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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.

12 things you need to know from Apple’s WWDC keynote announcement

Winston Sih | posted Monday, Jun 4th, 2018

Apple held their annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference in San Jose, Calif. Monday, where a slew of software updates were announced. While there was no new hardware announced at their annual keynote address by CEO Tim Cook and team, developers were left with new features to sink their teeth into.  Here’s a brief recap:

iOS 12

Augmented Reality
The tech giant is doubling down on performance with the latest iteration of its mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad. On iOS 12, the next generation of its augmented reality tool set, ARKit 2, was introduced, alongside a new ‘Measure’ app that enables users to get measurements of real-world items—all without a ruler or tape measure.
APPLE

APPLE

Screen Time/Down Time

Screen Time will offer users a way to see how actively they use their device. Through a central dashboard, insights like device use time, time spent in specific apps, and regular reports sent out means users can see how much time they really spend on Instagram. This will be something that appeals to parents. Down Time will introduce the ability for device managers (like mom and dad) to limit access to specific apps, category of apps, or the entire device from certain periods of the day, or once a set threshold is reached. Sorry, kids!
APPLE

APPLE

Animojis become more personal
Remember those animoji characters announced back in September? They are emojis brought to life using AR technology on iPhone X. The next step brings—ready for it?—Memoji to your repertoire. Users will design their own animated version of themselves—almost like a Bitmoji—and using iPhone’s front-facing camera, you’ll see the character come to life, mimicking your facial expressions, including tongue movements.
Group FaceTime
The video chatting service brings multiple parties together in a group video chat—up to 32 people to be specific. Active speakers’ tiles are made larger and smaller, while quiet participants are shelved. Chats can then utilize the Memoji effects, as well as a whole host of stickers and filters.
APPLE

APPLE

watchOS 5

Automatic workout detection
In the new operating system for Apple Watch, for those who use it to work out, technology including the built-in heart rate sensor will automatically detect when you start a work out. It will alert you, and once accepted will retroactively record the fitness data.  This is powerful for people like me who forget to activate a new workout more often than not.
Walkie-Talkie
Yes, it’s back—and it’s cool again. But it’s the 21st-century watch version. Once you accept the connection with your desired family and friends, you can tap to record a short audio message, and it is transmitted to their device. A fun way to tell your kids, “Dinner’s ready!”
APPLE

APPLE

No more “Hey Siri”
With the improved Siri Apple Watch face, users can now raise to activate Siri, without saying the words “Hey Siri.”
tvOS 12
Dolby Atmos surround sound support
Apple announced they are rolling out improvements to sound quality on Apple TV 4K, with integration of Dolby Atmos surround sound. Users with an enabled sound bar or speaker system will see an improvement, with upgraded media like movies to be pushed through iTunes automatically.

macOS 10.14 Mojave

Your privacy, first
The tech giant announced their new operating system, macOS 10.14 Mojave. The California road trip continues. Apple was quick to highlight privacy is at the forefront of user data, from mail to messages. Surprisingly, on Safari, updates will shut down Facebook tracking and ad targeting, forcing users to opt-in before they can use share/like buttons—the traditional source of ad tracking.
Dark Mode
The audience ooh’d and ahh’d for this one. Dark Mode is coming to macOS 10.14 Mojave. It is an adaptive mode that can dim your user experience to make being productive easier on the eyes at night. This is similar to the ’Night mode’ experience on the Twitter app.
Clean up your desktop with organization tools
New organization tools will help keep the clutter off your desktop. You can finally reclaim your wallpaper! Using ’stacks,’ macOS will sort and group materials by type. Photos, documents, videos, etc. For those who have a method to their madness, there will be a way to customize this function accordingly.
Rebuild of Mac App Store
In an attempt to better integrate Mac applications with its successful App Store ecosystem, Apple has rebuilt their App Store from the ground up, breaking app discovery down by ‘Create,’ ‘Work,’ ‘Play,’ and ‘Develop.’
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