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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Jan. 22

Thor Diakow | posted Friday, Jan 25th, 2019

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

January 22, 2019: First Man, The Hate U Give, Johnny English Strikes Again.

First Man

Based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen and from visionary filmmaker Damien Chazelle, FIRST MAN is the riveting story behind the first manned mission to the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight. A visceral and intimate account told from Armstrong’s perspective, the film explores the triumphs and the cost—on Armstrong, his family, his colleagues and the nation itself—of one of the most dangerous missions in history. The critically acclaimed FIRST MAN comes from legendary executive producer Steven Spielberg (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Schindler’s List) alongside fellow executive producers Adam Merims (Baby Driver, Straight Outta Compton) and Josh Singer (The Post, Spotlight) with a screenplay by Singer allowing audiences to relive the historic achievement in human history that has never been told cinematically. Filled with outstanding performances from an all-star cast led by Gosling and Foy alongside an incredible roster of supporting talent including Kyle Chandler (The Wolf of Wall Street, “Friday Night Lights”), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Mudbound), Corey Stoll (“The Strain,” “House of Cards”), Pablo Schreiber (Skyscraper, “Orange is the New Black”), Christopher Abbot (“The Sinner,” Whiskey Tango Foxtrot),  and Ciarán Hinds (“Game of Thrones,” Tinker Tailor Solider Spy).

First Man is a remarkable cinematic achievement that may become more appreciated as the years go by. The sheer technical aspects, mixed with the meticulous historical details, and stunning emotional journey are masterfully conjured by director Damien Chazelle and the rest of the cast and crew. In addition, the bonus features add some fascinating insights which further the appreciation for this marvelous movie.

Bonus Features:
-Deleted Scenes
-Shooting for the Moon – Take an intimate look at the production of FIRST MAN and the collaborative relationship between Director Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling.
-Preparing to Launch – It’s difficult to believe that FIRST MAN is the first major feature film to tell the journey of Apollo 11. Hear from Director Damien Chazelle and his cast why now is the time to tell the story of this historic event.
-Giant Leap in One Small Step – A heroic character study, FIRST MAN sheds light on all the hard working individuals that got us to the moon and back.
-Mission Gone Wrong – Watch as Ryan Gosling reenacts a test piloting sequence gone terribly wrong. Go behind the scenes to see how he trained to nail the landing, performing the majority of his own stunts.
-Putting You In the Seat – Through the use of innovative technology, most of FIRST MAN was shot in-camera. Take an in-depth look behind the lens of this epic film.
-Recreating the Moon Landing – Filmed in IMAX to show the vastness of the moon, find out all that it took to recreate the most famous moment in NASA history.
-Shooting at NASA – Hear from Ryan Gosling and Director Damien Chazelle on how shooting at NASA brought unparalleled authenticity to FIRST MAN.
-Astronaut Training – Go behind the scenes of the three day boot camp each of the actors underwent prior to filming FIRST MAN.
-Feature Commentary with Director Damien Chazelle, Screenwriter Josh Singer and Editor Tom Cross

The Hate U Give

Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.  Now, facing pressures from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right. THE HATE U GIVE is based on the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller by Angie Thomas and stars Amandla Stenberg as Starr, with Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Issa Rae, KJ Apa, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter, Common and Anthony Mackie.

Topical themes and sensational performances collide in this powerful drama. The film is anchored by the tremendous talents of rising star Amandla Stenberg and grounded by solid work from Russell Hornsby and other veterans. The Hate U Give also benefits from an intelligent script and sensitive direction, resulting in one of the more resonant films of last year.

Special Features:
Extended scenes:
-Maverick and Seven Protecting Their Home
-Seven’s Graduation
-Starting a Conversation
-The Talk
-Code Switching
-The Heart of Georgia
-Thank U Georgia
-Audio Commentary by George Tillman, Jr., Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Angie Thomas and Craig Hayes

Johnny English Strikes Again

Rowan Atkinson returns as the much-loved accidental secret agent in Johnny English Strikes Again. When a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, the country’s only hope is called out of retirement. English’s new mission is his most critical to date: Dive head first into action to find the mastermind hacker. A man with few skills and analogue methods, English must overcome the challenges of modern technology—or his newest mission will become the Secret Service’s last.

Full of mediocre jokes, Johnny English Strikes Again manages to coast on the charms of its main star, alongside a talented ensemble cast, and some decent sight gags. The predictable pratfalls eventually grow tiresome but it does contain sporadic doses of laughter.

Special Features:
-The Comedy Genius of Rowan Atkinson
-A Cast of Characters
-The Johnny English Legacy
-Virtual Reality Johnny English Style
-The Gadgets
-The Cars
-Locations and Design
-Feature Commentary with Director David Kerr

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Dec. 4

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Dec 5th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

December 4, 2018: Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Mission: Impossible 6-Movie Collection, The Nun.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

SYNOPSIS: On a dangerous assignment to recover stolen plutonium, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) chooses to save his friends over the mission, allowing it to fall into the hands of a deadly network of highly skilled operatives intent on destroying civilization. Now, with the world at risk, Ethan and his IMF team (Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson) are forced to work with a hard-hitting CIA agent (Henry Cavill) as they race against time to stop the nuclear threat. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE—FALLOUT also stars Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan and Alec Baldwin.

•Behind the Fallout
Light the Fuse
Top of the World
The Big Swing: Deleted Scene Breakdown
Rendezvous in Paris
The Fall
The Hunt is On
Cliffside Clash
•Deleted Scenes Montage with Optional Commentary by director Christopher McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton
•Foot Chase Musical Breakdown
•The Ultimate Mission
•Theatrical Trailer
•Commentary by director Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise
•Commentary by director Christopher McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton
•Commentary by composer Lorne Balfe
•Isolated Score Track

One of the best films of 2018 – and one of the finest action flicks of the decade – finally comes home. Tom Cruise once again proves his mettle with another set of increasingly mind-boggling stunts (including a rooftop jump that caused a broken ankle!). Full of meticulous twists, Fallout is arguably the best in the series and wraps up many story threads that go all the way back to the third installment. Check out the buffet of bonus features and don’t forget to turn that motion smoothing function off 😉

Mission: Impossible 6-Movie Collection

SYNOPSIS: A “mission” two decades in the making. Tom Cruise is IMF Agent Ethan Hunt, one of the greatest action heroes of all time, in the adrenaline-pumping, suspense-filled blockbuster franchise MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. Filmed in the most exotic locations around the world by the biggest directors in Hollywood, this must-have 6-film set will thrill any action fan. Your mission, should you choose to accept it – experience the most action-packed collection ever!

Why get just one when you can have all six? Just in time for Christmas, this brand new collection would make a perfect gift for that M:I-lover in your life!

The Nun

SYNOPSIS: When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in “The Conjuring 2,” as the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned.

•A New Horror Icon
•Gruesome Planet
•The Conjuring Chronology
•Over 10 minutes of deleted scenes

Fan of The Conjuring movies should relish this return to the terrifying universe. The Nun may be a tad silly at times, in the form of some unintentional comedy, but is held together remarkably well thanks to some atmospheric dread, plenty of jump scares, an effective period setting, and strong work from Demián Bichir and Taissa Farmiga.

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