Category Archives: DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger – Limited 3D Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack

During World War II, Steve Rogers is eager to enlist to serve his country and defend it against invaders. But Steve is a scrawny 95 pound young man with asthma and a weak heart. But a doctor sees Steve’s eagerness and determination and decides to give him a chance in a special experimental division of the army. There, Steve proves himself worthy and brave enough to be the first test subject for a super-soldier serum. Meanwhile, a Nazi scientific faction called Hydra has found a remarkable substance that just may change the course of the war.

With extraordinary special effects and CGI, Chris Evans begins the film as a small, weak man. His transformation to Captain America is worth the wait alone. Evans completely embodies both Steve Rogers – the brave but bullied weakling to the strong super-soldier. Tommy Lee Jones plays Captain America’s commanding officer to scene-stealing perfection. And supporting roles by Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter), Sebastian Stan (‘Bucky’ Barnes), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), and Stanley Tucci (Dr. Erskine) added humor and heart to the film. Hugo Weaving was chilling and brilliance as Johann Schmidt, the evil mastermind behind Hydra.

The story takes place almost completely in 1942, with beautiful settings and Stark-infused technology and fun gadgets. With plenty of action, adventure, suspense, and laughs – fans of all ages will enjoy this fantastic re-imaging of an iconic super hero. It would have been easy to make this a simple action/adventure film, but the writers did an amazing job of infusing drama, patriotism, and light-hearted humor to balance the story. This comic book fan had high hopes and was not disappointed. Intrigue, excitement, and romance – the film is riveting from beginning to end.

I was eagerly awaiting the blu-ray release, as I love the film in the theater and saw it twice. I’ve become so spoiled with HD tv and blu-ray, that I don’t think I’d be content watching any action film, and certainly not Captain America, without it. Blu-ray and/or 3D is the only way to go.

Limited 3D Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack includes:
– 3D Blu-ray copy, Blu-ray copy, DVD copy, and digital download copy
– Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer
– The Avengers sneak peek
– 4 deleted scenes
– 6 behind-the-scenes featurettes:
– Outfitting a Hero
– Howling Commandos
– Heightened Technology
– The Transformation
– Behind the Skull
– Captain America Origins
– The Assembly Begins
– Commentaries
– Trailers


This review has been edited from my theatrical release review.

Blu-Ray Review: Green Lantern

Green Lantern Extended Cut – Blu-ray Combo Pack

When the Green Lantern Corps comes under attack by a new threat, Hal Jordan becomes the first human ever chosen to become one of the galaxy’s defenders. Hal is a test pilot, cocky and reckless. And the Corps doesn’t believe that Hal or humanity is worthy to join their ranks. But humanity may have what the Corps has been missing in their fight against Parallax – willpower.

Hal Jordan (played by Ryan Reynolds) is brazen, courageous, and witty. When the Green Lantern ring chooses him, with no instructions, humor ensues. As with other super hero origin stories, Hal takes a while to learn and train his newly found power. Seeing early clips and images, I was worried that the Green Lantern aliens would be too corny and ridiculous-looking for comic-to-film adaptation. And while there still was a bit of hokey-ness at times, I was really impressed on how the aliens were handled and at the amazing CGI.

It does help to go in to movies with lower expectations. I actually thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the story and the characters. The main villain Hector, Parallax’s puppet, (played by Peter Sarsgaard) is a tortured, almost sympathetic character. And Mark Strong as Sinestro is simply fantastic. As science fiction and comic book fan, I was swept away in the action and amazing special effects, as the hero travels to and from space. Loaded with adventure, mystery, romance, bizarre aliens, and plenty of laughs, Green Lantern is a fun, fast-paced thrill ride.

“Green Lantern” Blu-ray Combo Pack includes:

• Extended Cut
• Theatrical Film
• Maximum Movie Mode with Picture in Picture Pods
• The Universe According to Green Lantern
• Ryan Reynolds Becomes Green Lantern
• Justice League #1 Digital Comic
• Additional Scenes
• Preview of Green Lantern: The Animated Series
• BD-Live

Buy It 10/14 on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack with UltraViolet Digital Copy or Download to Own http://bit.ly/qw00KD

Blu-Ray Review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

While the Autobots are out saving the world along side the US military on a daily basis, Sam Witwicky is unemployed. But on their latest assignment to Chernobyl, Optimus Prime discovers that the US government has been keeping a big secret. Back when man first stepped foot on the moon, they uncovered the wreckage of an alien ship that came from the Autobots home planet. And as Sam soon learns, the Decepticons are on the move.

Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is still the same loveable geek, but now has a new girlfriend (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Apparently dumped by his former, Sam somehow got an even hotter girlfriend who lets his unemployed self live and mooch off of her. This seems more improbable than intelligent machines from another planet coming to Earth. Unsurprisingly, Michael bay introduces the eventual damsel-in-distress by an eye-rolling, long, spray-tanned butt shot. Several other characters return for this latest adventure: John Turturro, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson. John Turturro is again fantastic, and brings the laughs along with Alan Tudyk, who plays his assistant. I only wish the two of them had more scenes, as they made the film bearable in between the suspense and action sequences. And to show that Michael Bay isn’t a complete chauvinist, the boss in charge of the Autobots and military base is played by Frances McDormand, a tough-as-nails, female leader. And brief appearances by John Malkovich and Ken Jeong are silly and surprisingly fun. Throw in Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime with an all-too familiar Spock line, and this Star Trek fan was happy.

Thankfully, the story and action scenes more than make up for the second lackluster installment in the Transformers saga. My favorite scenes were of cleverly cut shots of the original lunar landing, with computerizes cameos of John F. Kennedy, and blending the top secret mission to the dark side of the moon. The story was pretty great and easy to follow, along with the action scenes being smoother. You can actually tell who’s who. It’s everything a summer blockbuster should be – action-packed, fun, with plenty of surprises. Its faults were easy enough to look over in favor of new characters, a strong story, and fantastic special effects.

Blu-Ray Review: Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch Blu-ray Edition

After accidentally killing her younger sister, a young woman is sent to a mental institution. There, she forms a fantasy world within her imprisonment, using continuous stories within stories to “free” herself from her captivity.

While visually stunning, the story itself is choppy and hollow. In fact, for the first half hour of the the film, it felt more like I was watching music videos. The soundtrack is pretty great, but it overshadowed the sparse dialog. The characters themselves were fairly one-dimensional, save the evil villain.

There were two saving points for me: the music and the second fantasy world were Baby Doll originally plans her escape. Each time she goes into a trance-like state to escape her reality-like fantasy, Baby Doll is taken to a vastly different world. I wish the whole film took place here. From Germanic zombies with a steampunk feel to aliens with advanced technology, this alternate world was always fast-paced and action-packed. And there is no question the scenes were artfully rendered and stunning for the most part. But the overall lackluster story, flat characters, and confusing fantasy worlds-within-fantasies weren’t enough for me to say I enjoyed this one.


Sucker Punch Features:
Blu-ray Combo Pack includes:
“Sucker Punch” Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following features:
· Theatrical Feature Film and Extended Cut
· Maximum Movie Mode: Exploring the Fantasy World: An immersive movie exploration with host Zack Snyder – featuring Picture-in-Picture, Director Walk-Ons, and much more (Runtime: Feature Length)
· Animated Shorts: “Sucker Punch” Prequel Stories (Runtime: 11 mins)
o Feudal Warriors
o The Trenches
o Dragon
o Distant Planet
· “Sucker Punch” Behind the Soundtrack (Runtime: 3 mins)

DVD includes:
· Animated Shorts: “Sucker Punch” Prequel Stories (Runtime: 11 mins)
o Feudal Warriors
o The Trenches
o Dragon
o Distant Planet
· “Sucker Punch” Behind the Soundtrack (Runtime: 3 mins)


New from Warner Bros:
Create your own Sucker Punch custom videos by combining clips, audio, effects and transitions. Then save your creations to the Gallery and share with friends! http://bit.ly/iOgcTT

Close your eyes. Open your mind. Engage in a spectacular fantasy adventure when “Sucker Punch” arrives onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download June 28th

Blu-Ray News: Robin of Sherwood: Set 1 Blu-Ray Edition

Robin of Sherwood: Set 1 Blu-ray Edition

Robin of Sherwood is a 1980’s British series starring Michael Praed as Robin of Loxley, Ray Winstone as Will Scarlet, and Nickolas Grace as the Sheriff of Nottingham. The series is very dated, from Praed’s shag haircut to the synthesizer background music. But the Irish band Clannad’s frequent contributions are fantastic. The 2-part pilot episode introduces the audience to Robin and his merry men, with a fairly traditional telling of the legend. This series combines the popular tale of Robin Hood with magic, myth, and plenty of swashbuckling action.

On June 7, 2011, all 13 episodes from seasons 1 and 2 of the series will be released on Blu-ray for the first time. There are over 8 hours of special features including: commentaries, featurettes, behind-the-scenes documentary, outtakes, photo galleries, a 40-page booklet, and scripts from the show.

Blu-Ray Review: Hereafter

Hereafter Blu-ray Edition

When Marie (Cécile de France) a French journalist is caught in a tsunami, she has a near death experience that begins to affect her life dramatically. George (Matt Damon) is a psychic with an ability to speak to the dead loved ones of those he touches. And young Marcus (Frankie and George McLaren) from London loses a dear family member in a tragic accident, and begins to search for answers to what happens after someone dies. Each of them will begin a journey that will converge in their search for what may happen in the hereafter.

The first scene of a violent and catastrophic tsunami is certainly the most moving and tragic in the film. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is dismal and extremely slow-moving. Bouncing around the three main storylines, it’s obvious from the start what will bring the three characters together. But the journey is painfully slow. To make matters worse, over a third of the film is in French (with English subtitles).

While the acting was spot on, it wasn’t enough to make the film worthwhile. The three storylines obviously connect, but without much resolution at the end. It was a long build-up to a fizzled, lackluster ending. Clint Eastwood directs this strange, monotonous film with seemingly little direction. Fans of drama, with a paranormal twist, who don’t mind reading their movies and watching stagnant scenes (like Matt Damon eating meals by himself) may be interested in this one. But it was definitely not one that I can recommend.


http://hereafter.warnerbros.com/dvd/

Blu-Ray Review: Dungeons & Dragons 2-Movie Collection

Dungeons & Dragons 1 & 2 Blu-Ray Edition

Dungeons and Dragons (2000)
Young Empress, Savina wishes to make great changes to the kingdom of Izmer, establishing equality for everyone, not just the Mages. But the evil Profion plots to usurp her control. Meanwhile, Ridley and Snails are two thieves, unhappy with the Mages’ dominance. While stealing from the Mages, the two find themselves wrapped up in a search for a mythical rod that could mean certain destruction if it falls into Profion’s hands. The film has an impressive cast including: Jeremy Irons (Profion), Bruce Payne (Damodar), Justin Whalin (Ridley), Marlon Wayans (Snails), Thora Birch (Empress Savina) and Zoe McLellan (Marina). The comical and almost cartoonish feel make for a fun and light-hearted fantasy with plenty of magic, dragons, and heart. Those unfamiliar with the game (like me) with little-to-no expectations, this was a fun and fast-paced adventure when it released in 2000. Re-watching it in 2011, I found it much more corny, with out-dated special effects. Yet, it was still enjoyable following the thief characters and their party.

Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005)
Damodar plans revenge against the kingdom of Izmer, capturing a powerful orb in order to summon a dragon to destroy the kingdom. The warrior Berek and mage Melora, along with a diverse group of heroes, fight to reach the orb before Damodar’s plans unfold. Bruce Payne (Damodar) is the only returning main character for the sequel. Though, the acting and special effects once again fall flat. The pacing is off and I became confused several times throughout the film, wondering if familiarity with the game is necessary to understand all of the plot elements. This sequel has little else in common with its predecessor. Where the previous was fun and light-hearted, this installment is very violent and humorless. A definitive quest-like adventure, the highlight of the film is the diverse party’s various encounters with monsters along their quest.

Dungeons & Dragons 1 & 2 is now available on Blu-Ray with plenty of extras, including a game points gift card for the online game.

DVD Review: Dark Skies: The Declassified Complete Series

Dark Skies: The Declassified Complete Series

In 1947, an alien spaceship crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. The US Army recovered four alien bodies and has been keeping them a secret ever since. Almost twenty years later, young couple John Loengard and Kimberly Sayers move to Washington DC. And while investigating military budgets, John uncovers a terrifying secret. There are aliens among us. And they’re not peaceful. And the covert organization known as Majestic is keeping it a secret from the rest of the world.

This science fiction show from 1996 stars Eric Close as John Loengard and Megan Ward as Kimberly Sayers. The two have a fantastic chemistry that makes this show worthwhile. The series follows the two across the country in their search for answers and to protect humanity from the alien Hive. Taking place in the sixties, we are shown a history many historic events were influenced by the Hive and Majestic – from Kennedy’s assassination to the Beatles and the Civil Rights Movement. John and Kimberly’s mission and relationship are certainly the highlight of the show. And the few episodes near the end where Kimberly becomes replaced with Jeri Ryan’s character (Juliet), is where the series jumped the shark for me. While Juliet is passionate, there was no chemistry with John. Thankfully, the majority of the series revolved around John and Kimberly. J.T. Walsh also stars as Capt. Frank Bach, head of Majestic as a man with strong (though sometimes misplaced) convictions who will do anything to stop the Hive – as long as he doesn’t have to give up control.

The series has a distinct feel of X-Files meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The special effects are, of course, very out-of-date and comical at times. But the storylines, strong characters, and suspense are enough to make this series still completely enjoyable today. Creepy aliens, intrigue, danger, cleverly written alternative history, and plenty of heart – Dark Skies is a truly impressive series that I certainly recommend for any science fiction fan.

Bonus Features Include:
– International Pilot
– Signal to Noise: Uncovering Dark Skies – a look back at the series
– The Dark Skies Glossary
– Original Sales Presentation
– Electronic Press Kit
– Network Promos
– Never-before-seen proposal for Season 2