New Blu-ray Additions to The Toho Godzilla Collection


 

Godzilla 2000
 
 
 


        The Toho Godzilla films were meant to take a break back in 1998, when the first American installment was attempted. When Roland Emmerich’s film was a massive failure and insult to the franchise, Toho responded with Godzilla 2000, confusingly released in 1999. It was released theatrically in both Japan and in the United States, with a slightly altered edit. Both versions are available on the new Blu-ray release, along with a filmmaker and crew commentary track, a behind-the-scenes featurette and the original theatrical trailer.

 

God’s Pocket DVD Review

     Actors: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christina Hendricks
  • Director: John Slattery
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 89 minutes



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            It is easy to imagine how this adaptation of Pete Dexter’s novel might have been made into a dark comedy under the guidance of more experienced filmmakers, such as the Coen brothers, but actor turned first-time director John Slattery (“Mad Men”) presents the story in a way that hits the same bleak notes from start to finish. Regardless of how captivating the veteran cast may be, it becomes difficult to imagine the reasons for forcing the characters to endure such hardship, or the meaning that the audience is meant to take away from the experience. As enjoyable as individual sequences may be, the overall result of God’s Pocket feels more trouble than its worth.

    Borgman Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval
  • Director: Alex van Warmerdam
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: NEW VIDEO GROUP
  • Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 113 minutes



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            Dutch Filmmaker Alex van Warmerdam is no stranger to dark fables, having made his own bizarre twist on “Hansel & Gretel” with 2003’s Grimm. From the opening sequence which has a priest arming himself with a shotgun and large spear to hunt a group of men dwelling in underground structures, it is clear that Warmerdam’s Borgman exists in a similarly fantastical world. It is more horror film than fable, but the whimsical presentation inspires terror and dread more than providing scares or gore.

             

    Friend 2: The Legacy DVD Review

         Actors: Oh-Seong Yu, Jang Young-nam, Joo Jin-mo, Kim Woo-bin
  • Director: Kwak Gyeong-taek
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: CJ Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2014
  • Run Time: 121 minutes


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            Despite only a few of the characters remaining from the previous installment in this gangster-drama franchise, Friend II: The Legacy manages to maintain the atmosphere from the original. It is with the narrative that this sequel gets a bit tripped up, attempting to do too much in a result that feels more convoluted than a sequel should. Rather than simply worrying about the progression of the characters in the story following the first film’s events, Friend II simultaneously adds unnecessary prequel segments from one of the film’s minor characters. Despite action which exceeds the first film in excitement, this follow-up feature is missing strength in characters and relationships which made the original one the most successful films in South Korean history.

     

    Victim Blu-ray Review

        Actors: Jason Maza, Ashley Madekwe, Frank Harper, Ashley Chin, Adam Deacon
  • Director: Alex Pillai
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 86 minutes




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            Although the acting and directing are adequate enough, Victim quickly becomes absolutely rubbish due to a screenplay that feels written by a fifteen-year-old thug with a false sense of righteous indignation and a penchant for unbelievable melodrama. It isn’t enough for the narrative to suggest that crime is the only option for some, but it actually attempts to make the claim that criminals are just as much victims as the people they brutalize and steal from. While the victims of these attacks are rarely completely innocent, that hardly justifies the theft and abuse carried out so that the film’s protagonists can get drunk and high in style.

     

    Willow Creek Blu-ray Review

       Actors: Bryce Johnson, Alexie Gilmore
  • Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Dark Sky Films
  • Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 80 minutes



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            Willow Creek is a step back for found-footage horror films, choosing realism in characters, plot and dialogue over spectacle. While recently released found-footage horror movies utilize the medium to display impressive special effects through the grounded camera work of home footage, Willow Creek doesn’t even feel the need to show the horror at the center of the film’s narrative. In this way, among many other similarities, Willow Creek feels like a direct descendant to the original found-footage horror film; The Blair Witch Project. While this simplicity/subtlety is often more effective in terms of the film’s eerie build up, the climax simply feels disappointing without a reveal. Even The Jungle at least gave us a glimpse of the creature in question.

     

    The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season DVD Review

         Actors: George Segal, Jeff Garlin, Troy Gentile, Sean Giambrone
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 495 minutes

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            Although one of television’s earliest sitcoms was also named “The Goldbergs,” this new series feels far more like a remake (or re-imagining) of “The Wonder Years.” The series is actually based on the childhood of creator Adam Goldberg, though elements were clearly changed in ways that make it more similar to “The Wonder Years,” including the replacement of the older brother character with an older sister instead. It is more than that, however. When I was a child in the late 1980s, I watched a show about a family living in the 1960s. Twenty-some years later I am watching a series about a family in the 1980s, and can finally relate to what “The Wonder Years” must have felt like to my parents.

     

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    Supernatural: The Complete Ninth Season Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins
  • Producers: Jeremy Carver, Robert Singer, Phil Sgriccia, McG McG, Adam Glass
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Box set, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: September 9, 2017
  • Run Time: 1012 minutes



  •         Horror movies have developed an unhealthy habit of creating bland characters in order to lazily ensure that the audience doesn’t turn against the film when those characters are brutally killed. What has resulted is a genre riddled with bad acting and one-dimensional characters, and often we don’t complain because we were entertained enough by the scares. The same doesn’t hold true of “Supernatural,” a television horror show. Because we are forced to remain with the same main characters each episode, it hurts that the weakest link in the show is their development. As much as the show tries to quickly jam in motives and feelings into script, the only time that the show feels truthful is when the scares begin. While most shows develop more complex characters as the seasons go by, “Supernatural” simply puts these characters through such an exorbitant amount of melodrama that nothing feels grounded in reality.

     

    The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Steven R. McQueen, Kat Graham
  • Producers: Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec, Leslie Morgenstein, Caroline Dries
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Box set, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 9
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: September 9, 2017
  • Run Time: 968 minutes


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    The Twilight franchise was comprised of five films for four books, because that is simply how desperate they were to bleed the fan base dry. At least that franchise managed to find a way to cease the endlessly obnoxious love triangle at the center of the narrative by the fourth film. “The Vampire Diaries” is based on its own transparently familiar book series by L.J. Smith, and the format of television allows for even more opportunities to drag out the story than the Twilight franchise. The fifth season is now available on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, available for fans to see even more of the back-and-forth teen vampire melodrama before season six airs on television.

     

    The Originals: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt, Phoebe Tonkin, Charles Michael Davis
  • Producers: Julie Plec, Leslie Morgenstein, Gina Girolamo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Box set, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 9
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: September 2, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: September 2, 2017 )
  • Run Time: 929 minutes



  •         Season four of “The Vampire Diaries” utilized the characters known as the ‘original’ vampires so much that they have spun off into their own narrative and television show with season one of “The Originals.” This first season still interacts with the timeline of “The Vampire Diaries” in season five, with supporting characters able to bounce between the two shows as needed. Aside from the removal of a majority of teenage melodrama from the narrative (except for the inevitable romantic entanglements), “The Originals” shares a great deal with the show it spawned from.

     

    Regular Show: Rigby Pack DVD Review

  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Cartoon Network
  • Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 176 minutes





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            “Regular Show” is one of those odd Cartoon Network series which walks the line between entertainment for children and for adults, mostly due to the irreverence in the show’s sense of humor. It is intentionally odd, with a type of logic that adheres only to the mind of a child or pot-head, which seems to be the target audience. This isn’t likely to be a universal hit, but the fans tend to be loyally dedicated to the series. Having a release for a show with fans is a double-edged sword, however, because they may be more likely to make a purchase but also tend to have higher expectations.

     

    For No Good Reason Blu-ray Review

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Audio Description: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: September 2, 2014
  • Run Time: 89 minutes


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            While the process for Ralph Steadman’s art is undeniably engaging, the focus of this documentary is a bit too scattered to feel like a straightforward biopic. Instead, much of the film almost seems more interested in making a movie about deceased journalist and Steadman’s former Gonzo artistic collaborator, Hunter S. Thompson. While it may have been arguable which of the two were more politically driven or artistically inclined, Thompson is clearly the larger personality of the two, and Steadman becomes slightly overshadowed by his partner even in death.

     

    Moms’ Night Out Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 
  • Studio: Sony
  • Release Date: September 2, 2014
  • Run Time: 99 minutes


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            The mere fact that there is no moral or spiritual lesson engrained into the plot of Moms’ Night Out means a step forward for the faith-based film industry. In the same year that major studios also found source material for their movies in biblical stories, Christian-made films have also started to understand the concept of entertainment. This one is still far from being anywhere near good, and despite a storyline involving mothers, much of the humor appears meant to amuse the children dragged to theaters this past Mother’s Day. There is enough mature material to appease the adults, and the entire subject of the film may go over most children’s heads. In trying to appease everyone, they have made a movie for no one.

     

    14 Blades DVD Review

         Actors: Donnie Yen, Wei Zhao, Sammo Hung
  • Director: Daniel Yee
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: September 2, 2014
  • Run Time: 113 minutes




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            Donnie Yen has an amazing martial arts background, and when combined with his cinematic abilities this can make him an incredible asset to a feature. This is why it was so disappointing to find his talents weren’t put to full use in 14 Blades, a film which prefers inconsistent special effects over the skills possessed by the cast. Or perhaps Yen is simply getting older, transitioning to a different type of roles. Whatever the reason, 14 Blades feels like a film that should have been better than the average viewing experience it provides.

     

    Baby Blues Blu-ray Review

        Actors: Raymond Lam, Kate Tsui, Karena Ng, Hoi- Pang Lo
  • Director: Po-Chih Leong
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Widescreen
  • Language: Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: September 2, 2014
  • Run Time: 92 minutes



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            I enjoy horror movies with possessed toys as much as the next person, which is why I found Baby Blues so disappointing. While the end of the film finally utilizes the creepy doll featured on the cover, the first half of the film is more about a cursed pop song than the toy, despite cheesy overlapping footage to insinuate that the doll is using mind control to puppet people’s actions upon hearing the song. Clearly created for 3D theatrical exhibition, Baby Blues also has all of the elements which enhance this medium, despite the fact that brightly lit scenes and slow motion sequences are not conducive to the horror genre.

     

    Queen Margot Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Isabelle Adjani, Vincent Perez, Daniel Auteuil
  • Director: Patrice Chereau
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • Release Date: August 26, 2014
  • Run Time: 159 minutes


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            Adapted from the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas, Queen Margot gives narrative to the real-life Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre, which resulted in an unknown numbers of Protestants being slaughtered in France, 1572. It is a period piece that is absolutely brimming with urgency, rich with details of the period down to the ugliest blemishes. We feel immersed in another time, as though the world that director Patrice Chéreau has created would naturally extend beyond the view of the camera. All of the dirt and the blood which soils all of the fancy French garments bring the period to life in a way that makes the critical praise acquired by the film’s original 1994 debut at the Cannes Film Festival completely understandable.

     

    Blood Glacier DVD Review

         Actors: Gerhard Liebmann, Edita Malovcic
  • Director: Marvin Kren
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: German
  • Dubbed: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2014
  • Run Time: 97 minutes


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            Nearly every element of Blood Glacier seems slightly derivative of recognizable horror/sci-fi film classics, but this is one of those genres where originality is not always the most important thing. There is even a throwback on the style of filmmaking, with practical effects in favor of the computer generated post-production work. German director Marvin Kren isn’t reinventing the wheel as much as he is rediscovering it, and it is a nostalgic journey that any true fan of 1970s and ‘80s horror will relish.

     

    Young & Beautiful DVD Review

         Actors: Marine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas
  • Director: François Ozon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2014
  • Run Time: 93 minutes


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            The saddest aspect of the narrative of youthful prostitution in Young & Beautiful is how derivative it feels. I’m sure that it is an accurate portrayal worldwide, whether young girls becoming escorts as an even more lucrative option than stripping to put themselves through college, or those who take on the profession with no other options. At the same time, the film industry seems to latch onto these narratives far too often, and it just begins to feel like an excuse to encourage the male gaze, with actresses that always look young and beautiful. 

     

    A Promise DVD Review

         Actors: Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman
  • Director: Patrice Leconte
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2014
  • Run Time: 98 minutes



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             There is a long history of understated romance films like A Promise, with desire abstained from because of impropriety or distance. In many regards, I felt as though I had seen this film already, but that will not subtract from the enjoyment for fans of romance films filled with more longing than physical contact. Much of this enjoyment comes from an engaging cast and capable direction from Patrice Leconte. There are some melodramatic indulgences buried in the screenplay, but credit/fault is more likely to lie at the feet of the author of the novel that the film is based on.