Blu-ray Review “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”

Actors: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Lena Headey
Directors: Harald Zwart
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Run Time: 130 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I am a sucker for the sci-fi fantasy genre. I was drawn into the hype of “”The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” series way before the film, which led me read the book first. I know it is trying to be the next “Twilight”…what isn’t but I quite enjoyed it.  I was not thrilled about the cast though, which stars “Twilight Saga” co-star Jamie Campbell Bower (mistake or purpose?) and Lily Collins (“Mirror Mirror), not a huge fan of either. The film is exciting and entertaining…even though about 20 minutes too long. It is far from perfect but if you enjoyed the book, then I would recommend checking it out for sure.

Synopsis: Fantasy adventure based on the bestselling series of novels by Cassandra Clare. Clary Fray (Collins) is an ordinary teenage girl living in New York, but when her mother is attacked by a demon in her home Clary learns she is descended from a secret race of half-angel Shadowhunters who are fighting an ancient battle protecting the earth from evil forces. As Clary is then introduced to the world the Shadowhunters and other forces inhabit, she must grow to accept her new identity and work at saving her mother before it’s too late…

Sony is releasing the film as a two disc combo pack including Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy. The 1080p transfer is solid and works well with the CGI effects, which the film has quite a bit of. The action is a little tame but overall keeps your interest and looks sharp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works well with the action also and the film’s hipster soundtrack (again trying to take a page from “Twilight”).

The special features are not too shabby and worth checking out. “Bringing Them to Life” features the cast/crew discussing the characters. “Descendants of the Cup” is a featurette on the film’s stunts and visual effefcts to turn the cast into Shadowhunters. If you enjoyed the film you will enjoy the “Interactive Lineage Tracker”, which allows yous to learn more about all the characters. “Deadly Attraction” has Lily Collins & Jamie Campbell Bower chatting about their roles. “Entering The Shadow World” looks into the film’s creatures effects. “Into the Shadows: From Book to Screen” follows the book’s journey from page to screen. Lastly, there is a music video for “Almost is Never Enough” by Ariana Grande ft. Nathan Sykes and a few deleted scenes as well.

Film Review “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”

Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower and Robert Sheehan
Directed By: Harald Zwart
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 130 Minutes
Screen Gems

Our Score: 1/2 out of 5 stars

I can understand that some movies will always have clichés or that some movies will have to rely on other writer’s imaginations. That being said while watching “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”, one could easily make two lists. One list would be all the tropes and the other could be all of the stolen movie ideas. If you’re somehow stuck in a movie theater with this movie rolling on the screen, you may consider turning those two lists into a drinking game, but I must warn you. You could die of alcohol poisoning before the halfway point of this flick.

Clary Fray (Collins) is a hip teenager. At least this movie would like you to believe that because she frequents coffee shops with her best friend, Simon Lewis (Sheehan). Recently she’s been seeing a weird symbol everywhere, even scribbling it out on paper and hanging it up all over her room. As she begins to question her sanity, she sees it at the entrance to a nightclub and heads inside to investigate. Next thing you know, she’s witnessed a tall dark stranger by the name of Jace Wayland (Bower) seemingly murder someone in plain view of others. Next thing you know, her mother (Lena Headey) is kidnapped, she’s attacked by a grotesque dog creature from “Resident Evil” and she’s told she’s a shadow hunter (even though they refer to them as demons). Next thing you know, I don’t care anymore.

In the first 20 minutes, I’m already beginning to wonder what I did in a past life to be punished in this manner. The story is muddled, the characters are incredibly stale and the plot laughs at creativity and embraces predictability like an old friend. Every serious moment meant to punctuate a revelation was incredibly comical. That means every attempt at humor in the movie was met with a groan (although I give them credit for a “Ghostbusters” reference). The writers for this movie must have gotten dialogue lessons from one too many ABC Family movies during Halloween. The studio must have hoped those eagerly waiting for the next “Twilight” franchise would eat up every shirtless scene with Bower. They probably also hoped that the romance between characters would once again melt tween hearts across the country, but instead it caused a tremendous pain in my groin. At times tears welled up in my eyes from stifling a laugh at how much this movie took itself seriously.

The dull characters are dressed like they’re about to hit up a gothic S&M bar. Apparently they’ve dressed this way so that they can fight demons who have made an effort to apply eyeliner before heading out. As the plot develops, characters make bone-headed decisions and let pre-pubescent emotions control their actions. The most enjoyable performance in this flick was by Lena Headey. She had very few headache causing lines, but that’s only because her character was in some form of a coma for the majority of the film. In fact once Jared Harris is revealed as the tutor for all these young warriors, you feel embarrassed for him. As for the other actors, they may want to leave this movie off their resume. Tell people this absence from movies was a time of self-discovery and reflection about where you were in life.

This movie, as well as the book series it is based on, is aimed at the “young adults” audience, but I don’t see “young adults” enjoying this movie. The imagination usually accompanied by this genre is missing and the only thing anyone might take away from this movie is a temporary crush on one of the actors. I love fantasy, but this movie abuses that title. This movie is so painful to watch, they should force prisoners to watch it. I know I’ve been incredibly harsh in everything I’ve said above, but I did take away one positive thing. This movie will make a great future Rifftrax.

CD Review: Fozzy “Sin and Bones”

Fozzy
“Sin and Bones”
Century Media Records
Producer: Rich Ward
Tracks: 10

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Sin and Bones” is the 5th full length release from the heavy metal band Fozzy. Fronted by WWE super star Chris Jericho and backed by Rich Ward, Frank Fontsere, Paul Di Leo and Billy Grey the group has been releasing albums since 1999. “Sin and Bones” continues the Fozzy tradition of no frills in your face American heavy metal. The album is being released via Century Media Records and features 10 blistering tracks produced by Rich Ward.

Being a big wrestling fan growing up I remember when the band first came out and featured Chris Jericho’s alter-ego Moongoose McQueen. The band has come a long way since then proving that they are a legitimate band and not just something created for television. “Sin and Bones” opens up with the eerie “Spider In My Mouth” which sets the stage for songs like the album’s title track “Sin and Bones” and the trudging Ozzy Osbourne esc. “Shine Forever”. The album features some great playing by the band and the overall production/mixing of the album was very clear and crisp.

Over all not a bad album but not a great album either. “Sin and Bones” at times tries to cover too much musical territory causing Jericho’s vocals to sound strained which at various times gave the performance an uncomfortable feel. I think it’s great when a band tries to venture into different styles and ranges however if not done correctly the result can be devastating. “Sin and Bones” isn’t that far off track but just enough to rock the boat.

Track Listing:
1.) Spider In My Mouth
2.) Sandpaper
3.) Blood Happens
4.) Inside my Head
5.) Sin and Bones
6.) A Passed Life
7.) She’s my Addiction
8.) Shine Forever
9.) Dark Passenger
10.) Storm the Beaches

DVD Review “Stephen King’s Bag of Bones”

Directed by: Mick Garris
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Annabeth Gish, Anika Noni Rose, Jason Priestly, Melissa George and William Schallert.
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Sony Home Entertainment
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Running Time: 234 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

Whenever a new Stephen King TV film comes up, they have been hit or miss. This four-hour adaption is definitely a hit and comes back with a great cast. The film packs all its horror in the first hour or so and then it becomes more of a supernatural murder mystery. I still enjoyed the evolution of the film and didn’t feel that it dragged at all throughout its long running time. I have actually read the novel by King years ago and I enjoy them both equally.

The film stars Pierce Brosnans as Mike Noonan, a novelist who suffers from writer’s block after the death of his wife, Jo (Annabeth Gish). Mike gets drawn to the couple’s lakeside retreat hoping to find answers but he is plagued by nightmares and ghostly visitations from Sara Tidwell (Anika Noni Rose). Sara is a blues singer who was murdered and her spirit is looking for help from Mike to solve her murder. While investigating these murders, Mike realizes that the small town has a few dark secrets of its own.

What I am most surprised about this release is that it wasn’t put out on Blu-ray. The film is available in HD but I do not know why they neglected to take advantage of the high-def release. The special features on the DVD are not impressive at all either. There are just two deleted scenes included with add nothing to the film.