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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Oct. 30

Thor Diakow | posted Tuesday, Oct 30th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

October 30, 2018: Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Teens Titans GO! to the Movies, The Darkest Minds, 2001: A Space Odyssey 4K Ultra HD, Seinfeld: The Complete Series Festivus Boxset.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

SYNOPSIS: Both a prequel and a sequel, the film tells two stories: present day as Sophie Sheridan (Seyfried) prepares for the grand reopening of her mother Donna’s (Streep) hotel and 1979 when young Donna (James) first arrives on the island. Sophie learns about her mother’s exciting, fun-filled adventures with the young Dynamos, Tanya (Jessica Keenan-Wynn) and Rosie (Alexa Davies), and how young Donna first met her three possible dads Harry (Hugh Skinner), Bill (Josh Dylan) and Sam (Jeremy Irvine) all those years ago.

•Deleted/Extended Songs and Scenes with Commentary by Director/Screenplay Writer Ol Parker
-Extended Song Performance – The Name Of The Game
-Extended Song Performance – Knowing Me, Knowing You
•Enhanced Sing-Alongs
• Cast Meets Cast
-Tanya Meets Tanya – Jessica Keenan Wynn interviews Christine Baranski about playing the sassiest Dynamo – Tanya.
-Rosie Meets Rosie – Alexa Davies interviews Julie Walters as the two actresses share their experiences playing Rosie.
• Cast Chats
-Dynamo Chit-Chat – A conversation between the three Young Dynamos reflecting on their favorite song, costumes, scenes to shoot, and funniest moments.
-Dad Chat – The young dads come together to share some of their favorite memories from set.
•High Jinks
•Sophie’s Story – Of all the characters, Amanda Seyfried’s Sophie has developed the most since the first movie. Here we will chart how Sophie has gone from a vulnerable young girl to a confident young woman following life-changing events.
• Choreographing MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN – Choreographer Anthony Van Laast and his team will reveal some of the secrets behind the highly original dance routines.
•Dancing Queen: Anatomy of a Scene – The most famous piano roll in musical history opens one of ABBA’S biggest hits, “Dancing Queen.” The number is the biggest and most complex sequence. Ol Parker will discuss where and how he wanted to use the song in the story.
•Performing for Legends – Here the Young Dynamos will discuss the daunting prospect of stepping into the recording booth at Air Studios to sing ABBA to ABBA.
•Class of ’79 – The story of the Young Dads and Dynamos is told against the backdrop of Oxford, Paris and the Greek Islands of 1979, when hairstyles were wackier and the fashions were bolder. This featurette will focus on the Young Dads and Dynamos and their experience bringing these characters to life.

• Deleted Songs and Scenes with Commentary by Director/Screenplay Writer Ol Parker
-Deleted Song Performance – I Wonder
-Deleted Scene – Tahini
•Enhanced Sing-Alongs
•The Story – Producer Judy Craymer reveals how the MAMMA MIA! legacy began, evolved into the first feature film and how she teamed with executive producer/co-story writer Richard Curtis and director/screenplay writer Ol Parker to develop the perfect sequel.
•MAMMA MIA! Reunited – Focusing on the legacy performers and their excitement at reuniting a decade later, the filmmakers discuss the paths they’ve paved for the characters since we last saw them.
•Playing Donna – This piece centers on Meryl Streep’s cameo performance and Lily James’ preparation for filling this iconic role.
•Meeting Cher – The Queen of pop reveals her excitement at joining the MAMMA MIA! family as Ruby Sheridan – Sophie’s glamorous grandmother. Fellow cast members will share their delight at meeting and watching a legend on set.
•Costumes and The Dynamos – The Young Dynamos have some pretty cool costumes in MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN, and of course so does Cher. And who could forget those trademark dungarees? We will join costume designer Michelle Clapton as she highlights some of her favorite outfits from the movie.
•Curtain Call – Who can forget the finale to MAMMA MIA! when the cast danced onto cinema screens in full spandex for one final number? Ol Parker has chosen “Super Trouper” to close his movie and it features all 16 key cast members.
•NBC’s TODAY Show Interview with Cher & Judy Craymer
•Feature Commentary with Director/Screenplay Writer Ol Parker
•Feature Commentary with Producer Judy Craymer

The gang’s all back…well almost all of the them. Despite the notable lack of Meryl Streep (until the rousing finish), this follow-up to the global smash (ten years ago!) is a total blast from start to finish. Jam-packed with more epic singing and dancing, a more fleshed out (and sometimes rather poignant) story, and a sensational performance from Lily James make this one exuberant crowd-pleaser. Plus the Blu-ray is loaded with delightful extra goodies!

Teen Titans GO! to the Movies

It seems like all the superheroes are getting their own movies – everyone but the Teen Titans, that is! Determined to be a star, Robin vows to change this. If only they could get Hollywood director Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell) to notice them! With a few madcap ideas and musical numbers (of course), the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town. But when Supervillain Slade (Will Arnett) messes with their plans, the Teen Titans will have to become true superheroes to save the world!


“Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:
•Lil Yachty Music Video: “Teen Titans GO! Rap”
•Sing-a-long with Silkie “DC Super Hero Girls: The Late Batsby” Mini-Movie
•Red Carpet Mayhem
•Teen Titans GO! To the Movies: WB Lot Shenanigans
•“Everything is Fake”: Exclusive song not in the movie
•“Teen Titans GO!: Translated”
•Storyboard Animatics:
“Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
•Storyboard Animatics: Time Cycles
•The Final Battle

The Teen Titans finally get their own movie and it’s a total winner! This one works as a straight animated flick for the kids, which should also satisfy adults, and makes for a genuinely hilarious superhero parody. Bursting with verve, dazzling animation, exciting action, and loaded with zingers, Teen Titans GO! to the Movies is definitely one to add to your collection.

The Darkest Minds

SYNOPSIS: From producers of Stranger Things comes an empowering tale of teens who mysteriously develop new abilities and are declared a threat by the government. Ruby (Amandla Stenberg), one of the most powerful young people anyone has encountered, escapes and joins a group of runaway teens seeking safe haven. Soon, this newfound family realizes that collective power is needed to take back control of their fate and save future generations.

•Remember – A Look Beyond Ruby and Liam’s Last Kiss (Original Animatic by Jennifer Yuh Nelson)
•Deleted Scene
•Gag Reel
•Jennifer Yuh Nelson: Heroine at the Helm
•Character Profiles
•Storyboard to Screen Comparison
•Feature Commentary by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Dan Levine and Dan Cohen
•The Power of Georgia
•Behind the Scenes in Georgia
•Theatrical Trailer

While well-intentioned and boasting a solid central performance from Amandla Stenberg, The Darkest Minds amounts to little more than a familiar ride through many tropes and themes we’ve seen executed more effectively in previous dystopian young adult franchises.

2001: A Space Odyssey 4K Ultra HD

SYNOPSIS: Stanley Kubrick’s dazzling, Academy Award-winning achievement is a compelling drama of man vs. machine, a stunning meld of music and motion. Kubrick (who co-wrote the screenplay with Arthur C. Clarke) first visits our prehistoric ape-ancestry past, then leaps millennia (via one of the most mind-blowing jump cuts ever) into colonized space, and ultimately whisks astronaut Bowman (Keir Dullea) into uncharted space, perhaps even into immortality. “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” Let an awesome journey unlike any other begin.

•4K UHD Blu-ray™ with Commentary from Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood
•Remastered Blu-ray™ with Commentary from Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood
•The Making of a Myth
•Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of 2001
•Vision of a Future Passed: The Prophecy of 2001
•2001: A Space Odyssey – A Look Behind the Future
•What Is Out There?
•2001: FX and Early Conceptual Artwork
•Look: Stanley Kubrick!
•11/27/66 Interview with Stanley Kubrick [Audio Only]
•Original Theatrical Trailer
•Premium Booklet
•Art Cards

One of the greatest movies of all time gets an extreme makeover. Despite being made in 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey continues to be the gold standard when it comes to bold science-fiction and remains one of Stanley Kubrick’s finest, and most spellbinding, films. What are you waiting for? Just buy it!

Seinfeld: The Complete Series Festivus Boxset

SYNOPSIS: Widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms ever made, Seinfeld follows four single friends living in Manhattan’s Upper West Side in New York City. The show features a handful of Jerry’s friends and acquaintances, including best friend George Costanza (Jason Alexander), friend and former girlfriend Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and neighbour across the hall Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) who all deal with the absurdities of everyday life in New York City. Includes all 180 episodes in the 33-disc set, all the features above, as well as items to throw your very own “FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US’ party! Includes a set of 8 invitations and RSVPS, cups/napkins, a mini Festivus pole replica, 4 thumb wrestlers for a “Feats of Strength” physical challenge and a deck of playing cards for a “Feats of Strength” mental challenge.

•Documentaries For All Nine Seasons
•Inside Looks
•Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That (Bloopers)
•In the Vault (Deleted Scenes)
•Yada Yada Yada (Commentaries)
•Notes About Nothing
•Bonus disc featuring the exciting reunion of the entire cast plus Larry David on the ninth anniversary of the season finale.

The ultimate collection for any Seinfeld fan, just in time for the holidays!

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Oct. 16

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Oct 17th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

October 16, 2018: Ant-Man and The Wasp, Skyscraper, Boundaries, The Affair: Season Four.

Ant-Man and The Wasp

SYNOPSIS: In “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” Scott Lang is grappling with the consequences of his choices, as both the Super Hero Ant-Man and a father, in the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War.” As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission to rescue Janet van Dyne from the Quantum Realm. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp, all while attempting to serve house arrest, assist fast talking-Luis (Michael Peña) and the X-con Security crew, and thwart the efforts of a new adversary called Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and her ally Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne).

Blu-ray & Digital:
•Director’s Intro by Peyton Reed – The talented creator behind some of Marvel Studios’ funniest and most charming films will invite home audiences deeper into the world of “Ant-Man and The Wasp.”
•Making-of Featurettes:
-Back in the Ant Suit: Scott Lang – Hero and all-star dad Scott Lang keeps the laughs coming for the audience, cast and crew.
-A Suit of Her Own: The Wasp – Highly trained Hope Van Dyne is now the Wasp. See how some of her craziest stunts and action-packed scenes were brought to life.
-Subatomic Super Heroes: Hank & Janet – Hank Pym’s wife Janet was lost in the quantum realm. Trace the legacy of these characters and the iconic actors who portray them.
-Quantum Perspective: The VFX and Production Design of “Ant-Man and The Wasp” – Explore the movie’s visual effects and production design from a whole new viewpoint, in which every micro and macro detail counts.
•Gag Reel and Outtakes – Audiences are treated to the hilarious quips that did not make the film as well as exclusive outtakes from Stan Lee and Tim Heidecker.
-Gag Reel – Join in the fun with these outtakes from the set.
-Stan Lee Outtakes – Stan Lee tries out a series of hilarious one-liners for the scene in which his car shrinks.
-Tim Heidecker Outtakes – Check out Whale Boat Captain Daniel Goobler and his improvised whale-watching riffs.
•Deleted Scenes (with commentary by Director Peyton Reed)
-Worlds Upon Worlds – As Janet leads Hank through the surreal landscape of the quantum realm, they encounter an intelligent life form.
-Sonny’s on the Trail – On the hunt for Hank Pym and his lab, Sonny Burch and his henchmen check the security camera of a neighborhood bookstore.
Digital Exclusives:
•10 Years of Marvel Studios: The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – See what it takes to bring the MCU to life, and the role concept artists play in bringing Super Heroes from comic book to screen.
•Online Close-Up Magic University – This commercial will inspire you to expand your mind and maximize your full potential!

Ant-Man is back for a breezy follow-up that stands alone as a nice episodic entry sequel and takes full advantage of Evangeline Lily’s tremendous talents. The movie’s villain is a bit undercooked and it sticks pretty close to the comic book movie playbook. However, this rousing (and fun) flick coasts on the charms of Rudd, features more dazzling action – with plenty of eye-popping CGI – plus contains a few surprises. And those closing credits scenes? Yikes.


SYNOPSIS: Fueled with adrenaline and high impact verticality, Skyscraper is led by superstar Dwayne Johnson who plays former FBI Hostage Team leader, U.S. war veteran and amputee Will Sawyer. While on assignment in Hong Kong as an assessor for security in skyscrapers, he comes to find the tallest and safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he has been framed for it. Wanted and on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and save his family who is trapped inside the building… above the fire line.

-Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber–Go behind the scenes with Dwayne Johnson and the rest of  the cast of  Skyscraper.
-Extended Scenes with Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber
-Dwayne Johnson: Embodying a Hero–Go behind the scenes to see what it took for Dwayne Johnson to bring the intense character of  Will Sawyer to life.
-Inspiration–Meet real life amputee and motivational speaker Jeff  Glasbrenner, the inspiration for Dwayne Johnson’s role of  Will Sawyer. See how Jeff’s consultations helped inform Dwayne’s character from day one.
-Opposing Forces–There’s no holding back as the women of  Skyscraperget in on the action. Now, see first-hand what it took for Neve Campbell and Hannah Quinlivan to be fight ready.•
-Friends No More–When Dwayne Johnson and Pablo Schreiber met face to face, they immediately knew what they were up against. Witness first-handthe making of  the intense apartment fight between two former on-screen friends, Will and Ben.•
-Kids in Action–In Skyscrapereveryone gets in on the action, even the Sawyer children. Go on set with Noah Cottrell and McKenna Roberts to discover the moves behind their stunts.
-Pineapple Pitch–Hear first-handfrom Dwayne Johnson how writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber pitched him the idea of  Skyscraper. It may be a little fruitier than you think.
-Feature Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber

Dwayne does his best here but Skyscraper is ultimately a missed opportunity that too closely resembles its far superior predecessor, Die Hard. Sure, it has some decent superficial action, several funny moments, and utilizes Neve Campbell as an action star rather well. However, interesting elements can’t quite hold this flick together, as it eventually gets bogged down by clunky writing, generic villains, and a lot of CG flames.


SYNOPSIS: Laura (Vera Farmiga) is a single mother living in Seattle, who has a constant need to put others and animals before her. When her estranged, criminally-minded father Jack (Christopher Plummer) is kicked out of his retirement home, Laura agrees to drive him down the coast to live with her sister JoJo (Kristen Schaal) in Los Angeles. Along for the ride is her bright but troubled son Henry (Lewis MacDougall), and an assortment of animal charity cases. Without telling Laura, Jack convinces Henry to help him sell off his copious supply of marijuana at every stop of their journey, resulting in unexpected reunions with old friends and family.

•“Setting Boundaries: A Look Behind The Scenes”

Though the writing may be a little messy, Boundaries benefits from a great cast, including a pair of excellent performances from the legendary Christopher Plummer and the always reliable Vera Farmiga. Its clichéd at times but this comedy-drama is beautifully shot and features some stirring acting despite a hodgepodge of themes.

The Affair: Season Four

SYNOPSIS: Long past the secrets that brought them together and tore their lives apart, Noah, Alison, Helen and Cole are on separate journeys with the promise of new relationships and a fresh start. But as the past continues to surface, they question what they’re holding on to as their lives keep crashing back into one another.

Get caught up on the penultimate season of The Affair before it concludes next year. This taut and timely drama continues to be a fascinating character study and an impressive showcase for a formidable cast. While not quite as ‘sexy’ as previous years, the fourth feels somewhat more grounded and less soapy than the sometimes meandering third season. Fans and followers of the hit show should enjoy the palpable twists and turns once again.

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: October 2

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Oct 3rd, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

October 2, 2018: Sicario: Day of the Soldado, The First Purge, Barry: The Complete First Season.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

SYNOPSIS: In the drug war, there are no rules – and as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) calls on the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), whose family was murdered by a cartel kingpin, to escalate the war in nefarious ways. Alejandro kidnaps the kingpin’s daughter to inflame the conflict – but when the girl is seen as collateral damage, her fate will come between the two men as they question everything they are fighting for.


Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Bonus Materials Include:
• “From Film to Franchise: Continuing the Story”
• “An Act of War: Making Sicario: Day of the Soldado”
• “The Assassin and the Soldier: The Cast & Characters”

This thrilling sequel doesn’t have the elegance of Denis Villeneuve’s direction but is still a rousing follow-up that stands on its own. Those craving more development from Brolin and Del Toro’s respective characters should be satisfied with the numerous twists and turns, even though Emily Blunt is certainly missed. Day of the Soldado features loads of intense action and gritty moments that help give it a signature feel, while also respectfully advancing the first film. Here’s hoping for a third one!

The First Purge

SYNOPSIS: When the New Founding Fathers of America look to push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year, a radical sociological theory that vents aggression is tested among an isolated community. But once the violence of oppressors clashes with the rage of the marginalized, the contagion of the experiment explodes and rapidly spreads, leading to a revolution.


•Deleted Scene
•A Radical Experiment – Cast and filmmakers discuss how The First Purge expands on the themes of the franchise, making them more culturally relevant than ever before.
•Bringing the Chaos – Violence is inescapable in The First Purge. Here we explore the elements that ramped up the action in the film and made it the most intense instalment yet.
•The Masks of the First Purge – A good disguise is a key part of a successful Purge night. In this featurette, we take a look at how the masks in the film added to the terror of The First Purge.

Despite some strong performances and decent, visceral action, this origin story runs out of steam midway through but fans of the franchise should give it a passing grade. Others will be rolling their eyes at the heavy-handed writing and hodgepodge of themes.

Barry: The Complete First Season

SYNOPSIS: Barry (Hader) is a depressed, low-rent hitman from the Midwest who falls in love with acting while on a job in Los Angeles. Barry’s handler, Fuches (Stephen Root), hires Barry out to the deeply violent Chechen mob, led by Goran Pazar (Glenn Fleshler), and his right-hand man, NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan). Barry’s target is an aspiring actor who is having an affair with Pazar’s wife. When Barry follows his “mark” into an acting class taught by beloved teacher/guru Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler), he is instantly drawn to the group of acting students, particularly Sally (Sarah Goldber). Barry wants to start a new life in this community of eager hopefuls, but his criminal past won’t let him walk away. Can he find a way to balance the two worlds?


•Invitation to the set: Join Bill Hader and the cast and crew of ‘Barry’ for this inside look at the comedy series.
•Inside the Episodes: 8 featurettes dissecting each episode from Bill Hader, Alec Berg, and more.
•The World of Barry: Watch Henry Winkler and the rest of the cast introduce the ridiculously quirky characters in Barry.

This is a must-see show. Bill Hader has flexed his dark comedic muscles before but really shines here. He’s also backed by a tremendous supporting cast, led by an exceptional role from the great Henry Winkler. Barry is equal parts poignant and hilarious, with a particular emphasis on strong storytelling and snappy dialogue.