Tag: Beau Bridges

Review: ‘Max Payne’ DVD

The Movie
Video game adaptations have a sordid history with most entries being somewhere between mediocre (Resident Evil, Silent Hill) and horrific (House of the Dead,Street Fighter, the other Resident Evils). Max Payne doesn’t break the mold, but it isn’t terrible either. My initial impressions of the movie, which caused me to skip it in the theater, were that the supernatural elements were going to be bizarre and they were likely to abuse the slow-motion action that was used in the game. I was wrong on both counts, however I think the marketing campaign gave me every reason to believe those two things. The supernatural tidbits shown in the trailers have a proper context and are not within the reality of the film. This is a minor spoiler but I think it was standing in the way of people actually watching the film, so I felt it was necessary to let it out of the bag. As for the slow-motion action it was not abused and the majority of the action sequences were shot straight forward with some stylistic touches. So with those perceived problems behind me I was able to move on and enjoy the film.

The story follows Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) who is a burnt out detective who only works on dead end cases since his wife and child were murdered. He spends his free time continuing to run leads on the long closed cases as he burns all the relationships around him. Max eventually stumbles back onto the right trail and action mixed with wild hallucinations ensues. It’s a fairly basic premise, but what did you expect?

Max Payne has some decent actors featured in most of the pivotal roles including Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges, Chris O’Donnell, Donal Logue and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. Few of the characters were well developed, but having good actors helped fill in some of the gaps, although Mila Kunis was underutilized and her character comes across as a token “hot helpful female.” I also would have given Donal Logue a beefier part since he seems to maximize the supporting roles he is given regardless of genre.

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The strength of the film is in the effects which were solid throughout; my only regret is that the film was made to get a PG-13 when the subject matter and style would have been better suited for an R rated movie. In a few action sequences you can almost see the editors touch keeping the violence at bay, and ultimately the film suffers for it. However, few directors have tried harder to make the shotgun more impressive on film. I was tempted to hunt down a pump action shotgun myself after watching the movie before it was replaced again with the desire to own a Desert Eagle (point five oh) from the movie Snatch.

Special Features
The DVD features both the Theatrical release and the Director’s Cut. There isn’t much of a difference other than blood spray, but it does improve the action scenes a bit. The features and commentary are primarily focused on the director’s vision of making a futuristic noir, and having the full effects team on the commentary is very illuminating. There is also a short comic adaptation feature to further develop the backstory. Just be careful watching the features with family because the director, John Moore, is more vulgar than you can imagine. It makes you wonder why he gravitates toward PG-13 fare.

The two-disc edition comes with a digital copy if you had the desire to watch the film on your iPod or computer. I would not recommend this for the first time viewing though.

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Audio
I am still in love with my new Surround Sound system so I might be biased, but I loved the audio experience during the movie. They added the “heartbeat” sound for the action scenes just like in the game, and the immersive sound effects heightened the drama better than the visual cues in my mind.

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Single Disc DVD Specs:

MAX PAYNE single-disc DVD will be presented in widescreen format (2.35:1 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish & French Dolby Surround plus English and Spanish subtitles. Bonus features include:

* Both the Theatrical Version and Unrated Extended Cut of the film
* Commentary with Director John Moore, Production Designer Daniel Dorrance and Visual Effects Supervisor Everett Burrell

Special Edition DVD Specs:

MAX PAYNE Special Edition DVD will be presented in widescreen format (2.35:1 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish & French Dolby Surround plus English and Spanish subtitles. Bonus features include:

* Both the Theatrical Version and Unrated Extended Cut of the film
* Commentary with Director John Moore, Production Designer Daniel Dorrance and Visual Effects Supervisor Everett Burrell
* Picture production featurette – Part 1
* Michelle Payne animated graphic novel
* Max Payne Unrated Digital Copy for portable media players

Max Payne: The Full Trailer

Last Thursday the first full trailer for Max Payne hit the web and you can choose your flavor below:

Based on the video game of the same name, Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) is a cop seeking to avenge the murder of his family and partner.  John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines) directs this journey into the depths of the underworld and beyond the natural world.

Max Payne is set for release on October 17th.

For more info on movies premiering this fall check out the Pop Culture Zoo Fall Movie Preview Podcast!

SDCC 08: The Stargate Panels

First up for Stargate fans on Friday morning was the “Continuum” panel. “Present at the panel were Brad Wright, Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Martin Wood, Michael Shanks, Ben Browder, Christopher Judge and Beau Bridges. The highlight of the panel was a moving video montage to the fallen general, Don S. Davis. It was evident that Davis was very much missed by the cast and crew of the show and the video was a very touching tribute to a very wonderful man. The big news of the panel was from Executive Producer Brad Wright, who announced that MGM has given the word to start on a story for next SG-1 movie. He added to this elation by revealing that a new spin-off series Stargate Universe is nearly a done deal. The rest of the panel was devoted to answering fan questions and also the very funny antics of Richard Dean Anderson. Anderson was very happy to be up in front of a Stargate crowd once again. Don’t forget to check out our coverage the the “Stargate Continuum” premiere by clicking here and check back Tuesday for our review of the DVD.

Next was the Stargate Worlds panel. We’ll have more about the upcoming MMORPG tomorrow as we’re getting a preview of the game with the developers where we’ll be able to get a lot more details. From the demo footage that was shown, it looks to be shaping up into a terrific game. One thing of note is that while the developers certainly plan on feeding off of characters and situations from the TV series, the producers of the show would also like events that are triggered in the game to pay off in episodes and/or DVD movies.

Lastly was the Stargate Atlantis panel. Taking the stage were Martin Gero, Jewel Staite, Robert Picardo, Joe Flanigan and Brad Wright. After the promotional reel for the new season of the show, the panel mainly consisted of a Question and Answer session. Jewel Staite revealed that her character, Dr. Keller will choose between Ronan and McKay as far as a steady love interest in an upcoming interest. Also, Robert Picardo talked about the possibility of his character, Woolsey, softening up a little during the course of the first few episodes of the fifth season. We were able to talk further about these two points with both of the actors after the panel as well have a chat with Joe Flanigan. Look for these conversations in the next few days. Also talked about was the fact that Atlantis has a lot of life left in it and won’t be going away anytime soon.

That’s all the big Stargate news out of San Diego. As mentioned, stayed tuned for our conversations with the Atlantis cast that were here as well as our interviews with Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne about their new show Sanctuary. Thanks to Bob Alpi for his assistance on this story.