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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: July 17

Thor Diakow | posted Tuesday, Jul 17th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

July 17, 2018: Rampage, Isle of Dogs, Super Troopers 2, Unsane, Sneaky Pete: Season One, The Good Place: The Complete Second Season.

Rampage

SYNOPSIS: In 1993, a breakthrough new technology gave scientists a path to treat incurable diseases through genetic editing. In 2016, due to its potential for misuse, the U.S. Intelligence Community designated genetic editing a “Weapon of Mass Destruction and Proliferation.” Johnson stars as primatologist Davis Okoye, a man who keeps people at a distance but shares an unshakeable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, incredibly rare albino silverback gorilla who has been in his care since he rescued the young orphan from poachers. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size. To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created super creatures tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with discredited geneticist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
“Rampage” 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-Ray, Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:
•Not A Game Anymore – From arcade sensation to movie monster epic, we explore how the Midway video game inspired the filmmakers to create the ultimate disaster film.
•Gag Reel – Hilarious outtakes and mishaps captured during production.
•Deleted Scenes – Deleted scenes that barely missed the final theatrical cut.
•Rampage – Actors in Action: Strap in for a wild ride as Dwayne Johnson, Joe Manganiello and the cast prepare for the film’s demanding stunts and explosive set pieces.
•Trio of Destruction – Follow the innovative design team and the artists at Weta Digital as they bring to life the biggest and baddest monsters for the film’s climactic battle royal.
•Attack on Chicago – Director Brad Peyton reveals the challenges of filming on-location in Chicago and turning digital destruction into a cinematic reality.
Bringing George to Life – Discover the wonder of what it’s like to be a gorilla, as movement coordinator Terry Notary teaches actor Jason Liles how to move, behave and become “George.”
“Rampage” DVD contains:
•Not A Game Anymore – From arcade sensation to movie monster epic, we explore how the Midway video game inspired the filmmakers to create the ultimate disaster film.

This movie actually works, provided you check your brain at the door! Dwayne Johnson provides plenty of charisma, the cast is decent, and the plot examines a rather admirable ‘man & ape’ bond. If you can overlook the clunky dialogue and somewhat cartoonish characters, Rampage benefits from being a worthy creature feature with some strong visual effects.

Isle of Dogs

SYNOPSIS: Visionary director Wes Anderson’s ISLE OF DOGS tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to vast Trash Island, Atari sets off in search of his bodyguard dog, Spots. With the assistance of his newfound mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture. The film features an all-star cast voicing the dog and human characters including Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, and Frances McDormand.

SPECIAL FEATURES
•Featurettes
-Animators
-Isle of Dogs Cast Interviews
-Puppets
-An Ode to Dogs
-Magasaki City and Trash Island
-Weather and Elements
•Image Gallery
•Theatrical Trailer

Wes Anderson makes another triumphant foray into the world of stop-motion animation with this brilliant and beautiful love letter to Japanese culture. Jammed with his patented snappy writing, an immensely talented cast of voices (including many frequent collaborators), and full of visually inventive set pieces, Isle of Dogs is a captivating watch right from the first few frames. Don’t miss the film and then delve into some fairly comprehensive making-of bonus features.

Super Troopers 2

SYNOPSIS: The Broken Lizard comedy team returns with the long-awaited sequel to the cult hit, Super Troopers. Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske and Paul Soter return to star alongside Brian Cox and Rob Lowe in this hilarious sequel. When an international border dispute arises between Canada and the United States, the Vermont Highway Patrolmen – Mac, Thorny, Foster, Rabbit and Farva – reunite to help resolve the solution. Full of Canadian references and jokes, Super Troopers 2 will have you laughing out loud.

It only took 17 years and some massive crowd-funding but the world’s worst highway patrol is back! Considering how much time has passed, this comedy managed to maintain the spirit of the original and took the updated story into some wacky directions, with a decidedly Canadian twist. Granted, some of the low-brow humour doesn’t always hit the mark and the plot veers into the ridiculous but a lot of the magic is still there and watch for a trio of scene-stealing Mounties plus a wickedly hilarious little antagonist role from Rob Lowe.

Unsane

SYNOPSIS: A young woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution where she confronts her biggest fear in the unique and thrilling film UNSANE. Academy Award® winning director Steven Soderbergh plunges audiences into the suspense and drama of a resilient woman’s fight to reclaim her freedom even as she risks her own sanity. Unsane tells the story of a young woman (Claire Foy) who leaves her hometown to escape a troubled past and begin a new job. But when she is involuntarily committed to a mental institution, she is confronted by her greatest fear but is it real or just her delusion? With seemingly no-one ready to believe her and the authorities unable or unwilling to help, she must confront her fears head on. With twisting perspectives and a shocking narrative, Unsane asks questions about our perception of reality heightened by the film being shot entirely and uniquely on an iPhone 7 Plus.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
‘Unsanity’ explores the all-iPhone technique, allowing fans to truly immerse themselves in the heart-pounding, claustrophobic, thought-provoking experience.

Prolific filmmaker Steven Soderbergh once again proves to be the master of his craft with this nifty little thriller. Claire Foy is sensational in this film and its full of delicious twists and turns. The simplistic plot may overstay its welcome slightly by the end and the story goes off the rails a bit but it’s hard to deny the effectiveness of the execution, given it was shot on a phone!

Sneaky Pete: Season One

SYNOPSIS: Contains all 10 episodes on three discs. A con man on the run from a vicious gangster takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of his prison cellmate, Pete. “Reuniting” with Pete’s estranged family, a colourful, dysfunctional group, threatens to drag him into a world just as dangerous as the one he’s trying to escape – and, just maybe, give him a taste of the loving family he’s never had.

Sneaky Pete is a solid show that may have passed you by. It’s a great blend of dark comedy and crime caper with tremendous performances and some very strong writing. A solid start and some effective twists make this one rip-roaring debut season for a highly-promising series.

The Good Place: The Complete Second Season

SYNOPSIS: All 13 episodes from the newly-aired NBC comedy’s sophomore season come to DVD with bonus features including extended episodes and new audio commentaries with cast and crew. From the outrageous mind of Michael Schur, executive producer of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Parks and Recreation, comes the side-splitting second season of the award-winning comedy starring Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) and Ted Danson (Cheers). After Michael’s disastrous attempt to torture Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason for eternity goes belly-up, Eleanor and the gang are rebooted and Michael has revised his plan to keep his torture subjects separate. Only now, Michael’s soul is on the line, as his boss, Shawn, won’t allow another attempt!

SPECIAL FEATURES:
·Extended Episodes
·Audio Commentaries with Creator Michael Schur, Executive Producer Drew Goddard, Producer Megan Amram and Actor Ted Danson
·Gag Reel
·Visual Effects Reel

If you thought the first season was great, just wait until you get a load of the follow-up! The Good Place‘s second season takes the original central premise and turns it on its head. A multi-talented cast and plenty of effective writing – which navigates comedy and poignancy extremely well – make this season a real winner and one that somehow surpasses the first one.

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: July 10

Thor Diakow | posted Tuesday, Jul 10th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

July 10, 2018: A Quiet Place, Blockers, Mosaic, Nella the Princess Knight: Royal Requests.

A Quiet Place

SYNOPSIS: A true cultural phenomenon that transformed the film-going experience for millions of viewers, A QUIET PLACE is a taut and original thriller that follows a family who must navigate their lives in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by sound. Knowing that even the slightest whisper or footstep can bring death, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (John Krasinski) are determined to find a way to protect their children at all costs while they desperately search for a way to fight back

Blu-ray
-Feature film in high definition
-Bonus Content:
Creating the Quiet – Behind the Scenes of A QUIET PLACE
The Sound of Darkness – Editing Sound for A QUIET PLACE
A Reason for Silence – The Visual Effects of A QUIET PLACE
DVD
-Feature film in standard definition

John Krasinski proves to be a directing FORCE in this masterful blend of science-fiction, horror, and sheer silence! A Quiet Place is pure cinema that takes a relatively simple premise and gives it a much-appreciated (and needed) shot in the arm. Relying on striking visuals, stirring performances, and pitch perfect tension-building, this thriller is certainly one of the strongest to come along in years. DO NOT MISS IT.

Blockers

SYNOPSIS: Hysterical and over-the-top parental trio John Cena (Trainwreck, Sisters), Leslie Mann (The Other Woman, This Is 40) and Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors, Suicide Squad) will do anything to foil their daughters’ prom night sex pact. Making her directorial debut, Kay Cannon (writer of the Pitch Perfect series), along with the producers of Neighbors and This Is the End, bring laugh-out-loud moments in the outrageous comedy BLOCKERS. When three parents (Cena, Mann and Barinholtz) stumble upon their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal. BLOCKERS also features teenage newcomers led by rising actress, Kathryn Newton (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Big Little Lies), Geraldine Viswanathan (EMO The Muscial), Gideon Adlon (“American Crime,” “Girl Meets World”), Graham Phillips (“Riverdale,” “The Good Wife”), Miles Robbins (“Mozart in the Jungle”) and Jimmy Bellinger (“The Middle”). Also joining in on the fun are comedic supporting cast members Gary Cole (“Veep,” Office Space), Gina Gershon (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), Hannibal Buress (“Broad City,” Neighbors 2), Colton Dunn (“Key and Peele,” “Superstore”) and June Diane Raphael (“Grace and Frankie,” “New Girl”).

BONUS FEATURES:
•Deleted Scenes
•Gag Reel – The entire cast contributes to these on-set flubs.
•Line-O-Rama – The laughs continue after the take!•Rescue Mission – Being a parent isn’t easy, as Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena make abundantly clear. Hear them and director Kay Cannon discuss parental mistakes and lessons learned. They even top it off with a good old-fashioned car explosion!
•Prom Night – Filmmakers and cast discuss how they achieved the perfect prom look and also share some of their own personal prom stories.
•The History of Sex with Ike Barinholtz – Ike Barinholtz explains the origins of human sexuality and its evolution through time.
•John Cena’s Prom Survival Kit for Parents – John Cena shows off a survival kit filled with items that will help parents survive the most stressful time of year – prom season!
•Chug! Chug! Chug! – The film introduced the world to the concept of “butt chugging.” Hear cast, crew, and butt-chugger John Cena discuss how they handled this standout scene.
•Puke-a-Palooza – One memorable scene involves copious amounts of projectile vomit. See what cast, filmmakers, and crew went through to make sure the puke was as authentic as possible.

The teen sex comedy genre gets a refreshing dose of wit thanks to a snappy script and some delightful performances. Blockers wisely eschews conventional tropes, in favour of some gender-reversal gags, by bringing plenty of modern sensibilities to the comedy world.

Mosaic

SYNOPSIS: From the Oscar® and Emmy® award-winning director and executive producer Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Cinemax’s The Knick), HBO’s groundbreaking six-part limited series Mosaic arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on July 10, 2018. Starring Oscar®-nominee Sharon Stone (Casino), along with Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound), Beau Bridges (The Fabulous Baker Boys), Paul Reubens (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure) and more, the Mosaic Blu-ray and DVD comes with a two-part featurette, “Heart of Homicide.” A twisting tale of passion, intrigue and deception, set against the backdrop of a mountain resort town, Mosaic follows popular children’s book author and illustrator Olivia Lake (Sharon Stone), whose literary success makes her a local celebrity in the tight-knit community.  When Olivia disappears on New Year’s Eve, leaving behind a blood-soaked studio, the town’s suspicions turn to the two new men in her life: handsome, young aspiring graphic artist Joel Hurley (Garrett Hedlund) and charming stranger Eric Neill (Frederick Weller).  The four-year investigation that follows leaves local law enforcement lead by detective Nate Henry (Devin Ratray) and Eric’s sister Petra (Jennifer Ferrin), to unravel the mystery in this captivating series that explores the psychological underpinnings of love and murder in a small town.

Veteran storyteller Steven Soderbergh once again proves to me a master of his craft with this tightly-wound murder-mystery drama. Mosaic creates a remarkable story thanks to a taut and timely script mixed with commanding acting. Technically, the limited series is always engaging thanks to tight editing and the kind of beautiful production design we’ve come to expect from Soderbergh and his collaborators.

Nella the Princess Knight: Royal Requests

SYNOPSIS: Gallop into 8 royally awesome quests…with Nella and her best friends! Together, they’ll help Clod discover his true talent, teach Smelgly the dragon a lesson in friendship, save the town from troublemaking Impkins, and more! Plus, join a quest to track down the rare Bafflin!

This is a great collection of episodes for any young girl or boy in the family to enjoy in a pretty handy little DVD package. The animation in Nella is usually quite vibrant and the visual world created always brims with imagination. Finding quality programming for the little ones can be tricky these days and this series always conveys positive messaging with plenty of takeaway lessons for kids with just enough narrative magic to spare.

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Jun. 5

Thor Diakow | posted Tuesday, Jun 5th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

June 5, 2018: A Wrinkle in Time, Peter Pan: Anniversary Edition, South Park: The Complete 21st Season, Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Complete Series.

A Wrinkle in Time

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SYNOPSIS: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and breakout star Storm Reid take viewers on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery, then behind the scenes through exciting extras! Just in time for summer break, Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” from acclaimed director Ava DuVernay, comes home. The stunning story of an ordinary girl’s extraordinary adventure through time and space offers exhilarating entertainment and positive messages for the whole family—encouraging self-confidence, inclusion and pushing imagination to the next level.

This mind-bending and wildly imaginative sci-fi family flick, based on the acclaimed novel, suffers from some clunky writing but also contains plenty of visually dazzling production design, thought-provoking themes, big concepts, and a stellar cast. It may have some narrative problems but A Wrinkle in Time ultimately provides an intelligent yet accessible – and earnest – adventure for children looking for more than princesses and superheroes.

Peter Pan: Anniversary Edition

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SYNOPSIS: In celebration of its 65th anniversary, Disney’s beloved flight of fantasy, “Peter Pan,” joins the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection, landing in homes. With a little faith, trust and pixie dust, every member of the family will let their imagination soar on this epic adventure to Never Land, sparkling with legendary animation, extraordinary music and both all-new and classic bonus features.

A classic comes home again! Granted, the film was released in 1953 so some of the subject matter and references are a tad ‘dated’ but Peter Pan still represents the golden era of Disney animated films. Loaded with whimsy and charm, relive the unforgettable songs and magical adventure once more plus dive into some pretty cool bonus features.

South Park: The Complete 21st Season

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SYNOPSIS: All ten episodes from South Park’s incredible 21st season are packed into this exclusive 2-disc set. Join Cartman, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle as they take on the opioid epidemic, experiment with water bears, dig into the underbelly of social media and go to war with Canada. Add some Creator Commentary and never-before-seen deleted scenes, and you’ve got a box set you won’t be able to put down.

South Park may have lost some comedic steam and edge over the years but there are still some doozy episodes packed into this season. Always irreverent and perpetually timely, you have to give the guys credit for keeping up with the current news and issues as they lampoon and tackle a whole new set of wacky premises for their 21st outing.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Complete Series

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SYNOPSIS: Go back to the beginning to experience the epic saga of Avatar: The Last Airbender again with this complete collection! From the discovery of Avatar Aang in the frozen iceberg to the mastery of all four elements, from the battle at Ba Sing Se to the final showdown with the Fire Nation, your destiny awaits as you relive all the powerful bending that will blow you away once more!

Don’t miss your chance to own the ultimate collection of this groundbreaking animated series. The Blu-ray quality is pristine, the packaging makes for a worthy addition to anyone’s collection, and the bonus features are quite comprehensive. Check this one out if you’re looking for family fare that is a little less conventional.

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