STAR TREK: THE COMPENDIUM Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 5 hours ago

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Paramount committed an egregious faux pas last year with its release of Star Trek: Into Darkness by sprinkling different extras on different Blu-rays.  If you bought your disc at Target, you got one set of extras.  If you bought it at Best Buy, you got a different set.  If you wanted all of them, you basically had to buy multiple copies of the same movie, then vent your fiery wrath across the Internet.  Trekkies hit the roof and with good reason: it took the double-dipping crime to a whole new level.  The new Star Trek Compendium is intended to correct that issue, and I suppose it does… if you’re waiting for all those features in a single collection.  Unfortunately, it compounds the original sin with a whole new one and slaps a higher price on the results in the bargain.  That leaves a sour taste behind for a collection that should have come as a huge relief to long-suffering fans.  Hit the jump for my full review.

GHOSTBUSTERS and GHOSTBUSTERS II (Mastered in 4K) Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 3 days ago

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Ghostbusters was a cultural phenomenon, and hasn’t left pop culture since it was released in 1984.  Then again, it would be hard to forget considering co-writer Dan Aykroyd has been promising a third entry in the franchise since the nineties.  To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the first film (and the twenty-fifth of the sequel Ghostbusters II) Sony has packaged both together with new extras and the best transfers yet of the films.  The first film remains a classic, while the sequel is not without pleasures.  Both star Bill Murray, Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis, and Annie Potts, and both were directed by Ivan Reitman.  My review of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

NEED FOR SPEED Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 6 days ago

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There’s something thrilling about watching practical stunts in the digital era, which may be why Scott Waugh’s Need for Speed — despite numerous flaws — is just good enough to recommend.  Aaron Paul stars alongside Imogen Poots in this tale of a cross country journey in which Paul’s character wants revenge against the man (Dominic Cooper) who framed him for an involuntary manslaughter.  My Need for Speed Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

TWIN PEAKS: THE ENTIRE MYSTERY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted One week ago

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Few can deny that we’re living in a Golden Age of television, as the explosion of new outlets and stations has created a need for unique original programming.  People complain (rightfully so) about the proliferation of sleazy reality shows, but we’ve also received the likes of The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Veep, Downton Abbey, Justified, The Americans, Archer, Boardwalk Empire… the list goes on into the sunset.  And none of them – not a single one – would have made it to the screen were it not for Twin PeaksChanging an entire medium is rare enough, especially if your show barely lasted thirty episodes.  But so strange and marvelous was its appearance on ABC in the spring of 1990, that even then we knew nothing would ever be the same.  Hit the jump for my full Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery Blu-ray review.

THE DOUBLE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted One week ago

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While Richard Ayoade first came to prominence as a comedic actor on British TV series like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, The Mighty Boosh, and The IT Crowd, the guy is proving himself to be quite the formidable filmmaker.  He made his feature directorial debut with 2010’s delightfully funny and offbeat Submarine, and his follow-up film The Double marks yet a massive step forward for Ayodae as a filmmaker.  He really hones in on his aesthetic style with this darkly comic adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevski’s novella of the same name, and anchored by a terrific dual lead performance from Jesse Eisenberg, has crafted one of the more inventive films of the year.  Read my full The Double Blu-ray review after the jump.

Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN and TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 11 days ago

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Criterion has released two Spanish-language movies of a sexual nature, one from Mexico, one from Spain.  The former is Alfonso Cuaron’s Y Tu Mama Tambien (which translates to “And your mother too”), which Criterion has been promising for five years, while the other is Pedro Almodovar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, which was notorious for its NC-17 rated content at the time.  My review of both Criterion editions of these films follow after the jump.

THEY CAME TOGETHER Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 12 days ago

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When Wet Hot American Summer came out in 2001, it was released by USA Films – a company that eventually morphed into Focus Features, but at the time had no real footing theatrically.  That may explain why the film was barely released, but eventually found a cult audience.  Considering it was written by Michael Showalter and David Wain (the latter of whom directed the film), and featured many members of The State there was almost a guarantee it would be funny, but the fledging USA Films didn’t know how to sell it.  Originally Showalter and Wain wanted to follow that film with They Came Together, which they were unable to make until recently, and it was also given a small theatrical release (but was also put on VOD).  But now that it’s on home video, it seems likely it too will become a cult favorite.  Starring Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Cobie Smulders, Chris Meloni and many familiar faces, it is equally hilarious, and my They Came Together Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

ALL THAT JAZZ Criterion Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 16 days ago

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All That Jazz is a masterpiece.  The film transcends genre, as it’s a perfect blend of musical, dark comedy, biopic and fantasy.  It’s a self-portrait, really, of co-writer and director Bob Fosse, and it’s made all the more impressive by the fact that it marked the second to last feature film from the man who had already helmed films like Cabaret, Sweet Charity, and Damn Yankees—talk about going out with a bang.  It’s a seminal piece of cinema that is both wildly entertaining and introspective, ruminating on life and death in unique fashion, and the film has now been given the grand Criterion Collection treatment.  It’s an absolute must-own for any serious film fan.  Read my full All That Jazz Criterion Blu-ray review after the jump. 

WINTER’S TALE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 28 days ago

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Quentin Tarantino has complained about how one of the biggest problems with American cinema is that it’s afraid of big emotions.  Of melodrama that might descend into camp (or perhaps is camp to begin with).  And it’s true, more movies are likely to adapt an ironic distance than go for something earnest.  There’s a reason for that: when earnest doesn’t work, you get films like The Postman and The Room.  But that means some material just isn’t going to translate into American cinema, and that’s why Winter’s Tale is a boring disaster.  Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe and Will Smith star in this story of star-crossed lovers and miracles, and my Winter’s Tale Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

FILTH Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 33 days ago

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Irvine Welsh made his reputation with both the novel and the filmed version of Trainspotting, with the latter creating the cinematic language that has been borrowed by every adaptation of his work that’s followed.  The most recent big screen Welsh adaptation is Filth, which was written for the screen and directed by Jon S.  Baird and stars James McAvoy as Detective Bruce Robertson, a corrupt cop who’s got some issues at home and in the workforce.  But where it has some of the flash of Trainspotting, it seems more like a Chuck Palahniuk adaptation, replete with a terrible third act twist.  My review of the Filth Blu-ray follows after the jump.

MUPPETS MOST WANTED Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 34 days ago

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The Muppets returned to the big screen with a self-titled relaunch in 2011, and it was met with a lot of excitement from fans, but was not a runaway success.  The follow up Muppets Most Wanted was received with less enthusiasm, and barely made fifty million domestically.  Which is too bad as it’s the slightly better film.  Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell are the main humans and are joined by all the main Muppets (like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and more) in this European caper.  My review of the Muppets Most Wanted Blu-ray of the film follows after the jump.

SCANNERS Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 47 days ago

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David Cronenberg made six movies before Scanners, and it felt like all of them were a precursor to a great coming out.  Critics were shocked with what he put onscreen.  Nobody knew what to make of it.  They only knew that they were seeing something strange and disturbing, something that resembled nothing else in movie history.  They were disgusted by the groundbreaking visual effects, and disturbed by the paranoid fantasy lying beneath them.  But the film became a big hit and with it, the career of one of cinema’s most distinctive auteurs had well and truly begun.  The new Criterion Blu-ray edition is everything any fan could possibly hope for.  Hit the jump for my full Scanners Criterion Collection Blu-ray review.

ERNEST & CELESTINE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 50 days ago

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Hollywood, sadly, has turned its back on traditionally-styled, 2D animation for the big screen.  With the rare exception of The Princess and the Frog, animated films from the major studios have all recently been of the computer-generated variety, barely separated from big visual effects movies by the look of the characters.  To find films that celebrate the traditional style, one has to turn to those created in other countries, such as the works of Miyasaki or, in this case, the French film Ernest & Celestine.  Read my Ernest & Celestine Blu-ray review after the jump.

BAD WORDS Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 51 days ago

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Movies like Bad Words tend to fiercely divide critics, with one half accusing them of empty shock tactics and the other half praising their edginess and daring. I fall into the latter camp with this one, though I can certainly understand the former. Not everyone wants to watch Jason Bateman’s misanthropic protagonist laying into small children with a viciousness that would make Terrell Owens blanch. The question becomes why his character would do such a thing, and in its journey towards the answer, Bad Words actually goes to some very interesting places. Hit the jump for my Bad Words Bluray review.

THE RAID 2 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 53 days ago

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Coming back for a sequel, Gareth Evans’ follow up to The Raid, The Raid: Berandal is a much bigger film in every respect.  It’s scope (2.35:1) instead of flat (1.85:1), it’s a full fifty minutes longer, and it features some of the craziest and greatest stunt sequences in the history of cinema.  But also with that two and a half hour running time comes some bloat, which may have been unavoidable with the scope of the film.  Iko Uwais returns as Rama, who this time goes undercover to take the most powerful bosses in the business, but to do so he most put a lot of his life on the line.  My The Raid 2 Blu-ray review follows after the jump. 

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