Blu-ray Review: “Scanners II: The New Order / Scanners III: The Takeover – Double Feature”

Starring: Liliana Komorowska, David Hewlett, Deborah Raffin, Valérie Valois, Yvan Ponton, Steve Parrish
Director: Christian Duguay
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Run Time: 199 minutes

Scanners II: 3 out of 5 stars
Scanners III: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

“Scanners” is one of my favorite horror flicks and one of the best films from David Cronenberg. The film was so unique, still holds up today and has spawned two sequels. “Scanners II” is a standalone from the 1981 film and has a different cast but still similar story. It has a hard act to follow-up but is a pretty decent film. The same can’t be said for “Scanners III”, which is not the greatest film but it still fun to watch (or at least it was when I was kid). Sort of reminds me a “Jaws 3-D”, terrible yet I still always watch it. This double feature is brought to us by Scream Factory, who is really coming to the aid of horror fans in need of obscure horror titles this year.

“Scanners II” Official Premise: Sequel to David Cronenberg’s 1981 feature, about a fringe group of humans who have developed telepathic powers. When a corrupt police commander (Yvan Ponton) decides to use the scanners to help take over the city, he convinces evil scientist Dr Morse (Tom Butler) to help him. Morse has plans to use a new mind-controlling drug on the telepaths, but has not reckoned with a rogue scanner who is determined to stop them.

“Scanners III” Official Premise: Second sequel to David Cronenberg’s 1981 horror, about a group of telepathic people, known as ‘scanners’, operating on the fringes of human society. Young Helena Monet (Liliana Komorowska) has exceptional telepathic abilities, but when she tries an experimental drug developed by her father she turns into a deranged killer, using her abilities to cut a murderous swathe to the top of her father’s pharmaceutical company. On her quest to dominate the world, Helena takes over a television station, and the only man who can stop her is her scanner brother Alex, recently returned from honing his skills in a Thai monastery.

Scream Factory delivered this double feature in a combo pack with Blu-ray and DVD of both films. “Scanners II & III” each located on one Blu-ray disc and one DVD. The transfers of these films are good but not out of this world. These films were never shot were not given a new touched up transfer for this release, so they both show their age a bit. Nonetheless, they both deliver what they need to in order to make the presentations worth checking out. They each come with a DTS-HD Master Audio track, which also work for what each film delivers. In terms of special features though there is no much hear except for Theatrical Trailers. But I am sure that some of you will just take “Scanners II” and consider “Scanners III” an optional bonus feature.

Blu-ray Review “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (Director’s Cut)”

Actors: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, Clifton Collins Jr., Julie Benz
Director: Troy Duffy
Rated: R (Restricted) / Unrated
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: July 16, 2013
Run Time: 117 / 144 minutes

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

I remember I rented the first “The Boondock Saints” on VHS when it was a ‘Blockbuster Exclusive’ rental. This was almost 15 years ago and before it was this cult phenomenon. When there was word that “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” was being made 10 years after the first, I think it made every fan jump up and down (including myself). Well it’s been 4 years since this sequel was released and we can get excited again since Writer/Director Troy Duffy’s is releasing a new Director’s Cut which features 27 Minutes of Never-Before-Seen Extended Footage. There is a longer opening sequence, a lengthened fantasy sequence and an extended elevator sequence leading up to the Prudential shoot-out. So with the director’s cut the running time gets bumped up to 144 minutes and it is AMAZING!

“The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” is a a rare feat where it actually tops the original. This sequel to back the original cast, Including Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus and Billy Connolly along with new additions including Clifton Collins Jr., Julie Benz, Peter Fonda and Judd Nelson. I do not remember a more explosive theatrical experience then when I saw this film in theaters. I know fans have been bugging writer/director Troy Duffy to do a third film and I really hope that happens one day. I am not sure why this release is coming now, if not to capitalize on Norman Reedus’ insane fandom from “The Walking Dead”, but either way I am excited and it is a must for any fan of this series!

Official Premise: From Troy Duffy, writer and director of The Boondock Saints, comes the much anticipated sequel to the tough, stylized cutting edge saga of the MacManus brothers (Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery). The two have been in deep hiding with their father, Il Duce (Billy Connolly), in the quiet valleys of Ireland, far removed from their former vigilante lives. When word comes that a beloved priest has been killed by sinister forces from deep within the mob, the brothers return to Boston to mount a violent and bloody crusade to bring justice to those responsible. With a new partner in crime (Clifton Collins Jr., Star Trek) and a sexy FBI operative (Julie Benz, TV’s Dexter) hot on their trail…the Saints are back!

The 1080p transfer still looks great like the past releases, especially with the new footage. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is killer as well with the non-stop action. The line “Ding Ding Motherfucka! Ding Dong!” is presented perfectly. The real catch for this release is that it comes as a two-Disc Blu-ray combo pack with both the Theatrical and Director’s Cut versions. This release is currently set as a Best Buy exclusive release, so fans need to be sure to pick this up for sure.

The special features are in-line with the past Blu-ray releases. We get a pair of audio commentary tracks from cast and crew. There are two short deleted scenes. Then there are seven featurettes including “Unprecedented Access: Behind the Scenes”, “Billy Connolly and Troy Duffy: Unedited”, “The Cast Confesses: Secrets From the Set”, “Inside the Vault: The Weapons”, “‘The Boondock Saints’ Hit Comic-Con”, “Saints Off Script” and “Back to Boondock”. All these special features are must see for any fan of the series but they are not anything new for this release. But don’t forget that this new release contains the pretty sweet director’s cut of the film, so that is enough for me!


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Blu-ray Review “The Last Exorcism Part II”

Actors: Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark, David Jensen, Tarra Riggs
Directors: Ed Gass-Donnelly
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Run Time: 88 minutes

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Man did I really want to love this movie.  I thought the first “The Last Exorcism” (that just sounds wrong BTW) was pretty kick ass, not perfect but definitely cool flick.  This unnecessary sequel (hello, “Last Exorcism”) steps away from the found-footage angle but doesn’t add any scares.  In fact there are little to no good scares in this film.  The film runs 88 minutes and yet I didn’t feel that anything useful happens until just past the one hour marks and then they rush and realize this film needs to actual be about an “exorcism”.  Ashley Bell repeats her good performances from the first film but doesn’t add anything new here.  I would skip this film and keep you good or at least decent memories of the first film.

Official Premise: Continuing where the first film left off, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is found terrified and alone in rural Louisiana. Back in the relative safety of New Orleans, Nell realizes that she can’t remember entire portions of the previous months only that she is the last surviving member of her family. Just as Nell begins the difficult process of starting a new life, the evil force that once possessed her is back with other, unimaginably horrific plans that mean her last exorcism was just the beginning.

Sony released thisd Blu-ray as an “Unrated Edition” but they forgot to actually also include the PG-13 theatrical version as well (not that I would have watched it anyway). Along with the Blu-ray, there is also an Ultraviolet digital copy included. The 1080p transfer and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track are good enough for a low budget film. I wish they would have taken advantage more of New Orleans and used it as a character that it can be. The special features are not great either.  There are three featurettes including “Shooting in New Orleans”, “Hair Salon Scare – The Last Exorcism Part II goes Viral” and Nell’s Story. Lastly there is a audio commentary track with Ed Gass-Donnelly and Eli Roth.

Book Review "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles II: Creatures and Characters"

Author: Daniel Falconer
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: April 9, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Last year when I reviewed Harper’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles – Art & Design”, I was blown away.  It was easily one of the best film companion book I had the privilege checking out last year. Click here to see our review. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles II: Creatures and Characters” is another amazing book from WETA Workshop designer Daniel Falconer. My wife’s response was “Another one?” but from the moment I picked up the book, I was unable to put it down. There is so much amazing content in here that I can spend hours and hours looking it over. If you are a fan of “The Hobbit” or “The Lord of the Rings” series, this book is really a dream come true.

The first “Chronicles” focused broadly on the “Art & Design” from “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with over 1,000 images of every aspect of the production from concept artwork to photographs and development paintings.  “Chronicles II” hones in a little bit and focuses specifically on the aspects of the “Creatures and Characters”.  Easily there is no stretching of content here there is enough to fill two books on these topics.  Here we get an additional 500+ previously unpublished photographs, behind-the-scenes photographs, digital renders and film stills, which are absolutely breathtaking. We get a chance to go through “The Hobbit” species by species and character by character. If you like the Hobbit’s then you will enjoy the sections on everything from their accents to their feet to their ears were created.  Literally, every aspect is covered in this book. We don’t get stop as the Hobbit’s though, we get chapters on the Wizards, Dwarves, Trolls, Elves, Stone Giants, Goblins, Orcs, Beasts and of course we can’t forget Gollum.  Along with that we have exclusive interviews with the designers, cast and crew to accompany and describe these beautiful photos. 

I should also point out that “Chronicles II”, comes with a great send off from Andy Serkis.  He is so extremely talented and his work on this series, should be awarded. By the time you get to the end of the book and you think you are done…there is still more goodies including a special fold-out Character Size Chart. This chart takes a look at all the major creatures and characters of the film ranging from Radagast’s hedgehog friend to the towering Stone Giants! Like in the first “Chronicles”, Weta Workshop designer Daniel Falconer has access to these wonderful collection of images and really leave you just starring at the pages. You really get an inside look at how much work and hard labor really went into this film. It makes you have a new appreciation for the talented people involved. Harper really delivered these images in the highest possible quality as well as complete book presentation. I hope that they are planning the same thing for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again”, because I will be first in line.

Blu-ray Review "Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike"

Actors: Samantha Mathis, D.B. Sweeney, Michael Gross, Ray Wise, Jason Beghe, Esai Morales, Patrick Fabian, Kim Rhodes
Directors: John Putch
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Run Time: 111 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

First let me start that I have never read Ayn Rand novel for “Atlas Shrugged”. Before I recently saw “Atlas Shrugged: Part One”, I heard a lot of negative aspects about the film. I actually liked it, sort of. The film feels like a corporate soap opera. The story is a little light and the acting is a little campy and over-the-top. It also leaves us with a real WTF moment, which leads right into this next film. This film picks up right after the first and continues the story. The sequel though has a bigger budget and a better cast including D.B. Sweeney, Michael Gross, Ray Wise and Patrick Fabian. The film still has its problems but I enjoyed it as much as I did the first. Don’t worry if you liked this film “Atlas Shrugged: Part III” comes out July 4, 2014.

Official Premise: Part two of Ayn Rand’s groundbreaking novel comes to the screen in this thrilling and powerful drama. The global economy is on the brink of collapse. Brilliant creators, from artists to industrialists, continue to mysteriously disappear. Dagny Taggart, Vice President in Charge of Operations for Taggart Transcontinental, has discovered what may very well be the answer to a mounting energy crisis – a revolutionary motor that could seemingly power the World. But, the motor is dead… there is no one left to decipher its secret… and, someone is watching. It’s a race against the clock to find the inventor before the motor of the World is stopped for good.

Fox delivered a decent Blu-ray here with a very sharp 1080p transfer for the film that was shot digitally and presented with an 1.78:1 aspect ratio.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track included also works well with the score and the dialogue.  The special features are not the greatest but worth checking out if you enjoyed the film.  First up, “Behind The Scenes of Atlas Shrugged Part II” gives a nice look into the production and the action sequences. It runs just under 10 minutes, which is a little short but worth checking out.  “Sean Hannity Extended Segment” takes a longer look into the Fox News anchor working with the actors and is presented in standard definition. Lastly there are fifteen deleted scenes, which run about 15 minutes together or can be viewed individually.

Blu-ray Review “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True / Cinderella III: A Twist in Time”

Starring: Jennifer Hale, Tress MacNeille, Rob Paulsen, Corey Burton, Holland Taylor, Susanne Blakeslee
Directors: Frank Nissen, John Kafka
Number of discs: 3
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Running Time: 73 / 70 minutes

Cinderella II: Dreams Come True: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Cinderella III: A Twist in Time: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

How can you follow up to wonderful and timeless story of “Cinderella”. “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” is a poor excuse for a sequel to one of the best fairy tale stories ever. The animation really is poor and really shows it’s direct-to-video roots. To be honest, I wouldn’t purchase this if it wasn’t in a combo pack. “Cinderella III: A Twist in Time” is a much better follow-up.  It delivers a really nice twist on the classic story and also packs some really fun songs. This film does make this release worth the purchase and I would just take “Cinderella II”, as a bonus feature.  In terms of delivery, “Cinderella II & III” are presented on one Blu-ray disc, while each film is also available on their own individual DVD. Overall, I would recommend this for probably only hardcore Disney fans!

“Cinderella II: Dreams Come True”: As a newly crowned princess, Cinderella quickly learns that life at the Palace – and her royal responsibilities – are more challenging than she had imagined. In three heartwarming tales, Cinderella calls on her animal friends and her Fairy Godmother to help as she brings her own grace and charm to her regal role and discovers that being true to yourself is the best way to make your dreams come true.

“Cinderella III: A Twist In Time”: Princess Cinderella is living a charmingly perfect life until her stepmother gets her hands on Fairy Godmother’s magic wand. With a wicked spell that turns back the clock, she erases the Prince’s memories of the girl he met at the ball and shatters Cinderella’s happily ever after! Jaq and Gus scurry to save the day before time runs out. But was it all really just a dream in Cinderella’s heart, or will true love triumph over all?

Despite being pretty bad, “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” still looks the best it ever has on Blu-ray with its 1080p transfer and its 1.66:1 aspect ratio. “Cinderella III: A Twist In Time” also looks fantastic with its 1080p transfer and its 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Both films also sport a nice DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. The special features do not add much to this release. There is a feature called “Becoming a Princess” which is included in a two-part feature. The 1st Edition is with “Cinderella II” and 2nd Edition is with “Cinderella III” and both are new features for this release. They takes you through princess school and the process of being transformed into a Disney Princess. “Musical Magic” looks into the songs in the “Cinderella 2”. Lastly, there is a music video for the song “Put It Together”.

Blu-ray Review “Hostel & Hostel Part II: Double Feature”

Directed by: Eli Roth
Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo, Jordan Ladd, Barbara Nedeljakova, Bijou Phillips, Roger Bart, Richard Burgi.
Distributed by: Mill Creek Entertainment
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 189 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Eli Roth hit the horror scene with the amazingly original “Cabin Fever” in 2002. “Hostel” was a perfect follow-up for him, even outdoing his first film. His decision to do “Hostel Part II” himself was a risky but overall turned out pretty well. Both films are also presented by Quentin Tarantino, so that always bodes well for a film. Mill Creek Entertainment has put both of these great films together in this impressive double feature. Both “Hostel & Hostel Part II” include their unrated director’s cut, which is quite a bonus. or a low-cost of less than $10 bucks, this is a must for all horror fans.

“Hostel” is a shocking and relentless film in the tradition of Saw about two American backpackers (Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson) in Europe who find themselves lured in as victims of a murder-for-profit business. “Hostel Part II” is the shocking and gruesome sequel about the underground torture ring where rich businessmen pay to torture and murder their victims.

Both “Hostel” and “Hostel Part II” look fantastic on this Blu-ray release. They are presented in there own respectively 1080p transfers and are presented in an 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Both films also come with an impressive DTS-MA 5.1 audio track. The film’s score by Nathan Barr sounds impressive throughout both films. Alas, this release is lacking in the special features department. None of the previously released features are included on this set. But like I said earlier for $10 bucks, this is still a sweet deal!

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Double Feature: The Prophecy / The Prophecy II”

Directors: Gregory Widen, Greg Spence
Starring: Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Vincent Spano, Russell Wong
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Running Time: 181 minutes

The Prophecy: 4 out of 5 stars
The Prophecy II: 3.5 out of 5 stars

As I have stated before, Christopher Walken delivers one of his best roles as Gabriel in this franchise. This release finally brings us “The Prophecy II” on Blu-ray for the first time. It comes packaged with the first film as well. Not sure why Echo Bridge chose it leave it out in the last collection. Overall this series is always fun to watch and continues to be entertaining throughout each viewing. This is a must purchase for all fans of the horror genre.

“The Prophecy” follows an L.A. homicide detective, who while fighting to stop the forces of evil, finds an unlikely ally in an elementary school teacher. Together they race against time and terror to save the world as we know it. “The Prophecy: God’s Army” brings the returns of Christopher Walken as the menacing angel Gabriel. The only hope for survival in the battle of good and evil lands in the unborn child of an innocent woman (Jennifer Beals)…unless Gabriel catches her first.

The Blu-ray presentation on both of these films are very impressive. They both come with 1080p high definition transfer. “The Prophecy” is presented with an impressive Dolby Digital 5.1 track. While “The Prophecy II” only comes with a 2.0 Stereo track. “The Prophecy” also packed with a theatrical trailer and a production featurette, which is rare (but encouraged) for Echo Bridge. If you are a fan of the series and looking for a chance to own the missing second film, this is a cheap and quick way to get these films on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Review “Pocahontas / Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World”

Directors: Tom Ellery, Bradley Raymond
Starring: Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson, David Ogden Stiers, Christian Bale, Linda Hunt, Frank Welker
MPAA Rating: G
Studio: Walt Disney Video
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Running Time: 153 minutes

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

This release for “Pocahontas” 2-Movie Collection includes both “Pocahontas / Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World”. Of course we all know that “Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World” is not as good as it’s predecessor but is not the worst DTV sequel that Disney ever made. I would rather have the film included on this set to complete the series then on a separate release. This three-disc set includes 1 Blu-ray disc and 2 DVDs. “Pocahontas” never really found its main audience with fans, besides having a hit song “Color of the Wind”. I have always liked it and it is still a beautiful film and worth the purchase. Whether you like “Pocahontas” or it’s sequel “Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World”, this is still a must for all Disney fans!

This isn’t the only film released out of the vault though. Besides this film, August 21st saw the release seven animated films over five different Blu-ray, including “The Aristocats”, “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure”, “The Rescuers / The Rescuers Down Under” and “The Tigger Movie”. Disney if you are reading this, I still want to see a Blu-ray release for films like “Robin Hood” and “The Sword in the Stone”…(hint-hint).

“Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World” are both included on the same BD-50 disc, though this doesn’t affect either film’s presentation.  The 1080p video transfers look impressive on both films though age has not been kind to either one.  “Pocahontas” looks better than its DTV sequel since “Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World” shows its cheaper animation budget. Both “Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World” contain a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. I thought that the music and score for “Pocahontas” definitely sounds better and overall really sharp.

The special features are decent for these films and definitely leave you satisfied.  There is an audio commentary track with Producer James Pentecost and co-directors Eric Goldberg and Mike Gabriel.  Overall not my favorite track ever but still informative.  The next two extras are presented in HD.  “Drawing Inspiration: The Lost Story of Hiawatha” follows Goldberg and animation historian Charles Solomon as they discuss the long-lost animated feature film that was never made. Highly recommended.  There is a deleted song called “If I Never Knew You” with optional commentary with Goldberg, Gabriel and Pentecost. There is also nine storyboarded scenes deleted from “Pocahontas”, running about 15 minutes. “The Music of Pocahontas” is a featurette on the film’s notable music and songs.  There is a cartoon short called “Little Hiawatha” from the 1937 Walt Disney Silly Symphony.  Lastly there is “Disney’s Virtual Vault” which included featurettes and extras from the original DVDs available via BD-Live.

Blu-ray Review “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure”

Directors: Darrell Rooney, Jeannine Roussel
Starring: Scott Wolf, Alyssa Milano, Chazz Palminteri, Jeff Bennett, Jodi Benson, Bill Fagerbakke
MPAA Rating: G
Distributed by: Walt Disney Video
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Running Time: 69 minutes

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

When it comes to Disney’s direct-to-video titles, I give them a certain leniency since they are good for what they deliver. They don’t trump the previous films in quality but they also don’t try to either. “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” delivers a very fun and cute film that is filled with colorful characters and non-stop songs. This story picks up with Lady and Tramp’s mischievous pup, Scamp (Scott Wolf), who runs away after getting fed up with rules and restrictions and longs for a wild and free lifestyle. It is notable to say that this film does have some great voice talent including Scott Wolf, Alyssa Milano, Chazz Palminteri, and Disney voice legend Jodi Benson. Fans of “Lady and the Tramp” and the Disney animation will enjoy this release but it is definitely aimed to please the kiddies.

This isn’t the only film released out of the vault though. Besides this film, August 21st saw the release seven animated films over five different Blu-ray, including “The Aristocats”, “The Rescuers & The Rescuers Down Under”, “Pocahontas & Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World” and “The Tigger Movie”. Disney if you are reading this, I still want to see a Blu-ray release for films like “Robin Hood” and “The Sword in the Stone”…(hint-hint).

Disney released this film as a two-disc set, including a Blu-ray disc and a DVD disc. “Scamp’s Adventure” looks beautiful on Blu0ray with its 1080p video transfer. Even for its standard direct-to-video Disney sequel, it looks just as good as theatrical features. Same goes for its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Even though the songs are not the best, they still sound amazing.

The special features are impressive as well. Firstly we have an audio commentary with director Darrell Rooney, animation director Steve Trenbirth and co-director/producer Jeannine Roussel, which is worth checking out for parents. “From Tramp to Scamp” is the only extras presented in standard definition. IT is a making-of feature that runs just under 20 minutes and is a pretty in depth look a the production. There is a cute pop-up animal fact trivia track aimed for kids as well as five songs delivered with karaoke-style subtitles. Lastly (and my favorite) there are three classic Walt Disney Shorts in HD “Pluto Junior,” “Bone Trouble” and “Pluto’s Kid Brother.”

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Blu-ray Review “Men in Black II”

Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Running Time: 88 minutes

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

To celebrate the upcoming release of “Men in Black III”, we get a chance to experience this great sequel for the first time in high-definition Blu-ray. Even though this film doesn’t exceed the first film, as most sequels don’t, this is still a fun movie and looks great on Blu-ray. This release also includes a sneak preview and $10 voucher to go see “Men in Black III” and also a playable demo for the upcoming PlayStation 3 game.

This Blu-ray packs a very solid and sharp 1080p high-def transfer, with its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The audio packs a fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Danny Elfman’s score works great again on this Blu-ray. Like the recent new “Men in Black” Blu-ray release, I would have like to seen Sony give this film a 7.1 track but the one included is still solid. Lastly, a real draw for this release is a streaming Ultraviolet digital copy. I love that most if not all Sony releases are following this path.

The special features are also impressive like the Blu-ray presentation though none of them are in high-definition. There is an audio commentary with director Barry Sonnenfeld, which is fun but lacking compared to the great MST3K track from the first “Men in Black”. There is an alternate ending and blooper reel included, which I enjoyed. There are a bunch of featurettes including “MIB: ADR”, “Design in Motion: The Look of MIB II”, “Rick Baker: Alien Maker”, “Squish, Splat, Sploosh: The Stellar Sounds of MIB II” and “Cosmic Symphonies: Elfman in Space” and “Barry Sonnenfeld’s Intergalactic Guide to Comedy”. All of these are decent length and worth checking out.

There are a few short but sweet featurettes on this films creatures including Frank the Pug, Scrad/Charlie, The Worms, Serleena, Alien Esoterica, Jeebs, Jarra, and Jeff the Worm. There is a very short Animatic Sequence on the creation of Serleena. There are five scenes with a “Multi-Angle Scene Deconstructions” including “Opening Sequence: Alternate Version”, “Jay and Jeff”, “Car Chase”, “Jarra Fight Scen, Part 1 & 2. Lastly there is an music video with Will Smith for “Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head)”.

Blu-ray Review “The Hangover Part II”

Directed by: Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 102 minutes

Overall Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Now that the smoke has settled and the reactions have been posted, the sequel to the biggest comedy of all time has been released on Blu-ray. “The Hangover” was a rare comedy that swept up America and created “The Wolf Pack” (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis). The sequel was expected to out due the first one…except it didn’t. Instead it was just a carbon copy of the first film set in Bangkok. Watching the film a second time was a better experience, especially since the expectations were now gone. Final thoughts were that it was good and definitely fun as hell but doesn’t compare to the first film.

I am surprised like most comedies and the first “The Hangover” that there isn’t an “unrated edition” of this film released. If there is one I am sure it will setup for double dipping from the studio. The Blu-ray presentation is very impressive. Since this is a big budget sequel, the ante is raises and the action is definitely amped up. The video and sound look kick ass and definitely add a lot to the watching experience. Besides the Blu-ray the set also comes with the DVD and the new Ultraviolet digital copy.

The special features on this release are also a little weak in content but funny overall. There is a documentary titles “Unauthorized Documentary: The Documentary About the Documentary They Don’t Want You to See About the Making of The Hangover Part II.” It runs about 25 minutes and is hilarious. “Behind the Story” runs about 13 minutes and consists of three featurettes covering the director, the monkey and Ken Jeong…decent. I am big lover of “gag reel” and this one definitely rules. Lastly there is an action montage of all the key scenes that runs about a minute.

Buy It 12/6 on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack with UltraViolet Digital Copy or Download to Own
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Synopsis: Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifi anakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. What could go wrong? Director Todd Phillips’ explosively funny follow-up to his award-winning smash hit demonstrates that though what happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, what happens in Bangkok can hardly be imagined! Special Features: – Now includes Instant Streaming with UltraViolet Digital Copy – Gag Reel

Film Review “The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)”

Directed by: Tom Six
Starring: Laurence R. Harvey, Ashlynn Yennie
Distributed by IFC Midnight
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running time: 87 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I am not afraid of squeamish films and I am a big fan of the “The Human Centipede (First Sequence)”. I thought it was different, original and very disturbing. This film is also very different, original and very very disturbing. A sequel to this film could have just been a real cop-out but I feel that a lot of planning actually went into this. Tom Six is no doubt one fucked up guy but he definitely knows how to make a good film. If you are a fan of this first film, this is a must see and definitely worth a watch.

The sequel takes a very interesting turn and takes us into the “real world” where we have Martin Lomax, who is completely obsesses with the film “The Human Centipede (First Sequence)”. Martin has plans to complete the full twelve person centipede. He even goes as far as setting up a fake audition with the first films star Ashlynn Yennie, who returns as herself. I don’t want to say more to avoid spoilers.  Just make sure not to eat prior to watch this film.

I have to give Laurence R. Harvey the highest praise since he plays the highly disturbed Martin Lomax. He does not speak a word throughout the film and that is what makes him even creepier. I might even say that he trumps Dieter Laser in terms of creepiness. He is really enjoying what he is doing and seems so detached from reality. I completely understand why this film threatened to be banned in the UK, it is extremely intense and makes the first film look like a kids film. I am serious it is that intense.

Major Giveaway: “The Boondock Saints II” Official Screen Used Props [ENDED]


Media Mikes are big fans of “The Boondocks Saints” series. We recently had a chance to interview Sean Patrick Flanery. Click here to read our “The Boondock Saints” interview series. We are mega proud to offer you the following giveaway of OFFICIAL SCREEN USED PROPS from the Silver Peso shoot-out scene in “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day”. All of these items are backed by a CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY SIGNED BY DIRECTOR TROY DUFFY. If you would like to win these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite character from the “Boondock” series. This giveaway will be open until Thursday September 15th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Movie Mikes will randomly pick out ONE winner and alert via email.

A big thanks for making this giveaway possible goes out to:

Blu-Ray Review “Bambi II”

Directed by: Brian Pimental
Starring, Alexander Gould, Patrick Stewart, Brendon Baerg, Nicky Jones, Andrea Bowen, Anthony Ghannam & Cree Summer
Distributed by: Buena Vista
MPAA Rating: G
Running time: 72 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Do not even try to compare “Bambi II” to “Bambi”, it is just not possible. This film is considered a midquel since it takes place in between in the middle of the original. Disney went through a phase a while ago when it would produce these midquel follow-ups to its classic films. Some of the films that were explored were “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas”, “The Lion King 1½”, “Tarzan II”. and “The Fox and the Hound 2”. They are all sub-par for Disney and do not rank even close to their original films. “Bambi II” is a cute kids film that will introduce a new audience to “Bambi” who maybe weren’t aware of the original. Even though it enjoyable let’s just say I am happy that Disney cut it out making these direct to video films.

The film begins after Bambi’s mother is killed by hunters and he has to follow in the footsteps of his father, the Great Prince of the Forest. This story features Bambi’s best friends Thumper, Flower and Faline. Bambi has to prove to his father that he can become the leader of the forest. In the quest to find and rescue his dad, he has to lead and also protect his friends. It includes some life-learning for kids and overall they will enjoy it. This Blu-ray release includes a beautiful colorful video which really shines and also includes an impressive DTS-HD Master Audio track. This worth the purchase alone if you are a fan of Disney animation films

The extras on this are ok but not spectacular, especially not for Disney. The first feature is called “The Legacy Continues” it runs less than 10 minutes and features the cast and crew discussing the original film’s legacy, the development of the story and characters and the film’s production. There is a deleted song called “Sing the Day”. There are four interactive games and activities including “Friend Owl’s Forest Fun”, new to Blu-ray and “Thumper’s Hurry and Scurry”, which was included on the DVD. There is a feature called “Disney Sketch Pad”, which showcases animator Andreas Deja giving tips about getting started in animation. Lastly there is a pop-up trivia track, called “Bambi’s Trivia Tracks” aimed for kids.