Mob Land


$24.99 Blu-ray/DVD;
Rated ‘R’ for violence, and language throughout.
Stars Shiloh Fernandez, John Travolta, Stephen Dorff, Kevin Dillon, Timothy V. Murphy, Ashley Benson.

Somewhere in the 1990s, the names John Travolta (Face/Off), Stephen Dorff (Blade) and Kevin Dillon (True Crime) splashed across a giant marquee would have been a casting agent’s wet dream. The closest our digital age gets to marquees are entranceway mylars — slung over the auditorium doors solely for the purpose of differentiating between cookie-cutter multiplex boxes — or worse: a satellite provider’s on-demand menus. Mob Land is a heist movie reunion tour of sorts, a trio of OG heavy-hitters plus a new front man, in this case Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead) as Shelby, brought on board by brother-in-law Trey (Dillon) with the promise that no crooks will be hurt during the making of this film.

Green behind the ears though Nicholas Maggio may be, the first-time director and first-time scenarist (with Rob Healey) follows the action genre’s first rule of thumb ad verbum: venality and villainy go hand-in-hand. The more coolly unprincipled and gleefully debauched the antagonist, the better the picture. (Note to Maggio: if you can afford this cast, surely you can pop for a tripod.) That’s no doubt why the first character seen in Mob Land is Shelby, but the first voice we hear is that of Clayton Minor (Dorff), a chatty, lower-than-dirt contract killer who regales victims with pages of raspy-throated Tarantino-ish dialog before a bullet air conditioner puts character and viewer alike out of their misery. Sadly, the characters don’t possess the depth required to make this more than passable entertainment.

Shelby is a salt-of-the-earth type, a down-on-his-luck family man, out of work and open to suggestions. (The intimate scenes between Shelby and his young daughter are a surefire indication the kid will either turn up dead or kidnapped by the end of reel two.) It’s Trey who breaches the subject of a stickup as a means of picking up a few yards of walking green. The Happiness Fun Center located in the strip mall next to karate school is an opioid mill that, according to Trey, is owned and operated by a pair of fentanyl-soaked zombies. In a moment of near patriotic fervor, Trey argues that he and Shelby invested blood and sweat in the town. Better they should be the ones to profit off their hard work, not a couple of low-class drug dealers. Spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen a crime film in the past 50 years: it’s a mob storefront. Trey shrugs off the two fatalities incurred during the botched hold-up with, “They were drug dealers.”

The only way prattler Clayton can get people to listen to his wild imaginings is at gunpoint, but it’s the more subdued Bodie who scores the biggest laugh with, “I’d slap you to sleep then slap you for sleeping.” The woman in the picture is Shelby’s adoring wife (Ashley Benson), conveniently shipped out of town with the kids days ahead of the foolproof robbery, only later to be held hostage and terrorized (off camera) by a mob sideboy should hubby decide to misbehave. The four leads hit their marks and stay true to their characters without overplaying. The sheriff in these parts is Bodie Davis (Travolta) a soft-spoken, contemplative peace officer whose mortality is hinted at — something about an oncologist report — just long enough to shade the character in a tragic light. Dorff displays an unexpected soft side, a mercy killing that eschews gunplay in favor of a couple of pills and a shot of whiskey.

The only leading man vainer than John Travolta is Robert Redford. Claudette Colbert changed her hairstyle with greater frequency than Redford. His shingling in The Way We Were spans over three decades yet at any given period, the actor’s thatched coiffure screams Santa Monica Pier c.1972. After finally having the guts to go full Burt Reynolds by doffing his “hair apparent” toupee, Travolta turned his attention to the lawn on his face. The nothing short of miraculous stubble-sculpting makes Crockett and Tubbs look like Otis the Drunk. One guesses the time spent manicuring his putting green whiskers netted his groomer 10 times more than the average sheriff of a small southern town pulled down in a year.

Special features include a commentary track with Nicholas Maggio, Shiloh Fernandez, and cinematographer Nick Matthews in addition to the behind-the-scenes featurette “Walking the Line: The Characters of Mob Land.”


Sci-Fi Actioner ‘No Escape’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray in October in Unearthed Classics Line From MVD

Martin Campbell’s sci-fi actioner No Escape will be released on DVD Oct. 11 and on Blu-ray Disc Oct. 18 in the Unearthed Classics line from Unearthed and MVD Entertainment Group.

Released in 1994, No Escape is set in the futuristic world of 2022, when the prison system is run by corporations and prisoners are highly valuable assets. John Robbins (Ray Liotta) is a marine convicted for the murder of his commanding officer after being ordered to kill innocent civilians in Benghazi. After his conviction, Robbins is dropped on a prison island inhabited by two camps of convicts who are out to kill him. Robbins’ only hope for survival is escape.

No Escape co-stars Lance Henriksen, Kevin Dillon, Ernie Hudson and Michael Lerner.
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A video game of the same name was released for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis in 1994, while Marvel released a three-part comic mini-series to help promote the film.
The discs feature new interviews with director Campbell, producer Gale Anne Hurd and co-writer Joel Gross. 

Thriller ‘Frank and Penelope’ Headed to Digital July 12 From Mill Creek

The thriller Frank and Penelope will be released on digital July 12 from Mill Creek Entertainment and Distribution Solutions.

In this tale of love and violence, a man on his emotional last legs finds a savior seductively dancing in a run-down strip club. Suddenly, a life most certainly headed off a cliff suddenly becomes redirected — as everything is now worth dying for.

The film stars Kevin Dillon, Caylee Cowen and Billy Budinich.

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Creepshow: Season 2


$34.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Kevin Dillon, Ted Raimi, Ali Larter, C. Thomas Howell, Iman Benson, Josh McDermitt, Ashley Laurence, Keith David, Ryan Kwanten, Breckin Meyer, Molly Ringwald, Eric Edelstein, Barbara Crampton, Denise Crosby, Justin Long, D’Arcy Carden, Kiefer Sutherland, Joey King, Anna Camp, Adam Pally. 

The Shudder original series “Creepshow” returns with a second season consisting of five new episodes, an animated special and a holiday special.

The anthology-style episodes offer two stories each, except for the season finale, which consists of one single story — “Night of the Living Late Show,” a tribute to classic horror films in which Justin Long plays a man who invents a VR device that allows him to insert himself into his favorite movies. The hourlong Christmas special also presents a single story.

Other highlights include “The Right Snuff,” in which an unhinged astronaut who dreams of surpassing his father’s legacy jeopardizes a meeting with alien life; and “Model Kid,” another vintage-movie tribute in which a kid uses his love of scary movie monster toys to cope with an abusive uncle.

The show’s quaint production values evoke the feeling of 1950s ‘B’-movies, with retro-style practical effects and cheesy-looking monsters.

The Blu-ray also includes several behind-the-scenes featurettes, a WonderCon@Home interview with producer Greg Nicotero and photo galleries, and comes with a nifty comic-book-style episode guide.

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Comedy ‘Buddy Games’ Coming to Digital and DVD Nov. 24 From Paramount

The comedy Buddy Games will come out on digital, on demand and DVD Nov. 24 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Josh Duhamel (Transformers) stars in the comedy, which follows six lifelong friends who have a five-year falling out. Bob (Duhamel), aka “The Bobfather,” reunites his pals for the Buddy Games, a competition of absurd physical and mental challenges with the chance to win a $150,000 pot. The determined dudes fight, claw and party for the big bucks in this bro-fest featuring Dax Shepard (CHiPs), Olivia Munn (Office Christmas Party) and Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”).

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