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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Oct. 16

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Oct 17th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

October 16, 2018: Ant-Man and The Wasp, Skyscraper, Boundaries, The Affair: Season Four.

Ant-Man and The Wasp

SYNOPSIS: In “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” Scott Lang is grappling with the consequences of his choices, as both the Super Hero Ant-Man and a father, in the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War.” As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission to rescue Janet van Dyne from the Quantum Realm. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp, all while attempting to serve house arrest, assist fast talking-Luis (Michael Peña) and the X-con Security crew, and thwart the efforts of a new adversary called Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and her ally Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne).

Blu-ray & Digital:
•Director’s Intro by Peyton Reed – The talented creator behind some of Marvel Studios’ funniest and most charming films will invite home audiences deeper into the world of “Ant-Man and The Wasp.”
•Making-of Featurettes:
-Back in the Ant Suit: Scott Lang – Hero and all-star dad Scott Lang keeps the laughs coming for the audience, cast and crew.
-A Suit of Her Own: The Wasp – Highly trained Hope Van Dyne is now the Wasp. See how some of her craziest stunts and action-packed scenes were brought to life.
-Subatomic Super Heroes: Hank & Janet – Hank Pym’s wife Janet was lost in the quantum realm. Trace the legacy of these characters and the iconic actors who portray them.
-Quantum Perspective: The VFX and Production Design of “Ant-Man and The Wasp” – Explore the movie’s visual effects and production design from a whole new viewpoint, in which every micro and macro detail counts.
•Gag Reel and Outtakes – Audiences are treated to the hilarious quips that did not make the film as well as exclusive outtakes from Stan Lee and Tim Heidecker.
-Gag Reel – Join in the fun with these outtakes from the set.
-Stan Lee Outtakes – Stan Lee tries out a series of hilarious one-liners for the scene in which his car shrinks.
-Tim Heidecker Outtakes – Check out Whale Boat Captain Daniel Goobler and his improvised whale-watching riffs.
•Deleted Scenes (with commentary by Director Peyton Reed)
-Worlds Upon Worlds – As Janet leads Hank through the surreal landscape of the quantum realm, they encounter an intelligent life form.
-Sonny’s on the Trail – On the hunt for Hank Pym and his lab, Sonny Burch and his henchmen check the security camera of a neighborhood bookstore.
Digital Exclusives:
•10 Years of Marvel Studios: The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – See what it takes to bring the MCU to life, and the role concept artists play in bringing Super Heroes from comic book to screen.
•Online Close-Up Magic University – This commercial will inspire you to expand your mind and maximize your full potential!

Ant-Man is back for a breezy follow-up that stands alone as a nice episodic entry sequel and takes full advantage of Evangeline Lily’s tremendous talents. The movie’s villain is a bit undercooked and it sticks pretty close to the comic book movie playbook. However, this rousing (and fun) flick coasts on the charms of Rudd, features more dazzling action – with plenty of eye-popping CGI – plus contains a few surprises. And those closing credits scenes? Yikes.


SYNOPSIS: Fueled with adrenaline and high impact verticality, Skyscraper is led by superstar Dwayne Johnson who plays former FBI Hostage Team leader, U.S. war veteran and amputee Will Sawyer. While on assignment in Hong Kong as an assessor for security in skyscrapers, he comes to find the tallest and safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he has been framed for it. Wanted and on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and save his family who is trapped inside the building… above the fire line.

-Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber–Go behind the scenes with Dwayne Johnson and the rest of  the cast of  Skyscraper.
-Extended Scenes with Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber
-Dwayne Johnson: Embodying a Hero–Go behind the scenes to see what it took for Dwayne Johnson to bring the intense character of  Will Sawyer to life.
-Inspiration–Meet real life amputee and motivational speaker Jeff  Glasbrenner, the inspiration for Dwayne Johnson’s role of  Will Sawyer. See how Jeff’s consultations helped inform Dwayne’s character from day one.
-Opposing Forces–There’s no holding back as the women of  Skyscraperget in on the action. Now, see first-hand what it took for Neve Campbell and Hannah Quinlivan to be fight ready.•
-Friends No More–When Dwayne Johnson and Pablo Schreiber met face to face, they immediately knew what they were up against. Witness first-handthe making of  the intense apartment fight between two former on-screen friends, Will and Ben.•
-Kids in Action–In Skyscrapereveryone gets in on the action, even the Sawyer children. Go on set with Noah Cottrell and McKenna Roberts to discover the moves behind their stunts.
-Pineapple Pitch–Hear first-handfrom Dwayne Johnson how writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber pitched him the idea of  Skyscraper. It may be a little fruitier than you think.
-Feature Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber

Dwayne does his best here but Skyscraper is ultimately a missed opportunity that too closely resembles its far superior predecessor, Die Hard. Sure, it has some decent superficial action, several funny moments, and utilizes Neve Campbell as an action star rather well. However, interesting elements can’t quite hold this flick together, as it eventually gets bogged down by clunky writing, generic villains, and a lot of CG flames.


SYNOPSIS: Laura (Vera Farmiga) is a single mother living in Seattle, who has a constant need to put others and animals before her. When her estranged, criminally-minded father Jack (Christopher Plummer) is kicked out of his retirement home, Laura agrees to drive him down the coast to live with her sister JoJo (Kristen Schaal) in Los Angeles. Along for the ride is her bright but troubled son Henry (Lewis MacDougall), and an assortment of animal charity cases. Without telling Laura, Jack convinces Henry to help him sell off his copious supply of marijuana at every stop of their journey, resulting in unexpected reunions with old friends and family.

•“Setting Boundaries: A Look Behind The Scenes”

Though the writing may be a little messy, Boundaries benefits from a great cast, including a pair of excellent performances from the legendary Christopher Plummer and the always reliable Vera Farmiga. Its clichéd at times but this comedy-drama is beautifully shot and features some stirring acting despite a hodgepodge of themes.

The Affair: Season Four

SYNOPSIS: Long past the secrets that brought them together and tore their lives apart, Noah, Alison, Helen and Cole are on separate journeys with the promise of new relationships and a fresh start. But as the past continues to surface, they question what they’re holding on to as their lives keep crashing back into one another.

Get caught up on the penultimate season of The Affair before it concludes next year. This taut and timely drama continues to be a fascinating character study and an impressive showcase for a formidable cast. While not quite as ‘sexy’ as previous years, the fourth feels somewhat more grounded and less soapy than the sometimes meandering third season. Fans and followers of the hit show should enjoy the palpable twists and turns once again.

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: October 2

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Oct 3rd, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

October 2, 2018: Sicario: Day of the Soldado, The First Purge, Barry: The Complete First Season.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

SYNOPSIS: In the drug war, there are no rules – and as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) calls on the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), whose family was murdered by a cartel kingpin, to escalate the war in nefarious ways. Alejandro kidnaps the kingpin’s daughter to inflame the conflict – but when the girl is seen as collateral damage, her fate will come between the two men as they question everything they are fighting for.


Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Bonus Materials Include:
• “From Film to Franchise: Continuing the Story”
• “An Act of War: Making Sicario: Day of the Soldado”
• “The Assassin and the Soldier: The Cast & Characters”

This thrilling sequel doesn’t have the elegance of Denis Villeneuve’s direction but is still a rousing follow-up that stands on its own. Those craving more development from Brolin and Del Toro’s respective characters should be satisfied with the numerous twists and turns, even though Emily Blunt is certainly missed. Day of the Soldado features loads of intense action and gritty moments that help give it a signature feel, while also respectfully advancing the first film. Here’s hoping for a third one!

The First Purge

SYNOPSIS: When the New Founding Fathers of America look to push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year, a radical sociological theory that vents aggression is tested among an isolated community. But once the violence of oppressors clashes with the rage of the marginalized, the contagion of the experiment explodes and rapidly spreads, leading to a revolution.


•Deleted Scene
•A Radical Experiment – Cast and filmmakers discuss how The First Purge expands on the themes of the franchise, making them more culturally relevant than ever before.
•Bringing the Chaos – Violence is inescapable in The First Purge. Here we explore the elements that ramped up the action in the film and made it the most intense instalment yet.
•The Masks of the First Purge – A good disguise is a key part of a successful Purge night. In this featurette, we take a look at how the masks in the film added to the terror of The First Purge.

Despite some strong performances and decent, visceral action, this origin story runs out of steam midway through but fans of the franchise should give it a passing grade. Others will be rolling their eyes at the heavy-handed writing and hodgepodge of themes.

Barry: The Complete First Season

SYNOPSIS: Barry (Hader) is a depressed, low-rent hitman from the Midwest who falls in love with acting while on a job in Los Angeles. Barry’s handler, Fuches (Stephen Root), hires Barry out to the deeply violent Chechen mob, led by Goran Pazar (Glenn Fleshler), and his right-hand man, NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan). Barry’s target is an aspiring actor who is having an affair with Pazar’s wife. When Barry follows his “mark” into an acting class taught by beloved teacher/guru Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler), he is instantly drawn to the group of acting students, particularly Sally (Sarah Goldber). Barry wants to start a new life in this community of eager hopefuls, but his criminal past won’t let him walk away. Can he find a way to balance the two worlds?


•Invitation to the set: Join Bill Hader and the cast and crew of ‘Barry’ for this inside look at the comedy series.
•Inside the Episodes: 8 featurettes dissecting each episode from Bill Hader, Alec Berg, and more.
•The World of Barry: Watch Henry Winkler and the rest of the cast introduce the ridiculously quirky characters in Barry.

This is a must-see show. Bill Hader has flexed his dark comedic muscles before but really shines here. He’s also backed by a tremendous supporting cast, led by an exceptional role from the great Henry Winkler. Barry is equal parts poignant and hilarious, with a particular emphasis on strong storytelling and snappy dialogue.

Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Sep. 25

Thor Diakow | posted Wednesday, Sep 26th, 2018

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

September 25, 2018: Solo: A Star Wars Story, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Fahrenheit 451.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

SYNOPSIS: Lucasfilm’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” directed by Academy Award–winning filmmaker Ron Howard—the creator of unforgettable films, such as “A Beautiful Mind,” “Apollo 13,” “Parenthood” and “Splash”—took moviegoers on this summer’s wildest ride with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich). The action-packed journey explores Han’s first encounters with future friend and copilot Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and notorious gambler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), as well as his adventure-filled past alongside fellow street thief Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) and career criminal Beckett (Woody Harrelson).

• Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable
Sit down with director Ron Howard and the stars for an intimate and entertaining discussion of the film’s making.
• Team Chewie
See what it takes to bring your favorite Wookiee to life in this lighthearted look behind the scenes.
• Kasdan on Kasdan
Iconic Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and son Jonathan share what it was like to write the movie’s script together.
• Remaking the Millennium Falcon
Track the transformation of the most famous ship in the galaxy, from Lando’s swank and impeccable pride and joy to Han’s stripped-down hot-rod freighter with “special modifications.”
• Escape from Corellia
Get behind the wheel for the making of this high-octane chase through the streets of Corellia.
• The Train Heist
Explore the challenges and thrills of creating this action-packed sequence, including its remote location and spectacular effects.
• Becoming a Droid: L3-37
Meet the newest droid—and the talented actor who helps bring her to life.
• Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso
Take an in-depth tour of the rough-and-tumble bar where strangers mix and gamblers risk all in the legendary card game, Sabaac.
• Into the Maelstrom: The Kessel Run
Join Han and Chewie at the controls of the Millennium Falcon to see how this legendary moment in Star Wars history unfolds.

• Deleted Scenes
o Proxima’s Den
o Corellian Foot Chase
o Han Solo: Imperial Cadet
o The Battle of Mimban: Extended
o Han Versus Chewie: Extended
o Snowball Fight!
o Meet Dryden: Extended
o Coaxium Double-Cross

The Millenium Falcon: From Page to Park – An exclusive look at the history of the most famous ship in the galaxy, its origin and development, and how it will translate in one of the most anticipated expansions in Disneyland’s history.

For all the unfortunate press this movie became mired in, it turned out to be a rather fun ride and a refreshing break from the lengthy drama of other recent Star Wars outings. Solo plays out effectively as a good old fashioned Western heist movie, just one set in another galaxy! It does contain a little too much fan service but the flick also features solid action, dazzling visual effects, and some commanding performances. The Blu-ray bonus material is also extremely thorough and well worth checking out.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

SYNOPSIS: In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, The Orphanage) and executive-produced by Jurassic titans Steven Spielberg and Colin Trevorrow, Owen (Pratt) and Claire (Howard) return to Isla Nublar three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park to rescue any remaining dinosaurs on the island from a catastrophic volcano that threatens to leave dinosaurs extinct once again. Owen is driven to save his lead raptor, Blue, while Claire makes it her mission to preserve the creatures that she has grown to deeply respect. When the lava begins to rain down, they soon discover terrifying new breeds of ferocious dinosaurs along with a conspiracy that could threaten the entire world. Joined by co-stars James Cromwell (Babe, The Green Mile) as wealthy entrepreneur Benjamin Lockwood, Dr. John Hammond’s partner in creating Jurassic Park, as well as Justice Smith (The Get Down) and Daniella Pineda (The Detour) as Franklin Webb and Zia Rodriguez, members of Claire’s Dinosaur Protection Group; this brilliant cast brings an extraordinary story to life as chaos erupts when Owen, Claire, and their team discover a most deadly endgame that could bring the planet back to prehistoric times.


•The KINGDOM Evolves – Filmmakers discuss how the second chapter in the Jurassic World trilogy pushes the franchise in a new direction.
•Return to Hawaii – Cast and crew discuss shooting the film in Hawaii.
•Island Action – A behind-the-scenes look at the bunker scene and runaway gyrosphere sequence.
•Aboard the Arcadia – Cast and crew discuss working with the animatronic dinosaurs.
•Start the Bidding! – A behind-the-scenes look at the auction scene.


•On Set with Chris & Bryce – Go behind the scenes with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.
•Birth of the Indoraptor – An inside look at the genetically designed monstrosity known as the Indoraptor.
•Death by Dino – Go behind the scenes as the Indoraptor faces off with a key character.
•Monster in a Mansion – Director J.A. Bayona discusses how Jurassic Park and Dracula (1979) influenced his approach to directing the monster in a mansion scene.
•Rooftop Showdown – A look at the terrifying showdown on the rooftop of the Lockwood Mansion.
•Malcolm’s Return – Behind the scenes with the one & only Jeff Goldblum.
•VFX Evolved – The team at ILM discuss their cutting-edge approach to creating dinosaurs.
•FALLEN KINGDOM: The Conversation – Filmmakers and cast sit down for a candid and casual conversation about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
•A Song for the KINGDOM – Justice Smith sings for the cast and crew of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
•Chris Pratt’s Jurassic Journals
•JURASSIC Then and Now – Key moments from the Jurassic saga that tie into Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

While Fallen Kingdom contains its fair share of dino carnage and superb visual and special effects, it’s still a ridiculous B-movie with paper-thin characters that doesn’t further the franchise at all. The once lofty series has now been reduced to parody; do yourself a favour and just watch the classic original again.

Fahrenheit 451

SYNOPSIS: Imagine a society where books are outlawed and “firemen” have been tasked to burn and destroy any remaining literature, erasing history right before our eyes. Based on Ray Bradbury’s classic sci-fi novel of the same name, the thought-provoking parable depicts a frighteningly plausible future where media is an opiate, history is purged and dissent is outlawed. The dystopian thriller centers on Montag (Jordan), a young fireman who forsakes his world and struggles to regain his humanity as he battles his mentor, fire captain Beatty (Shannon). Directed by Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes), Fahrenheit 451 also stars Sofia Boutella (The Mummy), Lily Singh (Bad Moms), Laura Harrier (Spider-Man Homecoming), Martin Donovan (Ant-Man), and more. Also executive produced by Sarah Green, Ramin Bahrani, Michael B. Jordan, Alan Gasmer, and Peter Jaysen.


-Behind the Fire: Take a deeper look into Fahrenheit 451 as Michael B. Jordan, Michael Shannon, Sofia Boutella, and director Ramin Bahrani discuss Guy Montag’s character evolution and relationships.

The Ray Bradbury dystopian sci-fi classic gets another film adaptation. Although this new treatment boasts slick production design and some big name talent, it still results in a clunky and plodding misfire. The original themes are vaguely present but poorly handled due to heavy-handed writing. Despite some decent moments and a strong visual aesthetic, this new version may have been better served stretched out over a series.

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