Blu-ray 3D Review "Hotel Transylvania"

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Andy Samberg
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Number of discs: 3
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Animation
DVD Release Date: January 29, 2013
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

After Adam Sandler’s last few terrible films like “That’s My Boy” and Jack and Jill”, I didn’t want to see any more of him. Luckily in “Hotel Transylvania” you only have to hear him, so that works for me. This is also the directorial debut for Genndy Tartakovsky, who is known best for “Samuari Jack” and the 2003 “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” mini-series. The animation style is very different but the man definitely knows how to direct animation. I am a big fan of the classic monsters and this film feels like today’s reboot of Rankin/Bass’ “Mad Monster Party”. We get all the great monsters here and this film is actually really funny and entertaining. I would highly recommend checking this out for sure, especially in 3D if possible. Sony Animation is really stepping up its game and delivering hit after hit in this department.

Besides Adam Sandler playing the role of Dracula. Wizard of Wavery Place’s Selena Gomez plays Mavis, Dracula’s 118 year old “teenage” daughter, Andy Samberg plays the human Jonathan, Kevin James voices Frankenstein and his wife Eunice is voiced by Fran Drescher. Steve Buscemi is Wayne the Werewolf and his wife Wanda is voiced by Molly Shannon. David Spade voices Griffin the Invisible Man. Cee Lo Green is Murray, the obese mummy. Lastly, Jon Lovitz voices Quasimodo Wilson, the former Hunchback of Notre Dame now a gourmet chef. I love the twist that they put on each of these classic monsters. It adds a lot to the film and really delivers the laughs.

Official Premise: Welcome to Hotel Transylvania, Dracula’s lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up and no humans are allowed. One special weekend, Dracula (Sandler) has invited all his best friends – Frankenstein and his wife, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Werewolf family, and more – to celebrate his beloved daughter Mavis’s (Gomez) 118th birthday. For Dracula, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem, but the party really starts when one ordinary guy stumbles into the hotel and changes everything.

I have to come straight out and say that I feel that Sony delivers the best Blu-ray experience, specially with Blu-ray 3D. They have been very consistent and never let’s you down. This release is very impressive in all areas. It comes as a combo pack with a Blu-ray 3D disc, a stanard Blu-ray, a DVD disc and also an UltraViolet Digital Copy, which will be immediately added to my account for repeat viewings. The 1080p transfer is really perfect. The 3D effects in the film are fun and not too over-the-top. I feel that they look even better on home media format then in theaters. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track really works well with the music and crazy antics that this film delivers.

The special features are kick-ass just like the film and come jam-packed with a lot of kid-friendly goodies. First up we have ““Goodnight Mr. Foot””, which is the new mini-movie also directed and animated by Genndy Tartakovsky. There are three deleted scenes included. There is a music video by Becky G Featuring for the song “Problem (Monster Remix)”, as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette on the video. There is a really sweet commentary with Director Genndy Tartakovsky, Producer Michelle Murdocca, and Visual Effects Supervisor Daniel Kramer. I loved listening to Genndy talks about the film and Daniel giving tips about the effects used. The rest of the extras are exclusive to the Blu-ray discs including three progression reels and two Featurettes: ““Meet the Staff and Guests: Voicing Hotel Transylvania”” and ““Making the Hotel””. Both featurettes are great and a higlight of the release.

R.I.P. David R. Ellis – Flashback Interview for "Shark Night 3D"

I was very saddened to find out that David R. Ellis has passes away on January 7th, 2013. He was the director of action films like “Shark Night 3D”, “The Final Destination” and “Snakes on the Place”. Here is our interview from August of 2011 with the late director to chat about working on “Shark Night 3D”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally become attached to “Shark Night 3D”?
David R. Ellis: I had done “The Final Destination”  in 3D which ended up doing really good. Those attached to the “Shark Night” project wanted to make this film in 3D as well. I had been attached to the project for some time prior to the film being made. I was the only person out there that had done a full live action 3D movie. They brought me in to meet with the producers and I pitched to them what my vision for the film was. They immediately attached me to the film and from there they started to pitch the film for funding with my name attached to it.

MG: What can we expect from the film?
DRE: There is a lot of comedy and fun in this film. It’s not a horror but it is a scary. The film is rated PG-13 however we really pushed the envelope with what we could get away with. The film plays like an R rated movie but we just don’t cuss or have boobs in it. We don’t really need that to make a scary movie. I don’t think boobs are that scary. Maybe some are. (Laughs) During our test screenings we made people jump and scared them but they also had a lot of fun with the movie. We spent time developing the characters and we have a great young cast. I like finding young actors and giving them a shot such as Chris Evans who I had in “Cellular”. I think everyone in this film are going to be big stars in their own right and I was very lucky to get them before they broke out.

MG: We have spoke to the whole cast and they have been telling us that you are one of the best directors to work with and you have this unique approach to directing; can you tell us about that approach?
DRE: Well I pay them to say that [laughs].  No seriously, when I cast actors I cast people who have the ability to adopt the part and who can get into the role. I like to then give them free reign in designing that character from what they want to wear and what props they may want to use. Making a movie is not brain surgery so my sets are a lot of fun to work on. I come very prepared and we have fun while getting our work done. At the end of a movie it’s sad because we made a new family and you have to leave that. Keeping everything light is key. Appreciating everyone working on the film for what they contribute and not yelling and or screaming is important as well because at times we were shooting in miserable conditions but by keeping it fun everyone stepped up to the plate and did a great job.

MG: How much of the film features animatronic sharks and how much was CGI?
DRE:  It’s probably 40% animatronics and 60% CGI. We used the animatronic sharks when they had to interact with people. When a scene was really difficult we used the CGI sharks.  The CGI has really come a long way and looked great, especially since I was directed the second unit on “Deep Blue Sea”.  The technology from then to now is amazing. The sharks look great!

MG: How do you “Shark Night 3D” differs from your other 3D film “The Final Destination”?
DRE: This one was more difficult because we were shooting on the water. When you are using 3D cameras you have one camera for the left eye and one for the right. They are very bulky and underwater they are very big so it’s technically tough for the crews. I think 3D films need to be shot in 3D nd not converted in post production, as I feel you don’t get the depth. I call that ‘2 and a half D’. What they have now that we didn’t have for “The Final Destination” are 3D monitors. You get to watch everything in 3D as its being shot. Before you had to shoot then put it into a computer and watch it in a trailer later on.

MG: Can you tell us the story behind the issues with the film’s title?
DRE: The working title of the film was “Shark Night 3D”. We were always hoping that we would come up with something that was catchier. On a weekly basis we had production meetings where I would try and get the crew to suggest different titles. Ultimately when the film was bought after we were done there was some research to change the title but in the end the film is what it is and the title was fitting.

MG: Do you prefer shooting in 3D or do you find it more difficult?
DRE: I love 3D and its depth. I think a lot of films use the really gimmicky type 3D that throws stuff into the audience. We didn’t do that. We used the 3D to put the audience inside the world of the shark and to have the sharks in the audience. The gimmicks work for some movies as 3D is an interactive experience. I think 3D is a great application and it’s going to be around for a long time. It may not be for every film but for the right film if it’s used correctly it’s an awesome experience.

Blu-ray 3D Review "Frankenweenie"

Actors: Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, Robert Capron
Directors: Tim Burton
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Run Time: 87 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I think about stop-motion animation, I immediately think about Tim Burton (sorry LAIKA). He is the creative genius behind one of my favorite films of all-time “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Well Tim Burton is back at it again with “Frankenweenie”, which is actually a remake of his 1984 short live-action film. It is a homage to the 1931 film “Frankenstein”, based on Mary Shelley’s book…but with a dog. The feature film remake expands quite a bit on the short and takes the story in a new and bigger direction. This film is presented in black and white (even though filmed in color and converted) and also in 3D, which both really add A LOT to this film. This is a might be a hard sell for kids but it is must for all fans of Burton!

I had originally seen this film in 2D and there is really a lot that you miss out, no so much in your face effects but added depth. The 3D has a few really great moments in-your-face and the rest just feels really perfect and adds wonderful depth with the format. Having seen this film three times now, it is one of those films that really grows on your and gets better with repeat viewings. There are tons of odes and tributes to the classic horror genre. I found myself catching different things with each viewing, so that is definitely a big plus for Burton and horror fans.

Burton reunites with many of his usuals on “Frankenweenie” including Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau and Winona Ryder. Tony Award winner Martin Short also voices Mr. Frankenstein and many other characters, though my favorite is Mr. Bergermeister – the Mayor of New Holland. This character is a purposeful homage to Burgermeister Meisterburger from the classic Rankin/Bass film “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”. As I also expected the most annoying voice role in the film goes to Atticus Shaffer aka the weird kid from “The Middle”. He voices Edgar “E” Gore, who is inspired by Igor. I could have done with less of him personally.

Official Synopsis: From Disney and creative genius Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) comes the hilarious and offbeat “Frankenweenie,” a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire
town learn that getting a new ‘leash on life’ can be monstrous.

Let’s get to Disney’s beautiful 4-Disc Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, including a Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy discs. Like I said I highly recommend this in 3D if possible. The 1080p transfer just look absolutely spectacular. The black and white looks very sharp and combine that with the 3D presentation and I am in heaven. To top that the release comes with an even better DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio track, which is perfect for the film and Danny Elfman’s score. On a side note, I am a fan more of the standard Blu-ray + DVD box art not the 3D release box art. The standard release features more characters up front and not all background.

This releases comes with equally electrifying (get it…”It’s alive!!”) special features. They are definitely aimed for the younger audience and lacking any commentary but still entertaining.  Firstly there is an all new original short called “Captain Sparky vs The Flying Saucers”. “Miniatures In Motion: Bringing ‘Frankenweenie’ To Life” is an in-depth tour of the London set which also includes never-before-seen footage. “Frankenweenie” Touring Exhibit is a showcase that is currently traveling the world and allows audiences to explore the magic behind the film. Of course a given extra is the original live action short for “Frankenweenie”. Lastly, there is a music video for Plain White T’s “Pet Sematary”.


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Film Review "Texas Chainsaw 3D"

Directed by: John Luessenhop
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine Neverson, Tania Raymonde, Thom Barry, Paul Rae
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Running time: 92 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

When I first saw 1974’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, I believe I wasn’t able to sleep for weeks. Leatherface is overall one of my favorite horror icons. He has changed so much over the years within the various sequels, remakes and prequels – some for the better and some not. “Texas Chainsaw 3D” is a direct sequel to the original 1974 film and literally picks up in the same day after the original’s events. I was especially excited about this creative twist to this franchise but unfortunately the thrill of keeping this sequel with the same feel of the first wares off quick. Still though, I can’t say that I didn’t have fun watching this film.  It is not perfect but the 3D effects are sharp and really add a lot to the film. Also for those that need a refresher on the original, there is quick recap of the original film’s keys scenes in the opening credits.

If you are a fan of the franchise, then you will be excited for the fact that this film brings back actors from past films in the franchise. Bill Moseley who played Chop Top Sawyer in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”, came back to portray Drayton “The Cook” Sawyer (taking over for the late Jim Siedow). Marilyn Burns who played Sally Hardesty in the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, returns as a character named Verna. John Dugan who played Grandpa in the 1974 film comes back to reprise his role. Lastly, Gunnar Hansen who portrayed Leatherface in the 1974 film also has a brief cameo. Brief is the key word for all of this though. I was extremely excited about this but was left thinking…”That was all?”. You barely don’t even get a glimpse of John Dugan as Grandpa, blink and you miss it. Overall, I still like the ode but wish it was incorporated a little more.

The story picks up after hours of first film with an angry mob going after the house of the Sawyer family to get revenge after the confession of the young girl Sally that escaped. The mob ends up burning the house and the family, supposedly killing every last member – or so they thought. The story picks up years later where a girl named Heather (who has the hardest time not showing off her stomach and very tiny waist) finds out that she has a grandmother that she never knew and has inherited the family house. After realizing that her life has been a lie and she was the only one who escaped the night of the massacre. [Note: the original took place in 1974 and this is suppose to place about 20 years later but ends up being present day with iPhone’s etc., so I think there is an issue with the timeline]. The girl and her friends take a road trip to check out the house. Of course they find that they are not alone in this house and the reign of the Sawyer family is far from over.

Now back to the 3D! Since the film was heavily marketed for its use of 3D, I was excited to experience the horror in this format. There are a lot of in-your-face chainsaw scenes, which are a lot of fun and expected. The best though (which I am not going to divulge) involves a skin mask. If you see this film then 3D is definitely the way to go. The film was also very gory, in parts. Is it bad that I wanted more though? Maybe we are just too desensitized since 1974, don’t get me wrong though since the film definitely rocks in the gore department. In fact, it had to be re-cut before release, since it originally received an NC-17 rating. So hopefully we will get an unrated Blu-ray (boo-ya!). Of course I have a feeling that we have seen the last of Leatherface and the Sawyer family.

Richard Riehle talks about playing Santa Claus, “Office Space” and “Texas Chainsaw 3D”

Richard Riehle is best known for his cult favorite role of Tom Smykowski in “Office Space”.  He has played Santa Claus more than five times, including films like Disney’s “The Search for Santa Paws” to “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas”.  Besides comedies, he has also broke out in the horror genre with films like “Hatchet” and the upcoming “Texas Chainsaw 3D”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Richard about his amazing career to date and his love for what he does.

Mike Gencarelli: After playing roles in over 150 films and over a 100 TV series; what keep you drives and keep you inspired?
Richard Riehle: I love it because every project is a new experience and adventure. You go from playing Santa Claus one day to a serial killer the next. It offers all sorts of opportunities to try new things. Whether it is for a physical or psychological role. It is just great.

MG: Since it is the Holiday season, I have to ask what do you enjoy most about playing Santa Claus five times now, most recently in “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas”?
RR: They are all different. It ranges from “The Search for Santa Paws”, which is a family film with talking dogs, to “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas”, where I am a bong smoker [laughs]. I just love it.

MG: Can you tell us about how you got involved with “Office Space”?
RR: “Office Space” was just an amazing experience. Mike Judge spent a long time casting it, partly because he wanted a group of people that enjoyed hanging out with each other. I think that aspect really shows in the film. We got down to Austin and he told us flat out that we are going to be working some long hours but that every night he would take us out to the clubs or dinner. We just had a great time. It was a 26 day party.

MG: Can you reflect on the cult following that the film and your role Tom Smykowski has developed over the years?
RR: It has been absolutely amazing. When it first came out it wasn’t in theaters very long. We were excited about the good response it got and our work in it but we figured that it was done with. But about six months later, people were stopping me in the streets and asking me to quote the film. It just so happened at the time, I was doing a show for Fox, so I ran into Mike and he said it just came out on VHS and cable and has developed this whole new life. The most amazing part for me is that it has continued still through today. People are still quoting the film and spreading the word to their friends that haven’t seen it. It is just great.

MG: I have the “Office Space” stapler on my desk [laughs]
RR: [laughs] I will tell you a fun story about that stapler. I was at a cigar place in Beverly Hills. We were about to leave but my friend said that Sammy Hagar just called and said he was coming in and always brings a bunch of really beautiful girls. So we ordered another round and waited. Sure enough he came in with all these beautiful girls. Before we left my friend said he wanted to show me his humidor, which was right under Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. So as we were leaving two of Sammy’s girls where heading to the bathroom and they stopped me and said “Oh you were in “Office Space”, can we have an autograph?” I said “Sure” and they asked me to put down the line about the stapler. I said that actually wasn’t me and that was my buddy Stephen Root…but I was in the film. I asked them again if they still wanted an autograph and they said “Yes, please…and can you put down your line about the stapler?” [laughs].

MG: You not only just play roles comedies, you have a nice range into horror genre like “Hatchet”; what do you enjoy most about switching it up in films like that?
RR: “Hatchet” was sort of my introduction to horror. I have always enjoyed watching them but for some reason I never got cast in them. A buddy of mine, Joel Moore, was played the lead in the film and called and asked if I wanted to fill in for someone that dropped out. I told him “Of course” and that I was waiting to do one. It was just such a great and fun experience. Since you are dealing with these horrific things, it is usually one of the most fun sets to be on – horror films in general. Horror films are also shot all over, so you get to go to all sorts of strange and cool places. I did one called “Growth” and we got to shoot in Martha’s Vineyard, which was terrific and we got to explore the island, which was amazing.

MG: Tell us about your role of Farnsworth in “Texas Chainsaw 3D”?
RR: “Texas Chainsaw 3D”, which comes out January 4th, was shot in Shreveport, Louisiana. I had never been there either. We shot a bunch of it on this old munitions plant from WWII. The film is really a great idea and it works really well. They go back to the original “Texas Chainsaw” from 1974 and start from the last shot of that film with Sally jumping into the pickup truck. Leatherface goes back to his house after his dance of frustration. The local police chief shows up at the house and tries to bring him in but the family will not let him do it. A group of vigilantes show up and level the place and everyone is thought to be dead. 18 years later, the grandmother of the whole group, who is living in a mansion outside of town, dies. I play Farnsworth, her lawyer, and I have to find this girl that supposedly didn’t die during the attack and bring her back and offer her this mansion. But then of course…all hell breaks loose!

MG: Do you have a role that stands out for you’re as most memorable or challenging?
RR: I certainly love Tom Smykowski in “Office Space”. It was a wonderful experience doing it and since then it has lived on. I really like playing Carlson in “Of Mice and Men”, which was a while back. He is the guy that shoots the dog. I also did a TV series on Fox a while back called “Grounded for Life”, which was a wonderful experience as well. The thing is that it goes back to your first question; every role is so interesting and different and each with their own individual challenges. My next role is always going to be my favorite.

MG: What other projects do you have in the cards for 2013?
RR: It is hard to tell. A lot of the projects I do are these little independent films. The greatest difficulty is not so much getting them in the can, as it is finding distribution. I did this Western called “Dead Man’s Burden”, which I really liked. Clare Bowen, who is one of the leads in “Nashville” right now, is the lead in that. It was shot in New Mexico with no time and money. So that was recently shown in an LA film festival and I thought it came out really good. So keep an eye out for that one hopefully soon.

Blu-ray 3D Review “Dredd”

Actors: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
Directors: Pete Travis
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Run Time: 95 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The character of Judge Dredd made his first appearance in 2000 AD #2 back in March of 1977. After the disappointing attempt to bring to the big-screen, though cult favorite, back in 1995 with Sylvester Stallone in “Judge Dredd”, “Dredd” is the latest attempt and is adapted by Alex Garland from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s legendary comic book and filmed in stunning 3-D. This film is the way that this comic book character should be portrayed. Karl Urban (“Star Trek”, “The Chronicle of Riddick”) really scores with this role, even while keeping his helmet on! Lena Headey (HBO’s “Game Of Thrones”) plays a good baddie as Ma-Ma. Overall the film is a blast to watch. It is action packed, gritty, gory and the way that Judge Dredd should be. I highly recommend checking this out and be sure to watch in 3D if possible.

Official Synopsis: The future America is an irradiated wasteland. On its east coast, running from Boston to Washington D.C., lies Mega City One – a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge, a dangerous drug called “Slo-Mo,” and the sadistic crime boss Ma-Ma (Headey) who is using it to take over the city.

Lionsgate is given “Dredd” a very impressive release as it explodes onto 3D Blu-ray.  The releases includes the 3D and the standard 2D version of the film on one disc plus Digital Copy and digital Ultraviolet code. The film looks absolutely stunning with its 1080p High Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1) transfer.  This works perfectly with the film’s very sharp visual effects sequences and 3D.  The film was shot in 3D using RED MX, SI2K and Phantom Flex high-speed cameras. The film has great depth and really looks amazing on Blu-ray.  The star of the release is easily the Blu-ray’s audio track.  “Dredd” comes packed with an insane 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that is optimized for 11.1 Neo X.  This is becoming a trend with Lionsgate releases after “The Expendables 2“. I was blown away with this track and as was my surround sound.

The special features are impressive as well on this release. They are made up with six production-based featurettes.  The first is “Mega-City Masters”: 35 Years of Judge Dredd”, which looks into the legacy of this amazing action hero.  “Day of Chaos: The Visual Effects of Dredd 3D” focuses on the film very sharp and stylized visual effects. “Dredd” is a focus on the man that we know as “the law”. “Dredd’s Gear” is a look into all the super-cool goodies taht “Dredd” packs to kick some major ass! “The 3rd Dimension” is a look of introducing this series with the use of 3D. The last featurettes is “Welcome to Peachtrees”, which is a location-based feature on where 95% of the filming takes place in. Rounding out the fantastic special features is a “Dredd Motion Comic Prequel”, which is a nice lead-in to this film.

“Texas Chainsaw 3D” Prize Pack Giveaway [ENDED]


In theaters January 4th

To celebrate release of “Texas Chainsaw 3D”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway the following prize pack items below. If you would like to win one of this great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite horror character. This giveaway will be open until January 7th at Noon and is only open to residents of the United States. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

* Five (5) Pairs of Run-of-Engagement Passes
* “Texas Chainsaw 3D” Official Posters
* “Texas Chainsaw 3D” Official T-Shirts
* “Texas Chainsaw 3D” Official Shotglasses
* Horror DVD Prize Pack – including “Scream”, “My Bloody Valentine” and Saw: The Final Chapter”

Lionsgate’s TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D continues the legendary story of the homicidal Sawyer family, picking up where Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic left off in Newt, Texas, where for decades people went missing without a trace. The townspeople long suspected the Sawyer family, owners of a local barbeque pit, were somehow responsible. Their suspicions were finally confirmed one hot summer day when a young woman escaped the Sawyer house following the brutal murders of her four friends. Word around the small town quickly spread, and a vigilante mob of enraged locals surrounded the Sawyer stronghold, burning it to the ground and killing every last member of the family – or so they thought.

Decades later and hundreds of miles away from the original massacre, a young woman named Heather learns that she has inherited a Texas estate from a grandmother she never knew she had. After embarking on a road trip with friends to uncover her roots, she finds she is the sole owner of a lavish, isolated Victorian mansion. But her newfound wealth comes at a price as she stumbles upon a horror that awaits her in the mansion’s dank cellars…

With gruesome surprises in store for a whole new generation, TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D stars Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine ‘Trey Songz’ Neverson, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Shaun Sipos, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, James MacDonald, Thom Barry, Paul Rae and Richard Riehle, along with special appearances from four beloved cast members from previous installments of the franchise: Gunnar Hansen (the original Leatherface), Marilyn Burns, John Dugan and Bill Moseley. The film is directed by John Luessenhop (TAKERS), from a screenplay by Adam Marcus & Debra Sullivan and Kirsten Elms, based on a story by Stephen Susco and Adam Marcus & Debra Sullivan and based on characters created by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper, and produced by Carl Mazzocone. Lionsgate presents a production and Main Line Pictures production.

3D Blu-ray “Resident Evil: Retribution 3D”

Actors: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillroy, Kevin Durand, Boris Kodjoe
Directors: Paul W.S. Anderson
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: December 21, 2012
Run Time: 95 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4.5 out of 5 stars

When I went to the theaters to see “Resident Evil: Retribution”, I had no idea it was going to be one of my favorite movies in the series, nor my favorite of the year.  My expectations were completely blown away with this film.  It is hard to believe that the 5th film in the franchise will surpass the film’s before it…but it sure does! “Resident Evil: Retribution” takes what is amazing about this franchise and amps to to 11 (and above)! It doesn’t get old watching Milla Jovovich in skin-tight leather kicking zombie ass.  It reminds me of Kate Beckinsale in “Underworld” but between me and you Milla does it better.

In this fifth film, there are tons of return characters, despite being dead (that doesn’t mean they are zombies either – see the movie to known what I mean). Michelle Rodriguez comes back in her role of Rain Ocampo from the first “Resident Evil”, as well as another character also. Colin Salmon or better known as “One” also from the first “Resident Evil” comes back with in this installment. My favorite return is Sienna Guillory aka the sexy Jill Valentine comes back, this time as a baddie.  She is mega-hot and also kicks some mega-ass.  Oded Fehr from “RE: Apocalypse” and “RE: Extinction” comes back from the dead but not the way that you would think. We find out what happened to Luther West (Wentworth Miller) as he returns as well. Lastly, and probably fan favorite Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) is back and very helpful to Alice – or is he?

What I liked about the opening of this film is that you do not need to see the first five films in order to enjoy this.  It literally goes back and covers all the important ground.  Now if you have seen the previous film it only makes better, like the end scene from “Afterlife” being played backwards in slow-motion. Perfect way to start the movie. The 3D effects in the film are the best that I have seen throughout the entire year! Seriously! There is tons of in-your-face moments and also adds to some great jumps. The depth added throughout and it really works with the films’ action.  Speaking of the action, from the moment it starts, this film is a 90+ minute rollercoaster ride.

Official Synopsis: The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating Undead. The human race’s last and only hope, ALICE (Jovovich), awakens in the heart of Umbrella’s most clandestine operations facility and unveils more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex. Without a safe haven, Alice continues to hunt those responsible for the outbreak; a chase that takes her from Tokyo to New York, Washington, D.C. and Moscow, culminating in a mind-blowing revelation that will force her to rethink everything that she once thought to be true. Aided by newfound allies and familiar friends, Alice must fight to survive long enough to escape a hostile world on the brink of oblivion. The countdown has begun.

Sony is releasing this film in a very nice 2-Disc Combo Pack, including the Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray™, and DVD, as well as UltraViolet™ digital streaming copy.  The film works well in 2D but it looses a bit of its charm.   The 3D in the theaters was great but I have to say that the 1080p transfer on the Blu-ray is really sharp and draws you in so well.  The film literally plays like a video game, which is the way it should be and works best with the transfer.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sounds beyond amazing.  Since the film is literally a 90-minute roller coaster ride, the sound is constantly  pumping giving the surround system quite the workout.

The special features on this release is nothing short of stunning just like the film itself.  I am nothing but 100% satisfied that there are actually 3D special features.  Sony is getting a name for doing this after “Men in Black III” and “The Amazing Spider-Man”.  It is not much but there are still deleted & extended Scenes and Outtakes in 3D that are exclusive to the Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and Blu-ray. On disc two there are also six exclusive featurettes, each better than the next. “”Maestro of Evil: Directing Resident Evil: Retribution”” looks into Anderson returning to the franchise as the director of the film. ““Resident Evil: Reunion”” looks into this huge cast reunion as I described above. “Evolving Alice”” show about Jovovich keeps playing Alice fresh. “In “Design & Build: The World of Resident Evil: Retribution” looks into creating the gigantic sets for this gigantic film. “Resident Stuntman”” gives a look into the action stunts with stunt coordinator Nick Powell. Lastly, “Code: Mika” is a short look with star Mika Nakashima, as she reprises her role as “J-Pop Girl”.

The rest of the bonus features include various cast, director and producer commentary tracks. They each provide different perspectives from the production.  There is also on final featurette ““Drop (Un)Dead: The Creatures”, which is a look into the various creatures from the franchise with the cast/crew. There is also an interactive map called ” Project Alice: The Interactive Database”,” which will allows you to investigate the living, the dead and the undead of the “Resident Evil”. I would also like to note that “The Complete Series: Resident Evil 1-5” will also be available on Blu-ray with UltraViolet starting December 21st, including each 2D feature film in the Resident Evil franchise.

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3D Blu-ray Review “Ice Age: Continental Drift 3D”

Actors: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Aziz Ansari, Joy Behar
Directors: Mike Thurmeier, Steve Martino
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Run Time: 88 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

When I the last chapter in this “Ice Age” franchise, which was also the first in 3D”, “Age of the Dinosaurs”, I thought the series had jumped the shark.  After a few viewings though, I that film has grown on me.  I was excited right off to see “Continental Drift”.  I thought the story looked cute, the 3D looks sharp and the new characters were fun.  I was right on all-three aspects.  This isn’t anything ground breaking in the story department but perfect for kids.  There are a bunch of great new characters, voiced by Jennifer Lopez, Aziz Ansari and Peter Dinklage.  This installment also introduces music into the film, with original songs and I think it works very well. Overall, I am very satisfied with this film and is perfectly timed for release to make a perfect Christmas gift this holiday season for every kid. Can’t wait to see what they come up with for the fifth installment in the “Ice Age” franchise.

Official Premise: This all-new chapter in the beloved Ice Age franchise reconnects families with herd favourites Manny, Sid, and Diego. Joining familiar friends of the Ice Age world on their latest journey is Sid’s long-lost and side-splittingly funny Granny plus a band of pirates led by the fearsome orangutan Captain Gutt. And no Ice Age film would be complete without celebrated icon Scrat, whose existence revolves around the elusive acorn. Scrat once again returns with his very own exploits; however this time his pursuits result in world-changing consequences.

One of the best aspects of the “Ice Age” franchise has always been its amazing voice cast. Ray Romano is always fun to listen to playing Manny.  Denis Leary plays the tough guy with the big heart, very well as  Diego.  John Leguizamo was born to play Sid with that lovable slur. Queen Latifah joined the cast last year voicing Ellie and is a nice match for Manny. Also Seann William Scott returns voicing Crash and  Simon Pegg as Buck.  Newcomers to the cast include Nicki Minaj voicing Steffie and parents will enjoy the “Shaun of the Dead” reunion as Nick Frost joins the cast with Simon Pegg voicing Flynn.

Fox delivers this release with a wonderful combo pack included the 3D Blu-ray, the standard Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy and also Ultraviolet digital streaming copy. You can literally want this film whenever and wherever you are. The 3D presentation really suits this franchise well and looks even better at home in a sharp 1080p transfer with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. I think that the depth added in the 3D and really makes the action scenes feel like your on a rollercoaster ride. Besides the 3D, the film is also backs but an incredible DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. There is no aspect of this Blu-ray release that isn’t amped up and ready to blow you away.

The special features are exploding out here with over four hours of extras.  Kids are going to eat up watching the film with the interactive “Party with a Pirate!” mode, very fun.  There is also a sing-along mode as well. I actually really enjoyed the original songs included here! There are many exclusive featurettes included, which gives some fantastic background into the production.  “Through a Pirate’s Spyglass: Voices Ahoy and Capturing the Crew” look into the recording sessions with the cast. “Granny and the Stink of the Sloths”, “Scrat Got Your Tongue?” and “Whale of a Tale: Drifts, Rifts, Beasties and Myths” focus on each of the respective characters and their aspects in the film.   There are two music video for the songs “We Are” and “Chasing the Sun”.  There are also some decent deleted Scenes included. “The Scratist” is an all-new animated short spoof with the lovable Scrat. “Ice Age: The Story So Far” is a seires overview for those who need a refresh on the first three films.  Lastly there are the original theatrical trailers included.

Film Review “The Art of Flight 3D”

Actors: Travis Rice, John Jackson, Mark Landvik, Scotty Lago, Jake Blauvelt
Directors: Curt Morgan
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Red Bull Media House
Running Time: 80 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“The Art of Flight 3D” not just another documentary film about snowboarding. It is much more.  The film was released prior back in September 2011 but was not in 3D.  Let me tell you that adding the third dimension to this film really makes the difference.  Like I said this is not just about snowboarding, the film is jam-packed with action, adventure and even drama. It follows the well-known snowboarder Travis Rice and his friends as it follows them over two years as they aim to experience the limit of snowboarding. The film is released from Red Bull film division…that’s right the energy drink.  This film is your average documentary on a bender of Red Bull.  I would highly recommend experiencing this film, especially in 3D.

Official Synopsis: Brace yourself for a new breed of action sports film as Red Bull Media House presents the re-release of Red Bull Media House’s acclaimed film now in 3D titled “The Art of FLIGHT 3D,” a Curt Morgan film. “The Art of FLIGHT 3D” combines meaningful storytelling and character development with sport progressing action, all captured on state-of-the-art filmmaking equipment, much of which has been custom designed just for this project. Equal parts stunning action and harrowing adventure mix with the inevitable drama encountered along the way, presenting viewers with an exclusive opportunity to experience these endeavors virtually firsthand. With unprecedented access, the audience will share in the experience as snowboarder Travis Rice, along with a cast of the best riders in the world, complete a two-year quest to redefine what’s possible on a snowboard.

First of all the cinematography in the film is extremely impressive, thanks to filming with the RED camera system. It really scales up the film and makes it feel much bigger. We get to experience the mountains in locations like Chilean Patagonia’s Darwin Range, Alaska’s Tordrillo Range, Wyoming’s Snake River Range, Aspen, Colorado, the Andes, as well as British Columbia’s Kootenay Mountains. The 3D really added a lot of depth to these wonderful landscapes. I am sure it looked amazing on Blu-ray without but I really enjoyed the depth added to the locations. When it comes to snowboarding films, you got to make sure to have a killer soundtrack and “The Art of Flight” does not disappoint. It features the music of The Naked and Famous, M83, Deadmau5, Sigur Rós and more.

“The Art of FLIGHT 3D” will be released exclusively in AMC Theatres on December 7th in markets including New York, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Spokane, Denver, Salt Lake City, Charlotte and Minneapolis.  The film will also be available via TUGG throughout December 2012 and Winter 2013.  TUGG is a web-platform that enables moviegoers to choose the films that play at their local theaters. Then hopefully Red Bull is planning a 3D Blu-ray release since I would love to own this film for repeat viewings.

3D Blu-ray Review “Finding Nemo”

Actors: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe, Brad Garrett
Directors: Andrew Stanton
Number of discs: 5
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Disney-Pixar
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Run Time: 100 minutes

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

“Finding Nemo” is one of Pixar’s best films to date and seems to only gets better with age…and the added dimension. It is hard to imagine that this film came out almost 10 years ago now. With a child of my own now (6 months old), I just can’t wait to share this film with her. As with past Disney 3D re-releases like “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast”, “Finding Nemo” is the latest convert.  It looks great in the theaters but I honestly think it is better on its Blu-ray release. There are a few stand out scenes like the first encounter with Bruce the Shark. I seriously got goose bumps, when this scene came on the screen. The Deep Sea Angler scene was also very impressive as well, including a few great jumps from the audience. The overall depth of the presentation looks very impressive overall. “Monsters Inc.” is next for Pixar and then after that we have traditional animated “The Little Mermaid” getting pushed into the third dimension.  I can’t wait and will be counting down the days.

Official Premise: Sea it like never before! For the first time ever, through the magic of Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D, fully immerse yourself in the stunning underwater world of Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Nemo”! From the creators of “Toy Story” and “Monsters Inc.”, this critically acclaimed and heartwarming tale splashes off the screen with brilliant digital picture, high definition sound and breathtaking interactive 3D bonus features that transport you beyond your imagination. In the depths of the Great Barrier Reef, Marlin (Albert Brooks), an overly protective clownfish, embarks on a daring rescue mission when his beloved son, Nemo, gets scooped up by a diver. With his unforgettable friend Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) by his side, Marlin encounters an ocean full of memorable comedic characters on his momentous journey to find Nemo. Bring home the humor and heartfelt emotion of the epic adventure that captured the Academy Award for “Best Animated Feature Film” (2003) — now more awesome than ever on Disney Blu-ray 3D! It’s Magic In A New Dimension!

This Ultimate Collector’s Edition is presented as a five-disc combo with a Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy.  This is the first time that the film has ever been released on high-definition Blu-ray and boy, does it look absolutely perfect throughout its 1080p transfer.  The vast ocean world that we live in throughout this film literally looks stunning. The 3D MVC-encoded transfer adds the perfect amount of depth to the water and like I mentioned the key scenes mentioned above. To go along with the perfect video presentation, Disney has delivered an even better (if that is possible) Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround sound track. It works so well with Thomas Newman’s score and every wave and bump in the water throughout. There is also a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track included, which sounds equally good for those who don’t have 5.1 support.

The special features are perfect and even take a step up from the also newly released “Up” 3D Blu-ray. The “Cine-Explore” Picture-in- Picture commentary is really one of my new favorite features from Disney. It features Director Andrew Stanton, co-director Lee Unkrich and co-writer Bob Peterson as they breakdown every aspect of the film.  “Finding Nemo: A Filmmakers’ Roundtable” is a new exclusive roundtable, which reunites Stanton, Unkrich, Peterson, producer Graham Walters, production designer Ralph Eggleston and technical lead Oren Jacob to celebrate the film’s upcoming 10th anniversary. “Reinventing the Submarine Voyage” looks into the attraction in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. “A Lesson in Flashbacks” shows Stanton as he discusses the development of Nemo’s story. There is an alternate opening scene presented in through concept art. “Knick Knack” is a 1989 short that debuted in front of the film in its 2003 theatrical release. Lastly there are trailers and sneak peeks for “Monsters University”, “Monsters, Inc. 3D”, “Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” and “Planes”.

The rest of the special features are on Disc 3, also most in standard definition.  “Art Review” features an insight look from Production designer Ralph Eggleston, character art director Ricky Nierva and shading art director Robin Cooper. “Making Nemo” is a nearly 30 minutes behind-the-scenes documentary covering the production. “Exploring the Reef” is an short look at the world’s endangered coral reefs with Jean-Michel Cousteau. “Studio Tour” is a tour of Pixar Studios and its departments with Alexander Gould. “Old School” is short collection of various featurettes. There are seven short deleted scenes presented in storyboards format. There is three very funny outtakes. There are a bunch of publicity pieces including four trailers. “Mr. Ray’s Encyclopedia” is an interactive video look into the real undersea creatures. Lastly “Aquariums” is a collection of ocean floor screensavers, cool but too bad they are not in HD.


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3D Blu-ray Review “Up”

Actors: Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo
Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Number of discs: 5
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Disney-Pixar
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Run Time: 96 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4.5 out of stars

I recently when through my 3D Blu-ray’s and I realized that “Up” was not among those.  “Up” was released in theaters in 3D back in 2009 and since then has never again been presented in that format.  I thought that it was a real shame since since this film delivered a really fantastic 3D experience. The 3D works so well with the depth and colors in the film.  It really pops out so well and leaves you trying not to blink to miss anything. The film is just so heartwarming and packs such a sweet and unique story.  “Up” stands today as one of my favorite Pixar films to date.  Luckily, Disney has delivered a fantastic 3D Blu-ray to give this film the respect it deserves.  With the film being released a few weeks prior to Christmas, it will make a nice Christmas gift both young and old.

Official Premise:  The 3D experience comes home with Disney·Pixar’s “Up,” the uplifting tale from the creators of “Monsters, Inc.” and “Finding Nemo.”  In 2009, “Up” was awarded two Academy Awards® for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score. “Up” follows 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. Their journey to a lost world, where they encounter some strange, exotic and surprising characters, is filled with hilarity, emotion and wildly imaginative adventure.

This release is presented as a five-disc combo with a Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy.  “Up” looks absolutely perfect throughout its 1080p transfer.  It is a real step up from the last time I saw this film on Disney Channel.   The scenery in the film looks so real that you can almost reach out and grab.  The 3D MVC-encoded completely immerses you into the world that Pixar has created and literally takes you up and out along with Carl’s house and his adventures. To go along with the perfect video presentation, Disney has delivered a likewise perfect DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. It works so well with Michael Giacchino’s beautiful score and the film’s action.

The special features are split over two Blu-rays.  Disc 2 includes a Cine-Explore commentary with Director Pete Docter and co-director Bob Peterson.  This is very informative and interesting Picture-in-Picture video commentary.  Fans of this film will enjoy to get immersed in this track. “Adventure Is Out There” follows Doctor and cast/crew with more production details and development of the story. “Partly Cloudy” is the wonderful animated short that premiered in front of the theatrical release. “Dug’s Special Mission” is an all new animated short with the film’s lovable and loyal dog. “The Many Endings of Muntz” is an alternate scene focusing on planning the for the film’s antagonist.

Disc 3 starts with a collection of seven fantastic production featurettes. The first is “Geriatric Hero”, which  focuses creating the character of Carl. “Canine Companions” looks into Muntz’ pack of dogs. “Wilderness Explorer” dives into the character of Russell. “Our Giant Flightless Friend” looks at how Kevin was created. “Homemakers of Pixar” looks at one of the film’s other main character, Carl’s house. “Balloons and Flight” looks into Carl’s houses wings and Muntz’ zeppelin. “Composing for Characters” is a nice chat with Michael Giacchino. These seven extras run just over 45 minutes. Next up is “Married Life” is is a collection of alternate scenes focusing on Carl and Ellie, one of my favorites. “Global Guardian Badge Game” is an interactive BD-Live kids game. Lastly there is a collection of “Up” promotional spots and worldwide trailers.

3D Blu-ray Review “Men in Black 3”

Actors: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin
Directors: Barry Sonnenfeld
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 30, 2012
Run Time: 106 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“Men in Black” is a fun series.  The first film was very unique in its time.  The second was a bit messy but still tons of fun.  The third film takes the series into a nice direction.  I am not sure if there will be a fourth film but it is much welcomed.   The film seems a little over-budgeted to me but is a hell of a ride and very entertaining.  The 3D on the Blu-ray is good but not stunning.  You can tell that this was converted into 3D for the money. There is a nice about a depth added due to the added third-dimension, there is just no WOW factor from it. The film still works though with or without it though. Josh Brolin is a nice addition to the cast and gives a spot on performances for K (aka Tommy Lee Jones).  I also think this film has real replay value and I look forward to watching it again soon (which is rare with most films I watch).

Official Premise: In “Men in Black 3”, Agents J [Will Smith] and K [Tommy Lee Jones] are back… in time. Agent J has seen some inexplicable things in his 15 years with the Men in Black, but nothing, not even aliens, perplexes him as much as his wry, reticent partner. But when Agent K’s life and the fate of the planet are put at stake, Agent J will have to travel back in time to put things right. J discovers that there are secrets to the universe that Agent K never told him – secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young Agent K [Josh Brolin] to save his partner, the agency and the future of humankind.

Sony Home Entertainment’s release comes in a three-disc combo pack. There is a Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and a DVD included, as well as a Ultraviolet Digital Copy. The 1080p transfer is sharp and impressive, whether you are watching in 3D or 2D. I still will most likely revisit this again in 3D, even though it wasn’t perfect. I liked the depth given to the film and I thin kit is worth it just for that. The real star of this release though is the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround audio track. It works perfectly with the film’s action and Elfman’s score. My surround sound really needed a nap after this extreme workout.

“Men in Black 3” also marks the debut use of “The Movie Touch”, which is an interactive bonus for those with an iPad. It goes well beyond the concept of a second-screen app. It allows you to watch the movie on their iPad while also navigating numerous bonus behind-the-scenes videos, photos, fun facts, soundtrack music info, multi-angle explorations, an interactive timeline, actor profiles, exclusive content and more. The Movie Touch App is available free from the App Store, here. This is going to be a very cool feature with possibilities going forward with future titles like “Total Recall” and I look forward to see what’s next.

Sony has been really embracing the Blu-ray 3D format. They actually include some 3D special features again after “The Amazing Spider-Man”. They are not show-stopper but still 3D extra nonetheless. “The Case of Boris the Animal: The 3D Models of MIB 3” is an interactive feature that allows you to interact with a 3D display and may learn more the film’s goodies like the Particle Randomizer, the Class 2 Jet Pack, the Archanan Time Jumper, Boris’ Motorcycle, and the Monocycles. There is also a ever-to-short look with Visual Effects Supervisor Corey Turner on “Converting to 3D”. I wish this was much longer but still cool. Lastly there is a 3D trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man”.

The rest of the special features are on the 2D Blu-ray disc. “Spot the Alien Game” is a cute but not amazing FPS using your remote. Kids might enjoy this more than adults. “Partners in Time: The Making of MIB 3” is a decent length behind-the-scenes feature with cast and crew chatting about everything from production to visual effects. “The Evolution of Cool: MIB 1960’s vs. Today” is nice feature on bringing the series back and its travels through time. “Keeping it Surreal: The Visual FX of MIB 3” focuses solely on the film’s special effects and creature designs. “Scene Investigations” is a detailed focus on specific scenes, including Lunar Prison Escape, Showdown at Mr. Wu’s, J’s Time Jump, and The Motorcycle Chase. Animation Supervisor Spencer Cook and VFX Supervisors Ken Ralston and Jay Redd takes us through “Progression Reels” with a commentary voice over on the design and digital effects. Lastly, there is a very funny gag reel and music video for “Back in Time” by Pitbull included.


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3D Blu-ray Review “Step Up Revolution”

Starring: Adam G. Sevani, Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman
Director: Scott Speer
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Run Time: 99 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to the “Step Up” franchise, this series has really developed into more than just a movie.  The series all have decent plots and acting but really shine in the music and the dancing.  That is what these movies are all about and they really succeed in doing so.  “Step Up 3: The Streets” was the first to enter the third dimension, which may have seen like a way to get more money but the film really benefited from it.  “Revolution” takes the 3D effects on step further or if I can say a step up (sorry).  I was blown away by the dancing and the use of the 3D in this film.  I was wondering how they would out due themselves this time around but they definitely delivered. If you are a fan of great dancing, fantastic choreography and looking for an overall good time…be sure to join the revolution (sorry again!).  Bring on “Step Up 5”!

Kathryn Renée McCormick and Ryan Guzman take the lead in this new installment. Kathryn is known best for appearing on various seasons of the dance competition show “So You Think You Can Dance”. Even though this fourth film in the series features two new leads, it saw a flood of returning characters from the previous films. Alyson Stoner returned playing Camille Gage from the first and third films. While
Adam G. Sevani (“Moose”), Mari Koda (Jenny Kido), Harry Shum, Jr. (Cable) and Stephen “Twitch” Boss (Jason) have been with this series since “Step Up 2: The Streets”. I liked they there is that continuity and these characters return each film.

Official Premise: Emily (McCormick) arrives in Miami with aspirations of becoming a professional dancer and soon falls in love with Sean (Guzman), a young man who leads a dance crew in elaborate, cutting-edge flash mobs, called “The Mob.” When a wealthy businessman threatens to develop The Mob’s historic neighborhood and displace thousands of people, Emily must band together with Sean and The Mob to turn their performance art into protest art, and risk losing their dreams to fight for a greater cause.

Since “Step Up” franchise relies heavily on music, it is always an important aspect for me. This Blu-ray comes with a very impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, which sounds amazing…but actually gets a little showed up. I was really shocked to see that this release includes the brand new 11.1 DTS Neo:X Surround Sound track (compatible with Any DTS Neo:X-Enabled AV Receiver). That’s right kiddies, this track allows you to watch and experience this film in a room-shaking 11.1 surround sound. “The Expendables 2” was the first Blu-ray to utilize this features and Lionsgate is doing it again with “Step Up Revolution”. This is a high intensity audio experience which truly elevates the 3D home theater entertainment to a new level. DTS Neo:X is presenting the film the way it was meant to be heard. I would expect to see this quite a bit in the future.

“Step Up Revolution” comes in a combo pack with a 3D Blu-ray, which has the film also in 2D.  There is also digital copy included, as well as an Ultraviolet digital streaming copy. The box presentation is also very unique.  If you look at the cover, the people on it are imprinted onto a plastic cover that goes over the typical Blu-ray case.  When you remove it, it is just a sunny reflection of Miami  behind it. Pretty neat and clever and a nice extra touch. The film itself really looks sharp on Blu-ray.  Like I said earlier, the 3D really pops well on this 1080p transfer.  The colors are very vibrant and alive as well!

The special features are very impressive for this release.  There is an audio commentary track with director Scott Speer, choreographer Jamal Sims and cast members Kathryn McCormick and Ryan Guzman.  This is a really a must listen for all fans of the film, don’t miss it.  There are four solid featurettes focusing on all aspects of the production in “Becoming A Star”, “Choreography” (my favorite), “Dancing On Their Own” and “Making The Mob” (pretty amazing). Adding to the mob featurette is also “Flash Mob Index”, which gives you a 1-click stop for all their dance sequences. There are two music video including “Goin’ In” – J Lo featuring Flo Rida & Lil Jon and “Hands In The Air” – Timbaland featuring Ne-Yo.  Lastly there are a few deleted scenes, rounding out this very impressive release.

Complimentary Passes to the Orlando, FL Screening for “Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in 3D” [ENDED]

The Nutcracker ballet returns to NCM Fathom Events this holiday season and for the first time ever will be shown in RealD 3D in select locations.  In collaboration with More2Screen and EuroArts Music, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker will be broadcast to movie theaters nationwide on Monday, December 3 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (local time).

If you would like to enter for a chance to win free passes to see to attend the one night only screening at AMC Downtown Disney 24, please leave a comment below and let us known what do you like most about “The Nutcracker”. Winners will be chosen on a RANDOM BASIS on November 30th. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON/PER HOUSEHOLD PLEASE! OTHERWISE ALL ENTRIES WILL BE DISREGARDED. The winners will be will notified via email if chosen to win. Good luck and thanks for supporting

The Russian Imperial Mariinsky Theatre was the original home to Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in 1892, when it made its worldwide debut. Movie theater audiences will experience the marvelous talents of two of the Mariinsky Theatre’s rising stars – Alina Somova as Clara (Masha in the original Russian ballet) and Vladimir Shklyarov as the Nutcracker. Conducted by Valery Gergiev, this timeless production of The Nutcracker opens with a Christmas Eve party and a young girl, Clara, being given a nutcracker doll by her godfather, Drosselmeyer. Later in the evening when Clara sleeps, she finds herself in the midst of the Nutcracker’s battle against the Mouse King and his army of mice. Coming to Clara’s aid, the Nutcracker is transformed into a Prince and journeys with her to an enchanted island where spectacular celebrations are held in their honor.

Don’t miss your chance to share this holiday tradition with your family in movie theaters for one day only on December 3!  Click here for event information for “Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker”.


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