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.



Winter in Wartime Review

Winter in Wartime is one of those truly well-crafted motion pictures that rarely get made in today’s dismal movie climate. It is a taut human drama that focuses heavily on the plight of vulnerable and emotional people. Winner of numerous well-deserved awards such as the 2009 Netherlands Film Festival Golden Calf award, Winter in Wartime is quite sensational and now yours to own in a special Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.

The story revolves around Michiel van Beusekom (Martijn Lakemeier), a 13-year-old boy living in Nazi-occupied Holland circa winter of 1945. He belongs to a typical Dutch family consisting of his parents and an older sister. His father Vader (Raymond Thiry) is a mayor who sucks up to the Nazis to ensure the safety of their village. The mother Moeder (Anneke Blok) is passive and content with her station in life and the sister Erica (Melody Klaver) is also rather blasé about everything that’s going on.

Aug
06
2011
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House of the Rising Sun Review

For decades, professional wrestlers have not only dominated the ring but the screen as well. Because of their impressive physiques and charismatic personalities, it only seems natural that these talented athletes transfer their skills to movies. Dave Bautista is the latest wrestler to make this transition and the results are pretty unspectacular. House of the Rising Sun is a direct-to-Blu-ray actioner that features Bautista busting heads and shooting baddies for 88 minutes but really, what’s the point?

Jul
27
2011
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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Review

It is very rare these days that a film comes along that is so emotionally powerful and historically significant. Movies today just don’t seem to tackle important human issues and that is truly quite a shame. Released in theaters in 2008 and based on John Boyne’s 2006 novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an extraordinary film that takes place during a very troubling time: the Holocaust. The story focuses on the relationship between two young boys; one the son of a Nazi commandant and the other an imprisoned Jew. Both boys befriend one another even though they are meant to be enemies.

Jul
24
2011
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The Fourth War Review

During the Cold War, tensions were rather high between the United States and the Soviet Union. Paranoia and defection were very common during this time as was hostility between the two countries. The Fourth War is a 1990 military-thriller which takes place during peacetime on the German-Czechoslovakian border in 1988. Roy Scheider (Jaws) and Jürgen Prochnow (Das Boot) star in the film which was directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate).

Col. Jack Knowles (Scheider) is a former American hero who earned a strong reputation in Vietnam. He is bitter, has a bit of a drinking problem and has methods which are somewhat reckless. He is sent to the German-Czechoslovakian border by his superiors so that he won’t cause any trouble. However, this doesn’t stop him. On his first day in the area, Knowles bumps heads with Col. Valachev, a Russian soldier with an equally bad temper. As the film progresses, these two military men engage in a very private and personal war.

Jul
14
2011
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Good Night, Gorilla Review

Good Night, Gorilla is the latest collection of animated read-along stories in Scholastic’s highly successful Storybook Treasures DVD series. This exceptional DVD set is the perfect entertainment and educational tool designed to teach and help kids with their reading (ages 4-10). If you are a parent or know of a child in this age group who enjoys top notch storytelling, then I highly recommend you pick up this wonderful item.

There are a total of 16 children’s stories contained in this 3-disc set. The first disc features six charming tales which serve as bedtime stories. They are Good Night, Gorilla, The Napping House, Happy Birthday, Moon and The Rainbabies. There are also two bonus stories, Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin and Elizabeti’s Doll.

Jul
14
2011
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Immigration Tango Review

Illegal immigration is a very serious issue. Every year, numerous foreigners arrive to the United States and violate immigration laws and policies. It is a problem that has and continues to plaque the United States and now this crucial issue is addressed somewhat humorously in the subpar romantic comedy Immigration Tango now out on DVD.

Colombian sex-machine Carlos (Carlos Leon) and Russian beauty Elena (Elika Portnoy) are two romantically involved immigrants living in Miami whose visas are soon about to expire. They are each trying to advance in their respective careers however if they don’t act fast, they will both get deported to their native countries. They then come up with the ridiculous idea to marry their American best friends, couple Mike (McCaleb Burnett) and Betty (Ashley Wolfe). Together these four idealists engage in a truly absurd farce that will either offend or amuse you. Count on the former.

Jul
11
2011
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Boy Meets World: The Complete Sixth Season Review

Well, they’re back! Cory (Ben Savage), Topanga (Danielle Fishel), Shawn (Rider Strong), Eric (Will Friedle), Jack (Matthew Lawrence), Angela (Trina McGee-Davis) and Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) have all returned for season six of the beloved 90s sitcom, "Boy Meets World". Now, the gang is in their freshman year at Pennbrook University where a whole new set of problems and hilarity await them. All 22 episodes of the sixth season are now available on DVD in this lovely 3-disc set.

When we last left them, Topanga had proposed to a surprised Cory at their high school graduation. The season ended and we, the audience were left wondering what was to become of the cute couple from Philadelphia. Now, Cory is dealing with the idea of marriage, Eric and Jack get a new roommate in the form of an attractive 6-foot tall redhead named Rachel (Maitland Ward) for whom they soon start competing.

Jul
09
2011
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Sucker Punch Review

In the past few years, Zack Snyder has proven himself to be a rather unique type of filmmaker. From the remake of Dawn of the Dead to 300 to Watchmen, he has certainly demonstrated a very interesting and absorbing visual style. His latest effort, Sucker Punch is yet another example of this wildly vivid form of cinematic storytelling. Available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy, this energetic action-fantasy-thriller is now yours to own.

After blamed for her younger sister’s death, 20-year-old Babydoll (Emily Browning) is committed to a female-only mental institution by her abusive stepfather. The circumstances of the victim’s actual death however are covered up by the stepfather who bribes an orderly, Blue (Oscar Isaac) to have Babydoll lobotomized so that she won’t be able to reveal the truth to the authorities.

Jul
05
2011
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The Baby Review

The 70s were a great time for movies. Filmmakers experimented and created some of cinema history’s greatest classics. The Baby, released in 1973, while not one of these classics is still worth mentioning. Now regarded as a cult classic, this weird and twisted horror-thriller has a story that will probably stay with you for quite some time.

The Wadsworth family consists of a single matriarch (Ruth Roman), two daughters and one Baby. The Baby I’m referring to is actually the name of a twenty-something man (David Mooney) with the mental capacity of an infant. A social worker named Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) learns of Baby and develops a special interest in his case. As Ann gets closer to Baby, she becomes emotionally attached to him. This angers Mrs. Wadsworth who is extremely overprotective of Baby and soon, bizarre events start to take place.

Jul
05
2011
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Pros and Ex-Cons Review

Pros and Ex-Cons is a truly awful film. Originally released in Australia in 2005, this pointless little action-thriller which tries to mimic Snatch and Pulp Fiction is of such low quality, that I am actually still trying to recover from the trauma caused from viewing this unmitigated disaster. The box art is extremely misleading, having Aussie heartthrob Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator: Salvation) appearing front and center when he was merely a supporting player in this stinky debacle.

The convoluted plot revolves around a very random group of people. There are two office drones who decide to rip off a bank ala Superman III and a bunch of slackers who get involved with an angry mob boss. Somehow, these two groups of nincompoops cross paths and soon, bullets fly, bodies pile up and audiences’ brain cells sadly die. Sam Worthington plays a dopey hitman who adds tension to the proceedings and I really do hope James Cameron didn’t make his casting decision for Avatar based on this dreck.

Jul
01
2011
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American: The Bill Hicks Story Review

Bill Hicks was one of America’s bravest comedians. Throughout the 80s and early 90s, he tickled many audiences’ funny bones. He was brash and honest, qualities very few comedians of his day, and even today, possess. He left a unique impression on society and left the world way too soon, taken by cancer. American: The Bill Hicks Story engagingly tells the story of the late comic’s life and legacy.

American is a terrific documentary which chronicles the short but highly fascinating life of Hicks. Interviews of friends and family members shed light on the comedian’s birth, childhood, teenhood, comedy beginnings, comedy success, alcoholism, sobriety and finally, death. Rare photos, animation, performance footage and informative interviews comprise this truly riveting biography.

Jul
01
2011
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Biutiful Review

Javier Bardem is perhaps one of Spain’s most well-known and respected actors. He has starred in many films and received numerous awards, and has earned recognition in the United States as well when, in 2008, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in No Country for Old Men. He's the first Spanish actor to win said award. His latest film Biutiful, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores perros, 21 Grams, Babel) is now out on Blu-ray and fans of Bardem and Iñárritu may want to think about picking up this Mexican/Spanish gem.

Jun
15
2011
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Soldier in the Rain Review

Soldier in the Rain is an odd film. It is a buddy-comedy sprinkled with dramatic and romantic elements but that isn’t the odd part. What’s peculiar is the unlikely pairing of Jackie Gleason (The Honeymooners) and Steve McQueen (The Great Escape). These two actors can’t be any more different and their chemistry in this film from 1963 can’t be any more lacking. They both try to click with one another but sadly, they fall pretty short.

Gleason plays the role of MSgt. Maxwell Slaughter, an intelligent career-military man who dabbles in sarcasm. He has a friend in the service, Sgt. Eustis Clay a younger and more ambitious man played by a very goofy McQueen. Together, these two soldiers hatch the occasional idea or scheme in attempts to get rich quick. Through a series of failed schemes which start to irritate Maxwell, Eustis decides to make things right by setting up his friend with an attractive girl named Bobbi Jo played by the alluring Tuesday Weld.

Jun
12
2011
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Shoeshine Review

In 1946, Italian director Vittorio De Sica (The Bicycle Thief) released his first major work Shoeshine, a neorealist film about two boys in Rome who get arrested for a crime they didn’t commit. The film is beautiful, deep and thought-provoking. It won an honorary Oscar the following year causing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to create the Best Foreign Language Film category. This cinematic milestone is an absolute treasure and now yours to own on DVD.

Shoeshine follows friends Giuseppe (Finaldo Smordoni) and Pasquale (Franco Interlenghi), two young boys living in Rome shining shoes for money. They test-ride horses in their spare time and both have a dream of one day owning their own horse. They live life as mere peasants, hungry and dirty shining shoes day in and day out to feed themselves and to own day become owners of an equine. Their dream of owning a horse is what keeps them going.

Jun
09
2011
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Dead Man Walking Review

Sister Helen Prejean is a nun from Louisiana who is firmly against capital punishment. She wrote a book on the subject entitled Dead Man Walking and it is an autobiographical account of Prejean’s experience as a spiritual advisor to a convicted felon awaiting his execution. A movie based on the book was released in 1995 starring Susan Sarandon as Prejean and Sean Penn as the dead man walking, Matthew Poncelet.

Poncelet has been in prison for six years for apparently raping a girl and killing her boyfriend. He is soon about to be executed. Fearing the unknown and desperate to redeem himself, he writes a letter to Prejean in hopes that she will help him with one last appeal. The two meet at the prison and they have a rocky start. Poncelet is rude and bitter adding strain to their newly formed relationship whereas Prejean demands respect and common courtesy. However, as the two meet more and more and converse, they learn things about one another and form a rather pleasant bond.

Jun
09
2011
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The Terminator Review

“I’ll be back.” Those are the famous words that turned Austrian bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger into an action movie icon before he was the Governator, of course. 1984 was not only the year that turned Arnie into a superstar but also then relatively unknown writer/director James Cameron into a Hollywood big gun as well. Together these two businessmen created a sci-fi franchise that has broken box office records and entertained the masses for nearly three decades. That franchise of course is The Terminator and now the landmark film that started it all has been re-released in a special Blu-ray edition.

Jun
08
2011
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Daydream Nation Review

Ever since Juno, filmmakers here and there have been trying to recreate stories that feature sarcastic tomboys that become romantically involved with awkward introverts. Daydream Nation continues this popular trend and the results are actually pretty decent. The cute and saucy Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) stars in this hip indie dramedy which is now out on DVD.

Caroline Wexler (Dennings) is a cool chick from the big city who now resides in a small town with her father. She attends high school like all the other teenagers in town, most of whom seem to be high all the time. Caroline meets and has flirtatious moments with a fellow student, Thurston (Reece Thompson) and the two hit it off. However Caroline also has a crush on her teacher, Mr. Anderson (Josh Lucas). Things get progressively crazy as Caroline juggles feelings for both men.

Jun
08
2011
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Growing Pains: The Complete Second Season Review

The ‘80s were a great time for television. Many humorous sitcoms were produced during that decade. One in particular you probably watched when you were younger was Growing Pains. The show revolved around the Seavers, a middle-class American family from Long Island who would get into moral dilemmas every week only to be resolved in the span of 30 minutes or so. Now, the complete second season is yours to own on DVD.

Alan Thicke stars as Dr. Jason Seaver, a caring psychiatrist who works at home. Joanna Kerns plays his loving and faithful wife, Maggie. They have three children, troublemaker Mike (Kirk Cameron), bookish Carol (Tracey Gold), and youngster Ben (Jeremy Miller). Each episode features one or more of these characters falling into some sort of predicament. Some of these scenarios and topics include aging, dating, sex, employment, dress codes, the homeless, lying, relatives, drugs, puberty, plastic surgery, genealogy, child birth, the elderly and womanizing.

May
25
2011
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No Strings Attached Review

Most romantic comedies are corny, predictable and downright lame. Unfortunately, No Strings Attached is no exception. Oscar-winning superstar Natalie Portman and pretty boy Ashton Kutcher headline this mediocre love story directed by comedy film veteran Ivan Reitman and sadly, the results are less than spectacular. Now out in a Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo pack, this disappointing film is yours to own though I don’t know why you’d subject yourself to that sort of pain and embarrassment.

May
21
2011
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True Legend Review

Martial arts action movies have always been known for two things: great action sequences and mediocre acting. True Legend continues this trend with its epic storytelling, breathtaking fight choreography and over the top cheesy acting. It’s a movie that will entertain you, for sure; however, I don’t see the actors winning any major awards for their less-than-stellar efforts.

The story takes place in dynastic China and revolves around Su Can (Vincent Zhao), a skilled military general and devoted family man. He has a wife, Ying, and a young son, Feng. Su also has an envious step brother Yuan (Andy On), who harbors resentment towards Su’s father. This is because years ago, Su’s father killed Yuan’s father when he became too involved with an evil martial arts technique called the Five Venom Fists. Yuan plans to seek revenge on Su’s family and does so by kidnapping Feng from Su and Ying. Yuan abducts Feng while Su and Ying are left for dead in a river rapid. They eventually wash up in a deserted forest area where they come across Sister Yu (Michelle Yeoh), an herbalist who treats Su’s wounds and takes him and Ying in.

May
20
2011
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