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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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.

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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 Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 1”

Starring:  Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner
Directed by:  Bill Condon
Rated:  PG 13
Running time:  1 hour 57 mins
Summit Entertainment

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

It would be easy to dismiss the “Twilight” film series as nothing more than a series of chick-flicks with a few monsters thrown in for the guys.  But that would do the films a great injustice.  Yes, they ARE a series of chick-flicks with a few monsters thrown in, but when you get past the romance you have a pretty interesting story.

As the opening credits end, we are met by Jacob (Lautner), angrily running off.  Seems the mailman has brought him an invite to the wedding of the season in rustic Forks, Washington.  Jacob’s best friend, Bella (Stewart) is to be wed to tan-deprived Edward (Pattinson) and he’s not very happy with the news.  Edward himself is reluctant.  Not that he doesn’t love Bella.  It’s just that, for them to have children, it would help if she, too, became a vampire.  Despite several bad omens telling her “no,” Bella and Edward walk down the aisle, then head off on the honeymoon of a lifetime.  (I guess you could say an “after” life time).  But love is not a guarantee of happiness.

The fourth film in the popular series (with a final film coming next year), “TBD-1” is smartly directed by Bill Condon (“Gods and Monsters,” “Dreamgirls”) in a straight forward manner that keeps the film from bogging down in its last act.  Helping keep the film moving is the outstanding camera work of cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, who has shot some of Guillermo del Toro’s best work.  The story should be familiar to “Twilight” fans.  Not having read the books I don’t know if this last chapter could have been told in one film.  The final 30 mins are padded with constant shots of a weakened Bella, her swollen belly and intermittent glances from Edward and Jacob.

The cast have obviously become comfortable in their roles, yet are strong enough to not appear lazy.  With not a lot to do towards the end of the film but look worried, Pattinson and Lautner could have easily dialed their performances in.  That they didn’t is a testament to Condon’s direction.  Stewart gets the lion’s share of the dramatics here.  Carrying a demon child can’t be healthy for anyone, but it really takes its toll on Bella.  Highest marks to the make up people who turned the vibrant Stewart into a sickly, emaciated martyr-to-be.  Both male leads are also comfortable in their skins, though it would be nice if Lautner didn’t squint so much.  Speaking of skins, I’m not sure what the over/under was in Vegas but it takes approximately eight seconds into the film before Lautner takes his shirt off.  The supporting cast earns their pay.  It is their story that is the most interesting, especially the blood-sucking Cullen Family.  Perhaps after the next film the producers can focus attention on them and give them their own movie.  Peter Facinelli is strong as the patriarch of the family.  In a recent interview I did with him I commented on how much I always thought he resembled Tom Cruise.  Here, with his coloring and hair, he had me thinking of another vampire: Lestat from “Interview With the Vampire.” And I mean that comparison in a positive way.

The biggest disappointment to me were the visual effects used to create Jacob and his pack when they roam the woods as wolves.  They move very herky/jerky, not gracefully as they should.  It’s like the producers hired the guys that did the dogs on the top of the building in “Ghostbusters” to create the beasts.  If the comments from the fans around me are to be believed, the screenplay is very true to the book.  If you’ve read the books you are aware of the problems Bella deals with while with child.  Parents may want to think twice about bringing their younger Twi-hards or at least anticipate covering their eyes.  And please hang around during the end credits for a quick hint of “Breaking Dawn – Part 2.”

Blu-ray Review “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
Directed by: David Yates
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hrs 10 mins
Warner Brothers

Overall Score: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Well this is the end of one of the biggest franchises in film history.  “Harry Potter” series has taken us on a journey with eight films ending with this very climactic film. I quite recommend that you watch “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” as a whole for the full effect but this film does stand very well on its own.  It is sad to see this series end but this film is a great way to do it.  The video on the Blu-ray is really amazing especially since most of the film is so dark.   The dark scenes look very crisp and sharp.  If you though that “Part 1” was dark, this film puts it to shame but it looks real good.  The sound is outstanding boasting a phenomenal DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  The surround track is very intense and adds so much to the film.  If you get a chance to see this film in 3D though, I would highly recommend that as well since it is very subtle but adds a great dimension to the film. Overall if you are a fan of this series then you have obviously seen this film already numerous times but this release is a must own.

The extras on the disc are damn good for one main reason called “Maximum Movie Mode”. Warner Brothers’ trademark Picture-in-Picture track includes many great interviews, behind the scenes, in-depth special effects analysis, production designs, concept art and more. It is also hosted by Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), producer David Heyman and much more talent from the film.  “Focus Points” is a great collection of production featurettes including “Aberforth Dumbledore,” “Deathly Hallows Costume Changes,” “Harry Returns to Hogwarts,” “The Hogwarts Shield,” “The Room of Requirement Set,” “The Fiery Escape,” “Neville’s Stand” and “Molly and Bellatrix.”.  “Final Farewells” is short but is a sad goodbye from the franchise cast and crew.  There are seven minutes of deleted scenes including “Shell Cottage,” “Grave on the Beach,” “Hog’s Head,” “Marble Staircase: Harry & Ginny,” “Wooden Bridge,” “Hogwart’s Battlements,” “Slytherin Dungeons” and “Marble Staircase: Ron & Hermione.”  Not spectacular but definitely worth a watch. “A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe” runs about about an hour and is one of the best features easily.  The duo chat about their favorite parts of the franchise and it is really fun to watch.  “The Women of Harry Potter” is a very important look at the strong women from the books and films. “The Goblins of Gringotts” gives some props to the series’ pit-eyed goblins.  There is a cool sneak peak at the UK attraction in “Warner Bros. Studio Tour London”. Lastly J.K. Rowling introduces her new website, Pottermore.

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Synopsis: In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. It all ends here.

 

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“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” Official Trailer


Bella and Edward, plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child… which brings an unforeseen and shocking development for Jacob Black.

In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child… which brings an unforeseen and shocking development for Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).

With more of the romance, passion, intrigue and action that made Twilight, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse worldwide blockbusters, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling book series, begins the conclusion of the tale of vampire love, boundless friendship, acceptance, and finding your true self.

“Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1” hits theaters November 18th

“Batman: The Brave and The Bold” – Season Two, Part One DVD Giveaway [ENDED]

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING, THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EVERY WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!


To showcasethe DVD release of “Batman: The Brave and The Bold” – Season Two, Part One, Media Mikes would like to giveaway ONE copy of the DVD. If you would like to win this great prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know what your favorite Batman film or TV series. This giveaway will be open until Friday August 19th at Noon, Eastern Time. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

Synopsis: Batman wings into an exciting new era, teaming with a mighty honor roll of DC Comics Super Heroes in this action-packed series. Through the show’s season two 12 Animated Adventures in this 2-Disc Collection, the Dark Knight allies with Aquaman, Plastic Man, Blue Beetle, Red Tornado, Green Arrow, Wildcat, Deadman, Bronze Tiger and Atom to take on an array of evildoers ranging from mad scientists to intergalactic crooks, from power-mad dictators to out-of-control teenagers.

Own it on DVD, Available on DVD August 16th. You can purchase it here through official WB Shop

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Blu-Ray Review “Doctor Who: Series 6, Part 1”

Starring: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill
Original channel: BBC One/America
Premiered: 23 April 2011
Episodes: 7 out of 13 from Series 6
Running Time: 45 minutes per episode

Series 6, Part 1: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

I think series five with Matt Smith coming on board as The Doctor was a good kicking off point, but the show really finds its mark with series six. I think that Matt Smith is really what The Doctor needs to be…awkward, goofy and out of this world (no pun intended). The addition of adding Arthur Darvill on as a traveling partner for The Doctor and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) is great and adds a lot for Amy’s character. This set consists of the first seven episodes and really leaves you wanting more.

I have been watching Doctor Who for a while and it is always great.  There is definitely something deeper about this season, whether it is darker or more mysterious but it really has been drawn in.  Maybe it is the shows migration over in the United States, but overall this season really packs a punch.  Watching the episodes on Blu-ray is a huge improvement from BBC America since they were not in HD.  The episodes looks fantastic and the colors are so enthralling.  The sound packs a terrific DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1, which is similar to the past “Doctor Who” releases. Overall an definitely purchase for us “Doctor Who” fans

Unfortunately after a great season, you expect great extras but included on the 2-disc Blu-ray edition are only two featurettes called “Monster Files”. They run 24 minutes and provide an overview of some of the aliens, monsters and creatures that appear in series six.  So fingers crossed that Part 2 of Series 6 really delivers in the extras.

On July 19, the first part of the new acclaimed season of “Doctor Who” will be available on Blu-ray and DVD, with the release of Doctor Who: Series 6, Part 1.

Check out the Official Site: http://bit.ly/oa1ppC

About the Blu-ray/DVD:
Doctor Who: Series 6, Part 1, a two-disc DVD and Blu-ray set, contains the first seven episodes along with two Monster files, “The Gangers” and “The Silence,” two of the Doctor’s most challenging opponents.

In the season opener, “The Impossible Astronaut,” four envelopes are received, numbered 2, 3 and 4, each containing a date, time and map reference, unsigned, but in TARDIS blue. Who sent them? And who received the missing number one? This strange summons reunites the Doctor (Smith), Amy (Gillan), Rory (Darvill) and River Song (Kingston) in the middle of the Utah desert and unveils a terrible secret the Doctor’s friends must never reveal to him. ‘Space 1969’ is their only clue, as their quest lands them – quite literally – in the Oval Office, where they are enlisted by President Nixon himself to assist enigmatic former-FBI agent Canton (Mark Sheppard) in saving a terrified little girl from a mysterious spaceman.

Following the two-parter, the Doctor, Amy and Rory journey on the high seas of 1696 aboard Avery’s (Bonneville) pirate ship to solve the mystery of the Siren (Cole). In a bubble universe at the very edge of reality, the Doctor meets an old friend with a new face, and in a monastery on a remote island in the near future, an industrial accident takes on a terrible human shape. And waiting for them, at the end of all this, is the battle of Demon’s Run, and the Doctor’s darkest hour. Can even the truth about River Song save the Time Lord’s soul? Only two things are certain. Silence will fall. And a good man is going to die…