DVD Review “Descendants”

Actors: Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Sofia Carson, Mitchell Hope
Directors: Kenny Ortega
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: July 31, 2015
Run Time: 112 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When I heard about Disney making a film focusing on the kids of their most famous villains, I knew that this was going to be a good idea. Top it off with extremely talent actors like Dove Cameron from Disney’s “Liv and Maddie”, Cameron Boyce from Disney’s “Jessie” and Booboo Stewart from “The Twilight Saga” and you’ve got a winner…not to mentioned that you have director and choreographer Kenny Ortega of the “High School Musical” franchise on board. The film is a bit long running near two hours but I enjoyed the talent and music was really run. My daughter has not stopped singing “Evil Like Me” since watching it. Highly recommended for Disney families.

Official Premise: Meet the next generation of villains in Disney’s DESCENDANTS! Imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, home of the most infamous villains who ever lived, the kids of Maleficent (Kristen Chenoweth), the Evil Queen, Jafar and Cruella De Vil have never ventured off the island… until now. Sent to idyllic Auradon to attend prep school alongside the children of beloved Disney heroes, these villainous kids must execute a plan that helps their evil parents achieve “world domination” once again! Will Maleficent’s daughter (Dove Cameron) and the other rebel teens follow in their rotten parents’ footsteps or will they choose to embrace their innate goodness and save the kingdom?

The special features on the DVD include exclusive dance rehearsal footage and bloopers. The dance numbers in the film are fun and very fun to watch. So it was cool to see some of the work that went into making them. The bloopers were also a blast. My daughter loved watching them…in fact, we watched them a few times actually. Also include with the DVD is a free “Isle of the Lost” bracelet, which my daughter also hasn’t taken off since receiving it and makes sure to have it on during the three times we have watching this film this week. I hope that Disney high tails it with a sequel for next summer because we want more.

Blu-ray Review “The Descendants”

Directed by: Alexander Payne
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Patricia Hastie
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Running Time: 115 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

As much as I love the film “The Artist”, it is obvious that George Clooney should have won the Oscar for his role in this movie. It is hard for an actor to be able to both make you laugh and cry in the same 2 hours and Clooney does it. When this film first came out I really had no interest in it but once it started picking up some pace, it grabbed my interest. Clooney’s performance seems to come so naturally and feels really laid back just like the Hawaii setting in the film. The film also features great performances from Beau Bridges and Matthew Lillard, though overall this is a real ensemble.

Following an accident of his wife leaving her in a coma, Matt King (Clooney), a high-powered Hawaii real estate lawyer (George Clooney) finds himself in charge of their young daughters (Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller) that he barely knows. Matt is also on the verge of making a very important family decision of selling a large portion of Hawaii’s beaches for hotel space. While spending time with his daughters, reflecting his wife’s situation he realizes that there are things that he has never noticed before about his family and his wife. With his daughters help he is able to find a way to change his life and theirs on the process.

The video looks absolutely fantastic and really shines in it 1080p transfer. The film was shot in stunning Hawaii and this film literally transports you to the beaches and just feels really laid back. The audio in this release packs a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. It is not really pushed hard but it works well with the ambient sounds in the film and just seems to work well overall.

The special features are good though lacking any commentary track from Payne or Clooney. Since the film is all about George, so is this feature “Everybody Loves George”. “Working with Alexander” is lead by the director as he takes us through the production himself. “The Real Descendants” tells the real story story behind this film. “Hawaiian Style” focuses on the production side of shooting on location in Hawaii. Alexander Payne chats about the “Casting” in the next feature to come up with this dream-team cast. “Working with Water” deals with the difficulties of shooting on water.

More features include three music videos featuring footage from Hawaii: “Will I Ever See You Again”, “Postcards from Paradise” and “Honolulu’s Whisper”. My least favorite feature is “Waiting for the Light”, which a short montage of behind-the-scenes footage. From least to favorite, the next one is “The World Parade: Hawaii”. which is shows a reel of silent documentary like footage from turn-of-the-century Hawaii. “A Conversation with George Clooney and Alexander Payne” is a sit down with director and its star and ends up being a lot of fun. There are two short deleted scenes that were included, an explanation of each is given from the director. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.

Kansas City Critics name “The Descendants” Best Film of 2011

“The Descendants” narrowly defeated “Drive” to win the top prize as the Kansas City Film Critics Circle held their annual end of year vote Sunday evening. The Alexander Payne directed film also took home the Best Actor award for star George Clooney. Best Actress went to Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia. Reclusive filmmaker Terrence Malick was named Best Director for “The Tree of Life.” Here is a complete list of winners:

Best Film: “The Descendants”
Robert Altman Award for Direction: Terrence Malick – “The Tree of Life”
Best Actor: George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Best Actress: Kirsten Dunst – “Melancholia”
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain – “The Tree of Life”
Best Animated Feature: “Rango”
Best Foreign Film: “A Separation” (Iran)
Best Documentary: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” (Werner Herzog – Director)
Best Original Screenplay: “Beginners” (Mike Mills)
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Moneyball” (Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin)
Vince Koehler Award for Best Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror Film: “Hugo”

This was the 45th annual vote by the organization, which was founded by Dr. James Loutzenhiser in 1966. The KCFCC is the second oldest critics group in the nation.

Film Review “The Descendants”

Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Beau Bridges
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 55 mins
Fox Searchlight

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Officer, I’d like to report a crime. In 2004 Alexander Payne gave us the award winning film “Sideways.” I’d like you to arrest whoever made us wait seven years for his next one.

Matt King (Clooney) is a real estate lawyer in Hawaii. He is also the executor of his family’s estate: 25,000 untouched acres of paradise. While sorting through bids for the property Matt’s wife, Elizabeth, is injured in a boating accident. While she lays in a non-reversible coma Matt learns that his wife has been having an affair. Filled with grief over her inevitable death, he must also face the anger he feels because of her betrayal. And he must do this while caring to the needs of his two daughters: 10 year old Scottie (Amara Miller) and wise beyond her years 17 year old Alexandra (Woodley). It’s not a situation I’d wish on anyone.

Adapted from the book of the same name, this is the first film Payne has directed where he didn’t collaborate on the script with Jim Taylor (the two won an Oscar for “Sideways.” Still, writing has always been Payne’s strong suit and his work here with writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (the television film “Adopted”) shines. In voice-over King explains how his ancestors have been quite wealthy but frugal. Quoting his late father he advises that parents should “give their children enough money to do something…but not enough to do nothing.” Still, Matt does well enough to send Alexandra to private school and indulge his wife’s love for racing boats. Learning that Elizabeth was in love with the other man, Matt decides to track him down with the intent of letting him know her condition and allowing him to say his goodbyes. This turn of events could have easily slipped into standard “movie of the week” mode. But thanks to Clooney’s performance, you find yourself agreeing with Matt’s decisions, no matter how awkward they appear. This is one of Clooney’s strongest performances and he may have to clear space on his mantle for Oscar number two. He is at the top of his game in his scenes alone with the comatose Elizabeth. Asking questions that are unable to be answered his pain at his loss and her betrayal is heartbreaking.

As Matt’s young daughters, both Woodley and Miller shine. This is Miller’s first role and she shows that she’s a natural. Supporting work by Nick Krause, Robert Forster and Bridges add to the enjoyment. Throughout the film I kept pointing to a tan, curly haired gentlemen and saying to myself, “that looks like Michael Ontkean.” Guess what? It IS Michael Ontkean. Nice to see him on the big screen again. And yes, he looks good.

FREE Tickets to Orlando Advance Screening of “The Descendants” [ENDED]

Media Mikes is happy to be hosting an advance screening of George Clooney’s new film “The Descendants”.  The screening will taking place on 11/21/2011 – 7:30pm at Regal Winter Park Village Stadium 20. Follow the instructions below if you would like a chance to win tickets.

1. Tickets are available first come first serve to the first 50 people to leave a comment below.
2. One code will be emailed to those people which will admit 1 person and 1 guest to the screening.
3. You will need to register at http://www.gofobo.com/rsvp to receive your tickets.

From the creator of the Oscar-winning SIDEWAYS, set in Hawaii, THE DESCENDANTS is a sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant journey, for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a repprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from the Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.