‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ – Our Friendly Neighborhood Web Slinger Thrills Us Yet Again

Just when I find myself getting increasingly weary of superhero/comic book movies, along comes another “Spider-Man’ installment. This friendly neighborhood web-slinger has succeeded in maintaining a high batting average on the silver screen, and this continues to be the case with “Spider-Man: Across the Spider Verse” which has as much heart, soul and endless creativity as do the best entries in this franchise. I figured this would be the case as the opening credits proved to be a kaleidoscope of crazy colors and images much like the ones Gaspar Noe used in the opening credits of “Enter the Void.” And when a certain character says, “Let’s do things differently this time,” you better believe many will.

We catch up with Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) who is ever so busy with his crime-fighting as his universe’s Spider-Man to where his parents keep wondering where he is most of the time. Never on time for his school counseling appointment or for the party celebrating his father’s promotion to police captain, he is still unable to tell mom and dad he really is Spider-Man as the truth of his alter-ego may put them in grave danger.

In addition, we meet up with Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld) who is going through some serious issues in her own universe. A tragedy has devastated her, leaving her antisocial among her peers and her dad believing Spider-Woman committed murder to where J. Jonah Jameson is calling for her head on a stick. Even if Gwen does have the time to give her dad a big hug, there is still a distance between them which needs to be dealt with.

Eventually, Gwen reunites with Miles in his world, and it proves to be one of the most heartfelt moments as these two can relate to one another in ways they cannot with anyone and everyone else. But their reunion coincides with the arrival of Dr. Jonathan Ohnn, a former scientist who has since been transformed into the supervillain known as The Spot. Voiced by Jonathan Schwartzman, he starts off as a comedic character who pursues a life of crime as his transformation cannot allow to pursue a regular job. Granted, putting down on your resume that your body is covered with interdimensional portals which allow you travel through space and time may not get you that first interview. But as this film goes on, we come to see The Spot will prove to be one of Spider-Man’s most dangerous foes as his power grows and grows and grows.

Like any “Spider-Man” motion picture, “Across the Spider-Verse” deals with those heavy themes of tragedy and responsibility. As with its predecessor, this installment reminds of the loses Spider-Man and the other Spider-Men in the multiverse have suffered and of responsibilities they are forced to live up to where it is inevitable that any and every web-slinger is destined to suffer an unavoidable tragedy. But when the possibility of this is explained to Miles Morales, he won’t accept any such fate for himself or those he loves, and this leads him on a spectacular mission which will have the audience wondering if free will can prevail over predestination, an argument which never gets old.

“Across the Spider-Verse” plays on our knowledge of Peter Parker and of what he has experienced in the live action films, and we know of the sacrifices and challenges Peter has had to endure while fighting crime through his secret identity. While this animated film could have simply trodden over familiar ground, it instead deals with variations on this character both literally and figuratively speaking. As you can expect, there will be an endless number of Spider-Man incarnations on display, and it all gets to where you have to wonder not who could be Spider-Man, but who couldn’t be him (or her, or they, or them, or it).

The animation here is incredible, and I swear there were moments where, if you look in the background, it seemed like live-action elements were added in to where it seems seamless. The visuals are also given a depth which shows in scenes with Miles and Gwen as they stand on top of tall buildings and structures overlooking the crazy city they live in. Seriously, I almost got a case of vertigo looking at these heights, and I never an animated movie to make me feel this way.

As for the action sequences, they are nothing short of spectacular and exciting as Miles is forced to fight off hundreds, maybe even thousands of Spider-Men while determined to make certain changes the multiverse will not easily allow. All of this is aided by the terrific and propulsive music score by Daniel Pemberton.

The entire voice cast is fantastic. Shameik Moore continues to do great work as Miles Morales, but the real standout for me was Hailee Steinfeld who continues to remind us what a wonderful talent she has proven to be following her star-making performance in “True Grit.” As Gwen Stacy, she gives the character’s animated form a true emotional depth which makes her actions and decisions all the more enthralling to take in. Schwartzman succeeds in taking The Spot from being a joke of a burglar to a infinitely dangerous villain who is determined to make Spider-Man suffer to his last breath. It is great fun to have Jake Johnson back as Peter B. Parker as his Spider-Man is now a dad and still a gas to be around. Issa Rae makes her Spider-Woman of Jessica Drew a rough and tough version of the web-slinger whose dedication to her job leaves no room for doubt or uncertainty. And when it comes to Brian Tyree Henry and Luna Lauren Velez, they have wonderful chemistry and many warm and funny scenes together as Miles’ parents, Jefferson and Rio.

Are there any problems with “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse?” Well, I didn’t catch all the dialogue being uttered to where I cannot wait for the 4K/Blu-ray release so I can rewatch the film with closed captions. Even with a running time of 140 minutes, I would have liked for things to slow down a bit so that I could take in more of the action and story. While movies these days tend to be longer than they should be, this one could have been even longer if it wanted to.

Also, there are scenes where we see Miles and Gwen standing upside down on very tall buildings. Now I know Spider-Man has special webs on their hands and feet which allows them to climb buildings, but these two are wearing shoes which makes their ability to hang out upside down rather impossible. I mean, can their webbings penetrate the soles of their designer shoes? Besides, Miles has a pair of Air Jordans, and those shoes are never cheaply made.

There is a lot more I would love to tell you about “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” but I am not about to spoil any of its surprises. Besides, there are so many easter eggs to take in to where a second viewing is completely mandatory. Spider-Man has always been one of my very favorite comic book characters this side of Batman, and I am happy to say his adventures are still thrilling even as comic-book movies are starting suffer a bit. When it comes to Miles Morales and his alter-ego, however, there is no stopping him. It makes me very excited for what will come next, and there is still more to look forward to in the next year.

* * * ½ out of * * * *

‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ Movie and 4K/Blu-ray Review

Your enjoyment level for “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” will depend on how funny or clever you find its main protagonist, played by Zachary Levi. Personally speaking, he is an actor I’ve never been a fan of, especially in these films.  I found his performance incredibly irritating, silly and annoying. I understand he’s trying to portray a silly high schooler as an adult who is learning how to be mature and deal with his new superpowers.  However, I just found his performance to be very grating after a while. He’s very over the top.  I’m all for a superhero film where they have some fun as it doesn’t have to be so dark and dreary throughout. There is room for every type of superhero film out there, and I fully respect and get that.  However, he is not the right actor for balancing the goofy scenes along with the more serious action sequences.

Our film opens up in a museum in Athens, Greece where two of the three daughters of the Titan Atlas break in to steal the Wizard’s broken staff from the previous film. Billy Batson (Zachary Levi) is trying to keep his family together as he’s about to turn eighteen and is worried he will be thrown out of the house as his foster parents, Victor and Rosa Vasquez (Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans), are struggling to keep it all together financially.  He’s also suffering from a case of imposter syndrome. In essence, he’s insecure and also struggling to figure out his place in the world. Can he keep his “Shazamily” of foster siblings together, as they are maturing and developing their own interests and unique personalities?

However, he has to act fast as two of the daughters of the Titan Atlas, played by Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu, have captured his brother Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) along with a newly repaired Wizard staff.  Early on, they are also dealing with controversy for their crime fighting methods in Philadelphia.  In fact, they are now known as The Philly Fiascos thanks to some of their mishaps, even though their hearts were in the right place. As mentioned previously, the family has a lot on its mind.  For Freddy Freeman, before he was captured, he had a crush on a girl named Anne, played by Rachel Zegler. Pedro Peña (Jovan Armand) is keeping a secret he’s not sure he’s ready to share with the world quite yet.

Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman) is trying to accept growing up while still being a kid at heart. Eugene Choi (Ian Chen) is preoccupied, and Mary Bromfield (Grace Caroline Currey) wants to get into college and is focusing on her studies.  They must come together as a family and put their individual interests aside in order to conquer The Three Daughters of the Titan Atlas. They work better when they are together, but it is important they get on the same page and focus on the task at hand. From here on out, we get a lot of explosions, special effects, bad jokes, and a big finale.  The film was never boring and it kept my attention for its over two-hour running time.  However, it just fell flat for me because of Levi’s performance and just the fact that the film lost its sense of direction near the end and went all over the map.

I’m completely aware that sequels are part of Hollywood when a film is successful, especially when we are talking about a superhero film.  People will flock to them.  There is a built-in audience already.  The “Shazam!” films have been directed by David F. Sandberg, and I was a huge fan of his previous two films: “Lights Out” and “Annabelle: Creation.”  The film looks really good, as he has a keen visual sense.  However, I didn’t feel the heart of the film as much as I would have liked, and it’s a big problem here.  I liked it better than the first one, but when the lead actor is such a ham on screen and so phony and fake with his line readings and performance, it really takes you out of the story. I liked everyone else and thought they did a really good job, but once it becomes a bloated mess and Billy Batson turns into a one-line machine, the film just didn’t work for me.  If you liked the first one, you will like the second one.  If you didn’t, there isn’t anything here that is going to change your mind or convert you to this character and this franchise.

* * out of * * * *

4K Info: “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is released on a two-disc 4K and Blu-ray combo pack from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.  It has a running time of 130 minutes and is rated PG-13 for sequences of action, violence and language. The film comes with a digital copy to be redeemed as well.

Video Info: We are treated to a beautiful Dolby Vision transfer here that really stands out and pops.  The film looks beautiful on 4K, especially the action sequences.  Even though they can be overdone and unnecessary at times, I can admit when they look beautiful. My issue is more of the fact they don’t hold as much weight when the emotional heart of the film isn’t present.  The darks set the mood when it needs to, and the film is also filled with color and light when it calls for it.

Audio Info: The Dolby Atmos track is also really, really good here.  With a film that relies heavily on action, you worry about the film being so loud that it takes you out of the film.  Here, thanks to the Dolby Atmos track, it’s never too loud or soft.  It’s perfect throughout the entire duration of the film.

Special Features:

SHAZAM! Let’s Make a Sequel – featurette

The Rock of Eternity: Decked Out – featurette

The Shazamily Reunion – featurette

The Zac Effect – featurette

The Sisterhood of the Daughters of Atlas – featurette

Pay By Play: Scene Breakdown – featurettes

    Ben Franklin bridge collapse

    Rooftop battle of the gods

    Unicorn ride in Philadelphia

    Epic showdown at the baseball stadium

The Mythology of Shazam! – featurette

Director’s Audio Commentary with David F. Sandberg

Deleted Scenes, Alternate & Extended Scenes

Should You Buy It?

As a 4K disc, it looks and sounds out of this world. I’m a big fan of what Warner Brothers does with its 4K releases. They really place a high importance on giving their big screen movies a proper release on 4K with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.  There are also a lot of special features here, so if you enjoy “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” you will enjoy this disc and its special features. If I’m grading this movie overall, it’s just average.  It was watchable and entertaining at times, but it’s a film I have no interest in rewatching, and I don’t think it will have great repeat value.  There are rare moments where the heart of the film is on display, and I liked those moments. The main struggle here is the balance between comedy, action and drama.  The film doesn’t quite pull this task off successfully during its over two-hour running time.  When it does, it’s good fun.  When it doesn’t, it’s very bland and uninteresting.  This is a film in search of a tone.  If you are a fan of this franchise, you will be happy with the 4K release.  If you are watching this for the first time or didn’t enjoy the first one, this sequel is not going to win you over.

**Disclaimer** I received a copy of this film from Warner Brothers to review for free.  The opinions and statements in the review are mine and mine alone.

‘A Good Person’ Movie and Blu-ray Review

The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent, Tony Farinella.

I’m an emotional, sensitive and empathic person, and I tend to seek out films which will make me think, move me to tears and tell a narrative that resonates with me.  However, I have a good barometer for films that are trying too hard to tug at my heart strings and doing just a little too much to get an emotional reaction out of me.  When you try to watch a movie or two a day, you can usually figure out which direction a movie is going to go either from its trailer or by where the film is taking its audience. “A Good Person,” directed by Zach Braff, started out incredibly promising until its wild and heavy-handed third act.

“A Good Person” stars the always lovely and talented Florence Pugh as Allison, a young woman who is about to get married to the love of her life, Nathan (Chinaza Uche).  They are the perfect couple and the film opens with their engagement party where they are at their happiest.  But then things spiral out of control for Allison when she gets into a car accident with her fiancé’s sister and husband in the car. She took her eyes off the road for one second to check Google Maps, and while she survived, they both perished.  This sends her down a path of becoming addicted to OxyContin to deal with the physical and emotional pain of the car accident.

Allison cuts her hair one day and is making rash and impulsive decisions in her life, which worries her mother, played by Molly Shannon.  She hits up an old friend for pills, former classmates, and even curses out the pharmacist.  Finally, she decides to go to a meeting, which is being led by Simone (Zoe Lister-Jones). While there, she runs into Nathan’s father, Daniel, played by Morgan Freeman.  Allison is hesitant to stay, as she knows the pain and hurt she caused his family, but he insists that she stay.  Daniel has his hands full as he’s a recovering alcoholic who is now in charge of taking care of his granddaughter, Ryan (Celeste O’Connor), after her parents were killed in the car accident.

The best thing about “A Good Person” is the back-and-forth interactions between Pugh and Freeman.  When you have actors of this caliber, it’s best to just stay out of their way and let them do their thing.  Freeman plays an ex-cop who never really knew how to be there for his son Nathan growing up.  He used to beat him, which has caused a lot of trauma and resentment in Nathan toward his father. The two of them barely speak and don’t have much of a relationship.  For Allison, she’s trying to deal with the grief and guilt of what she has done to Daniel, as she has taken his daughter away from him.  However, he could use some help when it comes to figuring out how to talk to a sixteen-year-old teenage girl about safe sex when her parents are now deceased.

I really enjoyed the first hour and a half of “A Good Person.”  I thought Pugh really, really went for it with her performance.  She’s an actress who really immerses herself in her characters.  Physically and mentally, this is a fantastic performance.  She looks, sounds and acts like an addict. Freeman is also very good, as he usually is, at portraying many different emotions throughout as he’s trying to be a grandfather, deal with his own demons, and also forgive Allison.  Thanks to the two lead performances and a fast-moving plot, I was really enjoying “A Good Person.”  Sadly, the film takes a wild and crazy turn in the third act, which really sent things spiraling off the rails.

Yes, this is a drama, and you expect certain emotional moments and sequences to be displayed on screen.  In “A Good Person,” it felt forced and like writer/director Braff had an idea for a movie and the right cast, but didn’t know what to say at the end or how he wanted to end it.  Instead, it turns into a cheesy soap opera, and he, sadly, wastes the performances of his two leads and his supporting cast.  The film is also about 15 to 20 minutes too long.  Once again, the drama felt forced at the end and it seemed like they were really trying for an emotional and powerful ending.  Instead, I could see right through the fact they were trying to make me feel something instead of letting it happen organically.  The film didn’t need to try so hard and throw so much into the last 30-40 minutes of the film.

* * out of * * * *

Blu-Ray Info: “A Good Person” is released on a single-disc Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.  It is rated R for drug abuse, language throughout, and some sexual references. The film has a running time of 128 minutes.  It comes with a digital copy of the film as well.

Video Info: The 1080p High-Definition transfer is very, very solid.  It’s a clean looking film with a green tint that really translated itself well to the material. Visually, Zach Braff did a great job behind the camera.  It’s his script which really needed work.

Audio Info: The DTS-HD MA: English 5.1 audio track is also really good for this film.  I did feel like Zach Braff relied on music a little too much throughout the course of this film to get the audience to feel something. I enjoy music in a film, but it needs to be properly placed and not shoved down our throats. There is also a Dolby Digital: English Descriptive Audio track. Subtitles are included in English, French, and Spanish.

Special Features:


Should You Buy It?

It’s always disappointing when I want to like a movie and don’t.  I know this might sound like a rather simplistic approach to film viewing, but I had high hopes for this one. I’m still a huge fan of 2004’s “Garden State,” and I think Zach Braff is a talented director.  When it comes to his writing, I think he can be a little too earnest.  He means well and his heart is in the right place, but sometimes it just seems like he can’t keep himself from going a little too far. I didn’t hate the film and I enjoyed a good portion of it, but it was just a little too sappy for me which is saying something. The film looks and sounds good on Blu-ray, so it’s not a huge disappointment they didn’t give it a 4K release.  There are no special features on this disc at all.  I think it’s worth watching for the performances of its two leads, but I don’t think it’s a film you need to own.  If you see it on Max or at Redbox, it’s worth watching.  However, this is not a film I need to watch again. This is a case of two performances which deserved a better script.

**Disclaimer** I received a copy of this film from Warner Brothers to review for free.  The opinions and statements in the review are mine and mine alone.

All-Time Favorite Trailers: ‘Little Children’

A lot of movie trailers are scored with certain kinds of music to where certain themes are used over and over in them such as the ones from “Black Rain” and “Requiem for a Dream.” But for the “Little Children” trailer, however, the images we see are instead scored to the sound of a locomotive train which is about to reach its desired destination, and it proves to be the perfect illustration of the repression the main characters are experiencing, and of how they will eventually see their passions rise to the surface in a much-needed way.

“Little Children” is a romantic psychological drama film released back in 2006. It was based on the novel by Tom Perrotta who wrote the screenplay with the film’s director, Todd Field. I loved how the trailer used the sound of a train to show how these characters innermost desires, passions and needs were just simmering underneath surface, and of how they were about to explode through the confines placed upon them. Images of Kate Winslet breathing deeply while wearing a red bathing suit while Patrick Wilson looks on in an escapable way to where he is trying his best not to be seduced made this film look all the more alluring to me. This was also aided by the appearance of Jennifer Connelly who plays Patrick Wilson’s wife, and she openly wonders why he is spending a great deal of time with Winslet.

This is one of the most brilliantly conceived movie trailers ever as its sounds and images promised you a most enthralling time in a theater when this one came out. It also proved to be one of the most unique trailers of its time when it was unveiled to audiences everywhere and, to me, it made this motion picture one which I owed it to myself to see on opening day. Some movie trailers want you to believe they are promoting the next Oscar-friendly bet, but this one made me believe it would sweep the Academy Awards with relative ease. The fact that it did not is unfortunate, but it does not take away from the film’s incredible merits which include a great cast of actors who inhabited their roles ever so deeply and believably.  

Clark Duke on His Role in ‘A.C.O.D.’

WRITER’S NOTE: This interview took place in 2013.

Actor Clark Duke made his big breakthrough with his own web series “Clark and Michael” in which he played a fictional version of himself opposite Michael Cera. Since then, he has gone on to give a number of hilarious performances in movies like “Sex Drive,” “Kick Ass” and “Hot Tub Time Machine.” This past summer, he stole some scenes in the eagerly awaited sequel “Kick Ass 2″ in which he reprised his role of Marty who has now taken on the superhero identity of Battle Guy.” Clearly, he has become the guy to go to for memorable supporting roles.

In his latest movie, “A.C.O.D.” (Adult Children of Divorce), Clark plays Trey who lives in the basement of his older brother Carter’s (Adam Scott) house. Both Trey and Carter managed to survive their parents’ bitter divorce as kids, but it looks to have forever soured Carter on the thought of marriage. Trey, however, ends up getting engaged to his girlfriend and begs Carter to get their estranged parents to come to the wedding. Knowing how their parents can’t stand to be in the same with one another, Carter knows that this will be a challenge to say the least, but he goes through with the improbable reunion because that’s what his little brother wants. But as things get underway, Trey has yet to learn the real truth of what is going on behind his back.

We got to catch up with Duke during a roundtable interview which was held at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles, California as part of the “A.C.O.D.” press conference, and he proved to be as funny off screen as he is on it.

Question: When you’re playing a character like Trey, how do you keep him grounded in reality as an actor?

Clark Duke: Well, this script was pretty grounded. We didn’t have to improv a lot. A good script makes our job a lot easier.

Question: You and Adam Scott play brothers in this movie. How did you go about establishing that chemistry and working together?

Clark Duke: Well, it probably helped that we knew each other beforehand and we were friends before the movie so there wasn’t much of an acclimation period, I guess. I have one sibling, a younger brother, so I kind of tapped into that. As to how to play it, I related more to Adam’s character while reading the script. When you have a cast that’s good, nothing’s too hard.

Question: How did this project come to you and what made you want to do it?

Clark Duke: I just read the script. You get sent scripts all the time, but ninety-nine percent of them are just unreadable and terrible. So, when you get a really good one that really stands out… That’s just the truth; most of them are just god-awful. I went to the table read in just actively wanted to do the movie, so I did (laughs).

Question: Ken Howard, the current President of the Screen Actors Guild, co-stars in this movie as well. What was it like working with the union boss?

Clark Duke: No riffraff on the set. No grace periods for lunch, just ended right on time every day (laughs). He’s a licensed deputy as the SAG-AFTRA head.

Question: Adam Scott joked that Ken Howard deputized the both of you and gave you both firearms…

Clark Duke: We immediately abused it (laughs). I would waive mine at cars. We were in Atlanta so I would go to a lot of strip clubs with the gun, and then I’d float my SAG card and they are like OK. They just had to put up with it (laughs).

“A.C.O.D.” is now available to own and rent on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital.

Jane Lynch Plays Yet Another Therapist in ‘A.C.O.D.’

WRITER’S NOTE: This interview took place back in 2013.

Who doesn’t love Jane Lynch? We see her everywhere these days either as Sue Sylvester on the hit show “Glee” or hosting the NBC game show “Hollywood Game Night.” Lynch is an endlessly talented actress who never fails to give a tremendously entertaining performance in anything she does. While we may not have recognized her right away as a doctor working alongside Harrison Ford in “The Fugitive,” she would later go on to steal scenes in the Christopher Guest mockumentaries “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind.” After that, she made her big breakthrough opposite Steve Carell in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” as Paula, the electronics store manager who offers, in a rather bizarre way, to have sex with the man of the movie’s title.

We got to meet with Lynch during the press day for the comedy “A.C.O.D.,” its title meaning Adult Children of Divorce. In it she plays Dr. Judith, a therapist who was there for Carter (played by Adam Scott) as a young boy when his parents go through an incredibly messy and bitter divorce. Now Carter has come back to Dr. Judith after hearing that his younger brother has just gotten engaged to get her advice on a few matters. But what Carter soon realizes is that Dr. Judith was not actually his therapist when he was a child, but instead a writer who used him and other kids for her study on children of divorce, and it ended up turning into a book which is now in its umpteenth edition.

The press day for “A.C.O.D.” came just a few days after the Emmy Awards in which Lynch got to share the stage with a number of entertainers including Neil Patrick Harris.

Question: The opening of the Emmy Awards this year was fantastic. What exactly were you going to do to lynch Mr. Harris?

Jane Lynch: I was going to throw him down and show him what kind of a woman I can be, but that’s something he would not enjoy unless I said that I would enjoy it less (laughs).

Question: You did have the somber tribute to your “Glee” co-story Cory Montieth, but then you are also celebrating and get to have this great comedic moment.

Jane Lynch: Yes, that was great and to see the company I keep on being one of the guys with Jimmy, Jimmy, Judy and Neil and Conan. I was just out of my body going wow, this is pretty amazing!

Question: Many were surprised that you didn’t have a singing and dancing number given that you have been on Broadway a number of times.

Jane Lynch: Yes, exactly! Well, I’m kind of glad that it was confined to what it was (laughs).

Question: What attracted you to the role of Dr. Judith in “A.C.O.D.?” You have actually played many therapists throughout your career.

Jane Lynch: Many times, and I’m playing one on Saturday in a little spot for a friend of mine. I think I’m fascinated with therapy and I’m fascinated with my own therapist (laughs). I have a terrific therapist who I have seen over the years and I would say that we’re probably friends now. We’ve come to the point where we’re friends. I always take a little bit of her and blow it up because she’s a very interesting person.

Question: Has your therapist ever been offended by your portrayals?

Jane Lynch: NO! She’s like ha, ha, ha! She loves it!

Question: It seems that many actors do go to therapy for years and years. Why do you think that is?

Jane Lynch: Well, I don’t know if that’s absolutely true, but I wouldn’t be surprised. What we do is we examine ourselves because we’re interested in all aspects of humanity, and the place you have to start to be any good at acting is with yourself. Everything is inside of you, all of it; the murderer, the great mother, the therapist, the husband, everything is inside of us. Because we’re human beings, we can relate to almost every emotion and I think that kind of exploration you do in therapy makes you more open and creative and more empathetic. You are able to see a character from the point of view of the inside out as opposed to, ooh, I’m playing a bad guy! Let’s get deep inside this person so we know what makes this sociopath tick. What in me is sociopathic? We all have it. For me, my therapy has always run parallel with the characters I play. I’ll find something that I’m dealing with that will come up in a character.

Question: For the longest time there was a lack of roles for women of age but now that seems to be changing. Do you believe that the tide is turning?

Jane Lynch: I don’t know if you will be able to point to a moment in time where the tide did turn, but I think that it definitely has. I love this new generation of girls coming up. It sounds so old when I say that, but there’s an entitlement to people like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey where they just expect to have a seat at the table so they have a seat at the table.

Question: Do you ever think you will step behind the camera to direct?

Jane Lynch: I don’t know. I don’t feel that I have to, but I have a feeling that I will at some point. But it will come out of something that will have me saying, ooh I want to do that. But I don’t think I can sit here and go, I would like to direct one day.

Question: Do you think you could direct yourself?

Jane Lynch: Yeah. Sometimes I wish I could, you know? One of the worst moments on set is when the director says, “Jane I have an idea…” I hate that! I will have the ideas thank you! I think a great director sees what you can bring to the table and they go okay and maybe they build on that. But to take you in a completely different direction… If Christopher Guest does that then fine, but not Joe Schmo.

“A.C.O.D.” is now available to own and rent on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital.

‘The Wrath of Becky’ Fearlessly Outdoes the Original

The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent, Tony Farinella.

I vaguely remember watching 2020’s “Becky” when it was released through various digital platforms.  Besides the brutal violence and seeing Kevin James as a Neo-Nazi, the film didn’t really leave a lasting impression on me as a viewer. When I heard they were going to make a sequel, “The Wrath of Becky,” I was intrigued for two reasons: Lulu Wilson and Seann William Scott.  Wilson is a tremendous young actress who shows maturity beyond her years, and Scott has shown a knack recently for playing chilling and unsettling villains.  I figured it was worth giving it another go around, and I’m happy to report “The Wrath of Becky” is lightyears better than the first film.

When the film introduces us to Becky a few years later, she has an edge to her after the traumatic events of the previous film.  She’s sarcastic, matter-of-fact, and she doesn’t suffer fools lightly.  She has been bounced around from group home to group home. Eventually, she decides to rent out a room with an older African-American woman who takes in strangers and is dealing with her own sense of loss. Her name is Elena, played by Denise Burse. One night while waitressing, Becky runs into a group of men who call themselves the Noble Men.  They are a white supremacist militia group with bad intentions.  After she spills coffee on one of them, they follow her back to Elena’s house, where they proceed to kill Elena and take Becky’s dog Diego.

Now, Becky is looking for two things: revenge and to get her dog back. The film uses an interesting technique where it will show the audience a violent sequence of what she is hoping to do, and then what she actually does. They use voiceovers for this as well, which was a nice touch.  She communicates with the audience and lets us know what she’s thinking.  They don’t overdo this, thankfully.  The Noble Men are brought back to the house of one of their leaders named Darryl, played brilliantly by Seann William Scott.  Scott and Wilson are the stars here, and Scott knows how to be unnerving and very intense without trying too hard. I remember him in a film called “Bloodline,” and he crushed it in that film.  He’s really, really good at playing these low-key, calm, and sadistic villains.

The rest of the group consists of DJ (Aaron Dalla Villa), Anthony (Michael Sirow), and Sean (Matt Angel). Twig (Courtney Gains) is already with Darryl at the house.  They have members all over the world, and they are looking to take down Senator Hernandez (Gabriella Piazza) at an upcoming town hall event.  First, they have to deal with extreme girl scout Becky, and she is not one to back down from a fight, especially since they have her dog and they killed the one living person in the world she actually liked.  From here, it’s a rather straight-forward film with Becky taking on these misogynist, hateful, and narrow-minded men.  The characters are a little too on the nose at times, politically, but it works as a film like “The Wrath of Becky” is one where you are going to sit back and watch Becky destroy bad people in creative and brutal ways.

The film is not shy about its violence.  It really goes for it.  As with any sequel, especially one which relies on violence, they really up the ante here.  They were also smart enough to keep the film under 90 minutes.  We are reintroduced to Becky, find out what she’s up to, meet the villains, and then it’s time for the mayhem.  It’s a formula, yes, but it’s a formula that works because Wilson is terrific at playing Becky.  She’s a badass chick and easy to root for as the heroine.  She also has a worthy adversary in Seann William Scott. The scenes with the two of them together are just brilliant.

In the end, you know what you are getting with “The Wrath of Becky” and what you have signed up for as an audience member.  I could have done without the dog being involved, not because it offended me, but because it seemed to take a page out of other films, most recently “John Wick.”  We have seen people try to avenge their dog when it has been captured or killed. The ending seems to hint that there might be another film or two still left in the “Becky” franchise. If they keep the budget low and stick to one location, which is basically what they did here, I see no reason why they can’t continue to make more of these films. Wilson is a star, and she deserves her own franchise. I look forward to seeing her take on more villains portrayed by quality actors in the future.

Should You See It?

The film is being released on May 26.  I know there are a lot of movies to choose from at the box office right now.  “The Wrath of Becky” is a nice change of pace, though, from the usual fare of blockbusters and franchises.  It’s bloody, gory and very, very entertaining.  As stated in my review, this film knows what it needs to do, it stays out of the way of its actors, and it’s a ton of fun. I truly enjoyed seeing Lulu Wilson and Seann William Scott in a battle of wits.  It’s way better than 2020’s “Becky,” as it moves at a faster pace, gets right to the meat of the matter, and it doesn’t hold back with its violent, in-your-face approach.  I think it would be a lot of fun to watch on the big screen.  It’s in limited release, but you can find it at a theater near you.  I don’t think you will be disappointed if you enjoy blood, guts and have a sense of humor.

* * * out of * * * *

‘Superman’ Five-Film Collection on 4K Review

The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent, Tony Farinella.

The idea of being a superhero is something which appeals to people all across the world.  They want the chance to start out as an ordinary individual and transform themselves into something special and magical.  1978’s “Superman” is a perfect example of this, especially with its leading man, Christopher Reeve.  It’s an iconic role and performance which continues to stand the test of time.  It also achieved the rare feat of being both a financial and critical success.  When that happens in Hollywood, everyone is pleased as punch. It’s the magic formula Hollywood is always trying to achieve as they want to do quality work which is meaningful to an audience while also making a lot of money.

There are so many things which make “Superman” great.  Of course, as mentioned previously, you have the tremendous performance by the late, great Christopher Reeve. However, you also need a really, really effective villain, and it’s hard to find a better Hollywood villain than the legendary Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor.  He oozes with charisma, personality, and you love to root against him. As far as the supporting cast, it is filled with some of the greatest working actors and actresses in Hollywood history, such as Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder, Glenn Ford, Jackie Cooper, Terence Stamp, Ned Beatty, Jack O’Halloran, Maria Schell and Sarah Douglas.

It also doesn’t hurt when you have a director like Richard Donner behind the camera as well.  He knows how to pace the film, allow his actors room to breathe, and he is also respectful of the source material. There was also the magnificent score by the iconic John Williams. When you have all of the right pieces in place like Donner did such as the script, the actors and the budget, you have to stay on track and basically not screw it up. He was just the right man for this big budget affair.  During its release, it had the highest budget for a film at the time, coming in at $55 million.  It’s funny to hear that number now, considering how much budgets have increased in Hollywood since then.

What speaks to me about the first “Superman” film is the idea of having a double life and people not knowing who you really are.  During the day you are Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter, but you also have the ability to be Superman.  It shows we all have something special inside of us.  It is up to us to really find that, harness it, and use it for good.  Superman is your all-American, clean cut, good guy.  He’s very likable and effortlessly charming.  On paper, this idea might sound ludicrous, but because the filmmakers took it seriously and had the right actors and participants involved, they really had lightning in a bottle.  Even to this day, the film holds up incredibly well.  When you see the special effects, they were really ahead of their time and they helped pave the way for a lot of the effects we see today, only they are now taken up a notch. Most importantly, this film has a big heart and a big soul attached to it. This is why the film is beloved by so many.

With this tremendous release from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, we are also treated to “Superman II” in two different versions. We get the original theatrical cut by Richard Lester and the Richard Donner Cut on 4K. To this day, people still debate which version they like better and which is more worth watching.  If you ask me, it’s best to watch both versions.  I see things in Donner’s film I like more than in Lester’s and vice versa, but overall, I felt like Lester’s version was a much more polished, easy to follow, and complete film. Donner’s version is flawed with moments of greatness, and it deserves to be seen. Thanks to this set, you can watch both versions, which, as stated previously, I highly encourage you to do as I love a good film discussion.  Film is subjective and there is really no right or wrong answer. 

In “Superman II,” Mario Puzo is back once along with fellow screenwriters, David and Leslie Newman, again with a really good story, and this is a great thing for the audience.  All three really know how to flesh out a story and create unique and interesting characters. It doesn’t hurt when you have actors like Beatty, Kidder and Hackman completely invested in the material. While not as good as the first one, and it’s rare for a sequel to be as good as its predecessor, it’s still a very, very good movie. There is some great humor here, and even in a superhero movie where the stakes are high and we are in a fictional world, some levity is very much appreciated!  Sometimes it is nice to have a different vision and a new voice in a franchise while also staying true to what made the first film successful.  Richard Lester was not put in an ideal situation, but he made it work, and you have to give him credit for that.

By “Superman III,” it seemed like the magic was starting to disappear, and they totally shifted the focus of the franchise into a campy, goofy and comedic realm which really rubbed audiences the wrong way.  I understand they were going for something different, and they brought in Richard Pryor, but the script, the jokes and the material are just really, really bad. There is no denying that Pryor is a funny man with great comedic timing, but his abilities didn’t lend themselves to this film franchise. Overall, “Superman III” was doomed because of behind-the-scenes issues, script issues, and a film in search of the right tone.  The filmmakers seemed to have lost the plot all together as well as their love for the character and the franchise.  When a franchise has success, many times it is how the filmmakers handle that success which defines how it will carry on and continue.  It is clear they didn’t know how to handle success here.

It didn’t get any better with “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.” It was so poorly made and received that they didn’t make another Superman film until 2006. As is often the case with sequels, they went cheap.  Even though Hackman returns and Kidder receives more screen time, this film was dead on arrival.  The plot is incoherent, messy, and just plain dumb.  It was a cash-grab sequel, and when you are focused on money over quality work, you end up with “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.”  It’s a very frustrating film and incredibly hard to follow. As you can see with the “Superman” franchise, you have the law of diminishing returns.

4K Info: The “Superman” 5-Film Collection 1978-1987 is in a terrific box set with all the films getting their own individual dual 4K case which also includes a Blu-ray version of the them. I was really happy they didn’t stack the discs in the set here, as that is always a pet peeve of mine. I was also very happy they gave each film its day in court with artwork and its own individual dual case. “Superman” was previously released on 4K, but this is the first time the other four films have been released in this format.  You also a digital code for all of the films as well.

Video Info: If you already own the first “Superman” 4K, please know they have not added anything new to it here.  It’s the same “Superman” 4K that had been released in its standalone edition.  That being said, it’s hard not to be stunned and blown away by the beautiful Dolby Vision look of the original film.  I had not previously owned the first “Superman” film, so I had no qualms about there not being anything new here. It’s just something to keep in mind for those who already own it on 4K. Overall, this is far and away the best these five films have ever looked on home video.  They look sharp, clean and free of grain or mess. They have cleaned these films up very, very nicely.  I was very impressed with these transfers. Warner Brothers has really been knocking it out of the park with their releases this year during their 100-year anniversary celebration, and this “Superman” box set is no exception.

Audio Info: We are treated to Dolby Atmos on all five films which is fantastic news!  I am a huge fan of Dolby Atmos, and the sound is such a vital part of these films.  The audio sounds crystal clear, concise, and it comes in at just the right pitch without being too loud or in-your-face.  I’m always happy when I can leave it on one volume setting and still get the same impact throughout. That was the case with all five films. They also all come with subtitles in French, English and Spanish as well.

Special Features:

“Superman: The Movie” Special Features:

  Commentary by Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spangler

  The Making of Superman – vintage featurette

  Superman and the Mole-Men – vintage featurette

  Super-Rabbit – 1943 WB cartoon

  Snafuperman – 1944 WB cartoon

  Stupor Duck – 1956 WB cartoon

  TV Spot

  Teaser Trailer

  Theatrical Trailer

‘Superman II” Special Features:

    Commentary by Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler

    The Making of “Superman II” – 1980 TV Special

    Superman’s Soufflé – Deleted Scene

    First Flight

    Fleischer Studios’ Superman vintage cartoons:


        The Mechanical Monster

        Billion Dollar Limited

        The Arctic Giant

        The Bulleteers

        The Magnetic Telescope

        Electric Earthquake


        Terror on the Midway

    Theatrical Trailer

“Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut” Special Features:

    Commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz

    Introduction by Richard Donner – featurette

    Superman II: Restoring the Vision – featurette

    Deleted Scenes

        Lex and Ms. Teschmacher Head North

        Lex and Ms. Teschmacher Head South

        The Villains Enter the Fortress

        He’s All Yours, Boys

        Clarke and Jimmy

        Lex’s Gateway

    Famous Studios vintage cartoons:



        Eleventh Hour

        Destruction, Inc.

        The Mummy Strikes

        Jungle Drums

        The Underground World

        Secret Agent

“Superman III” Special Features:

    Commentary by Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler

    The Making of “Superman III” – 1983 TV Special

    Deleted Scenes:

        Save My Baby

        To the Rescue

        Making Up

        Going to See the Boss

        Hatching the Plan

        The Con

        Rooftop Ski

        Boss Wants This to Go

        Superman Honored

        Gus’ Speech

        Hanging Up on Brad

    Theatrical Trailer

“Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” Special Features:

    Commentary by Mark Rosenthal

    Superman 50th Anniversary Special – 1988 TV Special

    Deleted Scenes:

        Clark’s Morning

        Jeremy’s Letter

        Superman’s Visit

        Nuclear Man’s Prototype

        Metropolis After Hours

        Lex Ponders

        Flying Sequence (Extended Scene)

        Battle in Smallville

        Battle in the U.S.S.R.

        Nuclear Arms Race

        Superman’s Sickness

        Red Alert

        By My Side

        Lark and Lacy Say Goodbye

        No Borders

    Theatrical Trailer

Should You Buy It?

Last time I checked, this set is going for about $90, which is a great price for five films. Granted, you are really paying for “Superman,” “Superman II” and “Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut,” so you need to own all of the Christopher Reeve “Superman” films if you are a completist like myself. I’ve heard a lot of people in the film community complain about some of the special features from other releases not being included on this set but they are included in the other Blu-ray releases.  This did not bother me as there are still plenty of special features to shift through here. I’m happy they included the Blu-ray discs for all of the films and didn’t just include the 4K’s.  The good films in this franchise leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling.  When films make me feel this way and put a smile on my face, I’m a happy camper.  There is also something to enjoy about the total and complete absurdity of the bad films as well.  If you have a sense of humor and come in with the right mindset, you can enjoy them on the level of they are aiming at.  All the films come with Dolby Atmos tracks, which is a great perk.  My one minor nitpick is the fact that not all these films include Dolby Vision except for the first one.  However, in 2023, when physical media is hard to come by in stores but very much appreciated by us hardcore film historians and lovers, I don’t want to be too overly critical or negative over the little things.  Warner Brothers and other studios are really going all out to preserve important pieces of cinematic history.  We shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.  This set comes highly recommended, and I enjoyed revisiting these films in 4K.  It gave me a whole new appreciation for these films, Christopher Reeve’s performance, and the intense feelings of happiness and joy the first two (three if you are counting the Richard Donner cut) films brought to me. You can’t put a price tag on that. This set comes highly recommended!

* * * ½ out of * * * *

**Disclaimer** I received a copy of this film from Warner Brothers to review for free.  The opinions and statements in the review are mine and mine alone.

‘A.C.O.D.’ Interview with the Great Catherine O’Hara

Photo credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

WRITER’S NOTE: This interview took place back in 2013, and I have indicated the specific question I asked during it.

Catherine O’Hara is one of the best comedic actresses working today, and she never fails to give a hilarious performance in anything she does. After making a name for herself on “SCTV,” O’Hara went on to a career in movies that included unforgettable roles like the self-centered Delia Deetz in “Beetlejuice” and the forgetful mother Kate McCallister in “Home Alone.” But some of her best work to date has come from her being in the hilarious mockumentaries of Christopher Guest such as “Waiting for Guffman” and “Best in Show.” O’Hara even received a number of nominations and awards for her role as Marilyn Hack in “For Your Consideration.”

In “A.C.O.D.” (an abbreviation for Adult Children of Divorce), O’Hara plays Melissa who, as the movie starts, is undergoing an extremely bitter divorce from her husband Hugh (Richard Jenkins). Since their marriage ended, Melissa has made it clear that she hates Hugh with every fiber of her being. Then she gets the news that her youngest song Trey (Clark Duke) has just gotten engaged to his girlfriend of a few months, but what she has yet to discover is that her other son Carter (Adam Scott) is working on getting her and Hugh together so that they can attend Trey’s wedding in a peaceful fashion. While you may think you know what happens from there, “A.C.O.D.” proves to have many surprises and takes you in directions you don’t see coming.

We got to meet up with O’Hara during the “A.C.O.D.” press junket which was held at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles, California. She still looks very lovely after all these years, and her hearty laugh is more than enough proof that she hasn’t lost her sense of humor in the slightest.

Question: “A.C.O.D.” was written by Stu Zicherman and Ben Karlin who have great pedigrees as writers, and you also have Zicherman directing this movie as a first-time director. How did he do as a first-time director and what was the atmosphere like on set?

Catherine O’Hara: I wasn’t aware of him being a first-time director while we were working because he wrote it for one thing. He and Ben wrote it and they are great friends, and Ben was there all the time so you had a good support system. Stu seems like a levelheaded kind of clear, confident guy and he’s funny. When people are smart and good at what they are doing like that and have a sense of humor about everything outside of themselves and even themselves, they are not threatened by anyone giving ideas or working collaboratively. It is a collaborative venture and you can’t lose by being open to the people you’ve hired. Not in the way that it was like a free-for-all, you just knew there was a chance to discuss everything there and he’s so open and he’s a great writer. It just felt like I was in good hands.

The Ultimate Rabbit: The thing I really liked about this movie is that you really don’t know what’s going to happen next. Most comedies you kind of get a sense of the formula and where it’s going to go, but this one really had surprise after surprise. Have you read a lot of scripts like that recently?

Catherine O’Hara: No, you would have seen me in them (laughs). If I was reading them, hopefully I had a chance for them. No, there aren’t enough. They (Stu and Ben) took their time writing this and it’s based on their lives and they have been friends since they were six or seven years old. They know all their extended families and their stepparents, and they really took their time and did a great job and they really thought it out. Every character is taken care of, that’s what I love. It’s not just one or two leads and everyone else is just barely there. Where are you going now? Out of your movie…

Question: That seems to be the case with most movies, but this one gives each of its characters the attention they deserved.

Catherine O’Hara: It is, far too many. This one was really well thought out.

Question: Ken Howard who plays your second husband Gary is also President of the Screen Actors Guild. What was it like having the union leader on set?

Catherine O’Hara: There was that whole merger thing coming up (with SAG and AFTRA) and I personally was against it and he was for it.

Question: Did you talk with Ken about it?

Catherine O’Hara: I did. I asked him why is this good. He seems like a good, smart man, but I just didn’t get it. His explanation was… You could tell that he really cares about the unions and wanted the best for everyone so that was nice to hear.

Question: But you still disagree with him?

Catherine O’Hara: I’m really so not involved with the union in any way, so I had to trust him. He actually is really involved and knows what he’s talking about, so I thought okay. I just like to work and get paid (laughs).

Question: You have been in show business for a long time now. Have you seen a change because for the longest time there was this great void of roles for women over 40 and 50. Do you believe that the tide is now turning?

Catherine O’Hara: There are more and more women writing, and there are more and more good male writers who decided and learned that it’s worth writing for women. I guess the more women are present and out there in life, the more their stories will be told. Our stories have always been told on Lifetime (laughs).

Question: Have you ever thought about stepping behind the camera to direct at some point?

Catherine O’Hara: I only want to write. I don’t care about directing really. I’ve tried it and it was fun, but it’s not like something I have to do. I hate losing trust in a director, that’s awful.

Question: So, what’s coming up for you next?

Catherine O’Hara: I have a movie at the Toronto Film Festival which will hopefully come out soon and it’s called “The Right Cut of Wrong,” and I think I’m reshooting a pilot that didn’t get picked up.

Question: That’s good, and they’ll pay you to do it.

Catherine O’Hara: There you go! Work and pay. Work and get paid, and good for Ken Howard looking after us (laughs).

“A.C.O.D.” is now available to own and rent on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital.

‘Creed III’ Movie and 4K UHD Review

The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent, Tony Farinella.

I saw “Creed III” in theaters when it came out in March, and I walked away very impressed by the directorial debut of Michael B. Jordan. Even though we were only three months into the new year, I felt it was an early candidate for one of the best films of 2023. I enjoyed his creative and inventive approach to filmmaking, the tremendous acting throughout the film, and the way it was paced just perfectly.  Here we are, almost half-way through the year, and I feel even stronger about “Creed III.”  It really surpassed any and all expectations I had for the film, and it also shows the “Rocky/Creed” franchise is in very good hands. Much like the “Scream” franchise did with “Scream 6,” it proved you can leave a key player or two from the franchise behind and not miss a beat if you have your heart in the right place, a good script, and you forge your own path while also remembering the pulse of the franchise.

I think by now it is common knowledge that Sylvester Stallone is not in “Creed III.”  Stallone expressed his reasons why in interviews, and while I would have enjoyed him in this film, even if it was only in a minor role, I can’t say he was missed.  I say this as a huge fan of Stallone and his contributions to the “Rocky/Creed” franchise.  It says more about the fact that Jordan took the bull by the horns and really ran with it when it came to “Creed III.”  He’s in front of and behind the camera here, and from what he showed me as a director, I can’t wait to see what he does with his next project.  He has a keen visual sense and tremendous style without losing the heart and emotional weight of the film.

“Creed III” opens by showing us a young Adonis Creed hanging out with his friend from his group home, Damian Anderson.  They are like brothers to one another, and Damian looks out for Adonis.  Damian is on the rise as a young up and comer until he finds himself in prison for pulling out a gun while defending a young Adonis.  Adonis ran away and never faced any jail time.  Damian, on the other hand, spent almost two decades in prison and saw his chance go by the wayside.  Adonis is ready for retirement after winning his final fight and leaving as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.  He’s now a family man with a beautiful house, wife, and young daughter.

Adonis is also running his own gym with the help of Little Duke (Wood Harris) and helping promote a fight for the world heavyweight champion Felix “El Guerrero” Chavez (José Benavidez Jr.) against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu).  On his way out of the gym one day, he runs into Damian (Jonathan Majors) who is out of prison and looking to make up for lost time.  He wants to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world, as he was a top prospect and a Golden Gloves champion before he ended up in prison. Adonis agrees to let him hang around the gym and spar with Felix, but he feels uneasy about having him around and wonders what his true intentions are, especially after all these years.

As a matter of fact, Mary-Anne (Phylicia Rashad) is not too keen about Damian being around, as she remembers some of the trouble he and Adonis would get into as youngsters.  Adonis is also dealing with parenthood as his hearing-impaired daughter Amara, played perfectly by Mila Davis-Kent, is having trouble expressing herself in school. When she is being bullied by another student, she resorts to violence instead of working things out in a more peaceful way.  This is very troubling to her mother Bianca, played by the lovely Tessa Thompson. She is looking to raise their daughter to express her emotions in a more productive way instead of resorting to violence.  For Bianca, she’s been adjusting to her career as a producer. While she enjoys it, she also misses performing and doing her own thing.  However, she must also be protective of her hearing as she doesn’t want to cause further damage.  She’s also noticing Adonis is pulling away from her and that something is bothering him.  It’s clear he has unresolved guilt and anger from his past with Damian. Until he deals with those feelings, he will never be able to move forward in his life and will be stuck in the past.

I have to give major credit to the women of “Creed III” from Rashad to Thompson to Davis-Kent. They are attempting to help Adonis see the forest from the trees and learn that it’s okay for him to open up about his past and talk about his regrets and his pain.  It’s not good for him to bottle it all up inside.  The two main male characters played by Jordan and Majors are also terrific together on screen. Jordan is fantastic at expressing his emotions on his face and not overacting.  That being said, he knows when to tap into an emotion, anger, and turmoil when the scene calls for it. His facials here are terrific, and he knows how to tap into whatever the screenplay needs out of him. Majors reminded me and others of a young Mike Tyson. He will do whatever it takes to win, and he is physically imposing and carries a tremendous presence on screen.  When he’s on screen, you can’t take your eyes off him.

 For a film which is nearly two hours long, there is rarely a dull moment.  There is something dramatic which occurs in the film (no spoilers) that seemed to get glossed over and moved on from very quickly. It seemed rather unnecessary, and that is my only gripe with the film.  As with any “Rocky” or “Creed” movie, the best scenes are not in the ring.  The best scenes are the characters talking to one another, figuring out their inner conflict, and dealing with the past and the present.  Yes, it’s a boxing movie, but the boxing ring serves as a therapeutic canvas for them to work out their pain.  That being said, the boxing scenes are beautifully shot and are the best kind I’ve seen in a boxing film in a long time. Jordan makes some really interesting choices as a director, and they worked out perfectly for him.

“Creed III” is a feel-good film with a big heart behind it.  It has a great soundtrack with some real bangers on it.  It also has some fantastic acting from everyone in the cast.  There isn’t a bad performance to be found here.  The stakes also seem very high throughout.  There is an urgency here. For a first-time director, this is a very, very impressive debut.  I can see them carrying on the “Creed” franchise with Jordan working both behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera.  He really hit a home run here, and I loved this movie from start to finish.

 * * * ½ out of * * * *

4K Info: “Creed III” is released on a two-disc 4K/Blu-ray combo pack from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.  It is rated PG-13 for intense sports action, violence and some strong language. It has a running time of 116 minutes.  The 4K combo pack also comes with a digital code for the film.

Video Info: I loved the way this film looked in 4K.  Warner Brothers has become one of the top studios for 4K releases, and they do not disappoint here with “Creed III.”  I’m always happy when a film gets the Dolby Vision treatment, and this film is spectacular looking. We get a detailed, clean, and smooth look with dark darks to set the mood for the emotional trauma Creed is dealing with inside of him.  This film really, really pops on 4K.  Dolby Vision and Warner Brothers are always a match made in heaven.  I truly was impressed by this 4K transfer and how it lends itself to the film.

Audio Info: More good news—we also get a Dolby Atmos track! For a film like this with great music and intense boxing action, you have to have a good Atmos track.  The Atmos track makes the film sound absolutely perfect.  Warner Brothers really did the right thing by “Creed III,” and I’m very thankful for that.

Special Features:

 Michael B. Jordan: In the Ring/Behind the Camera – Featurette

There’s No Enemy Like the Past: Donnie and Dame – Featurette

Deleted Scenes

Should You Buy It?

If you saw it in theaters like I did, I’m happy to report it holds up very, very well on a second viewing.  It’s one of the reasons why I love to watch a movie in the theater and then at home.  It’s two totally different viewing experiences, and you pick up on certain things you might have missed initially.  It was actually better on a second viewing.  I highly recommend you pick this film up on its release date on 4K.  It is truly the best way to watch this great film.  With Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, Warner Brothers really did a magnificent job of putting this film together for a great home-viewing experience.  The supplements are a little light, and I would have liked a commentary with director/actor Michael B. Jordan, but still, this is a day-one purchase. I’m not sure how the rest of the year will play out, but this film is still one of the best of 2023, in my opinion.  I loved the powerful performances, incredible emotion, ingenious boxing sequences, and how much fun this movie was. I highly recommend “Creed III” as a movie to proudly own on 4K.  You won’t be disappointed.

 **Disclaimer** I received a copy of this film from Warner Brothers to review for free.  The opinions and statements in the review are mine and mine alone.