Category Archives: DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews

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

Blu-Ray Spotlight and Giveaway! Hocus Pocus Anniversary Edition

HOCUS POCUS Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]

Synopsis:
In “Hocus Pocus,” the Sanderson sisters are in for a devil of a time when their restless spirits are accidentally conjured up on Halloween night, in 1993 Salem, Massachusetts. Banished 300 years ago for practicing their sorcery, this trio of triple-threat demons vowed to one day reappear—and now they’re back—weaving an outrageous web of comedy and chaos. However, to guarantee their immortality, the things they need are the very things that could bring them down: Max Dennison (Omri Katz), his little sister Dani (Thora Birch), and the Allison (Vinessa Shaw), three kids with the power to make or break the witches’ spell.

Review:
I can’t believe it’s been 25 years since the release of this Halloween classic! Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy make for an unforgettable trio of hilarious witches. And for the masses who have seen the movie, the “Treats and Trivia” edition is a lot of fun. There are pop-up video facts, illustrations, deleted scenes, interesting commentaries, and more. It would’ve been nice if some of these things, like deleted scenes were separate from having to re-watch the actual film along side. But it is a nice edition with plenty of fascinating, behind-the-scenes clips.

Bonus Features:
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL*:
• We ♥︎ “Hocus Pocus”: Trivia and Treats Edition – A spellbinding new way to experience the film with:
o Fun facts and trivia
o Deleted scenes
o Cast and crew commentary
o Concept art and storyboards
o Behind-the-scenes secrets, and more!
• Original 1993 Production Featurette – Discover that witchcraft is cinematic artistry in disguise in this resurrected throwback production featurette.

*Bonus features may vary by retailer

___________________________

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DVD Review: Young Sheldon The Complete First Season

Young Sheldon: Season 1
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this post. The opinions I share are my own.

Synopsis:
For 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper, being a once-in-a-generation mind capable of advanced mathematics and science isn’t always helpful in East Texas where church and football are king. And while the vulnerable, gifted and somewhat naïve Sheldon deals with the world, his very normal family must find a way to deal with him. His father is struggling as a high school football coach and as father to a boy he doesn’t understand. Sheldon’s mother fiercely protects and nurtures her son who just doesn’t fit in. Sheldon’s older brother does the best he can in high school, but he’s also in the same classes with Sheldon. Finally, there’s Sheldon’s twin sister who remains the one person who can reliably tell Sheldon the truth. For 10 years on The Big Bang Theory, audiences have come to know the iconic, eccentric and extraordinary Sheldon Cooper. Now meet him as he embarks on his innocent, awkward journey toward the man he will become.

Review:
Sheldon is easily the most iconic character on the Big Bang Theory. Now, we get to see him as a young, boy genius, raised in a average family. The actors are fantastic – especially the child actors Iain Armitage and Raegan Revord as young Sheldon and Missy respectively. Each episode is very funny, with wonderful wit. But there are plenty of times of sweetness and drama that give this show plenty of heart. It feels very different from it’s predecessor, but Young Sheldon can stand on its own as a fun, family comedy.

DVD Review: Blindpost Season 3

Blindspot: The Complete Third Season

Synopsis:
The non-stop adrenaline rush continues in the third electrifying season of Blindspot. Following the shocking second season finale, which revealed a new set of bioluminescent tattoos that mysteriously appeared on Jane Doe’s body, season three jumps forward two years as FBI Agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) finally tracks down Jane (Jaimie Alexander), who has been on the run. After the two discover her new hidden tattoos, Jane is forced to return to the FBI, where Weller, Jane and the rest of the team set out to solve these new puzzles and stop the dangerous conspiracies they reveal. The tattoos however, reveal the team’s darkest secrets.

Review:
When a contract is put out on her life, Jane flees to protect those she loves. But Weller finally tracks her down with a clue left that unlocks a whole new set of tattoos on Jane’s body. It seems that Roman wants revenge, and Jane’s tattoos will reveal secrets about the former team in hopes of tearing them apart.

This third season has a nice revamp – with familiar faces and dark secrets. At the end of season 2, I thought that this story had reached a conclusion. This is more of an emotional journey for Jane as she learns more about her past. And Roman’s complex character becomes someone very different. I love that the only thing predictable about each episode is that something unexpected will happen. Each episode is packed with clues, twists, and non-stop suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest season, and look forward to the next.

Special Features Include:
– Surveillance On Set: Agent Zapata
– Deleted Scenes
– Gag Reel

Blu-Ray Review: Counterpart Season 1

Counterpart: Season 1 [Blu-ray]

Synopsis:
Howard Silk (JK Simmons) is a lowly cog in the bureaucratic machinery of a Berlin-based United Nations spy agency. When Howard discovers that his organization safeguards the secret of a crossing into a parallel dimension, he is thrust into a shadow world of intrigue, danger, and double cross… where the only man he can trust is his near-identical counterpart from this parallel world. The show explores themes of identity, fate, and lost love, posing the eternal question, “what if our lives could have been different?”

Review:
Howard Silk is in a dead-end job and lives a seemingly sad, dull existence. But when his double from an alternate world arrives, Howard’s life is turned upside down. The company he’s been working for has been hiding a huge secret since the Cold War. And Howard’s counterpart is nothing like him.

Counterpart is a STARZ original that I had never heard of until I received the promo. Blending science fiction and a spy thriller, this was a surprising series that I binge-watched in one weekend. I was completely hooked. It’s Fringe meets The Americans. Since it’s on a premium network, they (of course) had to throw in unnecessary nudity that otherwise would have made it a show I’d recommend to friends. It’s a pulse-pounding, suspenseful series with plenty of intrigue and drama.

JK Simmons does an amazing job of playing the same man as two distinctly different characters. They look exactly the same, but it’s obvious who’s who. It’s a slow build at times, but completely unpredictable. There are a lot of questions still lingering. And a bit of a cliffhanger ending, left me wanting more. I look forward to seeing the story unfold in future seasons.

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.