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.



It's Hard Not to Be Impacted by "The Intouchables" Review

Male bonding is a theme that has been explored in cinema for decades. Friendship and mutual trust provide for strong storytelling and quality film. Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's French dramedy The Intouchables is yet another fine example of this human subject. The story involves two unlikely individuals who are joined together in a fairly simple scenario. The friendship that results in their pairing provides for one the most charming films of 2012. The Intouchables is a truly touching film which features two strong performances and now you can enjoy it in all its Blu-ray goodness.

Mar
15
2013
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"Atlas Shrugged" And So Will You Review

Ayn Rand was and continues to be a notable figure in both philosophy and politics. Her views are regarded by some as brilliant and by others, not so much. Her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged deals with her philosophy “Objectivism” and shares her views on society. The novel which takes place in 2016 was turned into a 2011 film and a 2012 sequel Atlas Shrugged: Part II. Both films went fairly unnoticed and rightfully so especially with the sequel being poorly acted, uninteresting and filled with bad CGI.

Mar
06
2013
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"Jeff" Shows Just How Much We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes... Review

In 1991, serial killer/sex offender Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested and sentenced for the murder of 17 men and boys. Not only did Dahmer murder his victims but he also raped, dismembered and engaged in cannibalism. He was a true animal and his heinous treatment of his victims is solid proof of that. A documentary film The Jeffrey Dahmer Files a.k.a. Jeff was made to explore Dahmer and allow audiences a look into the investigation.

Jeff is a well-made documentary which combines dramatic re-enactments, archival footage and interviews of people involved with the Dahmer case. Dahmer is played by Andrew Swant (William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet) in a brilliant re-enactment of the infamous serial killer’s life. The scenes of Dahmer are eerie and realistic. Swant definitely nailed the role. These scenes are mixed in with actual photos and footage caught by the Milwaukee police. They flow perfectly into one another.

Feb
23
2013
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Hey Lithuania, We've Got a Basketball Team! Review

During the 1992 Summer Olympics, the Lithuanian basketball team brought great pride to their country. They received the Bronze medal for their heroic efforts against Michael Jordan and the USA team. Having been a newly independent nation at the time, Lithuania’s journey to freedom and into the Olympics is certainly one for the books. The absorbing documentary The Other Dream Team is a program rich with history, emotion and entertainment.

Throughout the course of The Other Dream Team, viewers will get a detailed look into the odyssey of Lithuania’s pro basketball team. Various players from the 1988 and 1992 teams give their testimony, painting a vivid picture of their rise to victory. The documentary highlights the team’s triumphs on the court while at the same time, their national independence was won from the then Soviet Union.

Feb
05
2013
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If "Nature" Calls, Don't Answer Review

Success in stand-up comedy is very rare these days. Getting a live audience to chuckle is probably one of the most difficult tasks man has ever faced. Comedian/actor Harland Williams (Halfbaked) is well aware of this fact and that’s why he has chosen a venue where no one is present, the Mojave Desert. In Harland Williams: A Force of Nature, Williams’ only live audience is a cameraman and probably some miscellaneous crew.

Williams’ career is a peculiar one. He’s “acted” in films, most notably in Halfbaked. His goofy comedic style is hit or miss and in A Force of Nature, it is definitely a miss. His jokes are juvenile, talking about bodily functions and whatever else comes across his talentless mind. At less than an hour long, Williams manages to repel audiences even when no one is around. The crew were probably cringing throughout Williams’ entire set.

Feb
01
2013
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Little Less "Anger", Little More "Management" Review

In 2011, Charlie Sheen lost his mind. His alcohol and drug abuse led to a series of meltdowns which eventually cost him his spot on television’s hottest sitcom. He was fired from Two and a Half Men but that didn’t keep him down. He then went on tour, further displaying his insanity in a “stand up comedy” routine. He filmed himself in a series of confession-like web videos. His slogan “winning” was printed on t-shirts and he became the new Tom Cruise, just plain nutty. In 2012, Sheen sort of bounced back with Anger Management, a harmless sitcom with two apparent missions, to entertain audiences and to fatten Sheen’s wallet. FX succeeded in the latter.

Jan
29
2013
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"Sleep Tight" May Make It Difficult To Do Just That Review

Suspenseful thrillers used to be engaging, thought-provoking and well, suspenseful. Films of this genre have been pretty lackluster as of late except for one such gem that’s slipped through the cracks. That film is the Spanish Sleep Tight, a twisted tale that manages to scare, shock and mesmerize all in the course of its 101 minutes.

Cesar (Luis Tosar) is the concierge of an apartment building in Barcelona. He is a truly disturbed individual who believes that he has the inability to be happy. He wants everyone around him to be miserable and does so in subtle and quiet ways. He is obsessed with one tenant Clara (Marta Etura) and since she is so happy-go-lucky, he is determined to make her as miserable as he by creeping into her life.

Jan
29
2013
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Art Imitates Life Thanks to Authentic "Supporting Characters" Review

Dramedies are the perfect film genre to convey realism. Life is both, at times funny and sad. The dramedy portrays this fact perfectly and Supporting Characters is a fine example of this genre. Films like this are heavy on both dialogue and sincere performances. It’s a story about relationships in New York City. The characters are neurotic and their lines flow naturally with ease and authenticity. Woody Allen would be proud.

Supporting Characters focuses on two film editor/best friends Nick (Alex Karpovsky) and Darryl (co-writer Tarik Lowe). Both of these men are struggling to edit a train wreck of a film as they each simultaneously attempt to salvage their love lives. The film’s real spotlight is on Nick as he begins falling for the film within the film’s beautiful star. Sexual tension and bittersweet life lessons abound.

Jan
26
2013
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"Wake In Fright" Will Tie Your Kangaroo Down, Sport Review

The Australian Outback is known to be tough, rugged and inhospitable. This is a harsh reality made very clear in Director Ted Kotcheff's gritty 1971 drama Wake in Fright, a strange film recently restored in a new 35mm print. The film takes an average Joe and puts him through a crazy ordeal of alcoholism, violence and mild homoeroticism. The story follows young and dashing schoolteacher John Grant (Gary Bond) who has taken a post in the Australian Outback. He plans to go to Sydney to visit his girlfriend but in order to do that, he must catch a flight from the middle-of-nowhere mining town Bundanyabba or known by the locals simply as “The Yabba”. Once there, John encounters a slew of colorful characters, most of whom find a passion for drinking copious amounts of beer, gambling and brawling.

Jan
22
2013
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"Django Unchained" For Those Who Have Been Good This Year Review

Quentin Tarantino is one of today’s most intriguing filmmakers. His films contain some of the most disturbing and most hilarious things moviegoers will see. This has been the case since his first film Reservoir Dogs twenty years ago. Violence, mayhem, sexy women and a quirky sense of humor are what usually comprise a Tarantino film. His latest feature Django Unchained features more of the same but this time, presented in a crazy western package. The film is an insane mix of wild western action and dark, tongue-in-cheek humor.

Dec
25
2012
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No "Wonder" They Haven't Tried This Again Review

In 1974, Warner Brothers released a Wonder Woman TV movie. It was a failed attempt at bringing the famous Amazonian superheroine to TV audiences. It was released before the much more successful Wonder Woman series which came just one year after it. Cathy Lee Crosby took on the role and the results were less than stellar. The very cheesy and psychedelic production seemed overpriced and uninteresting. It is now out on DVD, so view it at your own risk.

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Crosby) is the secretary to a government agent. She is soon thrust into a world of international intrigue and danger. Her mission to pursue a villainous individual named Abner Smith played by the typecast 1970s bad guy actor Ricardo Montalban. The majority of the film plays like a lame James Bond meets Austin Powers piece. Crosby is fine as the superspy but not sensational. She is a bit wooden in her performance. This is probably why Lynda Carter replaced her later on.

Dec
23
2012
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Look, Up In The Sky! Or Better Yet, Don't Review

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane... No, it’s a cheesy TV show from the 1980s. In 1988, Superboy was brought to television audiences. It was a logical move made by executive producers Ilya and Alexander Salkind (producers of the first three Superman films and the dismal Supergirl. Superboy is pretty dismal in its own right but it’s still a curious thing. It’s basically a goofy version of Smallville and season two is now available on DVD. Diehard fans of the Superman mythos will either be very pleased... or very disappointed.

Dec
18
2012
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Consider This "Day" Completely Wasted Review

The future can be pretty bleak in certain movies. Sci-fi thrillers tend to make life on Earth kind of miserable due to either nuclear war or other devastating apocalyptic events. The Day is yet another look at a depressing way of life for people struggling to survive in a world ravaged by war. Released by WWE Studios but not featuring any wrestlers, The Day is a dark and violent film which doesn’t really offer anything new in terms of story or characters.

Shawn Ashmore (the X-Men films) leads a small band of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. The survivors find an abandoned farmhouse where they take shelter but while they think they are safe there, a group of bloodthirsty maniacs are on their way to get them. The cast is comprised of young, good-looking people but that can’t save this dismal production which is plagued by an unoriginal script and a gray, washed out film picture.

Dec
05
2012
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"Dragons" Another Hit For Dreamworks Review

When it comes to computer-animated entertainment, Dreamworks is one of the film industry’s leaders. The studio struck gold in the late 90s and early 2000s with modern classics like Antz, Shrek and Madagascar. Their success continued with the 2010 Academy Award-nominated epic How to Train Your Dragon and a spinoff series called Dragons: Riders of Berk aired on Cartoon Network and is now available to own on DVD.

Dragons serves as bridge between the 2010 film and its upcoming 2014 sequel. Jay Baruchel returns to voice Hiccup, a young Viking boy who encounters a dragon and manages to (you’ve guessed it) train it. The series follows Hiccup as he sets up a school to keep mischievous dragons under control. Each episode features a different set of problems caused by the unruly creatures and it is up to Hiccup to get things under control.

Dec
03
2012
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"Dragon" Croaks When It Should Roar Review

A lot of Chinese cinema is a pretty limited in terms of plot and originality. Martial arts and fight sequences tend to dominate the screen. It’s not necessarily bad but then again, it’s not necessarily good. Dragon is one of China’s latest cinematic exports and the results are sadly, kind of dull and unoriginal. Action seems to be on many a Chinese filmmaker’s brain and if done properly, would produce fun and interesting storytelling. Unfortunately, Dragon feels formulaic and downright lame.

Dec
02
2012
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"Burning Hot Summer" Burns So Good Review

Love is a tricky thing. Everyday, people fall in and out of love. Films document this emotion quite effectively, French films in particular. One such piece of cinema is A Burning Hot Summer, a movie about relationships that thrive and others that suffer. It is a film with heart, harsh realism and layered performances. Premiered at the 68th Venice International Film Festival and now out on DVD, this is the perfect movie to watch when you’re in the mood for a cinematic experience which mirrors reality.

Angele (Monica Belucci) and Frederic (Louis Garrel) are an attractive French couple living in Rome. One summer, they have their friends stay with them, Elisabeth (Celine Sallette) and Paul (Jerome Robart). While the two couples spend the summer together, trouble strikes paradise. Angele starts to fall out of love with Frederic and this shift in feelings affects everyone in the house.

Dec
02
2012
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Robert Carlyle Pulls Off An Impressive "California Solo" Review

Film is one of the most effective ways to address human issues. California Solo is an engaging drama which follows a character by name of Lachlan who has just a few problems. Like all people in the world, Lachlan is flawed. He is trying to survive and faces roadblocks along the way. California Solo is a genuine film. The characters and the plot are as real as it gets. Few films these days match the emotional intensity of this one and that’s really unfortunate.

Lachlan MacAldonich (Robert Carlyle) is a former Scottish rocker, turned Californian farmer. His rockstar lifestyle is behind him but he still manages to have run-ins with the law. With a brand new DWI charge under his belt, he faces possible deportation. Lachlan is happy in California. He has just begun to settle down and wants nothing more than to stay in the states. The threat of being deported forces Lachlan to explore many things about himself such as unfortunate events his spotty life. 

Nov
30
2012
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Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, & Jonah Hill Can't Save "The Watch" Review

In recent years, The Frat Pack has sort of run out of steam. The raw energy and true comic originality of members such as Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn has basically been on the decline since about 2005. Films like Anchorman and Wedding Crashers highlighted these two actors’ comedic talents and it was a golden age for The Frat Pack. Unfortunately, Stiller and Vaughn have not been able to recreate the greatness that existed in recent times. Their latest team up is in the violent and profane The Watch, a film which combines male bonding (bromance) and the threat of an impending alien invasion.

Nov
28
2012
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LeapFrog Offers the "Gift of Learning" & Entertainment Review

Children today are smart. Advances in parenting and education techniques are creating young ones with high intelligence these days. On occasion, entertainment for kids has improved. This can be said about LeapFrog, a company which releases DVDs for the noble purpose of educating and entertaining children in math, phonics and other subjects.

Just in time for the holiday season, LeapFrog has a released a special boxed set containing two DVDs: Scout & Friends: Number Land and Scout & Friends: Phonics Farm. The set also includes a cute little stuffed animal, a character from Scout & Friends. Each cartoon features a fun little adventure with talking dogs who learn about numbers and letters. The adventures are unoriginal but the educational value is pretty strong.

Nov
26
2012
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"Triad Wars" is a Horrible Excuse for a Martial Arts Bloodbath Review

Martial arts movies can go one of two ways. It can be an intelligent action/adventure with colorful characters and powerful themes of good versus evil or it can be a 2-hour bloodbath with hollow characters, terrible acting and zero plot. The Chinese actioner Triad Wars falls under the latter sad and pathetic category and the results are truly painful to watch. Now out on DVD, this terrible “film” is yours to own so you can relive the pain over and over.

Triad Wars is a ridiculously bad gore fest which follows a fearsome Chinese gang leader who is starting to lose power. He and his goons then engage in a series of graphic battles with a rival gang to regain power. In the movie’s 117 minutes, these gangsters fight to declare who is the most powerful gang in Hong Kong.

Nov
23
2012
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