4K Ultra HD Review “The Girl on the Train”

Actors: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Édgar Ramírez
Directors: Tate Taylor
Format: 4K
Rated: R
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Run Time: 112 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
4K Ultra HD: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“The Girl on the Train” is the perfect film for Emily Blunt. She literally rocks this film! I could have sworn I would swear she would win awards for the role but it never really caught traction. She is truly amazing. Also Haley Bennett has a solid 2016 return with this film and “The Magnificent Seven”. The film has me staring without blinking for about 3/4 of the movie until the end reveal when it lost it almost completely. I wasn’t thrilled with the ending but overall I did enjoy the movie if not just for the performances.

Official Premise: The Girl on the Train is based on Paula Hawkins’ bestselling thriller that shocked the world. Rachel (Emily Blunt), devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day. Everything changes when she sees something shocking happen there, and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds.

“The Girl on the Train” was released in a 4K Ultra HD combo pack with Blu-ray and Digital HD copy included. The 2160p 4K looks good but really doesn’t blow me away at all. If you compare the Blu-ray disc, I almost thought it looked better. There wasn’t anything in the 4K transfer that really stepped up the game. Not bad by ANY means just was hoping for more” The included DTS:X soundtrack (which ends up working as a 7.1 mix) sounds great and work well with the suspenseful score.

The special features are decent and worth checking out for sure if you enjoyed the film. The audio commentary features director Tate Taylor giving a lot of in-depth information on the film. There are nearly 20 minutes of Deleted and Extended Scenes included. Lastly there are two featurettes. The first is “The Women Behind The Girl” features author Paula Hawkins talking about the film. The other is “On Board The Train” looks deeper into characters and more behind-the-scenes.

 

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  • Blu-ray Review “Train to Busan”

    Starring: Yoo Gong, Ma Dong-Suk, Yu-mi Jeong, Woo-sik Choi, Sohee, Soo-an Kim
    Director: Sang-ho Yeon
    Distributed by: Well Go USA
    Running Time: 118 min
    Release Date: Jan 17, 2017

    Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

    I came across the film, “Train to Busan”, purely by accident and I am really glad I did. This is literally one of the best zombie films I have seen in a long time! It is action packed and really well done. It does run a little long and could have been cut down a bit for pacing but otherwise, I thought this film was a wild ride. If you are looking for something to fill your “Walking Dead” void while it is on hiatus, definitely check this film out!

    Official Premise: A mysterious viral outbreak pushes Korea into a state of emergency. The government declares martial law just as divorced Seok-woo and his daughter catch the KTX bullet train from Seoul to Busan to see her mother. But someone on the journey has been recently infected sending the hurtling carriages into complete chaos. As the living dead transform the voyage into a nightmare excursion, father and daughter and a small group of uninfected passengers must fight for survival. Get on board to stay alive!

    Well Go USA is behind this release, so this Blu-ray does not come as a combo pack or include a digital HD copy. I would love to see this company get behind digital format and include it with their Blu-rays. It will be available on Ultraviolet, I am sure when it is released so why not throw in a code as an incentive. The 1080p transfer works for the scope of the film, which at times get very epic. The DTS-HD Master Audio track also works well with the action. the track is Korean with English subtitles. There are only two special features included, which are two generic “Behind the Scenes” looks into the production as well as “That’s A Wrap”.

    Digital HD Review “How to Train Your Dragon 2”

    Directed by: Dean DeBlois
    Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill
    Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington
    Rated: PG
    Release Date: October 21, 2014
    Run Time: 102 minutes

    Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

    We are trying something new here for the release of “How to Train Your Dragon 2”, we are reviewing the title Digital HD format. That means that we redeemed a code for the film and are able to watch it on your computer, compatible TV or Blu-ray player, smartphones, tablets etc. This is the future for films. I have quite the library of Digital HD films.

    Official Premise: The thrilling second chapter of the epic HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON trilogy returns to the fantastical world of the heroic Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless. The inseparable duo must protect the peace and save the future of men and dragons from the power-hungry Drago.

    The first “How to Train Your Dragon” really built up the story for this film. The TV series continued it on and this sequel really takes it to the next level. It is fast, colorful and really sharp looking. As much as I would have loved to reviewed this film on 3D Blu-ray, this Digital HD option wasn’t too bad, especially since I could watch it pretty much anywhere.

    Plus with Digital HD, the film is released a few weeks ahead of the Blu-ray release. For instance, this film was released on Digital HD on October 21st where as the Blu-ray was just released on November 11th. Not my code but you can even purchase Digital HD copies including the special features, which is a real bonus and is a really nice feature to have.

     

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  • “How to Train Your Dragon 2” Arrives on Digital HD Oct. 21 and Blu-ray & DVD Nov. 11

    Catch the all-new animated adventure, DreamWorks DRAGONS: DAWN OF THE DRAGON RACERS, exclusively with the Blu-ray™ Combo, DVD Double Pack and Digital HD

    LOS ANGELES, CA (August 29, 2014) – Soaring past the $500 million mark at the global box office, DreamWorks Animation’s HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 is not only one of the best reviewed films of the year, but also 2014’s highest grossing animated film to-date and one of the top ten grossing films of the year in any genre.The thrilling second chapter of the epic HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON trilogy returns to the fantastical world of the heroic Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless. The inseparable duo must protect the peace and save the future of men and dragons from the power-hungry Drago when Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment releases DreamWorks Animation’s critically acclaimed HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 on Digital HD October 21 and on Blu-ray™ and DVD November 11.

    HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, the next chapter to the Academy Award® nominated film released in 2010, is “sensational…an instant animated classic,” proclaims Access Hollywood. A hit with audiences and critics alike, the film received an outstanding audience reaction with a coveted “A” CinemaScore® and certified 92% fresh on RottenTomatoes.com. Variety’s Peter Debruge declares the film is “Braver than ‘Brave,’ more fun than ‘Frozen’…Dragon delivers.” It’s a must-own title for the whole family!

    Fans will get even more excitement, adventure and, of course, more dragons when DreamWorks Animation releases DRAGONS: DAWN OF THE DRAGON RACERS, an all-new animated adventure featuring the original voice cast. A hunt for lost sheep soon turns into a high-flying sprint in the all-new epic adventure as Hiccup and friends battle to become the first Dragon Racing Champion of Berk! DRAGONS: DAWN OF THE DRAGON RACERS will be available exclusively on the Blu-ray™ combo pack, DVD double pack and Digital HD.

    The all-star film talent features Jay Baruchel (This Is The End), two-time Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Gerard Butler (Olympus Has Fallen), Craig Ferguson (“The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”), America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”), Academy Award® nominee Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Neighbors), T.J. Miller (“Silicon Valley”) and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids).  The film also adds the voice talent of Academy Award® nominee Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) and Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”).

    The Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD feature hours of bonus materials that explore the world of dragons and more. Furthermore, the Blu-ray™ and Digital HD contain four exclusive featurettes, deleted scenes and a 60-minute behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the film, shot and created by the film’s writer and director Dean DeBlois.

    DreamWorks Animation How To Train Your Dragon 2 Blu-ray™ & Digital HD include:  
    Feature film in high definition 
    Special Features:

    • Fishleg’s Dragon Stats – How much do you know about your favorite dragons? Explore the Dragon 2 Guide and learn more about your favorite fire-breathing friends!
    • Drago’s War Machines – Gobber the Belch narrates this inside look at the fierce creatures and “high-tech” weapons used by Drago to expand his growing dragon army.
    • Berk’s Dragon World – Explore the massive stable created to house the dragons of Berk, along with other changes made on the island to promote harmonious living.
    • Hiccup’s Inventions in Flight – Learn the secrets of how Hiccup and Toothless work together to form the ultimate high-flying team in this fascinating interactive tour.
    • Deleted Scenes — The awesome adventure continues with telling deleted and extended scenes, including action-packed footage you couldn’t see in theaters!
    • Commentary by Simon Otto, Bonnie Arnold, Dean DeBlois, and Pierre-Olivier Vincent
    • Where No One Goes: The Making of How To Train Your Dragon 2 – Writer-Director Dean DeBlois and his team take you behind the scenes of creating the film’s eye-popping visual effects and epic story
    • Dragon Races – Catch the thrilling aerial action and exciting play-by-play commentary as you cheer on your favorite riders in a spectacular dragon race!
    • Image Gallery
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • World of DreamWorks Animation – Move to the music videos from your favorite  DreamWorks Animation feature films
    DreamWorks Animation How To Train Your Dragon 2 DVD includes:
    Feature film in standard definition 
    Special Features:
    • Fishleg’s Dragon Stats – How much do you know about your favorite dragons? Explore the Dragon 2 Guide and learn more about your favorite fire-breathing friends!
    • Image Gallery
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • World of DreamWorks Animation – Music videos from your favorite  DreamWorks Animation feature films

    Nintendo 3DS Video Game Review “How to Train Your Dragon 2: The Video Game”

    Format: Nintendo 3DS
    Developed by Torus Games
    Published by Little Orbit
    Rated: E
    Release Date: June 10, 2014

    Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

    How you think of the successful film and TV series “How to Train Your Dragon”, you can’t really go wrong. The first film is amazing, the second is even better and the TV series is a great companion.  Unlike all those, “How to Train Your Dragon 2: The Video Game” on Nintendo 3DS is quite underwhelming. In the game you basically choose a dragon and it’s rider from the series, then you fly around Berk racing other dragons, exploring for coins and playing mini-games. After the first hour, it gets quite repetitive. I would recommend sticking to the films and TV series and skip this game.

    Official Premise: Take to the skies and return to the epic Viking Isle of Berk Five years later Dragon Racing has become the hot new sport for the Vikings. Hiccup Astrid Snoutlout Tuffnut & Ruffnut and their dragons are competing in fierce flying tournaments to determine the ultimate Dragon Rider. Soar through clouds and discover unmapped territories. Discover a secret ice cavern that is home a mysterious Dragon Rider and find yourself in an epic battle to protect their peaceful homeland.

    I know I really should be shocked about this game, since usually all video game adaption of films never pan out. This was made on a tight budget and probably was just an updated version of the last “How to Train Your Dragon” handheld console game. The control are very weak when it comes to flying, which takes forever to figure out and master, but by the time that happens, I was just left wanting to turn this game off and play anything else. If you are a die-hard fan of this series, you could give the WiiU or XBOX 360 version a try…just don’t expect nothing spectacular their either.

    Film Review “How to Train Your Dragon 2”

    Starring the Voices Of: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler and Cate Blanchett
    Directed By: Dean DeBlois
    Rated: PG
    Running Time: 102 Minutes
    20th Century Fox

    Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    In a year void of anything new from the geniuses at Pixar, you’d think there would be an animated vacuum where the gap would be filled with shameless sequels and lazily written cash grabs (to be fair, there is the sequel to “Planes” coming out this summer). So it’s understandable if the average movie patron is worried that “How to Train Your Dragon 2” could wind up in that category. But I’m happy to say it defied my low expectations and soared to insanely creative heights with another superb story.

    It’s been years since the hairy, broad shouldered Vikings of Berk have made peace with the dragons they once feared. They’ve successfully integrated everything in their society with their newly acquired winged friends. Hiccup (Baruchel) continues to break the Viking stereotype by using his brain more than his brawn. He also seems more in sync with his dragon, Toothless. Despite these recent successes, Hiccup is a bit apprehensive because his father, Stoick (Butler), appears to be grooming him as his successor so that he can be the next chieftain of Berk. Hiccup doesn’t believe he’s ready and he’s more focused on scoping out new dragons and new lands.

    This constant thirst for more knowledge about the surrounding territory brings in a new threat. He comes across a dragon trapper, who tells him of Drago (Djimon Hounsou), a man who is amassing a dragon army. Drago views dragons as a scourge that he must eradicate by enslaving them. His quest for dominion over dragons sadly comes at the cost of human casualties along the way. Things are further complicated by a mysterious figure that seems to have a bigger attachment to dragons than Hiccup and appears to be at odds with Drago, but it’s uncertain if they’re a friend or foe.

    I was worried that a lack of Chris Sanders, director and writer from the first movie, might actually defang what momentum a sequel would have, but Dean DeBlois gets to fly this one solo and doesn’t hit any turbulent air. He keeps the merriness of our dragons intact. While the story goes on, dragons are constantly acting like playful dogs or cats in the background, giving them a more relatable quality when they are consistently acting like our affectionate household pets. The voice acting is once again spot on and having Cate Blanchett on board adds another flavorful spice of adventure.

    This movie continues the relationship building between Hiccup and Toothless, but creates a more substantial scenario for Hiccup to grow and better understand the relationships he experiences. There’s also some hefty emotional weight attached here, made heavier by some surprisingly mature content that shows DeBlois is not afraid of taking some risks to further enchant the audience. With so much plot to trudge through, other directors would have simply gotten lost or stuck to the ‘boy and his dragon’ cliché, but DeBlois gives the dragons just as much psychological depth than the humans.

    Visually, Dreamworks is going toe to toe with some of the best in the industry once again and holding nothing back. Viewers are definitely going to be swept away in every battle sequence and get lost in the flying sequences that are nothing short of incredible. While the first “How to Train Your Dragon” feels like a fantastic stand-alone movie, the sequel showcases the ability to create a living, breathing franchise that may actually have the wings and power to push forth. I say that because a third is in the works and after seeing how daring and original they are, it’s a safe bet to get your expectations out of the gutter and put them near the top for “How to Train Your Dragon 3” in 2016.

    Little Orbit’s “How to Train Your Dragon 2” Video Game Soars Into Stores Today

    Dragon Riders Take Flight on the Xbox 360®, Nintendo Wii™, Wii U™, 3DS™ and PlayStation® 3

    SANTA ANA, Calif., June 10, 2014 — Little Orbit, a worldwide video game publisher, unveils the   ultimate dragon racing experience with the release of How to Train Your Dragon 2 video games based on Friday’s highly anticipated 3-D animated film from DreamWorks Animation.   Developed by Torus Games, the game is now available on the Xbox 360®, Nintendo Wii™, Wii U™ and PlayStation® 3.

    Dragon trainers will put their skills to the test in this high-flying adventure featuring Hiccup and Toothless and other fan favorite dragon and rider teams, high-energy tournaments and all the fire-breathing fun as they explore the dynamic Island of Berk.  Along the way, players will face multiple challenges in this heroic quest as they play their way through an epic world of Dragons and Vikings.

    The How to Train Your Dragon 2  video game is one of the biggest and most exciting launches Little Orbit has ever had, and we are so excited for fans of this beloved franchise to take flight and experience the game,” said Matt Scott, President of Little Orbit.

    Eager fans should keep their eye out for Dragon-wrapped Redbox kiosk as How to Train Your Dragon 2 video games “take over” Redbox locations across the country beginning this week!  Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Wii U and PlayStation 3 rentals will be available throughout the summer at most Redbox locations.

    DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 is in theaters nationwide in just a few short days on June 13, 2014!

    To get the latest news on the How To Train Your Dragon 2 video games and more, follow Little Orbit on Twitter (@littleorbit) or visit the official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LittleOrbitGames

    The game is rated E-10 for Everyone 10+ by the ESRB.

    Book Review “The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2”

    Author: Linda Sunshine
    Hardcover: 160 pages
    Publisher: Newmarket Press
    Release Date: May 6, 2014

    Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    “The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2” follows in the path of “The Art of How to Train Your Dragon” and gives us tons of great concept sketches, preliminary drawings, architectural plans and digital showcases artwork that just shows how much work goes into a film like this. This book features more than 650 paintings, drawings, sketches, models, film stills, lighting studies, color keys, story boards, and photographs. Along the way, this book is also packed with commentary from all the principal filmmakers. There is also a great introduction by the writer/director Dean DeBlois and a foreword by Gerard Butler, the voice of Stoick. If you are a fan of the original film, then this is a must own for sure and will hold you off till the sequel comes out on June 13th!

    Official Premise: The official illustrated tie-in to the second chapter of DreamWorks Animation’s critically acclaimed, Academy Award® nominated How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is based on the characters in Cressida Cowell’s bestselling series. How does a movie of such imagination and magnitude come into creation? This celebratory edition leads Berkian aficionados through the journey: the story all begins with an incredibly talented team of artists, writers, engineers, animators, modelers, and tech wizards letting their creativity soar. Movie-goers will attest that the result is a stunning, original vision—bigger, better, and fiercer than ever—of an earth-shattering, fire-breathing sequel to the legendary story of Vikings and dragons in the frozen north.

    Author Linda Sunshine had authored many making-of books for films ranging from “Schindler’s List”, “Monsters vs. Aliens”, “Catch Me If You Can”, “E.T.” and “Saving Private Ryan”. She really succeeded in deliver a book that makes you want to run out and see this film immediately. Newmarket Press brings us yet another fine release. The images are so crisp and the colors are literally jumping off the pages. I honestly don’t know what it is about “How to Train Your Dragon” but it has this certain magic to it. I can’t explain it but when you watch the film and admire the animation, you are just left speechless. Well, this book really gets inside the sequel and packs that same type of magic. June 13th cannot come any sooner!

    Blu-ray Review “Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train”

    Actors: Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Robert Walker, Leo G. Carroll
    Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
    Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
    Studio: Warner Bros.
    Release Date: October 9, 2012
    Run Time: 101 minutes

    Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    “Strangers on a Train” has always been one of my favorite Hitchcock pictures. It really shows him at his pure best. I know, I know “Psycho” is amazing but this is a completely different type of picture. It literally keeps you on the edge of your chair from once the plot to “exchange” murders begins on that train. Warner Brothers delivers a really fantastic 1080p transfer within it’s aspect ratio of 1.36:1. The black and white film looks so crisp and sharp. The audio is also near-perfect with its DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track. Dimitri Tiomkin’s score really secures your seat placement on your couch.  There are two different cuts of this film on the Blu-ray. There is the final release version, which we all know and love and then there is the preview version which runs about two minutes longer and features some alternate takes. They are subtle changes but if you are a hardcore fan of Hitchcock, you are going to want both versions.

    The special features are ported from previous DVD releases but still great.  There is a jam-packed commentary track with Alfred Hitchcock, Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, Patricia Hitchcock O’Connell and about fifteen others who pop in. Obviously, it is edited together and done very well. Next up with five behind-the-scene featurettes, including “Strangers on a Train: A Hitchcock Classic”, which is a nice chat with Peter Bogdanovich and a few others about film. “Strangers on a Train: The Victim’s P.O.V.” looks into the shot uses for Laura Elliot in the film (one of my favorite shots). “Strangers on a Train: An Appreciation by M. Night Shyamalan” is the “The Sixth Sense” director’s tribute to Hitchcock.  “The Hitchcocks on Hitch” is a chat with both Hitchcock’s daughter and granddaughter. “Alfred Hitchcock’s Historical Meeting” is a short extra with the director meeting up with actors made up as historical characters. Lastly there is the theatrical trailer included.

    Premise: Before anyone though of “throwing Momma from the train,” the idea of a double “crisscross” murder has already been hatched. Or “hitched,” as in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train”. Tennis star Guy Hanies (Farley Granger) half-jokingly muses about killing his wife with a stranger he meets on a train, unhinged playboy Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker), who’d prefer his father be deceased. In theory, each could murder the other’s victim. Crisscross. No motive. No clues. No problem…except: Bruno takes the idea seriously, with deadly consequences.

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    FIlm Review “The Man on the Train”

    Director: Mary McGuckian
    Starring: Donald Sutherland, Larry Mullen Jr. and Paula Boudreau
    Distributed: Tribeca Films
    MPAA Rating: Not Rating
    Running Time: 100 minutes

    Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

    “Man on the Train” is a remake of the French Patrice LeConte classic, ‘L’Homme du Train”.  It is written, produced and directed by Mary McGuckian.  This is a film that is very driven by its character development.  It is slow paced and focuses and a lot of on dialogue its two characters.  The acting in the film is very unique and make this film worth watching just for it alone. I am definitely curious now to see the original film to see how it compares.

    This film focuses when a mysterious criminal comes in to a small town and meets a retired poetry professor.  The professor invites him into his house and they form this bonds even though the two are complete opposites. The two men are looking for something in their lives and with meeting each other it turns out to be faith.  The criminal is conflicted in robbing the local bank and the professor having difficulty with heath issues. These two people talk each other through very difficult decision in their lives.

    I loved Donald Sutherland in the role.  I thought he was very quiet but adventurous at the same time.  He played the role so well.  I was also blown away by Larry Mullen Jr, founder and drummer of U2.  His character was very dark and deep.  Overall the two guys played off each other really well. The acting easily made this film worth the watch.