THE MAZE RUNNER Digital HD Review

by     Posted 2 days ago

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Whether you’re a big fan of James Dashner’s book, dig Wes Ball’s film or perhaps haven’t even gotten that far and are just thinking that The Maze Runner might be a good movie for you, the digital HD copy of the film is a worthy purchase.  Maze Runner isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s got one key quality that makes it far superior to many movies at this stage of the release process – it’s very re-watchable.  The clever core concept is a nice draw, but it’s the wildly likable characters at the center of it that make it matter and also make you want more.  Read my full The Maze Runner digital HD review after the jump.

Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 8 days ago

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Is that the sound of double-dipping?  Oh right, it must be Warner Bros with another extraneous Blu-ray set.  Having already released a terrific Stanley Kubrick collection in 2011, they now hit us with a bigger, sexier box set… with one fewer movie and several more documentaries to differentiate it from the old one.  In and of itself, it’s an excellent collection, despite the absent film.  But for those who bought the earlier set, it makes for an exasperating choice.  Hit the jump for my Stanley Kubrick Masterpiece Collection Blu-ray review.

WHAT IF Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 10 days ago

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The challenge in making a romantic comedy is the thing that keeps the couple apart.  Most people who meet cute in real life don’t have that many obstacles in front of them, and the genre has suffered from too many starlets attempting to find new ways to keep the obvious from happening.  What If, which stars Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan as the people destined to be together, finds a novel spin on the genre, and as directed by Michael Dowse tries to find ways of avoiding the obvious pot holes of the genre.  It makes it a film that mostly succeeds by what it doesn’t do, and my review of the Blu-ray follows after the jump.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT Criterion Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 15 days ago

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Though Frank Capra is known for his humanist films that are often about great men who fight for social justice, one of his best works is (arguably) the first screwball comedy that backgrounds class issues for a rollicking adventure about a dizzy heiress and a hard-boiled reporter.  That film is It Happened One Night, and it’s rightfully received a place in the Criterion Collection.  Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert star, and my review of the film on Blu-ray follows after the jump.

THE PROTECTOR 2 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 16 days ago

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If martial arts action star Tony Jaa made one thing clear in the 2005 film The Protector, it’s that he loved elephants and would do anything to, well, protect them.  It seems that he didn’t quite get the message across to some folks in the first go round since he returns in the role of Kham for The Protector 2.  If it’s top-notch acting and taut plotting you’re looking for, look elsewhere my friend.  However, if it’s some insane action sequences and an anti-poaching sentiment you’re after, then you’ve come to the right place!

Also starring Mum Jokmok, Marrese Crump, Jija Yanin Wismitanan, Ratha Pho-ngam, Kazu Patric Tang, Kalp Hongratanaporn, David Ismalone, and RZA in a can’t-miss performance, The Protector 2 is available now on Blu-ray.  Hit the jump for The Protector 2 Blu-ray review.

THE EXPENDABLES 3 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 19 days ago

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The Expendables movies feel like they shouldn’t exist outside of a fever dream.  Even watching one, they’re just the sugar-fueled stories of a kid who’s brought in all his toys to fight each other.  The first two weren’t great, but had moments of charm, and the third film might be the best of the bunch, even if it often feels like the cast are brought in based on their days available.  Sylvester Stallone leads The Expendables 3 cast that includes Harrison Ford, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Ronda Rousey, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer and more and my review of the film on Blu-ray follows after the jump.

22 JUMP STREET Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 23 days ago

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Chris Miller and Phil Lord have a history of picking projects that shouldn’t work and turning them into winners, and the one that may have been the trickiest is22 Jump Street.  Where you can argue that people underrated the possibility that 21 Jump Street or The LEGO Movie could actually be good, with 22 Jump Street not only were they making a comedy sequel (usually a bad idea), but had to deliver something as good as the first one.  The shock is they actually made a comedy sequel that is as good (if not better) than the original.  Take that, Ghostbusters 2 and Anchorman: The Legend ContinuesJonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube return for what was the best mainstream film of this past summer, and my review of the Blu-ray follows after the jump.

UHF 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 24 days ago

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Now here’s a real cinematic oddity.  You can describe UHF in any number of ways: hubristic misfire, beloved cult classic, amiable shaggy dog as harmless as it is corny.  All of them apply, and in fact the stories surrounding the movie are actually more interesting than the movie itself.  But as forgettable as it is, its core sweetness makes it terrific comfort food for the right sort, and while you may not love it, hating it seems like an act of needless cruelty.  Hit the jump for my full UHF Blu-ray review.

A MOST WANTED MAN Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 27 days ago

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A Checkan Muslim named Grigoriy Dobrygin (Issa Karpov) illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where we learn from an opening card was once the home of several 9/11 masterminds.  The city has become especially vigilant since its worldwide embarrassment at having been seemingly unaware that a handful of the most dangerous terrorists alive were operating in its own backyard.  Dobrygin gets the attention of Gunther Bachmann (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), who runs an anti-terrorist unit in Germany (think of him as an out-of-shape Jack Bauer who doesn’t run, fight or torture people).  What follows is a psychological cat-and-mouse game wrapped in political red-tape to find out if Dobrigyin has ties to larger terrorist organizations.  Hit the jump for my Blu-ray review of A Most Wanted Man.

HERCULES Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 32 days ago

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In the words of the big man himself, Dwayne Johnson was born to play Hercules.  With apologies to Kellan Lutz, there’s only one man in Hollywood these days that could convince audiences that he bested the Nemean Lion, beheaded the Lernaean Hydra, and beat back the Erymanthian Boar, and that man is The Rock.  Unfortunately, Brett Ratner’s take on the Hercules legend chose not to explore the hero’s twelve labors, but to adapt Steve Moore and Admira Wijaya’s graphic novel, “Hercules: The Thracian Wars.”  Perhaps if that had been communicated more clearly in the film’s marketing, audiences (and maybe even critics) would have given Hercules more of a chance, since it’s a surprisingly fun action-adventure film that lets Johnson swing away while surrounding him with a strong supporting cast.  Now that the film’s available on Blu-ray, you can check it out for yourself.

Hit the jump for our Hercules Blu-ray review.

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 33 days ago

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It seemed inevitable that Seth MacFarlane was going to star in a movie.  After his success with Ted (which he wrote and directed and which made over half a billion worldwide), after hosting both Saturday Night Live and the Oscars, it seemed he wanted to be in front of the camera, no longer just writing and providing voice work for such television shows as Family Guy and American Dad.  That shot was A Million Ways to Die in the West, which he also wrote, produced and directed, and it did not have the sort of success that would suggest he’ll get to star in another.  The film barely made $40 million domestically, and was roundly panned.  The film has its moments, and will probably get a better reputation when it’s viewed with the lowered expectations that come with home viewing, though it’s the definition of indulgent.  Co-starring with Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson, this comic western is a mostly one-note premise stretched to feature length.  My A Million Ways To Die In The West Blu-ray review follows after the jump.

BATMAN: ASSAULT ON ARKHAM Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 34 days ago

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Batman: Assault on Arkham, the latest effort from DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, casts Batman aside (for the most part) in order to focus on Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad.  The anti-hero team has gotten quite a bit of press lately for its planned live-action adaptation, so now’s a great time to take a look at one of the Suicide Squad’s animated iterations, now available on Blu-ray.

While Batman: Assault on Arkham takes the opportunity to cast Batman villains in lead roles, it doesn’t come close to exploring all the potential those characters offer.  The voice acting is spot on as usual and the animation style is a visual joy, but the half-baked plot and immature on-screen antics makes this a weak adaptation rather than a must-have addition to your collection.  Hit the jump for our Batman: Assault on Arkham Blu-ray review.

THE NEWSROOM Season 2 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 37 days ago

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Aaron Sorkin’s return to television with the HBO drama series The Newsroom was intended to be a triumphant return to form.  Its basic premise—following the lives of the people that work at a cable news network—seemed to provide a vehicle through which to opine on the major political issues of the day, not dissimilar from Sorkin’s The West Wing.  But instead of the romantic idealism of Sorkin’s previous series, The Newsroom was a more grounded, and thus a slightly more cynical or aggressive series.  It proved to be mighty divisive and didn’t garner nearly the same amount of acclaim as The West Wing or Sports Night, but I mostly liked the first season even if the show did have a few major issues.

In its second season, The Newsroom went through some significant tweaking both to its structure and its characters, and while there are still some problems to be found, I’d argue it’s an improvement over the first season and remains a worthwhile (and entertaining) series.  Read my full The Newsroom Season 2 Blu-ray review after the jump.

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 39 days ago

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Transformers: Age of Extinction was initially pitched as something of a reboot.  Though franchise helmer Michael Bay was set to return to the director’s chair, Shia LaBeouf was out as Mark Wahlberg took the lead role.  But even with the new cast, it has the same bloated and confused approach that marked all the sequels, and the fourth film – which is the longest of the series – features all the same problems of the previous movies, but only some of the pluses.  My Transformers: Age of Extinction Blu-ray review follows after the jump. 

BATMAN: The Complete TV Series Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 40 days ago

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Christian Bale, most would say, made an incredible Batman.  Long-time fans of the character also champion Kevin Conroy, who voiced the Caped Crusader through numerous animated incarnations.  Michael Keaton’s turn is deeply underrated, that kid on Gotham is doing yeoman’s work, and though I have my fears about Batman v Superman, I think Ben Affleck is going to rock the doors off the thing.  They’re all great performers, they all do justice to the character… and yet whenever I see them, some small part of my brain whispers a simple reminder: none of them are Adam West.  Without him, none of them would have had their shot at the cape and cowl, and for all the derision foisted on his campy take on the Dark Knight, his version has endured for almost half a century.  We’ve waited decades to see his Batman anywhere outside of a bootleg DVD; this week, our long national nightmare is finally over.  Hit the jump for my full Batman: The Complete TV Series Blu-ray review.

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