Fifty Shades Freed 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes
  • Director: James Foley
  • Writer: Niall Leonard
  • Producers: Michael De Luca, E L James, Dana Brunetti, Marcus Viscidi
  • Film Format: 4K, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: May 8, 2018
  • Run Time: 111 minutes




        I mean, do I really need to say it. I feel as though every critic—amateur and professional—has already taken a shot at this film and the terrible trilogy that it completes. As much as I would like to go against the grain, to have an original opinion, Fifty Shades Freed does not make it easy for me. As bad as the last two films were, the last installment is something even worse: boring.

Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Jamie Kennedy, Tanya van Graan, Jamie-Lee Money, Michael Gross
  • Director: Don Michael Paul
  • Writer: John Whelpley
  • Producer: Mike Elliott
  • Film Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Rated:  PG-13
  • Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: May 1, 2018
  • Run Time: 98 minutes




        In the latest installment of a franchise that Universal has kept alive in their Home Entertainment division far longer than anyone asked for, Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell promises new twists, though it doesn’t always deliver. The desert-dwelling creatures are found in the frozen terrain of the arctic tundra, but even with a change in setting, the film mostly just provides more of the same silly comedy-horror nonsense. Even the new setting rarely feels original, as much of the movie takes place in an area of the arctic with absolutely no snow, and it just ends up looking like every other Tremors film.

Den of Thieves Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson
  • Director: Christian Gudegast
  • Writer: Christian Gudegast
  • Producers: Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel, Mark Canton, Tucker Tooley
  • Film Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: April 24, 2018
  • Run Time: 149 minutes


        Originality is not the strong suit of Den of Thieves, but if it was going to be derivative, at least the film appears to be influenced by good movies. The end result is an entertaining if mostly forgettable crime film in the vein of Heat, The Town, and numerous other far better films. It is a bit too long for the entire film to sustain the level of macho energy that the cast tries to exude, and the action is too sparse for the amount that these scenes are built up in the plot. But if you like movies about skilled criminals or rule-breaking cops, there are worse choices for mindless entertainment.

Insidious: The Last Key Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye
  • Director: Adam Robitel
  • Producers: Oren Peli, Jason Blum, James Wan
  • Film Format: AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: April 3, 2018
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31,
  • Run Time: 103 minutes




        Most horror franchises stay alive due to the return of the monster, with a few rare exceptions following the protagonist from the original narrative instead. Insidious: The Last Key continues its story by instead returning to one of the supporting characters from the first films, and while elements from the past films can still be found, it is clearly an example of diminishing returns. In fact, the only notable thing about Insidious: The Last Key is the fact that it may be the first example of a horror movie for the Me Too movement.

Braven Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Jason Momoa, Zahn McClarnon, Jill Wagner, Stephen Lang
  • Director: Lin Oeding
  • Film Format: NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: April 10, 2018
  • Run Time: 94 minutes





        Braven is an old school action film, but almost to a fault. The narrative has the simplicity of a lot of great 80s action films, relying greatly on the masculinity of its star and the creativity of its set pieces and fight choreography. While Braven rests easily on the persona of Jason Momoa, it is just a shame that the film doesn’t now what to do with him. The basic premise of the film and the action star all seem set up for success, and yet it never takes off the way it should thanks to uninspired action.

Molly’s Game Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong
  • Director: Aaron Sorkin
  • Writer: Aaron Sorkin
  • Producers: Mark Gordon, Amy Pascal, Matt Jackson
  • Film Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: April 10, 2018
  • Run Time: 141 minutes




        Molly’s Game is a fitting choice for Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, filled with the type of intelligent characters and sharp dialogue that he is known for as a writer. Based on the book by Molly Bloom, the film follows the true exploits of a former Olympic skier who used her education and ambition to run a number of exclusive high-stakes poker games in Los Angles and New York. When the FBI arrests her for possible illegal activities in the games, Molly (Jessica Chastain) is forced to defend herself with the help of criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba).

Phantom Thread Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville
  • Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Producers: Paul Thomas Anderson, JoAnne Sellar, Megan Ellison, Daniel Lupi
  •  Film Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: April 10, 2018
  • Run Time: 130 minutes




         Director Paul Thomas Anderson does not make simple or easy films, and Phantom Thread is no exception, defying any simply genre classification. On one hand it has the feel of classic filmmaking, romantic and full of rich production design and cinematography. On the other hand, the narrative is unpredictable and unique, offering a vision of romance that often feels like a dark screwball comedy. Though the tone is far more serious, this would make a great companion piece to go with Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love. Both are movies about deep and sincere love between some of the most unconventional cinematic couples.

Pitch Perfect 3 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp
  • Director: Trish Sie
  • Writers: Kay Cannon, Mike White
  • Producers: Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks, Max Handelman
  • Disc Format: 4K, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 20, 2018
  • Run Time: 93 minutes




        With the first two Pitch Perfect films being about a college acapella group, Pitch Perfect 3 is forced to reinvent the franchise somewhat since the characters have since graduated. But rather than simply coming up with an excuse to give the Bellas to perform again, the latest sequel of the musical franchise blends a whole new genre into the mix. While there are still several of the expected instrument-free performances of popular new pop songs, there is also a spy film subplot that ends up taking precedence over any final performance competition.

I, Tonya Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney
  • Director: Craig Gillespie
  • Writer: Steven Rogers
  • Producers: Margot Robbie, Bryan Unkeless, Steven Rogers, Tom Ackerley
  • Film Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 13, 2018
  • Run Time: 119 minutes




        The strangest thing about I, Tonya is the way that the real Tonya Harding was central to promoting the film, especially since it is a satirical dark comedy that doesn’t have much positive to say about the former figure skater. Maybe this is ironic, but I think it actually speaks to a larger point that the film itself makes about Harding. She is so preoccupied with receiving more time in the spotlight that she is willing to do anything. In the film, we see this in her willingness to be an accomplice to an attack on her competition, and in real life we see it in her willingness to promote a film that shows her unwillingness to take responsibility for anything just because it gives her the fame and attention she desires.

Faces Places Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Agnès Varda, JR
  • Directors: Agnès Varda, JR
  • Producers: Rosalie Varda, Charles Cohen
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: PG
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 6, 2018
  • Run Time: 89 minutes




        Faces Places is an enjoyable and crowd-pleasing documentary, but it is also very easy to see why it did not win Best Documentary Feature at this year’s Academy Awards. Although the Academy loves movies about the love of movies, and a documentary about a leading figure of the French New Wave fits the bill, it is often politically and message-driven films that are awarded, especially in this category. Icarus was this year’s Citizenfour, a real-life thriller about Russia’s doping whistleblower, but where Faces Places lacks the suspense and intensity of this year’s winner, it has plenty of heart.

Darkest Hour Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ben Mendelsohn
  • Director: Joe Wright
  • Writer: Anthony McCarten
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten, Douglas Urbanski
  • Film Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: February 27, 2018
  • Run Time: 125 minutes




        It is tempting to consider Darkest Hour as a companion film rather than on its own merits alone, and this is partly due to one of the films also nominated for Academy Awards this year. While Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk deals exclusively with the events occurring on the front lines of the British retreat from Belgium, Darkest Hour is entirely focused on the political decisions being made during the same period. So, while Dunkirk lacks context, Darkest Hour is missing the excitement of the wartime action. While it is easy to consider the spectacular film we might have had with both of these narratives combined, it is far more important to acknowledge how director Joe Wright has managed to make Darkest Hour every bit as visually exciting as Dunkirk, even without any action sequences.

Dealt DVD Review

  • Actors: Richard Turner
  • Director: Luke Korem
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: February 13, 2018
  • Run Time: 85 minutes



        At first glance, Dealt seems to be the type of documentary that card magician Richard Turner would resent, in that it spends much of the run-time focusing on the fact that he is blind. While this makes his incredible feats with a deck of cards that much more impressive, Turner has spent much of his career attempting to hide the fact that he is visually impaired, believing that his accomplishments should be impressive enough on their own. While the focus of the documentary seems to contradict the beliefs of its subject, this changes as Turner has an arc of development over the course of the film, learning to embrace his handicap in the later years of his life.

Brotherhood of Blades II Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Chang Chen, Yang Mi, Zhang Yi
  • Director: Lu Yang
  • Film Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Mandarin Chinese (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: February 13, 2018
  • Run Time: 120 minutes




        Imitating the formula of the popular Infernal Affairs franchise within the Wuxia genre, the Brotherhood of Blades sequel is actually a prequel for the three central characters from the 2014 hit. Although this removes any uncertainty over the fate of these characters, there is enough depth within the development of the plot to compensate for the lack of suspense. This paired with a complex plot that often takes full concentration to follow completely, makes Brotherhood of Blades II a rich film experience that is able to stand on its own, while also working as a companion piece for the pre-existing fans.

Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton DVD Review

  • Actors: Laird Hamilton
  • Director: Rory Kennedy
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: February 6, 2018
  • Run Time: 118 minutes


        Like its title, Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton is overlong and makes it painfully clear who the subject of the documentary is. Even with a number of scenes that have impressive staged and archived footage of big-wave surfing, this film consistently remains a portrait of the legendary surfer. I have to assume that he is a legend, anyway. As someone with little knowledge about trailblazing surfers, I mostly just have this film as reference, and it rarely feels like a balanced portrait of Hamilton, even when showing some of his major character flaws.

Reset Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Yang Mi, Wallace Huo, King Shih-Chieh
  • Director: Chang
  • Film Format: Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: February 6, 2018
  • Run Time: 106 minutes




        The appeal of time travel films often comes from attempting to dissect the complexity of the various timelines and how they affect each other. These films are often equally exciting and intelligent, making them a staple of the science fiction genre. While Reset has a premise that is promising, it devolves into a film more interesting in the action sequences than internal logic, and accomplishes this by creating its own rules along the way.

Woody Woodpecker DVD Review

  • Actors: Timothy Omundson, Thaila Ayala, Eric Bauza
  • Director: Alex Zamm
  • Writers: Alex Zamm, William Robertson
  • Producer: Mike Elliott
  • Film Format: Animated, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Rated: PG
  • Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: February 6, 2018
  • Run Time: 94 minutes



        With its release sandwiched between a Paddington sequel and a Peter Rabbit adaptation, the Woody Woodpecker film is even more pathetic by comparison. Not only is there a clear difference between a film based on a manic cartoon and those adapted from classic children’s literature, but Woody Woodpecker has also been demoted to a straight-to-video DVD release. It is ironic that the British franchises have been given theatrical releases, while Woody Woodpecker was primarily made in order to sell to a foreign market. To add insult to injury, it was also made primarily in Canada.

Legend of the Naga Pearls Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Darren Wang, Yu Xing
  • Director: Lei Yang
  • Disc Format: Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: January 30, 2018
  • Run Time: 108 minutes




        Legend of the Naga Pearls has all of the elements which seem to make up the ideal fantasy, blended into typical Chinese martial arts epic fodder. There is a skilled protagonist, wisecracking side-kick, a cute CGI creature, and even a frightening looking adversary. The story involves a deep mythology with a tribe of winged people, and a star-crossed romance between on of these royal descendants and the humans which once defeated them. It feels like a carefully calculated fantasy film, but somehow still never manages to rise above mediocrity, primarily due to the sloppiness of the filmmaking.

Bad Day for the Cut Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Nigel O'Neill, Susan Lynch, Ian McElhinney
  • Director: Chris Baugh
  • Format: Dolby, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: January 9, 2018
  • Run Time: 99 minutes




        Revenge films seem a dime-a-dozen these days, though Bad Day for the Cut has a few elements which help it to stand out from the rest. First of all, there is the fact that it is set in Northern Ireland and within the criminal underworld of Belfast, giving it a unique flavor along with the need to turn on the English subtitles through some of the dialogue featuring thicker accents. But even more important than the setting is the choice to make this as much a mystery as it is a revenge film. Our protagonist seeks more than just vengeance, but also answers to the motivations behind the inciting violence, which keeps viewers engaged even throughout the film’s more derivative moments.

American Made 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright Olsen, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones
  • Director: Doug Liman
  • Writer: Gary Spinelli
  • Producers: Brian Grazer, Brian Oliver, Doug Davison, Kim Roth, Ray Angelic
  • Disc Format: 4K, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: January 2, 2018
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018 



        American Made is built upon the ‘based on a true story’ crime film formula, following the tradition of countless similar films that have come before. It’s a bit Goodfellas, a little bit The Infiltrator, shades of “Narcos,” and ultimately a story that feels all-too familiar every step of the way. The crowning achievement of American Made is its ability to help audiences forget that Tom Cruise also starred in The Mummy in 2017, and allowing him the opportunity to play a role that capitalizes on the veneer of charisma which made him a star in the first place.

The Mountain Between Us Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Beau Bridges, Idris Ilba, Kate Winslet
  • Disc Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: December 26, 2017
  • Run Time: 112 minutes




        When I thought that The Mountain Between Us was purely a survival adventure film, I was rather excited to see it, especially considering the caliber of the cast involved. When I realized that this was as much a romance film as a survivalist narrative, I was annoyed, despite the natural charms and chemistry of the aforementioned cast members. Even Idris Elba and Kate Winslet were unable to convince me that two people who are injured and starving from weeks of harsh conditions would have the energy or inclination for a steamy sex scene. But for those who are willing and able to ignore the ridiculousness of the plot, The Mountain Between Us offers a few predictable indulgences in entertainment. It is nothing groundbreaking, and I often found myself looking at my phone or checking the run-time, but the end result is harmlessly forgettable.