Category Archives: DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell

Synopsis:
In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: a human who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that her life was stolen instead of saved. Now, she will stop at nothing to recover her past while punishing those who did this to her.

Review:
I had low expectations of this film before watching, as I have seen all the negative reviews and anger at the “white-washing” of characters. Scarlett Johansson stars as Major, who’s brain has been installed in a completely cybernetic body. Her memories are spotty, but she makes for a perfect soldier. Though, her new enemy reveals the truth of her existence, and everything she knows she now has to question.

Ghost in the Shell is an action-packed, scifi thriller. While it’s not a bad movie, there isn’t much more than good acting and impressive CGI that stood out to me. The story has been done (Robocop had more of an impact), and nothing was surprising. And the futuristic world needed more backstory – it wasn’t confusing, but felt choppy. I’m not familiar with the source material, as I’m not a fan of Manga – so I can’t speak to that. But it was a fun, suspense-filled adventure.

Blu-Ray Review: Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island

Synopsis:
This compelling, original adventure tells the story of a diverse team of scientists, soldiers, and adventurers uniting to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful. Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong.

Review:
When I saw the trailers for this film, I knew I had to see it. John C. Reilly’s character alone added a lighthearted feel to an otherwise action-packed film. Unlike previous Kong films, this had plenty of humor which evened out the intense suspense. Tom Hiddleston was fantastic too, as a daring explorer. He’s the hunky hero, and plays it well – a nice diversion from everyone’s favorite Loki. Samuel Jackson plays his same type-cast character as usual.

Kong: Skull Island is a fun and exciting story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s surprising and unexpected. With a great cast, solid story, and filmed in stunning Vietnam locale, this film exceeded my expectations (as I didn’t care for the drawn-out Peter Jackson film at all). A post-credit scene hints to a sequel, that I really hope happens.

Blu-Ray and DVD Features:
– Director’s Commentary
– Creating a King: Realizing a Icon
– Creating a King: Summoning a God
– Monarch Files 2.0
– Tom Hiddleston: The Intrepid Traveler
– Through the Lens: Brie Larson’s Photography
– On Location: Vietnam
– Deleted Scenes

Blu-Ray Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3D Blu-Ray Combo Pack

SYNOPSIS:
There are growing dangers in the wizarding world of 1926 New York. Something mysterious is leaving a path of destruction in the streets, threatening to expose the wizarding community to the No-Majs (American for Muggles), including the Second Salemers, a fanatical faction bent on eradicating them. And the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, after wreaking havoc in Europe, has slipped away…and is now nowhere to be found.

Unaware of the rising tensions, Newt Scamander arrives in the city nearing the end of a global excursion to research and rescue magical creatures, some of which are safeguarded in the magical hidden dimensions of his deceptively nondescript leather case. But potential disaster strikes when unsuspecting No-Maj Jacob Kowalski inadvertently lets some of Newt’s beasts loose in a city already on edge—a serious breach of the Statute of Secrecy that former Auror Tina Goldstein jumps on, seeing her chance to regain her post as an investigator. However, things take an ominous turn when Percival Graves, the enigmatic Director of Magical Security at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), casts his suspicions on both Newt and Tina.

Now allied, Newt and Tina, together with Tina’s sister, Queenie, and their new No-Maj friend, Jacob, form a band of unlikely heroes, who must recover Newt’s missing beasts before they come to harm. But the stakes are higher than these four outsiders—now branded fugitives—ever imagined, as their mission puts them on a collision course with dark forces that could push the wizarding and No-Maj worlds to the brink of war.

REVIEW:
Newt Scamander is a socially awkward man who connects better with creatures than humans. But with the help of some new friends, he must protect his magical creatures from false accusations as well as themselves from an ominous investigator.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a prequel to the Harry Potter series. With all of the magic and wonder of the Harry Potter books and films, this standalone story is a fantastic installment. The magical creatures are incredibly fun and exciting. The characters are complex and well-developed. And the story is a great combination of fantasy, mystery, suspense, and humor. While there are some dark elements, it’s still a great family film. And I hope to see a sequel with these characters soon.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Before Harry Potter: A New Era of Magic Begins!
o Join J.K. Rowling as she, David Yates and David Heyman return to Leavesden Studios to build a new and exciting corner of the wizarding universe.

•Characters
o The Magizoologist
o The Goldstein Sisters
o The New Salemers
o The No-Maj Baker
o The President and the Auror

•Creatures
o Meet the Fantastic Beasts
o Bowtruckle
o Demiguise
o Erumpent
o Niffler
o Occamy
o Thunderbird

•Design
o Shaping the World of Fantastic Beasts (360°)
o New York City (360°)
o MACUSA (360°)
o Newt’s Magical Case (360°)
o The Shaw Banquet
o The Blind Pig (360°)

•Deleted Scenes (11 scenes)

Own Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on Ultra HD Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD on March 28 or Own It Now on Digital HD!

Blu-Ray Review: The Accountant

The Accountant Blu-Ray

Synopsis:
Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian un-cooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

Review:
Ben Affleck does a surprisingly good job of playing an incredibly complex man with Asperger’s. He’s a fantastic character with a past that slowly unfolds through the movie, showing how he became the man he is today. Christian (Affleck) is a CPA with a hidden life. And when his latest job is cancelled before he’s finished, he decides to take matters in his own hands and find out the truth.

I really enjoyed The Accountant. The movie trailers didn’t do this movie justice. It’s a heart-wrenching drama mixed with pulse-pounding action and suspense. As the story unfolds, there are several surprises I didn’t see coming. And as the final piece of the puzzle falls into place, I was left with a smile on my face. I watched the short featurettes that confirmed my suspicions about the right amount research that went into making a movie about a man with Autism, who isn’t the victim but the hero. I thought it was a great film, with engaging characters and an exciting story.

“The Accountant” Blu-ray contains the following special features:
• Inside the Man
• Behavioral Science
• The Accountant in Action

“The Accountant” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
• Inside the Man

Blu-Ray Review: Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad (Extended Cut Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack)

Synopsis:
It feels good to be bad… Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?

Review:
After BvS left such a bad taste in my mouth for DC films, Suicide Squad was quite a bit of fun despite it’s flaws. While, obviously a darker super hero film, there was plenty of humor and a wide range of colorful characters. Will Smith and Margot Robbie made up for Jared Leto’s terrible Joker. Honest Trailers called his Joker a cross between James Franco (in Spring Breakers) and Ace Ventura – and they’re spot on. But Margot Robbie was just fantastic as Harley Quinn.

The role call for this unlikely group of anti-heroes is diverse, from the misunderstood to outright murderers. But somehow, they work as a team to bring down an impossibly powerful foe. The story is engaging and full of mystery, suspense, drama, and humor. It’s a fun, roller coaster ride. It’s definitely not the best comic book movie, but certainly not the worst.

Special Features Included:
• Task Force X: One Team, One Mission
• Chasing the Real
• Joker & Harley: “It” Couple of The Underworld
• Squad Strength and Speed
• Armed to the Teeth
• This is Gonna Get Loud: The Epic Battles of Suicide Squad
• The Squad Declassified
• Gag Reel

“Suicide Squad: Extended Cut” features more action and more Squad with 13 minutes of footage not previously seen in theaters. The Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack will include the extended version of the film on the Blu-ray disc. The extended version will also be available to own on Digital HD.

Blu-Ray Review: Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond: The All-New Star Trek Adventure Takes Off on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and Blu-ray 3D™ Combo Packs November 1, 2016

Synopsis:
In STAR TREK BEYOND, the Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

Review:
In year 3 of their 5-year mission, the crew of the Enterprise takes a much-needed shore leave on the Starbase Yorktown. But their leave is cut short when a lone survivor of an attack needs the Enterprise to aid in a rescue mission. However, a seemingly unstoppable foe is waiting for them, and maroons the crew of the Enterprise on an alien planet. And an angry villain with a vendetta seeks an ancient weapon.

Watching this film is bittersweet, knowing it’s the last time the entire crew will be on screen together, as young Anton Yelchin passed away shortly before the theater release. And the legendary Leonard Nimoy passed away as well, who had a nice tribute in the film. Sofia Boutella starred as a fantastic new character, Jaylah, who is strong, talented, and snarky. She fit in extremely well with the Enterprise crew. I hope they bring her back for any future films. And Idris Elba is a talented actor who plays a great villain.

From incredible special effects to endearing characters – this action-packed film is full of mystery, adventure, and humor. It has a wonderful nostalgic feel, instead of the darker previous film. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and have watched it multiple times at the theater and on blu-ray. It’s definitely my favorite of the reboot series. Anytime the new theme song gets stuck in my head, it feels like a good time to watch it again.

Star Trek Beyond Blu-ray Combo Pack Includes:
Blu-ray
• Feature film in high definition
• Bonus Content:
o Deleted Scenes – Go Beyond the final cut of the movie with scenes you didn’t see in theaters.
o Beyond the Darkness – Meet visionary producer J.J. Abrams, director Justin Lin and co-writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung as they discuss the inspiration for the Star Trek Beyond storyline and how it came to life.
o Enterprise Takedown – Experience edge-of-your-seat action and see how a shocking attack destroys the USS Enterprise.
o Divided and Conquered – Learn how filmmakers pushed the boundaries in Star Trek Beyond by forcing the Enterprise crew into their most challenging situations yet.
o A Warped Sense of Revenge – Meet Star Trek’s newest villain, Krall, as actor Idris Elba reveals the backstory behind his character’s terrifying ambitions.
o Trekking in the Desert – Go on set to Dubai and discover how its futuristic architecture became the foundation for the most innovative Starbase yet.
o Exploring Strange New Worlds – Tour the incredible production sets of Star Trek Beyond with director Justin Lin.
o New Life, New Civilizations – See how special effects designers met the challenge to create an unprecedented 50 new alien species for the film to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary.
o To Live Long and Prosper – Journey through the past 50 years of Star Trek with J.J. Abrams and the cast as they reflect on the evolution of this iconic sci-fi series.
o For Leonard and Anton – Watch a touching tribute to the legendary Leonard Nimoy and beloved crew member Anton Yelchin.
o Gag Reel – Join in on the fun with this hilarious gag reel of on-set bloopers.
DVD
• Feature film in standard definition

Blu-Ray Review: The Legend of Tarzan

The Legend of Tarzan is now available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, or on Digital HD

Synopsis:
It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Leon Rom (Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.

Review:
This is definitely the most complex Tarzan story brought to film. Political, action-packed, and often heart-wrenching – this is also my favorite Tarzan film. I loved all the casting choices save for Samuel L Jackson who seemed to be there just as a sidekick/comic relief. Skarsgård not only looked the part to perfection, but also gave a great performance of quiet strength.

This is not another Tarzan origin story. We only see glimpses in flashbacks. I thoroughly enjoyed this surprising story. The movie trailers didn’t do it justice. While the apes are much more brutal than we’ve seen in other movies, it only adds to the suspense and complexity of the apes and Tarzan’s past. It’s also a visually stunning film with fantastic CGI. It’s definitely one of my favorite movies of the year.

3D Blu-Ray Combo Pack Special Features / DVD Special Features:
– Tarzan Reborn
– Battles and Bare Knuckled Brawls
– Tarzan and Jane’s Unfailing Love
– Creating the Virtual Jungle
– Gabon to the Big Screen
– Stop Ivory PSA

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Blu-Ray Spotlight: Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Edition

Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition – (BD+DVD+DIGITAL HD)

About the Release:
Twenty-five years ago, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” broke ground as the first animated feature film to receive an Academy Award® nomination for best picture. The beloved classic won two Oscars®, including best song and best original score, as well as a Golden Globe Award® for best comedy/musical. Now a whole new generation of viewers will follow the magical journey of Belle, an independent and intelligent, modern-day heroine who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her precarious situation, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff—a teapot, a candelabra and a mantel clock, among others—and ultimately learns to see beneath the Beast’s exterior to discover the heart and soul of a prince.

The Walt Disney Signature Collection edition features four versions of “Beauty and the Beast,” including a never-before-released on home entertainment, sing-along version. A host of all-new bonus extras include a rare opportunity to gather around the piano with some of Disney’s greatest composers, as they sing and share how they’ve personally been inspired by the film’s award-winning music; a look at how Walt Disney himself sought to adapt this famous fairytale; a nostalgic look back with Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle; behind-the-scenes access into the recording booth with the cast; and a sneak peek at Disney’s upcoming live-action re-telling of “Beauty and the Beast,” arriving in theaters in 2017.

The Recording Sessions:

The Missing Link:

Review:
As a book lover, Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my all-time favorite Disney films. The songs are wonderful and voice-work is fantastic. I can’t believe it’s 25 years old! This special edition is packed with bonus content and behind-the-scenes features. There is so much included, that I haven’t made it through everything yet, but I’m definitely impressed with the amount and quality of extra content. And I don’t think I’ve seen the film since it was on DVD, so the quality on Blu-ray is stunning. I will definitely be watching the fun, sing-a-long version with my nieces and nephew as well. And the sneak peek of the upcoming live-action version has made me even more excited to see it next year.