Emily McDonald
Former Contributor

WRITTEN BY Emily McDonald

Mutant Chronicles

Mutant Chronicles is, at best, a guilty pleasure geared towards the male persuasion. It’s just a mishmash of action/sci-fi themes and is no better than Reign of Fire. Although there are female characters, all of the pivotal moments in the film are geared towards making the star, Thomas Jane, look like an utter badass oozing machismo and stubbornness.

The Unknown Woman

When perusing the back of the DVD case for The Unknown Woman, you can’t help but notice the disclaimer, “Some disturbing violent content involving rape and torture, graphic nudity, sexuality and language.” Right then, you know that this is going to be one disturbing piece of Italian cinema.

Coco Chanel

The phrase “made for TV” tacked onto the front of the word “movie” can often be the kiss of death, in terms of the quality of the film. And if this hypothetical movie just so happens to be made for Lifetime, well then its safe to say that it is a goner. Original Lifetime movies are generally best taken with copious amounts of ice cream on a lazy Sunday afternoon after a bad breakup and nothing more.

Confessions of a Shopaholic (2-Disc Ed.)

The advertisement of this version of the film as being a “2-Disc DVD” is pretty much a sham, as one of the discs is merely a digital copy of the film. The disc includes four deleted scenes, one blooper reel and a music video. The special features just scream “made for teenagers,” especially the music video.


In the spirit of Paris, je t’aime comes a collection of short films centered around the newest city to get the cinematic treatment, Tokyo. The film, Tokyo! features segments from directors Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Joon-ho Bong. It seems like Tokyo must be a pretty strange place, if these are the shorts that inspired it, as they are all extremely bizarre in their own way. Gondry and Bong’s pieces manage to be fun with a touch of strange while Carax’s is just plain weird to the point of being disorienting.


The tag line for Passengers blares “The line between this world and the next is about to be crossed,” boldly over the cover of the DVD box. What could this possibly mean? What does the “next” world have to do with a bunch of passengers on a crashing plane? The cover also features white, loosely-visible people filling up the space behind a freaked out looking Patrick Wilson. Well, put the tagline and the invisi-people together and you probably have the answer to the equation that is Passengers. If you either can’t figure it out or are choosing to remain belligerently naïve then go ahead and either read on, or watch the film and be mildly shocked by the ending.

Valkyrie (Single-Disc Edition)

The interesting thing about Tom Cruise is that no matter how much you might hate him in real life, it is easy to forget that as you watch him on screen. I suppose it really does depend on the film but, for the most part, Cruise brings so much intensity and gusto to the parts he plays that he's nearly unrecognizable. His role in Valkyrie is the perfect example of this fascinating phenomenon.

My Bloody Valentine 3D

Regardless of your dork level, you’ll feel like a fool putting on green and red 3-D glasses in your living room. But, that’s part of what makes watching My Bloody Valentine 3D on DVD so much fun. To get the full effect, you really have to watch it with another person, so that when you look over at him/her you see that, yes, you both look like super-nerds. These are not the new-wave 3D glasses you got when you saw Monsters vs. Aliens, these are the old-school paper ones that, if bent the wrong way are rendered useless.


With Battlestar Galactica officially over and Joss Whedon’s newest science fiction drama being merely mediocre, there is a lot of pressure on the SyFy network’s upcoming BSG spin-off, Caprica. The show will air in 2010, but the network has put out a teaser film-version of the pilot episode.

Wendy and Lucy

Wendy and Lucy is an independent film in the spirit they were intended. There is very little soundtrack to distract from the sparse activity within the film; there are no costume changes and almost no makeup. The camera is wobbly and sometimes shots are out of focus. Wendy (Michelle Williams) hums throughout the film, and this gives the film it’s raw, unorthodox soundtrack of a woman’s vibrating trachea. The end product is a movie that has an atmospheric feel to it. Wendy and Lucy has the mood of a piece of work that is still gestating, it feels unfinished and dreamlike, but that is most certainly on purpose.

Seven Pounds

At the end of the film I was left feeling empty and emotional but without a purpose. The entire movie feels like those days just as you are getting over the flu when you are left lethargic and unmotivated; the film is pointless, meandering and soul-crushingly sad.

Twilight (2- Disc Special Edition)

Everything about the film is catered to the angsty, ego-driven activities of the teenaged girl. The main character, Bella, displays the key elements of being relatable to teen girls across the world: she is awkward and clumsy, she is dismissive towards her parents, and she is filled with neurotic obsession towards the opposite sex.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Holocaust through the eyes of a child idea could have turned out extremely overwrought and borderline manipulative. Rather than exploiting the innocence of the small protagonist, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas uses said innocence to hinge its intriguing thesis upon.

Flash of Genius

It is not that Flash of Geniusis offensively bad, it is just offensively boring. There is no joy of the cinematic in the film, just the mundane telling of a true story. The film hits each plot point with no personal flare and, it would seem, almost no fiction to spice up the non-fiction.


W. never gets boring, because it just keeps on moving, it clips along at a quick enough pace to keep the viewer interested. It is this touch of trickery that will suck in even the least political viewer. However, it is this same trickery that could be interpreted by Anti-Bush political pundits as being too minimalist.

The Rocker

I’ve seen the overly-eager rock aficionado in School of Rock. Jack Black has already played the washed up over the top enthusiasm that Wilson is trying to achieve in The Rocker, and Wilson is no Jack Black. Add up the lesser ingredients of other movies and you’ve got, The Rocker.

The Wackness

If you loved hip hop and Ebonics and relished becoming a part of it all back in the day, this movie might resonate with you. If you hate hip hop and generally dislike improper English, then this film might make you vomit. Whether or not you like it, it is definitely not wack.

Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys

The Family That Preys is at best a guilty pleasure. It is not the type that will leave you feeling good, but it could be the kind that leaves you in tears. One would not be able to watch this movie on a girls-night-in, laugh with her friends and feel better afterward. It has the texture of a soap opera with prostheletization on goodness and Jesus threaded through it.

Hamlet 2

A movie like Hamlet 2 only comes around so often, and this is a movie you’ll want to share. It’s got the man-down theme from It’s a Wonderful Life, the surprise happy ending from Miracle on 34th St. and the quirky cool one liners from Elf. Let’s just go ahead and call it an honorary Christmas movie.

Meet Dave

Meet Dave is a movie made for children, period. If you are a full on adult, you should only watch Dave with this in mind. If you are a cinephile parent who is bitter about having to watch horrible children’s films, stay away from Meet Dave and rent Wall-E.

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