dvd and blu-ray

The Counselor

by Cap'n Carrot on April 15, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Despite the talent of director Ridley Scott, screenwriter Cormac McCarthy and an all-star cast, The Counselor is a mess. To be sure it’s a well-acted and well-produced mess with stand-out scenes, but it’s a mess none the less. The movie’s major flaw, other than McCarthy attempting to over-think a drug deal gone bad, is the less-than-believable dialogue from several of the film’s stars who come off as reading lines they haven’t quite fully bought into rather than delivering it naturally from the the mouths of fully-embodied characters.

Michael Fassbender stars as a character only ever referred to as “the Counselor,” a lawyer who makes the bad decision to get into the drug smuggling trade only to put the lives of himself, a friend (Javier Bardem), associate (Brad Pitt), and his beautiful fiance (Penélope Cruz) in danger.

Unfortunately for the Counselor, his friend’s crazy girlfriend (Cameron Diaz) has her own plan for the drugs, leaving everyone else to take the fall after executing her plans from the shadows.

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atlantis-season-one-dvdThe BBC version of Atlantis comes to DVD and Blu-ray in this collection of the show’s First Season. Featuring the misadventures of lost wanderer Jason (Jack Donnelly) along with his new-found Atlantian friends Pythagoras (Robert Emms) and Hercules (Mark Addy), most of the show’s initial season sets up the workings of the world and various supporting characters including an Oracle (Juliet Stevenson) who knows far more about Jason’s destiny than she’s willing to share, the standoffish King Minos (Alexander Siddig) and his evil wife Pasiphae (Sarah Parish), and the beautiful Princess Ariadne (Aiysha Hart) who captures the hero’s heart.

Among the uneven First Season’s highlights are the opening episode involving Jason fighting The Minotaur, a goofy episode involving Jason being cursed by the goddess Hectate, Jason entering a hero’s tournament to prove himself to Ariadne, Hercules’ attempt to sacrifice himself for the woman he loves, and the two-part season finale which finally reveals Jason’s true parentage.

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Collecting seven more episodes of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Aweomeness, the third DVD release is named for Po‘s (Mick Wingertadventures as a masked vigilante who continues to fight crime after Kung Fu is outlawed. My favorite episode of the collection involves Shifu‘s (Fred Tatasciore) back injury and new bureacracy preventing the Furious Five to use Kung Fu to stop crime which forces Po to impersonate his master while strapping an over-medicated Shifu to his stomach.

Also included on the set are Fung (John DiMaggio) bringing Terra Cotta warriors to life, Po’s mistake which threatens to prolong a war between two gorilla armies, the unexpected difficulties which arise when Mr. Ping (James Hong) temporarily moves into the Jade Palace, the side effects of Mantis (Max Koch) choosing to drink a growth potion, and Po’s prank on Monkey (James Sieblowing up in his face.

[20th Century Fox, $14.98]

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Million Dollar Baby

by Cap'n Carrot on February 14, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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No matter how many times I’ve seen the film, there’s a moment in Million Dollar Baby that hits me like a jab straight to the gut, far harder than any thrown inside the ring in this film about boxing, life, death, and balancing the consequences of all three. Even ten years later with the movie now available in a new Tenth Anniversary Blu-ray release I find myself reluctant to give away the twist for those who have not yet seen the film.

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Europa Report

by Cap'n Carrot on February 11, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Pieced together from found footage of the crew of the Europa One who lost contact with Earth halfway through their 22-month mission to Jupiter’s moon, the pseudo-documentary from director Sebastián Cordero includes a look at the problems which led to the missions success and failures at the fates of the various members of the crew (Daniel Wu, Christian Camargo, Karolina Wydra, Anamaria Marinca, Michael Nyqvist, and Sharlto Copley).

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High Plains Drifter

by Cap'n Carrot on February 7, 2014 · 1 comment

in Film

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Recently released on Blu-ray, High Plains Drifter is one of my favorite Clint Eastwood films. Eastwood stars as the nameless Stranger who wanders into the lawless western mining town of Lago. After dispatching three outlaws with relative ease, the town decides to hire the Stranger to deal with three gunfighters (Geoffrey Lewis, Anthony James, Dan Vadis) on their way back to the town which allowed, and then jailed, the outlaws for killing the town’s sheriff.

The Stranger agrees, but decides to take payment for his services in unusual ways, including raping own of the women folk (Marianna Hill) who gets in his way, making the town jester (Billy Curtis) the new sheriff, and ordering the entire town to paint every building in Lago bright red.

Although High Plains Drifter isn’t exactly subtle, the allegory of vengeance works well as the audience, but not the towns folk, will soon guess who the Stranger is and what brought him to Lago.

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Rush

by Cap'n Carrot on January 31, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Although well-received by critics Ron Howard‘s last film chronicling the rivalry of Formula One drivers Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) leading up to and during the 1976 Formula One season, the film grossed just over $90 million worldwide and has been shut out at most of the major awards this year. That’s a travesty. Aside from being an engrossing dramatic tale split equally between the two leads that found a spot on my Top Movies of 2103, Rush should easily have won Oscar nominations for visual effects, cinematography, and sound.

Brühl is the standout of the piece, but Hemsworth is used better here than any any film so far (including Thor). And Alexandra Maria Lara and Olivia Wilde lead a supporting cast as the women who love them. Two character studies for the price of one, and featuring some of the most amazing racing visuals every put to film, Rush is just as good on Blu-ray as it was in the theater. For more on the film read my original review.

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Aimed more to a kid-friendly all-ages audience than the much more publicized Justice League: War release, and available only at Target (as a tie-in to the store’s JLA toy line), JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time proves to be a hell of a lot of fun. Rather than adapting an existing mini-series or comic arc (which seems all that DC has been interested in lately), Trapped in Time offers an original adventure from screenwriter Michael Ryan and director Giancarlo Volpe that’s a bit of a throwback to the old Super Friends days.

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Enough Said

by Cap'n Carrot on January 14, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

enough-said-posterJulia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini star as two divorced parents of daughters on their way to college. Their burgeoning relationship is put in jeopardy by Eva’s (Louis-Dreyfus) new friendship with the masseuse’s latest client who turns out to be her new boyfriend’s ex-wife (Catherine Keener).

The set-up of the unusual situation works well. However, rather than deal with the unique situation the three people find themselves, Eva decides to take a page from your average Katherine Heigl or Kate Hudson flick, and try to secretly carry on both relationships.

Despite an intriguing middle-age love story, a pair of likable stars, and a strong first act, the latest from writer/director Nicole Holofcener eventually devolves into predictable romcom cliche. Although I still think the film is worth seeking out for its two stars, and the subplot involving Eva’s relationship with both her daughter (Tracey Fairaway) and her daughter’s best friend (Tavi Gevinson), eventually the shenanigans of the film’s second-half overshadow the intriguing story which is buried under too many groanworthy moments.

[20th Century Fox, DVD $29.98 / Blu-ray $39.99]

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Fruitvale Station

by Cap'n Carrot on January 14, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Based on a true story, Fruitvale Station offers a single day slice-of-life look at the life of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) on the day he was killed by a police officer (Kevin Durand) at a subway station on New Year’s Eve. Writer/director Ryan Coogler offers one of most emotional films of 2013 showcasing Oscar’s trouble staying on the straight and narrow, holding down a job, and doing right by his girlfriend (Melonie Diaz), mother (Octavia Spencer), and daughter (Ariana Neal) all while leading up to the final few minutes of his life.

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