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Published on January 25th, 2011 | by Greg


New on Blu-ray: Gone Madigan and Gun

When we aren’t sip­ping wineread­ing 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 Apple’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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