August 22, 2017


Starring Angela Dixon, Nigel Whitmey, Heather Peace, Rami Nasr, Velibor Topic, Sarah Perles, Lisa Eichhorn. Directed by Howard J. Ford. (2015, 94 min).

As the purveyor of this site, I'm often tasked with reviewing a lot of stuff I've never heard of, including a plethora of low budget, direct-to-video action films. In most cases, it turns out there's a good reason I haven't heard of them. But every now and then, one comes along where I find myself going, "Hey, this is actually pretty damn good." Never Let Go is one of those.

Angela Dixon is Lisa, the troubled mistress of a prominent - and married - politician, Clark Anderson (Nigel Whitmey). She's also the mother of his child. To escape for awhile, Lisa visits the Middle East (!), where her baby is promptly kidnapped. This is where the viewer learns Lisa is much more than Anderson's mistress. As a former part of his security staff, she's also a one-woman wrecking crew, unwilling to sit idly by while the bad guys get away with it. During her pursuit, she kills one of the kidnappers and is now wanted by police.

When she's not kicking asses, Angela Dixon moonlights as a dish installer.
Other than raising the obvious question of why the hell a single woman would choose to vacation in the Middle East with a newborn baby, Never Let Go is surprisingly smart and engaging. There's action 'o plenty, with numerous close-quarter fight scenes that are well-executed on a low budget. And though it owes more than a passing nod to Taken, the film tells a suspenseful story in its own right. The performances are also above average for a movie like this. As Lisa, Dixon creates a believable female action hero, capable of kicking massive amounts of ass without once throwing on high-heels.

Never Let Go makes up for its lack of originality with violent intensity, an interesting main character and a story that doesn't insult the viewer's intelligence. It won't win any Oscars, but the film does its job quite well, making it a pleasant surprise for action fans.


Blu-Ray News: Behind-the-Scenes Clip from THE MUMMY, Now on Digital and Arriving on 9/12

See how the first fight sequence between Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella was made in this awesome behind-the-scenes look in celebration of THE MUMMY now available on Digital

When an ancient evil rises up to seek revenge on our world, relive the epic saga in The Mummy, unleashing onto Digital on August 22, 2017, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand on September 12, 2017 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Packed with over an hour of special bonus content, experience never-before-scene footage and hidden secrets The Mummy has within with stars Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Russell Crowe, and Jake Johnson.


August 21, 2017


Starring Toby Stephens, Hannah New, Luke Arnold, Luke Roberts, Ray Stevenson, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Tom Hopper, Zethu Dlomo, Toby Schmitz, Clara Paget. Various directors. (2017, 596 min).

And so ends the only good thing Michael Bay ever attached his name to. It's kind-of sad, really. I'm sure gonna miss what my family amusingly refers to as Dad's Pirate Porn.

I never watched Black Sails when it aired on Starz, preferring the annual summer binge sessions these Blu-Ray releases provided. The show got a bit pokey at times in previous seasons, but it was the most handsomely produced series on television, with just the right amounts of sex, violence, betrayal and intrigue to keep me awake into the wee hours of the night, saying, "Okay, just one more episode, then I'll go to bed."

At least the series ends with a bang. Season 4 is the most briskly-paced and action oriented of them all, the various events of the previous three seasons coming to a head during these final 10 episodes. And, as usual, anyone not up-to-speed with these characters' past-doings will be completely lost. For the faithful, there aren't any real plot twists this season, save for the ultimate fates of a few of these characters.

"Use yer goddamn turn signal!!!"
While Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) remains the show's solid anchor, all the supporting characters have their moments. I especially enjoyed the transformation of Jack Rackham (Toby Schmitz) over the course of the series from conniving little weasel to - almost - a trusted ally during the growing conflict with the British over control of Nassau. Woodes Rogers (Luke Roberts) returns from Season 3 as the primary antagonist. He makes a terrific villain because, even though he often demonstrates a considerable amount of cruelty, he's not completely hateful. And while we may not condone his actions, we kind-of understand them.

It all winds down to a satisfying - sometimes surprisingly poignant - conclusion that should please most fans of the series. And while I'll miss those late summer binge-a-thons, at least Black Sails ends on a high note rather than wear out its welcome.

FEATURETTES: "Inside the World of Black Sails"; "Creating the World"; "Roundtable: Women in Piracy"; "Roundtable: "The Legends of Treasure Island"; "Roundtable: Fearless Fans"

August 20, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: EFFECTS

Starring Joe Pilato, John Harrison, Tom Savini, Susan Chapek, Bernard McKenna, Debra Gordon. Directed by Dusty Nelson. (1980, 84 min).

On the outer fringes of the Romeroverse lurks Effects, a grassroots Pittsburgh production that was never given a proper release. There's nary a single zombie to be found and the film itself is unremarkable. But it's particularly noteworthy today for featuring early appearances by a few guys who'd soon become horror icons under George A. Romero's wing, most notably Tom Savini and Joe Pilato.

Effects features another of Romero's alumni, John Harrison (Creepshow composer & Tales from the Darkside director), as Lacey, an unhinged filmmaker who's supposedly directing a horror movie, when in-reality he's making a snuff film using his cast and crew as victims. It's a terrifically twisted concept and the film is pretty well made considering its shoestring budget, but undone by an overly-talky script, scattershot pacing and rambling scenes where not much happens outside of partying.

But the curiosity factor alone makes Effects worth checking out. Think about it...few cult actors are as legendary for a single performance as Joe Pilato. Three decades after Day of the Dead, he's still synonymous with Captain Rhodes because most of us haven't really seen him in anything else. He's sort-of a revelation in Effects - and a leading man, of all things! - playing a congenial cameraman who's almost the polar opposite of his most iconic role: soft-spoken, handsome, charming and...well, likable.

Mr. Pilato gets lost in his own monkey farm.
Tom Savini may be a horror legend, but those hoping to see his horrific make-up skills will phenomenally disappointed. Though he does provide the film's few effects (which are tame compared to his later work), he's mostly utilized as an actor here, playing an obnoxious crony who's in cahoots with Lacey. Savini's always been a decent actor, and although he has relatively little screen time, he turns in an amusing performance.

Effects will hold little interest for casual viewers, who'll likely be put-off by its bargain-basement production and dull execution. From a historical perspective, however, this disc is a must-own for those obsessed with anything even tenuously connected to George A. Romero. It also includes an hour-long documentary that's arguably more entertaining than the movie itself.

"AFTER EFFECTS" - An hour-long retrospective documentary from 2004 that's part cast & crew reunion, part behind-the-scenes. Easily the best feature on the entire disc, including the film (includes optional audio commentary).
2 SHORT FILMS - Weird early shorts made by some of the same folks.
AUDIO COMMENTARY - With director Dusty Nelson, actor/composer John Harrison & editor Pasquale Buba.

Rest in Peace, Jerry Lewis

August 18, 2017


Music by Michael Giacchino. (2017, 76 min).

Michael Giacchino's score for the War for the Planet of the Apes is the best of the entire series.

The disc hooks the listener with the very first track, "Apes' Past is Prologue," an epic 11-minute piece which is at-times reminiscent of Jerry Goldsmith's groundbreaking music in the original 1968 film. Whether or not that was directly intentional, it's an eerie mood-setter with ominous moments where a choir is utilized to great effect.

"Assault of the Earth" continues the dark path more urgently. The third track, "Exodus Wounds," is emotionally sweeping and a strong candidate for the best one on the entire album, establishing two of the score's strongest recurring themes. Elsewhere, these 17 tracks vary from quick two-minute bursts, such as the stunning "Ecstasy of the Bold," to longer pieces like "Apes Together Strong," which is both haunting and suspenseful.

More importantly, the score works as a stand-alone piece of music, always the hallmark of any great soundtrack album. One of the best of Giacchino's recent efforts, this disc is definitely worth picking up.

Blu-Ray News: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND 40th Anniversary Available 9/19


All-New 4K Restoration Available Sept. 19 on 2-Disc Remastered Blu-ray, 3-Disc 4K Ultra HD & Limited Edition 3-Disc 4K Ultra HD “Light and Sound” Gift Set.
Both Blu-ray & 4K Ultra HD Releases Include All Three Versions of the Film, Plus All-New Bonus Material Featuring Interviews with Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams & Denis Villeneuve.

Following its exclusive one week engagement in theaters across the country starting September 1, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment celebrates the 40th anniversary of legendary director Steven Spielberg’s epic adventure CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND on September 19 with the new 4K restoration available on 3-disc 4K Ultra HD, a Limited Edition 3-disc 4K Ultra HD “Light and Sound” Gift Set, and in high-def on 2-disc remastered Blu-ray. A must-own for all true fans, the highly collectible Limited Edition Gift Set features illuminated packaging that plays the iconic 5-tone motif. Also included is an expanded booklet with rare archival photos. Both Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD releases include all three restored versions of the film, including the 1977 theatrical version, the 1980 Special Edition and the 1997 Director’s Cut.

In addition to the legacy bonus materials, the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND Blu-ray comes with new bonus content, including rare, never-before-seen home movies and gags from the set, and the all-new featurette “Three Kinds of Close Encounters.” This featurette includes a new interview with director Steven Spielberg on the legacy of the film, as well as new interviews with directors J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) on the impact of Close Encounters.

August 17, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: KILL SWITCH

Starring Dan Stevens, Berennice Maylohe, Tygo Gernandt, Charity Wakefield, Baz Keijzer, Mike Libanon, Mike Reus. Directed by TimSmiT. (2017, 92 min).

Kill Switch is conceptually intriguing, but questionably executed.

In the near future, the Alterplex corporation has developed and built a massive device that will provide unlimited energy to the world. It does this by sucking energy from The Echo, a mirror universe created by the machine. When this begins to trigger bizarre interdimensional disasters, NASA pilot Will Porter (Dan Stevens) is recruited to travel into The Echo and close the link between both worlds using a black box called the Redivider. This will also destroy The Echo, but failure to do so will result in the end of both worlds. However, even though The Echo is supposed to be devoid of biological life, people identical to those in the real world exist there and understandably don't relish the thought of extinction.

"What? You're not the Ghostbusters??
It will come as no surprise that director/producer TimSmiT's background is in CG special effects, which he created for this film as well. Considering the film's limited budget, Kill Switch is visually impressive, with boats and railroad cars falling from the sky and deadly police drones patrolling the city. However, while the  ramifications of multidimensional interaction is a concept just begging to be explored, everything takes a backseat to barrages of gunfire and explosions. 

Fans of Stevens will also be disappointed to learn he only appears onscreen in flashback sequences, which are periodically dispersed throughout the film to provide exposition (including a pointless subplot involving his sister and her troubled son). The rest of plays like a first-person shooter video game, shown entirely from Porter's point of view. While initially interesting, the gimmick is nothing new and grows tiresome after awhile.

As it is, Kill Switch certainly watchable. It seldom slows down for a minute and boasts enough mayhem to please undemanding action fans. But by choosing spectacle over substance, it's also a missed opportunity. With a concept like that, our brains should be as engaged as our eyes.

FEATURETTE: "The Visual Effect: Inside the Director's

August 16, 2017


Starring Adam Baldwin, Rutger Hauer, Steve Guttenberg, Bryan Brown, Alexa Hamilton, Tinarie Van Wyk-Loots, C. Thomas Howell, Amber Sainsbury, Sylvia Sims, Peter Weller, Nathalie Boltt, Peter Dobson, Alex Kingston. Directed by John Putch. (2005, 175 min).

We all know the story...on New Year's Eve during her final voyage, the SS Poseidon is struck by a massive tidal wave which capsizes the ship. The survivors must now make their way to the hull and hope for a rescue before it sinks for good.

Well, purists be prepared, because this 2005 made-for-TV remake of The Poseidon Adventure commits heresy by removing the tidal wave from a story that was mostly about a tidal wave. The original is unarguably a disaster movie classic, though not such a sacred cinematic cow that a remake is out of the question (a lot of folks in Hollywood must have agreed because we got two within a year). But, tidal wave? Whose idea was that...George Lucas'?

Like attempting to enjoy a meatless burger, disaster buffs just need to suck it up and accept the idea that an oceanliner can be capsized by an exploding beer keg.


Someone enjoyed one too many deviled eggs from the buffet table.
Actually, the keg is one of several bombs that are brought on-board by an unnamed group of terrorists. It's never made clear exactly what their beef is, but much of the first hour - besides introducing a variety of ill-fated passengers - focuses on this plot, with grumpy Sea Marshal Mike Rogo (Adam Baldwin) searching the ship for terrorists. This is The Poseidon Adventure in-name-only until the ship finally capsizes. Perhaps the producers chose the terrorist route because, considering the already-terrible CGI, recreating a convincing tidal wave was an insurmountable task. Or maybe there wasn't enough meat to the original story to justify the four hour running time a miniseries generally requires.

But believe it or not, the movie improves as it goes along and the stuntwork itself is rather impressive. Better yet, it starts to resemble the Poseidon Adventure of old during the second half. Several escape sequences are more-or-less recreated pretty faithfully, albeit on a TV budget.

Some of the characters - both familiar and new - are actually pretty interesting. Baldwin, in a rare leading role, is suitably badass, while Rutger Hauer is surprisingly effective as a tough-but-kindly priest. To be honest, I always hated Shelley Winter's whiny, obnoxious performance in the original, but Sylvia Syms does wonders with the same character, rendering her subtly endearing and sympathetic.

Steve Guttenberg as The Douchebag.
In fact, most of the cast and their characters are decent as TV movies go. One glaring exception is Steve Guttenberg as Richard. Having a face that's inherently punchable is bad enough, but he's also stuck with one of the most repugnant characters I've ever seen in a disaster movie (taking into account every movie in the Airport franchise, that's saying something). This is a guy who abandons his entire family to shack up with the ship's masseuse for the rest of the trip, then we're expected to hope he survives the disaster. Worse yet, even though time is rapidly running out, everyone is repeatedly forced to halt their escape plans while Richard makes impassioned declarations of love to his wife and kids (and Guttenberg can't emote worth a damn). But even after that, while his wife looks on, he still mourns the death of the chick he's been boinking.

That brutal story & casting decision aside, the movie itself isn't all that bad once you get over the fact no tidal wave is forthcoming. Sure, like a lot of "event" miniseries that were popular at the time, The Poseidon Adventure is too long by an hour (further padded by needless scenes of rescue efforts) and the special effects are terrible, but this often-dubious genre has produced bigger stinkers, including its mega-budget brethren, Poseidon, which is far more spectacular, but works better as a sleep aid.


August 14, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: BLUEBEARD

Starring Cho Jin-woong, Shin Goo, Kim Dae-myung, Song Young-chang, Lee Chung-ah, Yoon Se-ah. Directed by Lee Soo-yeon. (2017, 117 min).

Did I miss something while watching Bluebeard?

I could see what they were trying to do by giving us a main character we don't entirely trust, making us question whether or not what he's experiencing is real. Cho Jin-woong plays Byun, a troubled doctor who's estranged from his ex-wife and living alone in a cluttered, tiny apartment. Once the owner of a clinic which went bankrupt, he now performs colonoscopies in a crime-ridden part of town to make ends meet. There's also a serial killer on the loose, and one of the dismembered victims has recently been discovered in a nearby river.

As a favor to his landlord, Jung Sung-geun (Kim Dae-myung), Byun examines his father (Shin Goo). But while sedated, the old man describes gruesome details of one of the murders. Though he befriends Jung, Byun begins to suspect the Sung-geun family (who also own a butcher shop in the same building) are the serial killers everyone is looking for, especially after he spots what looks like a human head in their meat locker. That same head pops up in his own freezer, then disappears the next day. Later, his ex-wife disappears right after a recent visit, prompting Byun to find evidence to expose the Sung-geuns.

"You must owe a hell of a lot in library fines."
Bluebeard does so many things right that it's a shame the film undoes itself during the final act. Director Lee Soo-yeon does an exemplary job creating a moody, surreal tone, with some creepy, hallucinatory sequences and effectively deliberate pacing. As Byun, Cho Jin-woong hits all the right notes as a tormented doctor whose life has recently taken some dark turns, and we're intrigued to learn exactly what led him to his sorry state. But unlike similar films which depend on deceiving the viewer to set up a big twist, we almost immediately begin to suspect something's not quite right with Byun.

Bluebeard's "failure" to pull the wool over our eyes isn't the problem, though. After all, I know the outcome of every sports movie ever made, but still enjoy them. Without providing spoilers, the biggest issue is the final act, where previous events are laborously revisited from a different perspective. But then the subsequent resolution undermines its own story by throwing us another curveball which, based on what we've already been presented with, rings false. Unless I completely overlooked some vital piece of information - a subtle hint, a throwaway line, my willingness to suspend disbelief - I don't see how the denouement is even possible.

Still, I find myself thinking a lot about the plausibility of that ending, and maybe that was the film's purpose all along. Maybe it intended to confound its own logic   just to get a rise out of the viewer. Whatever the case, Bluebeard's dark tone and solid performances may not be enough for us to forgive the narrative shortcomings, but at least the journey is kind of interesting. 


Blu-Ray News: KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA Coming to Blu-Ray for the First Time on 9/12

Blu-ray and DVD Street Date: September 12, 2017

Director: Bernard L. Kowalski
Starring: Maximilian Schell, Diane Baker, Brian Keith, Sal Mineo, Rossano Brazzi, J.D. Cannon, John Leyton, Marc Lawrence

Adventure / 131 min / G / Color

The Epic Adventure that Shook the Earth to its Core! In Singapore harbor, 1883, Captain Chris Hanson (Maximilian Schell, Judgment at Nuremberg) of the Batavia Queen embarks on a perilous search for sunken treasure off the island of Krakatoa. To find a fortune in rare pearls, he must brave a boiling sea, douse an uprising by a horde of convicts, and outwit a greedy crew desperate for more than their fair share... only to confront the most devastating and catastrophic volcanic explosion the modern world has ever felt creating giant tidal waves that engulf the island and endanger all aboard the Batavia Queen. TV veteran Bernard L. Kowalski (Stiletto) directed this widescreen spectacle that featured a splendid cast that included Diane Baker (The Silence of the Lambs), Brian Keith (The McKenzie Break), Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause), Rossano Brazzi (South Pacific), John Leyton (The Great Escape), J.D. Cannon (Cotton Comes to Harlem) and Marc Lawrence (Custer of the West) with a rousing score by Frank De Vol (The Dirty Dozen).

Rest in Peace, Joseph Bologna

August 12, 2017


Starring Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek, Raphael Alejandro, Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Raquel Welch, Rob Riggle, Rob Huebel, Renee Taylor, Linda Lavin, Mckenna Grace. Directed by Ken Marino. (2017, 155 min).

If nothing else, this film's pre-title prologue made me laugh loud enough to startle my cat.

In a year rife with raunchy, unfunny comedies that have mostly bombed at the box office, the rest of How to be a Latin Lover is a breath of fresh air. Even with a PG-13 rating, I was expecting something filled with self-humiliating characters, sex gags and snickering innuendo. While the film does indeed have some of that, it's often genuinely funny without ever becoming mean-spirited or descending into pure sleaze. And - surprise, surprise - it even manages to be sentimental and sweet at times.

"Hey, has Friskies?"
Eugenio Derbez is Maximo, a man with no work ethic who marries an older rich woman for her money. 25 years later, she dumps him for a younger man, leaving him homeless and broke. He moves in with his sister, Sara (Salma Hayek), a budding architect, and her nerdy, awkward son, Hugo (Raphael Alejandro). Predictably, his self-absorption, laziness and inappropriate behavior around Hugo makes him a bane to Sara. Hugo, who's own father died a few years before, is quite taken with his uncle, who initially wants nothing to do with the boy.

Meanwhile, rather than look for a legitimate job, Maximo sets out to snag another wealthy older woman to take care of him, which he thinks he finds in Celeste (Rachel Welch, still looking mighty fine for 76). Coincidently, she's the grandmother of the girl Hugo has a secret crush on. Maximo decides to give his nephew lessons in winning-over the ladies (the only sleazy way he knows how) in order to get closer to Celeste. Unfortunately, Maximo is no longer the virile young stud he used to be and generally ends up making things worse for everybody, including himself, not helped by the so-called advice of friend and fellow man-toy Rick (Rob Lowe).

"What do you mean you don't like tea parties?"
The premise alone naturally lends itself to ample opportunities for cartoonish antics and low-brow comedy, which the film more-than-willingly provides. It isn't always laugh-out-loud funny, but much of it is chuckleworthy and resists the overwhelming temptation to degenerate into a leering sex farce. In fact, except for some suggestive dialogue here and there, you might even feel comfortable watching this with your older kids, who'd probably enjoy the scenes involving Hugo and Maximo. Speaking of which, these two provide the emotional crux of a film I never expected to have one. Despite their age difference, they treat and talk to each other as equals since Hugo is wise beyond his years and Maximo never really grew up in the first place.

From a narrative standpoint, there aren't too many surprises, but the characters are fun due to lively performances by an impressive cast. Despite his shallow, obnoxious character, Derbez renders Maximo likable, while Alejandro is charming as the socially-awkward Hugo. The rest of the cast are all given their moments to shine, as well. Lowe plays yet-another oily sleaze as only he can, while Linda Lavin is unnervingly hilarious as his sugar mama. Kristen Bell's cat-lady character is arguably the least essential to the story, though the increasingly brutal scratch wounds on her face & body is the best running gag in the movie. Even Welch, never exactly renowned for her comedic skills, has a few amusing moments.

How to Be a Latin Lover isn't gonna change the world and perhaps runs a tad longer than it needs to, but it never quite wears out its welcome. It's an engaging, affably entertaining film that manages to juggle slapstick & situational comedy pretty well, while remaining surprisingly sweet-natured.

FEATURETTES: "Show Me Your Sexy!" (making-of); "A Little Help from My Friends" (mostly about director Ken Marino assembling the cast)
AUDIO COMMENTARY - by director Marino, producer Ben Odell & editor John Daigle

August 11, 2017

Blu-Ray News: "Get The Yondu Look" Tribute Event - GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOl. 2


On Tuesday, August 22, from 9:00am-12:00pm, fans around Los Angeles will be able to come pay tribute to the beloved Ravager, Yondu, with a morning of prizes and activities at Shorty’s Barber Shop in West Hollywood! Michael Rooker (‘Yondu’ in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) will be on location to commemorate his character and interact with fans!

Activities Include:
  • The first 50 fans will receive a $50 gift certificate to Shorty’s Barber Shop to come back and Get the Yondu Look
  • Additional giveaways will include Blu-ray Combo Packs and Digital Copies of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, posters signed by Michael Rooker and other Guardians themed items
  • Themed photo opportunity
  • Get the Yondu Look by getting your hair styled into a faux hawk and hair sprayed red

For those of you hardcore enough to go FULL YONDU*, there will be room for ten lucky Ravagers to get a full hair dye and shave. Those that pledge their loyalty to the captain will not only meet Rooker himself, but will head out with various Guardians loot!

But wait! There’s more, y’all! Two lucky fans will also walk out of Shorty’s with an awesome custom-made Yondu umbrella to keep that new ‘do safe from the LA sun!

* If you volunteer to be one of the 10 fans to get the Full Yondu you will need to be over 18 years of age, be available to get your hair dyed on Monday, August 21st, and shaved or styled from 9:00AM-12:00PM on Tuesday, August 22nd.

To schedule for the Full Yondu, please e-mail your name and mobile number to

All colors and cuts will take place at:
Shorty’s Barber Shop
755 N Fairfax Ave
West Hollywood, CA

Now Available Digitally and Blu-ray on Aug. 22

August 8, 2017


Starring Natasha Bassett, Peter Benson, Clayton Chitty, Nathan Keyes, Nicole Oliver, Jillian Walchuck, Matthew Harrison. Directed by Anne-Marie Hess. (2017, 88 min).

My oldest daughter has always loved all things Britney Spears - even during years when it wasn't fashionable - and even she had to rage-quit this movie after about 30 minutes.

As hard as it might be for some of us to wrap our heads around, this prolific pop tart has been pumping out softcore silliness for nearly twenty years. That's roughly 15 years after I assumed she'd end up desperately clinging to fame on a season of Dancing with the Stars. At the very least, Britney Spears deserves some kudos for longevity.

As a decades-long source of tabloid fodder, who sells sex and songs with equal abandon, Spears' career is certainly a worthy subject for a music bio, no matter how superficial. But Britney Ever After barely even tries. It's a biography only in the sense that its subject exists. Abe Lincoln did, too, but we're pretty certain he never hunted vampires.

You know you're in trouble when a movie about a musician doesn't include any of their actual music. None of Spears' own songs are featured. And though she's been renowned for years as the reigning diva at MTV's Video Music Awards, Britney's antics are depicted on the chuckleworthy "Music Awards". Lifetime - longtime purveyors of fan-baiting claptrap - obviously had no legal permission to feature either.

"Uh...could you stop sniffing yourself?"
But that's just nitpicking. While admittedly not a fan of Britney or her questionable musical abilities, I don't believe she's an idiot. Here, she's initially portrayed as the type of dumb, backwoods hick you'd expect to see popping out of the cornfield in an old Hee-Haw episode. Then before you can say "Oops, I Did it Again,", she's a spoiled, oversexed, man-hungry valley girl who settles a marital spat with Justin Timberlake by challenging him to a dance-off.

Britney Ever After cheaply & inaccurately re-enacts the more tabloid-worthy parts of her career, then speculates the rest (Really? A sex tape?). The narrative jumps from point A to B with little or no transition, essentially rendering the whole thing a series of unrelated film clips. The actors only superficially resemble their real life counterparts and perform like high-schoolers imagining what pop stardom is like.

I can't imagine Britney Ever After appealing to her die hard fans, who'd likely be insulted by this lazy & shallow attempt to capitalize on their adulation. Since nobody else is going to care, this cynically-produced ratings grabber is nothing more than a cable TV version of click-bait.