Foxcatcher Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell, Channing Tatum
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: March 3, 2015
  • Run Time: 130 minutes



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            Director Bennett Miller often takes years in-between his film projects. It took him six years to make Moneyball after winning Best Director at the Academy Awards for Capote in 2005, and despite there being a shorter gap prior to making Foxcatcher, Miller seems to have applied the same careful consideration in choosing the material. In many ways a striking comparison film to In Cold Blood, the 1967 film adaptation of the Truman Capote true-crime novel at the center of Miller’s film. It is a film about unimaginable, unexpected and mostly unexplained acts of violence in America. And it is also another opportunity for Miller to showcase his ability to elevate the film with unexpected casting.

     

    Believe Me Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Zachary Knighton, Miles Fisher, Alex Russell, Sinqua Walls
  • Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Virgil Films
  • Release Date: March 3, 2015
  • Run Time: 93 minutes


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            There is a solid foundation of successful faith-based films within the Christian community, but these safely constructed movies made by Christians for Christians tend to inspire little thought. Not only are they shoddily made and too often starring Kirk Cameron, they shy away from any real discussion in favor of ‘safe’ entertainment that won’t offend. At the same time there is usually a spiritual message or theme that the audience is pounded with, using all of the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Then there are the Hollywood imitations, which try to imitate this success for a sincere cash grab. Oddly enough, there are very few independent Christian filmmakers trying to insert their beliefs into more subversive content, though I would consider Believe Me a sincere effort to do just that.

     

    Fellini Satyricon Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Martin Potter, Hiram Keller, Max Born
  • Director: Federico Fellini
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct)
  • Release Date: February 24, 2015
  • Run Time: 129 minutes


  •         Fellini Satyricon has the look of a spectacular box office failure, richly filled with extravagant visuals and an often incoherent storyline. Loosely based on the classic Roman satire written by Petronius during the reign of Nero, Fellini’s film is an episodic collection that plays up the infamous Roman excessiveness in decadence for visual splendor and disgust, in equal measure. Story becomes nearly insignificant compared to the film’s visual self-indulgence, though there are a series of characters we follow through much of the narrative.

     

    Beyond the Lights Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Danny Glover, Nate Parker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Director's Cut, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: February 24, 2015
  • Run Time: 117 minutes


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            It has long been a complaint that there are not enough female directors in the Hollywood system, a point that is marked by an annual reminder in the Academy Awards, which has only seen one female director win in 87 years. I would say that this is more of a reminder how few quality female directors that are working in Hollywood, though Gina Prince-Bythewood stands out as an exception. Beyond the Lights (like Love and Basketball) may simply be a genre film and unlikely of Academy recognition outside of category for Best Song (which the film was nominated for), but Prince-Bythewood manages to elevate the genre with some poignantly relevant social commentary and committed performances from her two stars.

     

    The Intruders DVD Review

    Actors: Miranda Cosgrove, Austin Butler, Donal Logue
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 2015
  • Run Time: 90 minutes




  •         I was filled with such a sense of déjà vu watching The Intruders that I ended up pausing the film about halfway through, convinced that there was another recently released horror film that had nearly the same screenplay. Even if first-time screenwriter Jason Juravic did not plagiarize the content of this poorly made horror film from another poorly made horror movie, it contains more cliché genre tropes than any of the Scary Movie or Haunted House spoofs with a deadly seriousness that quickly becomes dull. There is a family with a troubled past moving into a notorious new home, ambiguous warnings from the neighbors that conveniently give out no details of the house’s history, and a protagonist with a history of mental instability so that nobody believes her. My imagination has more surprises than this horrendously uninspired horror film.

     

    Brotherhood of Blades Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Chang Chen, Cecilia Liu, Qing Ye, Nie Yuan
  • Director: Lu Yang
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: February 10, 2015
  • Run Time: 111 minutes



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            There may be a good film somewhere in Brotherhood of Blades, but I would need to watch it again to be able to be able to understand where it is. The narrative contains too many characters and is told in a convoluted manner, so that little makes sense until the very end, at which point it will take a perfect memory to recall who each character is and where their loyalties in the narrative lie. The action is fantastic, making the last third of the film a compelling watch, though the relevance of these sequences would have been increased with a clearer storyline.

    Skating to New York Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Dylan Everett, Connor Jessup, Niamh Wilson, Jason Gedrick, Gage Munroe
  • Director: Charles Minsky
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: February 17, 2015
  • Run Time: 93 minutes


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            This Canadian coming-of-age adventure film is full of good intentions and rife with errors in filmmaking. The actual shell of the film and its components is actually quite promising, which is why the failed execution is that much more disappointing. There are contrived situations of unbelievable coincidence, dialogue so bad that I can only hope it was mostly improvised, and a narrative structure that sloppily bookends the adventure with a typical sports victory storyline. Not without its moments of accidental charm, Skating to New York still feels like a film with no need for distribution outside of Canada.

     

    Fear Clinic Blu-ray Review

  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 12, 2015, exclusively at Best Buy now.





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            Fear Clinic utilizes impressive low budget special effects in place of a decent screenplay, believable acting, or direction that is even moderately decent. The special effects department might as well be listed as the film’s director, because that is the only thing to keep this low budget cliché moving forward from one dull scene to the next. Director Robert Hall is best known for his work as a makeup artist, and his filmography as a director has been predictably dominated by this visual aspect, with little to no regard for the narrative aspects of storytelling.

     

    Dumb and Dumber To Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle
  • Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Color, Widescreen
  • Language: German (DTS 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), 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: Spanish, French, German, English
  • Dubbed: Spanish, French, German
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • Release Date: February 17, 2015
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016





  •         Dumb and Dumber was the first film from the Farrelly brothers, Peter and Bobby, and quickly established them as a force to be reckoned with in the world of comedy. As significant to 1990s gross-out comedy as National Lampoon was in the 1980s and Judd Apatow in the 2000s, the Farrelly brothers brought the raunch back to the genre. Although it may have helped their careers advance by not making a sequel to Dumb and Dumber at the height of its popularity, it does nothing to help the filmmakers who have been on a quick descent these past few years.

     

    Rosewater Blu-ray Review

        Actors: Gael Garcia Bernal, Kim Bodnia, Haluk Bilginer, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Golshifteh Farahani
  • Director: Jon Stewart
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Color, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • Release Date: February 10, 2015
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016


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            After announcing his retirement from “The Daily Show” the same week as the DVD and Blu-ray release of his directorial debut, one cannot help but wonder if Rosewater was just the beginning of a career in filmmaking for Jon Stewart. Based on the confidence in his debut feature, this could be a worthwhile venture for him and for audiences alike. Far from a perfect film, Rosewater does carry over the same ability that Stewart has employed on his comedy news show for seventeen years. While never diminishing the seriousness of the subject, Stewart is able to allow humor to exist within the lunacy of the narrative.

     

    No Tears for the Dead Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Jang Dong-gun, Brian Tee
  • Director: Kim Jung-beom
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: CJ Entertainment America
  • Release Date: February 17, 2015
  • Run Time: 116 minutes


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            From the director of The Man From Nowhere comes another story involving a regret-filled professional killer utilizing his skills to protect the innocent. South Korea seems to be flooded with this particular narrative, with stylistic choices being the element which separates the mediocre from the great. Although No Tears for the Dead is mostly forgettable, there are sequences within the generic storyline which make all of the rest worthwhile.

     

    The Lookalike Blu-ray Review

        Actors: Gillian Jacobs, Justin Long, Jerry O'Connell, John Corbett, Luis Guzman
  • Director: Richard Gray
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, THX
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: February 10, 2015
  • Run Time: 100 minutes


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            Good direction can often improve a poor screenplay, just as bad can have a devastating effect on a good one. The Lookalike is a mess of a screenplay which has its awfulness enhanced by director Richard Gray. Not improved, mind you, but enhanced with excessive slow-motion photography and a manipulative soundtrack to cue the audience’s every emotion. It is a bad script that is over-directed, rather than improved upon, which may have something to do with the writer being the wife of the director.

     

    The Song DVD Review

         Actors: Alan Powell, Ali Faulkner, Caitlin Nicol-Thomas
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese Brazilian, Thai
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2015
  • Run Time: 116 minutes



  •         The Song is a faith-based film which tries a bit too hard to stay ‘middle-of-the-road,’ but by attempting to please everyone, first-time filmmaker Richard Ramsey has made a rather bland piece of entertainment. I would still take this over most Christian-made films like Fireproof, but there is still a ways to go before faith-based films are successfully integrated into mainstream. While far from perfect, films like When the Game Stands Tall, Moms’ Night Out and The Song are a step in the right direction; that direction being as far from Kurt Cameron and Sherwood Pictures as possible.

     

    The Remaining Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Johnny Pacar
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: January 27, 2015


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            The independent horror film industry actually shares a great deal with the field of faith-based films. Both tend to have poorly written dialogue, delivered by amateur actors and directors with a preoccupation with other elements in the filmmaking process. Horror directors want the scares and gore to overshadow the cheaper production values, while Christian filmmakers are often more interested in the message than with quality. By making a film which fits into either category, The Remaining somehow manages to bring along the worst from both.

           

    Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Billy Zane, Dee Wallace, Brian Anthony Wilson
  • Director: Harrison Smith
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • Release Date: February 3, 2015
  • Run Time: 104 minutes



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            Ever wonder what happened to Mischa Barton? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But just in case you wanted to know if she is still a terrible actress now that her youth and beauty cant be relied on, the answer is clear with every terrible line she delivers in this typically awful low budget zombie film. Barton fits right in, though her career is so pathetic that even her role in this piece of garbage is small and insignificant to the film’s plot. It almost feels as though she were merely crammed into a small role for the ability to add another former star to the credits. Make no mistake, Barton’s name plays more significance than her performance does in this poorly-made production.

    The Color of Time DVD Review

         Actors: James Franco, Zach Braff, Henry Hopper
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2015
  • Run Time: 76 minutes


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            It would only take slight changes in tone for The Color of Time to feel like a spoof of Terrence Malick’s recent filmography, specifically Tree of Life. This would not be difficult, because even Malick’s own films seem ready to slip into a parody of themselves at any moment, but The Color of Time is completely humorless and the imitation is done with complete sincerity. All of the twelve filmmakers credited as writer/directors do their best to copy Malick, without a hint of irony or the ability to realize how transparent this imitation is. They approach the material with the kind of painful sincerity and poisonous pretensions that could only belong to a film student, which is exactly what they are.

     

    Kink DVD Review

         Director: Christina Voros
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2015
  • Run Time: 80 minutes


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            The reviews are out and the ‘most controversial film of the year’ has fallen flat on its face in the attempt to be shocking. Despite rumors of the film being 1/3 sex scenes and a storyline that integrates the world of BDSM fantasies, Fifty Shades of Grey is being called boring by most and inaccurate by those familiar with the world of kink. For realism and accuracy, audiences would do better to turn to the documentary about Kink.com. Those who were offended by the idea of that garbage piece of fan-fiction being turned into a worthless film franchise would be wise to stay away from this entirely, because five minutes of this film is likely to outdo anything in the entire running-time of Fifty Shades.

     

    John Wick Blu-ray Review

        Actors: Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen
  • Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Release Date: February 3, 2015
  • Run Time: 101 minutes


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            The internet has been buzzing about the news of a John Wick sequel in the works this past week, no doubt coinciding with the home entertainment release of the sleeper action hit. While the film itself is far from perfect, it is a role perfectly suited to give star Keanu Reeves a bit of a comeback and highlight the directorial debut of his former stunt double, Chad Stahelski (along with fellow Matrix stuntman David Leitch, credited as producer). Even with a weak script in need of serious structural work, the combination of Keanu’s cold performance and impressively directed action sequences makes all forgivable. This may not be the smartest revenge film, but it is the most fun to come from the sub-genre in some time.

     

    Before I Go To Sleep Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth
  • Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: January 27, 2015
  • Run Time: 92 minutes



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            There are too many similar themes and scenarios within Before I Go to Sleep that reminded me of other films for me to avoid comparing it. The end result feels something like a blend of Memento and Gone Girl, without the strength of either Christopher Nolan or David Fincher’s direction to elevate the material. In the end, Before I Go to Sleep is somehow simultaneously too generic and too unbelievable to make it a memorable piece of entertainment. No matter the strength of the cast, the weaker aspects of the film are eventually overpowering.

     

    Ouija Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff
  • Director: Stiles White
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Color, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), 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
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • Release Date: February 3, 2015
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016





  •         I have no problem with bloodless horror movies if they are done right. I think The Conjuring is among the best horror films in the last ten years, blood or not. The problem is that Ouija is not done well, and the bloodlessness enhances the boredom. Suddenly amidst this boredom in viewing Ouija I had a revelation about horror films, understanding that mediocre acting and poorly written dialogue is far more easily accepted amidst the spectacle of gore. Even though much of the acting is above par in Ouija, I found myself irritated by the horrendous screenplay and each of its contrivances; far more than I would have within the typical distractions of this genre.