DVD Reviews 

How to Train Your Dragon 2

by Alan Rapp on November 15, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • IMDb: link

How to Train Your Dragon 2Set a few years after the events of the first film, How to Train Your Dragon 2 continues the hero’s journey of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless and the rest of the dragon riders of Birk as Hiccup finds his long-lost mother Valka (Cate Blanchett) and squares off against a dragon army led by the villainous Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou).

How to Train Your Dragon 2 works as well for me on Blu-ray as it did in theaters (and some of the emotional beats even work better a second time). Given the quality of the first two films, I hope we see this series continue for a long time. For more on the movie, check out my original review.

The Blu-ray includes DVD and UV digital copies of the film along with a half-hour short explaining the creation of Birk’s dragon races, deleted scenes, trailers, and short featurettes on Hiccup’s inventions, Drago’s weapons, the various dragons in the film, and Birk.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Begin Again

by Alan Rapp on October 31, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Begin Again
  • IMDb: link

Begin AgainReleased this week on Blu-ray and DVD, writer/director John Carney‘s tale of the unexpected friendship between a down-on-his luck record label exec (Mark Ruffalo) and a heartbroken singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) ranked at the top of my favorite films from the first-half of 2014. My opinion hasn’t changed.

With a pair of terrific leads and a talented support cast that includes Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, Adam Levine, Mos Def, and James Corden, the movie works as well on home video as it did in theaters as the mismatched pair of attempt to record an album on the fly around New York City in an enterprise that is at least as much about getting over life’s recent hurdles as the finished project. For more, read my original review.

The Blu-ray includes music videos for the movie’s big numbers and a single behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the film.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Arrow – The Complete Second Season

by Alan Rapp on October 30, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Arrow – Season Two
  • wiki: link

Arrow - The Complete Second SeasonPast mistakes loom large in Season Two of Arrow as old friends and enemies make their way to Starling City and Oliver Queen‘s (Stephen Amell) journey from killer to vigilante to hero continues. Split between flashbacks from the island and his time in Starling City following the Undertaking, the show’s Second Season forces the Queen family to deal with ghosts from their past and the arrival of another madman who has plans to burn the city to the ground.

Much of the season revolves around Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) who returns home, much like Oliver, changed by her experiences following the shipwreck. Flashbacks deal with Slade’s exposure to the super-serum that makes him a mentally-unstable but nearly unbeatable warrior and the end of his friendship with Oliver. Slade’s arrival in Starling is slow to unfold, choosing to work through subordinates such as Brother Blood (Kevin Alejandro) to build an army of warriors and destroy the city Oliver swore to protect.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Less Than Heavenly

by Alan Rapp on October 25, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Kingdom of Heaven
  • IMDb: link

Kingdom of HeavenOrlando Bloom as a blacksmith turned soldier defending a stone fortress against a vast army, or a man who falls in love with a married queen from across the ocean? Liam Neeson as a dying knight with an apprentice? Haven’t I already seen this before?

Kingdom of Heaven features a fine cast and some good visuals, but I think you will find, as I did, that much of the story is a little too familiar, much too preachy, and more than a little dumb.

Okay, so Godfrey (Neeson) is a crusader except he’s about as pleasant and courteous one as you could ever expect to find.  He doesn’t rape and pillage but just kills people to keep the peace. On a short vacation he takes a horse ride up from Jerusalem to France to find his son (the result of the raping a pillaging he did before he grew one with the Force, um, I mean matured) who is the blacksmith from Pirates of the Caribbean (Bloom) whose name is now Balian.

[click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Percy Jackson (Double Feature)

by Alan Rapp on October 18, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief / Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
  • IMDb: link

Percy Jackson (Double Feature)Based on the young adult novels of Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and its sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters come off as Harry Potter-lite with a Clash of the Titans-level understanding and use of various mythological elements.

Centered around Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) – the son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd), and his fellow demi-gods Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), both films feature the threesome embarking on some kind of quest to both learn about themselves and retrieve a powerful mythological weapon which has been stolen.

In Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (read the full review) Percy learns of his true parentage and sets with his two new friends to retrieve the stolen lightning bolt of Zeus (Sean Bean). In the second movie (read the full review) the group must retrieve the Golden Fleece and stop the resurrection of Kronos (Robert Knepper) and the Titans.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Once Upon a Dream

by Alan Rapp on October 11, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Sleeping Beauty
  • IMDb: link

“Not in death, but just in sleep, this fateful prophecy you’ll keep.  And from this slumber you shall wake, when true love’s kiss the spell shall break.”
 

Sleeping BeautyThe classic tale of a princess cursed by witch who falls into deep slumber on the night of her 16th birthday only to be awakened by love’s first kiss is, in many ways, one of Walt Disney‘s most amazing accomplishments. However, most people don’t remember that initially Sleeping Beauty was a box office disappointment. The film which took six years and cost $6,000,000 wasn’t an immediate hit in theaters and the overruns had even Walt Disney wondering if feature animation would continue to be a profitable enterprise.

Using new sound and visual technology, the film was the first Disney film to be created in Super Technirama 70 increasing the size and scope of the negative which called for more detailed backgrounds and artwork than ever before.  It’s also the first of the Disney films to put everything on screen in focus allowing the viewer’s eye to move freely between the lush sets and brightly colored characters.

[click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Hawaii Five-0 – The Complete Fourth Season

by Alan Rapp on October 5, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Hawaii Five-0 – Season Four
  • wiki: link

Hawaii Five-0 - The Complete Fourth SeasonThe Fourth Season of Hawaii Five-0 would see some change, most notably the introductions of Chi McBride as the head of the Hawaii Police Department’s S.W.A.T. team and pain in McGarrett‘s (Alex O’Loughlin) butt and Jorge Garcia as a conspiracy nut who helps 5-0 on a handful of cases, the departure of Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth), and a subplot involving Kono (Grace Park) going into hiding (itself designed to hide Park’s pregnancy and absence from a large portion of the season).

Highlights from the season include Grover’s daughter being kidnapped, a 70 year-old murder during Japanese interment on the island, the discovery of an Al-Qaeda cell on the island, McGarrett and Grover hunting Grover’s old friend in the jungle, Danny (Scott Caan) and McGarrett getting trapped in the rubble of an explosion, murder at Chin-Ho‘s (Daniel Dae Kim) high school reunion, Chinese spies after a crashed satellite, Chin-Ho at the mercy of a serial killer, the murder of a secret service agent, a complicated bank heist planned by a young hacker (Nick Jonas), and the murder of Catherine’s partner.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Castle – The Complete Sixth Season

by Alan Rapp on October 3, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Castle – Season Six
  • wiki: link

Castle - The Complete Sixth SeasonSlowly working its way to Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett‘s (Stana Katic) wedding day in the season finale, the Sixth Season of Castle features Beckett’s victory over Senator Bracken (Jack Coleman), the return of Castle’s father (James Brolin), and a special episode filled to the brim with 70s style.

Opening with three episodes of Beckett working for the Attorney General’s office (before getting fired), highlights of the season include ninjas, a time traveler, telekinesis, intricate serial murders whose victims were made to look like members of the NYPD, the murder of a professional skateboard artist, a case involving Captain Gates‘ (Penny Johnson) estranged sister (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), Castle’s biggest fan, Beckett getting in over-her-head on an undercover operation, a confession to a murder that couldn’t have happened, murder at a fashion magazine, an arsonist who latest burning building traps Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) in the burning wreckage, and Castle investigating the case of a murderer on death row for Alexis (Molly C. Quinn).

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Batman: The Brave and the Bold – Season Two

by Alan Rapp on September 22, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Batman: The Brave and the Bold – Season Two
  • wiki: link

Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Season TwoAlthough the First Season collection of Batman: The Brave and the Bold certainly has its moments, the Season Two collection is where the show begins to hit its stride and fully embrace the Silver Age zaniness which would become its trademark.

Collected on Blu-ray for the first time, the Second Season set includes not one but two Captain Marvel stories, the classic recreation of the comic story of Batman confronting Joe Chill, a Crisis-inspired tale involving all three Flashes, Aquaman’s family vacation, Booster Gold and the Blue Beetle together again, the sidekicks getting their own episode, a Birds of Prey episode written by Gail Simone, a space race between heroes and villains, and Batman being split into three separate personalities (including one who eats nachos). Unless you already own the episodes on DVD, it’s an easy recommendation for Bat-fans everywhere. Sadly, the set includes no extras.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

  • Title: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season One
  • wiki: link

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The Complete First SeasonContinuing the adventures began in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. suffers a bit from having to play with last year’s toys and deal with the fallout of the planned Marvel feature film releases rather than make any real strides on its own. Thankfully thee release of Thor: The Dark World and especially Captain America: The Winter Soldier bolstered the season’s second-half, giving it new life to end the show’s First Season on a string of strong episodes.

Without question Clark Gregg is the show’s star. Reprising his role as Agent Phil Coulson, returned from the dead in a mysterious manner (which turns out to be somewhat disappointing once revealed), Coulson puts together his own strike time including two military specialists in Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) and Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), a pair a bickering scientists (Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge) and a computer hacker (Chloe Bennet) they adopt in the first episode. Throw in an old S.H.I.E.L.D. tricked-out cargo jet, and the team is ready for action.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }