Blu-ray Review “When a Stranger Calls / Happy Birthday to Me”

Actors: Carol Kane, Charles Durning, Colleen Dewhurst, Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford
Directors: Fred Walton, J. Lee Thompson
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Run Time: 208 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to late 70’s / early 80’s horror, this is a period of horror films that will always be held special. This double feature comes with two classic horror flicks “When a Stranger Calls (1979)” and Happy Birthday to Me (1981)” that I grew up watch (without my parents permission, sorry guys). These films are fun and represent that classic period of horror to the T. There was some worry with this release since “Happy Birthday To Me” is used the artwork for it’s 2004 release, which used a terrible disco score for the film. But rejoice since the original score is included for this release and it sounds great! Horror fans this release should be an instant purchase, especially for less than $10 bucks for both films.

“When a Stranger Calls” Official Premise: A terrified young baby-sitter…an incessantly ringing phone…and whispered threats set the stage for one of the most suspenseful thrillers ever filmed. Carol Kane stars as the baby-sitter who is tormented by a series of ominous phone calls until a compulsive cop (Charles Durning) is brought on the scene to apprehend the psychotic killer. Seven years later, however, the nightmare begins again when the madman returns to mercilessly haunt Kane, now a wife and mother. No longer a naive girl, though still terrified, but prepared, she moves boldly to thwart the maniac s attack in scenes that culminate in a nerve shattering conclusion.

“Happy Birthday To Me” Official Premise: Get ready for a taut mystery-shocker that will keep you at your wit s end and at the edge of your seat. Popular high school senior Virginia Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson) survives a freak accident, but suffers from memory loss and traumatic blackouts. As she attempts to resume a normal life, something terrible is happening – her friends are ruthlessly murdered one-by-one. Will she be the next victim or is she the killer? The terrifying truth is finally uncovered at Virginia s 18th birthday party and you re invited!

Both “When a Stranger Calls / Happy Birthday to Me” look amazing on Blu-ray, especially for films that are over 30 years old. The transfer are sharp and clear. “When a Stranger Calls” is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, while “Happy Birthday to Me” comes with an 1.78:1 aspect ratio. In the audio department, “When a Stranger Calls” comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, which delivers for the film itself. Surprisingly, “Happy Birthday to Me” comes with an amped up DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, trying to apologize to its fans of the past release with the terrible disco scores. No additional special features are included on this release.

Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” Blu-ray Giveaway [ENDED]



Available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack + DVD Tuesday, October 18th

The Walt Disney Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer Films are proud to present the #1 worldwide box office success of 2011 – making over $1 billion globally – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, in stunning high definition Blu-ray™ on October 18, 2011.

To celebrate Disney’s Blu-Ray™ release of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway 10 copies of the Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (Blu-ray™ + DVD). If you would like to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite film in this series. This giveaway will be open until Monday October 31th 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 winners and alert the winners via email.

Film Synopsis:
From Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer comes all the fun, epic adventure and humor that ignited the original. Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. A tale of truth, betrayal, youth, demise — and mermaids! When Jack crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penélope Cruz), he’s not sure if it’s love or if she’s a ruthless con artist using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. Forced aboard the ship of the most feared pirate ever, Jack doesn’t know who to fear more —Blackbeard (Ian McShane) or the woman from his past. Directed by Rob Marshall, it’s filled with eye-popping battle scenes, mystery and all-out wit.

Special Features:
Disney Second Screen Bloopers of the Caribbean
Audio Commentary by director Rob Marshall
LEGO Animated Shorts: Captain Jack’s Brick Tales

3D Blu-ray Review “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

Directed by: Rob Marshall
Starring: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Kevin McNally
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 136 minutes

Overall Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I know that most are not big fans of “At World’s End” but I am a fan of it for sure. This film is definitely ranks better though and does not disappoint. I really enjoyed the 3D version of the film since it is not over baring effects. I felt that it is very subtle and very vibrant use of the beautiful landscapes. The “Pirates” series succeeds due to Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow. He doesn’t do much different from his last go as the Captain but he could honestly just stand in place the whole film and people will flock. All in all this is a great release and a must buy for fans of the series.

This time Captain Jack Sparrow sets his sights on the fountain of youth. Standing in his way is his lost love Angelica, played by Penélope Cruz and his latest enemy Blackbeard, played by Ian McShane, who is the most feared pirate. Geoffrey Rush also returns and shines in the film as his changes sides and also seeks the fountain of youth.

The picture on this Blu-ray is fantastic and very clear. The landscapes were the film was shot were so vibrant and colorful. The film was actually shot in 3D and it plays off all that very well and is such a sight to watch. Disney’s 3D releases have yet to disappoint and I am sure they will only get better and better with each release.  The sounds like most if not all Disney Blu-rays impresses with 7.1 sound and really captures the score and effects really well.

The special features are a little light for Disney standard and especially for such a large scale film but still are worth a watch. First off we have audio commentary from executive producer John DeLuca and director Rob Marshall. It is not most entertaining commentary but it is worth a listen to hear about some production insights. The next feature “Legends of On Stranger Tides” features producer Jerry Bruckheimer, writer Terry Rossio, Johnny Depp, Rob Marshall and more about they chat about the behind the scenes of the fourth installment. “In Search of the Fountain” chats about the Fountain of Youth and the legends behind it. “Last Sail, First Voyage” focuses on our villain Blackbeard. “Under the Scene: Bringing Mermaids to Life” is a really cool feature as we delve into the film’s visual effects. There are five deleted and extended scenes; “Old Bill,” “Smart Now,” “Tonight,” “Tango” and “Voodoo Doll”, definitely worth the watch. “Johnny Vs. Geoffrey” is self-explanatory from its title putting Captain Jack with Captain Barbosa. There are few scenes from “LEGO: Pirates of the Caribbean”, which I would love to see as a feature. Lastly there is bloopers, which are very funny. One cool feature that called “Disney Second Screen”, which allows you to sync with your computer or iPad and enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes content and more.