Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Own Ready Player One on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on July 24, or Own It Now on Digital!

Synopsis:
In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spend their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone—the only limits are your own imagination. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the OASIS to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends—known as the High Five—are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.

Review:
Wade Watts spends most of his free time on a virtual treasure hunt for a legendary prize to control the OASIS – the virtual world where everyone retreats. When Wade finds the first key, he soon finds danger from a powerful corporation that will do anything to seize control of the OASIS.

I had read the original novel years ago, but forgot enough to not compare the story too much. The retro, 80s references and music made this extremely fun and nostalgic for me. And even though I’m not a gamer, I enjoyed the unique landscape of the OASIS – and that it’s more integral to the story than the real world. The acting is great. But it’s the OASIS itself that steals the scenes – from immersion into movies to stunning landscapes and and endless variety of colorful avatars. The story is full of suspense, heartfelt drama, romance, and plenty of humor. This is definitely a film I’ll watch again and again.

Blu-Ray Review: Rampage

Rampage

Synopsis:
In 1993, a breakthrough new technology gave scientists a path to treat incurable diseases through genetic editing. In 2016, due to its potential for misuse, the U.S. Intelligence Community designated genetic editing a “Weapon of Mass Destruction and Proliferation.”

Johnson stars as primatologist Davis Okoye, a man who keeps people at a distance but shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, incredibly rare albino silverback gorilla who has been in his care since he rescued the young orphan from poachers. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size.

To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created super creatures tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with discredited geneticist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

Review:
Davis (Dwayne Johnson) is great with animals, and has a special bond with the albino gorilla George. But when one of several containers carrying an experimental virus crashes to Earth, George is exposed and begins growing and showing unusual aggression. When the government hunts down George and the other infected animals, Davis scientist Kate (Naomie Harris) try to find another way to stop the animals before more lives are lost and Chicago is destroyed.

Rampage is based on a video game that I knew nothing about. But it had the feel of King Kong – if he had lived like Koko the gorilla before growing to his enormous size. There is quite a bit of humor and drama that lightened an otherwise violent, intense film. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a surprising character that defied my expectations. This action-packed, fast-paced story was a lot of fun. The villains and several of the surprises and fight scenes were over-the-top and silly. But it’s a action film based on a game – and one that I really enjoyed.

Special Features:
“Rampage” 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-Ray, Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:
• Not A Game Anymore – From arcade sensation to movie monster epic, we explore how the Midway video game inspired the filmmakers to create the ultimate disaster film.
• Gag Reel – Hilarious outtakes and mishaps captured during production.
• Deleted Scenes – Deleted scenes that barely missed the final theatrical cut.
• Rampage – Actors in Action: Strap in for a wild ride as Dwayne Johnson, Joe Manganiello and the cast prepare for the film’s demanding stunts and explosive set pieces.
• Trio of Destruction – Follow the innovative design team and the artists at Weta Digital as they bring to life the biggest and baddest monsters for the film’s climactic battle royal.
• Attack on Chicago – Director Brad Peyton reveals the challenges of filming on-location in Chicago and turning digital destruction into a cinematic reality.
• Bringing George to Life – Discover the wonder of what it’s like to be a gorilla, as movement coordinator Terry Notary teaches actor Jason Liles how to move, behave and become “George.”

“Rampage” DVD contains:
• Not A Game Anymore – From arcade sensation to movie monster epic, we explore how the Midway video game inspired the filmmakers to create the ultimate disaster film.

Blu-Ray Review: A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place

A QUIET PLACE debuts on Digital June 26, 2018 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD July 10.

Synopsis:
A QUIET PLACE is a taut and original thriller that follows a family who must navigate their lives in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by sound. Knowing that even the slightest whisper or footstep can bring death, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (John Krasinski) are determined to find a way to protect their children at all costs while they desperately search for a way to fight back.

Review:
The story begins post-apocalypse. A mother and father do their best to protect their children, yet raise them to be self-sufficient and able to take care of themselves if need be. They live isolated and in complete silence in order to hide from deadly creatures that hunt by sound.

A Quiet Place is a unique and spectacularly intense film. Almost the entire film is silent, other than occasional intense music, and just a few lines of quiet dialog. There is a bit of sign language with subtitles. But for the most part, the story is told through the incredible acting from this small cast of talented actors. There is quiet a bit of slow pacing, that only seemed to add to the intense suspense – as viewers wonder when the next jump scare will come. As with many horror films, there are some plot holes. But this film does an amazing job of creating a feeling of terror, with very little blood. The monsters looked a lot like the demogorgon from Stranger Things season 1. And the story reminded me a bit of Signs, but much scarier as the aliens are faster and more deadly.

Special Features Include:
Blu-ray
• Feature film in high definition
• Bonus Content:
o Creating the Quiet – Behind the Scenes of A QUIET PLACE
o The Sound of Darkness – Editing Sound for A QUIET PLACE
o A Reason for Silence – The Visual Effects of A QUIET PLACE
DVD
• Feature film in standard definition

Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Synopsis:
Scott Lang is grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. Approached by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym, Lang must once again don the Ant-Man suit and fight alongside the Wasp. The urgent mission soon leads to secret revelations from the past as the dynamic duo finds itself in an epic battle against a powerful new enemy.

Review:
In the fallout of Civil War, Scott is now under house arrest, trying to keep a new business running, and catching up on lost time with his daughter. But his future freedom is threatened when Hope and Dr. Pym insist on Scott’s help to rescue Hope’s mother. But a mysterious young woman is after their research, as well as a ruthless villain with a seemingly endless supply of henchmen.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is a very fun sequel. Full of even more humor than before, even suspenseful scenes were peppered with laughs. The stakes aren’t as high this time, as only Scott’s freedom from prison and Hope’s mother is at risk. So the suspense isn’t as intense. But the focus is more on family this time, and it’s much more dramatic. This is a feel-good, family film with a lot of heart and exciting action scenes. The Wasp finally gets to show off her abilities and proves to be the perfect partner for Ant-Man. I thoroughly enjoyed this film – the story, witty dialog, endearing characters, tech, and special effects (the de-aging of Pfeiffer and Douglas was fantastic). And like most Marvel movies, I’ll definitely go see it multiple times in the theater.

And as always, make sure to stay for at least the first, mid-credits scene. The final one made everyone in the theater upset we stuck around for it, as it wasn’t anything new.

Blu-Ray Review: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider 4K Blu-ray

Synopsis:
Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father’s global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he’s truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death.

Review:
Alicia Vikander is the new Lara Croft – who was fantastic as an aimless young woman who becomes an archaeologist action hero. The research that her father was involved in is not very engaging – and pretty forgettable. This film was more of Lara’s journey and kind of a coming-of-age story. The actual archaeological spot and clues are fairly disappointing – there just isn’t much to it. But the suspense and thrills are spot on – as well as Vikander’s performance. Now that we have her backstory, I look forward to more interesting stories and actual tomb raiding. I certainly hope we get to see more of these films.

Own Tomb Raider on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on June 12, or Own It Now on Digital!

Blu-Ray Review: Geostorm

Geostorm

Synopsis:
After an unprecedented series of natural disasters threatened the planet, the world’s leaders came together to create an intricate network of satellites to control the global climate and keep everyone safe. But now, something has gone wrong—the system built to protect the Earth is attacking it, and it’s a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything…and everyone along with it.

Review:
Gerard Butler stars as scientist Jake, who helped build the satellite (referred to as “Dutch Boy”) that controls the global weather. So when Dutch Boy begins attacking select cities across the world, Jake is tasked with fixing his device.

Geostorm has the feel of a natural disaster film, but there’s nothing natural about the cause or results. The CGI is great. And there are a lot of exciting scenes. But the story felt done before (even though I was surprised that the satellite wasn’t just a rouge AI), and a little drawn-out. The characters were all a bit one-dimensional, as the story focused solely on the weather and the killer satellite. I did enjoy the scenes set in space, as those were the most interesting to me. And there is a fun ending with a couple of mostly predictable twists.

Geostorm Blu-ray Combo Pack special features:
• “Wreaking Havoc: Cutting edge visual effects, research and technology create the world of Geostorm.
• Search for Answers: Inspired by his daughter’s question of why can’t global warming be stopped, Director Dean Devlin retraces the creative journey that led to Geostorm.
• An International Event: A global cast opens up about the secrets behind Geostorm.

Geostorm Standard Definition DVD special features:
• Search for Answers: Inspired by his daughter’s question of why can’t global warming be stopped, Director Dean Devlin retraces the creative journey that led to Geostorm.

Blu-Ray Review: Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049

Synopsis:
Three decades after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

Review:
Ryan Gosling is “K” – a Blade Runner who is a Replicant himself. But when he hunts down this latest rogue Replicant, he makes a shocking discovery that the LAPD quickly tries to cover up. But the Wallace Corporation knows the truth as well, and will stop at nothing to uncover the truth.

It has been more than 35 since original Blade Runner premiered. The tone is very similar, though the story is very different. The visuals landscapes are stunning. And though it’s extremely slow-paced compared to other science fiction films, there is still a great amount of intensity and suspense. And there are several exciting action scenes. However, this is more of a psychological drama, rather than the usual action film. While there is a bittersweet ending, there several annoying questions left unanswered. But then again, the original had some too.

BLU-RAY AND DVD INCLUDES:
“Blade Runner 2049” 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, 3D Blu-ray and Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:
• Designing The World of Blade Runner 2049
• To Be Human: Casting Blade Runner 2049
• Prologues: 2036: Nexus Dawn
• Prologues: 2048: Nowhere to Run
• Prologues: 2022: Black Out
• Blade Runner 101: Blade Runners
• Blade Runner 101: The Replicant Evolution
• Blade Runner 101: The Rise of Wallace Corp
• Blade Runner 101: Welcome to 2049
• Blade Runner 101: Joi
• Blade Runner 101: Within the Skies

“Blade Runner 2049” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
• Blade Runner 101: Blade Runners
• Blade Runner 101: The Replicant Evolution
• Blade Runner 101: The Rise of Wallace Corp
• Blade Runner 101: Welcome to 2049
• Blade Runner 101: Joi
• Blade Runner 101: Within the Skies

Blu-Ray Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital Combo Pack

SYNOPSIS:
Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.

REVIEW:
Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman in this origin story that leads in to the upcoming Justice League movie. We were introduced to her in Batman v Superman, which I would mostly like to forget. Although, she was definitely the highlight of the film. This story takes us back to WWI, when Themyscira becomes involved in man’s war. And Diana decides to join the world of man, convinced that Ares is behind the war.

With fantastic action and stylized fight scenes, this adventure is visually stunning and well-paced. Wonder Woman didn’t disappoint despite being one of my all-time favorite super heroes. I appreciated her naiveté and altruism having lived in such seclusion. Chris Pine plays a suave Steve Trevor, a good choice for the man to win Diana’s heart. And Lucy Davis as Etta Candy made for unforgettable comedy relief. I thoroughly enjoyed her character. The story was fun and exciting. And though a bit predictable, it was no less enjoyable and emotional during the climactic scene. Thankfully, despite the terrible BvS, this film gives me hope for the Justice League.

Special Features Include:
– Epilogue: Etta’s Mission
– Crafting the Wonder
– A Director’s Vision: Themyscira: The Hidden Island
– A Director’s Vision: Beach Battle
– A Director’s Vision: A Photograph Through Time
– A Director’s Vision: Diana in the Modern World
– A Director’s Vision: Wonder Woman at War
– Warriors of Wonder Woman
– The Trinity
– The Wonder Behind the Camera
– Finding the Wonder Woman
– Extended Scenes
– Blooper Reel

Own Wonder Woman on Ultra HD Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD on September 19 or Own It Now on Digital HD!