CD Review: “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder”

“Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder”
Silver Lining
4 Discs
Runtime: 271 minutes

Our score:  CD 2.5 out of 5 stars
BluRay/DVD 3.5 our of 5 stars

The ultimate heavy metal event-in-a-box is now available for fans to enjoy in the comfort of their very own home. “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” is a collection of some of the best performances from the 2016 Wacken Open Air festival held in Germany each yr. The double disc CD and DVD/BluRay features music from over 30 artists including Arch Enemy, Saxon and Bullet for My Valentine all packaged nicely in multi fold digipack.

No need for lengthy international travel or standing in a soggy bog along the European country side as “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” allows you to enjoy a majority of the Wacken Open Air festival from the safety and dryness of your own couch or recliner. Get comfortable as with a runtime of over four hours you are definitely in for a long haul especially if you plan to check it out from start to finish. If you want to skip around a little I highly recommend checking out the performances from Eluveitie, Bullet for My Valentine and Dio Disciples as they were easily my favorite. I also enjoyed the video version of this package a little more as it included in most cases a couple songs from each artist.

Invite a few friends over crack open some drinks and thrown on either the DVD/BluRay or the included audio versions of the release. Though a majority of the performances contained on the set are from European acts I wasn’t too familiar with there is still plenty of other material from bands I had heard before. Though I enjoyed seeing bands like Steel Panther and Saxon I think I had more fun checking out the bands who I hadn’t heard of because those performances were fresh and new to me. It’s always great to be exposed to new music and that’s certainly what “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” does. I do feel though that if you are a more casual metal fan there might not be enough familiarity included to warrant purchasing the cumbersome four disc set however, If you are a dedicated, die hard metal head that has yearned for the Wacken experience but couldn’t make the trip then this release is certainly for you as it gets you as close as you can be without actually being there.

BluRay/DVD Track Listing: Disc 1

1.) Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons- Big Mouth
2.) Profaner- Killing On Command
3.) Hamatom- Alte Liebe Rostet Nicht
4.) Auan- Pjaning Heillar Bjodar
5.) Saxon- Battering Ram
6.) Saxon- Heavy Metal Thunder
7.) Zombies Ate My Girlfriend- Appropriate Hate Crimes
8.) Vader- Triumph of Death
9.) Tsjuder- Demonic Supremacy
10.) Immolation- Despondent Souls
11.) Therapy? Screamager
12.) Michael Monroe- 78
13.) Orden Ogan- F.E.V.E.R.
14.) Orden Ogan- The Things We Believe In
15.) The Vintage Caravan- Expand Your Mind
16.) Bury Tomorrow- Man On Fire
17.) Entombed A.D.- Dead Dawn
18.) Equilibrium- But Im Auge
19.) Equilibrium- Born To Be Epic
20.) Die Krupps- Fatherland
21.) Axel Rudi Pell- Game Of Sins
22.) Axel Rudi Pell- Rock The Nation
23.) Ektomorf- Holocaust
24.) Girlschool- Take It Like a Band
25.) Lemmy- Born To Lose, Live To Win

Bluray/DVD Track Listing: Disc 2

1.) Torfrock- Trunkenbold
2.) Torfrock- PreBlufthammer B B-Bernhard
3.) Eluveitie- Tegernako
4.) Eluveitie- Havoc
5.) Bullet For My Valentine- Tears Don’t Fall
6.) Bullet For My Valentine- Waking The Demon
7.) Tarja- No Bitter End
8.) 1349- Sculptor Of Flesh
9.) Red Fang- Prehistoric Dog
10.) Unisonic- Unisonic
11.) Caliban- Paralyzed
12.) While She Sleeps- Four Walls
13.) Eskimo Callboy- Muffin Purper-Gurk
14.) Myrkur- Jeg er Guden, I er tjenerne
15.) Borknagar- Colossus
16.) Borknagar- Winter Thrice
17.) Metal Church- Gods Of Second Chance
18.) Therion- Sons Of The Sun
19.) Therion- Sons Of The Staves Of Time
20.) Steel Panther- Asian Hooker
21.) Steel Panther- Community Property
22.) Steak Number Eight- Black Eyed
23.) Triptykon- Morbid Tales
24.) Buffalo Summer- Money
25.) Barb Wire Dolls- Heart Attack
26.) Arch Enemy- War Eternal
27.) Budderside- Pain
28.) Dio Disciples- The Last In Line
29.) Dio Disciples- Stargazer

CD Track Listing: Disc 1

1.) Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons- Big Mouth
2.) Hamatom- Alte Liebe Rostet Nicht
3.) Saxon- Battering Ram
4.) Vader- Triumph Of Death
5.) Tsjuder- Demonic Supremacy
6.) Immolation- Despondent Souls
7.) Theraphy?- Screamager
8.) Michael Monroe- 78
9.) The Vintage Caravan- Expand Your Mind
10.) Bury Tomorrow- Man On Fire
11.) Entombed A.D.- Dead Dawn
12.) Equilibrium- Born To Be Epic
13.) Die Krupps- Fatherland
14.) Axel Rudi Pell- Rock The Nation
15.) Girlschool- Take It Like a Band
16.) Ektomorf- Holocaust
17.) Torfrock- PreBlufthammer B B-Bernhard
18.) Eluveitie- Havoc

CD Track Listing: Disc 2

1.) Bullet For My Valentine- Tears Don’t Fall
2.) Tarja- No Bitter End
3.) 1349- Sculptor Of Flesh
4.) Red Fang- Prehistoric Dog
5.) Unisonic- Unisonic
6.) Caliban- Paralyzed
7.) Eskimo Callboy- Muffin Purper-Gurk
8.) Borknagar- Colossus
9.) Metal Church- Gods Of Second Chance
10.) Therion- Sons Of The Staves Of Time
11.) Steel Panther- Community Property
12.) Steak Number Eight- Black Eyed
13.) Triptykon- Morbid Tales
14.) Buffalo Summer- Money
15.) Barb Wire Dolls- Heart Attack
16.) Arch Enemy- War Eternal
17.) Budderside- Pain
18.) Dio Disciples- Stargazer

Blu-ray Review “The Vampire Diaries: The Eighth and Final Season”

Actors: Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham, Candice King, Zach Roerig
Producers: Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec, Leslie Morgenstein, Caroline Dries
Number of discs: 3
Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Run Time: 704 minutes

Season: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

When Nina Dobrev left “The Vampire Diaries” after season six, I had a feeling this show would die off quick. Well kudos to them for lasting eight seasons. This final season is luckily the last and not the greatest either. I felt like these characters lost me personally after the fifth season when Dobrev was even still in the show. They try and end all open stories well but honestly wasn’t a grand finale. Unfortunately, the worse spin-off, “The Originals” is still going and has been renewed again. Guess New Orleans is cooler.

Official Premise: In Season Eight, we find Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) continuing on their killing spree, both following the commands of a sinister and unnatural force. While Bonnie (Kat Graham), Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Caroline (Candice King) are grieving their loss, they team up to investigate who or what may be the cause of their disappearance at the end of season seven. Alaric (Matt Davis) joins the search and continues to look for clues on how they escaped the Armory vault, and Matt’s (Zach Roerig) family history will reveal a deeper connection to Mystic Falls and how he may be able to save the town from destruction.

Warner Brothers delivers this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + UltraViolet digital copy incliuded. “The Vampire Diaries: The Eighth and Final Season” Blu-ray features solid audio and video as it has with the previous seasons as well. The 1080p transfer with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works great with the season and the television series.

The special features are a letdown for sure, especially for the final Blu-ray release. (Unless they are planning a big box set with all eight in the future, I am sure they are). There are three featurettes and some deleted scenes. Included are “Last Days As A Vampire”, “The Vampire Diaries: Forever Yours” which is a retrospective special as well as the 2016 Comic-Con Panel. No commentary tracks for the final season.

4K Ultra HD Review “Dredd”

Actors: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris, Langley Kirkwood
Directors: Pete Travis
Rated: R
Studio: LIONSGATE
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Run Time: 96 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
4K Ultra HD: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extra: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Lionsgate has been plowing through their catalog and delivering some great films on 4K Ultra HD recently. If you are looking for a demo disc to show off your 4K TV, “Dredd” would be the one to show it off for sure. The film packs a visual and audio punch already before being delivered in Ultra HD. I was blown away with the presentation here. This film definitely didn’t get the attention it deserved but has luckily found a nice home with fans and this release gives the fans a great reason to repurchase this film! (as long as you don’t care about the 3D option).

Official Premise: Mega City One is a vast, violent metropolis where felons rule the streets. The only law lies with cops called “judges,” who act as judge, jury and executioner, and Dredd (Karl Urban) is one of the city’s most feared. One day, Dredd is partnered with Cassandra (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities. A report of a terrible crime sends Dredd and Cassandra to a dangerous area controlled by Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a drug lord who will stop at nothing to protect her empire.

“Dredd” comes stocked with a 2160p transfer with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. You can see a little bit of up-scaling throughout but the detail on this is just beautiful. The non-stop action is also perfectly showcased in the Dolby Atmos track. The previous Blu-ray release of “Dredd” included a combo pack with a 3D/2D version of the film on the same disc, that is not the cause with this release and the 3D has gone missing. A little bit of a bummer but at the same time 3D seems to be fading. This combo pack also does come though with a standard Blu-ray (sans the 3D also) and a digital copy.

Judge Dredd is such a popular brand name still today and even has a new TV series in the works. He even has his own Judge Dredd slots game, which has great bonuses or and you can also play some fun online slots at SchmittsCasino.com, while you watch the film. Speaking of bonuses, this combo pack also includes two featurettes both running about 15 minutes each: “Mega-City Masters: 35 Years of Judge Dredd” which gives us history lesson on the character and it’s legacy and the second is a bit for technical “Day of Chaos: The Visual Effects of Dredd”. Both worth checking out. Other than that there are four other very short peeks behind-the-scenes as well as a “Dredd Motion Comic Prequel” and trailers included.

Blu-ray Review “Fist Fight”

Actors: Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks
Directors: Richie Keen
Rated: R
Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

The combination of Ice Cube and Charlie Day should be an instant winner for “Fist Fight”…but something is missing here. There are some funny moments in the film for sure and both guys bring their A-game but the film itself just feels lazy like they just assumed having them together would be enough. Like I said a few solid laughs but overall, I can’t really see myself bragging about this film and recommending it to everyone I speak with. Feels more like a one-timer.

Official Premise: Ice Cube and Charlie Day star as high school teachers prepared to solve their differences the hard way. On the last day of the year, mild-mannered high school English teacher Andy Campbell (Day) is trying his best to keep it together amidst senior pranks, a dysfunctional administration and budget cuts that put jobs on the line. But things go from bad to worse when he accidentally crosses his much tougher and deeply feared colleague, Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), who challenges Campbell to an old-fashioned throwdown after school. News of the fight spreads like wildfire and ends up becoming the very thing this school, and Campbell, needed.

Warner Brothers is delivering this film in a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy included. So, you are getting a nice return for your money. We all know that teachers are under paid, so if you want to avoid fighting and save some money places like CouponGrind are a good solution to find some savings. The A/V is typical for a comedy, I don’t see this film getting high merits for either but they also have no issues either for sure. Solid video and a nice DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track are included here. Special features are big let down though delivering about 15 minutes of deleted scenes and a short featurette about filming in Georgia.

Blu-ray Review “A United Kingdom”

Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton, Jack Davenport, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto
Director: Amma Asante
Rated: PG-13
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Run Time: 111 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“A United Kingdom” is a romance drama based on a true story…but is not my cup of tea. Don’t get it wrong it is not generally a bad movie, I just didn’t personally enjoy it. The performances from David Oyelowo (Selma) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) were amazing. The locations where it was shot are gorgeous and it definitely packed some solid romance. So if that is your bag, then check it out. I would for the performances alone but I don’t ever see myself watching or even remembering this out in a few months.

Official Premise: David Oyelowo (Selma) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) star in this inspiring true story of the forbidden love between the king of Botswana and a white English woman in the 1940s. When they decided to marry just as apartheid was being introduced into South Africa, it caused an international uproar. But their passionate romance triumphed over every obstacle and changed the course of African history.

“A United Kingdom” comes to us as a combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD copy for your enjoyment. Fox delivered this film with a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio track. It worked perfectly with Patrick Doyle’s beautiful score. And like I said above the lush locations where this film was shot, the 1080p transfer works that well and delivers a great picture.

Special features are a let down for sure. There are four short featurettes included. There is a basic EPK-style “Making Of”, a feature on “Filming in Botswana”, while “The Legacy of Seretse and Ruth” gives us a look into the real life couple. Lastly there is the London Film Festival Opening Night Gala Premiere and a Theatrical Trailer included.

Blu-ray Review “A Cure for Wellness”

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Celia Imrie, Ivo Nandi, Susanne Wuest
Director: Gore Verbinski
Rated: R
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Run Time: 146 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

From the director of films like “The Ring” and the first “Pirates of the Caribbean”, comes “A Cure for Wellness” a movie with a cool idea but WAY too long and poorly executed. This film had a really cool feeling about it. I loved the music and it generally creeped me out but unfortunately, it fails to deliver by the time it reaches its already ballooned 146 minutes running time.

Official Premise: An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure.

Fox is releasing this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + digital copy included. The 1080p transfer is solid. I love the way the film looks, the atmosphere is so creepy and looks so beautiful. Fox also delivers a beautiful audio track giving us a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 winner. This delivers the eerie score beautiful and that drives the film and sends shivers down your spine.

The special features like the film also miss the market. There are basically two featurettes, one called “Meditations” which features: Water is the Cure / Air is the Cure / Earth is the Cure included. There is also a focus on the score, which was probably the best part of the film. Lastly there is a deleted sequence included. So you are left wanting more like the film.

Blu-ray Review “The Assignment”

Actors: Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Tony Shalhoub, Caitlin Gerard, and Anthony LaPaglia
Directors: Walter Hill
Rated: R
Studio: LIONSGATE
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Run Time: 98 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extas: 1/2 out of 5 stars

“The Assignment” is a film that you would think would have gotten a BIG theatrical push yet it went completely unnoticed, probably due to the fact that it isn’t very good. I can see where they probably wanted this film to go but it just falls flat due to the script and money probably. The cast is A+ plus including Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Tony Shalhoub, Caitlin Gerard, and Anthony LaPaglia. I mean there is some serious talent here but wasted on this rather forgettable film.

Official Premise: Legendary director Walter Hill gives the revenge film a modern neo-noir twist with this electrifying thriller. Hit man Frank Kitchen (Rodriguez) is given a lethal assignment, but after being double-crossed, he discovers he’s not the man he thought he was — he’s been surgically altered and now has the body of a woman. Seeking vengeance, Frank heads for a showdown with the person who transformed him, Dr. Rachel Kay (Weaver), a brilliant surgeon with a chilling agenda of her own.

Lionsgate delivered this release as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + digital copy included. The 1080p transfer is solid but you can tell that the film has budget constraints but mostly did the best they could. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 works as well with the few action scenes. No major complaints there. The special features though, or complete lack of, is a different story. There is only a stills gallery with some images. Not worth your time at all.

Blu-ray Review “Aftermath (2017)”

Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hannah Ware, Kevin Zegers, Scoot McNairy, Mariana Klaveno
Directors: Elliott Lester
Rated: R
Studio: LIONSGATE
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Run Time: 94 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

I know everyone has been shitty on Schwarzenegger’s films recently but he is really stepping out of his comfort zone with his last two films “Maggie” and now “Aftermath”. They are little indie films that surprisingly deliver solid performances from the Terminator. His glory days may well be gone with starring in huge blockbusters but solid films like this should get him more credit than they have. I say Kudos to him and I hope he does more films like this. Also my boy, Scoot McNairy, deserves a big chance finally. He nails this role (and every other he does as well). He is an amazing actor and deserves a big shot.

Official Premise: Roman’s (Schwarzenegger) life changes forever when he loses his wife and daughter in a plane crash. He attempts to move on from the tragedy but soon finds that he cannot face life without confronting Jake (Scoot McNairy), the air traffic controller responsible for the accident.

Lionsgate delivered “Aftermath” in a combo pack with a Blu-ray disc and a digital copy as well. The 1080p transfer works for the scope of the film, nothing flashy or big here but I like the way it was shot. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track also does a good job of building up the suspense throughout. The special features are light and nothing major here. There is an audio commentary with Director Elliott Lester and Producer Eric Watson as well as interviews with Director Elliott Lester and Director of Photography Pieter Vermeer included further discussing the film.

Blu-ray Review “The Shack”

Actors: Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw, Avraham Aviv Alush, Radha Mitchell
Directors: Stuart Hazeldine
Rated: PG-13
Studio: LIONSGATE
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Run Time: 132 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“The Shack” is the latest faith filled drama to be released, hoping to catch that niche market. I am not one to have huge religious beliefs but this film definitely caught my attention. A little “Hallmark movie” cheesy at times yet it still delivers a good solid message about faith and could help some people who are looking for answers within their beliefs.  Rounded out with a solid cast including Sam Worthington (where did this guy disappear to?), Octavia Spencer (always lovely and such an amazing actress) and who doesn’t need a little country loving from Tim McGraw, the musician adds a nice addition to the cast as well. Worth a watch if you are open minded.

Official Premise: Based on The New York Times best-selling novel, written for the screen by John Fusco (The Forbidden Kingdom) and Andrew Lanham (The Glass Castle) & Destin Cretton (The Glass Castle), and directed by Stuart Hazeldine (Exam), The Shack takes us on a father’s transformative spiritual journey. After a family tragedy, Mack (Worthington) spirals into a crisis of faith and questions God’s existence and life’s purpose. Mack is unable to move on, until he gets a mysterious invitation to an abandoned shack. There, God reveals Himself in the form of three strangers led by Papa (Spencer). Mack’s journey will transform audiences of all ages, in this movie that you will want to watch over and over.

Lionsgate delivered this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD and a Digital HD copy included. Appreciate the combo back here because since reviewing it, it is making its rounds with the family taking turns for those that have been wanting to see it. It is nice to have the various formats to share with everyone. The 1080p transfer was solid. The scenery is beautiful and the colors are vibrant. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track is also solid, quiet yet very effective with simple sounds standing out.

The special features are decent, nothing amazing but a few good featurettes. To start, there is a solid audio commentary track with Director Stuart Hazeldine and then we have five featurettes included. The first is “Touched by God: A Writer’s Journey” which focuses on author William Paul Young. There is a song featurette for “Heaven Knows” – The Power of Song with Hillsong United, as well as a basic EPK behind-the-scenes in “Something Bigger Than Ourselves: The Making of The Shack”. “God’s Heart for Humanity”piece about faith and interpretations of it. Lastly “Premiere Night: A Blessed Evening” features radio personality Delilah and rounding out with one deleted scene included.

Blu-ray Review “Logan”

Actors: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Sienna Novikov, Boyd Holbrook, Doris Morgado
Directors: James Mangold
Number of discs: 3
Rated: R
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 23, 2017

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Personally, I have never really gotten excited for the films in the “X-Men” universe. “Logan” is the first film in the franchise that has getting my attention. It is dark, gritty, violent and intense. It is honestly how a Wolverine film should be. It is also set in an alternate X-Men universe, so it almost makes you think that mutants aren’t real in this world and is it very interesting. Easily one of my favorite films of the year and no question the best “X-Men” movie…with Wolverine (sorry “Deadpool” wins that)

Official Premise: In the near future, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) at a remote outpost on the Mexican border. His plan to hide from the outside world gets upended when he meets a young mutant (Dafne Keen) who is very much like him. Logan must now protect the girl and battle the dark forces that want to capture her.

Fox is delivering this Blu-ray as a three disc set with two Blu-ray discs, a DVD and a digital HD copy. There are two versions of the film: the theatrical cut and also the new black and white cut called “Logan Noir”. The film does work very well in the black and white setting gives the film more life and another way to enjoy it.

The 1080p transfer is flawless. It was shot beautifully and doesn’t feel like any of the other films in the “X-Men” franchise. Same goes for the black and white cut which gives this film a true noir feeling. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is also perfect. The action is literally wall shaking and the score is amazing.

The special features are good but not amazing, the higher score comes due to the fact that there is the alternate cut of the film, “Logan Noir” on its own with accompanied with an audio commentary track with director James Mangold. On the main disc, there is the same commentary track, which is excellent BTW and a few short deleted scenes. The main winner is a solid 75+ minute behind-the-scenes look into the film “Making Logan”, worth checking out for sure!

Blu-ray Review “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”

Starring: Vin Diesel, Nina Dobrev, Samuel L. Jackson, Donnie Yen, Ruby Rose, Toni Collette
Director: D.J. Caruso
Number of discs: 2
Rated: PG-13
Studio: Paramount
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Run Time: 96 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Vin Diesel is a man that does not give up. The film “Pitch Black” was a good film that was turned into a mediocre franchise. “The Fast and Furious” was a film that was great and turned into a global phenomenon that normally wouldn’t have had more than one film. Same goes with “xXx”. The book should have been closed after the second film, yet here we are with another installment riding on the popularity of Vin Diesel. The film is honestly crap, no joke, there are some cool action scenes but literally this doesn’t have the power of Diesel’s “Fast and Furious” franchise, which was probably the hopes here. Worth watching for a laugh but otherwise nothing smart of that this third sequel at all and I have a feeling unfortunately we haven’t seen the end of Xander Cage.

Official Premise: The third explosive chapter of the blockbuster franchise that redefined the spy thriller finds extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) coming out of self-imposed exile and on a collision course with deadly alpha warrior Xiang and his team in a race to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora’s Box. Recruiting an all-new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself enmeshed in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of world governments.

Paramount is releasing this film as a combo pack with Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD copy included. The 1080p transfer is near flawless. This film is definitely beautiful to look at and shows off its beautiful shooting locations quite well. The audio on this Blu-ray is also near perfect with both a Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 tracks included. These tracks are amazing with the action in the film and really shake the walls, no questions.

The special features are decent and worth checking out if you loved the film but otherwise not much here other than four featurettes and a gag reel. The first featurette focuses on bringing back the franchise to live in “Third Time’s the Charm: Xander Returns”. Since this film is basically made for an international market, “Rebels, Tyrants & Ghosts: The Cast” looks at the new cast brought in to sweeten the deal. “Opening Pandora’s Box: On Location” showcases the snazzy locations where this film was shot. Lastly, the highlight of the film is it stunts and the last featurette focuses on those in “I Live for This Sh#t!: Stunts”.

Blu-ray Review “Get Out”

Actors: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root
Directors: Jordan Peele
Rated: R
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Run Time: 108 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Get Out” is a once in a decade hit. It cost nothing, came from a first time director, had no well-known cast and yet destroyed the box office and all other films in its path. Hollywood is going to spend the next decade trying to replicate this one. I personally have loved Jordan Peele in his sketch comedy show “Key & Peele” but this film is SO MUCH different. It is a social satire mixed with a horror film. Totally original and different. “Get Out” is an excellent film that will leave you holding her breath in terror and at the same time laughing out loud. This is no question one of the best films of 2017.

Official Premise: Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, Sicario), a young African-American man, and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams, “Girls”), a young white woman, have been dating for several months, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate at her family’s upstate home with parents Missy (Catherine Keener, Captain Phillips) and Dean (Bradley Whitford, The Cabin in the Woods). At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.

I knew of the film’s lead, Daniel Kaluuya, from his role in the BBC series “Black Mirror”, which he stood at boldly. He was amazing in this film and I see really big things coming to him in the near future. Also VIPs in this film were veterans Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich) and Bradley Whitford (“Billy Madison”). When you are watching this film you will find it hard to take your eyes off the screen. I cannot wait to see what Jordan Peele has planned next (I hear it is another social satire and couldn’t be more psyched). This is a movie not to be missed for sure.

Universal delivered the film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy included. The 1080p transfer works perfectly for the film. It is super sharp and the film which has a specific look to it ends up looking sharper than it should. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is simply haunting. From the score to the stirring of the damn spoon, this track lures you into deeper into the sucken place with our actors.

The special features are a little lighter than hoped but still some decent content included here. First we have an Alternate Ending with optional Jordan Peele commentary. Solid but I am still happier with the theatrical ending. There is a crazy total of nearly 25 minutes of Deleted Scenes included also with optional Peele commentary. “Unveiling the Horror of Get Out” is a quick behind-the-scenes look into the film. Lastly there is a short Q&A Discussion with Writer/Director Jordan Peele and the Cast, as well as an audio Commentary with Writer/Director Jordan Peele, which is a must listen for sure.

Blu-ray Review “Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition”

Actors: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Rosario Dawson, Marg Helgenberger
Directors: Lauren Montgomery
Number of discs: 2
Rated: PG-13
Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date: May 16, 2017

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition” is a cash-in re-release of the 2009 animated film from Warner Brothers to ride in on the release of the new live-action “Wonder Woman” movie. This was the fourth film in the DC Animated Universe that is now up to twenty-eight films and counting. The new “Commemorative Edition” isn’t the WOW release that I was hoping for. It packs the same video as the 2009 Blu-ray and a slightly upgraded audio track. There are few new extras but also some missing from previous release. Also I would have loved them to include an exclusive action figure or something to make this extra special.

Official Premise: On the mystical island of Themyscira, a proud and fierce warrior race of Amazons have raised a princess of untold beauty, grace and strength – Diana. When U.S. fighter pilot Steve Trevor crash-lands on the island, the rebellious and headstrong Diana defies Amazonian law by accompanying Trevor back to civilization. Meanwhile, Ares (the God of War) has escaped his imprisonment at the hands of the Amazonians and has decided to exact his revenge by starting a World War that will last for centuries and wipe out every living being on the planet, starting with the Amazons. It is up to Diana to save her people and the world – by using her gifts and becoming the ultimate Wonder Woman!

“Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition” comes as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet copy included. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is a step up from the previous Blu-ray release. There is really only one new short special feature included here: “What Makes a Wonder Woman” which dives into the overview of the character. The only new extra is a “Sneak Peek at Batman and Harley Quinn”, which is an upcoming DCU Animated feature.

Other special features taken from previous release are “Wonder Woman: A Subversive Dream”, which runs nearly 30 minutes as does “Wonder Woman: Daughter of Myth”, which go deeper into the mythology of the character. Lastly there is a a commentary track from the creative team on this film. Sadly though we lost the two bonus Justice League Episodes (“Paradise Lost” parts 1 and 2, “Hawk and Dove”, and “To Another Shore”) from the last release. So its a toss up for me. If you have never seen this film and looking to get the digital copy, this might be for you if you own it already, no need to repurchase.

Blu-ray Review “The Blackcoat’s Daughter”

Actors: Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton, Lauren Holly, James Remar
Directors: Osgood Perkins
Rated: R
Studio: LIONSGATE
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Run Time: 95 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“The Blackcoat’s Daughter” is a film that premiered back at TIFF back in 2015 and has sat on the shelf since then without getting a proper release. This film is a great mix of creepy slow-burn almost Hammer like atmosphere with a solid horror angle mixed it. It has a solid cast including Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, James Remar, Lauren Holly, and Lucy Boynton. Great talent here. Worth checking out on a lazy weekend for sure for a few good jumps.

Official Premise: Beautiful and haunted Joan (Emma Roberts) makes a bloody and determined pilgrimage across a frozen landscape toward a prestigious all-girls prep school, where Rose (Lucy Boynton) and Kat (Kiernan Shipka) find themselves stranded after their parents mysteriously fail to retrieve them for winter break. As Joan gets closer, Rose watches in horror while Kat suffers terrifying visions and becomes possessed by an unseen force.

“The Blackcoat’s Daughter” comes as combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD copy included. The 1080p transfer works with the dark and creepy feel for the film. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track delivers the eerie score perfectly and adds to the Gothic feeling of the film. The special features include an audio commentary track with Writer-Director Osgood Perkins as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette “The Dead of Winter: Making The Blackcoat’s Daughter”.

DVD Review “DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games”

Actors: Mae Whitman, Anais Fairweather, Grey Griffin, Teala Dunn, Tara Strong
Directors: Jennifer Coyle
Rated: NR
Studio: Warner Brothers
DVD Release Date: May 23, 2017
Run Time: 72 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games” is the second feature length movie from the incredibly popular “DC Super Hero Girls” series. I have a five year old daughter and this series is one of her favorite. I heard this week in fact that there is an actual full series coming out (finally) in 2018. We have had only online shorts previously outside of these two features. This series is a perfect way to get young girls into the superhero world, which is proven to not for boys only anymore. If you have a young girl, this is a must own for sure.

Official Premise: Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Bumblebee and Katana square off against Korugar Academy in the Intergalactic Games, but trouble is in the air as Lena Luthor takes advantage of the gathering of the Supers to enact her villainous plan. It’s up to the DC Super Hero Girls to fight the forces of evil and protect their school. With Wonder Woman’s strength, Supergirl’s speed, Batgirl’s strategic knowledge, Poison Ivy’s ability to make things grow, Harley Quinn’s energy, Bumblebee’s ability to shrink, and Katana’s fearless personality… anything is possible.

In addition to the very fun and cute animated film, there are a few solid special features as well. There is a fun music video for “That’s My Girl” by Fifth Harmony. There are also seven animated shorts from the online series that aired on Youtube. With the upcoming full length animated series and a non-stop flow of amazing merchandise, “DC Super Hero Girls” is only getting more and more popular every day. I hope that Warner Bros continues to make these full-length features as well!