dvd and blu-ray

A Most Wanted Man

by Cap'n Carrot on December 2, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

a-most-wanted-man-blu-rayNotable for being the final non-Hunger Games role of Philip Seymour Hoffman, A Most Wanted Man is a slow-burning espionage thriller involving a secret German anti-terrorism unit tracking a potential suspect (Grigoriy Dobrygin). Although it’s based on the work of the same author, sadly, it’s not Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (which surprisingly moves at a far better pace than A Wanted Man).

The main takeaway from the film is how little actually happens in surveillance and much of what we do see (including a flailing romantic subplot) isn’t always that interesting. The cast is well chosen, and Hoffman leads a group of talented actors (Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe) each providing strong performances, but the movie lacks the will or motivation to put them to better use than we see here. It’s certainly not a bad film by any means, and is certainly worth viewing for the performances alone, but the end result is less than the sum of its parts.

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castle-season-six-dvdSlowly working its way to Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett‘s (Stana Katic) wedding day in the season finale, the Sixth Season of Castle features Beckett’s victory over Senator Bracken (Jack Coleman), the return of Castle’s father (James Brolin), and a special episode filled to the brim with 70s style.

Opening with three episodes of Beckett working for the Attorney General’s office (before getting fired), highlights of the season include ninjas, a time traveler, telekinesis, intricate serial murders whose victims were made to look like members of the NYPD, the murder of a professional skateboard artist, a case involving Captain Gates‘ (Penny Johnson) estranged sister (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), Castle’s biggest fan, Beckett getting in over-her-head on an undercover operation, a confession to a murder that couldn’t have happened, murder at a fashion magazine, an arsonist who latest burning building traps Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) in the burning wreckage, and Castle investigating the case of a murderer on death row for Alexis (Molly C. Quinn).

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batman-the-brave-and-the-bold-season-2-blu-rayAlthough the First Season collection of Batman: The Brave and the Bold certainly has its moments, the Season Two collection is where the show begins to hit its stride and fully embrace the Silver Age zaniness which would become its trademark.

Collected on Blu-ray for the first time, the Second Season set includes not one but two Captain Marvel stories, the classic recreation of the comic story of Batman confronting Joe Chill, a Crisis-inspired tale involving all three Flashes, Aquaman’s family vacation, Booster Gold and the Blue Beetle together again, the sidekicks getting their own episode, a Birds of Prey episode written by Gail Simone, a space race between heroes and villains, and Batman being split into three separate personalities (including one who eats nachos). Unless you already own the episodes on DVD, it’s an easy recommendation for Bat-fans everywhere. Sadly, the set includes no extras.

[Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray $29.99]

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agents-of-shield-season-one-dvdContinuing the adventures began in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. suffers a bit from having to play with last year’s toys and deal with the fallout of the planned Marvel feature film releases rather than make any real strides on its own. Thankfully thee release of Thor: The Dark World and especially Captain America: The Winter Soldier bolstered the season’s second-half, giving it new life to end the show’s First Season on a string of strong episodes.

Without question Clark Gregg is the show’s star. Reprising his role as Agent Phil Coulson, returned from the dead in a mysterious manner (which turns out to be somewhat disappointing once revealed), Coulson puts together his own strike time including two military specialists in Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) and Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), a pair a bickering scientists (Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge) and a computer hacker (Chloe Bennet) they adopt in the first episode. Throw in an old S.H.I.E.L.D. tricked-out cargo jet, and the team is ready for action.

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Congo

by Cap'n Carrot on September 18, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

congo-blu-rayAlthough it’s not his best work, Michael Crichton’s 1980 novel Congo is actually a pretty good story. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the big screen adaptation made 15 years later. The film stars Dylan Walsh as a scientist who has raised a sign-language speaking ape named Amy and decided to return the gorilla back to the wild with the help of a bizarre financier (Tim Curry) whose interests in the gorilla’s doodles make him believe Amy could lead the group to the legendary lost city of Zinj.

The movie condenses and jumbles the motives of everyone involved producing a single expedition which also includes a scientist (Laura Linney) looking for her ex-fiancé and his team who were attacked by strange murderous gray gorillas (rather than motivated by the corporate greed of the priceless diamonds lost in the jungle as in the novel), a great white hunter who happens to be black (Ernie Hudson), and a member of the group who you know has no chance to make it out alive (Grant Heslov).

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person-of-interest-season-three-dvdBuilding on the groundwork laid in Season Two, the Third Season of Person of Interest brought big changes to the show including the building of a second Machine, the involvement of a terrorist group intent on destroying the Machine, bringing back Shaw (Sarah Shahi) and Root (Amy Acker) – this time as series regulars, and, in a pivotal episode of the season, featuring the death of an important member of the original cast which would leave the team reeling.

Highlights of the season include Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Finch (Michael Emerson) forced to choose between The Machine and the life of a Senator (John Doman), Root’s investigations into Decima Technologies, Shaw and Root’s first partnership, the return of Finch’s fiance (Carrie Preston), a high school reunion, a flashback episode before Finch and Reese met, a two-part episode involving Finch’s old friend old friend (Saul Rubinek) and Control’s (Camryn Manheim) attempt to create her own Machine, the final battle with HR, a girls night out, and death at 40,000 feet.

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captain-america-winter-soldier-blu-ray

Seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the theaters my initial reaction was that the Captain America: The First Avenger sequel was an improvement over the first film and one of Marvel Studio’s best efforts. I’m happy to say the movie holds up on Blu-ray. I actually enjoyed it a little more the second time around.

The wide sweeping conspiracy of Hyrda begins sweeping changes in the overall Marvel Universe, immediately effecting Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (leading to the TV show’s strongest episodes), but more than that The Winter Soldier is a good Captain America story full of strong performances (making great use of Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow) along with plenty of intrigue and action. Sure the movie wastes Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) and the final battle feels a bit too much like a video game with infiltrating and swapping out the chips in hovercrafts of death, but those don’t detract from a strong storyline filled with plenty of comic book goodness. For more on the movie read my original review.

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elementary-season-two-dvdElementary‘s Second Season continued to build on the modern day Sherlock Holmes‘ (Jonny Lee Miller) adventures in New York City by introducing new versions of classic characters, returning “The Woman” (Natalie Dormer) to trouble the detective once more, and offering plenty of mysteries for Holmes and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) to solve.

Highlights include Holmes’ return to London and introduction of Lestrade (Sean Pertwee) and Mycroft Holmes (Rhys Ifans) in the season premiere, murders surrounding an unsolvable mathematical problem, a murder from Holmes past effecting a current case, Watson discovering a link between Holmes and a girlfriend, the arrival in New York of the woman (Olivia d’Abo) who came between the Holmes brothers, Holmes considering returning to London, Holmes working to set things right after he frees a murderer from a frame job he deserved, the attack on Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) which threatens the man’s career and friendship with Holmes, and a dinosaur.

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once-upon-a-time-season-three-blu-raySeason Three took characters to Neverland, the Enchanted Forest, Oz, and back home to Storybrooke. It featured a second curse, a missing year, the deaths and resurrections of multiple characters, and the introduction of both a sister (Rebecca Mader) and love interest (Sean Maguire) for Regina (Lana Parrilla).

The second-half of the season centered around a character from Oz works better than the Neverland arc which grows a bit stale as Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and her family attempt to save Henry (Jared Gilmore) from Peter Pan (Robbie Kay). Highlights from the season include the time-traveling season finale, Regina taking another step on her hero’s journey, Hook‘s (Colin O’Donoghue) time away from Storybrooke, the escape from Neverland, a battle between sisters, the death and the return of Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle), and Regina and Zelena’s first meeting.

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the-blacklist-blu-rayWhen the FBI’s most wanted turns himself over to authorities and agrees to help them catch infamous villains (many of whom the government isn’t even aware of) the life of Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) changes in a flash as she finds herself in a world of secrets, half-truths, and lies concerning all aspects of Raymond Reddington (James Spader) and why the master criminal chose her as his liason to the FBI.

The set collects all 22 episodes of the show’s First Season in which Reddington leads the team (Harry Lennix, Diego Klattenhoff, Parminder Nagra, Hisham Tawfiq) to take down a member of The Blacklist every week while Lizzie deals with ugly truths in her own life which Reddington’s prescence brings to light – including the truth of her husband Tom (Ryan Eggold). The uneven First Season is a bit too secretive for its own good (much like Red), but does produces some strong episodes.

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