Category Archives: DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews

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!

Continue reading Blu-Ray Review: Super 8

Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-Ray Edition

Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-Ray Edition releases today – November 15, 2011.

Astronaut John Crichton traveled through a wormhole and found himself lost in a distant galaxy. Crichton arrives in the middle of a prison break from the Peacekeepers, a malevolent, human-like race. Traveling with a variety of alien escapees (designed by the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop) on a living ship named Moya, Crichton tries to find a way home.

This cult classic lasted four seasons, with a total of 88 episodes, is now available on blu-ray for the first time. And this highly imaginative science fiction series has never looked better. This new edition includes all of the special features of the previous DVD release along with a brand new documentary.

Action-packed, with fantastic characters, plenty of quirky humor, romance, and drama – this beloved series certainly lives up to its reputation. Fans will not want to miss this long-awaited release.

The Blu-Ray Edition Includes:
• 20 Blu-ray discs featuring 88 complete and unedited episodes from the four-season run (1999-2003), remastered from the highest quality source material available
• Collectible packaging featuring all-new series artwork
• 29 Episode Commentaries, including “Premiere” with Rockne S. O’Bannon, Brian Henson and Ben Browder; “Jeremiah Crichton” with Claudia Black, Producer/Writer David Kemper, Browder and O’Bannon; “Bone to Be Wild” with Anthony Simcoe;“Relativity” with Lani Tupu (Crais/Voice of Pilot) and Director Peter Andrikidis; and, “Bad Timing” which features Browder, Black and Kemper discussing the series’ final episode.
• A BRAND-NEW documentary – Memories of Moya: An Epic Journey Explored featuring revealing new interviews with the cast and creators.
• Multiple featurettes and documentaries including “In the Beginning: A Look Back with Brian Henson”; “Making of a Space Opera” and “Inside Farscape: Save Farscape,” on which fans, cast and crew discuss the fate of their beloved series.
• Multiple video profiles featuring archival clips and cast/crew discussing their characters and roles on Farscape.
• Over 90 minutes of deleted scenes.
• Slideshows and archival photo galleries, including character concepts and promo photos.
• Production design galleries featuring screenshots, rough drafts and concept slide shows.
• Behind-the-Scenes interviews with Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, Virginia Hey, Gigi Edgley, Paul Goddard (Stark), Wayne Pygram (Scorpius) and more.
• Original TV promos and trailers

DVD Review: The Captains

The Captains – A Film By William Shatner

The Captains is a documentary written and directed by William Shatner that follows the actor on in-depth interviews with the other five actors that have played captains on Star Trek. His mission was to discover what commonalities they all had and what brought them to the roles of their iconic characters.

Shatner (Captain Kirk of the original Star Trek) interviews Sir Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation) at his home in London, Avery Brooks (Captain Sisko of Star Trek: Deep Space 9) in New Jersey, Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager) in New York, and Scott Bakula (Captain Archer of Star Trek: Enterprise) and Chris Pine (Captain Kirk of the Star Trek 2009 film) in Los Angeles.

Each interview was unique to the actor’s personalities and provides a thoughtful and poignant look at each actor. Shatner does a great job of tailoring each interview and creating a unique experience. His interview with Stewart is by far the most interesting, as the two actors share experiences and an obvious camaraderie. The interview with Brooks is unfortunately awkward and strange. Poor Shatner asks questions, and gets Brooks responding with nothing but piano music. It’s both painful and humorous to watch. The interview with Mulgrew is both light-hearted and moving. Shatner’s interview with Bakula is by far the most relaxed and down-to-earth, as Bakula has that easy-going personality that made him a joy to watch. And the interview with Pine was the shortest. Though Pine, of course, has only starred in one feature film so far, as opposed to all of the others in multiple seasons of television. I still would have liked to see more interaction between the two. After all, Pine is the one “current” captain continuing the franchise at the moment.

Since Shatner was the first, and arguably the most important captain in Star Trek since he set the bar for all others following, I only wish he would have had someone specifically interviewing himself as well. Instead, he had to insert his point of view in his various interviews with all of the other actors, which made it feel like more of a conversation than interviews at times.

As a Star Trek fan, I found the documentary very interesting and well-developed. Shater has a unique perspective and can relate to each of them. Dramatic, seemingly heartfelt, with plenty of humor – The Captains is an excellent behind-the-scenes look at some of Star Trek’s most beloved actors.

Bonus Feature:
“The Making of The Captains”

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.