dvd and blu-ray

10 Cloverfield Lane

by Cap'n Carrot on June 29, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

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I had very mixed reactions to 2008’s shaky-cam monster movie Cloverfield which kept me from seeing this sequel of sorts in theaters. Only tangentially connected to the first film, 10 Cloverfield Lane is an old school psychological thriller which begins when Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is run off the road one night and wakes up chained to a mattress in an underground bunker with a pair of strange men (John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr.).

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conan-the-complete-quest-blu-rayThe new Blu-ray release collects both original Conan movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the legendary Cimmerian thief and warrior. Focused on Conan’s origin story and his quest for revenge against the evil sorcerer (James Earl Jones) who slaughtered his village as a boy and threw him into slavery, Conan the Barbarian is the better of the two movies. It also gives us Mako (who would return in the sequel) as Conan’s ally.

Following two-years later, Conan the Destroyer feels every bit the half-baked sequel it is as Conan is hired to protect a princess (Olivia d’Abo) with a terrible destiny. While not as strong as the original, Destroyer does offer some memorable moments.

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despicable-me-3-movie-collectionIf you don’t already own Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, this 6-disc collection offers you an added incentive to buy Minions by including both the other two movies in the series. While Minions is the weakest of the three focusing on the cute henchmen rather then the main characters of the other two films, all thee provide their entertainment value.

Despicable Me introduces us to Gru (Steve Carell) and the three orphans, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher), and Edith (Dana Gaier), he adopts as a means to achieve his villainous scheme before falling in love with all three girls.

Despicable Me 2 returns Gru and his girls for a sequel that puts the former criminal to work for The Anti-Villain League to determine the source of a dangerous chemical which can turn people (or minions) into dangerous killing machines. Set prior to the first two films, Minions focuses on the misadventures of the lovable henchmen before they Gru.

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Legend

by Cap'n Carrot on May 26, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

legend-blu-rayBased on the lives of English gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray (both played here by Tom Hardy), director Brian Helgeland’s film is as unengaging a crime drama as I can remember. I gave the film multiple chances but other than offer Hardy the chance to play dual roles the movie has nothing going for it. In terms of nuts and bolts, Legend is competently made but lacks the heart to make us care about either of the Kray brothers or those whose lives were effected by their choices.

Helgeland wastes a solid supporting cast (Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, and Chazz Palminteri) on a story that doesn’t have much to say about gangsters we haven’t seen before. Legend isn’t an awful film, just a lifeless one (which in someways is actually worse than a truly awful film which can, on occasion, be entertaining for all the wrong reasons).

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killjoys-season-one-blu-raySet in a dystopian future, Killjoys follows the adventures of bounty hunting team Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) and John (Aaron Ashmore) flying all over the quadrant on missions to bring in criminals. The pair’s dynamic is changed when John’s older brother D’Avin (Luke Macfarlane), a fellow soldier with plenty of baggage, joins the team.

Lasting only 10 episodes, the show’s First Season offers a couple of ongoing storylines to supplement the job of the week. Along with the friction between brothers, D’Avin’s past coming back to haunt him, and the growing unrest of the populace and a burgeoning rebellion, Dutch’s past as a super-assassin is teased throughout the season by the return of her mentor Khlyen (Rob Stewart) who wants her back. Highlights include Dutch forced to hunt down a friend, John dealing with the sudden escalation of Dutch and D’Avin’s relationship, and the team coming across a haunted spaceship.

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Jane Got a Gun

by Cap'n Carrot on May 3, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

jane-got-a-gun-blu-rayWhen the past catches up with them, Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) is forced to reach out to her former lover Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) to save the lives of herself, her wounded husband (Noah Emmerich), and her young daughter from the wicked John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) and his band of outlaws.

Aside from casting a woman in the main role, Jane Got a Gun is a fairly conventional western. However, the choice to make Jane (rather than Dan) the central character in the story is an important one. Presented from her perspective, it’s Jane who slowly opens up about her road after separating with Dan during the Civil War (in which she believed he had died). The heartbreaking reveals mend the relationship between Jane and Dan just in time for one final fight against the men responsible for destroying their lives.

Propelled by character and the looming threat more than plot, Jane Got a Gun succeeds on the strength of its leads while McGregor and Boyd Holbrook provide the right notes as the movie’s black hats.

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justice-league-vs-teen-titans-blu-rayThe latest home video release further exploring the characters and world introduced in Son of Batman sends the uncompromising Damian Wayne (Stuart Allan) to the Teen Titans in hopes that Robin may be able to learn teamwork and trust. Borrowing a little from Damien’s time with the Teen Titans prior to the New 52 reboot, writers Bryan Q. Miller and Alan Burnett choose to give their spin on a more classic Trigon (Jon Bernthal) story. As with the previous movies, the story lacks the Robin/Red Robin rivalry from the comics, but certainly entertains.

With both heroes and villains being possessed by a demon threatening to break into their world, Raven (Taissa Farmiga) reveals the truth about herself and her father to her teammates Beast Boy (Brandon Soo Hoo), Blue Beetle (Jake T. Austin), and Starfire (Kari Wahlgren). When Raven is captured and multiple members of the Justice League are possessed by Trigon it falls on Robin and the Teen Titans to save the day.

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The Hateful Eight

by Cap'n Carrot on April 19, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

the-hateful-eight-blu-rayThe Hateful Eight is neither the best nor least of writer/director Quentin Tarantino‘s oeuvre. Like most of his work, the film is highlighted by the mix of snappy dialogue and gruesome violence. And, sadly like much of his work, the film is hampered the filmmaker’s indulgences (such as shooting a film shot almost entirely in close-ups on a sound stage in 70mm simply because he felt like doing so) which don’t always serve the final product. The result is a film with terrific sequences, hampered by dark humor that doesn’t always find the right note, which eventually overstays it’s welcome.

The film begins with the chance encounter of a pair of bounty hunters (Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson) both fighting to get ahead of the oncoming blizzard. Before all is said and done the two men, along with one man’s bounty (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the carriage driver, and a host of other strangers, will all attempt to seek shelter from the storm in Minnie’s Haberdashery.

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forever-complete-series-dvdForever struggled to find its stride over its first, and only, season on television. Casting Ioan Gruffudd as immortal police examiner and Alana De La Garza as Police Detective Jo Martinez, the show fit into the police procedural mold of shows like Bones while also introducing fantasy elements about Henry’s past and his immortality.

Balancing the murder-of-the-week against Henry’s past and hiding his condition (of returning from the dead every time he met his end in the nearest body of water) from his partner proved to be a challenge for the show. Along the way we also got to know Henry’s elderly son Abe (Judd Hirsch), Henry’s missing wife Abigail (Mackenzie Mauzy), Henry’s lab assistant Lucas (Joel David Moore), and an evil immortal (Burn Gorman) fascinated by finally finding someone else like him after centuries.

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Macbeth

by Cap'n Carrot on April 1, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

macbeth-2016-blu-rayDirector Justin Kurzel‘s take on Macbeth received a modest theatrical release in December and January despite strong performance from Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in two of William Shakespeare‘s most famous roles and the memorable cinematography from Adam Arkapaw who makes striking use of the movie’s limited budget through the use of bright colors and location shooting in both Scotland and England.

Macbeth is one of those stories that seems to work as well today as when it was written (just look at House of Cards). Kurzel’s film moves at a bisque pace while highlight Macbeth’s ambition, initially fueled by his wife, and the guilt and paranoia which follow. It may not add much new to the story, but cast and crew do the play justice, and it is certainly worth seeking out for fans of the Bard.

Available on both Blu-ray and DVD, extras include a short behind-the-scenes featurette and an interview with Fassbender.

[Anchor Bay, Blu-ray $26.99 / DVD $22.98]

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