Blu-ray Review “The Hangover Part III”

Actors: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong
Directors: Todd Phillips
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Run Time: 100 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

When I saw “The Hangover”, I thought it was one of the funniest, craziest comedies I have ever seen.  I never thought to myself though, “Man I really want a sequel!” Well money speaks for itself since the first film brought in a boat load of it.  The sequel was a carbon copy of the first film and was quite terrible. I know they say if something works the first time don’t change it but it was no fun.  So when I saw they were making a third film to “complete the trilogy”, I steered very clear. I have to admit though they actually did it up right this time (sort of). I think if they would have made this film the first sequel people wouldn’t have abandoned this franchise.

Official Premise: It’s been two years. Phil, Stu and Doug (Cooper, Helms and Bartha) are happily living uneventful lives at home. The only member of the Wolfpack who’s not content is Alan (Galifianakis). Still lacking a sense of purpose, the group’s black sheep has ditched his meds and given in to his natural impulses in a big way-which, for Alan, means no boundaries, no filters and no judgment… until a personal crisis forces him to finally seek the help he needs. What could possibly go wrong? When the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off.

The film feels very epic and large. I have to admit, I wasn’t on the floor laughing but overall I enjoyed the film. They attempt to tie everything up from the first two films, which feels a little forced including bringing back characters like Jeffrey Tambor, Heather Graha and Justin Bartha (who I don’t think speak one word). Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong are the highlight of the film. I have never been a fan of Ed Helms and who doesn’t just love Bradley Cooper. I would have liked to see more of Melissa McCarthy. She was funny but not over-the-top and could have added a lot more.

Warner’s delivered an impressive release with this Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet combo pack. The 1080p transfer is sharp and very impressive. Normally for a comedy, I would say that it doesn’t really push the standards of Blu-ray but this film does and it looks great. It also showcases really well all the various different locations from the desert to Mexico and (of course) Las Vegas. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 score is absolutely amazing and really feels like a huge action film and not like a comedy.

The special features are a bit of a let down though to be honest. “Replacing Zach: The Secret Auditions” is a short collection of secret auditions with director Todd Phillips. “The Wolfpack’s Wildest Stunts” show the cast/crew working through the films stunts and action sequences. “Zach Galifianakis in His Own Words” talks briefly about his role. “Pushing the Limits” talks about shooting with animals and children. “Inside Focus: The Real Chow” is Ken Joeng being Ken Joeng. There is a one minute “Action Mash-Up” montagte. Lastly there are three short extended scenes and tons of funny outtakes.

The Hangover Part III is available on Blu-Ray Combo Pack 10/8/13 at http://bit.ly/GetHungover

 

Film Review “The Hangover III”

DVD Reviews “Dragons: Riders of Berk – Part 1 & 2”

Actors: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, T.J. Miller, Julie Marcus, Nolan North
Directors: Joe Sichta, John Eng, John Sanford, Louie del Carmen
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: July 23, 2013
Run Time: 299 / 255 minutes

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

Who doesn’t love “How to Train Your Dragon”? It is easily one of Dreamworks best animated features to date. So when I heard that they were making an animated series, I was really excited. Even more so that it actually contains original voice talent from the film including Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Zack Pearlman, and more. Fox is releasing the first 20 episodes of this exciting and fun show which aired in its first season in a two part DVD set. This show holds the same charm that the animated film has, including action, heart and humor. So if you love the film, then you need to immediately watch this show for sure. Also keep an eye out for the new second season of DreamWorks’ “Dragons: Defenders of Berk” returns this Fall on Cartoon Network (note the new title).

Episodes include on Part 1 are “How to Start a Dragon Academy”, “Viking For Hire”, “Animal House”, “The Terrible Twos”, “In Dragons We Trust”, “Alvin and the Outcasts”, “How to Pick Your Dragon”, “Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Young Man”, “Dragon Flower”, “Heather Report Part I”, and “Heather Report Part II”. Episodes included on Part 2 are “Thawfest”, “When Lightning Strikes”, “What Flies Beneath”, “Twinsanity”, “Defiant One”, “Breakneck Bog”, “Gem of a Different Color”, “We Are Family Part I”, and “We Are Family Part II”.

There is actually some decent special features included on these DVD as well. Part 1 & 2 included the following: “World of DreamWorks” and Sneak Peaks. Part 1 also includes “Dragon Tracker Part 1”, “Evolution of Thunderdrum” and “Heavy Metal” Dragon Mash-Up, while Part 2 includes “Dragon Tracker Part 2”, “Evolution of Whispering Death”, “Fly High” Dragon Mash-Up. Definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the series. Also each DVD comes with a code to unlock an ultimate battle pack on DreamWorks’ online and mobile game, “School of Dragons”. For more information, visit http://www.schoolofdragons.com.

DVD Review “Taz-Mania: Taz on the Loose- Season One, Part One”

Created by: Art Vitello
Voiced by: Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche, Kellie Martin, John Astin
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: May 14, 2013
Run Time: 286 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

With the huge success of “Tiny Toon Adventures”, “Taz-Mania” was born and still is a very fun spin-off giving the little devil a chance to own the spotlight. I remember watching this series as a kid and loving it. I also remember playing the hell out of the Sega Genesis game of the same name in 1992. Jim Cummings, one of my favorite voice actors, gives Taz his voice and also a few other great characters as well. This show ran for four seasons with 65 episodes. So in this “Season One, Part One” release we get the first 13 episodes. In fact “Season One, Part Two” already has a release date set on August 6, 2013 with another 13 episodes.

Official Premise: Clear the way! Here comes Taz, a whirlwind of terror and destruction. He’s a teenage Tasmanian Devil with a voracious appetite who devours nearly everything in his path, even his sister Molly’s beloved New Chips off the Block action figures! Sibling rivalry is tough, especially when you have a little sister who is the typical teenage girl who regularly gets on your nerves. Then there’s little brother Jake, who looks up to Taz and idolizes his big brother. Mom, Jean, is a dedicated mother who runs a shipshape household and loves her kids. Hugh is Taz’s easy-going dad, who enjoys playing golf. One of Taz’ best friends is his loyal pet, Dog the Turtle, a turtle who behaves just like a dog and even enjoys playing fetch! Together, the close-knit family of Tasmanian Devils, live on the lush, exotic island of Tazmania, where the sky is always a vibrant shade of yellow and adventures abound. Joining them is a lively cast of characters including, Constance Koala, Daniel and Timothy Platypus, Digeri Dingo, Wendal T. Wolf, Mr. Thickley and many others.

Disc 1 includes the following episodes: “Like Father, Like Son/Frights of Passage”, “The Dog the Turtle Story”, “War & Pieces/Airbourne Airhead”, “Battling Bushrats/Devil in the Deep Blue Sea”, “A Devil of a Job”, “Woeful Wolf”, “It’s No Picnic/Kee-Wee ala King” Disc 2 includes the following episodes: “Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty/Enter the Devil”, “Mishap in the Mist/Toothache Taz”, “Bewitched Bob”, “Instant Replay/Taz and the Pterodactyl”, “Comic Madness/Blunders Never Cease” and “Pup Goes the Wendal/I’m OK, You’re Taz”

This DVD marks the rest time that these episode have been released on DVD. I do not know if they have been restored or remastered at all but they still look pretty damn good. The are presented in full-frame to preserve the original television aspect ratio. This series just makes me realize how much I actually do miss Saturday morning cartoons. I am looking forward to future releases from this series and I hope that Warner Bros will continue to release great animated cartoons like this one. There are no extras included but there is a pamphlet for a bonus virtual item on the “Looney Tunes/Scooby Doo Cartoon Universe” online game.

 

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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.

Blu-ray Reviews “Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part Two & The Snowmen”

Starring: Matt Smith, Jenna Louise-Coleman
Rated: Unrated
Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: May 28, 2013
Run Time: 360 minutes / 60 minutes

“Series Seven, Part Two”: 4 out of 5 stars
“Series Seven, Part Two” Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars
“The Snowmen”: 4 out of 5 stars
“The Snowmen” Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Series Seven, Part Two” picks up with Matt Smith in the role as the Eleventh Doctor and Jenna-Louise Coleman as his newest Companion, Clara. I have to admit, I absolutely love the new companion.  She is easily my new favorite from the series reboot. She is so cute, sweet and very clever. She also has a great back story. The episodes included are: “The Bells of Saint John”, “The Rings of Akhaten”, “Cold War”, “Hide” , “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS”, “The Crimson Horror”, “Nightmare in Silver” and “The Name of the Doctor”. The strongest episodes this season are easily “The Rings of Akhaten” and “The Name of the Doctor, the finale, which leads right into the 50th Anniversary episode…man November cannot come any sooner!  Overall one of my favorite seasons!

“Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part Two” Official Premise: The Doctor kicks off this new run of adventures by searching for his companion Clara – an Impossible Girl he’s already lost twice. Together they find themselves battling monsters on distant alien planets, trapped in a Russian submarine with a deadly passenger, chasing terrifying ghosts, delving into the heart of the TARDIS, facing the Crimson Horror in Victorian Yorkshire, and coming face to face with an army of upgraded Cybermen. The action grows and the Doctor’s oldest secret threatens to be revealed as the world’s longest running science fiction series builds toward its explosive 50th anniversary.

Also being the released the same day by BBC is “Doctor Who: The Snowmen”, which is the 2012 Christmas special.  It is also the first episode to star Jenna Louise-Coleman officially as The Doctor’s companion.  She originally appeared in the first episode,  “Asylum of the Daleks”, of the seventh series. The special also co-stars Richard E. Grant as Dr. Simeon, who also returns in finale of “Series Seven, Part Two” as the Great Intelligence. Also fun fact is that the voices of The Snowman is done by Ian McKellen and Juliet Cadzow as the Ice Governess. I thought this episode was one of my favorites of the Christmas specials.  It was also the first of them that contains continuity to the series episodes, which made me like it even more.

“Doctor Who: The Snowmen” Official Premise: Christmas Eve 1892 and the falling snow is the stuff of fairy-tales. When the fairy-tale becomes a nightmare and a chilling menace threatens Earth, an unorthodox young governess, Clara, calls on the Doctor for help. But the Doctor is in mourning, reclusive and determined not to engage in the problems of the universe. As old friends return, will the Doctor really abandon humankind or will he fight to save the world – and Christmas – from the icy clutches of this mysterious menace?”

Now on to the concerns for “Doctor Who: The Snowmen”…fans are not thrilled since this is not a part of “Series Seven, Part Two” and is only available as a separate release. I am very curious if BBC will be releasing “The Snowmen” as part of “The Complete Seventh Series” set, which should be available later this year. But currently if you already own “Series Seven, Part One” and plan on picking up “Series Seven, Part Two”, they you also need to purchase “Doctor Who: The Snowmen” in order to complete the series officially.

Like usual BBC Home Entertainment is delivering this series and special with a solid 1080i transfer. As much as I would have loved to have full HD, these episodes look damn good. They also sound amazing with there DTS-HD 5.1 track on both releases. The special features are good but not outstanding like in past releases. ”Series Seven, Part Two” only has two extras included. There is a short prequel to the first episode in part two “The Bells of Saint John”. There is also a featurette about the characters “Clarence and the Whisperman”. On “The Snowman” release, the special features are a little better, including two prequel to “The Snowmen”, “Vastra Investigates” and “The Great Detective”. Lastly there is a behind-the-scenes look on the episode called “Clara’s White Christmas”. Good features, just not enough to make it worth it unless you are a die-hard fan.

 

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Ashley Bell talks about roles in "The Last Exorcism Part 2" and "The Marine 3: Homefront"

We last spoke with Ashley Bell for her first starring role in “The Last Exorcism”, read it here.  Since then Ashley has been taking over the action genre with strong female roles in films like “The Day” and recently in “The Marine 3: Homefront”.  Ashley is also returning to her role of Nell Sweetzer in “The Last Exorcism Part 2” this month.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ashley again about her passion for these roles and how she enjoys performing her own stunts.

Mike Gencarelli: Did you get involved with “The Marine 3: Homefront” due to your connection with WWE Studios from “The Day”?
Ashley Bell: Yes very much so. Because WWE Studios acquired “The Day” from Toronto Film Festival, it put me on their radar. In talking with them after the release, they wanted to see if I would be interested in working on “The Marine 3: Homefront”. I read the script for the character of Lilly and the role really spoke to me.

MG: What was it about Lilly that drew you to the role?
AB: What I love about Lilly is that even though she is a hostage character she doesn’t give up…she fights. She is more of a wild card. Even if she is retrained with handcuffs, she is searching for the air holes  looking to get out and trying to fight back. I really like that determined spirit that she has. Also in reading Scott Wiper’s script, a lot my scenes are opposite Neal McDonough as well as Mike (‘The Miz’ Mizanin). But Neal is such an incredible actor. There is no one that plays a villain like Neal McDonough. Here is a terrorist but when you first hear him speak he almost makes sense…until he takes it over the top and then you know you are in trouble. I like the arguments that were being fought for – insurance and saving your home and family. So, yes I like the script for sure.

MG: You seem like an actor that isn’t afraid to get out there and get her hands dirty, am I right?
AB: Absolutely! That is when it gets fun for me! If I am not bruised or have some kind of a war wound…then I have not done my job [laughs].

MG: What do you enjoy about performing your own stunts in the action scenes?
AB: Coming from the first “The Last Exorcism”, which I did all my own physicality. Luckily, the roles I am doing now allow me to do my own stunts and going into action. That is really excited for me because I really love action movies! Like I mentioned with these strong female characters. I actually learned Muay Thai for “The Day” and I loved that training. It is just a wonderful form of exercise and I keep it up. Thank God, I did because it takes a lot of stamina in order to be on an action set, which for me is fun. n “The Marine 3”, you see this abandoned cruise ship which has been there for years and that is how it actually looked. It was all rust over and we were doing take after take running down the corridors, up and down the stairs, gun fire going off, explosions, cars are blowing up…and this was what I daydreamed off when I was a kid with my Nerf gun in my tree house.

MG: I got to tell you the the passion is literally coming right out of your mouth. It sounds like you had a blast.
AB: Well, I really did. I really hope I get to continue action since it is a lot of fun for me.

MG: Going from action packed to horror, tell us what we can expect from “The Last Exorcism Part 2”?
AB: This is the continuation of Nell’s story. Here is a girl that is completely shell-shocked from what happened to her. She doesn’t remember what happened at all, she is very vulnerable and shut out from the world. She is drawn out into New Orleans during Mardi Gras and she has to choose between good and evil. I agree do all my own physicality for this one as well. If you have seen the trailer, I do a levitating back bend and I have the stress fracture to prove it [laughs].

MG: After this film are you going to but a “no back-bend  clause in your contract [laughs]?
AB: [laughs] I know right. It is a stress fracture not trauma fracture. I was funny since I panicked when I heard this since I love working out. I love my Muay Thai lessons and taking ballet. So I was afraid I was going to have to stop working out. My doctor actually told me that the cure for something like this is to really build up your core muscles and to actually continue work out. So it hasn’t affected me at all.

MG: How was it for you returning to the character Nell this time around?
AB: It was very different actually. The character of Nell is completely broken. For this script, I was putting her back together and in doing so there was a lot of pieces missing and that is where the devil comes in! And that is where there are scares! Also there is also a different director on board, so it has a very, to be be redundant, different feel than the first one. It was a very new Nell.

MG: You’ve got action, horror – what do you have in the cards next?
AB: Well I am really happy to announce, I have also have a romantic comedy coming out. It is called “The Bounceback” and it is going to be premiering at SXSW 2013.

Blu-ray Review "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 2"

Actors: Peter Weller, Michael Emerson, David Selby, Michael McKean, Ariel Winter
Directors: Jay Oliva
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Run Time: 78 minutes

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

After viewing “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1”, I was literally counting down the days till “Part 2”. Well it has finally arrived and holy shit is it amazing!! Frank Miller’s 1986 novel comes to a stunning conclusion. I thought that “Part 1” was amazing but then this film came around and it literally blows this the first out of the water. Peter Weller really kicks some major ass as the aged Batman and while Michael Emerson is no Mark Hamill he does a decent Joker. Batman not only battles The Joker but also The Man of Steel, Superman. Frank Miller really captured the essence of our caped crusader and it has been well represented here.  This film is as epic as they come.

Official Premise: The Dark Knight along with new sidekick Robin have finally reclaimed Gotham City and allowed a ray of hope to penetrate the reign of terror that The Mutants had cast upon his city. With Batman back in the spotlight the extended media coverage has awoken a far worse evil at Arkham Asylum The Joker! Forever destined to be mortal enemies The Joker has a diabolical scheme that may pull Batman down to the darkest levels of insanity. While on the horizon a global catastrophe races towards Gotham and with it comes a familiar face The Man of Steel though this time he has Batman in his sights. Witness as the aging Dark Knight wages a tireless war against crime while proving that courage and will are indeed timeless.

Warner Premiere has really delivered another fantastic Blu-ray combo pack like with “Part 1” also including a Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy. The 1080p is crystal clear and works perfect with the animation.  The action is this amped up with the epic battle between our two superheros. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 delivers the mood and action of this concluding chapter perfectly. Both the audio and video are in part with “Part 1” and equally successfully.

The special features are more impressive than “Part 1” release.  First up, we have “From Sketch to Screen: Exploring the Adaptation Process” is a behind-the-scenes documentary which looks into the extensive work that has went into converting this comic to a movie.  “Superman vs. Batman: When Heroes Collide” is a look into who would win this epic battle. “The Joker: Laughing in the Face of Death” is a look into the twisted villians role in this final chapter. “Additional Episodes: From the DC Comics Vault” is collection of classic episodes including “The Last Laugh” and “The Man Who Killed Batman” from Batman: The Animated Series and “Battle of the Superheroes!” from Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Lastly there is an extended preview of the next DCU animated movie, “Superman Unbound”.

Blu-ray Review "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1"

Actors: Peter Weller, Michael Emerson, David Selby, Michael McKean, Ariel Winter
Directors: Jay Oliva
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Run Time: 76 minutes

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

After Christopher Nolan’s fantastic trilogy, DC and Warner Premiere has decided to keep it dark and go with Frank Miller’s groundbreaking “Dark Knight Returns” arc.  The animated film itself is split into a two-part feature-length films.  They take a more violent and brutal look into our comic book anti-hero. “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1” is one of the best films to come out of the DC Animated Universe. You forget that this film is only an animated film with how  epic this feels.  I wish that all of the DC Animated films took a page from this film.  I am not sure on Frank Miller feels on this but it feels like it literally jumps off his page on into your face!

Official Premise: It is ten years after an aging Batman has retired, and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now, when his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory. Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenage female Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face, for the final time, Batman finds himself in mortal combat with his former ally, Superman, in a battle that only one of them will survive.

Warner Premiere has really delivered a beautiful Blu-ray combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy. The 1080p looks beyond amazing and works perfectly with the mix of hand-drawn animation and CG effected for the film. DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 works perfectly with the darkness that this film carries.  The action explodes off the screen and kicks you in the face.

The special features includes are good but not spectacular. “Her Name is Carrie… Her Role is Robin” ius a look at the role of a female Robin. “Batman and Me: A Devotion to Destiny, The Bob Kane Story” is a 2008 documentary that looks into the life of Batman creator. “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 Sneak Peek” is a behind the scenes look into the second part. “The Dark Knight Returns” Digital Comic is a very short 4-page preview of Miller’s Batman epic novel, I would have loved to see the complete comic converted.  Lastly there are two classic episodes of “Batman: The Animated Series Episodes”, “Two-Face, Parts 1 & 2”, which would have been amazing if it was in HD but it is not.

Blu-ray Review “Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One”

Starring: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston,
Number of discs: 2
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Run Time: 225 minutes

Episodes: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“Doctor Who” is one of my favorite series on television. I have been a hardcore fan since the first series and have been watching it grown into this now worldwide phenomenon. It is very trending in the US now amongst us nerds or as we are called “Whovians”. Series six was a very tough act to follow, its story line was the most epic yet, which encapsulated the whole series. Matt Smith has really grown on me quite a bit since series five. He is quickly becoming a fav of mine as well. Karen Gillan was a terrific companion for the Doctor in the last two seasons and, get ready “SPOILERS”, if you don’t know this is also her’s and Arthur Darvill’s (plays Rory) last. I am sure that BBC will be releasing a complete series seven at the end of this run but I recommend this release for this who are looking to section it as a turning point in the show. If you are a fan of Doctor Who, this will hold you over till the Christmas 2012 episode and get you psyched for what’s to come in part two.

Official Premise “Join the Doctor, his companions Amy and Rory (aka the Ponds) and numerous friends on their latest escapades through space and time where they puzzle an unexpected invasion of Earth, save a spaceship full of dinosaurs, don Stetsons in a Wild West adventure and are even kidnapped by the Doctor’s oldest foe. The explosive series concludes with Amy and Rory’s heart-breaking farewell a race against time through the streets of Manhattan. Will the Doctor really lose the Ponds forever? There’s only one way to find out.”

Episodes included are: “Asylum of the Daleks”, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”, “A Town Called Mercy”, “The Power of Three” and “The Angels Take Manhattan”. “Asylum” was a good season kick-off. I do love me some Daleks. I do not feel that it as epic as season 6’s opener but you can’t always kill the Doctor. “Dinosaurs” was campy and very funny. Great visuals on this one. “A Town Called Mercy” was a fun Western spin the series but with cyborgs. “The Power of Three” was my least favorite of the five and is a big slow paced, cool idea with the cube’s planning a slow invasion but it was a little too slow for me. “The Angels Take Manhattan” was amazingly epic and probably one of my favorite episodes ever. I love the Angels and they literally scare the shit out of me. I also loved Amy and Rory and this is where there story ends.

Jenna Louise-Coleman will joining on as the Doctor’s new companion starting with the Christmas 2012 Special. She was well-placed in “Asylum of the Daleks”, playing Oswin Oswald. I actually really liked her and though she was fun, so I am excited and opened-minded to see where Steven Moffat, the Lead Writer, will take this show in the second half of this season. Moffat was quoted saying that the reason for choosing her what that “she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than him.” Classic reasoning!

The episodes look and sound stunning on Blu-ray. BBC America has finally upgraded to HD (or 720p on TV), so at least now it is watchable but they look even better with their 1080p transfers, and presented in their original aspect ratio: 1.78:1. There are some great special features included in “Doctor Who: Series Seven – Part One”. There are five-part mini-adventure prequel to series seven called “Pond Life”, which puts the Doctor in more situations when attempting to visit AMy and Rory on Earth. There is a “Asylum of the Daleks Prequel” included where the Doctor receives a message from a mysterious hooded woman called Darla Von Karlsen. “The Making of The Gunslinger” shows us the origin of The Gunslinger in “A Town Called Mercy”. Lastly, “The Science of Doctor Who” and “Doctor Who at Comic Con” are great BBC America specials.

Lastly I must give a future nod to an upcoming “Doctor Who” release from BBC. On Nov.20th, the “Doctor Who: Limited Edition Gift Set” is hitting the stories. It comes packed with over 70 hours of “Doctor Who” spread over 41-discs. It is the perfect gift for all Doctor Who fan’s this holiday season. It includes the complete series one-six featuring Christopher Eccleston (the ninth Doctor), David Tennant (the tenth Doctor) and Matt Smith (the eleventh Doctor). It also includes hours and hours of bonus features including three new Doctor Who Specials coming to DVD for the first time ever, a collectible eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver, three original art cards and the comic book, “Doctor Who at Comic Con.” If you are wondering how all this can fit on to one gift set just remember that it’s bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside 😉

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!

DVD Review “Tarzan – Season One, Part One & Two”

Starring: Ron Ely, Manuel Padilla Jr.
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 1500 minutes

Season One: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

Warner Archive is responsible for bringing this classic 60’s TV series to DVD for the first time.  Season one is split into two parts.  The first part consists of a 4-disc collection and contains 15 episodes.  The secon part also consists of a 4-disc collection and contains the remaining 16 episodes in the first season.  Warner Bros did a great job of restoring this TV show and it is presented in full frame. For a show that has never been on DVD before and is nearing 40 years old, it looks really sharp.

I really enjoyed watching the first season of “Tarzan”.  It is a fun show that doesn’t expect too much.  It also includes some awesome guest stars as well such as Nichelle Nicholas from “Star Trek”, Woody Strode, Russ Tamblyn and even the former Tarzan Jock Mahoney.  If you are a fan of this series, you are going to really enjoy the 25 hours of vine swinging adventures of our animal loving friend. My only major complaint about watching this series has nothing to do with Warner’s release or restoration but the terrible stock footage used in some scenes.  I hope Warner Archive is planning on release further seasons of this as well.

You can purchase these DVDs at WarnerArchive.com – http://bit.ly/WAC_TarzanTV

Part One Synopsis:Premiering on NBC in 1966, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ immortal creation, Tarzan, took to the nation’s TV screens for the first time. Still in the capable hands of producer Sy Weintraub, the TV Tarzan (Ron Ely) continued the more recent (and more authentic) interpretation of Lord Greystoke as a sophisticated, articulate jungle adventurer as seen in the Tarzan films of Gordon Scott, Jock Mahoney and Mike Henry. Also carried over from the big screen was young actor Manuel Padilla (Tarzan and the Valley of Gold, Tarzan and the Great River), now playing the jungle lord’s kid sidekick alongside Cheetah, the simian one. The first half of his inaugural season finds Tarzan rescuing seeing-eye lions, endangered leopards, and pampered princes while battling man-eaters, despots and deadly arachnids in this 4-Disc, 15-Episode collection. Guest stars include former Tarzan Jock Mahoney, Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols, Woody Strode, and Russ Tamblyn.

Part Two Synopsis:Ron Ely continues his memorable run as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan in the second half of his first season. This 16-Episode, 4-Disc collection sees the Lord of the Jungle and his stalwart second bananas, Jai the jungle boy (Manuel Padilla) and Cheetah the chimp, facing off against some of their most formidable challenges alongside a bevy of powerhouse performer guest stars. Stage and screen legend Julie Harris makes her first appearance as the imperiled, imperious missionary Charity Jones and Maurice Evans makes his memorable debut as Sir Basil Bertram. And the action continues to heat up with volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, phantom dinosaurs and more fantastic jungle menaces. Adding their talents to the drama and the dangers are Susan Oliver, Chips Rafferty, Gia Scala, Sally Kellerman and Jack Elam.

Blu-ray Review “The Hills Have Eyes: Part 2”

Directed by: Wes Craven
Starring: Michael Berryman, Penny Johnson, Tamara Stafford, Kevin Spirtas, John Bloom
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Kino Lorber/Redemption
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Running Time: 86 minutes

Remastered Edition: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

Let’s start with the fact that everyone including Wes Craven himself stated that this film is terrible and doesn’t live up to the original. It has been a few years since I last watched this and I still enjoyed it for the most part, if not just for its campy horror. I am really hit or miss with Craven’s earlier work and I absolutely hate all of his recent work. Craven’s first “Hills Have Eyes is great and definitely a cult classic but I actually prefer the recent remake “The Hills Have Eyes”. This films main fault is the lack of direction and use of multiple flashbacks to the first film, even the dog has a flashback (no, that is not a typo, he really does). This one is not perfect but it is not terrible either, overall campy fun.

This follows a group of bikers who head into the desert to attempt to travel to a a biker race which happens to be close to the events of the first film. Of course they go off the path and try and take a shortcut and they met up with with our cannibalistic desert friends from the first film. It turns out that one of the girls in the group was actually a member of the cannibal family that escaped after the first film. So it turns into a family reunion of sorts. Though things aren’t happy as they bikers start getting hunted by the desert crazies.

Redemption really went to town with the Blu-ray remastered edition. It looks great in HD and includes a newly transferred master restored from original 35mm negative. It is very impressive and even includes its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The special features though are MIA and lacking besides a photo gallery and a trailer. I would have loved to seen much more in this area to round up a great release otherwise.

Blu-ray Review “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part I”

Directed by : Bill Condon
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: Summit
Run Time: 117 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” is the second to last film in the series.  Some people will be rejoiced to have it end and some will be mortified when it is over.  This film is honestly hard to get through, but luckily the last 15 minutes are very cool.  I have a feeling that “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” might be pretty bad ass, now that all the romance is done.  I think that they could have kept “Breaking Dawn” as one movie but I am sure it is mostly for the fans..and to make more money.  This Blu-ray release is going to be a hit for Valentine’s Day, since it is getting released perfectly in time for its fans to enjoy Bella & Edward’s wedding and honeymoon during the holiday.  Die-hard fans will obviously eat up the romance but the casual fans might want to wait till “Part 2” comes around.

If you follow “The Twilight Saga”, this is the movie that you are really waiting for the marriage of Bella and Edward and of course Bella possibly turning into a vampire.  Basically the whole film is just one long honeymoon scene followed by Bella’s pregnancy.  The birth of their child might not be as simple as it sounds as it will break the treaty with the werewolves. The Cullen’s with the help of Jacob will need to protect Bella from the werewolf pack.  But will Bella even survive this supernatural pregnancy? But of course if you read the book you know the answer to this. Also be sure to stick around through the credits to see a sneak peak in the Volturi’s role for “Part 2”.

The Blu-ray presentation is fantastic overall with its video which looks sharp especially during the battle scene at the end. The sound is honestly the best part though of the film boasting its superb 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, very impressive.  The bonus features are packed and will definitely satisfy the most hard core fans.  Firstly you are able to jump immediately to your favorite scenes.  There is the Bella and Edward’s Wedding Video, which is for major fans only.  There is a great audio commentary with director Bill Condon, he really seems to be an actor’s directory and really enjoys the filming experience.  There is a super in depth 6-part “Making Of” series which takes you individually into every aspect of the film from each character to the film’s production.  It is very interesting even for non-fans.

DVD Review “Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Season 1, Part 2”

Created by: Joe Ruby and Ken Spears
Directed by: Victor Cook
Voices of: Frank Welker, Matthew Lillard, Grey DeLisle, Mindy Cohn, Gary Cole, Patrick Warburton, Lewis Black
Studio: Warner Home Video
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Episodes: 14
Running Time: 311 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Finally WB’s listens to its fans and gives us more episodes. The last “Scooby Doo” DVD release only included 4 episodes, this one includes a packed 14 episodes spread over two discs and completes the first season of this great series revival. Of course these episodes include great notable voice work from Patrick Warburton as Sheriff Bronson Stone, Gary Cole as Mayor Fredrick Jones Sr., Vivica A. Fox as Angel Dynamite, Udo Kier as Professor Pericles and Linda Cardellini, who played Velma in the two live action theatrical films, as Hot Dog Water. I mean I could go on for paragraphs listing the amazing talent in this series. Overall fans of old “Scooby Doo” give this a shot and it is definitely a no-brainer for kids.

The remaining episodes in season one continues to follow the mystery of The Crystal Cove Curse. They even go into Fred and Velma getting married, which is really cool to see that dynamic in the series. During their mysteries, they have come across secrets about the original Mystery Incorporated group. They need to solve their mystery fast before they face the same fate. These episodes also make great homage and reference to the following: H.P. Lovecraft., Jonah Hex, Jonny Quest and Vincent Price. They also include great cameos from Hanna-Barbara characters like Jabberjaw and The Flintstones.  All-in-all great episodes to close a great season! Can’t wait to see what they have in store for season two.

Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Crystal Cove Curse available on DVD 1/14 at http://bit.ly/AbtsdB!

The adventures of a talking dog and his four human pals as they try to unravel the strange and haunted history of their hometown. The tone is comedic, but it will never lose the edge that our heroes are in some frightening situations. The stakes are real. Now you can see the second 14 episodes of Season 1 together in this set.

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DVD Review “Hostel: Part III”

Directed by: Scott Spiegel
Starring: Kip Pardue, Brian Hallisay, John Hensley, Sarah Habel, Skyler Stone, Zulay Henao, Thomas Kretschmann
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running time: 88 minutes

Film Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Alright so here we are at “Part III” of the Hostel series and surprisingly this series still had a lot of steam left in it and a bright future. Most of this praise needs to go to the film’s director Scott Spiegel, writer of “Evil Dead II” and writer/director of “Intruder”. Scott knows horror for sure and in fact actually produced “Hostel” and “Hostel: Part II” as well, so he has been invested in this series. What is great about this series is that they can just pick up and move to a new location and grab some new kids and it definitely works again in this film. What better of a location to pick-up and move to then VEGAS!

The third film in the franchise follows a group of guys going on a bachelor party to Vegas. The group gets swopped to a private party off-the-strip and that is where things go wrong, of course. The group gets taken hostage and are sent to their death to the highest bidder at an elite hunter’s club. The plot is similar from the from two films but puts a new spin on it. The film is backed with amazing gore and some really new kick ass kill scenes.  That is really key for this franchise and it definitely doesn’t disappoint.

I hope this series continues because I could see many new opportunities. After enjoying the film, I was hoping for some decent extras but the DVD special features are disappointing with only a commentary track included. The commentary track though is with director Scott Spiegel and star Kip Perdue, it is informative and fun and definitely worth checking out. Horror fans should give this film a chance.  I would say it falls in line with “Hostel: Part II”, so if you enjoyed that this will not disappoint.

 

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