Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

1. Gravity* (Warner Bros.)

2. Homefront* (Universal)

3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate)

4. 12 Years a Slave* (20th Century Fox)

5. Out of the Furnace* (20th Century Fox)

6. Thor: The Dark World (Disney)

7. Hours (Lionsgate)

8. Pulling Strings (Lionsgate)

9. Escape Plan (Summit/Lionsgate)

10. The Counselor (20th Century Fox)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate)

2. Gravity* (Warner Bros.)

3. Thor: The Dark World (Disney)

4. 12 Years a Slave* (20th Century Fox)

5. Hours (Lionsgate)

6. Escape Plan (Summit/Lionsgate)

7. Oldboy (Sony)

8. Dallas Buyers Club (Universal)

9. The Counselor (20th Century Fox)

10. Pulling Strings (Lionsgate)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Gravity* (Warner Bros.)

2. Thor: The Dark World (Disney)

3. The Counselor* (20th Century Fox)

4. Escape Plan (Summit/Lionsgate)

5. Pulling Strings (Lionsgate)

6. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Paramount)

7. The Best Man Holiday (Universal)

8. Captain Phillips (Sony)

9. About Time (Universal)

10. Dallas Buyers Club (Universal)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Escape Plan (Summit/Lionsgate)

2. The Counselor (20th Century Fox)

3. The Best Man Holiday* (Universal)

4. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Paramount)

5. Captain Phillips (Sony)

6. About Time* (Universal)

7. Ender's Game (Summit/Lionsgate)

8. Dallas Buyers Club* (Universal)

9. Free Birds (20th Century Fox)

10. Last Vegas (Sony)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Escape Plan (Summit/Lionsgate)

2. Ender's Game (Summit/Lionsgate)

3. The Best Man Holiday* (Universal)

4. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Paramount)

5. The Counselor (20th Century Fox)

6. About Time (Universal)

7. Captain Phillips (Sony)

8. Last Vegas (Sony)

9. Dallas Buyers Club* (Universal)

10. Riddick (Universal)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Escape Plan (Summit/Lionsgate)

2. Free Birds* (20th Century Fox)

3. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Paramount)

4. Last Vegas (Sony)

5. Captain Phillips (Sony)

6. Dallas Buyers Club* (Universal)

7. About Time (Universal)

8. Instructions Not Included (Lionsgate)

9. Lee Daniels' The Butler (Weinstein/Anchor Bay)

10. Baggage Claim* (20th Century Fox)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

At long last, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up for a movie together in which they both play big parts. Yes, they have been in The Expendables films together, but Arnie has only done guest spots.

Escape Plan has Sly playing a security expert who escapes from prisons for a living. Things go bad when he gets buried in a maximum-security prison—and the folks who put him there plan to keep him locked up. Arnie plays a prisoner who befriends Sly on the inside, and they together look for a way to get out of a seemingly inescapable place.

Stallone is good here, and I haven’t enjoyed Arnie this much since well before he became governor. Arnold has one scene in which he raves to the warden about God in German. It turns out the warden is played by Jim Caviezel, who did, in fact, play Jesus for Mel Gibson, which makes the scene extra insane.

Escape Plan is junky fun, and it will make fans giddy. Yes, Stallone and Schwarzenegger are getting old, but they look great and have a lot of life in them. This bombed in the U.S., but did OK overseas, where the two aging stars appear to still have a little box-office clout.

Special Features: A commentary with the writer and director, deleted scenes and some behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

Don’t care to watch millionaire meatbags throw a Stewie-shaped sportball around between 500 pricey commercials during many over-analyzed hours on end this weekend? Or is that just The Only TV Column That Matters™?

If you’re looking for an alternative to Super Bowl 48 (it’s the 21st century—ditch the damned Roman numerals already), options are limited. Even HBO blinked, opting to pull the premium shows you pay extra to see instead of going up against America’s Favorite Timesuck, on Sunday, Feb. 2.

While you’re waiting for the much-hyped post-game new episodes of New Girl (with Prince!) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (with Fred Armisen … really?) on Fox, here are 16 other TV choices for Super Bowl Sunday:

Shameless, House of Lies, Episodes (Showtime): Unlike HBO, Showtime isn’t afraid of The Bowl—fresh episodes (and Episodes) all around!

Downton Abbey, Sherlock (PBS): The Brits don’t care about what ’Mericans refer to as “football,” as PBS is steadfastly presenting a new episode of Downton Abbey, and the Season 3 finale of Sherlock. Or maybe they just assume that you downloaded them months ago.

Puppy Bowl X (Animal Planet): Since the Lingerie Bowl is dead (or has gone legit—same diff), the Puppy Bowl is TV’s most-infamous counter-programming to the Super Bowl. It’s still just a pile of mutts playing in a toy stadium for hours, which has spawned knockoffs like …

The Kitten Bowl (Hallmark): Obviously. What the hell took so long? If you weren’t so preoccupied with wasting airtime on Bigfoots and tree houses, Animal Planet, you wouldn’t have gotten pwned by, of all channels, Hallmark.

The Fish Bowl (Nat Geo Wild): Literally, four hours of a fish bowl. This is the kind of programming that layoff-ridden daily newspapers actually pay to send reporters to cover at the Television Critics Association’s bi-annual press tour. Just sayin’.

The Walking Dead Marathon (AMC): It’s not so much a straight-up marathon as a “Zombie Bowl” (hey, that’s what AMC is calling it) featuring cherry-picked episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 that specifically include “every Humans vs. Walkers moment.” That sounds like the same way I fast-forward through the dull parts of entire TWD seasons.

Crazy Hearts: Nashville Marathon (A&E): Eight hours of A&E’s unofficial answer to “Think we can’t come up with an even more idiotic, contrived ‘reality’ show than Duck Dynasty? With worse music? Game on!”

Top of the Lake Marathon (Sundance): In this acclaimed seven-part mystery miniseries from 2013, Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) plays a troubled detective investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl. Yes, another feel-good romp from the Sundance Channel!

Swamp People Marathon (History): In a word, swamptastic.

Wives With Knives Marathon (ID): In a word, stabtastic.

Snapped Marathon (Oxygen): Wait for it … snaptastic!

Twilight Marathon (FX): Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse—back-to-back-to-back! After six hours, you’ll have to answer honestly: Is it football you hate … or just yourself?

The Tudors Marathon (BBC America): The sweeping, sexy series tells the tale of King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and the many, many, many women who try to come between him and his reign. And his pantaloons. Minus most of the original Showtime nudity, but still historical-ish.

Cops Marathon (Spike): Don’t most episodes of Cops feature a Super Bowl Sunday domestic violence call? Sooo meta.

Smart Guy Marathon (MTV2): Smart Guy was a 1997-1999 WB network sitcom about a kid (Tahj Mowry) who skipped from fourth grade to 10th grade. Related, MTV2 used to be an edgy, music-centric channel that’s managed to become even more embarrassing than MTV.

Sex Sent Me to the ER Marathon (TLC): Broken boners, two-hour orgasms, headboard traumas, tree-related incidents and more true stories re-en(over)acted. Genius. If this could somehow be combined with the Kitten Bowl, the NFL would be out of business.


About Time

After a father (Bill Nighy) informs his son (Domhnall Gleeson) that he can time travel, the son, of course, uses the power to trick a woman (Rachel McAdams) into falling in love with him. And, yeah, enslave the planet, because why not? (Universal)

Android Cop

A future cop (Michael Jai White) and his android partner attempt to stop a mysterious disease from spreading in The Zone, a rundown city that’s nothing like the rundown cities in Robocop, Judge Dredd, Robocop 2, Robocop 3, etc. (Asylum)

Escape Plan

An engineer (Sylvester Stallone) and a con (Arnold Schwarzenegger) must escape a secret, high-tech prison called “The Tomb” in time for Stallone to box Robert De Niro in Grudge Match, and for both of them to hobble through Expendables 3. (Summit/Lionsgate)

The Wedding Pact

BFFs Mitch (Chris Soldevilla) and Elizabeth (Haylie Duff) promise to marry each other if they’re both single 10 years after college. A decade later, he tracks her down and disappointedly learns that she is, in fact, not Hilary Duff. (Phase 4)

The White Queen

The BBC/Starz series that proved women lust for power as much as men; Belgium passes for England; and you can’t rip-off Game of Thrones or The Tudors without a budget. One historical accuracy: The Queen is very white. (AnchorBay)

More New DVD Releases (Feb. 4)

Baggage Claim, Banshee Chapter, A Case of You, Dallas Buyers Club, Dark Tourist, The Divorce, Family Matters: Season 4, Finding Normal, Free Birds, From Above, House of Versace, The Lady Vanishes, Nuit #1, Patterns of Attraction, Romeo and Juliet, Waterwalk, Wings.

Published in TV

At long last, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have teamed up in a movie in which they both play big parts. (Yes, they have been in the Expendables films together, but Arnie has only done guest spots in those.)

Escape Plan has Sly playing a security authority who escapes from prisons for a living. Things go bad when he gets buried in a maximum-security prison—and the folks who put him there plan to keep him locked up.

Arnie plays a prisoner who befriends Sly on the inside, and they both look for a way to get out of a seemingly inescapable place. Stallone is good here, and I haven’t enjoyed Arnie this much since his films before he became governor of this great state.

Arnold has one scene in which he raves about God in German—and he’s raving to the warden. It turns out the warden is played by Jim Caviezel, who did, in fact, play Jesus for Mel Gibson, which makes the scene extra-insane.

This is junky fun, but it will make fans giddy. Yes, Sly and Arnie are getting old, but they look great and still have a lot of life in them. 

Escape Plan is playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

This coming fall/holiday movie season is loaded, so here is a mere sampling of the rest of this movie year—and, man, does it look promising. The summer was a bit of a slog, but we’re looking at a major cinematic rally for 2013.

Movies are listed in order of their announced release dates (which are always subject to change). There’s a lot cover, so here we go …


(Oct. 4): Sandra Bullock and George Clooney get lost in space for director Alfonso Cuarón. I feel like I’ve seen the whole damned thing already, because the marketing for this film has involved numerous clips in different previews. Stop! I want to be surprised! Early reviews are crazily enthusiastic, so here’s to it kicking some ass.

Runner Runner

(Oct. 4): Ben Affleck plays big a criminal asshole to Justin Timberlake’s just-sort-of-misguided asshole. The film involves online gambling and crocodiles, with the future Batman eventually squaring off against the guy who sings that absolutely adorable “Mirrors” song.

Captain Phillips

(Oct. 11): Director Paul Greengrass, master of the shaky cam, pairs with Tom Hanks, master of making us love him because he’s so freaking endearing, in this true story about Somali pirate peril on the high seas. The film promises many, many minutes of Hanks looking very anxious.

Machete Kills

(Oct. 11): I’m surprised Machete got a sequel, and I’m even more surprised that sequel got a theatrical release. Groovy.

Romeo and Juliet

(Oct. 11): Seventeen years after Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Daines, we are getting yet another adaptation of this tragic lubby-dubby story, with this one being of more traditional. Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit is in it, so I am intrigued. Trivia: Steinfeld was actually born in ’96, the year the DiCaprio version was released. You just learned something stupid and useless!

All Is Lost

(Oct. 18): Robert Redford, just like Tom Hanks, will experience peril on the high seas—sans pirates and, of course, sans Tom Hanks. If you like Redford, this is for you, because the film is all him.

Escape Plan

(Oct. 18): Sylvester Stallone stars as a guy who breaks out of prisons, and Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a dude sitting in prison. Thirty years ago, this would’ve been HUGE!

12 Years a Slave

(Oct. 18): Chiwetel Ejiofor—an actor whose face you know, although you probably can’t pronounce his name correctly—stars as a pre-Civil War free man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. This is already getting Oscar buzz.


(Oct. 18): Chloe Grace Moretz, she of Kick-Ass fame, stars in this retelling of the Stephen King high school nightmare. Something tells me they have no chance of re-creating anything close to the deranged John Travolta pig-slaughter scene from Brian De Palma’s original. Actually, they could probably get Travolta to do a cameo and re-create that scene himself. It seems he’ll do anything these days.

The Counselor

(Oct. 25): Ridley Scott directs Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a film written by Cormac McCarthy. That’s a solid pedigree.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

(Oct. 25): Johnny Knoxville does a whole film as his old-guy character. If the rest of the movie is half as funny as the scene in which the kid does a stripper dance to “Cherry Pie,” this will be a blast.

Diana and Grace of Monaco

(Nov. 1 and Nov. 27, respectively): I’m lumping these two together, because they both feature Aussie actresses playing princesses. Naomi Watts (pictured here) plays Diana, while Nicole Kidman is Princess Grace, aka former Hollywood starlet Grace Kelly. Watts should have at least two Oscars by now, so I’m hoping this will finally get her the recognition she deserves (although anybody will be hard-pressed to beat Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine this year).

Ender’s Game

(Nov. 1): People have been telling me to read this book for years. I never did. Now it’s a movie with Harrison Ford in it. I’m still pretty sure I will never read this book.

Dallas Buyers Club

(Nov. 1): This is the year of the McConaughey, isn’t it? He participated in MudThe Wolf of Wall Street (more on that film shortly), and this promising-looking drama. As Ron Woodroof, a real-life man diagnosed with HIV, McConaughey lost near 40 pounds for the part.

Thor: The Dark World

(Nov. 8): Kenneth Branagh brought a Shakespearean goofiness to the first Thor movie. He has left the building, so now somebody else has to make an amusing movie with Chris Hemsworth in that getup—and without the aid of Iron Man or The Hulk.

The Wolf of Wall Street

(Nov. 15): Scorsese and DiCaprio team yet again for a raucous-looking take on financial misbehaving. Matthew McConaughey and Jonah Hill co-star. I have a feeling Hill would lose out in a supporting-actor Oscar campaign due to his demon-rape scene inThis Is the End.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

(Nov. 22): There’s another Hunger Games movie on the way. Joy.

Delivery Man

(Nov. 22): Vince Vaughn stars as a man who has fathered many children with donated sperm—and now they want to meet him. After the horror that was The Internship, I will throw soda at the screen if he says “Google” even once in this movie.


(Nov. 27): Spike Lee remakes one of the more twisted movies ever made. A remake of Oldboy seems like a preposterous notion to me, but it’s Spike Lee, so I’m curious.

Inside Llewyn Davis

(Dec. 6): If you aren’t impressed by the upcoming movie list thus far, this Coen Brothers movie about a folk singer should get you back on track. This also co-stars the guy who sings that adorable “Mirrors” song.

American Hustle

(Dec. 13): Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper all reunite with director David O. Russell for a ’70s period piece about con artists. This movie is essentially why Louis C.K., who also stars, canceled his show at the MGM Grand this year—a show for which I had tickets. It had better be good.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

(Dec. 13): I didn’t like the first Hobbit movie—not one bit. This one promises more dragon and less dwarves stuffing their faces and hitting themselves.

The Monuments Men

(Dec. 18): George Clooney directs and stars in this film about historians trying to recover works of art during World War II. It also stars Matt Damon and Bill “I Will Never Do Ghostbusters 3” Murray.


(Dec. 18): Spike Jonze is back with Joaquin Phoenix playing a dude who falls in love with a computer voice (Scarlett Johansson).

Saving Mr. Banks

(Dec. 20): More Tom Hanks! He plays Walt Disney this time. Brother is going to cancel himself out at the Oscars.


(Dec. 20): Steve Carell stars as murderer John du Pont. It doesn’t look like there is much to laugh at in this movie. It co-stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.

Anchorman 2

(Dec. 20): Will Ferrell needs a hit, and he’s going to get one with this long-delayed sequel. Steve Carell is here as Brick, going for laughs on the very same day his murder-guy film is being released. That’s crazy!

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

(Dec. 25): I’ve always championed Ben Stiller as being much more than the klutz in the Museum movies. As a director, he’s responsible for The Cable Guy and Tropic Thunder, two of the more-adventurous and better-looking comedies of the last 20 years. This one looks like he might be treading in Oscar territory.

Grudge Match

(Dec. 25): Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro play retired boxers getting back in the ring for one last fight. It’s kind of like Rocky vs. Jake LaMotta—and it can’t happen soon enough for me.

Published in Previews and Features