Tag: max payne

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

DVDs With Dean: January 2009

January is traditionally a dumping ground for both late summer hits and bombs. This month is no different, with each week being jam packed with releases, many of which are not worth your time. Choose wisely.

January 6th

PICK OF THE WEEK: Battlestar Galactica – Season 4.0

Battlestar will always be my pick of the week, whether the release release is a season box set, movie or a set of Pez dispensers. By the time I rewatch this season, I will be foaming at the mouth waiting for the last episodes to drop starting on the 16th. The only strike against this release is that includes the movie Razor, which I bought on DVD when it was first released as any wild fan would have. Now I feel dumb and will have two copies.

 

– NEW RELEASES –

Pineapple Express (Two-Disc Unrated Edition + Digital Copy): I regret not getting to this in the theater, so I will make amends by grabbing the two-disc edition this week. Even if I don’t like the movie, I am interested in the features that the Apatow clan have been dreaming up. Features on this release highlight their many improvised scenes of dialogue and table reads. The behind-the-scenes views are getting better and better, and I love seeing a comedic troupe hammer out the funny.

Righteous Kill: Watch Heat instead. If you get tired of Heat 40 years from now, then you can sample this to refresh your love of the Michael Mann classic.

Bangkok Dangerous (Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy): I don’t know if I can get past Nicolas Cage’s hair in this. However, no matter how bad it looks I find myself enjoying most of Cage’s movies. I even own Next.

Babylon A.D. (Two-Disc Special Edition): I keep rooting for Vin Diesel’s return to glory and now I have to start thinking about whether or not I still want him back. I thought he might be the heir apparent to Action Deity Sylvester Stallone, but the last few Diesel’s films have beaten me about the face.

The Alphabet Killer: Straight to DVD and straight to my Netflix queue for this cheapish looking thriller starring Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes and Timothy Hutton. I don’t expect to be amazed, but I look forward to zipping through this on a late night. I can’t tell if I am a sucker for thrillers, Eliza Dushku or Cary Elwes. No… it’s Cary Elwes hands down.

Disaster Movie: I am filled with sadness each time one of these things is made.

The Wackness: An Olsen twin makes out with Sir Ben Kingsley? Ok, I’m intrigued, but not enough to buy it. Although, the film did make enough money to allow the inclusion of a few featurettes for all you indie fans. I just wish Sir Kingsley showed up on the commentary.

 

January 13th

width=PICK OF THE WEEK: Appaloosa

Ed Harris is a good director (Pollock) who may someday draw comparisons to Clint Eastwood. As he walks down a similar path, I must see his foray into the dramatic western. It also helps to have him joined on screen by Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger. This also gets the pick of the week because Ed Harris provides us with a commentary that will surely be enlightening and entertaining, not to mention four featurettes of typical ‘behind the scenes’ material.

 

– NEW RELEASES –

Mirrors: My first guess at viewing the trailer for this film was that it was cashing in on the latest craze of Asian-style horror flicks. Lo and behold, it is indeed a remake of a South Korean horror film. While Hollywood’s mining of genre of horror has been hit or miss, I think I’ll give Kiefer Sutherland a chance. I just hope they don’t screw up the ending, a trait that has been really aggravating in recent American adaptations of Asian horror films.

My Best Friend’s Girl: I enjoy Dane Cook’s comedy but he seems to struggle onscreen. My advice is that he sticks to well-crafted side characters instead of lead roles. If I got around to seeing this film, it would probably only be to see Alec Baldwin’s performance.

Swing Vote: This smells like a silly political commentary to feed on our rabid hunger for punditry around election time. I hope its lack of sales keep this from happening again. Kevin Costner should know better.

Family That Preys: Tyler Perry (Diary of a Mad Black Woman) releases another touching family drama, although this time he treads into bi-racial waters. The cast is pretty stacked with character actors (Kathy Bates, Alfre Woodward, Cole Hauser, Sanaa Lathan) and he definitely has proven that he knows how to create entertaining and impacting drama. I would recommend this film as at least a rental based on its pedigree.

– TV & RE ISSUES –

Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business Of America: This PBS miniseries will air on TV around the same time, but you can grab the DVD series with additional footage today. It traces American comedy back to its roots and features all the names you would expect, from Dick Van Dyke to George Carlin. It is also hosted by Billy Crystal and narrated by Amy Sedaris. I will probably watch it on TV but if I like the series it will likely wind up on my shelf.

Little Britain USA (HBO series): I haven’t seen any of it, but it has a cult following and those of you in the cult can buy it on the 13th.

Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Funny Face Centennial Collection: Audrey Hepburn gets some love as Paramount releases two of her classics yet again on DVD. The features are rather extensive and I would file this away in your mind under good gift ideas for Mother’s Day.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (Deluxe Edition): Valentines Day alert. Hugh Grant strikes again with a re-issue of his 1994 classic. It looks like they skimped on special features but you get a new cover and a bargain price.

Metallica Collectors Box Set: Metallica again delves into the documentary realm with this mixed bag of Metallica goodness. This ‘Collectors Box Set’ features live performances including the band’s set at Woodstock, an interview with the terribly unappreciated Jason Newstead (I’ll buy their stuff again if he comes back) on why he left the band, and some booklets featuring more interviews and pictures. This is a limited edition set, so grab one for any Metallica fan in case it goes out of print quickly.

Supercop: Supercop is an underrated Jackie Chan classic which will eventually find its way into my house so I can throw away my faded VHS copy.

 

January 20th

width=PICK OF THE WEEK: Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger (Three-Disc Collector’s Edition): I’m not a huge Chris Rock fan but the choices this week make this release of his HBO special look amazing. The three-disc edition features complete shows from London and New York as well as the HBO version which spliced them together with a third act from Africa. We also get more behind the scenes access and interviews with Rock himself.

 

 

– NEW RELEASES –

City of Ember: I was interested in seeing this film, but this DVD is the definition of bare bones. This thing comes with fewer features than most first generation DVD’s. You know, the ones that touted their special features as including interactive menus.

Max Payne: This has potential as a low-expectations action flick. It’s also nice to see Mila Kunis’ comeback continue after Forgetting Sarah Marshall. There is a two-disc edition available, but it is really just for a digital copy of the film, so only buy that if you intend on adding some Payne to your iPod.

Repo! The Genetic Opera: This freaky rock opera has cult classic written all over it. Even if it is terrible it will probably be ridiculously funny enough to be worth your money. I almost made this the pick of the week, but I thought that would be odd since I know virtually nothing about it. If you are already a fan, think about picking up the Blu-Ray release which has more features like a sing-along and some previously released webisodes.

Saw IV: No thanks. They lost me at Saw II.

The Express: Dennis Quaid as a football coach? Good enough for me. The bonus of getting Jim Brown to come back as a football coach and to take part in the documentary highlighting the historical significance of Ernie Davis makes it worth the purchase. I have also heard that the football scenes in this film are unequaled in realism and intensity, and this DVD includes an intricate feature on how they were shot.

– TV & RE ISSUES –

The Notebook (Limited Edition Gift Set): Another Valentine’s Day idea, this release of The Notebook has no new DVD features but comes in a fancy new case and includes a scrapbooking set where you can import your own pictures into a book inspired by the main characters from the Nicolas Sparks novel.

 

January 27th

width=PICK OF THE WEEK: RocknRolla (Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy): Guy Ritchie apparently returns to his action roots and I will celebrate this return and subsequent escape from the Bastille of Madonna’s Kabbalah prison. The single-disc version of this release is bare-bones, so grab the deluxe set to get your commentary, digital copy and other special features.

 

 

 

– NEW RELEASES –

Lakeview Terrace: I’m scared of Samuel L. Jackson when he’s the good guy, so I can’t imagine how much he’ll freak me out when he’s plays bad cop sans good cop. This also features Cole Hauser, who I am hoping will gain some fame over the coming year.

The Rocker – Born To Rock Special Edition [Digital Copy]: I like many of the actors present in this movie but I have nothing but doubt about this film’s possibilities. However, if you are a fan than you’ll enjoy this jam-packed DVD, which includes gag reels, two separate commentaries and at least six featurettes.

College: This is a bare bones release of a movie that nobody saw. You do get a gag reel, so the movie was at least a little funny to the people who made it.

– TV & RE ISSUES –

Cheers – The Final Season: Even if you haven’t been keeping up with the release of previous seasons, be sure to catch this one which cap’s off the series and includes the amazing finale.

Mary Poppins (45th Anniversary Special Edition): I smell a 50th Anniversary coming only three years after the 47th Anniversary edition! Yes, they are releasing it again. If you still haven’t procured any of the previous releases you might as well grab this one. It’s got all the same features as the last release with a new slipcase.

Pink Panther Film Collection: This classic series gets a makeover with a decked-out collection. Or you can also grab the ones you want individually. I would lean toward the collection myself, which includes A Shot in the Dark, where much of the magic of Peter Sellers’ Clouseau character is unleashed.

The Secret Policeman’s Balls: This is a collection of British comedy gods raising money for charity during the late 1970’s and through the 80’s. The talent includes everyone from Monty Python and also features Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie and Jennifer Saunders. You also get a slew of musical guests including Sting, Phil Collins, Pete Townsend, Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Jeff Beck. If you enjoy British humor I would consider this a must.

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!