Category Archives: DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews

SciFi Blu-Ray Reviews: Frequency and Outland

First time on Blu-ray – get Coma, Outland, Altered States, Brainstorm, The Astronaut’s Wife, Frequency, and Spawn: Director’s Cut on July 20th!

Frequency Blu-ray Edition

Official Synopsis:
A phenomenon allows police officer John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) to save the life of his long-dead father (Dennis Quaid). But changing the past leads to a string of brutal, serial homicides. Now, they both must race across time to stop the killer.

Review:
Caviezel and Quaid star in this fantastic 2000 scifi flick. The story is unique and inspired. John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) begins to communicate with his deceased father (Dennis Quaid) in the past via an old radio as the northern lights seem to be affecting the instrument. But as Caviezel begins sharing with his father, the past begins to change. And a serial killer that was once stopped is now on the loose again. Full of heart-wrenching drama, suspense, and danger – this is a must for any scifi fan’s movie library. I previously owned the DVD, and the blu-ray edition is quite a bit clearer and sharper.

Outland Blu-ray Edition

Official Synopsis:
A federal marshal on an outer-space mining colony uncovers deadly secrets, triggering a showdown. Oscar(R) winner Sean Connery lays down the law in Peter Hyams’ sci-fi sizzler.

Review:
This 1981 scifi thriller is obviously outdated with its early 80’s technology and cheesy special effects. But the story and drama is still intense and suspenseful. Connery plays a marshal new to the mining colony where he’s completely on his own against a powerful and corrupt corporation. Despite the story lags and slow start (with way too much reading about the details of the colony), this was still a fun and exciting film that fans of retro scifi will enjoy now on blu-ray.

Blu-Ray Review: Wrath of the Titans

Wrath of the Titans Blu-ray Edition

Official Synopsis:
A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus (Worthington)—the demigod son of Zeus (Neeson)—is attempting to live quietly as a village fisherman and the sole parent to his 10-year-old son, Helius. But unbeknownst to Perseus, a struggle for supremacy has been raging between the gods that will come to threaten his idyllic life. Dangerously weakened by humanity’s lack of devotion, the gods are losing hold of their immortality, as well as control over the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades (Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston). The triumvirate had overthrown their powerful father long ago, leaving him to rot in the gloomy abyss of Tartarus, a dungeon that lies deep within the cavernous Underworld.

Now, Perseus cannot ignore his true calling as Hades, along with Zeus’ godly son, Ares (Edgar Ramirez), switches loyalties and makes a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. The Titan’s strength grows as Zeus’ remaining godly powers are siphoned…and hell is unleashed on earth. Enlisting the help of the warrior Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbell), and fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), Perseus bravely embarks on a treacherous quest into the Underworld to rescue Zeus, overthrow the Titans and save mankind.

WRATH OF THE TITANS

Review:
This is the sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans, which looks incredibly similar in all but the story details. This time, Perseus and his small band of adventurers search for a powerful weapon to drive back the Titan Kronos and keep him imprisoned. In Clash of the Titans, Perseus had to battle Medusa in order to have a weapon to defeat the Kraken monster and to save the Princess Andromeda. In both films, Perseus goes up against surprisingly not-so-immortal gods and a slew of ugly, monstrous creatures attack humans with little-to-no way to defend themselves. Perseus is only half human though, as son of Zeus. And as Zeus’ champion, Perseus becomes humanity’s hero once again.

I’m usually a fan of films and novels that take a unique approach to Greek mythology, but Wrath of the Titans takes it a bit too far for my taste. The same immortal gods Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades from the previous film suddenly become weak, easily injured and mortal – without sufficient explanation. The film starts out very slow with dragging dialog that doesn’t really further the plot, which is unfortunate since the film’s saving grace is the adventure and combat scenes. Despite its flaws, I still enjoyed the fantastic special effects and CGI creatures, action-packed thrills, and even a bit of humor.

Blu-ray Special Features:
Maximum Movie Mode: Control your destiny and choose one of two unique experiences: The Path of Men or The Path of Gods
– Focus Points
§ Battling the Chimera
§ Who Are The Titans?
§ Agenor: The Other Demi-God
§ The Cyclops Fight
§ Prison of the Titans
§ Minotaur: The Human Nightmare
§ The Heavens Raise Hell on Earth
§ Hephaestus: God of Fire
§ Lost in Tartarus’ Labyrinth
§ Creatures of the Titans
– Storyboard Comparisons
– Deleted Scenes and more
DVD disc: Feature film in standard definition

Trailer:

Blu-Ray Review: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Blu-ray Combo Pack

When Sean (Josh Hutcherson) receives a coded message from his grandfather (Michael Caine), he wants to leave immediately for the fabled “Mysterious Island.” Sean’s mother allows him to go – on the condition that his new step father (Dwayne Johnson) accompanies him. But on the way to this island that shouldn’t exist, their helicopter hits a storm and crashes. Now Sean, his step father, the helicopter pilot (Luis Guzman), and the pilot’s daughter (Vanessa Hudgens) need to find a way off the island. Though it’s full of unexplored wonders, they’re in a race against time to find a way off before the whole island sinks to the ocean floor.

While this is a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, it’s not necessary to have seen the first installment. Journey 2 is a standalone story, with Sean going on an entirely separate adventure. As before, this adventure is immersed in classic science fiction. Fans of classic scifi, young and old, will enjoy the numerous references and Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island brought to new heights. With creatures of humorous sizes, a volcano full of gold, and other bizarre secrets – this island unfortunately can’t be fully explored because of an unfortunate timetable. Of course, suspension of belief must be held for most science fiction movies (especially geared towards children), but the sinking of the island really pushes it.

But for the most part, this was a surprisingly enjoyable, if mostly corny and predictable, movie for young families. While a fast-paced adventure, there is no violence or profanity, so even very young children can enjoy (as long as they don’t mind the occasional giant bug). The acting is good for a heart-warming family film. Hutcherson (“Hunger Games”) and Dwane “The Rock” Johnson of course steer the story. And the supporting cast provides comedy relief and a cute romantic interest for Sean. Johnson has been doing a lot of family movies lately, and this may be one of his more watchable ones. I love that he can laugh at himself and still be a strong character. All-in-all Journey 2 is a cute, clean, family movie that won’t make you think too much and will entertain the kids.

Own it on Blu-ray Combo Pack or Digital Download 6.5.12

Special Features Include:
Interactive Adventure guided by Josh Hutcherson: Discover the skills it takes to ride Giant Bees, outsmart a Hungry Mama Lizard, and ultimately prove you have what it takes to survive on the Mysterious Island! Can be experienced as an interactive adventure or a passive linear piece.

Introduction with Josh Hutcherson
Alexander’s Treehouse
Lost City of Atlantis
The Giant Flowers
The Mushroom Forest
The Golden Volcano
The Lizard’s Nest
The Gigantic Bumble Bee
Nemo’s Tomb
Nemo’s Cave
Nemo’s Submarine
Map Payoff
Gag Reel
Deleted Scenes

Blu-Ray Review: J. Edgar

J. Edgar

Official Synopsis:
During his lifetime, J. Edgar Hoover would rise to be the most powerful man in America. As head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nearly 50 years, he would stop at nothing to protect his country. Through eight presidents and three wars, Hoover waged battle against threats both real and perceived, often bending the rules to keep his countrymen safe. His methods were at once ruthless and heroic, with the admiration of the world his most coveted, if ever elusive, prize.

Hoover was a man who placed great value on secrets—particularly those of others—and was not afraid to use that information to exert authority over the leading figures in the nation. Understanding that knowledge is power and fear poses opportunity, he used both to gain unprecedented influence and to build a reputation that was both formidable and untouchable.

He was as guarded in his private life as he was in his public one, allowing only a small and protective inner circle into his confidence. His closest colleague, Clyde Tolson, was also his constant companion. His secretary, Helen Gandy, who was perhaps most privy to Hoover’s designs, remained loyal to the end… and beyond. Only Hoover’s mother, who served as his inspiration and his conscience, would leave him, her passing truly crushing to the son who forever sought her love and approval.

I had high hopes for this film, as I’m fascinated by the early days of the FBI and the conspiracy theories surrounding J. Edgar Hoover. Unfortunately, the film did not live up to my expectations. The story was very choppy, bouncing back and forth from Hoover’s early years to just before his death. A senior Hoover is giving his memoirs, and talking about his glory days. I would have loved to get a deeper insight into Hoover’s psyche and have had more depth into the forming of the FBI and his political ideals. Instead, we’re only shown a Hoover who rants against the Bolsheviks (Communists), and his forming of the FBI seemed to be set on fast-forward. There were brief glimpses of the take down of several infamous mobsters, a lengthy investigation into the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, and too much time spent on Hoover’s private life.

It felt like the screen writer read through Hoover’s Wikipedia entry and had to mention every single allegation about his private life. Which was pretty ridiculous since Hoover kept his private life private and certainly didn’t discuss it in any memoir. I wouldn’t have minded a brief look at his private life, but I wanted to see more of a concentration on his work as that was his priority in life. The social drama was very slow and drawn out. Though, the political drama was much too rushed and not explained well.

The saving grace of the film was the acting. Leonardo DiCaprio did an amazing job as both young and old Hoover. He was pure perfection in the role. There were a slew of other famous faces in brief cameo appearances, each bringing their talent but never over-shadowing. Supporting actors Naomi Watts (as Hoover’s secretary Helen Gandy), Armie Hammer (as Hoover’s protégé and close friend Clyde Tolson), and Judi Dench (as Hoover’s mother) were all stunning in their performances as well.


J. Edgar arrived onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download February 21 from Warner Home Entertainment Group.

The Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD include an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

DVD Review: Merlin: The Complete Third Season

Merlin: The Complete Third Season

Season three of Merlin follows Morgana’s further descent into villainy. Merlin struggles to protect Arthur and King Uther from Morgana’s evil plans, while trying to keep his magic a secret. From goblins, changlings, and fantastic quests – to the introduction of the knight Gwaine, Merlin is kept busy in his fight against evil and anonymously saving Arthur from countless near-misses.

This 13-episode season is more exciting, suspenseful and action-packed than ever. As Merlin continues to mature and grow in his powers, his relationship with Arthur only grows stronger as well. The highlight of the season is certainly Morgana and her sudden turn to evil and revenge. The beautiful sorceress gains power quickly and soon becomes a formidable foe. Fantastic characters, exciting monsters, magic, and romance make Merlin one of the best reimaginings of the Arthurian legend. With plenty of humor, heart, and adventure – fantasy fans won’t want to miss this incredible season.

Special Features Include:
• Audio Commentary
• Making of Merlin Series 3
• Deleted Scenes
• Outtakes
• Wallpaper
• Gallery

Merlin: The Complete Third Season released from BBC America on January 17th.

DVD Review: Primeval Volume 3

Primeval Volume 3

Connor and Abby finally return after being stuck without a way home in the Cretaceous era to find much has changed. Though, endless terrifying creatures still emerge through anomalies. New characters come on the scene with secret agendas causing more drama and intrigue.

This third volume of Primeval includes BBC’s seasons four (7 episodes) and five (6 episodes). Primeval has extremely short seasons, which I assume is why they package these as “volumes” instead of seasons. Unfortunately, this can be confusing, as I read in another new brief that this volume was season three (not so!).

Fantastic special effects, more deadly dinosaurs, mystery, and more plenty of intense suspense – Primeval continues to deliver. This science fiction thriller has developed its story arc to a complex web of characters, subplots, and time periods. While the creature-of-the-week aspect is still there and can be watched as a standalone, watching the episodes in order is certainly preferable. As these short BBC seasons are packed with quite a bit of story.

Primeval Volume 3 released from BBC America on January 10th.

DVD Review: It Takes a Thief

It Takes a Thief – The Complete Series – Now available on DVD

Former thief, Alexander Mundy is offered conditional parole if he assists the SIA, a covert US agency. Using his skills as a thief and con man, Mundy travels the world as a spy (and thief) for the US government.

Inspired by Hitchcock’s Cary Grant film, To Catch a Thief, this popular television series lasted two-and-a-half seasons in the late 60’s. Starring Robert Wagner as Alexander Mundy, It Takes a Thief was a Bond-like adventure/spy series with plenty of mystery, intrigue, humor, and romance. Multiple guest star appearances by many familiar faces such as Fred Astaire, Susan Saint James, and Ricardo Montalban and more add to the sense of nostalgia and fun. The complete series is now available in a collectible box, containing all 66 episodes on 18 discs, the extended version of the pilot film, interviews, and more.

I was not around for the original airing of the series, but found the show charming and Robert Wagner as irresistible as ever. As a fan of the early Bond films, I couldn’t help but compare, and was hooked from the pilot. USA Network’s White Collar obviously borrowed heavily from this series, though adapted for today’s world. It Takes a Thief is a fantastic look back at the 60s espionage/adventure days with a young and dashing Robert Wagner.

DVD Set Includes:
– All 66 Episodes Digitally Re-Mastered
– Extended Feature-Length Version of the Pilot Episode
– The King of Thieves: Interview with Robert Wagner
– A Matter of Larceny: Interview with Glen A. Larson
– Limited Edition Senitype (reproduced 35mm film frame)
– It Takes a Thief Exclusive 4-Piece Coaster Set
– Collectible Booklet with retrospective essay

Blu-Ray Review: Super 8

Super 8 Blu-Ray Combo Pack

While filming a zombie horror film on Super 8, a group of young kids witness a terrifying train crash. But the crash was not an accident. Soon, the Air Force arrives and it’s clear they have a dangerous secret they’re trying to keep when they begin lying to the local town and strange phenomenon occurs.

The story mostly follows the young filmmakers, starring Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, and Elle Fanning. All of the children do an amazing job of bringing heart and a sense of wonder and humor to this thrilling story. I don’t think the trailers did the film justice this summer. I didn’t even bother going to the theater to watch, as the trailers didn’t show any of the actual story. I regretted missing it later, after hearing friends’ glowing reviews.

JJ Abrams and Spielberg teamed up to make an impressive science fiction thriller. The backdrop of the 70s is realistically low-tech, with a similar feel to the classic 1977 Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Though, Super 8 is much more fast-paced and full of action-packed, adventure. The mystery and suspense builds to an exciting conclusion. During the credits, we are able to watch the kids’ clever “homemade” zombie film, which made sitting through the credits not only bearable, but fun.

The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack contents include:
Blu-ray:
– Commentary by writer/director J.J. Abrams, producer Bryan Burk and cinematographer Larry Fong
– Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
• The Dream Behind Super 8
• The Search for New Faces
• Meet Joel Courtney
• Rediscovering Steel Town
• The Visitor Lives
• Scoring Super 8
• Do You Believe in Magic?
• The 8mm Revolution
– Deconstructing the Train Crash
– Deleted Scenes

DVD:
– Feature Film
– Digital Copy


There is a coupon available at www.Super8Coupon.com, which allows users to print a coupon for $5 off the DVD or Blu-ray from 11/22 – 11/27!

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