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The June Lionsgate Blu-Ray/DVD Review Roundup

Poster of the film "Nurse 3D" Starring Boardwalk Empire's Paz De La Huerta
Courtesy of Getty Images

Well, now that we have established both the Shout! Factory and Twilight Time Round Up's for each respective movie labels, now it is with great excitement that I welcome Lionsgate Films and Summit Entertainment to the family. I'm very happy to announce this because they've been producing some excellent underrated films that include last years "Mud" starring Oscar Winners Matthew McCaughney and Reese Witherspoon and "The Spectacular Now" starring budding superstar Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller. With future upcoming Blu-Ray's in "Divergent" also starring Woodley and "Draft Day" starring Oscar winner Kevin Costner in the upcoming months, it should be alot of fun going through their excellent product.

Now let's get to the reviews!

"Nurse 3D" Starring Paz De La Huerta, Katrina Bowden, Judd Nelson, Martin Donovan, Niecy Nash and Kathleen Turner 2013/Rated R/1 Hour 24 Minutes/Aspect Ratio: 2:40.1 Special Features: Bad Medicine: The Making of Nurse (1080p; 8:08)/Audio Commentary features writer-director Doug Aarniokoski/Video Diaries

"Nurse 3D" is one of those horror movies that you either love or hate. While the film was a little predictable, I was quite surprised that I liked this film. (I'm shocked myself for saying that to be honest) The film stars "Boardwalk Empire's" Paz De La Huerta as Nurse Abby Russell one of the best nurses that you want to treat you if you were sick. While she's not being one of the best, Abby's secret vice is that of vigilante aka. serial killer who picks up men at bars who are planning to cheat on their wives. Abby's vice is put on hold when she develops a serious crush on a graduating nurse working with her named Danni (Katrina Bowden) which turns into obsession as she starts to kill everyone around her after she rejects her.

The film also has the same stylistic tendencies as "American Psycho" and in particular in the last twenty or so minutes which makes you wonder if she really is killing these people just to kill them as means of survival or just killing them as a way of venting her rage of both Danni's rejection and the eventual discovery (SPOILER ALERT) of who Abby could be. De La Huerta is as sexy as she could be and it works you feel like rooting for her much like you did Christian Bale in "American Psycho". The movie works in spurts and I honestly wished that it was a little longer and see other mayhem would've transpired. As is, the film is enjoyable for horror fans on the basis of the fun final twenty minutes of the film and for me it gets a marginal thumbs up for Paz's performance! (**1/2)

"Gimmie Shelter" Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Brendan Fraser, Rosario Dawson, Stephanie Szostak and James Earl Jones 2014/PG-13/1 Hour 40 Minutes/Aspect Ratio: 1:85.1 Special Features: Making of Gimme Shelter/ Deleted Scenes feature optional commentary by writer-director Ronald Krauss.

The film is based on a true story which stars Vanessa Hudgens as Agnes who's living a tough life with her drug addicted mother June (Dawson) in New York City when she runs away and seeks out her estranged father Tom Fitzpatrick (Fraser, "Crash") so she could stay with him and his family. Dubbing herself Apple, she tries her best to reclaim her life after she learns that she's pregnant despite repeated attempts by her mother to hurt her. With a tough as nails counselor (Ann Dowd) and a kindly father (James Earl Jones), Apple's life starts to change for the better including the support of Tom and his wife (Szostak, "We Bought A Zoo").

The film is slight close to that of a Hallmark or Lifetime movie with solid actors which pretty much makes it a interesting watch. The main reason to watch is definitely Hudgens because she is the movie. Her performance is heartbreaking at times and at others, you want to root her on and she's really becoming an actress to watch. The rest of the cast is seemingly wasted including Fraser, Szostak and Jones, and especially Fraser who deserves more opportunities than he's getting nowadays and Jones is simply reduced to just a small cameo sadly despite how brilliant an actor he is. The worst offender of all is Dawson, who is just flat out awful in this film. I've loved her in other films such as "Rent", "Clerks 2", "Kids" and many others, but this one she should just write off instantly. I can only recommend this film simply and mainly for Hudgens only because she definitely is the heart and soul of the film. Thumbs down (Thumbs up for Hudgens though!) **

"The Legend of Hercules 3D" Starring Kellan Lutz, Scott Adkins, Gaia Weiss Directed by Renny Harlin 2014/Rated PG-13/1 Hour 39 Minutes. Special Features: Audio Commentary with Kellan Lutz and Director Renny Harlin/The Making of The Legend of Hercules/Aspect Ratio: 2:40.1

This new interpretation into the legendary character pretty much was dismissed when it was released really early this year. Kellan Lutz plays the titular character this time around taking the reigns from the likes of Lou Ferrigno and Kevin Sorbo and if you want to get really ridiculous, the Disney animated film and Arnold Schwarzenegger's badly dubbed debut in "Hercules In New York." The film pretty much takes up like a "Gladiator" styled storyline which includes a Joaquin Phoenix like imposter to boot! Lutz physically imposing in his role as the son of God along with a sidekick seeks to win the heart of a lovely princess named Hebe, but Amphitryon has decided that his son, Iphicles would make a much better wife for him and sends Hercules to die in battle so that Iphicles can have free access to the young maiden.

There really isn't all that much to this film despite its purposely looking "300" visuals which were well shot by director Renny Harlin and Director of Photography Sam McCurdy. Lutz does the best he could with the role, but mainly an exercise in what you could do with a shit load of money and computers. This pretty much a shell of what Renny Harlin once was, a brilliant director with projects like "Die Hard 2", "Cliffhanger", "The Long Kiss Goodnight" and "Deep Blue Sea" that are memorable staples in their respective genres. This is just a mess all around, at times entertaining and for those who enjoyed the remake of "Conan The Barbarian" years ago, will like this one. Thumbs down! (* 1/2)

"I, Frankenstein 3D" Starring Aaron Eckhart, Miranda Otto, Bill Nighty, Yvonne Strahovsky and Jai Courtney Directed by Stuart Beattie 2014/PG-13/1 Hour 33 Minutes/Aspect Ratio: 2:40.1 Special Features: Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Stuart Beattie/Audio Commentary with Filmmakers Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, James McQuaid, and Kevin Grevioux/"Creating a Monster" Featurette/"Frankenstein's Creatures" Featurette/Theatrical Trailer

Another film that was buried in the January release schedule and thanks to rather lackluster advertisting, Stuart Beattie's directorial debut was a misfire much like Lionsgate's other 3D film, "Legend Of Hercules", but unlike that film, at least this was a much more cohesive and more energetic attempt to recreate something positive out of a familiar story. The film stars Eckhart ("The Dark Knight") as Adam, a creation of Dr. Victor Frankenstein who attacked by demons and Gargoyles save him and take him to a Cathedral where the Gargoyles Order gathers. The Queen of the Gargoyles, Leonore keeps Dr. Frankenstein's journal together with the treasures of the Order and gives the name of Adam to the creature. Then she explains to Adam that there is an ancient war between the Gargoyles that are angels and demons under the command of the Prince Naberius. She also invites Adam to join the Gargoyles in the war against demons, but Adam prefers to isolate in a remote place. Two hundred years later, Adam returns and finds a modern society. Soon he learns that Naberius has the intention of creating an army of soulless corpses to be possessed by demons. The scientist Terra is researching a process to create life and Naberius is seeking Dr Frankenstein's journal to help Terra and raise his army.

The film which was pretty much lambasted all the way around isn't so bad for a dead weekend viewing. Eckhart and Nighy pretty much chew up the scenary and Strahovsky is sexy eye candy. The film still doesn't work for the reasons that pretty much have pleagued reboots: the originals are better! Even Kenneth Branagh's ill fated interpretation of the character was a major step above this material. Still this is alot to like about it especially the visuals which looks really neat in 3D for the most part. Thumbs down. (**)

That wraps up this month and next month should see a nice slew of other Lionsgate titles that we could enjoy. To recap this month's round up here we go:

Nurse 3D - Marginal Thumbs Up mainly for Paz De La Huerta

Gimmie Shelter - Thumbs Down, but worth seeing for Vanessa Hudgens breakout performance.

Legend of Hercules - Thumbs Down, Down. Rent Renny Harlin's better efforts.

I, Frankenstein 3D - Thumbs Down with affection for Stuart Beattie's direction and the visuals.

Before I sign off here, I think I'm going to add another feature to these round up and that's a personal recommendation of a film from that particular studio's catalog. Kind of like a nod to the late "Siskel & Ebert" so my critics' recommendation is:

"The Last Stand" Starring Arnold Schwarzengger, Johnny Knoxville and Jaimie Alexander. 2013/R/1 Hour 47 Minutes/Aspect Ratio: 2:40.1 This was Arnie's great big comeback film after cameos in "The Expendables" and one that was unfairly buried in a January release slot no less than three weeks from fellow co-stars Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis' films in "Bullet To The Head" and "A Good Day To Die Hard" which also faired pretty poorly at the box office. This is a hard core action film which is very old school and alot of fun as a motly crue of Small town border duputies battle a group of high tech mercinaries to help aid the escape the son of a notrious drug lord back into Mexico after being busted out a FBI protection caravan. The film is sensational in everyway. Lots of explosions, bullets, four letter words and of course, Arnold being Arnold again with the comic relief help of Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzman. A fun film that just gets better and better with every viewing and deserved a better fate especially for Arnold's fans.

So that's it. Till next time, let's keep the lion roaring!