Blu-Ray Review: Michelle Rodriguez Hits Noir Notes With ‘The Assignment’

theassignment1Director Walter Hill (The Warriors, Streets of Fire, A Bullet To The Head) has a passion for B-level, genre filmmaking, and his latest film The Assignment follows that aesthetic. Filled with graphic novel and pulp noir flourishes, the film is a solid action thriller from one of Hollywood’s top craftsman.

Hit man Frank Kitchen (Michelle Rodriguez) is double crossed by the crime boss (Anthony LaPaglia) who hired him, but instead of being killed Frank has been surgically altered by Dr. Rachel Kay (Sigourney Weaver) and is now a woman. After Frank slowly recovers from the procedure, he hunts down the people responsible for his gender change.

The narrative is mainly told in flashback (a film noir trope), as Rachel Kay, now in a mental institution, recounts her tale to another doctor (Tony Shalhoub) who is overseeing her case. Shot just $3 million, The Assignment has solid production values and is filled with enough twists, turns, and action to keep genre fans satisfied.

The movie marks a reunion for Hill and Weaver (he produced Alien as well as produced and received story credit on Aliens).

The Blu-ray’s special features are sparse, as it comes with a segment titled “Filmmaking Portraits.” It’s essentially consists of photos from the film, and features a Rodriguez voiceover. Even with no audio commentary or a making of featurette, The Assignment is worth a look, especially if you’re a Walter Hill fan.

The Assignment is now out on Blu-ray and DVD.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Mark Wahlberg & Dwayne Johnson Are Ready For Some ‘Pain’


Director Michael Bay has devoted much of his creative energies to the Transformers franchise, and it’s easy to forget that it was the buddy cop film Bad Boys which actually put him on the map.  With his new film Pain & Gain, Bay is back to mixing up male bonding with eye catching explosions, and with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as the stars, the muscle factor is also at an all-time high.

The trailer looks entertaining enough, and having solid character actors Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, and Ed Harris lending support isn’t such a bad idea.  As for the requisite Bay explosion, wait until the end of the clip!

Pain & Gain opens in theaters April 26th, 2013.

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Literary History Comes To Life With ‘Hemingway & Gellhorn’

kidman-owenPremiering tonight on HBO, HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN tells the tempestuous tale of the romance, marriage and eventual divorce of literary greats ERNEST HEMINGWAY & MARTHA GELLHORN. Dedicated to documenting the effects of the Spanish Civil War, the couple flaunted their relationship all over the world. Brilliantly rendered, the film meshes current footage with archival images to produce a “newsreel” effect that is immensely watchable and entertaining. Directed by PHILIP KAUFMAN from a script by JERRY STAHL and BARBARA TURNER, the cast includes NICOLE KIDMAN, ROBERT DUVALL, PARKER POSEY, TONY SHALHOUB, DAVID STRATHAIRN, BROOKE ADAMS, PETER COYOTE and DIANE BAKER.
In what is arguably her best performance in years, KIDMAN is terrific as GELLHORN, a gutsy journalist who was as egoistic as she was adventurous. Promoting the project at the Television Critics Association press event, she talked about what appealed to her in playing the role. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN premieres tonight on HBO


Movies on DVD


Three cops, different career paths, one deadly location makes up the storyline of Brooklyn’s Finest. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the movie stars Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke and Wesley Snipes.

Special Features: Audio commentary from Director Antoine Fuqua, chaos and conflict: the life of a New York cop, boyz n the real hood, an eye for detail: director featurette, from the mta to the wga: writer featurette, plus deleted scenes.


Set in 1962, A Single Man centers around an English professor (Colin Firth) who tries to get on with his life in Los Angeles after the death of his partner of 16 years.

Special Features: Director’s commentary from Tom Ford and The Making of ‘A Single Man’ featurette.


What would the world be like if the government surveillance cameras meant to protect us were actually killing humans? That’s the premise of Eyeborgs, a sci-fi feature that stars Adrian Paul, Megan Blake and Luke Eberi.

Special Features: Deleted scenes, behind the scenes featurettes, plus the trailer.



ER: The Complete Thirteenth Season follows the dynamics of the doctors and nurses helping patients survive in a busy hospital emergency room.

Special Features: Outpatient outtakes: unaired scenes.


The Game: The Third Season is three discs full of episodes from the final year of the series. The stories revolve around a group of women all in relationships with pro football players. The Game stars Tia Mowry.


Based on the successful BBC series of the same name, The Office: Seasons One & Two introduces us to the gang of office workers being filmed for a mocumentary.

Special Features Season One: Deleted scenes, commentary from cast.

Special Features Season Two: Deleted scenes, blooper reel, episode commentaries, original webisodes from, phony PSAs, plus Steve on Steve.


Miss Monk? Well, Monk: Season Three & Four and Monk: Season Five & Six are emerging on DVD to satisfy fans with a volume of obsessive-compulsive crime solving.


Special Features Season Three: Favorites – cast and crew reveal their favorite scenes, a Monk profile that features an in-depth conversation with series star Tony Shalhoub, Life Before Monk – the official back story of Adrian Monk, a Capt. Stottlmeyer (Ted Levine) and Lt. Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford), Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard) profile that includes an in-depth conversation with Traylor Howard, Monk quirks – learn more about Adrian Monk‘s phobias and compulsions.

Special Features Season Four: Monk writing process, what it takes to write for Monk?

Special Features Season Five: Episode commentary with cast and crew, original webisodes, plus the Psych pilot episode.

Special Features Season Six: Episode commentaries with cast and crew.


Project Runway: The Complete Seventh Season contains three discs of the hit reality series hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum. Aspiring fashion designers actually compete for the chance to break into the fashion industry.


"Mr. Monk and the End, part 2" -- Pictured: (l-r) Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, Ted Levine as Capt. Leland Stottlemeyer -- USA Network Photo: Hopper Stone

"Mr. Monk and the End, part 2" -- Pictured: (l-r) Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, Ted Levine as Capt. Leland Stottlemeyer -- USA Network Photo: Hopper Stone

Tonight is the night we learn everything – why Trudy Monk was killed, who did it and what she was working on prior to her murder. The final episode of Monk will tie up all the loose ends, series star Tony Shalhoub tells us.


It’s been eight years since Shalhoub first appeared on TV screens as the hand washing, wet wiping, obsessive-compulsive yet brilliant crime solving detective, Adrian Monk and it took no time at all for the show to develop a devoted following.


After years of acting in movies and series television, Shalhoub hit an all new high starring on Monk. The actor is fully aware of how rare roles like this come along and Monk is a character he’s having a tough time kissing goodbye.


He’s not alone, fans were equally obsessed with Mr. Monk.  What’s not to like?


Click onto the videos for the many qualities of Monk that inspired Tony Shalhoub throughout the eight-year run of the series.


The series finale of Monk airs 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network.