- View New Content
- Blu-ray, DVD, Streaming Video and Digital Downloads
- Home Theater Hardware
- Theaters, Remotes and Accessories
- Equipment Reviews
- DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
- Other Diversions
- Bargains and Deals
- Feedback and Testing
- Latest Blu-ray Deals
- Shop Amazon & Support HTF
- Theater Photos
DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
- Equipment Reviews
Blu-ray Release Listings
- Shop Amazon
- Support HTF
DVD & Blu-ray Deals
Categories See All →
DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Tales from Earthsea Blu-ray Review
Jan 29 2015 02:38 PM
Legendary Oscar-winning Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki had always wanted to film some of the stories in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series of bo... Read More
Pom Poko Blu-ray Review
Jan 28 2015 02:43 PM
There were more than a few raised eyebrows when 2014 Oscar nominations for feature animation didn’t include The LEGO Movie or The Book of Life. Instead, one... Read More
Before I Go to Sleep Blu-ray Review
Jan 27 2015 02:44 PM
An average thriller that is stronger in its individual elements than it is in the sum of its parts, Rowan Joffe’s Before I Go to Sleep tells its twisty story... Read More
Fury Blu-ray Review
Jan 26 2015 06:53 PM
When I was a youngster I loved to read comic books about World War II, such as "All American Men of War" and "Star Spangled War Stories." I remember thinking... Read More
Legendary Oscar-winning Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki had always wanted to film some of the stories in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series of books, but it was a project that never got off the ground. In 2005, Miyazaki’s son Goro decided it was time for him to direct his own animation project at Studio Ghibli, and he chose a couple of books in the Earthsea series to serve as the plot of his film. The 2006 film offers some striking imagery and a decent message on the meaning of life, but the movie doesn’t quite achieve the mystical power of his father’s best efforts, and the film, though successful at the box-office, offers a somewhat garbled story with a less than compelling narrative drive.
There were more than a few raised eyebrows when 2014 Oscar nominations for feature animation didn’t include The LEGO Movie or The Book of Life. Instead, one of the available slots was filled by The Tale of Princess Kaguya co-directed by Isao Takahata. The Japanese director is no stranger to animation fans, however, as he’s been a part of Studio Ghibli for quite some time. His 1994 fantasy Pom Poko (the title shortened for stateside release) brings forth the strong comic and dramatic sides of the animator’s art with an environmental message woven through the narrative that certainly seems to come from the heart. Disney’s latest Studio Ghibli release offers the film in its original Japanese as well as with an English-language cast.
An average thriller that is stronger in its individual elements than it is in the sum of its parts, Rowan Joffe’s Before I Go to Sleep tells its twisty story well enough even if it does require some massive suspension of disbelief to allow the twists to work their ultimate shocks. A strong triumvirate of actors in the leads carry the day, and the movie is always watchable for their work even when logic breaks down after its big reversal about two-thirds of the way through the narrative.
When I was a youngster I loved to read comic books about World War II, such as "All American Men of War" and "Star Spangled War Stories." I remember thinking that if I ever had to go to war I would like to be in a tank, somehow believing that a tank would protect me from enemy bullets. I surely would have thought differently if I had seen Fury, a gritty, intense, realistic, and very violent film about tank warfare during World War II. Written and directed by David Ayer, Fury features exceptional production values and a fine ensemble cast headed by Brad Pitt.
Long John Silver(Luke Arnold) in Black Sails is as distant from Robert Newton's Harrrr-ty seadog as he possibly could be in the Starz Channel's high budget prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. Michael Bay(Transformers, The Rock) is an executive producer of this slick and gritty pirate series set in the West Indies of the early 18th Century.
An underdog, coming-of-age saga without a trace of sappiness or sentimentality, Peter Yates’ Breaking Away is a lovely, engaging little film. A first-rate cast coming as close to portraying real-seeming people as it’s possible to get gives the movie its strongest reason to be. Yes, there’s a bicycle race or two to get the adrenalin pumping, but that’s actually the most ordinary thing about the movie. Elsewhere, the amusing, individualistic characters going about their daily lives have plenty of truths to convey and do so in the most ingratiating manner possible.
Woody Allen’s deft amalgamation of comedy, romance, fantasy, and, ultimately, heartbreak makes The Purple Rose of Cairo one of his masterpieces. Borrowing some fantastical ideas from Buster Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. and then taking them to a farcical place before bringing his effervescent comedy inevitably back down to earth, The Purple Rose of Cairo offers one of his best-ever casts performing Woody Allen sight and verbal gags when they were at their apex. Bittersweet is an adjective that could have been invented with this movie in mind.
François Truffaut took some motifs from Alfred Hitchcock and mixed in his own unique blend of character-laden melancholy to come up with The Bride Wore Black. Appearing in the latter part of the cynical 1960s, The Bride Wore Black most appropriately offers Truffaut a chance to present a revenge quasi-fantasy featuring one of the actresses who responded most glowingly to his direction but this time in a completely different type of role, a fascinating one which takes multiple views to understand and appreciate the layers of emotions that are being buried deep inside a mask of numbed shock and regret.
Michael R. Roskam's The Drop is a slowly bubbling cauldron of a crime drama, a film which builds in interest and excitement as it gains momentum toward its explosive climax. Featuring James Gandolfini's last film performance and Tom Hardy doing an indelible star turn in the leading role, The Drop is among the more quietly memorable of 2014's mob-oriented character movies.
Lucy expands its intelligence on Blu-ray with an edition that presents this high-octane action ride in solid high definition picture and sound. Luc Besson’s latest thriller stars Scarlett Johansson as Lucy, an innocent woman who winds up at the center of a wild comic book adventure as her brain power is expanded toward infinity and the bodies of the bad guys pile up around her. There are nods here and there to scientific theory about brain capacity, but that’s just an aperitif for the controlled chaos Besson spreads with Lucy as she blasts through Taipei and Paris. It’s all silly stuff, but it’s undeniably fun. Besson’s enthusiasm for the mayhem becomes infectious – and he’s smart enough to keep the running time down to 90 minutes. The Blu-ray includes two featurettes totaling about 25 minutes, but the real attraction here is Besson’s action aria, well-represented in high definition. This release is Recommended not only for Scarlett Johansson and Luc Besson fans but also for action movie buffs in general. Given how many unsatisfying oversize action movies have been thrown around, it’s a pleasure to see Luc Besson give a bit of a master class in ruthless economy.
Kill The Messenger buries the lead on Blu-ray with an edition that offers a solid high definition presentation of a sadly underachieving drama. Based on the work and later life of journalist Gary Webb, the movie wants desperately to be a vindication for him but misses the mark. It’s clear that everyone involved, including star/producer Jeremy Renner and director Michael Cuesta, thought they were making an important statement about a major public event. Unfortunately, the movie is too shrill and self-righteous to appeal to anyone but those who have already lionized Webb. Fans of Jeremy Renner and more casual viewers are advised to tread lightly here. It would definitely help to do a little reading about this subject before assuming that what is being presented in this movie is correct.