DVD reviews: 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' and 'Black Rock'
“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (2013, PG-13, 110 min., $30.99). Expectations were never too high for this sequel to 2009's “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra.” The good news — and the bad — is that the expectations were met. Directed by Jon M. Chu, off of a script from Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” offers up plenty of action within a storyline that's generally simple. Chu and company put most of their concentration into the action, and that pays off with some explosive sequences. The film kicks off with the G.I. Joe team being sent to the Middle East to quell a violent uprising in Pakistan. After completing their job, the group of soldiers is ambushed, and only three Joe members — Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) — survive. As they find their way back to the United States, they realize Cobra has taken over the government, and they're planning a war to end all wars. Roadblock, Lady Jaye and Flint get the call out for help, but it might be too late to slow down Cobra Commander and his henchmen. Consumers would be wise to pick up the Blu-ray set for “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” as standard DVDs are without any extras. Blu-ray packages are packed with a good collection of making-of featurettes, deleted scenes and commentary. Most of the fantastic action sequences are analyzed in the featurettes, one way or another. 2 Stars.
“Black Rock” (2012, R, 83 min., $19.98). If they're not known as stars on the FX comedy “The League,” Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass are tied to the mumblecore film genre. Existing mostly in the indie film arena, mumblecore is characterized by small budgets, amateur actors and naturalistic dialogue. With “Black Rock,” the husband-and-wife team change it up, heading into the thriller genre. Duplass penned the screenplay and Aselton directed and plays a main role. The film doesn't offer anything new to the genre and it doesn't say much. Notable performances from Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth and Jay Paulson lift “Black Rock,” but that's about the only elevation it gets. The film follows three female friends to a remote island for a little bonding and camping. As they explore the island, they come across three hunters — all war veterans — one of whom they know. They decide to hang out that night until one of the hunters is killed by one of the girls after trying to rape her. This sets off the two other veterans, and they decide to hunt these girls to avenge their war buddy. A making-of featurette kicks off the extras, and it's pretty good. Another featurette explores the film's score. Also available is audio commentary with Aselton and Bell. Fortunately, the extras can be had on Blu-ray and standard DVD. 2 Stars.
“Cloudburst” (2011, NR, 93 min., $24.95). Thom Fitzgerald wrote and directed this tender picture that proves no one's ever too old love. The picture follows Stella (Olympia Dukakis) and Dot (Brenda Fricker), two women in their ‘70s who escape from a nursing home in Maine and head toward Nova Scotia with the goal of getting married.
“Filly Brown” (2012, R, 80 min., $19.97). An accomplished cast — Gina Rodriguez, Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips — stars in this drama about a talented rap artist looking for her break in the music business. When she finally gets noticed, she suddenly has the chance to financially help her struggling family.
“War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State” (2013, NR, 66 min., $19.98). This timely documentary from talented filmmaker Robert Greenwald explores the complicated lives of whistleblowers, both governmental and corporate. In the process of trying to right a wrong, these journalists face some serious threats.
“The Demented” (2013, R, 92 min., $24.98). Director Christopher Roosevelt's sci-fi horror film has just about everything. Young adults off on a weekend getaway, terrorists and zombies all make up some part of the plot in “The Demented,” a picture that kicks off with biological warfare by terrorists, before becoming a zombie picture.
“House Party: Tonight's the Night” (2013, R, 95 min., $28.98)
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“The Bronte Sisters” (1979, NR, 120 min., $34.98)
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