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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Apr. 24

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Apr 25th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

April 24, 2018: The Post, Paddington 2, The Commuter, Maze Runner: The Death Cure.

The Post


SYNOPSIS: OSCAR ® winners Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks team up for the first time in this thrilling film based on a true story. Determined to uphold the nation’s civil liberties, Katharine Graham (Streep), publisher of The Washinton Post, and hard-nosed editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) join forces to expose a decades-long cover-up. But the two must risk their careers –– and their freedom –– to bring truth to light in this powerful film with a celebrated cast. THE POST home entertainment release features 90 minutes of bonus content, depicting the real life events behind the groundbreaking untold story and the journey to bring it to the big screen.

One of 2017’s most masterful films finally comes home. In addition to an impeccably crafted movie, from veteran filmmaker Steven Spielberg, you can also delve into all the behind-the-scenes goodness with some impressive special features, including several engaging documentaries chronicling the real story behind the saga. The Post brilliantly combines top-notch acting, a strong story/script, rousing score, and vintage direction from Spielberg. It would also make one hell of a double feature paired with All the President’s Men.

Take in these fascinating documentaries about this riveting, important film and the incredible real-life story it’s based on, featuring director Steven Spielberg, stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, reporters and others. Included are insightful interviews, documents from the Pentagon Papers era, and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.
•Layout: Katharine Graham, Ben Bradlee & The Washington Post––**Blu-rayTM only
-Get to know the brave real-life characters at the heart of this story, Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee, who risked everything to tell the truth.
-Editorial: The Cast and Characters of The Post––**Blu-rayTM only
-Learn how, once Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks agreed to make this important film, other world-class actors also signed on!
-The Style Section: Re-Creating an Era
-Visit the 1970s and the Washington Post newsroom in this engaging exploration of how the style of The Pentagon Papers era was created.
-Stop the Presses: Filming The Post
-You’re invited onto the set with Steven Spielberg, his collaborators and his cast as they meticulously craft each cinematic moment.
-Arts and Entertainment: Music for The Post
-Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams celebrate their 44-year partnership in this moving tribute to collaboration and friendship.

Paddington 2


SYNOPSIS: While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington sees a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. Hilarity and adventure ensue when the book is stolen and Paddington and the Browns must unmask the thief.

AMAZING! Seriously, this is basically a flawless family film that’s sure to land on many top 10 lists for 2018. It’s just got so much damn heart, you’ll need the tissues in the first 10 minutes. Paddington 2 is one of the rare sequels that enhances what the first film laid down to become an instant classic. The performances are delightful, the visual effects are stunning, and (perhaps most importantly) the plot is a perfect exercise in effective storytelling. In short, this one is an incredible balance of humour and heart.

•Paddington: The Bear Truth
•How to Make A Marmalade Sandwich
•Music Video with Phoenix Buchanan
•The Magical Mystery of Paddington’s Pop-Up Book
•The Browns and Paddington: The Special Bond
•Knuckles: A Fistful of Marmalade
•The (Once) Famous Faces of Phoenix Buchanan
•Audio Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Paul King
“Paddington 2” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special feature:
•Paddington: The Bear Truth

The Commuter

the commuter

SYNOPSIS: In the midst of his daily commute, insurance salesman Michael Woolrich is contacted by a mysterious stranger who forces him to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger on the train before the last stop.

Liam Neeson collaborates with director Jaume Collet-Serra for a fourth time in this nifty thriller. The dialogue may not be anything to write home about but it doesn’t really matter when Neeson is kicking ass all over the place. The Commuter is cheesy fun that works thanks to an eclectic cast, some thrilling chase sequences, decent (albeit frantic at times) action, and another commendably committed performance from its lead star.

SPECIAL FEATURES (available on 4K, Blu-Ray, Digital HD)
•“End of the Line” featurette
•“Off the Rails” featurette

Maze Runner: The Death Cure


SYNOPSIS: In the epic conclusion to the MAZE RUNNER saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final mission. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all! Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze.

While The Death Cure does boast A LOT of action, some of which is particularly well-staged, it winds up being a rather muted or limp conclusion to a trilogy that started out with so much promise. The acting is solid, highlighted by Dylan O’Brien’s impressive portrayal of the lead character, and the set design is consistently eye-catching. However, the finale’s story falls apart by the end as it gets bogged down by a series of generic chases and clichés which lack a truly satisfying finish.

•Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Wes Ball, T.S. Nowlin, and Joe Hartwick Jr. (BD and Digital Only)
•4 Featurettes: The Final Run” , “Dystopia”, “Allies Reunited”, “A Look Back”, “Going Out on Top” (BD and Digital only)
•Gag Reel (BD and Digital only)
•Visual Effects with Optional Commentary (BD and Digital only)
•Audio Commentary by Wes Ball, T.S. Nowlin and Joe Hartwick Jr. (on DVD, BD, UHD, and digital, but will not be available for boxed clients)
•Gallery (over 300 images; BD and digital)

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Apr. 10

Thor Diakow | posted Tuesday, Apr 10th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

April 10, 2018: Phantom Thread, All the Money in the World, The Greatest Showman, Proud Mary, Vice Principals: The Complete Series.

Phantom Thread


SYNOPSIS: Set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock [Daniel Day-Lewis] and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the centre of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

Sublime, surreal, and exquisite – Phantom Thread marks another cinematic triumph from the brilliant mind of P.T. Anderson. Sumptuous visuals, mixed with a haunting score by Jonny Greenwood, a brilliant script, and sensational yet somehow understated performances (led masterfully by Day-Lewis, Krieps, and Manville) help make this one of 2017’s finest films. You’ll never think of omelettes the same way again!

Special Features:
-Includes a digital copy of Phantom Thread (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)
-Camera Tests
-For the Hungry Boy
-House of Woodcock Fashion Show
-Behind the Scenes Photographs

All the Money in the World


SYNOPSIS: ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother Gail (Michelle Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather (Christopher Plummer) to pay the ransom. When Getty Sr. refuses, Gail attempts to sway him as her son’s captors become increasingly volatile and brutal. With her son’s life in the balance, Gail and Getty’s advisor (Mark Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money. ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD was written by David Scarpa (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Last Castle) and is based on the book by John Pearson. It was produced by Dan Friedkin (The Square), Bradley Thomas (The Square), Quentin Curtis (Legend), Chris Clark (Legend), Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam (The Martian) and Kevin J. Walsh (Manchester by the Sea). Inspired by historical events. Certain scenes, characters and dialogue have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes.

Vintage Ridley Scott direction coupled with an excellent performance from veteran actor Christopher Plummer give All the Money in the World a great sense of dramatic thrust. The film is anchored by a compelling true story (albeit embellished for Hollywood purposes) and may be a tad overshadowed by the behind-the-scenes saga involving original star Kevin Spacey but still makes for an effective watch.

Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Bonus Features:
•8 Deleted Scenes
•“Ridley Scott: Crafting a Historical Thriller” – Director Ridley Scott and the cast and crew discuss the fast-paced and exciting way he filmed this epic movie.
•“Hostages to Fortune: The Cast” – A look into the award-winning actors and their connections to their real-world characters.
•“Recast, Reshot, Reclaimed” – This piece follows the unprecedented recasting of the character J. Paul Getty a little over a month before the film’s theatrical release.

The Greatest Showman


SYNOPSIS: An original musical screenplay brings to life the story of P.T. Barnum and his creation of “the greatest show on earth”. Rising from nothing, P.T. sets out to make a better life for his family. His creativity and drive take him on an fantastic journey beyond what he or anyone else could have imagined. In the end he creates a magical experience that will be enjoyed and celebrated by generations to come.

It may be cheesy and occasionally silly, plus features an overly sentimental script, but The Greatest Showman also showcases Hugh Jackman’s (and a talented supporting cast) talents extremely well. Don’t miss this one if you’re a sucker for lavish movie musicals and love inspiring stories that celebrate human diversity.

Special Features:
-Sing-along version
-Two hours of behind-the-scenes footage
-Music machine jukebox features.

Proud Mary

proud mary

SYNOPSIS: Taraji P. Henson is Mary, a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses during a professional hit. Billy Brown (“How to Get Away with Murder”), Jahi Di’Allo Winston (The Upside), Danny Glover (Shooter, Lethal Weapon) and Neal McDonough (“Legends of Tomorrow”) also star in the film.

Taraji P. Henson deserves better. The actress delivers a commanding performance here, and gets to showcase some action skills, but Proud Mary succumbs to clichéd writing, typical genre tropes, and stilted pacing. If you love Taraji my advice is to stick with Empire.

Digital, Blu-ray & DVD Bonus Materials:
• Three Featurettes:
-“Mary’s World”
-“The Beginning of The End”
-“If Looks Could Kill”
The digital, Blu-ray and DVD releases of PROUD MARY include three behind-the-scene featurettes. “Mary’s World” unlocks some of the mystery behind all things “Mary,” with the cast and filmmakers weighing in on Taraji P. Henson’s kick-ass turn as the assassin nobody sees coming and shows some of the tools of her trade that let everyone know this is one woman you don’t want to accidentally cross. “The Beginning of The End” dives deep into the film’s final set piece with interviews on Mary’s signature battle to sever her ties from her former life once and for all. Lastly, not only is Mary about the best there is in the world of hit people … she looks good doing it. “If Looks Could Kill” explores Mary’s signature look and killer style, from her Maserati to the clothes and wigs that become her metaphorical armor.

Vice Principals: The Complete Series


SYNOPSIS: Becoming the principal isn’t as easy as it looks! Witness the tumultuous high school years of North Jackson as Danny McBride and Walton Goggins star in the “profanely hilarious” (TV Guide) HBO comedy Vice Principals: The Complete Series, available on DVD April 10th. Boasting a strong viewership throughout both seasons, Vice Principals also stars Kimberly Hebert Gregory, Georgia King, Busy Phillips, Shea Whigham and Sheaun McKinney. Created by McBride and Jody Hill (co-creators of HBO’s Eastbound & Down), this “Grade A” (US Weekly) comedy tells the story of a southern suburban high school and the two people who conspire to run it, the vice principals. McBride and Goggins star as Neal Gamby and Lee Russell, a pair of ambitious administrators wagged in an epic power struggle to become school principal. After the long-time principal steps down to tend to his ailing wife, these bitter antagonists are forced to put their mutual disdain aside to form an unholy alliance in order to sabotage the new appointed principal Dr. Belinda Brown (Gregory). As the school year continues and new semesters brings changes, Gamby and Russell learn that the only thing harder than gaining power is holding on to it.

If you’re a fan of Danny McBride (or Walton Goggins for that matter) you might want to check out this show that may have passed you by. The humour is sometimes borderline mean-spirited and the writing doesn’t always hit the mark. However, the short-lived Vice Principals boasts an awesome cast, plenty of moments of hilarity, and even some unexpected poignancy.

Special Features:
-Audio commentaries with cast and crew
-Deleted scenes
-Blooper reels

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: March 27

Thor Diakow | posted Monday, Mar 26th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

March 27, 2018: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Downsizing.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi


SYNOPSIS: Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi—the next action-packed chapter of the Star Wars saga— Earned critical acclaim and the No. 1 spot atop 2017’s list of highest-grossing films. The visually stunning film welcomes the return of original characters, including Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Yoda, R2-D2 and C-3PO and further explores the deepening journey of the saga’s new members, Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren. This release also marks Disney’s first title available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in both Dolby Vision™ HDR and Dolby Atmos® immersive audio, delivering consumers a transformative viewing experience.

Arguably the most controversial – and polarizing – Star Wars film yet, The Last Jedi certainly bears re-examining no matter what you thought the first time you saw it. Writer-director Rian Johnson made some bold decisions when it came to the characters and overall direction of the saga but that is perhaps what makes Episode VIII so special. Thrilling, bold, daring, exciting, and sometimes downright weird, The Last Jedi leaves many unanswered questions and it may work better, nestled in the middle, once this new trilogy is complete. The deleted scenes (14 of them!) and making-of material alone make this Blu-ray a must-have for any Star Wars fan.

Special Features:
Director Rian Johnson takes fans on an intimate journey into the creation of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in a feature-length documentary, explaining his unique interpretation of the Force, detailing the painstaking process of creating Snoke, and deconstructing action-packed scenes from the film such as the epic space battle and the final confrontation. Johnson also reveals two exclusive scenes, featuring Andy Serkis as Snoke prior to his digital makeover, as well as 14 never-before-seen deleted scenes, in addition to his audio commentary.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle


SYNOPSIS: When four high-school kids discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of–Jumanji–they are immediately drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses (in his words) “the top two feet of his body” and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle-aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a badass warrior (Karen Gillan). What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji–you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves–or they’ll be stuck in the game forever.

Many (myself included) rolled their eyes at the prospect of another Jumanji movie but most of us were pleasantly surprised with this rollicking adventure. Welcome to the Jungle does a commendable job of bringing the 90s action-comedy into the modern moviemaking era. It may be silly and frantic at times but the flick also moves at a decent pace, features hilarious performances from a great cast, and is consistently funny. It also works as a fitting tribute to the 1995 original starring the late, great Robin Williams.

Blu-ray Special Features:
-Gag Reel
-“Jumanji, Jumanji” Music Video by Jack Black and Nick Jonas
-Five Featurettes:
-“Journey Through The Jungle: The Making of Jumanji”
-“Meet the Players: A Heroic Cast”
-“Attack of the Rhinos!”
-“Surviving the Jungle: Spectacular Stunts!”
-“Book to Board Game to Big Screen & Beyond! Celebrating The Legacy of Jumanji”

DVD Special Features:
-Gag Reel
-“Jumanji, Jumanji” Music Video by Jack Black and Nick Jonas
-Three Featurettes:
-“Journey Through The Jungle: The Making of Jumanji”
-“Meet the Players: A Heroic Cast”
-“Attack of the Rhinos!”

4K Ultra HD Special Features:
-Feature film presented with Dolby Vision high dynamic range and Dolby Atmos sound
-Also includes the film and special features on the included high-def Blu-ray



SYNOPSIS: When scientists find a way to shrink humans to five inches tall, Paul Safranek (Academy Award winner** Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to ditch their stressed out lives in order to get small and live large in a luxurious downsized community. Filled with life-changing adventures and endless possibilities, Leisureland offers more than riches, as Paul discovers a whole new world and realizes that we are meant for something bigger. “Brilliant and daring” (Shawn Edwards, Fox-TV) and “full of surprises” (Noah Gittell, Nerdist), DOWNSIZING also stars Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz*** and Hong Chau in a breakthrough performance that earned her Golden Globe® and SAG nominations.

This satirical sci-fi drama boasts some fine acting from a great cast but it’s high concept premise can’t quite sustain the entire film. The first half of Downsizing is utterly fascinating, mixed with compelling ideas and striking visual effects. However, as the story progresses it succumbs, in the plot department, to the typical genre clichés. Still, Alexander Payne’s skilled direction and the plot’s intriguing premise keep it afloat just enough to make it worth a watch.

Special Features:
The DOWNSIZING 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs include nearly an hour of fascinating bonus content with six behind-the-scenes featurettes. Join the incredible cast including Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig, plus Academy Award-winning director Alexander Payne to see how his unique vision was brought to life. Take a journey on set and check out the production design and visual effects behind the miniaturized world of Leisureland, and much more!

·Feature film in high definition
·Bonus Content:
-working with Alexander
-the cast
-a visual journey
-a matter of perspective
-that smile
-a global concern



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