Films Review September

COMIC BOOK VILLAINS (R)Writer-director James Robinson has brought together a gaggle of familiar faces to tell his tale of rival comic book store owners who engage in a dark and deadly battle over a collection of valuable comics.


Stars Donal Logue (“Grounded for Life”), Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride”) and D. J. Qualls (“The New Guy”) also serve as Co-Producers, making this inexpensive but engaging comedy a family affair. There are plenty of laughs as comic book dealer Ray (Logue) squares off against rivals Norman (Michael Rapaport) and Judy (Natasha Lyonne) for a million dollar stash of old comics that have just surfaced. As their desperation escalates, so do the lengths they’re willing to go through in order to emerge victorious. It’s always fun watching seemingly good people let greed take them down a dark and violent path of destruction. (Lion’s Gate)COWBOY UP (PG-13)

The rodeo circuit is the backdrop of this one-trick pony of a movie. Keifer Sutherland and newcomer Marcus Thomas play brothers Hank and Ely, who rely on each other as they make the rounds of the rodeo. Ely is the wildcard, a young buck who will do anything for a thrill. Hank is the rodeo clown, who intervenes when his brother runs into trouble. They’re close as brothers, but become rivals when Ely falls for rodeo gal Daryl Hannah. Director Xavier Koller paints this portrait of tough men and even tougher women by the numbers. The script is too pat to be believable. Molly Ringwald, Melinda Dillon and Bo Hopkins also get lassoed into action. (Columbia-TriStar)

MICKEY’S HOUSE OF VILLAIN’S (G)

Mickey Mouse and his friends square off against Walt Disney’s most infamous villains in this all-new, direct-to-video and DVD animated feature. Fun is the keyword in the House of Mouse, that is until “Aladdin” villain Jafar shows up with his entourage, including Cruella, Hades, Ursula, Captain Hook, Maleficent, the Wicked Witch, and the rest of the gang. It’s a tune-filled showdown as good versus evil. Loosely based on the Saturday morning series “House of Mouse,” this full-length cartoon features enough action, fun, thrills, and music to entertain kids of all ages. Available for sell-through at $22.99 video, and $29.99 DVD. (Walt Disney)

VULGAR (R-NR)

Powerful and disturbing portrait of a nice guy who makes a so-so living as a children’s party clown. Brian O’Halloran, one of Kevin Smith’s regulars, is excellent as Will Carlson, whose gigs as Flappy are becoming few and far in-between. Desperate to make more money, Will decides to transform Flappy into Vulgar, a bachelor party clown. Dressed in drag and ready to please, Will arrives at his first assignment only to find the mountain men from “Deliverance” waiting behind the door. After being raped and humiliated on video tape, Will escapes and crawls into a pit of despair. Finally over the trauma, Will revives Flappy, ends up saving a girl in a hostage situation, and becomes a media sensation. Riding high, Will’s new fame and financial freedom bring out the deviant father and his two boys, who threaten to expose him unless her returns for an encore. Written and directed by Bryan Johnson, “Vulgar” is an unrelenting trip through Will’s personal hell. What might seem exploitative remains grounded by O’Halloran’s sympathetic performance. The characters are always interesting, and there are plenty of unexpected laughs. (Lion’s Gate)



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