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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Mar. 13

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Mar 14th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

March 13, 2018: The Shape of Water, Call Me by Your Name, Justice League, Ferdinand, The Handmaid’s Tale: Season One.

The Shape of Water


SYNOPSIS: From master storyteller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER, an otherworldly fairy tale set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America circa 1962. In the hidden, high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Doug Jones.

Guillermo del Toro’s sensational creature feature romance needs no introduction; the Best Picture winner (plus three other Academy Awards: Best Director, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design) combines a wide assortment of the visionary filmmaker’s signature talents. Sally Hawkins gives an incredible, wordless performance and her chemistry with frequent ‘creature collaborator’ Doug Jones is both mystifying and beautiful. The rest of the cast, including Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Jenkins, and Octavia Spencer, is excellent as well. Although The Shape of Water‘s script wasn’t the strongest of the year, and the story may have been familiar at times, it still represents a veteran craftsman working in top form and is essentially an immaculately-constructed love story that is only enhanced by its unconventional fantasy plot.

Special Features:
•A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times
•Anatomy of a Scene: Prologue
•Anatomy of a Scene: The Dance
•Shaping the Waves: A Conversation with James Jean
•Guillermo del Toro’s Master Class
•Theatrical Trailers

Call Me by Your Name

91s52ZZp0sL._SL1500_SYNOPSIS: It’s the summer of 1983 in Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17-year-old, spends his days in his family’s villa transcribing and playing classical music and reading. Elio’s sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father, an eminent professor. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever. Based on the novel by Andre Aciman, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME was directed by Luca Guadagnino with a screenplay by James Ivory. The film was produced by Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, Rodrigo Teixeira, Marco Morabito, James Ivory and Howard Rosenman and executive produced by Derek Simonds, Tom Dolby, Margarethe Baillou, Francesco Melzi d’Eril, Naima Abed, Nicholas Kaiser, Sophie Mas and Lourenço Sant’Anna.

2017’s most sumptuous and gorgeous love story finally comes home. Featuring heart-wrenchingly great acting from the sensational Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer (and a scene-stealing Michael Stuhlbarg), this beautiful romantic drama also contains some simply stunning cinematography. Call Me by Your Name boasts a brilliant, tender, thought-provoking script – the film won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay – grounded by genuine performances which transcend the genre by offering an unforgettable love story that, while never tragic, manages to delicately balance passion with pathos.

Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Exclusive Bonus Materials:
•Two Featurettes:
-“Snapshots of Italy: The Making of Call Me By Your Name”
-“In Conversation With Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg & Luca Guadagnino”
•Commentary with Timothée Chalamet & Michael Stuhlbarg
•Music Video for “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens

Justice League

91KYrsp8xoL._SL1500_SYNOPSIS: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.  Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat.  But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

Despite plenty of critical backlash, Justice League is actually a decent ride and represents a significant step up from some recent DC flicks, aside of course from the rousing Wonder Woman. The tone may be inconsistent at times and the main villain is a rather generic CGI creation. However, this superhero flick also offers some refreshing humour, decent chemistry between its larger-than-life characters, and LOTS of spectacular action. The Blu-ray is also loaded with interesting insights into the production process so it might be worth adding to your comic book movie collection.

Special Features:
“Justice League” 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack contains the following special features:
•Road to Justice
-Journey alongside DC comic creators as they explore over fifty years of the Justice League, from comic books to animated adventures to their cinematic debut.
•Heart of Justice
-Discover the heart, soul and mind of the Justice League, as the cast and filmmakers share their admiration for DC’s iconic Trinity: Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.
-Technology of the Justice League
-From Batman’s arsenal to Cyborg’s alien tech, interface with the Justice League database to learn their most advanced secrets.
•Justice League: The New Heroes
-Join Ray Fisher on a personal tour to meet the newest members of the Justice League: Aquaman, the Flash and Cyborg.
•The Return of Superman
-Bonus scenes not seen in theatres
•Steppenwolf the Conqueror
-Join actor Ciarán Hinds and the filmmakers as they reveal the story behind mankind’s ancient enemy and the Justice League’s greatest challenge.
-Take a closer look at the filmmaking process behind Justice League’s most visually exciting and action-packed sequences
•Scene Studies: Revisiting the Amazons
•Scene Studies: Wonder Woman’s Rescue
•Scene Studies: Heroes Park
•Scene Studies: The Tunnel Battle
•Suit Up: The Look of the League
-Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson explores the innovation and artistry that goes into creating the costumes of DC’s iconic heroes.

“Justice League” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
•Road to Justice
•Heart of Justice
•Technology of the Justice League
•Justice League: The New Heroes
•Steppenwolf the Conqueror
•Scene Studies: Revisiting the Amazons
•Scene Studies: Wonder Woman’s Rescue
•Scene Studies: Heroes Park
•Scene Studies: The Tunnel Battle
•Suit Up: The Look of the League



SYNOPSIS: From the creators of Ice Age and Rio comes the most love-a-bull family comedy of the year! Ferdinand (John Cena) is a giant bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast and torn from his home, he rallies a misfit team of friends for the ultimate adventure to return to his family. Based on the classic children’s book, Ferdinand proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover!

This family-friendly flick (which was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature) provides a well-told ‘life lesson’ story, with some effective vocal talents, and brims with eye-popping visuals. John Cena really leads the movie, as the big bull with a heart of gold, with plenty of support from fellow celeb voices including Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Cannavale, Peyton Manning, and Gina Rodriguez. In short, Ferdinand isn’t a classic but should make a worthy addition to your kids movie library.

Special Features:
-“Ferdinand’s Guide to Healthy Living” with John Cena
-“A Goat’s Guide to Life”
-“Ferdinand’s Team Supreme”
-“Spain Through Ferdinand’s Eyes”
-“Confessions of a Bull-loving Horse”
-“Creating the Land of Ferdinand”
-“Anatomy of a Scene: The Bull Run”
-“Learn to Dance with Ferdinand”
-“Ferdinand’s Do-It-Yourself Flower Garden”-
-“Creating a Remarka-Bull Song”
•“Home” Music Video

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season One


SYNOPIS: Based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning, best-selling novel, “THE HANDMAID’S TALE” is the story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state.  As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Elisabeth Moss; Top Of The Lake, Mad Men) is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, one of the  castes of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated  world. In this terrifying society where one wrong word could end her life, Offred must navigate between Commanders, their cruel wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – with one goal: to survive and find the daughter who was taken from her. “A magnificent and effectively haunting 10-episode series” (Hank Stuever, The Washington Post), “THE HANDMAID’S TALE” features outstanding performances from Moss, Joseph Fiennes (American Horror Story – Asylum, Shakespeare in Love), Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, Dexter), Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), Madeline Brewer (Orange is the New Black), Ann Dowd (Compliance, The Leftovers), O.T. Fagbenle (The Five), Max Minghella (The Mindy Project) and Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black).

Gripping and haunting, The Handmaid’s Tale is a fascinating, and sometimes terrifying, examination of a chilling dystopian future. This dark drama may not be for everyone but will reward the patient viewer with eerie storylines (that often draw disturbing present-day parallels), strong acting, and plenty of sharp writing that hits the notable themes of Margaret Atwood’s source material.

Special Features:
From Script to Screen: Go inside the premiere episode’s “Salvaging”, a harrowing scene where Handmaids violently participate in the execution of an alleged attacker. Interviews with series Showrunner/Executive Producer Bruce Miller, Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd and Madeline Brewer, as well as an in-depth look at the story points, character arcs and complexity of shooting this sequence with Director of episodes one through three, Reed Morano.

Hope in Gilead: Examine the reasons why “THE HANDMAID’S TALE” has captivated millions and become a cultural phenomenon. The cast and crew discuss parallels with today’s political climate as well as the series’ themes of hope, resilience and the fight for freedom.