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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: June 18

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Jun 19th, 2019

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

June 18, 2019: Captain Marvel, Us, Wonder Park.

Captain Marvel

SYNOPSIS: Set in the 1990s, “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that introduces the MCU’s first stand-alone, female-franchise title character—Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. When we first meet Danvers, she already possesses her superhero powers, having left her earthly life behind and become a member of an intergalactic elite Kree military team called Starforce, led by their enigmatic commander, Yon-Rogg. But after Danvers has trained and worked with the Starforce team, and become a valued member, she finds herself back on Earth with new questions about her past. While on Earth she quickly lands on the radar of Nick Fury, and they must work together against a formidable enemy in the form of the Skrulls—the notorious Marvel bad guys made even more dangerous by their shape-shifting abilities—and their leader, Talos, who is spearheading a Skrull invasion of Earth.

Get a healthy dose of ’90s nostalgia with this empowering prequel! Brie Larson does commendable work and brings the fierceness as Carol Danvers in this origin story adventure. Captain Marvel may not reach the lofty emotional heights of other recent Marvel movies but it works as a rousing standalone, features dazzling effects, an inspiring message, earworm-inducing songs, and one truly great performance from the always-reliable Ben Mendelsohn.

BONUS MATERIALS:
•Alternate Movie Versions
-Movie with Intro – An introduction by directors/screenwriters Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.
-Movie with Commentary – Commentary by directors/screenwriters Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.
-Becoming a Super Hero – Follow Brie Larson’s journey as she joins the MCU, and see what it takes to be a Marvel Super Hero in every sense of the word.
-Big Hero Moment – Explore how impactful Captain Marvel’s entrance into the MCU is, and how she inspires audiences around the world.
-The Origin of Nick Fury – Witness some of the MCU’s most significant events through Nick Fury’s eyes, and see how his influence helped shape the MCU.
-The Dream Team – Discover why Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck are the perfect pair to direct Marvel Studios’ most powerful hero.
-The Skrulls and the Kree – Take a deeper look into the Skrulls and the Kree, their ongoing conflict, and the importance of shifting perspectives in the film.
-Hiss-sterical Cat-titude – The cast and crew dish on working with Goose and the raw talent it takes to portray such a complex character on-screen.
•Deleted Scenes
•Gag Reel – The fate of the universe hangs in the balance as the cast battles props, flubs and Flerkens in these outtakes from the set.

Us

SYNOPSIS: Set along the North California coastline, Adelaide Wilson (Nyong’o) reluctantly returns to her beachside childhood home with her family and finds that she is haunted by unresolved trauma from her past along with a string of eerie coincidences. As darkness falls after a tense day at the beach, the Wilsons discover four figures standing in their driveway. They soon realize this is only the beginning of their troubles as they find that the four figures are terrifying and uncanny opponents: doppelgängers of themselves.

Mastermind Jordan Peele has done it again; Us takes aim at everything from doppelgängers to government conspiracies! Following up from his wildly successful Get Out, the filmmaker returns to horror but this time with more twists and certainly more on his mind. The brilliant duality of Us is that it works as a straight-up home invasion thriller but, upon closer inspection, offers numerous nods to genre classics and metaphors examining America’s political paranoia, plus wrestles with the complex notion of battling your own personal demons. This one is definitely worth multiple viewings and the extremely comprehensive bonus features will answer many lingering questions.

BONUS FEATURES:
•Scene Explorations – The making of three iconic scenes from the film including the Tyler house massacre, Jason’s abduction and Adelaide’s underground flashback.
-Seven Second Massacre
-It’s a Trap
-I Just Want My Little Girl Back
•The Duality of US – Jordan Peele goes in-depth on some of the key themes and imagery in US – including Doppelgängers, Hands Across America, The Nutcracker dance scene, rabbits and the infamous 11:11 coincidence.
•The Monsters Within US – Examine how the great cast were able to find their characters, whether they were playing one of the Wilsons or their sinister doppelgängers.
•Tethered Together: Making US Twice – Making of a movie is hard. Making a movie where all the main cast play dual roles can be downright mind-bending. In this piece, filmmakers, cast, and crew discuss some of the technical challenges to making the film, as well as some of the design choices for the characters.
•Redefining a Genre: Jordan Peele’s Brand of Horror – In the space of two films, Jordan Peele has set himself apart as an invaluable artistic voice. Hear cast and filmmakers highlight what makes him so unique, as well as Jordan’s own thoughts on his inspirations and the relationship between horror and comedy.
•Becoming Red – Using behind-the-scenes footage from between takes, we take a closer look at Lupita Nyong’o’s intense and mesmerizing performance as “Red.”
•As Above, So Below: Grand Pas de Deux – An extended version of the dance sequence from the film, cutting between adolescent Adelaide at her recital to Red in the Underpass.
•Deleted Scenes

Wonder Park

SYNOPSIS: WONDER PARK is the story of a young girl named June with a big imagination who makes an incredible discovery—the amusement park of her dreams has come to life. Filled with the world’s wildest rides operated by fun-loving animals, the excitement never ends. But when trouble hits, June and her misfit team of furry friends begin an unforgettable journey to save the park. Action-packed and brimming with laughs, WONDER PARK is a ride the whole family will love.

Big on visuals but short on story, Wonder Park is sure to entertain the very young ones but the adults may find this one a tad tedious. While it may not cover any new narrative ground, the inventive imagination and vibrant animation give this animated family flick a passing grade.

BONUS FEATURES:
-Gus Yodeling – Deleted Scene
-The Wonder Chimp Channel
-The Pi Song Sing-Along
-Making Noises (It’s Actually a Job?!!)
-June’s Guide to Wonderland
-June’s Welcoming Crew
-Boardwalk Caricatures:
•Drawing Boomer
•Drawing the Wonder Chimp Pirate
•Drawing the Wonder Chimp Princess

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: May 28

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

May 28, 2019: Isn’t It Romantic, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, South Park: Season 22.

Isn’t It Romantic

SYNOPSIS: New York City architect Natalie (Rebel Wilson) works hard to get noticed at her job but is more likely to be asked to deliver coffee and bagels than to design the city’s next skyscraper. And if things weren’t bad enough, Natalie, a lifelong cynic when it comes to love, has an encounter with a mugger that renders her unconscious, waking to discover that her life has suddenly become her worst nightmare—a romantic comedy—and she is the leading lady.

Rebel shines in this somewhat meta-inspired and unconventional romantic comedy that still manages to tick the appropriate genre boxes, while feeling fresh at the same time. Her comic timing is spot-on and an endearing cast works extremely well together. While the outcome of Isn’t It Romantic may be a tad predictable, the movie still provides plenty of laughs and carries an empowering message about self-love.

BONUS FEATURES:
“Isn’t It Romantic” Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:
-I Wanna Dance!
-Deleted scenes
“Isn’t It Romantic” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
-I Wanna Dance!

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

SYNOPSIS: What began as an unlikely friendship between an adolescent Viking and a fearsome Night Fury dragon has become an epic trilogy spanning their lives. In this next installment, the heroic pair finally fulfill their destinies; Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) as the village chief and ruler of Berk alongside Astrid (America Ferrera), and Toothless as the dragon leader of his own kind. As the Vikings and dragons of Berk face their darkest threat yet, the evil Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), and Toothless discovers his soulmate, Light Fury – the bonds of Hiccup and Toothless’ friendship are tested like never before.

Fans of the franchise could not have asked for a better end to the series. Full of heart, laughs, imagination, thrilling action, and dazzling animation (once again), the third installment in the Dragon series is an admirable character examination and never forgets that sense of adventure that made the first two movies so much fun. There won’t be a dry eye in the household during the final few scenes! The lengthy bonus features also make this one worth adding to the home viewing collection.

BONUS FEATURES:
-Alternate Opening with Intro by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois
-DreamWorks Shorts:
-Bilby – Directed by Liron Topaz, Pierre Perifel and JP Sans; produced by Jeff Hermann and Kelly Cooney Cilella. Threatened daily by the deadly residents and harsh environment of Australia’s Outback, a lonesome Bilby finds himself an unwitting protector, and unexpected friend, to a helpless (and quite adorable) baby bird.
-Bird Karma – Directed by William Salazar and produced by Jeff Hermann, the beautifully artistic 2D short film Bird Karma tells a delightfully lyrical and fully unexpected tale of a long-legged bird’s journey of blissful joy, inescapable greed and the accidental discovery of the consequences when too much is not enough.
-Deleted Scenes with Intros by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois
-How to Voice Your Viking – Go behind the scenes with the cast as they record the Viking voices of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD.
-Creating an Epic Dragon Tale – Discover what filmmakers learned while crafting this epic dragon trilogy.
-How I Learned from Dragons – The diverse cast of characters reveal why they think the dragon trilogy is so special.
-Brave Wilderness Presents: Nature + Dragons = Awesome – Join Coyote Peterson, host of Brave Wilderness, as he explores what it takes to make the dragon’s characters come to life.
-The Dragon Sheep Chronicles – Protecting sheep from the dragons of Berk is no easy task but Hiccup has a plan.
-A Deck of Dragons – Observe four new dragons as Fishlegs unveils his original deck of dragon trading cards.
-Growing Up with Dragons – After years of being with these characters, hear the lasting effects of the dragon trilogy from the filmmaker’s perspective.
-The Evolving Character Design of Dragons – Cast and crew reveal what it was like to evolve not only the characters of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, but themselves as well.
-Drawing Dragons – Get a glimpse of what goes in to designing a DreamWorks dragon.
-Epic Villain – A different kind of villain, Grimmel brings great challenges to the village of Berk. Go behind the scenes as filmmakers breakdown this epic character.
-Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds – Hold on tight as Astrid sums up the whole dragon trilogy in a legendary 60 seconds.
-Welcome to New Berk – With Hiccup as your guide, get a firsthand look at the updated Viking village of New Berk.
-Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Dean DeBlois, Producer Bradford Lewis and Head of Character Animation Simon Otto

South Park: Season 22

SYNOPSIS: Join Cartman, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle as they have a memorable Halloween, get super cereal with Al Gore, and try to win the top prize in the town’s bike parade in the enduringly popular series’ incredible 22nd season. Own all 10 episodes from the latest season on either Blu-ray or DVD.

South Park pulls no punches with this sometimes incendiary, often inflammatory, and always hilarious season. Parker and Stone have a lot to say about current events and they’re not afraid to show it. From school shootings to PC politics, there is no topic that’s too sensitive. Highlights from this season include a Simpsons cameo, the return of ManBearPig, and a classic Randy episode that sees him starting a marijuana farm.

BONUS FEATURES:
Each two-disc set also includes deleted scenes and mini-commentaries on all episodes by “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The Blu-ray set additionally includes #SocialCommentary on all episodes.

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