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I, Brandon’s Top 10 Films Of 2017!

No matter what the final box office tally winds up being, that doesn’t matter in terms of the quality of films that 2017 delivered.  While for a long time it seemed like it only had one true Best Picture frontrunner, that’s a whole different bag because there are a lot of awesome films we know they won’t let sniff a nomination. And, that whole Oscar thing seemed to fill out quite easily in the final months of the year. In terms of just speaking genre, specifically the falsely loathed super hero one, it was a pretty outstanding year. Aside from Justice League (Which I found to be a mess, but fun enough regardless), every output felt top tier, with Marvel seeming to have a welcomed comedic approach to its movies this year. There will be focus on box office misses, but that doesn’t make War For The Planet of the Apes any less incredible or Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets the best summer blockbuster film you didn’t go and see. Sure, there were turds and if you’re paying attention in this, you’ll know my bottom 5. 2017 produced a lot of greatness and this list was DAMN hard to whittle down to 10.  It pained me to cut some favorites, but my next would be all films I loved quite a bit (Oddly, I’ll probably watch Happy Death Day as the years go by more often than some of these).  But, anywho…here’s my 10. Continue reading ‘I, Brandon’s Top 10 Films Of 2017!’

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Aaron’s Exceptional Top Ten Films of 2017

We have reached another end of a year in film, and I’m happy to look back on what I saw. I had quite a bit of fun putting together this final list of movies, as there were strong contenders for the top ten, but plenty I still wanted to acknowledge as well. Having watched over 180 films theatrically and via Netflix and Amazon Prime this year, it can be a bit much to narrow it all down, but here we are. Some films grew on me over time, and others moved down the list a bit. Still, the following list goes over the broad grouping of movies that resonated with me in some way, which I’m happy to share. So here we go with my picks for the Top Ten Films of 2017 and the ranked runner-ups. (Reviews are linked when available and, as per usual, I’ve also linked lots of Easter Eggs in all of the pictures, so enjoy that as well.)

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Gregg’s Fantastic Film Round-Up of 2017

Without question, this is my favorite article to write for Why So Blu. All of us WSB staffers start keeping track of the films we see from the moment January arrives. As the year progresses, we delete, we add and we rearrange our lists until late December arrives when it’s time to finally see what’s behind the curtain. Now for the inundated, these lists are not reflections of the most artistic films of the year. Each one is a reflection of that writer’s personal favorites from that year. Don’t flip out in the comments section if you were to see something like Rambo higher than The Sound of Music. Again, favorites, people. We’re not giving out Oscar nominations here (though some of the films we discuss are very Oscar-worthy). Anyway, it’s time to pull back that curtain.

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Gerard’s Top-10 Blu-rays of 2017

I can’t believe it has been another year of rocking and rolling here at Why So Blu?. Once again, it is my Top-10 Blu-ray list of the year — some may or may not come as a surprise but most should be no-brainers for the most part. I do not know if I will be crossing streams with my fellow WSB writers, but that’s half the fun. In any event, the following list does not examine film merit at all. It is all about the best bang for your Blu-ray buck. It is all about presentation, special features, and bells & whistles. It’s as simple as that. Without further ado I give you my favorite Blu-rays of 2017. Enjoy!  Continue reading ‘Gerard’s Top-10 Blu-rays of 2017′

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Brandon’s Best Of 2017: Two Formats, Two Top 10 Lists!

Another year of home video releases in the books. While digital and streaming continue to be a thing, the physical market is still the best possible way to view or take in your entertainment. And whatever the numbers tell you what, whether its “dying” or “doing well”, what’s clear is that the overall quality of the releases are thriving. With the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format in its second year and boutique labels (Criterion, Arrow, etc.) being allotted more and more sublicensing on more A-level titles, there were a lot of reissues in 2017. I argue its been many years since some of these were first released to begin with, but these new editions have really been upping their game in the high quality transfers and restorations business. With the 4K material, some studios are finally opening up to catalog titles further back than the last couple years, with some studios really blowing us away with their enhancements and others lazily just upconverting it seems. All in all, it was another terrific year for collectors and fans, and I for one will be leaving 2017 more than pleased. Continue reading ‘Brandon’s Best Of 2017: Two Formats, Two Top 10 Lists!’

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Brian Chooses His Top 10 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs of 2017 & More!

Brian Chooses His Top 10 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs of 2017Last year I undertook the pioneer task of only listing my Top 10 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays here.  It was a brand spanking new format then and I was among the first.  Since then Sir Brandon Peters has caught up to me on the format and we currently split the bulk of the 4K UHD reviews here on the site. Therefore, I’m hopeful we’ll see some 4K titles on his 2017 list.  So once again this year I want to focus on 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays solely.  Sadly that means Universal’s Nocturnal Animals Blu-ray release wont be making my list here.  And if you’re a Harry Potter fan, Brandon Peters has you covered here on the site with all those 4K reviews.  We also have a new kid on the block this year with Dolby Vision, but I’m not one of those fanboys who will tell you it’s the Holy Grail and only highlight 4K titles with it.  Hell no!  Last but not least you can tell me until you’re “blu” in the face how incredible Transformers: The Last Knight is on the format.  I don’t care.  That movie is garbage and you will NOT see that on my list.  Haven’t I suffered enough here?  Now where were we… Continue reading ‘Brian Chooses His Top 10 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs of 2017 & More!’

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Super-Sized Top Ten: Aaron’s First-Class Blu-ray Picks For 2017

Another year and another list of great Blu-ray releases. Like previous years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), I have decided to tackle every aspect of what I enjoyed about this year in Blu-ray. This list consists of what I consider to be the best 2017 had to offer for the Blu-ray format based on what I’ve seen, with a few rules to go with it. Going by the same standards as before, I have to have actually watched the movie on Blu-Ray, recognize the quality of the video and audio transfers, delved into the special features, and attempt to keep off any film that may also be on my “Top 10 Films of the Year” list in the final top ten for Blu-rays. 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. Why So Blu’s Brian and Brandon may have their 4K setups to work with, but this works for me, so here we go:

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Gregg’s Top 10 Blu-rays of 2017

Steelbook was the name of the game this year as the collectible tin Blu-ray cases seemed to have grown in demand greatly in 2017. Best Buy appears to have the majority of the market on these which certainly has me paying them visits more often than in recent years. Still, just as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a Blu-ray by its clam shell. Fancy packaging aside, there were plenty of enticing choices to get your hands on this past year when it comes to the high def, home-viewing format. So without anymore time spent on my affinity for metal movie cases, let’s crack open that list!

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Gregg’s 2017 Album of the Year

If you felt like there was an overwhelming choice of new releases to listen to in 2017, you would be correct. Blockbuster headliners such as Taylor Swift, Eminem and U2 all released new albums this past year as did some fairly newer stars such as country singer Danielle Bradbery and pop hottie Dua Lipa. On the rap and hip-hop front, Lil Wayne has an album coming out on Christmas Day while Big Sean came out with his latest work last week. Did I listen to every album that came out this year to come to my conclusion? Of course not, that’s not realistic. However, after sifting through twelve months of various radio stations as well as a much more increased use of Pandora than in recent years, we have a winner.

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Best Comic Books of 2017

This past year saw some big events in the comic book world. The Suicide Squad went toe to toe with the Justice League. Image saw the last words written for one of its strongest series in Invincible. The Joker and the Riddler went fisticuffs on a catastrophic level in the pages of Batman (that read comes highly recommended from me by the way). Let us not forget the brilliance of small indie publisher Sabotage Industries and their title Shed. That came awfully close to making this list as its Alien Nation-vibe story brought civil rights to the forefront in a new light. It pitted the skin vs. skinless amidst an apocalyptic overtone with some magnificent writing and great artwork to boot. As with any ‘best of the year’ list, however, there can only be one champ in each category. So, while the aforementioned titles didn’t make this list, rest assured they are all enjoyable reads. Now onto the list…

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Gregg’s 2017 Game of the Year

With sales for PS4, Xbox One and PC titles running strong, the video game industry continues to do financial cartwheels year after year. And as technology progresses with such grand rapidity, fans of gaming demand more out of these titles with each passing year. The Madden football franchise continues to be a dollar bill powerhouse with its gargantuan following. Call of Duty revisited a pivotal point in our history with their WWII release that showed off some impressive cinematic sequences and gameplay footage in their TV spots. Let’s not forget Nintendo’s latest tool of the trade, the Switch, and their growing library of games that’s entered the fray as well.  Nevertheless, only one can be king. Which game gets the crown for 2017?

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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist For 2018!

Once again, the time of year has come upon us; the end of the Blu-ray release year. I’m a little later than prior years on this and its because the announcement to release window is becoming incredible short. Just last week I posted about four Transformers movies coming to 4K Ultra-HD within the next couple weeks. And I’m still afraid we may get some December announcements still, but I’m confident those would merely be 4K. Which, you’re probably wondering why, after two years of coverage on Why So Blu, that there isn’t a 4K wishlish. Well, that’s because the format is still in complete infancy and isn’t under the full embrace or changeover of the studios (Or at least as we’d hope it would be). The amount of stuff still not on the format is just massive and that’s just too easy and fun. I could do a wishlist of hundreds for that format. I stick to Blu-ray as the movies still not on the format, it could be their last stop in terms of physical home media. It could be the best presentation they ever see.  And there are still PLENTY of things that would benefit in jumping over. We are seeing some fantastic double dips as well, and I hope those continue (When they are worthwhile, like the recent Scream Factroy Silent Night, Deadly Night, Arrow’s The Thing or Criterion’s upcoming Silence of the Lambs upgrade). Whatever the case, every month, studio press releases, especially those from the sublicensees, always excite me. Continue reading ‘Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist For 2018!’

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Star Wars Battlefront II (PS4 Game Review)

It is finally here! It feels only like yesterday when I was at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando back in April of this year. Sitting in on the Battlefront II discussion panel with thousands of others, I was in awe of the stills and trailer we were given. The original Battlefront (original Xbox, PC, PS2) from 2004 is in my top three video games of all time. Its major flaw was controlling airborne vehicles, which was such a poor experience, but one that could be easily overlooked since the ground-based combat was such a thrill. Then there was Battlefront II. No, not the one just released last week, but the one from some years back which first introduced the opportunity to play as heroes and villains. Like the second Avengers film, it very much lacked the personality and feel of its predecessor. After a changing of the guard at Lucasarts via the Disney purchase, the long-awaited Battlefront follow-up arrived in 2015 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. It was arguably the best one in the series (speaking of all titles in the series, let’s not forget the Playstation Portable version called Battlefront Renegade which never got much coverage). While individual classes were gone in Battlefront (sniper, heavy gunner, etc.), the fully customizable concept of building your character was a big hit and allowed for a wide array of soldiers on the battlefield. All of that recap brings us to the much anticipated Battlefront II of 2017. How is it, you ask? Let’s take a look

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The Wizard of Lies (Blu-ray Review)

Inmate #61727054. Surely that’s a number that proves irrelevant to most of us. We live in a land where prisoners are more than abundant. However, some are more famous than others and few more so than inmate #61727054, better known as Bernard L. Madoff. Bernie Madoff lived up to his last name and ‘made off’ with a disgustingly enormous sum of $65 billion of other peoples’ money. Director Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam) brought this tale of financial deceit to HBO earlier this year in the form of the bio pic The Wizard of Lies starring Robert De Niro as Bernie Madoff and Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife, Ruth Madoff. The film now makes its way to Blu-ray and we’ve got all the details on this disc from start to finish.

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Blu-ray Review)

There is no mistaking the quality of programming that comes from HBO. Productions like Westworld, True Detective and Game of Thrones continue to wow audiences with their exceptional writing, acting and direction. As those series are currently some of the mainstays of HBO, it can be easy to overlook the original films that come forth from the cable giant. One such movie is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. There are a great deal of stories in our nation’s history that would never be told if it weren’t for the perseverance and preservation of a few determined folks. Mrs. Lacks’ story is one such case.

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Marvel Debuts Mace Windu / Captain Phasma Comics

Two Star Wars standouts got their own comic books this month and they were none other than Jedi Master Mace Windu and metallic marine Captain Phasma. To begin with, last week the (sort of) vice president of Jedi during the Clone Wars saw his own mini-series debut from Marvel. The five-issue series is written by Matt Owens and pencilled by Denys Cowan and features a story of Mace leading a small party of Jedi to the planet Hissrich to monitor the Separatists.

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Aaron’s Top Ten Films of Summer 2017 & More

Looking back through 2017’s Summer movie season, it is hard not to see it as a success. There’s plenty of talk of how box office totals were down, but absent a major August release that took over the charts (think Guardians of the Galaxy or Suicide Squad) and a couple of whiffs from franchises people are fairly tired of (think Transformers), the decline is easy to comprehend. The real thing to note is the quality of films both large and small. As opposed to last summer, where the number of successes was overwhelmed by the number of disappointments, this season featured plenty of well-liked movies. Thoughts on general movie goers and critics aside, people from all sides mostly enjoyed the movies they were able to see. Here’s my list of films I most favored this summer, along with some other notes on the season. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments as well!

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Remastered ‘Close Encounters’ Continues To Deliver The Ultimate In Spielberg Wonder

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is important. It means something. The real wonder of this 1977 sci-fi classic persists to this day, capturing the imagination of many over the last 40 years. Now the film has been restored and remastered in 4K with a one-week re-release that will hopefully bring many back to the theater to see Close Encounters again, let alone inspire newcomers to take in a film so special to many.

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