Recently by RonsReviews

The Carol Burnett Show: The Best of Harvey Korman DVD Review: Mother Marcus is Missing!

Ultimately, there is more material here without Korman than with him.
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Eight years before we had Saturday Night Live, Carol Burnett and her wonderfully talented and crazy crew (Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and a parade of talented guest stars) had America laughing every week with some of the best sketch comedy ever seen. They surrounded the creative sketches with amazing production numbers that set the standard for all variety shows to come. The success of the shows was built on the versatility of the cast, and Harvey Korman proved week after week that he could do it all. Where SNL did outdo Carol and company was with the release

Night of the Living Dead (40th Ann. Ed.) DVD Review: A Classic

The key to its success, and a lesson for filmmakers of today, is keep it simple.
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After 40 years, this little film made by a bunch of people who were still learning their craft, produced on a shoestring budget, starring both actors and non-actors whom you had never heard of, still manages to do exactly what it was intended: scare the audience. Produced in 1968, the film that set the trend for all zombie movies to come, tells the story of a group of people trapped in a farmhouse surrounded by zombies over the course of a night in which radiation from space has caused the recently deceased to come back to life in search of

Bambi: Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review: Walt Disney at His Best

There is just too much stuff here to pass up.
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Can you sit down with three children ages seven, nine, and eleven, and watch a 75-year-old animated film without them getting restless? Yes, and no one was more surprised than I. Surprised simply because I had forgotten just how good, and ahead of its time, Bambi was. All of the children found the film “sad”, “cute”, and “fun”, with the ending being their favorite part, and all would definitely watch it again. I can’t recall the last time I saw the brilliant telling of the life, loves, and losses, of the Prince of the Forest and his friends, but I

For the Love of Spock DVD Review: Perfect for Both Those Who Love and Those Who Don't Know Spock

A great example of how a documentary should be constructed.
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We all know that there are people that don’t like or simply don’t get Star Trek. Nonetheless, it’s hard to argue with the success of the franchise. A great deal of credit for the success can be bestowed upon Leonard Nimoy. His life and career are chronicled here by his son Adam who started the project of telling the story of Spock with his father before the elder Nimoy passed away. When Leonard Nimoy died, the project became much more than originally intended. Available now, the DVD release still manages to leave you wanting more at 111 minutes plus some
When I was growing up two of the things that I was really into were comic books and Star Trek. I had stacks and stacks of comic books. With such a large investment made into reading material and being the entrepreneur that I was, I would actually charge my little cousin to read them. She still brings that up every once in a while. When I wasn't reading comic books I was watching Star Trek. Any time there were reruns of the original series or the animated series, I was there. Usually wearing my Star Trek jacket. Gold Key Comics,

Disney's Pinocchio: The Signature Collection Blu-ray Review: Much Here to be Appreciated

This is a great addition to any collection whether you have children or are a big kid.
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On the weekend of November 21, 2016 at D23’s Destination D: Amazing Adventures event at Walt Disney World Resort, the addition of Disney’s triumphant animated classic Pinocchio to the celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection was announced. Pinocchio, which inspired the world to wish upon a star, arrived for the first time on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on Jan. 10, and on Blu-ray and DVD on Jan. 31 with hours of new and classic bonus features. So once again Disney opens the vault to allow those of us who don’t already own the movie to take another walk down

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends Featuring Jerry Seinfeld DVD Review

Heeeeeeere's a lot of Johnny, a little Jerry, and, well...the good, the bad, and yada yada yada.
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It’s great that Time Life is finding new ways to market The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson by releasing the new series Johnny and Friends. The first installment to hit retail shelves on January 10, 2017 features Jerry Seinfeld. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late. With The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson running nightly on Antenna TV and Time Life making virtually everything “Johnny” available, it’s not too surprising that the average consumer might expect a bit more here than simply three episodes featuring appearances by Jerry Seinfeld. Perhaps you could have given us some bonus features. Some commentary by

The Wonder Years: Season Six DVD Review: No Shark Jumping, but It Was Time to End

It’s worth buying the season just to see how the story of these Wonder Years comes to a close.
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Appearing on both The Hollywood Reporter's and Rolling Stone's Best TV Shows of All Time lists, The Wonder Years is certainly one of the most memorable shows of the late '80s. Premiering after the Super Bowl on January 31st 1988, it was an immediate hit as baby boomers could not get enough of the blossoming 1960s junior high school relationship between Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) and Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar). There were certainly many other relationships explored on The Wonder Years featuring an amazing array of talented performers, but ultimately the show always came back to Kevin and Winnie. As

Arrival Movie Review: You May Have to Sit Through It Twice to Get It

I couldn't wait to depart!
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At hearing the title of the new science fiction film from director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Enemy), my first thought was that one of the Sheen boys had made such a film years ago. Indeed, Charlie Sheen did star in The Arrival (1996), which was a B science fiction movie at best, and failed miserably at the box office. The synopsis for Arrival [After extraterrestrial spacecraft plant themselves at various locations around the globe, a linguist (Amy Adams) and a theoretical physicist (Jeremy Renner) must find a way to communicate with the mysterious visitors in order to learn what they want

50 Years of Star Trek DVD Review: This Mission Failed

Don't bother beaming me up.
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The entertainment phenomenon that is Star Trek celebrated its 50th anniversary in September, and with the first television series giving life to five more series and thirteen motion pictures, the incredible fan base was set for something spectacular to commemorate such an auspicious occasion. One could argue that there would be no way to please everyone if a documentary of the history of Star Trek was to be created. If you were to fill a room with Star Trek aficionados and open the discussion on which was the best series, the best captain, or the best motion picture, you would

The Carol Burnett Show: Classic Carol DVD Review: Arguably the Best Release to Date

Apparently they just keep finding these “lost” episodes, and in this case we’re glad they did.
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Most of us our filled with fond memories of The Carol Burnett Show, which ran on CBS from 1967 to 1978. Memories of classic comedy that filled our homes with laughter every week as our family gathered around the television to watch Carol and her friends come out and play. Memories of Tim Conway working with Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner, Vicki Lawrence, and of course Carol, in some of the funniest comedy ever on television. Sadly, like many memories, those of The Carol Burnett Show can be a bit cloudy. Tim Conway didn’t join the cast as a regular until

Classic Albums: The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds Blu-ray Review

Any true Beach Boys fan will eventually own this. It’s a must.
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When the discussion of the greatest album of all times breaks out a party, many people will chime in, some people will walk away, and at least one guy will ask, “what’s an album?” Inevitably, The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds will be brought up in the discussion. If it’s not, you’re at the wrong party. With Pet Sounds celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, it seems appropriate that Eagle Rock Entertainment would release the definitive authorized story of the album on September 23rd as part of its Classic Albums collection on Blu-ray and DVD. Containing an additional 30 minutes of

Central Intelligence Movie Review: The End is Near

It’s just not funny.
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I have long since theorized that if Kevin Hart and Melissa McCarthy ever made a buddy film together, it would signify the beginning of the end of life as we know it. They have made enough terrible films on their own to start a club. To escape the record-setting heat (not meant to be a reference to McCarthy’s The Heat, a record-setting film in terms of how bad I thought it sucked) this past weekend, I headed for the local theatre and the new release Central Intelligence starring Mr. Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. After struggling through the majority
Both the characters and the writers struggled at times in Season Four of The Wonder Years during a transitional year for Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), his family, and his friends. In Season Five of the iconic series, which Time Life released on May 24th, 2016, the writers and Kevin display more confidence and maturity in episodes that are arguably some of the most poignant in the series. It’s extremely enjoyable to watch the writers stretch their own boundaries while creating scenarios in which Kevin does the same. Whereas brother Wayne (Jason Hervey) continues to display the attributes associated with a

CHiPs: The Complete Fourth Season DVD Review: With Extra Cheese!

In the 1980-81 television season, ABC owned the cheese market, but NBC was certainly dipping its CHiPs deep into the bowl.
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With the recent release of CHiPs: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD from Warner Brothers we once again get to see the recipe for success during that era of television. By season four, we already know Jon (Larry Wilcox), Ponch (Erik Estrada), and the gang, and respect the job NBC had done in finding a collection of pin-up people to throw into uniform. Now all they needed were some uniform stories to feature our toothy team triumphing over troublemakers, and uniform was exactly what these stories were. A main story that featured criminal activity usually perpetrated by either people with

The Carol Burnett Show: Treasures from the Vault Review: Includes a Bonus Pizza Review

A look at new products from Carol Burnett and Pizza Hut.
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In today’s world where everyone is always busy, sometimes it nice to have an evening with nothing to do. Time to just hit the couch, order a pizza, and pop in a DVD for some binge-watching. I recently did just that, and the selections were Pizza Hut's Stuffed Garlic Knots Pizza and The Carol Burnett Show: Treasures from the Vault (Collector's Edition). Ah, the thoughts that race through one's head as they wait with hungry anticipation for their dinner to arrive. Exactly how big was this vault and who was in charge of it? How do you lose something from

The Wonder Years: Season Four DVD Review: The Characters and Writers Struggle with Transitions

Transitioning from Junior High School to High school can be exciting, awkward, and even scary. This season could easily be described in the same way.
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Time Life released the four-disc set of Season Four of The Wonder Years on January 16th. During this season, we not only watch Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) finish Junior High school, but also begin to transition from a little boy into a young man. Savage continues to give excellent performances, but it is clear that he, his character, and the rest of the cast are growing up. It’s most noticeable in Kevin’s best friend Paul (Josh Saviano) whose character begins to step out of Kevin’s shadow and the actor clearly becomes the first to sprout. As the characters struggle with

The Great American Dream Machine DVD Review: Could Be a Nightmare for Some

It makes a good Christmas present to either give to a fan of television or to bring to a white elephant gift exchange.
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For many this may be the first time you have heard of The Great American Dream Machine, which aired on PBS from 1971 to 1973 and has a new four-DVD release from S’More Entertainment. Even if you have never heard of it, when you find out that it featured the talents of Andy Rooney, Albert Brooks, Henry Winkler, Chevy Chase, Marshall Efron, Charles Grodin, Penny Marshall, Linda Lavin, Martin Mull, and more, you could easily become interested. Comparisons to Saturday Night Live, Monty Pythons Flying Circus, The Daily Show, and Laugh-in, could easily turn that interest to excitement. At first

Southpaw Blu-ray Review: Feels Like Being Punched in the Face

A nonsensical boxing movie that had the audience throwing in the towel long before it was over.
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With the film opening to a realistic depiction of the intensity in the locker room as a fighter prepares for battle, we are led to believe that we are about to witness a gritty and insightful view into the world of pugilism. Though the violence in Southpaw certainly is gritty, the script is so full of plot holes that it would be laughable if it didn’t drag on to the point of feeling like we’re being punched in the face. Jake Gyllenhaal follows up last year's underappreciated Nighcrawler with the underwhelming riches to rags to redemption Southpaw in which he

CPO Sharkey: The Complete Season 2 DVD Review: The Bite of Archie Bunker and the Stories of Gomer Pyle

A pleasant distraction in doses that never really caught on.
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In a clear effort to counterprogram against CBS, who was having plenty of Good Times on Wednesday nights at 8:00 pm in 1976, NBC gave the world CPO Sharkey, starring Don Rickles as an overbearing, insensitive, and politically incorrect leader and shaper of young men. In the second season, CPO Sharkey would go up against the CBS superheroes, Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk, and the super smiles of Donnie and Marie Osmond on ABC. The shark got beat up and eaten which was too bad because the series really began to develop in Season 2. With the release of

The Don Rickles TV Specials: Volume 1 DVD Review: Nothing Special

We love you, Don, but this was not the format to truly display your talent.
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There is no question that Don Rickles is a national treasure. Not only due to the fact that he has been performing for more than 55 years, but more so because he has a talent unlike any other. A comedic talent that endures and allows him to say what the public is thinking, and not only get away with would be considered politically incorrect, but garners laughter from all. As a stand-up comedian, Rickles can still fill theatres, but he has always struggled to play against type. You want a fast-witted, razor-sharp tongue? Rickles is your guy. If you want

The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes DVD Review: This Is Good Stuff!

Though not actually "lost," this set is well worth finding.
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It’s always interesting when the term “Lost Episodes” is used to describe a new DVD release. Is that really what happened? Was there actually a conversation where someone said: “Hey, have ya seen the first five seasons of The Carol Burnett Show?" “I thought you had them”. “Did you check your pockets?” It’s not like we’re talking about car keys. We’re talking about the first five seasons of what is arguably the best variety show of all time. That’s 134 episodes. That’s a lot to misplace. In this case, it appears it was more of a legal access issue, which

A Sentry Spends a Summer Sunday at the Cinema

The weather was hot this summer. The movies were not.
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There are not a lot of people that can or want to sit through three consecutive movies at the theatre, but I enjoy it. Of course, entering the theatre has changed a bit. The recent shootings in theatres are horrible tragedies that have resulted in security measures being enforced when you enter the theatre. My friend had to open her purse for a theatre employee when we entered. I, carrying my hoodie because I hate being cold in the theatre, was not subjected to any type of security check. Here’s the problem; I believe all the theatre shootings were perpetrated

She's Funny That Way Movie Review: Wastes the Talent of the Cast and the Time of the Audience

It tries desperately to be a kitschy Woody Allenesque farce but never really gathers enough comedic momentum to go anywhere.
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Director/co-writer (along with Louise Stratten) Peter Bogdanovich has gathered together a powerhouse cast full of amazing comedic talent. With Owen Wilson, Rhys Ifans, Will Forte, Jennifer Aniston, Kathryn Hahn, Austin Pendleton, Richard Lewis, Cybil Shepherd, and more, all of whom we have seen give stellar comedic performances, this film was ripe for epic laughter. Sadly, this sitcom script is full of underdeveloped characters and contrived circumstances that leave you wondering in what way is she funny? The “she” we are wondering about is Isabella Patterson the hooker/actress at the center of the antics. Imogen Poots gives a distracting performance as

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: The Complete Series DVD Review: This Is Good Stuff

This series is worthy of new recruits.
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In 1964, CBS was cruising with hits such as the rural comedy The Andy Griffith Show, and the fish-out-of-water hit The Beverly Hillbillies. So why not take a supporting character from Mayberry and make him the proverbial fish out of water? CBS did just that by taking gas-station attendant Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) and placing him in the United States Marine Corps, as seen in the final episode of season four of The Andy Griffith Show. Throw in an overbearing yet bumbling Sergeant (Frank Sutton) and you’ve got yourself a hit. Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. was indeed a hit for CBS

The Wonder Years: Season Three DVD Review: The Best Season of the Series

Kevin goes from Algebra to Zits this season.
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Time Life and Star Vista released season three of The Wonder Years on DVD May 26th and the season opens with us following the Arnold family on a summer vacation that includes neighbor Paul (Josh Saviano), who is mysteriously available even though we were told at the end of season two that he would be gone all summer. The vacation includes Kevin getting his first French kiss and the family coming together after a rough start. We then follow Kevin (Fred Savage) and his group of friends into eighth grade as the writers take us from algebra to zits and

McFarland, USA Blu-ray Review: Deserves to be Running in Your Home on a Regular Basis

Harkens back to the old days of Disney filmmaking when the stories were simple yet powerful and poignant.
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Disney has done quite well with underdog sports movies such as The Mighty Ducks, Remember the Titans, The Rookie, Invincible, Miracle, but there have been some failures along the “Glory Road”, so it is tough to figure out what to make of McFarland, USA. There appeared to be little marketing behind a movie starring Kevin Costner, and a February release date generally does not bode well for a film. Luckily, McFarland, USA does not need the marketing or a prime summer release date to put itself amongst the best of Disney’s underdog sports-themed movies. Though some may struggle with the

CPO Sharkey: The Complete Season 1 DVD Review: Should Fit Right in on Today's TV Landscape

A contradiction that may actually work in this day and age.
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Seven years had passed since Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) and his overbearing drill instructor Sergeant Carter (Frank Sutton) were marching across the television screens, and since then we had had five years of Archie Bunker drilling us full of his perspective. With NBC scrambling for a hit in 1976, they called upon comedy legend Don Rickles and CPO Sharkey was born. Not nearly as intimidating as Carter nor as ignorant as Bunker, Sharkey trained, counseled, and occasionally mothered, the diverse group of men in his charge. The men each represented a stereotype familiar to the audience of 1976 and perfectly

Mad Max: Fury Road Movie Review: Everyone Who Enters Will Lose

The Max we have come to know and love is nowhere to be found.
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In this latest incarnation of Mad Max, director and co-writer (along with Brendan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris) George Miller manages to take all the elements that made the first three films starring Mel Gibson as Max successful, and completely ignore them. This is unacceptable and someone needs to let George know. Dear George, We were certainly happy to hear that you were bringing back Max. We love him. We love how smart and resourceful he is. We appreciate his humor and humanity. We enjoy rooting for him. So you can imagine how disappointed we were to take a trip down

Hot Pursuit (2015) Movie Review: In the Race for Worst Film of the Year

It will eventually be on DVD and television, but Hot Pursuit is going to be awful in any format.
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In this 87-minute outing, that seems much longer and ends as if the production company ran out of money, Reese Witherspoon plays the overzealous, by-the-book, underutilized and undersized police officer who is trying to protect the wife (Sofia Vergara) of a drug boss who was set to testify against the cartel until something went wrong, and now the two are on the lamb. With this much talent and your standard Odd Couple premise; this film should have been a Midnight Run in more ways than one. It’s not. The comedic gags are horribly contrived and the performances are one dimensional.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Review: Plenty of Bang for Your Buck, but Too Much Bunk

Joss Whedon simply tries to give us too much and ends up getting in the Avengers way.
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As the 2015 summer movie season kicks off, there are indications that some films will drift off into obscurity immediately following their opening weekend with nothing more than a whimper (Pixels). Luckily, Avengers: Age of Ultron starts things off with not just one bang, but hundreds of them. Age of Ultron opens with us finding our heroes already in a battle as they search for Loki's staff, which has somehow fallen into the hands of HYDRA. The staff is retrieved, but then Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) unwittingly releases an evil computer program (Ultron) set on destroying the Avengers. The

The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again...Well, Sort of

If you receive this DVD as a gift, it’s worth watching once and regifting.
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On February 24th 2015, StarVista Entertainment/Time Life released a DVD featuring three uncut episodes from the landmark television variety series. When one hears of a new release from this classic show, it is easy to get excited. To title said release Together Again, only adds to the excitement as we imagine the classic moments enjoyed over the eleven-year run of this CBS success. Said excitement can be quickly quelled when we discover who is not together again. Unfortunately, none of the three episodes feature Harvey Korman and Tim Conway together. Korman and Conway are fine on their own or interacting

The Wonder Years: Season Two DVD Review: Still a Wonder

A great way to spend six hours.
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ABC launched The Wonder Years on January 31, 1988 following Super Bowl XXII. The placement of the show would indicate a great deal of confidence, yet ABC only invested in six episodes for Season One. Due to the legendary music used in the series, it took StarVista and TimeLife Entertainment until October 7, 2014 to bring those original six episodes to stores shelves on DVD. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait as long to get some more help from our friends as season two was released on February 3, 2015. The second season of The Wonder Years continues to chronicle

Book Review: Hope: Entertainer of the Century by Richard Zoglin

Yes, there is Hope for the holidays.
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In 1993 the legendary entertainer Bob Hope and his wife Delores welcomed TV viewers, and some celebrities of the time, into their home to share some memories of the many Bob Hope Christmas specials in a show entitled Bob Hope's Bag Full of Christmas Memories. The show would later be edited down to an hour and released on DVD as Hope for the Holidays. The editing was somewhat merciful in that Hope, at ninety years of age, had little participation in the special due to his limited eyesight and hearing. In 1995, a musical release Hopes for the Holidays featured

The Wonder Years: Season One DVD Review: A Great Combination of Comedic Moments and Poignant Drama

The quality may not be perfect but the content is very close to it.
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It was 1988. Those Happy Days had been over for a while when ABC decided to take another walk down memory lane to once again tap into the public’s love for nostalgia. Displaying confidence in their new product, ABC launched The Wonder Years on January 31, 1988, following Super Bowl XXII and made sure you knew it was coming by advertising it during the game. Perhaps not quite as well as the Redskins did against the Broncos in the big game, The Wonder Years did defeat its competition that night and continued to be a solid hit for ABC ranking

Under the Skin DVD Review: Well, The Cinematography is Beautiful

Clearly, I didn't get it.
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Have you ever visited a museum with a friend and as you both stand starring at a painting, your friend begins to extol the beauty of the work and talent of the artist while you look upon it wondering who spilled paint on that canvas? You wonder how it is possible that you are missing all the symbolism that your friend continues to describe. What would you do if someone asked you to write a review on the piece of art? Well, here we go. According to the packaging, Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson, which hit store shelves on

Blended Movie Review: One of the Worst Films of 2014

This film is offensive on many levels.
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In 1998, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore teamed up for The Wedding Singer, and it was good. Six years later, they would come together again in 50 First Dates, and it was cute. The Wedding Singer combined good storytelling and performances. 50 First Dates was more about the performances than the story. Now it’s 2014, and we get Blended. It has some of the worst performances and storytelling seen on the big screen this year, not to mention a final product that is not only offensive to people from Africa, but to those who have been there, or even heard

The New Adventures of Superman: Seasons 2 & 3 DVD Review: Worth Buying for Fans

In 1966, Filmation brought the Man of Steel to television in the first animated version made specifically for the small screen.
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Almost seven years after the release of Season 1, Warner Home Video finally delivers the remaining episodes of this iconic series, keeping in mind that the series did include Superboy episodes which are not found here. In 1966, Filmation brought the Man of Steel to television (CBS) in the first animated version made specifically for the small screen. Legendary producers Norm Prescott and Lou Scheimer along with Alan Ducovny gathered together extraordinary vocal talent including Bud Collyer, Joan Alexander, Jack Grimes, Ted Knight, Bob Hastings, Jackson Beck, Julie Bennet, Cliff Owens, Gilbert Mack, and Janet Waldo, and they created a

The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol DVD Review

A Christmas present better left unopened.
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Just in time for the holidays, Time Life Entertainment brings us this single disc release featuring two episodes from the classic Carol Burnett Show plus bonus material. One will certainly open this case with the anticipation and excitement of a Christmas morning in hopes of finding something truly special. Unfortunately, the gift garners the same disappointment as finding socks and underwear wrapped up under the tree. The two episodes we receive are from transitional periods in the show's history and thus lack the comedic chemistry the show was known for. Lyle Waggoner may have been known more for his looks

Sunday at Stan Lee's Comikaze 2013: The Final Day

My first time at Stan Lee's Comikaze 2013.
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Up early on a Sunday morning for my first trip to Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo. Though this was day three, it was my first trip up to the Los Angeles Convention Center to see Mr. Lee and all that he, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark), and Regina Carpinelli (Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo) had created. Luckily, I was joined by fellow member of the Cinema Sentries team Gordon Miller, who was facing his third day of the event with a modicum of enthusiasm. Arriving in Los Angeles, we immediately took advantage of Gordon’s experience

The Trials of Muhammad Ali Movie Review: Entertaining and Informative

A fleet-footed and hard hitting documentary.
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This documentary from director Bill Siegel has depth rarely seen as he goes beyond Ali's legal issues and delves into the trials of life with a flow as smooth as Ali had in the ring. Currently in limited release, The Trials of Muhammad Ali draws the audience in with intense opening segments featuring David Susskind; the brother of Muhammad, Rahaman; and Louis Farrakhan, and holds on like many of the champs opponents did. Following the life of Ali primarily from his Olympic victory to his return to the ring following his exoneration for refusing military service, at 94 minutes this

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season DVD Review: For Those Who Enjoy Good Storytelling

The performances are top notch and the characters being created are worth watching.
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After an amazing first season in which the landscape of horror, gore, and to an extent, drama, on television changed, the dead kept walking, but the series got bogged down. Finding a place to hold up in Season Two did not serve the series well, as the farm kept to the cast of characters, and the stories were too safe. There was optimism at the end of Season Two as the farm fell and our heroes were on the run again. Unfortunately, they would trade in the farm for a prison in Season Three, and once again, only the dead

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Review: A Flash in the Pan

What should have been a showcase for the talents and entertainment value of the Scarlet Speedster lags far behind his potential.
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Look, here’s the deal: if you have to travel through time, or to another dimension, to tell your story, you’re officially out of ideas. There is a reason the DC Universe has not translated as well to the big screen as Marvel. Some of it is the depth of the characters, but it’s more the ability to tell stories and the stories they choose to tell. The Green Lantern was not a good choice to be the next JLA member to put on film in 2011. On July 30th 2013, Warner Home Video brought us Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox,

When Comedy Went To School Movie Review: Spends Too Much Time on Where It Went to School

Since the show business philosophy is "Leave them wanting more," this may be a huge hit when it is released.
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There is no question that the post-Vaudeville era of comedy and that which was exhibited in the resorts located in upstate New York during the 1940s and '50s was truly innovative. The performers that honed their skills in the Catskills are truly legendary and many are featured in this 77-minute documentary due for release in NYC on July 31st before opening in other markets at later dates. While the interviews with such performers as Sid Caesar, Jerry Lewis, Jackie Mason, Mort Sahl, Jerry Stiller, and more are certainly entertaining and informative, they are simply too brief. The audience may appreciate

The Way, Way Back Visits Other Films Along the Way

Ultimately, we've seem similar stories told better.
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Writers/directors Nay Faxon and Jim Rash certainly provide the audience with intriguing characters in The Way, Way Back, each with an interesting storyline, but they fail to tell enough of any one story. Socially awkward fourteen-year-old Duncan (Liam James) is dragged to the beach for summer vacation by his insecure mother (Toni Collette) and her overbearing boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell). Along for the ride is Trent’s stuck-up teenage daughter (Zoe Levin) who wants nothing to do with Duncan. Trent and his daughter are regulars in the beach community that includes Alison Janney as the gossipy, intoxicated neighbor with a daughter

The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations Tour DVD Review: A TV Special That's Barely OK

This is a tour not worth taking.
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It seems like it would have been hard to go wrong if in 1976 Saturday Night Live creator and producer Lorne Michaels signed on to produce a special for NBC featuring The Beach Boys who had re-grouped to release a new album. And yet, oh so wrong this production does indeed go. Ironically, the project was titled The Beach Boys: It’s OK, but it would take a generous reviewer to say this new release, now titled The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations Tour is even close to be “Ok”. The only thing in worse shape than this “special”, due to hit

Star Trek Into Darkness Never Should Have Seen the Light of Day

Ultimately, it is poor storytelling that leads the audience into darkness.
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After J.J. Abrams established a new timeline with Star Trek (2009) that would allow new stories to be told with the original characters, this sequel was time for Abrams to boldly go where no one had gone before. Or, go where we have gone before, and just make the trip a less pleasurable experience. Nice choice, Abrams. Into Darkness opens with an action sequence that sets the audience up perfectly for what is to follow: an overproduced segment taken straight from Indiana Jones, which features some of the worst makeup and costuming seen in science fiction in decades, and lets

Star Trek (2009) Movie Review: A Weak Story with Plenty of Action

Will feed the hungry fans, but the meal is a bit overcooked.
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In 1994, Paramount transitioned the Star Trek movie franchise from the the Original Series cast to the Next Generation cast in Generations, which conveniently served its purpose. Not a great film, but it worked. Captain Picard and his crew followed up with the huge home run First Contact in 1996, but then killed the franchise with the two yawners that were Insurrection (1998) and Nemesis (2002). Trek fans then had little to embrace other than the under appreciated television series Enterprise which lasted until 2005. The franchise was to be reborn in 2008, but the writer’s strike kept anxious fans

Iron Man Marathon: From Bad to Worse

The movie is titled Iron Man. It’s not Tony Stark, Super Sleuth.
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With the premiere of The Avengers in 2012, AMC did it right with a Marvel Marathon consisting of the two Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and then The Avengers. It was an awesome day with laminated passes and lanyards, special 3D glasses, and the theatre employees decked out in Avenger costumes. We were even provided with a schedule for the day that let us know how long each break would be, and they let us go get food at the local restaurants and bring it back into the theatre. So, when it was announced that there

Oblivion (2013) Movie Review: Could Be Where Tom Cruise is Headed if He Keeps Trying Sci Fi

It may occasionally be fun to look at, but that is about it.
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Tom Cruise does not try science fiction often, but when he does, the results are mediocre at best; until now. Oblivion would have to get much better to be mediocre. Most reviews include a brief synopsis of the story, and with that, possible spoilers for the reader who have yet to see the movie. No risk of that here. First of all, don’t see the movie. Second of all, the story is a mess. That is synopsis enough. There have been many summer science fiction films over the years that have been simple brain candy films full of excitement and

Fathom Events Presents Star Trek: The Next Generation: "The Best of Both Worlds"

The evening was not quite the best of both worlds.
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For those non-Star Trek fans; "The Best of Both Worlds," a two-part cliffhanger that ended season three and opened season four, is arguably the best episode of the series, and is considered to be one of the greatest cliffhangers in television history. In "The Best of Both Worlds," Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the crew of the Enterprise tangle with the Borg, a cold and methodical robot-type creatures that travel through the universe destroying worlds and assimilating inhabitants into their collective. Oh sure, we never see any Borg that look like any of the other aliens races introduced on Star

The Bible (2013) DVD Review: An Ambitious Endeavor That Needed More Funding and Prayer

Like all of us, it could have and should have been better.
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As nice as it was to see The History Channel take a break from what is seemingly an endless Pawn Stars marathon, the ten hours dedicated to The Bible were spotted with poor choices, performances, and storytelling. Despite being somewhat inconsistent, the Mark Burnett (creator of Survivor)/Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) project, which they deemed “their calling”, broke viewing records and even toppled the one time unconquerable American Idol in the ratings. So it was no surprise that the DVD would be rushed to store shelves to further feed those still hungering for more of the greatest story ever

Fathom Features Star Trek: The Next Generation "The Best of Both Worlds"

We are about to get The Best of Both Worlds in more ways than one!
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Being in a movie theatre is usually great. Watching Star Trek: The Next Generation is usually great. It has been more than ten years since we saw the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation in a theatre, and unfortunately Star Trek: Nemesis was not so great. Now, fans are about to get "The Best of Both Worlds" in more ways than one. Fathom Events and CBS Home Entertainment are reuniting to celebrate the iconic series Star Trek: The Next Generation in a special one-night, big-screen event on Thursday, April 25th at 7:00 PM (local time) in select cinemas nationwide.

Oz the Great and Powerful Movie Review: Wait for the DVD

The prequel offers further proof that there's no place like home.
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So why would Disney release Oz the Great and Powerful, a prequel to one of the most beloved films of all time, which has Summer or Christmas blockbuster written all over it, in March? Could it be because the film is so dark and heavy that after investing 130 minutes you'll feel like a house fell on you? Sigh; yeah, pretty much. As with The Wizard of Oz, Great and Powerful opens in black and white, which is pleasant and leads us to believe that the film will be filled with more memories. Whereas the story does contain fun references

Alice: The Complete Second Season: Alice Still Lives Here but the Writers Should Be Evicted

Few things from our past taste as good as we remember.
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Just in time for Christmas and less than four months after the release of Season One, Warner Archive delivers the second season of the adventures of Alice (Linda Lavin), Flo (Polly Holliday), Vera (Beth Howland), Mel, (Vic Tayback) and Tommy (Philip McKeon). Though Season One left much to be desired in the area of writing and directing, the characters and the chemistry between them combined with the sweet spot following All In the Family in the CBS lineup were more than enough to keep the gang at Mel’s Diner cooking. Little has changed in the lives of our friends at

Sampling The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection: Curious Selections

What is rare is not funny and what is funny is not rare.
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There is no question that The Carol Burnett Show is iconic and arguably one of the best variety shows in the history of television. With Time Life unveiling The Ultimate Collection featuring 50 episodes, which were apparently hand-picked by Burnett herself, on 22 DVDs packed with bonus material, now would seem to be a good time to look back, and Time Life was kind enough to provide the first disc in the set for review to facilitate said trip down memory lane. The disc contains three episodes with rare and funny moments from this wonderful series. The problem is that

Ali: The Man, The Moves, The Mouth DVD Review: Pulls Too Many Punches

This new release is incomplete.
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Ali: The Man, The Moves, The Mouth is full of the same content we have seen in every other documentary on Ali. Nothing new here. There is no question that Muhammad Ali was the greatest fighter of the 20th century and his personality endeared him to a generation, but did we need another documentary on his career? Having Bert Sugar involved certainly makes this project more attractive, but relegating this legendary writer, sportscaster, and boxing historian to narrator rather than allowing him to regale the audience with insightful stories was a simple waste of resources. This latest release which became

Life Begins at Eight-Thirty DVD Review: Entertaining and Educational

A wonderful example of why less is more.
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In Life Begins at Eight-Thirty, which references the time the curtain goes up on Broadway, Ida Lupino plays Kathy, a young woman who lives in a small apartment with her formerly celebrated actor/now down-on-his-luck alcoholic father (Monty Woolley). Though hardly noticeable through much of the film, Kathy was injured at a young age and has a brace on her leg. Kathy strives to help her father get back on her feet, at the expense of her own life. When Kathy meets Robert (Cornel Wilde), a composer who lives in the same building, and her father is offered a lead role

Trek Nation Movie Review: The Search for Dad

Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry Jr. goes where many have gone before.
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In attempt to find out more about the father he lost at 17 and the science-fiction empire he built, Rod Roddenberry, son of legendary Gene Roddenberry creator of Star Trek, visits people and places associated with Star Trek in this 88-minute documentary. From the launch of this exploration, it is clear that this is an emotional journey for young Rod, and he is certainly open with the emotions and feeling he had as a teenager and has now. His transparency yields multiple reactions from the audience, some of which are not good. He often comes off as aloof, as if

Dangerous Years Movie Review: Bad Boys in a Bad Movie

Marilyn Monroe can serve me a malt anytime, but I don't think I could watch this film again.
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Made available on June 20th 2012 as part of the Twentieth Century Fox Cinema Archives made-on-demand program, this 63-minute film is full of overly stoic, one-dimensional performances and heavy-handed storytelling, yet manages to be endearing due to its quaint depiction of a more simple time. Jeff Carter (Donald Curtis) is set on keeping the local teenagers on the right track by running a Boys Club in Middleton USA. Things seem to be going well until Danny Jones (Billy Halop) starts working at the local malt shop, The Gopher Hole. Danny starts teaching some of the guys how to play poker

Alice: The Complete First Season DVD Review: Three Broke Girls in Search of a Voice

She may not live here anymore, but were glad she's back for a visit.
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Thirty-five years before there were Two Broke Girls working as waitresses, there were three broke girls in Vera (Beth Howland), Flo (Polly Holliday), and Alice, played with an energy rarely seen on the small screen, by Linda Lavin. All three were making a living working at Mel’s Diner in Phoenix Arizona. Alice and the majority of her co-workers were around for nine years and 222 episodes. Inspired by Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, director Martin Scorsese's popular film of 1974, Alice comes to the small screen as a recently widowed mother of one son, who decides to move home to

Cinema Summary: My Summer Movies of 2012, Part 1

The "S" in "Summer Blockbuster" stands for "suckfest" this year.
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The season opened solidly on May 4th with the debut of the much anticipated Avengers. Directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers is all that it should be. Perhaps not all that it could be, but it gives the audience exactly what it wants and leaves it wanting more. Whedon excels visually as he knows how to milk the most from a scene simply by showing our heroes together. In a story that is simple enough for the youngest of fans to get, yet contains enough depth to keep most adults interested, Thor's brother Loki brings an army of aliens to

The Ultimate Marvel Marathon: 15 Marvelous Hours of Movies

One epic day spent in a movie theater.
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Yes, sitting through six movies over the course of 15 hours could be considered crazy by many people, yet there were many crazy people doing just that as Marvel, Paramount, and theatres throughout the country, presented all five of the superhero films that preceded The Avengers, which then premiered at 12:01 a.m. on May 4th. With lanyards being issued upon entering the theatre, Avengers-themed 3D Glasses handed out, and the marathon held together with big-screen introductions to each film by S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Nick Coulson (Clark Gregg), the day became an Avenger event, where the audience is made to feel like

The Incredible Hulk (2008) Movie Review: Credible At Best

Perhaps better than previous theatrical efforts, this Hulk is still lacking in many areas.
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In the opening credits we are filled in on the events that lead Dr. Bruce Banner to be hiding in Brazil exploring techniques to control his temper.  For those familiar with the story, this is an adequate way to provide the information, but those new to the Hulk may be left confused before the film ever gets started. From there, director Louis Leterrier delivers 112 minutes of loud action that will go well with a bucket of popcorn or snack of your choosing. That may be enough for some, but those looking for more will be disappointed.  The talented cast

Sergeant Deadhead DVD Review: All Involved Should Be Sent to Leavenworth

The quality of porn without the nudity and sex.
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Look, no one is going to confuse Frankie Avalon with an Academy Award-winning thespian, but he appeared in some fine films including The Alamo, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and of course Grease. The many beach-themed films may have been nothing more than brain candy, but Frankie and Annette made for an enjoyable Saturday night at the local drive-in. So how is it possible that our dear friend Mr. Avalon could have been surrounded by a supporting cast of comedic all-stars the likes of Eve Arden, Gale Gordon, Harvey Lembeck and the legendary Buster Keaton, and still ended

The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride DVD Review: Simba Can't Be Proud of This

It simply does not live up to the original on many levels.
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Released straight to video in 1998, the new Blu-Ray combo pack hit store shelves on Mar. 6th 2012. Expectations should never run high for a film not deemed worthy of theatrical release, and though this did play in European theatres, there is not enough here to warrant a trip to the local movie house. Simba and Nala have a daughter, Kiara (Neve Campbell) who, like her father wants to explore. She does and runs into Kovu (Jason Marsden) who is growing up within the pride still loyal to Scar and living in the badlands. That’s all you really need to

The Lion King 1 1/2 Special Edition Combo Pack Review: One Movie, Less Than 1/2 a Story

Overly contrived scenes with little payoff from a humor perspective.
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The Lion King 1 1/2 Special Edition Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack hit store shelves on March 6th and was advertised as a retelling of Simba's quest to follow his father’s legacy by Timon and Pumba. What was actually delivered to the stores is more of a 75-minute long shiny toy to hold up in front of children in hopes of distracting them for a while. The film contains fun songs, colorful scenes, and plenty of cute animals, but there is nothing that remotely resembles a story. The production certainly benefits from incredible vocal talent including Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Julie Kavner,

The Quatermass Xperiment (AKA The Creeping Unknown) DVD Review: Too Slow to Bother with

Often referred to as a cult classic. Not sure why.
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Based upon the 1953 BBC television serial The Quatermass Experiment (The title was changed to The Quatermass Xperiment to market the X Certificate rating received from British Board of Film Censors), this movie was produced in 1955 by the British production company Hammer films, and would later be released in the United States as The Creeping Unknown. Written by Richard Landau and director Val Guest based on the original story by Nigel Kneale, it is a condensed version of the television serial and tells the tale of Victor Carroon, an astronaut who blasts off into space as a member of

The Captains DVD Review: William Shatner Logs Interviews with Peers

A Must-Have for Any Trek Fan.
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William Shatner has written and directed this compilation of interviews and brief glimpses into the lives of the six actors, of which he is one, who have served as captains in their own franchise of Star Trek. The list includes Shatner from the original series, Patrick Stewart from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Avery Brooks from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Kate Mulgrew from Star Trek: Voyager, Scott Bakula from Star Trek: Enterprise, and Chris Pine from the most recent motion picture. As the documentary ends, one can't help but realize that the line between an incomplete piece and simply
Take the Karate Kid Part II, replace the karate with cars, and you have The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Now that may sound like a bubblegum movie (not life-impacting, but good while it lasts, then spit it out, and move on), and it is. That's okay, because it knows it, and it works. This film is not out to fool anyone, nor is it out to win any awards. It's fast cars, fast driving, big crashes, a pounding soundtrack, and beautiful women. Grab some popcorn, and enjoy the ride. Not having seen the first two installments will not

Yogi Bear DVD Review: This Movie is No Picnic

Not a bad for the very young, but the classic cartoon would be a better choice.
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For Dan Aykroyd to be the worst part of any movie, the rest of the film must be pretty good. It would be easy for someone to think that. Unfortunately though adding Aykroyd to any menu should yield fulfillment, Yogi Bear is no picnic. The new Yogi adventure from Warner Brothers, which hit store shelves on March 22nd in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, actually does generate some laughs, but it is simply lacking too many key components to be a success. One key element to a movie with the title Yogi Bear, would be Yogi! Unfortunately we get far too

4192: The Crowning of The Hit King DVD Review: A Solid Hit But Not a Home Run

A good albeit incomplete story.
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This 90-minute documentary on the career of Pete Rose, which was released on February 22nd 2011 by Rivercoast Films, is certainly a well-told story. Unfortunately it may have been a no-win situation for the producers as this project is inevitably hindered by that which is untold, and ultimately leaves the audience feeling uncomfortable. One can tell from the start that this is going to be a classic tale told in a simple fashion that harkens back to the summer days spent playing the game that most of us grew up on, yet it is also clear from the start that

The Last Song Movie Review: It Should Have Never Been Sung

Please don't sing anything like this again.
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It's certainly difficult to write something that is sure to anger pubescent girls throughout the world, but this Last Song should have never been sung.So trite and one-dimensional in storytelling and performances is The Last Song, a 107-minute outing from Offspring Entertainment and Touchstone Pictures, one might think it is a cheeseball teen flick from the eighties. Unfortunately there are no laughs here, no fun, no depth, and no enjoyment.In a screenplay from Nicholas Sparks & Jeff Van Wie, based on the novel by Sparks, we meet seventeen-year-old Ronnie (Miley Cyrus), who is being forced to spend the summer

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