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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Avengers: Infinity War

Thor Diakow | posted Tuesday, Aug 14th, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

SYNOPSIS: In “Avengers: Infinity War,” members from every MCU franchise must sacrifice like never before in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Blu-ray & Digital:
•Strange Alchemy (5:08)– Share the thrill of characters from across the MCU meeting for the first time—and discover why some were teamed up together.
•The Mad Titan (6:34) – Explore the MCU’s biggest, baddest villain, his trail of influence through the stories, and the existential threat he represents.
•Beyond the Battle: Titan (9:36) – Dive into the climactic struggle on Thanos’ ruined world, including the epic stunts and VFX, to uncover the source of its power.
•Beyond the Battle: Wakanda (10:58) – Go behind the scenes to find out how the filmmakers pulled off the most massive and challenging battle Marvel had ever attempted.
•Deleted and Extended Scenes (10:07)
•Happy Knows Best (1:23) – Tony and Pepper spar over the details of their upcoming wedding—until a hassled Happy Hogan pulls up with an urgent request.
•Hunt for the Mind Stone (1:24) – On a darkened street, Wanda Maximoff and the wounded Vision attempt to hide from Thanos’ brutal allies.
•The Guardians Get Their Groove Back (3:20) – As Peter Quill and Drax quarrel over their failed mission to Knowhere, Mantis interrupts with news.
•A Father’s Choice (4:00) – Thanos confronts Gamora with a vision from her past—and with lying to him about the Soul Stone.
•Gag Reel (2:05)– Watch your favorite Super Heroes make super gaffes in this lighthearted collection of on-set antics.
•Audio Commentary (approx. 149 min.) by Anthony and Joe Russo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Digital Exclusive:
•A Directors’ Roundtable (approx. 32 min.) – Eight amazing directors reflect on how their movies contribute to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s larger storytelling adventure.

Strap yourself in for another bar-raising cinematic superhero adventure from the true masters of the genre! The Russo brothers once again weave their masterful direction through this nerve-jangling, eye-popping spectacle that sees our beloved heroes taking on their most formidable foes yet. Jam-packed with solid action, great character moments, stirring drama, and plenty of humour, Avengers: Infinity War demonstrates the kinds of filmmaking feats this studio can accomplish. Once the cliff-hanger finale leaves you wanting more, you can just delve into the vast array of fascinating behind-the-scenes bonus content. “BRING ME THANOS!”

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Aug. 7

Thor Diakow | posted Tuesday, Aug 7th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

August 7, 2018: Ready Player One, Life of the Party, The Rider, Breaking In, The Good Doctor: Season One.

Ready Player One

SYNOPSIS: In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spend their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone—the only limits are your own imagination. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the OASIS to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends—known as the High Five—are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
“Ready Player One” 4K Ultra HD 3D Blu-ray and Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:
•Game Changer: Cracking the Code
•Effects for a Brave New World
•Level Up: Sound for the Future
•High Score: Endgame
•Ernie & Tye’s Excellent Adventure
•The ’80’s: You’re The Inspiration
“Ready Player One” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
•The ’80’s: You’re The Inspiration

This one has been out for a few weeks but I had to mention it. Widely considered to be an ‘unfilmable’ book, veteran director Steven Spielberg – and his illustrious crew – takes Ernest Cline’s sci-fi ode to ’80s nostalgia and gives it an incredible and dazzling movie makeover. This one will require multiple viewings to spot all the easter eggs. Loaded with state-of-the-art visual effects, jammed with epic chases and battles, plus containing plenty of vintage Spielberg magic, Ready Player One is modern-day classic.

Life of the Party

SYNOPSIS: When her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (McCarthy) turns regret into reset by going back to college…landing in the same class and school as her daughter, who’s not entirely sold on the idea. Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna—now Dee Rock—embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
“Life of the Party” Blu-ray Combo Pack contain the following special features:
•’80s Party
•Mom Sandwich
•Line-O-Rama
•Bill Hate-O-Rama
•Gag Reel
•Deleted Scenes
“Life of the Party” Standard Definition DVD contain the following special feature:
•’80s Party

This funny flick may not rewrite the genre playbook but does provide a worthy vehicle for Melissa McCarthy’s endless charms. Life of the Party manages to convey a sweet story with enough cute characters to keep the momentum going. Sure, some of the jokes are a tad stale but this little comedy coasts along nicely thanks to its humour and heart.

The Rider

SYNOPSIS: After a tragic riding accident, young cowboy Brady (Brady Jandreau), once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, is warned that his competition days are over. Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America. Based on Brady Jandreau’s real life story, THE RIDER was written and directed by Chloé Zhao. The film was produced by Chloé Zhao, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche and Mollye Asher; and executive produced by Michael Sagol, Jasper Thomlinson, Yuji Zhao, Dickey Abedon and Daniel Sbrega.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
•Deleted scenes
•Q&A with Chloé Zhao, Brady Jandreau, cinematographer Joshua James Richards & editor Alex O’Flinn
•SXSW Q&A with Brady Jandreau

This is an incredibly powerful drama, and one of the year’s best films, that may have passed you by in theatres. The movie is so compelling because it uses untrained actors to bring a fact-based tale to life. The Rider makes for an unforgettable story because it combines gritty realism with classic western tropes infused with a compelling modern parable. This one proves you don’t need Hollywood celebrities to make an amazing film.

Breaking In

SYNOPSIS: Shaun Russell (Union) takes her son and daughter on a weekend getaway to her late father’s secluded, high-tech vacation home in the countryside where the family soon receives an unwelcome surprise from four men who break into the house in search of a hidden safe. After managing to escape, Shaun stops at nothing to turn the tables on the thieves and rescue her two children being held hostage in a house designed with impenetrable security. No trap, no trick and especially no man inside can match a mother with a mission in BREAKING IN. Directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Sense8), BREAKING IN also stars Billy Burke ( Twilight Series), Aijona Alexus (“13 Reasons Why,” Acrimony) and Seth Carr (Black Panther).

SPECIAL FEATURES:
•Alternate Opening –The Gas Station with Commentary by Director James McTeigue and Scriptwriter Ryan Engle.
•One Bad Mother – Gabrielle Union shows that there is no limit to what a threatened mother will do to keep her children safe, and why a woman on a mission should never be underestimated.
•A Filmmaker’s Eye – The crew explores what makes Director James McTeigue’s vision and style uniquely valuable when it comes to creating the right mood for the film.
•A Lesson in Kicking Ass – A behind-the-scenes look at how physically demanding the role of Shaun was for Gabrielle Union, and the steps production took to ensure the most convincing execution of the stunts throughout the film.
•A Hero Evolved – An inspiring account of how leading roles are shifting to embrace the qualities that more diverse actors can bring to the table.
•Deleted and Extended Scenes
•Feature Commentary by Director James McTeigue and Scriptwriter Ryan Engle

Gabrielle Union brings plenty of intensity to this B-thriller. The movie itself, however, is basically an assortment of typical genre clichés. That being said, much of the action is generally well-staged and there is some decent tension which gives the flick a somewhat refreshing throwback vibe.

The Good Doctor: Season One

SYNOPSIS: The Good Doctor centers on Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), a young surgeon who has been diagnosed with autism & savant syndrome and recruited into the surgical unit of the prestigious San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. Although the hospital board expresses deep concerns over hiring a surgeon who has been diagnosed with autism, once Shaun impressively diagnoses a young boy, leading to a life-saving surgery, hearts and minds seem to be changed. However, not everyone is convinced…including Shaun’s attending surgeon Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez), and it becomes clear that although Shaun may have found his way into the operating room, there are still many challenges he must face to fulfill his dream of saving lives.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
DVD Special Features include:
•Deleted Scenes
•Gag reel
•Two Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes

Freddie Highmore shines in this medical drama that takes some interesting twists and turns. The Good Doctor is full of engaging characters and backed by a talented ensemble cast. Some of the writing gets heavy-handed at times as it occasionally veers into the melodramatic. Thankfully, the lead star’s engaging charisma and commitment to his role, along with a strong overall narrative, make this a worthy small screen addition.