‘Black’ rocks, ‘Demented’ is demented and ‘Joe’ retaliates on DVD

Among the movies that became available Tuesday, July 30 on Blu-ray and DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley are a thriller starring Kate Bosworth, a horror flick starring Sarah Butler and an actioner starring Bruce Willis.

Black Rock

Kate Aselton, Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth play childhood friends who set aside their personal issues and reunite for a girls’ weekend on a remote island off the coast of Maine. However, one wrong move turns their weekend getaway into a deadly fight for survival. (R – 83 minutes)

“Black Rock” is a dynamite thriller that is also a bit deeper than most. Director Katie Aselton, who co-wrote the motion picture’s screenplay with her husband Mark Duplass, draws viewers to the edge of their seats with an emotionally electrifying cat-and-mouse/battle-of-wills setup and simultaneously provokes profound thoughts about gender roles and putting aside differences for the simple sake of survival. Constantly surprising, deeply engaging and incredibly exciting, this movie demonstrates not only the extreme exhilaration that a bare-bones production is capable of achieving but also the complex contemplation that a genre film is capable of stimulating. (Thumbs Up!)

The Demented

Six college friends unite for a weekend getaway where they find themselves fighting for their lives after a terrorist attack turns the local residents into rage infused zombies. Stars include Sarah Butler, Kayla Ewell and Michael Welch. (R – 90 minutes)

Had writer/director Christopher Roosevelt actually decided upon one ending to his film rather than giving us two distinctly different versions of the same scene, “The Demented” would have been a fairly strong low-budget horror flick. On the other hand, it remains a fairly strong low-budget horror flick; the double-edged finale just leaves a somewhat sour taste in your mouth. Other than that and the fact that it skimps on the gore, the new movie is an excellent entry in the zombie genre, thrilling fans of such films with plenty of tense moments – including a couple of edge-of-your-seat foot-chases. (Thumbs Up!)

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

The G.I. Joes are forced to contend with not only their mortal enemy Cobra but also threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence. Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum and Bruce Willis star. (PG-13 – 110 minutes)

Though seemingly impossible, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is even worse than 2009’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” Not only does it pool all of its resources into nonstop action thereby robbing viewers of a compelling plot but it also lacks any specificity whatsoever. There is absolutely nothing that makes this movie unique and, as a result, its impression is about as long-lasting as a stick of dollar-store chewing gum. Accompanied by a bait-and-switch in which actors Channing Tatum and Bruce Willis’s screentime consists of less than 10 minutes apiece despite appearing on the motion picture’s poster and you have got a bomb of nuclear proportions. (Thumbs Down!)

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and BreakRadioShow.com that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at joseph.airdo@gmail.com.

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