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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Apr. 2

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Apr 3rd, 2019

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

April 2, 2019: Bumblebee, The Mule, Archer: Danger Island.

Bumblebee

SYNOPSIS: CYBERTRON has fallen. When OPTIMUS PRIME sends BUMBLEBEE to defend Earth, his journey to become a hero begins. Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld), a teenager trying to find her place in the world, discovers and repairs the battle-scarred robot, who’s disguised as a Volkswagen Beetle. As the DECEPTICONS hunt down the surviving AUTOBOTS with the help of a secret agency led by Agent Burns (John Cena), BUMBLEBEE and Charlie team up to protect the world.

This is, hands down, the best Transformers movie yet, and I know the bar is pretty low these days. I could honestly watch the opening sequence on a continuous loop for a million years. Bumblebee wisely dispenses with the clanking, clattering cacophony of mayhem, that has plagued recent outings, in favour of a simpler story that brings some genuine emotion and ’80s nostalgia back to the franchise. The effects and action are dazzling as always but it’s Hailee Steinfeld (who rose to fame in 2010’s True Grit) who truly anchors the movie and makes us believe in the power of robo-friendship!

BONUS FEATURES:
·Sector 7 Archive
-Agent Burns: Welcome to Sector 7
-Sector 7 Adventures: The Battle at Half Dome (All-New Motion Comic)
·Deleted and Extended Scenes
·Outtakes
·Bee Vision: The Transformers robots of Cybertron
·Bringing Bumblebee to the Big Screen
-The Story of Bumblebee
-The Stars Align
-Bumblebee Goes Back to G1
-Back to the Beetle
-California Cruisin’ Down Memory Lane

The Mule

SYNOPSIS: Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood) is a man in his 80s who is broke, alone and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive. Easy enough, but, unbeknownst to Earl, he’s just signed on as a drug courier for the cartel. He does well—so well, in fact, that his cargo increases exponentially, and Earl is assigned a handler. But he isn’t the only one keeping tabs on Earl; the mysterious new drug mule has also hit the radar of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper). And even as his money problems become a thing of the past, Earl’s past mistakes start to weigh heavily on him, and it’s uncertain if he’ll have time to right those wrongs before law enforcement, or the cartel’s enforcers, catch up to him.

While the pacing is stilted at times and the writing occasionally clunky, The Mule does provide another admirable showcase for the 88-year-old Eastwood as a seasoned director and actor. Despite an inconsistent tone, the film features a solid cast, a few surprises, and still highlights the craft that the veteran Eastwood brings to his lengthy body of work.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Blu-ray Combo
•Nobody Runs Forever: The Making of The Mule
•Toby Keith “Don’t Let the Old Man In” Music Video
DVD
•Nobody Runs Forever: The Making of The Mule

Archer: Danger Island

SYNOPSIS: Get ready for a change of scenery with the semi-functioning alcoholic seaplane pilot, Sterling Archer, a lush on the lush South Pacific island of Mitimotu in 1939. While the rest of the world is concerned about the impending Second World War, Archer is only concerned with who’s buying his next drink. Along with his trusty co-pilot Pam, Archer must navigate quicksand, cannibals, super-intelligent monkeys, poison darts, pirates, and did we mention quicksand? Enter the mysterious and deadly world of Archer: Danger Island when all 8 episodes from Season 9.

The gang’s all back and the tropical location lends itself to some pretty damn hilarious scenarios. Archer fans should delight in the madcap escapades of the ninth season as the team deals with another set of laugh-out-loud predicaments, missions, and villains.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
•Inside look: Making Archer
•Crackers’ Costumed Playings

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Aquaman

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Mar 27th, 2019

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

March 26, 2019: Aquaman.

Aquaman

SYNOPSIS: The Atlantean child Orin, son to the Queen of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman), was abandoned as an infant and left to die; however, he was rescued and raised by a kindly lighthouse keeper. The keeper (Temuera Morrison) adopted the boy as his own son, renaming him Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa). Able to survive the harshest depths of the ocean and on the surface world above, the child of two worlds grew to be a hero to both eventually returning to Atlantis to become their King in addition to being a founding member of the Justice League as Aquaman!

Take a deep dive into the high seas with this thrilling adventure that is brimming with spectacular action and loaded with laughs. Director James Wan, and his entire production team, go ALL IN for this wild ride that represents one of Warner/D.C.’s finest superhero flicks yet. Aquaman is visually vibrant world-building at its best and the Blu-ray is jammed with fascinating features that break down the production process in intricate detail. DON’T MISS IT!

SPECIAL FEATURES:
“Aquaman” 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Special Edition contain the following special features:
•Going Deep Into the World of Aquaman
•Becoming Aquaman
•James Wan: World Builder
•Aqua Tech
•Atlantis Warfare
•The Dark Depths of Black Manta
•Heroines of Atlantis
•Villaneous Training
•Kingdoms of the Seven Seas
•Creating Undersea Creatures
•A Match Made in Atlantis
•Scene Study Breakdowns
•Exclusive Sneak Peek of Shazam!

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Mar. 19

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Mar 20th, 2019

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

March 19, 2019: Mary Poppins Returns, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.

Mary Poppins Returns

SYNOPSIS: In “Mary Poppins Returns,” Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) — just a child when Mary Poppins first visited 17 Cherry Tree Lane — is now a grown man raising his children Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) with help from his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer). Times are tough in Depression-era London but the winds begin to change and the enigmatic governess, whose unique magical skills can turn any ordinary task into a fantastic adventure, enters the lives of the Banks family once again, having not aged a single day. Teaming up with an old friend, Jack, they take the Banks children on a series of whimsical adventures, encountering colourful characters like Mary’s eccentric Cousin Topsy (Streep), Jack’s lovable band of leeries and bank executives William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth) and Mr. Dawes Jr. (Van Dyke) — bringing life, love and laughter back into the home.

While a sequel to the treasured 1964 classic was always going to live in the shadow of its predecessor, this follow-up is an excellent accompaniment to the Julie Andrews version. The movie is full of whimsy and wonder thanks to some dazzling direction from veteran Rob Marshall and one incredible performance from Emily Blunt. The film is also jammed with delightful tunes, foot-stomping dance numbers, and a refreshing mix of old school animation. Mary Poppins Returns is sheer magic from start to finish and more than worthy of its place alongside the original.

BONUS FEATURES:
BLU-RAY & 4K ULTRA HD™:
•Deleted Song—“The Anthropomorphic Zoo” – In this early song sequence, Mary Poppins and the children visit a very special zoo where the humans and animals trade places.
•The Practically Perfect Making of “Mary Poppins Returns” – Join filmmakers and cast on an amazing journey to embrace the legacy of the original film while making a fresh modern sequel.
-Introduction – Filmmakers and cast remember the first Mary Poppins movie and share the thrill of working on “Mary Poppins Returns.”
-“(Underneath the) Lovely London Sky” – Discover how the team mined PL Travers’ books for a fresh perspective on a much-loved character. Plus, meet the Banks children!
-“Can You Imagine That?” – Be on location for Mary’s iconic entrance from the sky, and explore the movie’s original songs, inspired by the Sherman Brothers.
-“Nowhere to Go but Up” – Experience being on set with the legendary Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury, and celebrate the joy of choosing the right balloon!
•Seeing Things From a Different Point of View”: The Musical Numbers of “Mary Poppins Returns” – Go behind the scenes and experience the film’s production numbers from a new angle.
-“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” – Led by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the cast performs the film’s biggest production number, with dancing lamplighters, bicyclists and more!
-“The Royal Doulton Music Hall” / “A Cover Is Not the Book” – Find out what it takes to create two musical extravaganzas inside an animated world, highlighted by dancing animated penguins!
-“Turning Turtle” – Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy Turvy, played by Meryl Streep, has an unusual house that turns this musical number upside-down.
-“Can You Imagine That?” – Dive under the bubbles with the cast and crew to see how this exuberant number was created.
•Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns – Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert and Mr. Dawes Sr. in the first film, returns after 54 years to Cherry Tree Lane as Mr. Dawes Jr.
•Practically Perfect Bloopers – There’s nowhere to go but up with the cast and crew in this lighthearted collection of flubs, goofs and prop fails!
•Deleted Scenes
-Leaving Topsy’s – After their visit to Cousin Topsy, Mary, Jack and the children pause to take a look back.
-“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” – The leeries light up the screen in this extended clip from the movie’s biggest musical production.
•Play Movie in Sing-Along Mode – Sing along with all your favorite songs as you watch the movie.

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE:
•Play Movie with Audio Commentary – Watch the film with commentary by director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

SYNOPSIS: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. “Spider-Man(TM): Into the Spider-Verse” introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.

The Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature comes home and it’s loaded with delectable bonus features. The achievement of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is staggering for a number of reasons. The animation is simply breathtaking, the action is incredibly well-staged, the vocal talents are so effective, the juggling of the ‘multi-verse’ plotlines is masterfully handled, and the core themes of the story examine some profound social issues and topics, which elevate this film beyond just being another animated superhero flick. Don’t miss this instant classic!

BONUS MATERIALS
•We Are Spider-Man: Exploring and celebrating one of the key themes of the film, We Are Spider-Man takes a deep dive into the diversity of the characters and aspirational core that any person from any gender or cultural background can wear the mask.
•Spider-Verse: A New Dimension: With a stunning visual style and state of the art animation designed to take the viewer into the pages of a comic, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is not only a love letter to comic books but a groundbreaking take on the super hero genre. Hear from the artists and filmmakers who pushed the boundaries of the artform as they discuss their journey.
•The Ultimate Comics Cast: Enjoy this showcase of all of the fan favorite characters featured in the Spider-Verse and the spectacular cast who were chosen to bring them to life.
•A Tribute to Stan Lee & Steve Ditko: Celebrate the amazing legacy and powerful spirit of the creators of Spider-Man.
•The Spider-Verse Super-Fan Easter Egg Challenge: The Spider-Verse is loaded with Easter Eggs, from cameos to comics references. Fans are challenged to find them all!
•Designing Cinematic Comics Characters: A breakdown of all aspects of the character design including costume, movement in animation, and distinct powers for each character.
-Heroes & Hams: Meet the amazing Spider-people of the Spider-Verse.
-Scorpions and Scoundrels: Explore the classic villains who wreak havoc on the Spider-Verse.
•Alternate Universe Mode: In this all-new viewing experience, discover alternate scenes, plotlines, characters, and more with the filmmakers as your guide.
•2 Lyric Videos
-“Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee
-“Familia”  by Nicki Minaj & Anuel AA (feat. Bantu)
•All-New Original Short “Spider-Ham: Caught In a Ham” It’s another normal day for Peter Porker, a.k.a. the Spectacular Spider-Ham, fighting bad guys and loving hot dogs, until a mysterious portal starts messing with the very fabric of his cartoon reality.

4K Ultra HD Disc Includes:
•Feature film presented with High Dynamic Range and Dolby Atmos sound
•Also includes the film and special features on the included high-def Blu-ray

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Mar. 12

Thor Diakow | posted Tuesday, Mar 12th, 2019

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

March 12, 2019: Green Book, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Green Book

Academy Award nominee for his roles in Captain Fantastic and Eastern Promises, Viggo Mortensen, and Academy Award winner for Moonlight, Mahershala Ali, star in Green Book, a film inspired by a true friendship that transcended race, class, and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line. When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on The Green Book to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.

For starters, this movie won three Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Ali), Best Original Screenplay) so it should probably be seen for that reason alone! Say what you will about the film’s simplistic handling of complex themes, but Green Book is a highly engaging buddy comedy-drama with stellar performances and some strongly-edited narrative momentum. While it doesn’t cover a lot of new ground when it comes to racial examination in cinema, Green Book remains an admirable slice of history wrapped up in an entertaining and accessible little package.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
•Virtuoso Performances– Go behind the scenes with Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali as they discuss their characters and the lengths they went to accurately portray them.
•An Unforgettable Friendship – Cast and filmmakers discuss the friendship between Don Shirley and Tony Lip.
•Going Beyond the Green Book – Filmmakers and cast discuss the significance of The Green Book.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

It’s definitely dense – crammed with exposition and complex character history – but the second installment in the Fantastic Beasts series is still full of wonder and whimsy plus marks a more mature approach to storytelling in the Wizarding World, as the original fans begin to grow up. The visual effects are exceptional and director David Yates (a Potter veteran behind the camera) once again brings his technical mastery to the forefront. While it may stumble a bit in the storytelling department, The Crimes of Grindelwald ultimately rewards the patience of franchise fans and leaves plenty of intrigue for what’s to come.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
•J.K. Rowling: A World Revealed
•Wizards on Screen, Fans in Real Life
•Distinctly Dumbledore
•Unlocking Scene Secrets: The Return to Hogwarts
•Unlocking Scene Secrets: Newt’s Menagerie
•Unlocking Scene Secrets: Credence, Nagini and the Circus Arcanus
•Unlocking Scene Secrets: Paris and Place Cachée
•Unlocking Scene Secrets: Ministere des Affaires Magiques
•Unlocking Scene Secrets: Grindelwald’s Escape and the Ring of Fire
•Deleted Scenes

The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Rise up! In Nickelodeon’s newest animated series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Raph, Leo, Mikey and Donnie are becoming the heroes they are destined to be… But nothing can prepare them for what they face on – and below – the streets of NYC where they discover a hidden mystical world and wield brand-new, powered-up weapons. The Turtles face formidable foes, battle bizarre mutants, wrestle a heavyweight champ, and still make time for the best pizza in the city!

This is a snazzy new series for the TMNT lover in your life that is full of dynamic action, vibrant animation, great world-building, and crazy creatures. It’s a worthy reboot that brings some new flavour to the beloved property.

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