Category Archives: DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: The X-Files: The Event Series

The X-Files: The Event Series Blu-ray

About the Release:
Almost 14 years after the original series run, the next mind-bending chapter of “The X-Files”™ is a thrilling, six-episode event series from creator/executive producer Chris Carter, with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reinhabiting their roles as iconic FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Mitch Pileggi also returns as FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner, Mulder and Scully’s boss, who walks a fine line between loyalty to these investigators and accountability to his superiors. This marks the momentous return of the Emmy®- and Golden Globe® Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history.

“The X-Files” – The Event Series Blu-ray & DVD Special Features:
➢ Deleted & Extended Scenes
➢ Gag Reel
➢ The Makings of a Struggle
➢ Season X: An In-Depth Behind-the-Scenes Look at “The Event Series”
➢ Monsters of the Week: A Recap from the Wildest and Scariest from the Original Series
➢ “The X-Files” – Green Production PSA
➢ Short Film – Grace by Karen Nielsen
➢ Commentary on “Founder’s Mutation” with Chris Carter and James Wong
➢ Commentary on “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” with David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Kumail Nanjiani and Darin Morgan
➢ Commentary on “My Struggle II” with Chris Carter and Gabe Rotter

Review:
Scully and Mulder are back and better than ever in this much-too-short season. From scary to funny, and everything in between – I thoroughly enjoyed this latest season with a bit of nostalgia but completely new stories. Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster was by far my favorite episode. Guest starring Rhys Darby, this surprising story was suspenseful and hilarious.

My only complaint is that there were only 6 episodes that build to a climactic finale with a huge cliffhanger. I hope to see a new (longer) season soon. Watching this Event made me excited to re-watch the series from the beginning.

Blu-Ray Review: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Director’s Edition

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Director’s Cut Blu-ray

About the Release:As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Star Trek franchise, this classic film has been digitally remastered in high definition with brilliant picture quality and will be presented in both Nicholas Meyer’s Director’s Edition and the original theatrical version. The Blu-ray also includes a brand-new, nearly 30-minute documentary entitled “The Genesis Effect: Engineering The Wrath of Khan,” which details the development and production of this fan-favorite film through archival footage, photos and new interviews.

Captain Kirk’s Starfleet career enters a new chapter as a result of his most vengeful nemesis: Khan Noonien Singh, the genetically enhanced conqueror from late 20th century Earth. Escaping his forgotten prison, Khan sets his sights on both capturing Project Genesis, a device of god-like power, and the utter destruction of Kirk.

STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN Director’s Edition Blu-ray Includes:
Blu-ray
• Director’s Edition in high definition
• Theatrical Version in high definition
• Commentary by director Nicholas Meyer (Director’s Edition & Theatrical Version)
• Commentary by director Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto (Theatrical Version)
• Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda (Director’s Edition)
• Library Computer (Theatrical Version)
• The Genesis Effect: Engineering The Wrath of Khan—NEW!
• Production
– Captain’s Log
– Designing Khan
– Original interviews with DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Ricardo Montalban
– Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
– James Horner: Composing Genesis
• The Star Trek Universe
– Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics
– A Novel Approach
– Starfleet Academy: The Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI
• Farewell
– A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban
• Storyboards
• Theatrical Trailer

Review:
I’m a huge fan of Star Trek, so I jumped at the change to own the Director’s Edition. It definitely doesn’t vary too much from the theatrical release. But there are some scenes that are noticeably different if you’ve seen the film multiple times, or recently. I read that there was an error on this release of a short, duplicate scene. But it must have been so short that I didn’t even notice it when I watched it the other day. And I also haven’t watched it enough to notice minute details.

I have owned this movie on blu-ray in a set of the original series movies. But this must have been the first time I watched the edited high def version. And the visual quality this time around definitely impressed me. I’m hoping the other films get similar releases – I’d love a complete collection. And I almost always prefer the Director’s Cut.

DVD Review: The Shannara Chronicles Season 1

The Shannara Chronicles: Season 1

Synopsis:
Set thousands of years in the future, “The Shannara Chronicles” follows three heroes, Elf-Human hybrid Wil (Austin Butler, “Arrow”), Elvin Princess Amberle (Poppy Drayton, “Downton Abbey”), and Human Rover Eretria (Ivana Baquero, Pan’s Labryinth), as they embark on a quest to stop an evil Demon army from destroying the world. The show also features Manu Bennett (The Hobbit), John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings), and James Remar (“Dexter”).

Review:
The Shannara Chronicles is loosely based on novel The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. And I do mean “loosely.” While the first episode does feel very reminiscent of the book, it doesn’t take long before the story veers off with different characters and new story lines. And even some of the main characters meet different fates.

Hardcore fans of the novels may not be happy with the path this this series takes. But the story does still loosely follow, with many similar characters, stretching a book into 10 1-hour episodes. This series is on MTV, so not-surprisingly there is plenty of angst and it’s more sexualized compared to the book. To the point of ridiculousness at times. But overall, it’s an action-packed, dark, and dramatic series full of bold characters, grotesque creatures, and arcane magic. Some of the episodes drag a bit, but for the most part I did enjoy most this season. The end leaves off where the book did. So I’m guessing next season would be a fresh new story not found in the books, and that may be a good idea if they stray so far from the source material anyway.

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
– Behind-the-scenes
– Meet the Characters
– Exploring New Zealand
– Terry Brooks interview
– Making of the Dagda Mor

DVD Release Date: 6/7/16
U.S. Rating: NR
Running Time: 411 min
Format: Widescreen
Price: $29.99 US/ $32.99 Canada

Blu-Ray Review: PAN

PAN (BLU-RAY + DVD + ULTRAVIOLET) – PAN releases today on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack or DVD.

Synopsis:
Peter (Levi Miller) is a mischievous 12-year-old boy with an irrepressible rebellious streak, but in the bleak London orphanage where he has lived his whole life those qualities do not exactly fly. Then one incredible night, Peter is whisked away from the orphanage and spirited off to a fantastical world of pirates, warriors and fairies called Neverland. There, he finds amazing adventures and fights life-or-death battles while trying to uncover the secret of his mother, who left him at the orphanage so long ago, and his rightful place in this magical land. Teamed with the warrior Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and a new friend named James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), Peter must defeat the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) to save Neverland and discover his true destiny—to become the hero who will forever be known as Peter Pan.

Review:
I heard enough negative reviews about PAN, that I didn’t see it in the theater. Thankfully, having low expectations, I actually enjoyed it. The story does start out quite dark and slow. But as soon as PAN meets Hook, the real adventure begins.

Hook acts and sounds more like a cowboy than a pirate. But this film is set way before that. This is an origin story for Peter Pan. A re-imagining that is a bit different with plenty of fun inspiration. The acting is entertaining, especially Miller as Peter. The CGI left something to be desired. Sometimes it was stunning, other times it looked like a cartoon image from the Polar Express. But all-in-all it’s a fresh and fun film with plenty of swashbuckling adventure, humor, and heart.

Blu-Ray Review: Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys 3D (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)

Synopsis:
In the war of man against machine, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is sent back to 1984 by resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) to protect his young mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). However, this time unexpected events have altered the past and threaten the future for all mankind. Now Reese must join forces with Sarah and her “Guardian” (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to save the world and stop the next evolution of Terminators.

Review:
If the plot sounds familiar, you’d be right. I felt like I was watching the first Terminator film, but with different actors and better special effects. But this is the first film on an alternate timeline, where the machines are always one step ahead.

While the plot was much too repetitive for me, I really did enjoy the new actors. Though Arnold’s character was by far my favorite. It felt like a reboot of sorts. With incredible CGI – what they did with Arnold’s “young” Terminator was amazing. My biggest peeve was that the trailers for the movie spoiled what happens with John Connor’s character. I would have loved to be surprised. Instead, the film was incredible predictable – since we’ve seen most of it before. It’s an entertaining action flick with plenty of edge-of-your-seat thrills.

Special Features Include:
– Family Dynamics: Casting Terminator Genisys and how the actors filled some of the most iconic roles in cinematic history
– Infiltration and Termination: Go behind-the-scenes to San Francisco and New Orleans in a first-hand look at filming locations
– Upgrades: VFX of Terminator Genisys

DVD Review: iZombie Season 1

iZombie: Season 1

Summary:
From the executive producers of Veronica Mars, iZOMBIE stars Rose McIver (Masters of Sex, Once Upon a Time) as Olivia “Liv” Moore, a medical resident on the fast track to a perfect life … until she’s turned into a zombie. Now stuck between half-alive and undead, Liv transfers to the city morgue to reluctantly access the only thing that allows her to maintain her humanity – human brains. But there are side effects to Liv’s new diet. With each brain she consumes, she experiences flashes of the corpse’s memories – including, at times, clues as to how they were killed. Her boss, a brilliant but eccentric conspiracy theorist, encourages her to embrace this gift and to work with an eager, unproven homicide detective to help solve these murders … and quiet the voices in her head. iZOMBIE is based upon characters published by DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint. Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley and David Anders also star.

REVIEW:
iZombie was easily my favorite new show last year. From the creator of Veronica Mars, this show has just as much humor, mystery, and fantastic character development – plus zombies. The show is loosely based on the graphic novels of the same name (which I recently and quickly devoured). Liv is a reluctant brain-eating zombie who tries to help solve murders, while keeping her nature a secret from everyone save her too-smart boss. Meanwhile, another zombie starts make a name for himself in the underworld, creating other undead and establishing himself as boss.

Each episode Liv ingests the brains of someone recently deceased and takes over their personality and quirks, making for some very funny situations. There’s also plenty of mystery, suspense, heartache, and even romance. I’m not even a fan of the zombie subgenre, but love this show. I highly recommend it to anyone. And this the show I looked forward to most coming out on DVD. I was bummed it wasn’t released on Blu-ray. Hopefully, it will make it eventually.

Blu-Ray Review: The Flash Season1

The Flash: Season 1 Blu-ray

Summary:
CSI investigator Barry Allen is endearingly book-smart, somewhat awkward late and – as a result of a scientific experiment gone awry – the fastest man alive! He’s The Flash, zigzagging through the action-packed new series from the creative team behind Arrow and based on the supersonic DC Comics character. With his life shadowed by his mother’s murder and his father wrongly convicted of the crime, Barry finds that his newfound power of super speed grants him the ability to move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel. Barry quickly discovers he’s not the only “metahuman” created by the explosive disaster, however – and not everyone is using their new power for good. Now, to protect the innocent, Barry and the close friends who know his secret race to combat evildoers in one astonishing adventure after another that come at you like lightning in this fantastic set.

Special Features Include:
· The Fastest Man Alive!
· Creating the Blur
· Audio Commentary
· “Behind The Story The Trickster Returns”
· The Chemistry of Emily and Grant Screen Test
· DC Comics Night at Comic-Con 2014 Presenting Gotham, The Flash, Constantine and Arrow
· The Flash Factor!
· Gag Reel
· Deleted Scenes

Review:
This first season of The Flash has some great characters and continuing mysteries. Tom Cavanagh steals the show as the villainous character who hides as a wheelchair-bound benefactor to Barry. As a fan of the original show, I love that John Wesley Shipp has an occasional part as Barry’s incarcerated father. Grant Gustin is an awkward, young Flash that reminds me of a teenage Peter Parker. I’d love to see Barry’s character develop and become more confident and self-assured. My only complaint is that the villains-of-the-week are often hokey and one dimensional. I’m hoping they either make the villains a little darker or believable going forward.

One of the best episodes was the crossovers with Arrow. I’ve been really impressed with The CW and it’s quality shows these past few years. The Syfy channel had better step up.

Blu-Ray Review: The Vampire Diaries Season 6

Vampire Diaries: Season 6 Blu-ray

Synopsis:
The Vampire Diaries continues its sixth season with more delicious drama to sink your teeth into. In season five, after a passionate summer with Damon, Elena headed to Whitmore College with Caroline, not knowing Bonnie sacrificed her life for Jeremy’s. Meanwhile, Stefan and Caroline’s friendship deepened as they stood up to the Travelers, a nomadic witch tribe driven to strip Mystic Falls of magic and cast out its supernatural residents. In the shocking season finale, Damon, fearing he would lose his loved ones on the crumbling Other Side, made a huge sacrifice to bring them all back — with catastrophic and heartbreaking results. Season six follows the characters’ journey back to each other as they explore the duality of good versus evil inside themselves. Matt Davis reprises his role as Alaric Saltzman, recently returned from The Other Side. Plus, the season will make you misty-eyed as the departure of a major character will turn lives upside down and leave us asking what happened to Mystic Falls.

Review:
Big changes happen in this sixth season. Bonnie and Damon are stuck in an (seemingly) empty world stuck decades in the past. The two that hate each other the most are forced together and begin forming a strange relationship. One that will have a big affect on the season finale. The Big Bad Guy this season changes up a bit as well. From a psychotic, power-hungry brother to a surprising return of an old family member, then back again.

No one stays the same for long in Mystic Falls. Even Caroline takes a walk on the Evil side after a heartbreak she can’t handle. This season is full of surprises, mystery, heartbreak, romance, and more heartbreak. Knowing that Nina Dobrev would be leaving, meant that there would be an end to Damon and Elana – my favorite couple. It was a bummer knowing it was coming, but there are so many other strong characters and so many other stories to tell – that I have no doubt the writers can keep the show going without their central character. Caroline and Stefan have great chemistry, and they’ve barely begun. Bonnie’s back, and she and Damon have something… so who knows. We lost Jeremy, but got Alaric back – which was fantastic. I can’t wait to see what the next season holds.


Own it on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD September 1, 2015