The film was a change in direction from Rodriguez’s earlier blood-soaked works (Mariachi TrilogyFrom Dusk Till Dawn, and The Faculty). Spy Kids was targeted at children, however there are scenes and bits of humor that adults could tolerate and even appreciate. Somehow, the film spawned three sequels, one of which is currently in theaters. The first three films are now out on Blu-ray and fans of Rodriguez’s lighthearted “saga” can rejoice.

Aug
21
2011
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Griff the Invisible Review

Australia isn’t exactly known for its cinematic output. They’re more known for kangaroos and putting shrimp on barbies. Griff the Invisible however, is an interesting and unique film that does the land down under rather proud. It is a movie that borders on about three distinct genres. Those genres are the superhero film, romantic-comedy and drama. Each of these genres are blended together to make one hell of a quirky cinematic experience.

Meet Griff, a 28-year-old office drone who suffers from extreme awkwardness and gets bullied on a regular basis by his peers. He is played wonderfully uncomfortable by Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), a true thespian who carries the film very well. Griff may seem like your typical cubicle geek but he has an unusual secret. That secret is that he actually moonlights as a costumed crime-fighter at night. He battles muggers and other deviants who occupy his urban neighborhood in true super-heroic fashion. Whenever evil rears its ugly head, Griff dons his bold padded costume and gets to work.

Aug
19
2011
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