dvd and blu-ray

game-of-thrones-season-twoGiven the ending of Season One in which Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is literally reborn in fire while returning dragons to the world, I had high hopes for Season Two of Game of Thrones to raise its game. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Daenerys has become my favorite character, but due to circumstances beyond her control mean she spends nearly all of the show’s Second Season begging and whining (“Where are my dragons!”). Thankfully, by the end of the season, she seems to throw off her belligerent tantrums and take another step forward in her goal.

It’s the season’s penultimate episode which is the most memorable. While previously skirting around the larger battles around control for the Seven Kingdoms, the attack on King’s Landing provides the most action we’ve seen in the series so far. The episode also offers a big hero moment for Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). I can’t say the same for the boring Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) whose goal to lay siege to the city ends in disaster thanks to Tyrion’s cunning and bravery.

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Jerry Maguire

by Cap'n Carrot on June 8, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

jerry-maguire-blu-rayWriter/director Cameron Crowe‘s quotable film is re-released on a 20th Edition Blu-ray set. Tom Cruise stars as sports agent Jerry Maguire whose late night epiphany about working better for fewer clients (and less money) costs him his job, his fiance (Kelly Preston), and all but a single client. Leaving his firm and striking out on his own, Jerry builds a new life supporting the difficult wide receiver (Cuba Gooding Jr., who took home and Oscar for his role as Rod Tidwell) and falling for the one woman (Renée Zellweger) and her son (Jonathan Lipnicki) who follow him to his new enterprise.

20 years later the film proves to still be highly entertaining. Cruise and Gooding are terrific, her role would make the fresh-faced Zellweger a star, and young Jonathan Lipnicki is ridiculously cute. Schmaltzy at times but with a big heart, the film is worth seeking out if you haven’t seen it in awhile. It may not be Cruise’s best, but it’s certainly one of his most watchable films.

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Bambi

by Cap'n Carrot on June 7, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

bambi-blu-rayReleased 75 years ago, Walt Disney’s Bambi offers the coming of age story of a white-tailed deer named Bambi and friends Thumper and Flower. Because of the age of the characters varies ove the course of the story, multiple actors were brought in to do the voice work of Bambi and his friends. Although an older Bambi has a on-screen rival for the affections of his lady love, Disney goes a bit darker here with the looming threat of Man being the true villain of the film responsible for both the death of Bambi’s mother and later the fire which threatens the entire forest at the end of the film.

Even with a focus on making the animals more realistic, Disney still lost money on the feature in its initial release. However, it made it’s money back (and then some) with several additional theatrical releases over the years. Because of its darker themes the film was met with a mixed reception initially, but has earned it’s spot over the years as one of the best animated films ever made.

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5-film-sci-fi-collection-dvdThe highlight of this three-disc set is Alfonso Cuarón‘s Gravity. While similar to Avatar in the movie experience isn’t quite complete outside of an IMAX 3D theater, the compelling look at an astronaut’s (Sandra Bullock) struggle for survival following tragedy high above Earth was compelling enough to earn the #2 spot on my best of 2013 list.

The rest of the collection certainly isn’t up to that standard. However, Midnight Special is a solid film about a father (Michael Shannon) attempting to look out for his son (Jaeden Lieberher) who a cult wants for the boy’s mysterious gifts.

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Wonder Woman

by Cap'n Carrot on June 1, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

wonder-woman-2009-dvdReleased on home video eight years prior to the character getting her own theatrical live-action film, the animated feature 2009’s Wonder Woman offers an origin story for Diana (Keri Russell) loosely based on the 80s comic reboot by George Perez following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. While the film may have not been the critical or monetary success DC hoped for, it’s held up fairly well.

As with the new theatrical film, Wonder Woman gives us the basics of Diana’s origins, the arrival of Steve Rogers (Nathan Fillion) on the island of Themyscira, Diana winning the right to be called Wonder Woman, and the return of Ares (Alfred Molina) who plans to wreak havoc on Earth.

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brewsters-millions-blu-rayThe 1985 comedy stars Richard Pryor as a struggling minor league baseball player who comes into a small fortune. However, there is one catch. To earn the entire estate Montgomery Brewster (Pryor) must spend $30 million within 30 days to inherit $300 million. He must not accumulate any assets, and he is also barred from telling anyone the truth about his increasingly odd behavior.

While director Walter Hill‘s film may never be quite as funny as it should be, Brewster’s Millions does deliver some wacky hijinx with Monty’s spending sprees, his interactions with his teammates and best friend (an underutilized John Candy), and the various forces working against him. Lonette McKee also stars as his accountant/love interest.

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Split

by Cap'n Carrot on May 19, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

split-blu-rayWhen all is said and done I’m less interested in Split than the movie it may eventually lead to (a true sequel to the writer/director’s best film). That said, M. Night Shyamalan‘s film is easily the best thing he’s created in more than a decade (although given the level of crap he’s put out over that time period that’s hardly a high bar to clear).

Set in an universe Shyamalan once said he had no interest in returning to, James McAvoy stars as a schizophrenic with at least 24 distinct personalities who kidnaps three teenage girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula) to feed the darkest of his personalities referred to only as “The Beast.” For at least three-fourths of its running time the movie lacks the tension it should, partially because we’re unsure how seriously to take McAvoy’s character, partially because Shyamalan wants to hide aspects of the man for as long as possible, and partially because the script jumps around a bit too much rather than staying focused on the girls’ dilemma.

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Vixen: The Movie

by Cap'n Carrot on May 9, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Vixen: The Movie collects all the episodes from the two-season run of the animated web series and puts them together in a single film. As each season has an ongoing arc where one short leads directly into the next, the flow works fairly well cut together as a single film. The story stars Megalyn Echikunwoke as Mari McCabe who discovers the animal totem left to her by a family she never knew has the power to grant her strength and abilities of an animal for a short period of time.

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the-edge-of-seventeen-blu-rayNadine’s (Hailee Steinfeld) life is falling apart. Her only real friend (Haley Lu Richardson) has begun dating her brother (Blake Jenner) which has only caused the outspoken high school student to become more the anti-social. Her new refuge in the storm that is her life is an equally sarcastic teacher (Woody Harrelson), who likes the student more than he lets on.

Written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge of Seventeen focuses on the emotional tumult of a teenager’s life leading to an honest, and sometimes quite funny, film. Steinfeld balances the protagonist’s frayed emotional state with aplomb in the story of a troubled young woman that is still hopeful even as Nadine swerves closer and closer to the edge.

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5-film-gangster-collectionWhat the hell is Gangster Squad doing on this set? The 2013 film wastes a talented cast on this idiotic take on a 50s cop (Josh Brolin) attempting to take down Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). What a piece of shit. The rest of this collection is actually quite good, making you wonder who decided to try and polish this turd by putting in in their company.

Ben Affleck‘s The Town is the second-weakest entry in the set, but the look at Boston bank robbers is at least occasionally compelling. While flawed, 2001’s Training Day is worth a look for the performances of Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke as the older detective introduces his new partner to his world.

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