DVD Den | Mafia

29 03 2013


Mafia is a crime flick in the tradition of New Jack City starring Ving Rhames as Renzo,a psychotically violent aspiring crime kingpin hoping to take over the whole city with the help of his crew.

DVD Den | 96 Minutes

29 05 2012

Four lives intersect tragically on one fateful night that will change a group of high school students lives in flawed drama, 96 Minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

DVD Den | Marvel Knights Animation: Black Panther

19 01 2011

New on DVD release this week is the premiere of former BET head, Reginald Hudlin and John Romita, Jr’s fresh new take on the first Black Super hero in Marvel Knights Animation: Black Panther.” Read the rest of this entry »

DVD Den | Pirahna 3D

12 01 2011

by Kam Williams

DVD Features Man-Eating Fish Attacking Teens on Spring Break
This campy B-flick is the best offering from the tongue-in-cheek horror genre since Snakes on a Plane, another gratuitous gore fest with a good sense of humor. But its plot reads more like Jaws, given that the story unfolds in a resort town at the height of the tourist season. Read the rest of this entry »

DVD Den | The Social Network

10 01 2011

by Kam Williams

Damning Bio-Pic Recounts Rise of Ruthless Facebook Founder
This damning bio-pic portrays Person of the Year and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as less a computer genius than a ruthless fraud who deliberately stabbed everyone close to him in the back en route to becoming the world’s youngest billionaire. The seeds of Zuckerberg’s success were sown back in 2003 when the internet wunderkind was still an undergraduate at Harvard University. Read the rest of this entry »

DVD Den | The Big Shot-Caller

9 01 2011

by Kam Williams

Sibling Rivalry and Salsa at Center of Dysfunctional Family Dramedy
Jamie Lesser (David Rhein) is a nearsighted nerd with two left feet who has wanted to learn to Salsa dance since he was child. Now an adult, he regrets never pursuing that dream and merely leading a lonely existence in New York City where he works as an accountant.  

Finally feeling his oats after receiving a promotion at work, he summons up the courage to attend a Salsa party at a Manhattan dance studio. Inside, the terminally-awkward wallflower is approached by Elissa (Laneya Wiles), a gorgeous Latina.

The two hit off and, at the end of the evening, leave together for his apartment. Thus begins a whirlwind romance which unfortunately ends as abruptly as it began when Elissa disappears and stops answering his text messages.

Heartbroken and depressed over the loss of this his first love, Jamie loses his job, and then his home. With nowhere to go, he grudgingly turns to his estranged sister for help.

He and Lianne (Marlene Rhein) haven’t seen each other in over a decade, basically because they’re polar opposites. He’s an atheist. She believes in God whom she refers to as The Big Shot-Caller. He’s boring, she’s a vivacious dynamo. He can’t dance. She’s quite accomplished, having frittered away what should have been her most productive years in nightclubs.

So, despite the fact that Lianne is a struggling bartender, Jamie is now dependent upon her for charity. He moves in, and has to eat crow as the two of them start sorting out the source of their deep-seated sibling rivalry.

Their resurrected relationship is at the center of The Big Shot-Caller, a sibling rivalry dramedy marking the impressive writing, directing and acting debut of Marlene Rhein in the lead role of Lianne. Curiously, she cast her real-life brother David to play Jamie which explains why the execution of her semi-autobiographical script comes off as absolutely authentic.

A most-appealing indie flick made on a modest budget. 
Grade: A

DVD Den | Salt

8 01 2011

by Kam Williams

Art Imitates Life in Intriguing Political Potboiler
Angelina Jolie has always delivered in her high-octane action adventures, and Salt is no exception. This espionage thriller about a Russian mole strategically planted in the U.S. couldn’t be more timely, given the recent arrest of Anna Chapman, the flamboyant NYC realtor deported after confessing to being a Soviet spy. Read the rest of this entry »

DVD Den | Dinner for Schmucks

7 01 2011

by Kam Williams

Unappetizing Remake of French Farce Arrives on DVD
Hollywood has a horrible track record when it comes to remakes of foreign films, especially French farces, and Dinner for Schmucks is just the latest in a long line of tone-deaf adaptations. In this case, the Americanized version substitutes slapstick and a mean-spiritedness where there had once been a certain savoir faire combined with a sublime sense of humor. Read the rest of this entry »