Arts gun_bdcoverart_0

Published on January 25th, 2011 | by Greg


New on Blu-ray: Gone Madigan and Gun

When we aren’t sipping wine, reading books, or checking out the latest events, we try to catch up on movies we missed in the theater as well as some that never made it to the big screen. Most recently, we’ve found a couple of Blu-ray movies to suggest: they’re for very different audiences. Though one is a stand-up special and the other an action movie, both end up providing a bit of comedy, unintentionally or not.

We confess to being mostly unfamiliar with Kathleen Madigan. Though she apparently won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Comic and has been on plenty of shows, including Last Comic Standing, we were surprised by her recent special, Gone Madigan. Available on both DVD and Blu-ray, as well as Amazon Video on Demand, we were a bit skeptical at first having only seen shorter clips but quickly were won over. This isn’t a lengthy film by any means- at about 64 minutes, it’s short and snappy. And packed full, to boot- mostly fairly standard in terms of setups, she nonetheless manages to touch on everything from Oprah to Afghanistan. The best bits are those that have her impersonating others, or eveb sort of impersonating herself, in the best tradition of self-mockery.

Though much of it isn’t memorable- no punchlines that had us rolling on the floor- it’s solid. The disc itself is similar- video quality is unremarkable, though it is 1080i instead of the usual 1080p, we didn’t notice much difference. Audio is the same- perfectly adequate. And the features are fairly standard, offering a brief interview and a quite decent behind-the-scenes look at her family. At $15 or so, this is a quality buy for those looking for an easy set of laughs from a comedian that it’s easy to like.

Gun, on the other hand, is easy to dislike. What can you expect from a movie with a vague and forgettable title, that stars 50 Cent and an old, haggard-looking Val Kilmer? We sat down hoping for a twist on excellent Hong Kong films like PTU and Fight Back to School- a classic scenario where the police are looking for a stolen gun. Here, we find out who has the gun fairly early, and move on from there, making the movie less about suspense and more about… well, so-so action scenes. You have to give credit where credit is due- 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) pulls off his part reasonably well, better than plenty of other rappers or musicians-turned-actors. And we were impressed that he wrote the movie, despite the predictable plot.

But everything feels a little workmanlike, and no one seems to want to get caught trying too hard. Other than Val Kilmer, that is, who seems to think he has walked into the production of a real movie and steals the show. Nonetheless, there isn’t a lot new to see here. It’s fairly slow, for an action film, and the characters are bare sketches. We ended up laughing at a couple of points, where flashbacks and plot points were recycled brazenly. It is nice seeing a movie filmed outside of Toronto or Vancouver (Grand Rapids, Michigan is practically the best character in the movie). But between the mediocre soundtrack and occasionally awkward editing, we can’t recommend this one to anyone except for 50 Cent fans.

On Blu-ray, the transfer is surprisingly good- extremely clear, though with muted colors. The audio is also crisp, with gunshots sounded almost worryingly real. But the lack of bonus features was a bit sad- the trailer doesn’t add much, and we would have definitely enjoyed some commentary on this one. Rated R, 82 minutes. Available widely, for around $10.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Appleā€™s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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