Category Archives: DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Interstellar

Interstellar Blu-ray

Synopsis:
In Earth’s future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a brilliant NASA physicist, is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth’s population to a new home via a wormhole. But first, Brand must send former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of researchers through the wormhole and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind’s new home.

Review:
Cooper is out of his element in an Earth where science and exploration take a back seat to agriculture and simple survival. When he discovers a code that sends him to a secret NASA installation, he is chosen to be a part of a small crew to help save humanity – with only one backup plan.

Interstellar is a unique science fiction epic from Christopher Nolan. It often felt like Signs meets 2001 Space Odyssey . The storytelling was unique, jumping from Cooper’s mission to back home on Earth where his family is aging and his daughter is trying to help NASA come up with a solution to save the humans left on Earth. The acting is gripping and emotional. And surprisingly the message is about love overcoming science.

Science and science fiction fans may be the only ones to appreciate (or understand) some of the mechanics of interstellar travel and the passage of time. I was impressed with the level of detail. I was pretty disappointed with the robot crew members, being so boxy with limited movement. Though, they were the only ones with a sense of humor through the movie – of which there definitely wasn’t enough. The visual effects were the highlight of this movie, and sometimes the story seemed to drag because of it. The film is a bit disjointed and strange – as the trailers suggested. It’s intensely dramatic, but a bit too slow for my taste. There are points of brilliance and creativity, however. I have mixed feelings about this one. I’m glad I finally saw it, but I don’t know that I’d watch it again.

The Blu-ray Edition also includes:
• The Science of Interstellar—Extended cut of the broadcast special.
• Plotting an Interstellar Journey—Discusses the film’s origins, influences and narrative designs.
• Life on Cooper’s Farm—Bringing Americana and the grounded nature of a farm to a sci-fi space movie.
• The Dust—Learn how cast and crew avoided sand blindness, and see how to create, and clean up after, a catastrophic dust storm.
• TARS and CASE—Designing and building these unique characters and how they were brought to life on set and in the film.
• Cosmic Sounds—The concepts, process, and recording of Hans Zimmer’s unforgettable score.
• The Space Suits—A look at the design and build of the suits and helmets, and what it was like to wear them.
• The Endurance—Explore this massive set with a guided tour by production designer Nathan Crowley.
• Shooting in Iceland: Miller’s Planet/Mann’s Planet—Travel with the cast and crew to Iceland and see the challenges they faced in creating two vastly different worlds in one country.
• The Ranger and the Lander—A look at the other two spaceships in the film.
• Miniatures in Space—Marvel at the large-scale models used in the explosive docking sequence.
• The Simulation of Zero-G—Discover the various methods that the filmmakers used to create a zero gravity environment.
• Celestial Landmarks—Explore how the filmmakers used practical special effects informed by real scientific equations to give the illusion of real space travel for both the actors and the audience.
• Across All Dimensions and Time—A look at the concept and design of the Tesseract, which incorporated a practical set rather than a green screen.
• Final Thoughts—The cast and crew reflect back on their Interstellar experience.
• Theatrical Trailers

Blu Ray Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction

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Transformers: Age of Extinction

Synopsis:

Review:
Mark Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager, who stumbles upon a severely damaged Optimus Prime as the US military, led by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammar), hunts the Autobots and Decepticons to extinction. But aiding the humans in their hunt for Autobots is another mysterious, alien force.

Transformers: Age of Extinction starts off a bit slow, as we get to know Cade and his family. Though, T.J. Miller provides a bit of comedic relief. The rest of the film gets darker as humans unleash their own version of robotic copycats that threaten more than just the remaining Autobots. Big explosions and impressive CGI make for a fun experience. At first glance, it seems like a rehash of previous film plots. But the alien bounty hunter provides an air of mystery. But that fizzles out too. The big showdown finale happens in Hong Kong this time, which makes for a nice change instead of yet another generic, US metropolis. The addition of pretty scenery and Dinobots, however, come too late in the film. It feels much too long. And by the end, I had quit caring what would happen. It’s a mindless, fun film for Transformers fans, but I was hoping for a bit more.

Blu-ray Combo Pack Includes:
Disc 1 (Blu-ray):
Continue reading Blu Ray Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Blu Ray Review: The Originals: The Complete First Season

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The Originals: Season 1 [Blu-ray]

Synopsis:
Ready to get sucked in? Just in time for the Season Two premiere on The CW, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group will release The Originals: The Complete First Season on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack on September 2, 2014. Season One is also available to purchase on Digital HD. Averaging nearly 3.1 million viewers weekly, The Originals is The CW’s #2 show among Adults. Fans can feast on all 22 one-hour episodes from Season One, plus over two hours of gripping extras — including commentary, the 2013 Comic-Con panel, the 2014 PaleyFest panel, featurettes, and deleted scenes. The Originals: The Complete First Season will be priced to own on DVD at $59.98 SRP and on Blu-ray Combo Pack at $69.97 SRP.

Review:
As a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, I was surprised that The Originals is just as good, if not better, than it’s predecessor. Starring Joseph Morgan as Klaus and Daniel Gillies as Elijah, the two Original, immortal brothers are incredibly complex and fascinating characters. Klaus returns to New Orleans, but he’s been gone a long time. And a lot has changed. With a rich history and lore, New Orleans is the perfect setting for this incredible series. The Originals was easily one of the best new shows this year. Once you start, you won’t be able to miss an episode.

Special Features Include:
– Pilot Commentary
– 2013 Comic Con Panel and 2014 PaleyFest Panel
– Featurettes
– Deleted Scenes
All 22 One-Hour Episodes:
1. Always and Forever
2. House of the Rising Sun
3. Tangled Up in Blue
4. Girl in New Orleans
5. Sinners and Saints
6. Fruit of the Poisoned Tree
7. Bloodletting
8. The River in Reverse
9. Reigning Pain in New Orleans
10. The Casket Girls
11. Apres Moi, le Deluge
12. Dance Back from the Grave
13. Crescent City
14. Long Way Back from Hell
15. Le Grand Guignol
16. Farewell to Storyville
17. Moon Over Bourbon Street
18. The Big Uneasy
19. An Unblinking Death
20. A Closer Walk with Thee
21. The Battle of New Orleans
22. From a Cradle to a Grave

Blu-Ray Review: Transcendence

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Transcendence (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack)

Synopsis:
In Transcendence, Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him.

However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed—to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can…but if they should.

Their worst fears are realized as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.

Review:
The previews for this film gave away most of the plot, so not much was a surprise. Johnny Depp and the rest of the acting was fantastic, which I expected. But the far-fetched “transcending” of Will was beyond this science fiction fan’s realm of believability. Especially, when he got into nanotechnology and creating a hive of followers. The story also dragged at times for a bit too much reflection and artsy imagery.

The events build to a suspenseful and exciting ending with a bit of a surprise. But a lot is still left unanswered. For a hard science fiction film, there is a lot of introspection and was just too slow-paced for my taste. However, it was unique and a film I’ll not soon forget.

Photo Gallery:

Own Transcendence on Digital HD now and on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on July 22nd.

Blu-Ray Review: Falling Skies: The Complete Third Season

Falling Skies: The Complete Third Season

Synopsis:
Falling Skies – TNT’s alien-invasion saga from DreamWorks Television, TNT Productions and executive producer Steven Spielberg – returns to Blu-ray™ and DVD with its complete third season. The two-disc Falling Skies: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray™ and three-disc DVD set will include all 10 episodes from the action-packed drama’s third season, as well as more than two hours of special features including “Warrior Poet: Creating the Character and Emotion of Cochise,” “Karen: The Overlord Next Door,” behind-the-scenes features, all episodes of “2nd Watch Hosted by Wil Wheaton” and much more. Additionally, the Blu-ray release will also be available for Ultraviolet Digital HD download.

Review:
Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Colin Cunningham, Drew Roy, Connor Jessup, and the rest of the cast return for this exciting third season. With the arrival the Volm, humanity just may have a chance at fighting the alien invaders and retaking Earth. But within the human settlement there’s a traitorous spy at work.

This third season is another incredibly intense and action-packed storyline that shouldn’t be missed. Easily one of the best shows on television, Falling Skies packs in a fantastic cast of believable and interesting characters, unpredictable and suspenseful stories, and mysterious and illusive aliens. I can’t say enough good things about this exceptional show. And this blu-ray set has a nice lineup of interesting featurettes for fans of the show as well.

Blu-Ray Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Sixth Season

Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Sixth Season Blu-Ray

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – THE SIXTH SEASON BLU-RAY includes all 26 episodes, numerous commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes, promos, gag reel, and the new three-part documentary “Beyond the Five Year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation”

The sixth of seven seasons starts with the second part of one of my favorite episodes – “Time’s Arrow.” Featuring Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan in the 1800s, the crew of the Enterprise tries to rescue Data as a nosy Samuel Clemens gets in the way. James Doohan revisits the Enterprise in the classic episode “Relics.” Q returns in “True Q” to test a new Q. Worf and his son get stuck in the Old West in the holodeck in the humorous “A Fistful of Datas.” Picard gets captured and tortured by the Cardassians during a secret mission in “Chain of Command” Parts 1 and 2. And that’s just the first half of the season. This was easily one of the strongest seasons, with just about every episode being a solid story that I have watched numerous times.

This season is a must-buy for Next Generation fans. This remastered blu-ray edition was worth the wait with plenty of new deleted scenes and other extras.

Disc One:
Episodes:
• Time’s Arrow, Part II
• Realm of Fear
• Man of the People
• Relics
• Schisms
Special Features”
• Archival Mission Log: Mission Overview Year Six (SD)
• Audio Commentary with Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda on “Relics” – NEW
• Deleted Scenes (HD) – NEW
– Time’s Arrow, Part II
– Relics
• Episodic Promos
– Promo #1 (SD)
– Promo #2 (SD)
– Promo #3 (SD)
– Promo #4 (SD)
– Promo #5 (SD)
Disc Two:
Episodes:
• True Q
• Rascals
• A Fistful of Datas
• The Quality of Life
Special Features:
• Archival Mission Log: Bold New Directions (SD)
• Archival Mission Log: Departmental Briefing Year Six: Production (SD)
• Archival Mission Log: Departmental Briefing Profile: Dan Curry (SD)
• Deleted Scene (HD) – NEW
– True Q
• Episodic Promos
– Promo #1 (SD)
– Promo #2 (SD)
– Promo #3 (SD)
– Promo #4 (SD)
Disc Three:
Episodes”
• Chain of Command, Part I
• Chain of Command, Part II
• Ship in a Bottle
• Aquiel
• Face of the Enemy
Special Features:
• Archival Mission Log: Special Crew Profile: Lt. Cmdr. Data (SD)
• Deleted Scenes (HD) – NEW
– Ship in a Bottle
– Face of the Enemy
• Episodic Promos
– Promo #1 (SD)
– Promo #2 (SD)
– Promo #3 (SD)
– Promo #4 (SD)
– Promo #5 (SD)
Disc Four:
Episodes:
• Tapestry
• Birthright, Part I
• Birthright, Part II
• Starship Mine
• Lessons
Special Features:
• Archival Mission Log: Select Historical Data (SD)
• Audio Commentary with Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda on “Tapestry” – NEW
• Deleted Scenes (HD) – NEW
– Tapestry
– Birthright, Part II
• Episodic Promos
– Promo #1 (SD)
– Promo #2 (SD)
– Promo #3 (SD)
– Promo #4 (SD)
– Promo #5 (SD)
Disc Five:
Episodes:
• The Chase
• Frame of Mind
• Suspicions
• Rightful Heir
• Second Chances
Special Features:
• Archival Mission Log: Inside Starfleet Archives: Sets and Props (SD)
• Audio Commentary with James L. Conway and Jonathan West on “Frame of Mind” – NEW
• Deleted Scenes (HD) – NEW
– The Chase
– Rightful Heir
• Episodic Promos
– Promo #1 (SD)
– Promo #2 (SD)
– Promo #3 (SD)
– Promo #4 (SD)
– Promo #5 (SD)
Disc Six:
Episodes:
• Timescape
• Descent, Part I
Special Features:
• Beyond the Five Year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation (HD) – NEW
– Part One: The Lithosphere
– Part Two: The Biosphere
– Part Three: The Noosphere
• Gag Reel (HD) – NEW
• Episodic Promos
– Promo #1 (SD)
– Promo #2 (SD)

Blu Ray Review: I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein

Synopsis:
The explosive thriller takes place 200 years after Dr. Frankenstein’s shocking creation came to life. Celestial forces name the creature Adam, and arm him with weapons to defeat the demons that are constantly seeking his destruction. However, soon Adam finds himself in the middle of a war over the fate of humanity and discovers that he also holds the key that could destroy humankind.

BLU-RAY/DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Audio Commentary with Co-writer/Director Stuart Beattie
• Audio Commentary with Filmmakers Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, James McQuaide and Kevin Grevioux
• “Creating a Monster” featurette
• “Frankenstein’s Creatures” featurette

Review:
Aaron Eckhart stars as Adam, Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. 200 years after his creation, he doesn’t age and he still bears scars (physical and psychological). He has an uneasy truce with the angelic gargoyles who protect humanity from demons. Adam just tries to live his life in the shadows and stay out of everyone’s way. But he’s thrust into the middle of the war between good and evil, as a demon prince seeks to discover the secrets of Dr. Frankenstein’s science.

I, Frankenstein is a fun, action-packed adventure. It didn’t get good reviews in the theater, but I was pleasantly entertained. Fans of the Underworld films should appreciate this science fiction/fantasy mash-up of gargoyles versus demons. It’s mindless entertainment that is visually stunning with some great special effects. I thoroughly enjoyed the story – mystery, suspense, action, mythology, with a little drama and even a hint of romance. And only Eckhart could make Frankenstein’s monster so easy on the eyes.

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Blu Ray Spotlight: Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4

Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4 Blu Ray

Synopsis and Disc Details:
Packed with hours of newly produced special features, relive the final adventures of Enterprise NX-01’s heroic crew in high definition when STAR TREK®: ENTERPRISE—SEASON FOUR on Blu-ray debuts April 29th from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution.

A special highlight to the collection is “In Conversation: Writing Star Trek Enterprise,” an exclusive, 90-minute writing staff reunion special. The compelling discussion includes series creator and executive producer Brannon Braga, along with Mike Sussman, André Bormanis, David Goodman, Chris Black, Phyllis Strong, and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, all detailing some of the series’ most fascinating behind-the-scenes stories. Plus, fans will receive special insight on the creation of the final episodes of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE with a newly produced, four-part documentary “Before Her Time: Decommissioning Enterprise,” which includes more in-depth interviews with the cast and crew.

Featuring all 22 episodes from the final season of the series, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE stars Scott Bakula, Jolene Blalock, Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating, Linda Park, Anthony Montgomery and John Billingsley, and follows the thrilling adventures of the first Earth-built vessel capable of breaking the Warp 5 barrier.

Disc One:
•Episodes
o Storm Front, Part I
o Storm Front, Part II
o Home
o Borderland
•Special Features
o Deleted Scene on “Storm Front” (SD)
o Extended Scene and Script Gallery: Original Editing on “Home” (SD)
o Archival Mission Logs:
o Enterprise Moments: Season Four (SD)

Disc Two: Continue reading Blu Ray Spotlight: Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4