Category Archives: DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews

DVD Review: The Box

The Box

Arthur and Norma Lewis are a young, middle class couple, living just beyond their means. Arthur is a scientist for NASA and Norma is a teacher. But when a strange box arrives on their doorstep, their lives will change forever. A man with a severe burn that has taken away part of his face arrives to tell them about the box. In the box is a button. If they push the button, two things will happen. One – someone they don’t know will die. And Two – they will receive one million dollars, tax-free.

I’m not a fan of Cameron Diaz, but I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed her performance as Norma, who has a deformity of her own. James Marsden plays her husband Arthur with a little less intensity, but still believable. It’s the story that’s unbelievable.

What starts out as an eerie, horror-like drama, soon takes a turn for a head-scratching, science fiction, mish-mash of ideas. Based on the short story by Richard Matheson, an incredible idea is unfortunately derailed in translation to film. A master plan is revealed, along with motivation. But strange happenings such as nosebleeds, water-like doorways, and people brought back from the dead are never fully explained. I really wanted to like the film – the story and acting was intense and highly suspenseful. But in the end, I was disappointed with the bizarre, unexplained, and erratic events that added nothing to the story.

DVD Review: Dr. Who: The Complete Specials

Dr. Who: The Complete Specials

Dr. Who: The Complete Specials is a collection of television specials, starring David Tennant as the immortal “Doctor.” The set includes “The Next Doctor,” “Planet of the Dead,” “The Waters of Mars,” and “The End of Time, Part One & Two.” These specials lead up to The Doctor’s regeneration as the 11th Doctor, played by Matt Smith. It’s a fun and exciting addition for Doctor Who fans, as well as newcomers to the show.

“The Next Doctor”
When the Doctor (David Tennant) arrives in London on Christmas Eve 1851, he discovers that Cybermen are planning to resurrect the CyberKing. But another Doctor (David Morrissey) is already there, with little memory of his past. Fast-paced, with a few surprises, this installment is fun and light-hearted.

“Planet of the Dead”
David Tennant is back as the Doctor, tracking a strange wormhole. But the Doctor and a bus full of people soon find themselves stranded on a strange planet, in the middle of what looks like an arid desert. Teaming up with a beautiful thief, prepared for any situation (played by Michelle Ryan), the Doctor searches for a way back to Earth before a storm of murderous creatures reaches them. Slightly creepy, but a lot of humor, this installment was definitely my favorite of them all.

“The Waters of Mars”
When the Doctor (David Tennant) stumbles upon a base on Mars, he excitedly realizes that this is the first ever human base on Mars. But soon discovers that they are all supposed to die this same day. The Doctor’s curiosity gets the better of him, when he decides to help the group try to defend themselves from a strange water-based infection. But when the creatures find out that Earth is mostly water, they decide to hitch a ride back to Earth and take over. This installment was the darkest and felt most like a horror flick, with hear-pounding suspense and even an ethical dilemma for the Doctor.

“The End of Time, Part One & Two”
This is David Tennant’s last adventure as the Doctor. When his adversary the Master (John Simm) is reawakened, the Doctor is too late to stop the insane Master’s plot to take over Earth. And the Doctor also faces his fate that “He will knock four times,” leading to his death. Former James Bond, Timothy Dalton, narrates these ominous, climactic installments.

– Disc 1: “The Next Doctor”
– Disc 2: “Planet of the Dead”
– Disc 3: “The Waters of Mars”
– Discs 4-5: “The End of Time”, Parts One and Two
– Doctor Who Confidential
– Doctor Who at the Proms
– Deleted scenes with introduction from Russell T. Davies
– David Tennant Video Diaries: The Final Days
– Doctor Who BBC Christmas idents
– Audio commentaries
– Doctor Who at Comic-Con

Dr. Who: The Complete Specials is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.

DVD Review: Small Wonder Season 1

Small Wonder Season 1

Small Wonder Season 1 will be available, February 16th, from Shout! Factory.

When Ted Lawson gets inspired to create a life-like robot, he decides to see if his experiment can pass as a real girl. The Voice Input Child Identicant (nicknamed VICI or Vickie), soon becomes a member for the family. Joan Lawson quickly comes to think of Vickie has her own daughter, and son Jamie continually tries to exploit Vickie by getting her to do his homework and chores.

This original sitcom from the 80’s stars Dick Christie as Ted Lawson, Tiffany Brissette as V.I.C.I., Marla Pennington as Joan Lawson, Jerry Supiran as Jamie Lawson, Emily Schulman as next-door-neighbor Harriet Brindle, and Edie McClurg as Harriet’s busybody mother.

As a child of the 80’s and life-long scifi fan, Small Wonder held a special place in my heart. For their extremely limited budget, and time period, the special effects are not all that bad. The commentaries were especially enjoyable, hearing about what went on behind the scenes, Vickie’s eternal pinafore, and how they were actually not allowed to downplay anything. Dick Christie was told to overdo the acting. Besides the usual corny jokes, catch-phrases (“That makes sense!”) and over-acting, the stories and heart of the show actually made me fall in love with the show all over again.

– The 4-disc DVD set includes all 24 episodes from season 1
– Multiple commentaries with creator and cast
– Original episode promos
– Fan art gallery

Blu-Ray Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler’s Wife Blu-ray Edition

Henry DeTamble is a time traveler who cannot control when or where he travels. When he meets beautiful Clare Abshire, she seems to know him, but he has never met her before. The two share a love that crosses time, beautiful and tragic. As Henry is unable to stop himself from disappearing from any certain time or place, usually the most inopportune of times.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is based on the novel of the same name by Audrey Niffenegger. Having read the novel, I had many preconceptions going in. And even though many details were left out that I thought were fairly important to the story, the overall feel and message of the story remains.

Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams star as the two time-crossed lovers, playing their roles to perfection. Though, the movie character of Henry is much more likeable than the drug-addicted novel version. And thankfully, some of the other darker events in the novel were left out.

I actually did not care for the book much at all. Though I appreciated the unique idea, it was too depressing for my taste. But I ended up really enjoying the movie version. It’s a fascinating and powerful love story with a touch of science fiction.

The Blu-ray edition includes a couple of featurettes, and a download copy on a separate disk.

Get it on Blu-ray, DVD, and Download February 9th.
Check out the official site here.

DVD Review: Pandorum


When Corporal Bower awakens aboard a damaged and seemingly abandoned spaceship, he has little memory of anything beyond his training. His memories about his mission and previous life are gone. Lt. Payton soon wakes up as well, and the two try to restart the ship and discover what has happened to everyone else. They soon realize they are not alone, and the terrifying reality is just as scary as fighting the madness that threatens their own minds.

Ben Foster stars as Corporal Bower, a frightened but capable flight crewman. He’s the only one who can reach the reactor and save the ship and all of her precious cargo. Joining him are Dennis Quaid as Lt. Payton, the senior officer on board, directing Bower via radio and Cam Gigandet, Cung Le, and Antje Traue as crewmen that Bower meets along the way, helping him piece together the mystery of this decrepit ship.

Reminiscent of the classic scifi film Alien, this scifi horror film was surprisingly riveting. The horror aspects are chilling, but the story is strong with more than a few surprises along the way. I was definitely impressed, having little-to-no expectations beforehand. Pandorum is a highly entertaining thriller, with impressive set designs, a gripping story, violence and gore (for the R rating), and fantastic acting.

Blu-Ray Review: Whiteout


U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is assigned to the coldest and most remote place on earth – Antarctica. The camp is about to shut down and fly back to America for the winter, to avoid inclement weather. But Stetko discovers there’s a murderer in their midst. Based on the graphic novel by Greg Rucka, Stetko races to find a killer and uncover a mystery before winter falls.

Beckinsale is as graceful and beautiful as ever in this cold thriller. Her character has an interesting backstory and reason for choosing such a remote post. Stetko is a smart, brave, and a bit of a tortured soul. Costarring, are Gabriel Macht, as an U.N. investigator, Alex O’Laughlin and Columbus Short, as pilots, and Tom Skerritt, as the head doctor on base. Skerritt shines (as always) as a friend and confidant to Stetko.

When we first get a glimpse of the disguised killer, it has the feeling of a slasher-horror flick. But this only happens a few times during the movie. Otherwise, it’s a murder mystery/thriller. One that happens to have some pretty amazing scenic views. The set designs were spectacular. The story, while over-the-top suspense at times, actually had some slower scenes, to help the heart rate settle. The mystery, while a bit confusing at times, also had a wonderful twist. Watching this suspense-ridden thriller, has definitely made me want to go pick up the original graphic novel.

Special Features:
* “Coldest Thriller Ever”
* “Storyboard to screen”
* Deleted scenes
* Disc 2 – Digital Copy

Whiteout released on January 19th, available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Download.

DVD Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Picking up where The Order of the Phoenix left off, this 6th installment focuses on Harry and Dumbledore working together to discover Voldemort’s weakness and the only way of standing up to the dark lord.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) are another year older, and teenage romance begins to bloom. This is a fun escape, from an otherwise much darker and ominous film, as each year/movie has been. The acting is spot on, leading to an emotional roller coaster.

Though, as always, the film misses out on a lot of detail from the novel, the main plot is there. This installment has more suspense, danger, and mystery than any other previous. And much like after finishing the corresponding novel, I eagerly anticipate the final showdown that’s coming in the next film(s).

Special features from the DVD include:
– Additional scenes
– JK Rowling – A Year in the Life
– Close Up with the Cast of Harry Potter
– Q&A with Cast and Crew
– Sneak Peak at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
– One Minute Drills – Character recaps

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is available NOW on Blu-ray™, DVD, & Download.

DVD Review: Genesis II (1973)

Genesis II

“My name is Dylan Hunt. My story begins the day on which I died.”

After a devastating accident, test subject Hunt (Alex Cord) awakes 154 years in the future. The future is post-apocalyptic, with two races (the Pax and the Tyranians) battling for dominance. Hunt is torn, not knowing who to trust, both races wanting his scientific knowledge of the past. But the beautiful Tyranian mutant (Mariette Hartley) has been anything but truthful about the true nature of her people.

Following on the heels of Star Trek, Genesis II was also created by Gene Roddenberry. And with all of Roddenberry’s conceptions, this story holds a deeper message. Roddenberry’s vision of peace carries over to Genesis II as well. Hunt is from a world that destroys itself with war. The Pax are a peaceful race that have learned from history and want to preserve their way of life. The story is of Hunt’s journey from his past ideals to those of justice and peace.

Despite an obvious 70’s look and feel and dated visual effects, the adventure is still exciting. And the characters are just as vivid. There is plenty of action, suspense, and a bit of romance. Genesis II is thoroughly enjoyable. I had never heard of the film before receiving it for review, but I now count it as a true science fiction classic.