News Column

DVD reviews: 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' and 'Black Rock' [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

July 31, 2013

YellowBrix

"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" (2013, PG-13, 110 min., $30.99) Expectations were never too high for this sequel to 2009's "G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra." The good news -- and the bad -- is that the expectations were met. Director Jon M. Chu and company put most of their concentration into the action, and that pays off with some explosive sequences. The film kicks off with the G.I. Joe team being sent to the Middle East to quell a violent uprising in Pakistan. After completing their job, the group of soldiers is ambushed, and only three Joe members -- Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) -- survive. As they find their way back to the United States, they realize Cobra has taken over the government, and they're planning a war to end all wars. Roadblock, Lady Jaye and Flint get the call out for help, but it might be too late to slow down Cobra Commander and his henchmen.

"Black Rock" (2012, R, 83 min., $19.98) Husband-wife team Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass are best know for the FX comedy "The League" and the mumblecore film genre. With "Black Rock," they change it up, and head into the thriller genre. Duplass penned the screenplay and Aselton directed and plays a main role. The film doesn't offer anything new to the genre and it doesn't say much. Notable performances from Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth and Jay Paulson lift "Black Rock," but that's about the only elevation it gets. The film follows three female friends to a remote island for a little bonding and camping. As they explore the island, they come across three hunters -- all war veterans -- one of whom they know. They decide to hang out that night until one of the hunters is killed by one of the girls after trying to rape her. This sets off the two other veterans, and they decide to hunt these girls to avenge their war buddy.

"Cloudburst" (2011, NR, 93 min., $24.95) This tender picture proves no one's ever too old for love. The film follows Stella (Olympia Dukakis) and Dot (Brenda Fricker), two women in their '70s who escape from a nursing home in Maine and head toward Nova Scotia with the goal of getting married.

"Filly Brown" (2012, R, 80 min., $19.97) An accomplished cast -- Gina Rodriguez, Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips -- stars in this drama about a talented rap artist looking for her break in the music business. When she finally gets noticed, she suddenly has the chance to financially help her struggling family.

"War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State" (2013, NR, 66 min., $19.98) This timely documentary from talented filmmaker Robert Greenwald explores the complicated lives of whistleblowers, both governmental and corporate. In the process of trying to right a wrong, these journalists face some serious threats.

TV ON DVD

- "Banshee: The Complete First Season"

- "Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Fourth Season"

- "Star Trek: Redemption"

- "Touched By an Angel: The Eighth Season"

-- Garrett Conti

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