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New out on DVD/Blu-ray this week

New out on DVD/Blu-ray for Tuesday July 30.

     G.I. Joe: Retaliation

The G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence.

I didn't really have high expectations where this film was concerned, but I will say that this sequel is definitely an improvement over 2009's lame brained G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. You have to keep in mind that this is, after all, a film based on a Hasbro toy line of action figures and a popular series of comic books and cartoons from the 80s. 

The cast includes the likes of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki, D.J. Cotrona, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson, Elodie Yung, and Byung-hun Lee.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a pretty silly and dumb movie if you actually stop to think about it, and it clearly wears its U.S. patriotism and love of guns proudly on its sleeve by providing a cacophony of noisy explosions and gun battles throughout. But then again, I wasn't expecting much beyond just some mindless and cartoonish fun and action which this film delivers in spades. This movie plays perfectly in the wheelhouse for fans of this genre and I think that anyone who enjoyed the first film will no doubt be satisfied by this superior sequel.

Hey, if nothing else it made me reminisce a little about my childhood when I actually played with the action figures and read the comic books, and it provided me with some entertaining fun and excitement. What more can you ask from a movie like this?

Also out in this very light week of releases is the gothic horror film The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, the Australian sci-fi horror movie called Crawlspace, the animated DC superhero film Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and the 1st season of the Cinemax series Banshee.

     Blast From the Past

Since the only big release this week is G.I. Joe: Retaliation, I thought I would spotlight a few films that featured some of the big stars of that movie. Here are 5 films that you should definitely seek out if you haven't already.

Nobody's Fool (1994) - Even though Bruce Willis isn't the main star of the film - that honour goes to the incredible legend Paul Newman - he still has a decent role in this wonderful and heartfelt drama. Newman's brilliant performance in this small, character driven piece earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. He plays a heavy drinking, surly old man who marches to the beat of his own drum, and other than doing some freelance construction work for a local builder (Willis), he generally likes to avoid responsibility, which includes his estranged son who has just shown up out of the blue. Nobody's Fool is just an excellent slice of life movie with realistic characters and situations that everyone can relate to, and it contains a fair bit of humour in it as well. In addition to Newman and Willis, the stellar cast includes Melanie Griffith, Dylan Walsh, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jessica Tandy and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Seek out this wonderful gem of a film.

Ronin (1998) - I chose this fabulous action film not just because it features Jonathan Pryce, who played the president in G.I. Joe, but mainly because it's a kick-ass film. Starring Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård and Sean Bean, this excellent crime thriller features a group of former special forces and intelligence agents who team up to steal a mysterious, heavily guarded case while navigating a maze of shifting loyalties and alliances. There are plenty of double dealings and double crosses throughout the film as well as some amazing action sequences and incredible car chases. Ronin was written by the brilliant David Mamet (who strangely used the pseudonym Richard Weisz), and directed by the late, great John Frankenheimer. If you want to experience what an amazing director Frankenheimer was, I urge you to check out some of the films he did in the 60s such as Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May and The Train. I recommend all of them highly. Ronin is well worth checking out also. It's a very solid action film.

Stop-Loss (2008) - I had to find something worthy with Channing Tatum in it that wasn't a comedy (the hilarious 21 Jump Street), so this one made the cut. Stop-Loss is actually a fairly solid and powerful drama starring Ryan Phillippe as a young soldier who has just returned from Iraq and just when he thinks he's fulfilled his duty, he's ordered back to Iraq. He refuses to comply and goes AWOL, becoming a deserter. The film also stars Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Abbie Cornish in what amounts to some of their best work. The film really shows the traumatic after effects of war and what these poor young men must endure not only during combat but in their daily lives after they've come home. Director Kimberly Peirce followed up her Oscar winning film Boys Don't Cry with this emotionally charged indictment of the U.S. military system. It's worth a look.

Faster (2010) - You're probably wondering why I didn't choose the obvious Dwayne Johnson vehicle, The Rundown, which is still arguably his best action movie not named Fast and Furious. Well, that's just it - it's obvious, and chances are that everyone has seen it already, so I went with a lesser known and highly underrated action flick he did a few years ago. The Rock plays an ex-con named Driver who is out to avenge the murder of his brother. He has a list of who he needs to kill and he goes about his business with punishing ferocity all while being hunted by a cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and a strange hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Faster is a hard hitting and violent film and it truly showcases Johnson's ability to kick ass and take names. It's not going to win any awards and I'm not saying that it's great or anything, but it is a fun and gritty action film that is pretty effective. If you want to see some rated R "Rock", check out Faster.

I Saw the Devil (2011) - I am going to warn people right now that this is definitely not a film for everyone. This Korean thriller is a sick, twisted, brutally violent film that is sure to shock some and repulse others. I don't want to reveal a lot about the plot other than to say that it is about a secret service agent's (Byung-hun Lee who played Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe) determined hunt for a notorious serial killer (Oldboy's Min-sik Choi). It is filled with loads of tension and suspense and I was absolutely riveted from start to finish, in between my gasps of shock and horror of course. This amazing film was directed by Kim Ji-Woon, who recently made The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he does a fabulous job of creating easily the best serial killer thriller that I have seen in years. If you are not squeamish at all then you have to seek out I Saw the Devil. *Shudder*

New out on DVD/Blu-ray is brought to you by Leo's Videos, 2680 Pandosy St. (250) 861-8437

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About the Author

Just to give you a little background on my qualifications, I've been a film buff my whole life and I enjoy all different genres.

I especially have a passion for classic cinema.

I spent most of the past 17 years working for Rogers Video, so not only have I seen an immense amount of movies, but I've recommended many films to people over the years.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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