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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Justified: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review
Dec 17 2013 08:54 PM
Cable stations, both premium and basic, have for some time now been home to many of television’s most exceptional and addictive... Read More
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray Review
Dec 17 2013 02:39 PM
Though the first Percy Jackson movie was not a big hit domestically, it did much better overseas which is why, three years late... Read More
Fast & Furious 6 Blu-ray Review - Recommended
Dec 16 2013 07:39 PM
Fast & Furious 6 offers tanks to its fans on Blu-ray in an edition that offers the movie in solid high definition and inclu... Read More
Despicable Me 2 3D Blu-ray Review - Recommended
Dec 16 2013 07:37 PM
Despicable Me 2 gathers its Minions onto Blu-ray with a nice edition that provides great picture and sound, along with a few sp... Read More
The Family Blu-ray Review
Dec 16 2013 02:46 PM
Death and destruction as punch lines: that’s the droll premise of Luc Besson’s black comedy The Family. While the story of a Br... Read More
Dec 17 2013 08:33 PM | Richard Gallagher in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Cable stations, both premium and basic, have for some time now been home to many of television’s most exceptional and addictive television shows. Programs such as Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Homeland, Game of Thrones, True Blood, and others have featured high production values, outstanding writing, and considerable star power. Another equally fine show is Justified, which will begin its fifth season on the FX channel in January. The complete fourth season of Justified is now available on a sparking Blu-ray set from Sony.
Dec 17 2013 02:26 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Though the first Percy Jackson movie was not a big hit domestically, it did much better overseas which is why, three years later, we have the second film in the series, Thor Freudenthal’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. With all of that tiresome backstory from the first film out of the way, the sequel gets to concentrate more on various teen adventures featuring several of the demigod offspring of the Olympian gods. The film seems mainly geared to a pre-teen audience with very little here actually for older kids or adults, but it once again does provide a nice introduction to younger folk investigating the stories of Greek mythology.
Dec 16 2013 03:16 PM | Kevin EK in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Fast & Furious 6 offers tanks to its fans on Blu-ray in an edition that offers the movie in solid high definition and includes a generous spread of special features. The movie itself isn’t quite as fun as its predecessor, Fast Five, and it bogs down at several points along the way during its two-hour plus length. But it does continue to benefit from the easy chemistry of the cast and a few good fight scenes and chases along the way. Some of the chases are starting to get into the territory of science fiction, but there’s still plenty of gas left in this engine. Fans of the series will no doubt already be grabbing copies of this one or putting it on their lists. Given the amount of material, this is an easy title to Recommend for purchase – if not for the movie itself, for all the material that surrounds it here. And I should note that the Blu-ray includes a 2 minute scene from the next film, Fast & Furious 7. It’s not listed on the packaging, but it’s very much on the Blu-ray.
Dec 16 2013 03:06 PM | Kevin EK in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Despicable Me 2 gathers its Minions onto Blu-ray with a nice edition that provides great picture and sound, along with a few special features, including 3 quick mini-movies and a series of bite-size featurettes. The movie itself, following the continuing adventures of former supervillain Gru and his associates, is fairly entertaining and should work for a full family movie night. The 3D version nicely balances its effects between deep vistas and occasional pop-outs. This is an easy title to Recommend, particularly given how popular the franchise is becoming.
Dec 16 2013 02:33 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Death and destruction as punch lines: that’s the droll premise of Luc Besson’s black comedy The Family. While the story of a Brooklyn Mafioso family living a fish-out-of-water existence in northern France might be taken with a tongue-in-cheek smirk and shrug, there’s real harm happening to innocents here (OK, some of them are worthy of an attitude adjustment, but at what cost?), and the film morphs into something deadly serious before its overlong 111 minutes finish unspooling. This kind of bloodthirsty comedy won’t be palatable for a large group of people.
Dec 16 2013 11:51 AM | mattCR in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
When I was a young lad, TV offered characters who fit all types – doctors, police officers, lawyers and the average working day folk. We had programming that ranged from ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ to Sanford & Sons, progressing to Roseanne and others with quite a bit of programming that focused on the average guy who just tried to live his life. When I look at today’s modern TV offerings, there are very few shows that focus on, or who have characters that deal with real poverty. Think about it. Penny on The Big Bang Theory is a waitress at Cheesecake Factory who manages to cover a nice one bedroom apartment where neighbors are professors. 2 ½ Men features the continuously wealthy.
Dec 15 2013 04:39 PM | Richard Gallagher in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Writer-Director Neill Blomkamp follows up his 2009 hit District 9 with Elysium, another rather pessimistic view of a bleak future. Working with an estimated budget of $115 million, Blomkamp was able to sign Matt Damon and Jodie Foster to head the cast, and no expense was spared in creating very realistic special effects. Throw in an intriguing premise and a couple of worthy villains and the result is an exciting sci-fi adventure which to date has grossed more than $232 million worldwide. It is now available on a beautiful Blu-ray release from Sony. The film's only shortcoming is a somewhat perfunctory script which contains few surprises.
Dec 14 2013 02:14 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
A thoroughly mediocre production from all standpoints: story, acting, and production, Michael Landon Jr.’s The Ultimate Life is middle-of-the-road bland. In telling its "uplifting" story of family values triumphing over materialistic aims, the film couldn’t be any more predictable, and it seems a much more fitting entry into the Hallmark made-for-TV sweepstakes than as a feature film even if it is a sequel to the feature film The Ultimate Gift from 2006.
Dec 13 2013 02:48 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger is one of the most schizophrenic of recent movie releases. It’s a western comedy with an uncommon amount of realistic mayhem and carnage (an entire Comanche tribe is wiped out). For Baby Boomers who grew up fascinated with and entertained by the legends of the masked ranger of the west, the movie offers some respect for the character and a nod to that famous derring-do (and the familiar “William Tell Overture” at climactic moments), but it just as often dumps on the character’s square-jawed, sober approach to law and order and makes him the target of quite a few mocking japes and jests. So a comedy dominated with real-world tragedy featuring a hero who’s alternately praised and mocked: it’s hard to get into the right frame of mind for whatever the director and producer Jerry Bruckheimer wanted to make of this renowned symbol of the righteous west.
Dec 12 2013 07:46 PM | Neil Middlemiss in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
It has been over 31 years since Raiders took the movie-houses by storm, earning over $200 million (around $600 adjusted for inflation) on its original run at the domestic box office from a production budget of just $18 million (and becoming a beloved classic), and it, and the sequels, hold up very, very well. The film, and the first two of its three sequels, ably mixed adventure, mystery, humor and wonderfully worked characters in such a way that paid homage to the serial adventures of the 30s and 40s yet brought a cinematic action sophistication that immediately connected with audiences. Previously available on Blu-ray as part of the four-film collection, each film is now available for purchase individually.
Dec 12 2013 02:21 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Perhaps the most recognizable and influential cheerleader for film preservation and proper projection in the world today is Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese. In 2007, he began his World Cinema Project, a group that spends time scouring the planet for films in dire need of rescue and restoration. This new Criterion box set Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project presents the results of six of his organization’s restoration projects, films little seen from around the world and selected for their international reputations and appeal representing the diverse cultural heritages from Senegal to Bengal, Turkey to Mexico, and Morocco to Korea.