Category Archives: DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase

Nancy Drew and The Hidden Staircase

“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-Ray I reviewed in this post. The opinions I share are my own.”

Synopsis:
After the death of his wife, Carson Drew decides to leave Chicago behind and make a fresh start with his daughter in River Heights. But for 16-year-old Nancy Drew, life in a small town is mighty dull. She longs for excitement, adventure, and the chance to make a difference. Nancy gets that opportunity when she is asked to help solve the ghostly activity at the Twin Elms mansion. Can she help explain the creaking footsteps, exploding lightbulbs and the ominous creature? Is it the handiwork of high-school bully Derek Barnes? Or is it possible that the ghost of original owner Malcolm Colfax is back for revenge? Recruiting her best friends George and Bess, along with local “mean girl” Helen, Nancy Drew is on the case!

Review:
Nancy Drew is fearless and always up for an adventure. She also has a soft spot for those who can’t stick up for themselves. So, after the fallout of avenging her friend with a school bully, Nancy finds herself in community service. But helping out a sweet old lady with a ghost problem is just the thing she needs to save herself from boredom.

Nancy Drew and The Hidden Staircase resembles the second book in the Nancy Drew series of the same name. Though, this has obviously been modernized. Nancy, George, and Bess have very different looks and personalities. And this Nancy seems much more immature and brazen than her original character from the books. The story is intriguing and engaging. Though, most of the mystery is very predictable for any adult, children will still enjoy the suspense and silly humor. Despite the exciting suspense, it still remains lighthearted and fun. This family friendly film was a hit with my 9 and 11 year old nieces, who immediately wondered if there would be sequel.

Own it on Blu-Ray and DVD April 2!

Bonus Features:
A Sleuth, A Girl and an Inspiration (Featurette)
Pink Footprints: Touring Twin Elms (Featurette)
– Gag Reel

Blu-Ray Review: Bumblebee

Bumblebee

Synopsis:
CYBERTRON has fallen. When OPTIMUS PRIME sends BUMBLEBEE to defend Earth, his journey to become a hero begins. Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld), a teenager trying to find her place in the world, discovers and repairs the battle-scarred robot, who’s disguised as a Volkswagen Beetle. As the DECEPTICONS hunt down the surviving AUTOBOTS with the help of a secret agency led by Agent Burns (John Cena), BUMBLEBEE and Charlie team up to protect the world.

Review:
Bumblebee is a prequel to the Transformer movies. It’s set in the 80s and has a great soundtrack. Besides the setting changes, this story focuses mainly on Bumblebee with a couple Decepticons in pursuit. He is helped by teenage Charlie, who lost her father years ago and is trying to find direction.

This is easily the best movie in the series since the original Transformers. This story has focus and direction. And it’s still action-packed and full of humor and heart. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, especially Charlie and her awkward friend Memo. And fan-favorite Bumblebee really gets to shine, of course. And finally someone (Agent Burns) comments on the obvious “They literally call themselves Decepticons. That doesn’t set off any red flags?” It’s kind of silly that the government would work with the Decepticons, but they believe they’ll gather advanced technology out of the deal. This is a light-hearted, exciting and just plain fun movie for all ages.

BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD COMBO, BLU-RAY COMBO & DIGITAL*
• Sector 7 Archive
o Agent Burns: Welcome to Sector 7
o Sector 7 Adventures: The Battle at Half Dome (All-New Motion Comic)
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Outtakes
• Bee Vision: The Transformers robots of Cybertron
• Bringing Bumblebee to the Big Screen
o The Story of Bumblebee
o The Stars Align
o Bumblebee Goes Back to G1
o Back to the Beetle
o California Cruisin’ Down Memory Lane

And this mini Sector 7 comic was included with my 4k copy!

Blu Ray Review: Krypton Season 1

Krypton: The Complete First Season

“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this post. The opinions I share are my own.”

Synopsis:
What if Superman never existed? Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, Krypton follows a young Seg-El, the legendary Man of Steel’s grandfather, who is faced with a life and death conflict –save his home planet or let it be destroyed in order to restore the fate of his future grandson. With Krypton’s leadership in disarray and the House of El ostracized, Seg fights alongside Earthly time-traveler Adam Strange to redeem his family’s honor and protect the ones he loves while saving the future of his legacy from DC Super-Villain Brainiac.

Review:
Seg-El is visited by time-traveling Adam Strange who claims to be from the future. He has returned to help Seg-El stop Brainiac – who has returned to end Superman by changing the past. Seg-El resembles his future grandson, though is more flawed and conflicted. He’s certainly more relatable than Kal-El.

This first season of Krypton is only 10 episodes. But there is a lot of story that unfolds. Krypton’s politics and deep-rooted mythology is a fascinating background, but very different from what we’ve seen in previous portrayals of a Utopia. Then, adding Brainiac’s infiltration adds another layer of chaos. This is a dark and suspenseful season with plenty of mystery and intriguing characters. And the season finale ends with a big cliffhanger that leaves fans impatient for more.

BLU-RAY & DVD FEATURES:
•Krypton: 2017 Comic-Con Panel
•Krypton: Bringing the Home World to Life
•A Lost Kingdom: Life on Krypton
•Gag reel
•Deleted Scenes

Blu-Ray Review: Viking Destiny

Viking Destiny Blu-ray

Synopsis:
A Viking princess is forced to flee her kingdom after being framed for the murder of her father, the king. Under the guidance of the god Odin, she travels the world gaining wisdom and building the army she needs to win back her throne.

Review:
“It is a curse for a child to be born with an absent father.” At least, that’s the phrase repeated throughout the film. Though, Princess Helle only seems cursed with a terrible uncle. The story is fairly simplistic and the pacing slow. The only exciting parts are the battle scenes. Odin does appear briefly, a few times to Helle to give cryptic guidance. But Loki appears many times to lead mortals astray. Unfortunately, this Loki doesn’t have much personality. And while Princess Helle is beautiful, she doesn’t have much character depth either.

I really wanted to enjoy some part of this film, as I enjoy Norse mythology and learning more about my Scandinavian historical roots. But the movie doesn’t look like it was even filmed in Scandanavia, so even the scenery was disappointing. If you’re looking for historical Viking fiction, stick to the Vikings tv show.

Viking Destiny is rated R for violence and nudity.

BLU-RAY/DVD/DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES:
· “One True Heir: A Warrior’s Destiny” Featurette
· “Of Gods, Women & Men: The Cast” Featurette
· “Strength from Within: Staging the Battles” Featurette

Blu-Ray Review: Westworld Season 2: The Door

Westworld Season 2: The Door Blu-Ray

“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.”

Synopsis:
In Season Two, viewers are welcomed back to Westworld, where the puppet show is over and the newly liberated “hosts” are coming for humankind. Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) takes charge, Maeve (Thandie Newton) is on a mission and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) is back. Chaos takes control in this dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness, the birth of a new form of life and the evolution of sin.

Review:
The hosts have revolted and most want revenge or simply freedom from humanity. Deloris is now self-aware, with a mission. Maeve searches for her daughter. Bernard searches for answers. And we get to see more of the Man in Black’s past catch up with him.

This second season is just as dark and violent as before. But we get more answers, if muddled with time jumping. Poor Bernard’s memories are so confusing that it’s hard to keep track of what is past and present. The acting is fantastic, and the story (while sometimes confusing) is even more intriguing and engaging than last season. With loads of mystery, action, and drama – this mature scifi show has only gotten better. With plenty of surprises along the way, there is an impressive amount of story packed into just 10 episodes.

DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES:
-Bring Yourself Back Online (New)
-Reflections on Season Two –Dolores, Teddy and Bernard
-Of Love and Shogun –Maeve, Hector and Lee
-Journeys and Technology –Stubbs, Logan and Clementine
-The Buzz: On the Red Carpet
-Return To Westworld
-Creating Westworld’s Reality
-Creating Westworld’s Reality: An Evocative Location
-Creating Westworld’s Reality: Fort Forlorn Hope
-Creating Westworld’s Reality: The Delos Experiment
-Creating Westworld’s Reality: Shogun World
-Creating Westworld’s Reality: Inside the Cradle
-Creating Westworld’s Reality: Chaos In The Mesa
-Creating Westworld’s Reality: Ghost Nation
-Creating Westworld’s Reality: Deconstructing Maeve
-Creating Westworld’s Reality: The Valley Beyond
-Creating Westworld’s Reality: The Drone Hosts
4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY AND DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
Includes all digital special features plus:
-The Truth Behind Delos(New)
-These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends (New)

4K Blu Ray Review: Justice League: Throne of Atlantis – Commemorative Edition

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis 4K Blu Ray

About the Film:
In Justice League: Throne of Atlantis – Commemorative Edition, Cyborg discovers an imminent threat in the depths of the oceans so powerful that it rallies together the newly formed Justice League. Meanwhile, wandering thousands of feet above the ocean floor is drifter Arthur Curry, a man with strange powers who may be the last chance to bridge the ancient Atlantean world with our own. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest of DC’s Justice League must band together as they face off against warmongering Orm, an army of sea creatures, otherworldly weapons and perilous odds. In this all-new epic adventure from the DC Universe, mankind’s only hope of escaping from the darkness lies with the guiding light of a man – Aquaman!

The celebrity laden cast features primetime television stars Matt Lanter (Timeless, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 90210) as Aquaman, Sam Witwer (Being Human, Smallville, Star Wars: Rebels) as Orm, Jason O’Mara (The Man in the High Castle) as Batman, Christopher Gorham (Insatiable, Two Broke Girls, Covert Affairs) as Flash, Nathan Fillion (The Rookie, Castle) as Green Lantern, Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Daredevil) as Wonder Woman, Jerry O’Connell (Real Men Watch Bravo, The Death of Superman) as Superman, Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) as Shazam, Sumalee Montano (Scandal, Critical Role) as Mera, Sirena Irwin (Superman: Unbound) as Queen Atlanna, and Harry Lennix (Man of Steel, The Blacklist) as Manta.

“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The Opinions I share are my own.”

Review:
I don’t watch a lot of animated tv or films. But I love superhero stuff. And with the Aquaman film releasing soon, I wanted to check this one out. I was already familiar with this story, as Arthur Curry fights his half brother for the right to lead Atlantis. But I enjoyed the cast of characters and the numerous voice actors. Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern was the easiest to recognize. And he brought a fun and humorous element to the film, that was a great opposition to Batman’s dark, grumpy mood.

There were little things I didn’t care for – like Wonder Woman’s costume and that it was PG-13 instead of PG. The bloody violence and swearing means it isn’t for children. Which seems strange when it’s an animated superhero film that kids will want to see. But I still enjoyed the movie overall. It was fast-paced and a full cast of the Justice League – including Shazam, who was another fun addition. The special features were decent too. There’s a bonus sequence of Robin and Nightwing with a nice explanation of it’s purpose.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis – Commemorative Edition contains two all-new bonus features, along with special features from the film’s original release:
• Aquaman: The New King (NEW featurette) – An immersive look at Arthur Curry’s evolution from guardian of the ocean to the King of Atlantis and key member of the Justice League.
• Audio Commentary (NEW) – Renowned former DC Editor and current Creative Director of Animation Mike Carlin, Creative Director of Animation, and Throne of Atlantis screenwriter Heath Corson share their insights into the legend of Aquaman.
• Scoring Atlantis: The Sound of the Deep (Featurette) – Every great film needs a great musical score. Filled with emotion, music takes us on a dynamic journey as we adventure with the hero. Throne of Atlantis takes us on that quest through the eyes of Arthur Curry.
• Robin and Nightwing Bonus Sequence – Producer James Tucker provides video commentary for this exciting bonus sequence where Robin and Nightwing join forces.
• Throne of Atlantis: 2014 New York Comic Con Panel – The entire, lively one-hour panel discussion between actor Matt Lanter, producer James Tucker, screenwriter Heath Corson, character designer Phil Bourassa and dialogue director Andrea Romano.
• Villains of the Deep (Featurette) – From Ocean Master to Black Manta to King Shark, each villain operates from his own deep sense of conviction, presenting an incredible challenge for the hero in Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman. This documentary goes into the biographical details of the villains.
• A Sneak Peek at The Death of Superman – The Death of Superman is widely considered one of the most popular stories in the Superman canon and the DCU. This sneak peek at the exciting new film discusses the story and its place in pop culture.
• A Sneak Peek at Reign of the Supermen – An exciting look at the new film which brings the epic and emotional story of a world without the Man of Steel to life.
• Bonus cartoons from the DC Comics Vault:
o Batman: The Brave and the Bold, “Aquaman’s Outrageous Adventure!”
o Batman: The Brave and the Bold, “Evil Under the Sea!”
o Aquaman, “Menace of The Black Manta” and “The Rampaging Reptile-Men”
o Justice League Unlimited, “Far from Home”

Blu-Ray Review: Beyond the Sky

Beyond The Sky

Synopsis:
In BEYOND THE SKY, Chris Norton (Ryan Carnes) has been hearing about alien abductions his entire life but, in his gut, he knows they are not real. Setting out to disprove the alien abduction phenomenon once and for all, he attends a UFO convention to meet alleged abductees and reveal the truth behind their experiences. It is only when he meets Emily, who claims to have been abducted every seven years on her birthday, that Chris realizes there may be more to these claims than meets the eye. With Emily’s 28th birthday only days away, Chris helps her to uncover the truth as they come face to face with the reality that we are not alone.

Review:
Chris Norton’s father claims that his wife was abducted by aliens, when Chris believes his mother just walked out on them. He even has a video of that night with strange lights that could easily be explained. So Chris visits a UFO convention in New Mexico with the intent to prove them all wrong. He’s disrespectful at times, thinking it’s all funny, as I imagine many people would. And Chris finds the perfect person to investigate when her next supposed-abduction date is in just a couple days.

Beyond the Sky feels like a documentary, with a scifi twist. With the fascinating drama, there is a bit of humor, and several intense scenes. I enjoyed the inclusion of unique-looking alien figures and the creepiness of lost time – caught on camera. Emily is a great character who helps to get the viewer involved. And because of her, Chris becomes more likable as he tries to protect her. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. There were a couple of fun surprises that I didn’t see coming. And I loved the different take on an alien abduction story. This is definitely one of the better low budget scifi films I’ve seen.

The BEYOND THE SKY DVD and Blu-ray include the following bonus features:
• Interview with Travis Walton, Alien Abductee and Author of “Fire in the Sky”
• Interview with Navajo Artist at the International UFO Congress.

4K Blu-Ray Review: Ocean’s 8

Ocean’s 8 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital

Synopsis:
Five years, eight months, 12 days…and counting. That’s how long Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock)—just released from prison—has been concocting the greatest heist of her storied career.

She knows what it’s going to take—a team of the best in their field, starting with her former partner-in-crime Lou (Cate Blanchett). Together, they recruit a crew of specialists: jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), street con Constance (Awkwafina), expert fence Tammy (Sarah Paulson), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna) and fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter).

The target is $150 million in diamonds—diamonds that will adorn the neck of world-famous actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), who will be center stage at the event of the year, the Met Gala. Their plan appears rock solid, but it will need to be flawless if the team is to get in and get away—all in plain sight.

Review:
Sandra Bullock stars as Danny Ocean’s sister, Debbie. She is every bit the scheming thief that her brother was (is?). And she has been planning the heist of millions in jewels from her prison cell. She is joined by a colorful cast of characters with specific skill sets. These women were even more memorable than their male counterparts in previous films. The heist itself was a little disappointing – fun, yet a little predictable. But the actual planning of the heist was the highlight – and the fantastic characters. While there weren’t any big, shocking reveals (all fairly predictable), it was still a really fun story with a lot of laughs.

Special Features Include:
– A Heist in Heels
– Ocean’s Team 3.0
– Reimagining the Met Gala
– Deleted Scenes