Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Blu-Ray Review Copy: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Synopsis:
When the child Arthur’s father is murdered, Vortigern (Jude Law), Arthur’s uncle, seizes the crown. Robbed of his birthright and with no idea who he truly is, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, his life is turned upside down and he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy…whether he likes it or not.

Review:
The film opens to an exciting battle where Mordred is attacking Camelot with giant elephants the size of a small mountain. But Uther (Arthur’s father – played by Eric Bana) defends his kingdom with the legendary Excalibur. But when Uther’s own brother betrays him, Arthur must flee.

There are some humorous montages of Arthur growing up and battles along the way to retake Camelot that director Guy Ritchie is known for – rock music paired with scenes on fast-forward. It’s a bit too cheesy for a film set in the middle ages. I really wanted to like this film. But the story has just been done so many times. The story was nothing new and wasn’t memorable at all. It’s too bad because the cast was fantastic. But nothing can save an uninspired script with a story we have heard in many, MANY different ways.

Special Features Include:
– Arthur with Swagger
– Sword from the Stone
– Parry and Bleed
– Building on the Past
– Inside the Cut: The Action of King Arthur
– Camelot in 93 Days
– Legend of Exalibur
– Scenic Scotland

Blu-Ray Review: The Circle



The Circle Blu-Ray Edition

Synopsis:
When Mae (Emma Watson) is hired to work for the world’s largest and most powerful tech and social media company, she sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company’s founder, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics, and ultimately, her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment and every decision she makes begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family, and all of humanity.

Review:
Imagine a Big Brother tv show out in the real world, and that’s what Mae subjects herself to. Zero privacy and interacting with her viewers every waking moment. I can’t imagine it being entertaining with no scripting, but it re-iterates the point of the movie of losing privacy for security. When tragedy strikes, Mae is forced to reevaluate her view on total transparency.

I didn’t have any expectations before watching The Circle. I hadn’t seen any positive reviews, but the cast was great and it seemed like something I’d enjoy. The acting was fantastic. It was bittersweet to see Bill Paxton in his last role. When Mae first goes to work at the Circle, it’s very reminiscent of what working at Google mixed with Apple must be. However, it suddenly takes a weird turn when she realizes she’s expected to interact with her colleagues to the point of not having a life outside of work. The mood is creepy and tense throughout. There is a predictable climactic scene, followed by Mae’s epiphany. But the ending falls flat with the push back against “total transparency.” A lot of build up with little resolution. I really wanted to like this one, but it feels like something I’ve already seen before. It’s not a bad film, just a little disappointing.

BLU-RAY / DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
• “No More Secrets: Completing The Circle — A Four-Part Series” Featurette
• “The Future Won’t Wait: Design and Technology” Featurette
• “A True Original: Remembering Bill Paxton” Featurette

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: 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 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.