dvd and blu-ray

lo-and-behold-reveries-of-the-connected-world-dvdWerner Herzog‘s new documentary takes viewers on a journey through the Internet. With stops as its birthplace and interviews with creators and early users, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World also examines current uses for the tool in robotics and automobiles as well as the voyeuristic and bullying aspects fed by the anonymity of its users (in one of the documentary’s most emotional interviews).

The journey also makes a stop in Green Bank, West Virginia where all transmissions are restricted by the law and at a hospital for Internet addiction. Looking further the film also discusses solar flares, hackers and internet security, dreams, missions to Mars, and the possibility of artificial intelligence. While not as cohesive as I’d like at times, nonetheless Herzog delivers a fascinating historical journey on the Internet and how it has affected humanity, for both good and ill, since its creation. Like it or not, it’s firmly woven into our daily life, and Herzog pulls up the rug to show both its more troubling aspects as well as where it might lead us in the future.

[Magnolia Home Entertainment, $17.99]

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Green Room

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

in Film

green-room-blu-rayNotable mainly for its cast including a pair of Star Trek actors (Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart), Green Room is your basic wrong place, wrong time thriller when a broke band stumbles on a murder in the green room of a remote Neo-Nazi bar in the Northwest. With the help of a witness (Imogen Poots) to the murder, the band (Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, and Callum Turner) barricade themselves in the green room in an attempt to hold off the inevitable as the club’s owner (Stewart) rounds up some of the gang’s less-savory types to clean-up the situation.

Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier delivers a fairly tense thriller featuring a cast of damaged individuals fighting for their lives against some pissed off Neo-Nazis. Other than Yelchin’s bassist, I’m not sure there’s a good person on-screen which means we’re interested to see what happens to the dickish rockers but not necessarily invested in rooting for or against them making it out alive. Stweart’s casting is intriguing as brains behind the outfit (although it’s fair to say he’s slumming it here).

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The First Monday in May

by Cap'n Carrot on November 30, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

first-monday-in-may-dvdThe subject of Andrew Rossi proves to be more fascinating the the movie itself. Following the near-year-long process of creating The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history, “China: Through The Looking Glass,” the highlights of the documentary are the exhibits themselves while the behind-the-scenes of time and budget constraints, the jockeying of celebrity attendees (without ever naming names), battles with China of the historical (not modern) nature of the exhibit, the struggle to pay the headline act, and the actual design of the various pieces in the exhibits aren’t explored in much more than superficial detail. Like much of the fashion it highlights, it’s great to look at but doesn’t always have much to say.

As a snapshot into a world most won’t ever see personally, The First Monday in May is interesting (if never all that compelling) look at some of the work that went into The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most profitable exhibit. Available on DVD and On-Demand.

[Magnolia Home Entertainment, $14.99]

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Kubo and the Two Strings

by Cap'n Carrot on November 28, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

kubo-and-the-two-stringsThe latest from stop-motion studio Laika is their best yet. Centered around a young boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson) known in the local village for his tremendous storytelling ability where his origami creations spring to life, the adventure gets started in earnest when Kubo learns that the stories passed down from his mother (Charlize Theron) about an evil Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) are all true. To save himself and stand-up to his grandfather, Kubo will have to complete the unfinished quest which destroyed his father.

In a year without a heavyweight favorite for best animated feature Kubo and the Two Strings makes a strong play for the title. Undeniably visually stunning, it’s the strength of its story that separate Kubo from some of Laika’s previous releases. Available on Blu-ray and DVD, extras include a pair of short featurettes on the film’s myth and the worldwide enterprise to make the film, a six-part behind-the-scenes making-of featurette, and commentary by director Travis Knight.

[Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Blu-ray $34.98 / DVD $29.98]

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Sausage Party

by Cap'n Carrot on November 22, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

sausage-party-blu-rayThis movie is fucked up. Offering us a glimpse into the lives on anthropomorphic food and other assorted items in a grocery store who sing about the promised land after being bought by god-like humans, Sausage Party follows the misadventures of a hot dog named Frank (Seth Rogen) and his friends (Michael Cera, Kristen Wiig, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, and Salma Hayek) who discover the truth about what really happens to food in the kitchen. Wrong in (mostly) all the right ways, it has to be seen to be believed.

Offering an inspired amount of cursing and obvious jokes (the bagel doesn’t get along with the lavash, the douche is, well, a real douche) along with several genuinely funny moments, the script by Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Rogen, and Evan Goldberg gets too infatuated with sexual innuendo at times (and ignores the inevitable truth of what will happen to all the characters), but while it lasts Sausage Party delivers an animated experience unlike anything you’ve seen before on the big screen.

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Anthropoid

by Cap'n Carrot on November 17, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

anthropoid-blu-rayBased on the true events of Operation Anthropoid, the historical thriller tells the story of the assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich by Exile Czechoslovak soldiers in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia during WWII. What begins as a two-man suicide mission by Jozef Gabčík (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubiš (Jamie Dornan) soon grows to include the remnants of the Czech resistance and a pair of young women (Charlotte Le Bon and Charlotte Le Bon) who will lose more than just their hearts to the cause.

After the action of Jozef and Jan’s arrival, the pair settle in for the long haul while bidding their time to take down the third highest-ranking Nazi and one of the leading minds behind the Final Solution. The script by director Sean Ellis and Anthony Frewin is a slow build to the film’s climactic scene inside Prague’s Orthodox Cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius. While the pacing might seem slow in spots, Ellis keeps the film moving and the payoff to the set-up is one of the more memorable action sequences of the year.

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Eye in the Sky

by Cap'n Carrot on November 14, 2016 · 0 comments

in Film

eye-in-the-sky-blu-rayIf Mel Gibson‘s Hacksaw Ridge takes an up-close look at the unflinching brutality of trench warfare, Eye in the Sky examines the more modern detachment to battle while debating the morality of this kind of war. Centered around a proposed (and much debated) drone strike, director Gavin Hood‘s film offers us bureaucracy rather than a high body count and the age-old moral dilemma of just how much a single life is worth.

Pulling in characters from multiple countries, the story itself boils down to Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren), her mission to take down high-valued terrorist targets, and how politics, bureaucracy, and a local girl (Aisha Takow) selling bread inside the target zone threaten to derail her plans. While Powell is steadfast in the mission, others spend the movie debating the merits of their actions along with the legal and moral implications (to such an extent the movie feels at times more like a treatise on drone warfare than a film).

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daredevil-season-one-dvdThe First Season of Netflix’s Daredevil is collected here. Perhaps preferring views to keep watching the show on Netflix rather than shell out money for hard Blu-ray copies, the collection is noticeably light when compared to other television series. Only available on Blu-ray (no DVD), the collection includes no digital copies (as Netflix wants you to keep paying to stream the series) or any extras.

The first show in Marvel’s line of Netflix originals, Daredevil introduces us to defense attorney Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) who, despite being blind, spends his free time fighting crime in the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. We also get Matt’s best bud Foggy (Elden Henson), their leggy secretary (Deborah Ann Woll), and the season’s big bad in the villainous Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio). As with the other shows which have followed the same format, the season does have its ups and downs, but it’s certainly more consistent that Marvel’s ABC properties (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter).

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the-librarians-season-oneWith the show’s Third Season set to premiere in a couple of weeks, the First Season of The Librarians is finally released on DVD. Based on The Librarian TV-movies starring Noah Wyle, the series introduces a new crew of Librarians (Christian Kane, Lindy Booth, and John Kim) to save the world from magical threats. While Wylie returns for select episodes, including the series premiere and season finale, the focus here is on the new Librarians and their time working together along with their protector former counter-terrorism agent Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn).

Highlights of the First Season include a trip to a Chicago science fair, a haunted house, an entire town out of sync, dragons, retrieving Excalibur, weaponized fairy tales, and an appearance by Santa Claus (Bruce Campbell).

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50 Years of Star Trek

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

in Film

50-years-of-star-trekMore notable for all the people not included than those who are a part of the special, The History Channel’s 50 Years of Star Trek takes the audience on a mostly cursory look back over Star Trek‘s history in both television and film. With as much time spent on seemingly randomly put together panels of celebrities and experts as the actual history of the franchise much is glossed over (not much love for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine here). The documentary is interesting, but hardly anything special as the commentary often takes precedence over the history. The result is that comedian Kevin Pollak gets more screentime than any Star Trek actor other than perhaps Jeri Ryan (who is also included on one of the panels).

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