It’s that time of year again where I list my favorite Blu-ray releases of the year. When I sit down and jot down ones off the top of my head, then look to my collection for reminders and then realize I have WAYYYYY too many on my list. I then sit and debate and painfully scratch ones I’d like to mention and talk about off my list. Like the other guys before me, if I don’t own it and also haven’t popped it in to watch it, its not making the list. Our goal is to narrow it to a Top 10 list, which is very hard considering the amount of releases in the calendar year, but its doable. But, this year, having reviewed (at the time of writing this piece) 183 Blu-rays and counting this year, I’m going save myself the mental trouble (or take the easy way out) and just get this to a nice 20. And really, there are a lot of titles worthy of making the lists. I rather enjoy seeing ones I may not have held as high up on mine or just missing the cut, show up on other writer’s Top 10s. Continue reading ‘Double Your Fun With Brandon’s Top 10 + 10 Blu-rays Of 2014!’
Anchor Bay Entertainment presents the disturbing new horror thriller THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE, from producer of The Conjuring Peter Safran, available on DVD and Blu-ray™ January 20st, 2015. Written and directed by Chris Sparling (writer of “Buried”) in his directorial debut, THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE stars Rya Khilstedt (“Dexter”), William Mapother (“Lost”,The Grudge), Harry Groener (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”), John Rubenstein (“Angel”) and Sharon Maughn (The Bank Job) and was executive produced by Dan Clifton. THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE Special features include “The Making of The Atticus Institute” and deleted scenes. Continue reading ‘‘The Atticus Institute’ on Blu-ray & DVD January 20th!’
Kat Connors’ perfect homemaker mother, Eve, a beautiful, enigmatic, and haunted woman, disappears – just as Kat is discovering and relishing her newfound sexuality. Having lived for so long in a stifled, emotionally repressed household, she barely registers her mother’s absence and certainly doesn’t blame her doormat of a father, Brock, for the loss. In fact, it’s almost a relief. But as time passes, Kat begins to come to grips with how deeply Eve’s disappearance has affected her. Returning home on a break from college, she finds herself confronted with the truth about her mother’s departure, and her own denial about the events surrounding it.
Given how much they talked/sang about it, I was glad that everyone definitely went into the woods. Two things: I was not at all hip to knowing anything about the original Into the Woods stage musical before this film was announced and I enjoy the musical style of Stephen Sondheim. With that in mind, I can say that, for the most part, I was wrapped up in this story that essentially combines many of the most popular fairy tale characters through a common thread that finds each character heading into the woods at some point. Add to that the style of Sondheim’s musicals, which is a big part of why I love Tim Burton’s Sweeny Tood, and you have a film that is at least great to listen to, let alone watch, as we see a number of gifted performers really delivering in the singing department, within a variety of elaborate sets. Given the heavy emphasis on practical effects, it only leads to more praise I would be happy to give the film, if only I was not let down by the film’s final act.
This year I decided to go big with my list for the best Blu-rays. Kicking off my Top 10 year-end lists for 2014 is an article devoted to what I consider to be the best the Blu-ray format has had to offer for this year. These are films that I have been able to really dig into and see them as easy recommendations for anyone with the greatest home media format currently available. Much like the previous years, I stayed true to some rules; I have to have actually watched the movie on Blu-Ray, recognize it for the quality of their video and audio transfers, delved into the special features, and attempt to keep off any film on this list that may also be on my “Top 10 Films of the Year” list,” which basically means no LEGO Movie. I followed these rules for the sake of keeping my list interesting, along with creating some extra sections to provide even more highlights of the year, so here we go:
Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon stars alongside Corey Stoll and the Lost Boys, a group of real-life Sudanese refugees. Together, against the backdrop of their shared losses, the Lost Boys and these unlikely strangers find humor in the clash of cultures, and heartbreak as well as hope in the challenges of life in America. Along with Witherspoon and Stoll, the film stars real-life Sudanese refugees Arnold Oceng and newcomer Kuoth Wiel; Ger Duany and rapper Emmanuel Jal, who were both former child soldiers and Lost Boys; and Femi Oguns. Rounding out the cast are Sarah Baker as Faith Based Charities volunteer Pamela Lowi; and, as the younger Lost Boys, Peterdeng Mongok, Okwar Jale, Thon Kueth, Deng Ajuet and Keji Jale, all of whom are children of Sudanese refugees. Continue reading ‘The Good Lie (Blu-ray Review)’
I must have had other things on my mind but when I got the text this morning saying that my “Top-10 Blu-rays of 2014″ list was due today I had to get into scramble mode fast! I should preface this list by saying that everything listed is from my own personal collection. If you see something on here that you think should have been on here and wasn’t that’ due to me probably not owning a copy of it. You may see more than one edition listed from foreign territories but I am region free, so when it comes to Blu-rays, there are open borders in this household. Anyways, enough yapping, here are my Top-10 Blu-rays of 2014. Take it away! Continue reading ‘Do You Even Watch Blu-rays Bro?: Gerard’s Top-10 Blu-rays of 2014′
We’ve come to the end of an impressive run of Blu-rays from CBS and Paramount with the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 7. A three year mission, that is. Now, the complete Original Series, Next Generation Series and Enterprise Series are all available on Blu-ray with glorious and stunning high definition picture quality. Seriously, one look at the remastering on these and you’ll be pretty stunned, especially with what they’ve done to The Original Series (We’re talking almost modern quality here). The big question now is whether or not they will go forth and start bringing the “ahead of its time” Deep Space Nine faction to Blu-ray. That is something that is in the air. Apparently CBS and Paramount are really eager and wanting to pull the trigger on it, but its a risk as the show has a big following, but not as much as the first two series. From what I’ve read, the way you can let them know you want it is by speaking with your wallet and purchasing the Blu-rays that are already out there (Petitions do you no good as those are pretty much “false promises” by many who sign). As I close out this fine series, I cross my fingers hoping Deep Space Nine is coming soon, and with the 50th anniversary of Star Trek right around the corner, it’d be the perfect treat. Continue reading ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 7 / All Good Things (Blu-ray Review)’
The second cinematic Middle-Earth trilogy has ended and now we are back where we started in 2002. I am happy for those who are excited to rewatch The Lord of the Rings trilogy, following this ‘defining chapter,’ but I am left with other curiosities. Having never read J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit, I am curious about whether or not audiences who enjoyed what I am aware is a reasonably amusing book for a younger crowd were hoping to see a blood-thirsty final film to close this three-film adaptation. My impression, after first learning of the films that we would be getting was that of an understanding that we’d be dealing with more light-hearted Middle-Earth adventures. I did not get much of that in the previous Hobbit films and certainly not with The Battle of the Five Armies, but that would be less of an issue, if the movie was still good, regardless. Well, it’s not bad, but as much as I like seeing lots of action on display, there is a point where enough is enough, and with this film…well I’m just happy “One Last Time” is part of its mantra.
From what I can tell, Horns is going to be like Jennifer’s Body. It carries that same tone and vibe, but what I’m really getting at is the fact that you’re really going to love it or you’re going to absolutely hate it. I really can’t see anyone stuck in the dead middle here. However, that’s just my initial thoughts after having just watched Horns for the first time. I know and have read many accounts of people praising Horns for daring to be something different and bold. Regardless, I am a huge fan of what Alexandre Aja has brought us in the past so I decided to tackle Horns on Blu-ray this holiday season, if for nothing else than just utter curiosity. Continue reading ‘Horns (Blu-ray Review)’
I had fun with this film. There is more to read, but how much do I really need to say about the third film in a series about Ben Stiller interacting with museum exhibits that come to life at night, thanks to the power of a magic tablet? Okay, so maybe that sentence alone can be deconstructed plenty, given how absurd it may sound, but with that in mind, I cannot say the Night at the Museum franchise has been one I have been overly enthusiastic about, but I can say I’ve enjoyed the sequels more than the original film. They are simple enough family comedies, featuring enough supporting performances going over-the-top in ways that make me smile to recommend them for what they are: harmless fun. Given the sense of finality in this installment, a little extra something is added, but for the most part, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb may not be the sequel everyone has been pining for, but it is an easy watch for the intended audience.
If you don’t come out of your John Wick viewing pumped up, then there’s something wrong with you medically speaking. The film has it all: money, cars (oh the American muscles cars), gangs, guns, girls, violence, puppies, loud rock music and some good old-fashioned hardcore action, something sorely missing from most flicks nowadays because of that watered down PG-13 BS that has saturated our markets to pack in seats for sheer greed only. John Wick really is that breath of fresh air you’ve been looking for. It’s not a perfect film by any means, but it’s up there as one of the best times I had at the theater this year and I’m really looking forward to revisiting it again as soon as humanly possible. And that time is this February folks! Read on… Continue reading ‘John Wick Lets The Good Times Roll on Blu-ray This February!’
The chance to see a director switch gears and focus on something far separated from their previous work can be exciting. As a Tim Burton fan, I do not fault him for making a lot of films that seem right up his alley. That the recent output has not been as compelling as the films in his past is unfortunate, but now we have Big Eyes, which reteams Burton with the writers of Ed Wood, arguably Tim Burton’s best feature film. The resulting product is a smaller scale, more personal story than anything Burton has been involved with in quite some time, featuring two strong, lead performances. It is not an over-the-top fantasy, but a drama that delves into the worth of one’s identity.
A horror sensation returns when the modern, spine-chilling reboot of Más Negro Que La Noche arrives on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and On Demand January 27 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment and Pantelion, the studio behind Instructions Not Included and Cantinflas. Featuring an all-star Latin cast including Zuria Vega, Adriana Louvier, Eréndira Ibarra, Ona Casamiquela and Margarita Sanz, with Josémaría Torre Hütt, Lucia Guilmain, Hernán Mendoza and a special appearance by Miguel Rodarte, the frightening horror story, based on the Mexican cult classic, is centered around four young women trapped in a sinister mansion. Directed by Henry Bedwell (Avisos de Ocasión). When Greta (Vega) inherits her eccentric aunt’s old mansion, she invites three girlfriends to move in with her. Their one requirement is to care for her aunt’s beloved black cat. But when they fail miserably at this one task, they end up awakening the house’s demons, and what was about to be the best summer of their lives quickly escalates to a horrific fight for their lives. Continue reading ‘‘Mas Negro Que La Noche’ on DVD & Digital HD January 27th!’
From best-selling author Stephen King comes Big Driver, arriving on DVD (plus Digital) January 27th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Starring Golden Globe® nominee Maria Bello (A History of Violence), Academy Award® winner Olympia Dukakis (Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Moonstruck, 1987) and Grammy® nominated rocker Joan Jett, Big Driver is a dark story of a young novelist hell-bent on revenge after falling victim to a brutal crime. With a teleplay by Richard Christian Matheson and directed by Mikael Salomon. Tess Thorne, a famous writer, faces a long drive home following a book signing. While driving on a lonely New England road, her tire blows out, leaving her stranded. Relieved when another driver stops and offers assistance, Tess quickly discovers her savior is actually a serial killer who repeatedly assaults her. She is determined to find her rapist and seek revenge, as payback is the only thing holding her together.
Memory on this one is very hazy. It was many many moons and video store trips ago that I saw this. But, what attracted me to this one was that it had Robert England and was from the director of Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (Dwight H. Little). This version of Phantom Of The Opera also employs one of my all time favorite scream queens in Jill Schoelen. You might remember her from stuff like The Stepfather, Cutting Class or Popcorn. One of the best things going for this Phantom Of The Opera is that it does not feature Gerard Butler singing! Scream Factory is putting it out with an all new behind the scenes featurette, which I always really enjoy digging into those. Especially this one will have a lot of the major players brought back. Its coming out on February 17th (Originally planned for January for those who don’t follow Scream Factory), and today we have details and a pre-order available! Continue reading ‘Scream Factory Unveils THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – Coming February 17, 2015!’
Chastain & McAvoy In THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY, This February On Blu-ray (All Cuts Of The Film)
I am not only excited for this release, but for the fact that it includes both versions of the film. Check it: Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company are proud to announce the home entertainment release of Ned Benson’s emotionally thrilling film, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY. Audiences can own this inspired example of “groundbreaking cinema” (Sasha Stone, Awards Daily) on digital download on January 23, 2015before heading to DVD, Blu-Ray™ and On Demand February 3, 2015. Both the DVD and Blu-Ray™ include bonus films, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: HIM and THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: HER, giving the consumer the complete picture of the story as it was intended to be seen.
Unlike recent years, I really didn’t acquire as many Blu-ray titles in 2014 as I typically do in a 12-month calendar. Sure there are Blu-ray titles that I reviewed and held onto, but the others made their way into my collection when they were either priced exceptionally well (mostly horror sets I never grabbed before) or “Day 1″ titles that I just couldn’t live without (X-Men: Days of Future Past and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For instantly come to mind). However, for this TOP 10 list, I’m gonna make things super simple with the following three criteria. The below mentioned Blu-ray titles, whether they be films or television series, were all released in the calendar year of 2014 and are all in my personal collection, but for one reason or another whether it be replay value, presentation, packaging or whatnot, they are my favorite Blu-rays of 2014. Let’s get started! Continue reading ‘TOP 10: Brian White’s Most Obsessed Over Blu-rays of 2014′