dvd and blu-ray

Hotel Transylvania 2

by Cap'n Carrot on January 27, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

hotel-transylvania-2-blu-rayThe sequel to 2012’s Hotel Transylvania doesn’t stray far from the themes of the first film. After a series of short scenes involving the marriage of Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny (Andy Samberg) and the birth of their son, the movie jumps forward to the eve of young Dennis’ (Asher Blinkoff) fifth birthday. The driving force behind the film is the concern of Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) that his grandson hasn’t show any vampire tendencies. The Count will use the weekend away from the boy’s parents to enlist the help of his old friends to bring Dennis’ monster genes out.

Available on both Blu-ray and DVD, extras include a digital copy of the film, deleted scenes, a character gallery, music video, audio commentary from director Genndy Tartakovsky, and a second audio commentary from Sandler, Allen Covert and writer Robert Smigel. Also included are some kid friendly featurettes such as lessons on how to draw the characters in the film and how to put together a Halloween party, a short featurette on the new characters, and karaoke sing-a-long.

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hotel-transylvania-monster-house-dvdAvailable in both DVD and Blu-ray, the Family Fun Collection double-pack of Hotel Transylvania and Monster House collects two good (but not great) recent Halloween-themed animated movies. Of the pair, I enjoyed Hotel Transylvania, the adventures of Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his 118 year-old daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) in their hotel from monsters, more. Some younger children might find Monster House, the adventures of three kids (Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke) battling a local haunted house intent on devouring innocent trick-or-treaters, a bit too scary.

As with most collections of this sort the extras are paired down from what you would get buying each separately on either Blu-ray or DVD. I’m not sure you save enough for that to be worth it (although at this time you might struggle to find Monster House in the format you prefer in stores), but if you only want the movies, and don’t care about the extras, this collection would suit your needs. For more on each movie, read my full review of Hotel Transylvania and my full review of Monster House.

[Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, DVD $19.99 / Blu-ray $25.99]

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The Walk

by Cap'n Carrot on January 11, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

the-walk-dvdThrough the use of interviews, stills, and reenactment footage, the 2008 documentary Man on Wire offered audiences an excellent look back at wire walker Philippe Petit‘s high-wire walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center. The Walk, writer/director Robert Zemeckis‘ biopic starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit, may not be as engaging as the documentary, but Zemeckis (using similar set-up same set-up with Gordon-Levitt narrating past events) still manages to capture a bit of the magic by recreating Petit’s improbable stunt.

Without attempting to explain Petit’s obsession or the drive behind it, Zemeckis takes us along on the man’s journey as he attempts to achieve his dream. Beginning with a bit of a backstory for Petit including the relationships with his mentor (Ben Kingsley), girlfriend (Charlotte Le Bon), and the co-conspirators (Clément Sibony, César Domboy, Steve Valentine, James Badge Dale) who would eventually help him pull of his high-wire act, the movie doesn’t kick into high gear until its second hour where the caper truly begins.

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The End of the Tour

by Cap'n Carrot on January 7, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

end-of-the-tour-blu-rayBased on the memoir Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself in which David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) recounts his experiences meeting and interviewing David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) at the end of the author’s book tour for Infinite Jest, The End of the Tour is character-driven piece centered around the conversations between the two authors twelve years before Wallace’s suicide. Smart, insecure, and low-key (all which could also be used to describe Segel’s character), director James Ponsoldt‘s take on the memoir allows us to see both men at their best and worst (often brought out by their own fears and each other) over a condensed period of time.

Playing on themes of imperfection, ego, self-doubt, envy, and an undeniable need to connect and befriend someone else in your same specialized niche, Ponsoldt and his two stars deliver an engaging movie about nothing more than two writers talking about what they do and how they think.

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Love & Mercy

by Cap'n Carrot on January 5, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

love-and-mercy-blu-rayLove & Mercy gives us two separate looks at the life of Brian Wilson (played by Paul Dano in the 1960s and John Cusack in the 80s). While the past deals with the beginning of Wilson’s mental instability the later storyline picks up years later with Wilson being taken advantage of by therapist Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti).

Although both stories are interesting by themselves, for me the two parts never came together. Dano is intriguing as the younger version, especially while struggling to create Pet Sounds. Cusack’s doped-up older version of the musician is far less interesting, but that plotline does give us Elizabeth Banks in one of the actress’ best performances. Several pieces and performances of Love & Mercy work well, including how director Bill Pohlad incorporates the Beach Boys‘ music, but the script struggles to merge the two-parts into a compelling whole while simplifying Wilson’s mental illness and Landy’s villainy for dramatic effect.

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Adapting her own novel, writer Jesse Andrews offers us a look into a year of life of lonely high school senior Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) who has spent his entire high school experience with the sole goal of not pissing anyone off. Acquaintances with several of his classmates, but friend to none, Greg’s only outlet outside the carefully constructed web of calm (that happens to be the exact opposite of his home life) are the movies he makes with Earl (RJ Cyler), a longtime friend (even if Greg refuses to refer to him that way).

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Meru

by Cap'n Carrot on December 29, 2015 · 0 comments

in Film

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Meru documents not one but two attempts by experienced climbers (Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk) to scale the “anti-Everest” of Meru Peak in the Himalayan Mountains using the never-before completed “Shark’s Fin” route known by climbers as one of the hardest routes in the world given the complexities and challenges of the mountain.

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Shaun the Sheep Movie

by Cap'n Carrot on December 1, 2015 · 0 comments

in Film

shaun-the-sheep-movie-blu-rayThe British stop-motion animated television series gets its own movie when a little farmyard tomfoolery leads to the Farmer (John Sparkes) getting lost in the big city with a nasty case of amnesia. So it falls on Shaun (Justin Fletcher) the sheep and the rest of his flock to find their missing friend and bring him home.

Shaun the Sheep Movie is a throwback screwball comedy as Shaun and his friends scour the city for the Farmer in ridiculous costumes, cause a break-out of an animal control center, and generally cause all kinds of mischief wherever they go. Completely dialogue free, the movie’s humor doesn’t miss a beat or need to rely on any form of exposition to tell its story. Marvelously animated, the film is a joy to behold.

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Trainwreck

by Cap'n Carrot on November 24, 2015 · 0 comments

in Film

trainwreck-blu-rayAmy Schumer, who also wrote the script, stars as a relationship-averse mess of a woman whose world view is changed after interviewing a doctor (Bill Hader) for a local magazine. Trainwreck is a pretty straightforward romcom focusing on Amy’s struggles with love and her dysfunctional relationships with her father (Colin Quinn), sister (Brie Larson), and former boyfriend (John Cena). Like many scripts written by stand-up comedians, Trainwreck is a bit uneven. At times the film is quite funny even if all of its jokes don’t quite hit home.

Directed by Judd Apatow, the film boasts an odd collection of unlikely supporting characters. Along with Cena we also get LeBron James (playing himself) as Hader’s client and friend, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tilda Swinton as Amy’s demanding boss, and Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei as the stars of a movie within the movie about a dogwalker and his client in a running gag that never pays off.

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Spy

by Cap'n Carrot on November 2, 2015 · 0 comments

in Film

spy-blu-rayMelissa McCarthy stars as a CIA analyst forced into the field when an arms dealer (Rose Byrne) with knowledge of all the CIA’s operatives acquires a nuclear bomb and plans to sell it on the black market. I’m far from McCarthy’s biggest fan whose poor script choices have made me more than once refer to her as the female Kevin James. However, with Spy the comedienne’s talents are put to good use by writer/director Paul Feig which is odd because the script shares quite a bit in common with the far-less enjoyable Get Smart reboot from a few years back. Along with McCarthy, Feig balances the talents of Byrne, Jude Law, and a very funny Jason Statham as the alpha-male spy who is his own biggest fan in a comedy far funnier than I was expecting.

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