Book Review “The Avengers Storybook Collection”

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Series: Storybook Collection
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Marvel Press
Release Date: March 31, 2015

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I wish I had a book like this when I was a kid. “The Avengers Storybook Collection” is a must have for any parent with young boys or even young fan girls for that matter! There is nothing like getting ready a story filled with heroism, adventure and action just before going to slip. These stories are fun, exciting and feature some of our favorite Marvel superheroes. Even though, my daughter is a little young for this one, she still loves it and already came name every character on the cover!

Official Premise: Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Falcon are Earth’s Mightiest Marvels-the Avengers! Join them as they work together to battle against sinister Super Villains such as Ultron, Thanos, the Masters of Evil,and more, to keep the Earth safe. Featuring 20 explosive stories of good vs. evil. Avengers assemble!

Let’s hope that this Storybook Collection is the first of many. There are literally an infinite collection of characters that they can include in future collections. This one has 20 stories included with all of the favorites like Iron Man and Captain America but I would love to be able to introduce my daughter to some of the lesser known characters as well. They could even do a female superhero only book OOHHHH OOHHHH or even better a villains only book. Who wouldn’t want to read a new story featuring everyone’s favorite Avenger villain, Loki! Fingers crossed!

Not Even Dry Land Is Safe When “Sharknado” Hits Syfy July 11th

NEW YORK – June 20, 2013 – Up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a…shark! A supersized storm sucks sharks from the ocean and hurls them onto land in the new Syfy Original Movie Sharknado, premiering Thursday, July 11 at 9PM (ET/PT).

In the movie, regulars of a beachside bar including owner Fin (Ian Ziering/Beverly Hills 90210), bartender Nova (Casie Scerbo/Make It Or Break It) and local drunk George (John Heard/Home Alone) team up with Fin’s ex-wife April (Tara Reid/Scrubs) to investigate the ecological nightmare that has sharks swimming through the streets of Los Angeles and falling from the skies. Sharknado is a production of The Asylum.

Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle) and Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show) star in the Original Movie Blast Vegas, premiering Thursday, July 18 at 9PM. A group of wild frat bros and their nerdy tag-along Nelson (Muniz) head to Las Vegas for the spring break of a lifetime. When one of them steals an Egyptian relic from a casino, an ancient curse is unleashed on the fabled strip. Blast Vegas is a production of Brainstorm Media.

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 98 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast Corporation.(Syfy. Imagine greater.)

Blu-ray Review “Safe Haven”

Starring: Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough, Cobie Smulders
Director: Lasse Hallström
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Run Time: 120 minutes

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

Are you a female? Better yet are you a female Nicholas Sparks fan? If so you will like this film.  I have seen various film adaptations of his books and this is not the best and not the worst.  It comes with a little romance and some thrills.  For a guy it might be a bit of a nightmare to get through this but it is worth it to make your girl happy.  I mean who doesn’t love a good twist ending, even if it isn’t that good. Plus the men can enjoy looking at the gorgeous Julianne Hough, while the ladies are drooling at the handsome Josh Duhamel. So it could end up being a win-win for everyone.

Official Premise: Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough star in this spellbinding romantic drama based on the novel by best-selling author Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook). When a mysterious, beautiful woman named Katie (Hough), moves to Southport, North Carolina, she sparks the interest of the locals, especially Alex (Duhamel), a handsome widower. Although she is attracted to Alex, Katie is reluctant to trust him – that is, until a new friend (Cobie Smulders) convinces her to give Alex a chance. But before long, a dark secret from Katie’s past threatens her happiness in this thrilling romance directed by Lasse Hallström.

20th Century Fox delivered a nice combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy. But I was a little bit let down that this only includes an iTunes digital copy. I thought that Fox was full on the Ultraviolet band wagon…but not sure why they opted out for this release. The 1080p transfer looks stunning and definitely gives props to our leads and the beautiful North Carolina setting.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track also delivers as well.  Since the film is a romantic-thriller, it doesn’t blow you away but it works with what it has and does it quite well.

The special features are not great but at least they have given us something. There are five deleted and extended scenes, as well as an alternate ending including. This ending is not any better than the film’s original but still worth checking out. “Igniting the Romance in Safe Haven” is a short behind-the-scenes look into the production with interviews from director Lasse Hellström, author Nicholas Sparks and our leads. “Josh Duhamel’s Lessons in Crabbing” is what I like to call a “waste-of-time-filler extra, which shows Duhamel attempting to catch crabs, no pun intended…I think. There is a very short set tour with our author Nicholas Sparks, which this could have been longer.  Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.

Film Review "Safe Haven"

Starring: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, David Lyons, Cobie Smulders
Directed by: Lasse Hallström
Distributed by Relativity Media
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 115 minutes

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Following in the footsteps of some of the greatest romantic movies such as “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember” & “The Lucky One” is not an easy task. All of which are movies based on the romantic novels by the best- selling author, Nicholas Sparks. Safe Haven is a romantic thriller that takes you on a journey of a mysterious woman’s struggle to try and escape her past and find the courage to love again.

Katie ( Julianne Hough) escapes to a small town in North Carolina. While struggling to feel safe, Katie slowly starts to let her guard down and allows herself to make friends and put down some roots. In doing so she forms a romantic relationship with Alex ( Josh Duhamel), a widowed store owner with two young children. Katie’s past is not far behind and slowly starts to catch up with her, threatening her new life and her new found love!

Anyone that has read the book couldn’t have asked for better casting! Julianne Hough and  Josh Duhamel really nailed their characters. They were both close if not exactly who I was picturing in my head when I was reading the book.  The chemistry between Hough and Duhamel was amazing and had their viewers rooting for their romance to succeed. Safe Haven is a romantic thriller that will not only keep you in suspense but has a twist in the end that might even bring you to tears!

Blu-ray Review “Safe”

Director: Boaz Yakin
Starring: Jason Statham, Chris Sarandon, Catherine Chan, Robert John Burke, James Hong, Anson Mount
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Lions Gate
DVD Release Date: September 4, 2012
Run Time: 95 minutes

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

If there is one thing that is guaranteed with Jason Statham, it is that he knows action. “Safe” is an action-packed thriller, which is his best role since “The Transporter” series. He plays Luke Wright, an MMA cage fighter who tries to rescue a young girl and gets caught between the Russian Mafia, the Triads, and the NYPD. The film also had a great supporting cast of Chris Sarandon (“Fright Night”) and James Hong (“Big Trouble in Little China”). “Safe” is from the director of “Remember The Titans” and the producers of “Kill Bill” and “Inglorious Basterds”, so you know your in good hands. So get your popcorn and get ready for some adrenaline-charged action with Statham kicking some ass!

Lionsgate’s official synopsis: “Wright wanders the streets of New York full of guilt and anger until he encounters Mei (newcomer Catherine Chan), a frightened 12-year-old Chinese girl. An orphaned math prodigy, Mei had been forced to work for the Triads as a counter and holds the key to a numerical code that could destroy the Triads, the mob, and corrupt cops within the NYPD. After discovering that the same gangsters who killed his family are pursuing her, Wright takes matters into his own hands to protect the innocent girl and seek revenge.”

Lionsgate delivers one hell of a kick-ass Blu-ray with this release. It comes as a Blu-ray/Digital Copy combo pack including an Ultraviolet streaming copy. The film in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and looks awesome in its 1080p transfer. The star of the film though, sorry Jason, is the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. It works so well with the action scenes and just overall so impressive. The special features on the disc are decent overall as well. There is an interested commentary track from writer/director Boaz Yakin. As well as three short but sweet Behind-the-scenes featurettes including “Cracking Safe”, “Criminal Battleground” and “The Art of the Gunfight”. Overall give a nice broad though short look at the production.

No Safe Haven from The Asylum’s Latest Creatures “Bigfoot” and “Shark Week” Available on Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand this August

LOS ANGELES, CA (August 14, 2012) – From the studio that brought you Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and Zombie Apocalypse come two new action-thrillers – featuring Alice Cooper, two former teen heartthrobs, an especially tall and hairy beast and a large array of deadly species of shark – that prove that there is no escape from monsters both terrestrial and aquatic.

Two of TV’s most beloved child actors, Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family) and Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch) unite, assisted by Sherilyn Fenn (Rude Awakening, Boston Public), to make it through Bigfoot’s startling appearance at a music festival in North Dakota in Bigfoot.  Directed by Bruce Davison, Bigfoot is debuting on Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand August 14 from The Asylum. And see who survives the shark-infested waters of an isolated island run by a rich madman, played by Patrick Bergin (Patriot Games) in Shark Week.  Featuring Yancy Bulter of As the World Turns and Kickass fame, Shark Week debuts on Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand August 28.  Both projects successfully debuted on Syfy earlier this summer.  Pick up a copy of these hits on Blu-ray™ or DVD for bonus features including a behind-the-scenes featurette “The Making of Bigfoot” and “The Making of Shark Week,” respectively. The films will be available for $14.95 SRP (Blu-ray) and $14.95 SRP (DVD).

Synopsis of Bigfoot:

When Bigfoot attacks an 80s-themed music concert, a concert promoter and a hippie burnout will do anything to protect the “endangered species.”

Produced by David Michael Latt, David Rimawi and Paul Bales; directed by Bruce Davison; and written by Micho Rutare and Brian Brinkman.

Synopsis of Shark Week:

A group of complete strangers find themselves isolated by a wealthy madman on his island compound. They are forced into a horrifying gauntlet where they must survive a barrage of ever deadlier species of shark.

Produced by David Michael Lett, David Rimawi and Paul Bales; directed by Douglas-Olen Ray; and written by H. Perry Horton.

Blu-ray Review “Safe House”

Directed by: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Universal Home Entertainment
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Running Time: 115 minutes

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

With a cast of Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, you really can’t go wrong.  The film is action packed and really thrilling.  Whenever I see Denzel in a a role like this, it immediately sparks my interest.  I mean…the guy really knows for to succeed in playing a crazy man.  He just does it well!  The film is also shot and directed really well, thanks to Daniel Espinosa channeling his inner Oliver Stone and Michael Mann.  Normally I am not a big action movie fan but without re-creating the genre, this film is still able to delivers a fun entertaining experience.

The film follows Matt Weston (Reynolds), a rookie CIA operative, so is frustrated with his boring job of running a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. Of course everything changes for Matt when he meets  Tobin Frost (Washington), a renegade intelligence officer who had been on the run for almost a decade. When the safe house is mercenaries attack the house, Weston and Frost make a narrow escape and together must find out who they can trust.

Kudos to Universal for really delivers an ass-kicking Blu-ray.  It comes with a Blu-ray of the film, along with a DVD and a digital copy discs, as well as a Ultraviolet streaming digital copy as well.  The 1080p transfer looks awesome presented in its original aspect ratio: 2.39:1, especially with the action sequences. As does the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, which really excels with the film’s intense scenes.

The special features are very impressive overall.  To start there are a few interactive features like Universal’s first U-Control feature, which is basically a Picture-in-Picture track, features interviews with cast and crew and provides decent behind-the-scenes footage.   Secondly, Universal brings a Second Screen Experience that works with the pocket BLU app able to be downloaded to your tablet, Mac or PC,  which syncs the app with the film.

There is a decent  behind-scenes featurette called “Making Safe House”, which focuses on production and characters.  “Hand-to-Hand Action” focuses on the film’s fights with fight coordinator Olivier Schneider and his team. “Shooting the Safe House Attack” is a short look at the film’s major action scene. “Building the Rooftop Chase” takes a behind-the-scenes look at Washington and Reynolds leaping from roof to roof. “Behind the Action” is another look into the shooting film’s action sequences. “Inside the CIA” takes a look at creating Langley and at the CIA itself today.  Lastly, “Safe Harbor: Cape Town” focuses on shooting on location in Cape Town.