The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy, Donny Alamsyah, Pierre Gruno
  • Director: Gareth Evans
  • Writers: Gareth Evans
  • Producers: Gareth Evans, Aram Tertzakian, Ario Sagantoro, Irwan D. Musry, Nate Bolotin
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 101 minutes


  •             Few action films have the ability to deliver in the way that The Raid: Redemption does, practically reaching through the screen and jabbing your windpipe with the amount of intensity and violence fit into the 100-some minute run time. This is everything that American action should be but doesn’t have the balls to execute; The Raid is simply a testosterone-filled masterpiece to be endured as much as enjoyed. What’s more, the actual making of the film is in itself a work of art and something to be admired. The physical abilities of the actors are impressive with no need for an onslaught of computer generated special effects.
               
                The simplicity of The Raid is what allows for such non-stop action spectacle. Deep in the Jakarta slums there is a building which is run by a crime lord. He charges rent to lowlifes and criminals who need to hide out from the police, and it has long been thought impenetrable. When 20 elite S.W.A.T. members attempt to raid the building in the early hours of dawn, the mistakenly find themselves trapped on the inside with a building full of dangerous killers.

                One of the cops secretly has a brother inside of the building, and he must find a way to survive while also searching for him. Quite quickly the guns are taken out of play after a number of the S.W.A.T. members are taken down in a gunfight. Much of the film is hand-to-hand combat, using fists, feet and whatever weapon happens to be nearby. The physical feats are amazing and the choreography is so meticulously planned out that it manages to look seamless and natural. There is a fluidity matched with brutality, making this some of the best fight choreography you are likely to see on film.

                The Blu-ray release includes over 100 minutes of special features, including seven featurettes on the making of the film. These include featurettes for the stunts, the music by Lincoln Park’s Mike Shinoda and the generic making-of features. There are also filmmaker video blogs and a director’s commentary. All of this is great, but nothing compares to the pulsing pounding intensity of the high definition presentation of this instant action classic.












    Glee: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Cory Monteith, Jane Lynch
  • Format: AC-3, Box set, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 963 minutes



  • “Glee” is an energetic show filled with talent. This often excuses how predictable and cliché the plot is from episode to episode. Several of the cast members in this musical show come from Broadway, which makes sense with everyone doing their own singing and dancing. It has very obviously been dubbed over and highly produced in some sections, but at the very least we know that it is actually their voices. The show surrounds the happenings of a high school glee team, led by the high school Spanish teacher (Matthew Morrison). Though the show has the usual high school melodrama within the storyline, usually including unrequited love and secret pregnancies, the strength of the show always remains in the musical numbers. The rest is just filler.

                The third season of the show brings in some welcome change and some fresh blood. Although there were only two seasons previously, it was plenty to ensure that the characters partner swapped and performed so often that it all began to seem a little redundant, although thankfully always poking fun of itself along the way. The third season splits up the group, adds new singers, and ultimately graduates several of the characters.

                What ultimately sets apart the seasons isn’t the storylines, such who is dating who, or even who is in the New Directions choir group and who has moved over the all-female group. All that really matters is the music. Last season the big episode was the Rocky Horror Picture Show episode. This season has a Saturday night Fever episode, as well as a pillaging of West Side Story. There is plenty more of course, including a pop mash up of Adelle songs and plenty more. There are even a few rare and unknown songs this season.

                The twenty-two episodes of season three are fit onto four Blu-ray discs. The special features are also spread out across these discs, including the cherished Glee Music Jukebox. There are also a few deleted scenes, a blog from Sue and a featurette on the new characters on the show. All of the special features don’t compare to the music in DTS-HD audio, however.









    Breathless Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Gina Gershon, Val Kilmer, Kelli Giddish, Ray Liotta, Wayne Duvall
  • Director: Jesse Baget
  • Format: Color, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 91 minutes


  •            
                Breathless is a bloody dark comedy about body disposal, but underneath the surface it is a female dominated film noir with a wicked sense of humor. Every gory moment of the film is not magic, but there are enough of them to keep the plot moving along through dull moments. Bodies only begin to pile up and the mess gets bigger, building to an unexpected resolution.

                The film takes place almost entirely inside of a remote trailer in Texas, where housewife Loma (Gina Gershon) ties up her small-time thief husband, Dale (Val Kilmer). Dale has just robbed a local savings and loans bank, taking away $100,000 in cash, which he hid from his wife. Loma invites her best friend, Tiny (Kelli Giddish), over for advice before accidentally shooting Dale in the head. Immediately afterwards, the local sheriff (Ray Liotta) comes by to investigate the robbery. He refuses to leave until the warrant to search the trailer arrives, so Loma and Tiny are trapped inside with limited time to dispose of a dead body.

                The plot complicates further when a private investigator (Wayne Duvall) blackmails Loma and revelations about Dale’s love life emerge. In the end, all of the chaos actually has a pattern and meaning, which may be a little too convenient. I wouldn’t call Breathless predictable, but I wasn’t surprised by any of the twists either. Perhaps at a certain point it just became difficult to care about any of the characters.

                The Blu-ray release includes a high definition presentation of Val Kiler’s head exploding. There are also some special features. There is a generic making-of featurette along with an audio commentary with writer/director Jesse Baget and producer Christine Holder. 










    Bernie Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine
  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Format: NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Millennium Entertainment
  • Release Date: August 21, 2012
  • Run Time: 99 minutes



  •             There have been many mockumentaries, which film as though they were a documentary and have interviews to carry the film along. Bernie gets about halfway there, including the talking head interviews while also having filmed sequences without bothering to make it appear as though this section was a documentary. It blends both together, which is fine since we know we are watching a film anyway. Whether or not he is addressing he camera, we know that Matthew McConaughey is just acting.

                Based on an actual true story, Bernie tells the bizarre tale of an unlikely friendship which ended tragically. Jack Black stars as assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede, a man who was extremely friendly with the elderly widows of men who passed through his funeral home. Though he was clearly gay, Bernie developed a close and intimate friendship with Majorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), a wealthy widow with a nasty temper. These two quickly became inseparable, traveling everywhere together. Although it was her money that allowed Bernie to live the high life, many saw him as the kinder one in the relationship.

                A large portion of the film deals with the aftermath of Bernie’s final breaking point with Majorie. After being belittled and yelled at one too many times, Bernie takes actions into his own hands to silence her for good. This results in a monumental trial in which a beloved member of the community is put up in public as a murderer. Even with a confession, Bernie still managed to have the confidence of his friends and neighbors.

                The Blu-ray release of Bernie includes three featurettes and a few deleted scenes. The featurettes include one particularly good one about the adaptation process of true story to screen, including the research Jack Black did.









    Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Lin Ching-Tai, Umin Boya, Ando Masanobu, Vivian Hsu
  • Director: Te-Sheng Wei
  • Format: Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: August 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 185 minutes


  •             Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale tells the little known tale of a Taiwanese aboriginal tribe who stood up to the oppressive inhabitation of Japanese soldiers between 1895 and 1945. This true tale of injustice and uprising is little remembered even in the country of its origin, though it is a story which could easily be found with any colonists in an uncivilized area. It is a universal story of basic freedoms and quality of life, and what a group of people are willing to sacrifice to get it.

                Before the arrival of the Japanese, the tribes living on the Taiwanese island fighting each other. They battle over hunting grounds and beliefs, but find themselves a common enemy after years of occupation and abuse by the Japanese. The head leader of the Seediq tribe, Mouna Rudo (Lin Ching-Tai), eventually reaches the point where he is no longer willing to comply with the demands of the Japanese. Combining forces of the other tribes in order to destroy a common enemy, they plot an uprising against the colonial masters.
               
                The Japanese do not take this defeat lightly, sending in all of the powers of war that the aboriginal people do not have. Soon it is a battle against aircraft and poison gas, though the locals have the advantage of the jungle terrain they are familiar with. Using a form of guerilla warfare which often includes decapitations, these tribes fight back against the Japanese even when it seems a lost cause.

                Warriors of the Rainbow is the highest budget for any Taiwanese film ever made, and part of this must have to do with having John Woo as a producer. The production values are top notch, making the Blu-ray high definition the way to watch it at home. The bonus features include a making-of featurette, as well as behind-the scenes footage and a featurette on make-up and visual effects in the film.









    Tonight You’re Mine DVD review

  • Actors: Luke Treadaway, Natalia Tena, Mathew Baynton, Alastair Mackenzie, Gavin Mitchell
  • Director: David Mackenzie
  • Writers: Thomas Leveritt
  • Producers: Brian Coffey, Compton Ross, Gillian Berrie, Malte Grunert, Phil Hunt
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 80 minutes



  •             Tonight You’re Mine is far more charming and humorous than I expected, despite the transparency of the romantic comedy storyline. It has a premise which calls for immediate suspension of disbelief, but a mixture of good music and some great performances, this is easily accomplished. Somehow Tonight You’re Mine makes predictable look fresh and unexpected.

                The film jumps right into the plot after one quick musical number, when an American pop star named Adam (Luke Treadaway) is ambushed by minor British girl rock band lead singer Morello (Natalia Tena). They are both scheduled to play the same music festival in Glasgow, and their personalities immediately clash for somewhat unclear reasons. This banter is interrupted by an eclectic preacher who handcuffs them together.

                Both of the musicians have sets to play at the festival, which makes being joined together inconvenient. Even more of a problem is the fact that both of them are in a relationship. Morello is dating a far too reasonable banker, who is understanding and compassionate to the situation. Adam is dating a high maintenance model, who is far from okay with her boyfriend being attached to another woman. The result of a night handcuffed together, even with significant others present, causes a predictable rom-com conclusion.

                The DVD release includes a making-of featurette, as well as interviews with the stars and two additional features on the music and the costumes.

                 












    Bel Ami DVD review

  • Actors: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci, Colm Meaney
  • Directors: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod
  • Writers: Guy de Maupassant, Rachel Bennette
  • Producers: Ceri Hughes, Ildiko Kemeny, Laurie Borg, Simon Fuller
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 102 minutes



  •             Bel Ami is based on Guy de Maupassant’s classic novel, and it sizzles to life onscreen with an impressive array of talent within the film. Robert Pattinson is the least impressive as the leading man, though it is a role which asks little more than for him to give smoldering looks of longing for a majority of the film, which we already know he has perfected from his time as a vampire. The female cast members are what give the film its vibrancy, just as the female characters are the ones who ultimately control the storyline within Bel Ami.
               
                Pattinson stars as a penniless ex-soldier named Georges Duroy, a man who makes his way in turn of the century Paris by seducing the right women. His first and seemingly most sincere affair is with Madame de Marelle (Christina Ricci), whose husband is often away. This affair continues even after Georges marries the former wife of the man who brought him into the world of wealth, Madeleine Forestier (Uma Thurman). It no longer is about sex when he seduces the wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) of the man at the top of the food chain.

                There is plenty of bed-hopping in Bel Ami, with an appropriate amount of flesh to entice audiences with. The true heart of the story lies not in the sexual acts, but the purposeful betrayal that goes with these adulterous moments. It is like a game of chess, and Georges has decides to use his good looks in order to play several queens on the same board at once.

                The DVD includes a behind-the-scenes featurette.












    Meeting Evil DVD review

  • Actors: Luke Wilson, Samuel L. Jackson, Leslie Bibb, Peyton List, Ryan Lee
  • Director: Chris Fisher
  • Writers: Chris Fisher, Thomas Berger
  • Producers: Brad Krevoy, Jimmy Townsend, Justin Bursch, Mark Bakunas, Mike Callaghan
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, Korean
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 89 minutes



  •             It still baffles me how hugs stars can end up in such small and mediocre films. Perhaps it is the budget or simply a need to continue working through the downtime. Maybe a concept sounds good at first and slowly unravels in the constructions. Whatever the reason, Meeting Evil has the cast of a theatrical feature and the execution of a straight-to-home-video thriller. There are a few good moments, but little beyond the main actors is memorable, and they have both been far better elsewhere.

                The film stars Luke Wilson as John, a seemingly normal father and husband who is visited by a stranger named Richie (Samuel L. Jackson) and taken on a wild ride. Jackson’s ability to play an unpredictable killer is what ultimately carries this film, although Wilson is quite adept at being the shocked passenger along for the killing spree. What starts as an innocent request for help with car trouble turns into a countryside path of destruction, eventually leading back to John’s own home.

                When Richie threatens John’s wife (Leslie Bibb), he must change his meek ways in order to save his family from the psychopath. Meanwhile he is a suspect himself in the stream of crimes and murders Richie has dragged him through. The plot is somewhat derivative, the resolution predictable and the actual film work are simply mediocre, but this film will still get seen for Jackson’s performance alone. There are no special features to be spoken of.












    New to Blu: The Preacher’s Wife

  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Gregory Hines, Courtney B. Vance
  • Format: Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Touchstone / Disney
  • Release Date: August 7, 2012




  •             It may be a strange time to release this holiday romantic comedy on Blu-ray, but a good film in high definition is welcome at any time of the year. The Preacher’s Wife is primarily significant right now because it happens to star the recently deceased Whitney Houston, but there is also the charming co-starring performance of Denzel Washington to admire. There is no denying the vocal power of the late musical talent, especially in the film’s hit song, “I Believe in You and Me.”

                The story is a remake of a classic film about an angel who gets mixed up in a troubled marriage. Washington stars as Dudley, an angel sent to earth to help a minister (Gregory Hines) revive his marriage. When Dudley falls in love with the minister’s wife (Houston), it causes all kinds of problems. This romantic fantasy is paired with nine songs sung by Houston.

                The Blu-ray disc of The Preacher’s Wife includes only a production featurette, making the high definition presentation the primary reason for this release. It isn’t a highly visual film, but the sound is spectacular in DTS-HD.








    New to Blu: Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion

  • Actors: Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow, Janeane Garofalo, Alan Cumming
  • Director: David Mirkin
  • Format: Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Touchstone / Disney
  • Release Date: August 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 92 minutes



  •             Back in the 90s the cast of “Friends” was making more than any other sitcom stars of the time or before, but that didn’t stop most of them from also attempting a film career on the side. Some were more successful than others, but for Lisa Kudrow, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion was perfect casting. The problem many of the show’s actors had was difficulty finding roles. Most often audiences just wanted to see them playing the same character we had grown to love on television, so it was perfect for Lisa Kudrow to play another airhead of sorts.

                Kudrow co-stars along with Mira Sorvino as the two title characters, Romy and Michelle. When their ten-year reunion arrives, these women are little more than grown party girls with a carefree lifestyle that is far from impressive, so they decide to make up a business to brag about when they go to their high school reunion. This plan is foiled by a former classmate with a grudge, played by Janeane Garofalo. The goal is for Romy and Michelle to feel important and significant again, and they will stop at nothing to achieve this, often with disastrous results.

                The Blu-ray release of Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion includes a production featurette in the special features, which was also released on the DVD. The high definition is the primary reason for the Blu-ray upgrade, and it looks as good as possible. The 90s had some quirks in the cinematography which often comes up in high definition, but the picture is as good as it will get for Romy and Michelle.










    New to Blu: High Fidelity

  • Actors: Jack Black, John Cusack, Todd Louiso
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Touchstone / Disney
  • Release Date: August 7, 2012



  •             “High Fidelity” by Nick Hornby is the ultimate break-up novel for guys, and one I have read at least a dozen times. Many of Hornby’s books have been made into films, including About a Boy and Fever Pitch, but I have always most preferred High Fidelity. Although the novel is adapted to take place in America instead, the film version still remarkably faithful to the book. And there is no denying the perfection in casting within this film, from Tim Robbins as the douche upstairs neighbor to Jack Black as the loudmouthed record store employee.

                John Cusack carries the film as our protagonist and narrator, Rob Gordon, the owner of a rundown record shop which frequently scares away more customers than it encourages. When Rob’s girlfriend Laura dumps him, he is forced to cope in the only way he knows how: by making a list. Listing his top worst break up stories, Rob returns to the scene of each relationship to try and figure out what has gone wrong in his life. The journey of romantic self discovery is often comically cynical and selfish. In other words, it is a perfect break up film.

                This classic Cusack comedy finds its way onto Blu-ray high definition for the first time. Though there are not many visual effects to be enhanced, this is clearly a sharper image than the DVD copy I have held onto for so many years. The special features include a conversation with star/wrier/co-producer Cusack and director Stephen Frears, as well as a few deleted scenes.








    New to Blu: Grosse Pointe Blank

  • Actors: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Cusack
  • Director: George Armitage
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Video
  • Release Date: August 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 107 minutes



  •             There have been many hitmen comedies, but few came before Grosse Pointe Blank, and in my opinion, none surpassed it. John Cusack is like America’s boy-next-door, which is why seeing him as a hit-man is so unexpected. But he plays it magnificently, perfectly paired with a comical scenario that leads to an explosively violent conclusion.

                Martin Blank (Cusack) is a hit man who is in a rut. Although he is successful, it is clear that there is something missing in his life beyond killing for money. When a job takes him back home for his 10-year high school reunion, it gives him the chance to rekindle the romance with his long-lost high school sweetheart (Minnie Driver). When his last job turns out to be tied into his newly rediscovered relationship, Martin is forced to make a choice. When he decides not to complete the job, his competition (Dan Aykroyd) is sent in to do it instead.

                Few films are able to balance extreme action with comedy the way that Grosse Pointe Blank does, and part of the credit must go to the extremely capable cast. It also co-stars Alan Arkin, Jeremy Piven and Joan Cusack. The Blu-ray release of the 15th Anniversary Edition of Grosse Pointe Blank comes with no special features, but the high definition presentation is more than enough to make this a worthwhile upgrade.









    New to Blu: Adventures in Babysitting

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Touchstone / Disney
  • Release Date: August 7, 2012



  •             When I heard that David Gordon Green was making babysitter action comedy The Sitter, my first thoughts were of Adventures in Babysitting. It had been years since I had seen the Chris Columbus 80s family comedy, but as a child I am sure that I watched this film a few dozen times. Sometimes films like this don’t stand up when watched years later, but Adventures in Babysitting is just as great as I remember it being.

                A young Elisabeth Shue stars as Chris Parker, a teen with a babysitting job that goes wrong. After plans are canceled with the guy she is dating, Chris agrees to watch two kids and their friend expecting it to be a dull evening. Instead Chris is pulled into a dilemma when her friend calls from Chicago desperate for a ride to the safety of the suburbs. Chris takes the kids and journeys into the dangerous and unpredictable city for a night of excitement beyond her belief.

                From a blown out tire to an encounter with an underworld operation, anything that can go wrong does for Chris and her cohort of kids. It is equal part action and comedy, but one hundred percent fun. The high definition presentation on the 25th Anniversary Blu-ray edition is sharp and clear, which is good considering there are no special features. It is all about the presentation of the film, and that is well worth the upgrade from DVD for fans of this film.






    My Way Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Jang Dong-Gun, Fan Bingbing, Jo Odagiri
  • Director: Je-kyu Kang
  • Format: Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: July 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 137 minutes


  •             The premise for My Way was said to be the other side of D-Day, but in reality this is a film about the shifting demands of loyalty from occupied countries during World War II. It is a film about being forced to fight for something you don’t believe in and self pride, which all happens to take place leading up to the battle of Normandy. My Way is a compellingly unique war film, and one which has more than just an impressive onslaught of battle sequences. There is effective melodrama also attached so that we care for the characters involved, making this a war film not to miss.

                Although this leads up to being a film about war, it begins as simply a movie about two runners from different backgrounds who are eventually forced together in battle. Jun-shik (Jang Dong-gun) is a poor Korean man living under the occupation of the Japanese. Having grown up belittled by Japanese fellow long distance runner Tatsuo (Joe Odagiri), Jun-shik must also fight for the right to simply compete as a runner. The Japanese look down on the Koreans, and when World War II begins they use them as expendable soldiers.

                Jun-shik is forced into combat with other Korean men, under the regime of the hateful Tatsuo. But when they are taken prisoner by the Soviet army, both men find themselves on equal ground for the first time. The final section of this epic film then finds the men wearing German uniforms on the beach of Normandy, though by this point the film is much more about their friendship than which side they are fighting for.

                The Blu-ray bonus features include a behind-the-scenes making-of featurette as well as interviews with director Kang Je-Kyu and actor Jang Dong-gun. There is also a trailer gallery, but the highlight of the disc is the high definition presentation of the battle-filled film.









    Hijacked Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Craig Fairbrass, Randy Couture, Vinnie Jones, Dominic Purcell, Holt McCallany
  • Director: Brandon Nutt
  • Format: Color, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • Release Date: July 31, 2012
  • Run Time: 90 minutes



  •             Hijacked has one of those plots that seems ripped straight from the glory days of 1980s action. These sort of terrorist situations dropped off for a bit after 9/11, but Hijacked hits back hard without any consideration of a national tragedy. Instead it simply returns to the basics of action, however ludicrous it is at times. Part of this comes from the acting and pretty much anything that is happening in-between the action sequences.

                UFC legend Randy Couture stars as a government agent who discovers a plot by a powerful international crime syndicate and does anything he can to stop it, despite the disbelief of his superiors. When it turns out that he is right, Paul Ross (Couture) is stuck on an private airplane while it is hijacked by a group of terrorists demanding a $2.73 billion ransom. It also happens that Ross’ ex-girlfriend (Tiffany Dupont) is also on the flight, giving him additional reason to take down the bad guys.

                Despite a supporting cast of Dominic Purcell (“Prison Break”) and Vinnie Jones (Snatch), the most difficult aspect of Hijacked is the acting. It isn’t as though the dialogue written is a masterpiece, but all of the actors involved seem to butcher it beyond belief. There is more stiff and unnatural acting in this film than should ever have been allowed, regardless of the bullet or body count within the film.

                There must be a general consensus that Hijacked is not a masterpiece, because it was given very little treatment on Blu-ray. Aside from the high definition presentation of the entirely below average action film, there are no features to be spoken of on the disc.









    Footnote Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Shlomo Bar-Aba, Lior Ashkenazi, Aliza Rosen, Yuval Scharf, Alma Zack
  • Director: Joseph Cedar
  • Writers: Joseph Cedar
  • Producers: Joseph Cedar, David Mandil, Leon Edery, Michal Graidy, Moshe Edery
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Hebrew
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: July 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 103 minutes



  •             Footnote is simple film made complex because the characters within it are so well written. In the hands of a less capable filmmaker, a less nuanced screenplay or less talented actors, Footnote could easily have been a transparent muddled mess. Instead it is a complex film in which our understanding of the characters shifts as we see their behavior in different situations. At the heart of this film is a tale of a father and son in heavy competition, as well as the honest intentions of each under the surface. All of this is played out with a comedy of errors aspect, a simple misunderstanding which has drastic effects in the lives of this particular family.

                The catalyst for the misunderstanding in Footnote comes from the fact that both Eliezer and his son Uriel are both scholars in Talmudic Studies. Eliezer has spent his life researching something which was then proven correct by another scholar. He struggles with feeling irrelevant, while also watching his son become a rising star in the field. When Eliezer receives a call telling him that he has won the highly coveted Israel Prize, he is finally validated for his lifetime of struggle. The trouble is that the call was meant to go to his son, a professor sharing the same last name.

                This mistake allows for us to watch the reaction from each of these men. They are each given the opportunity to be a bigger person, and it is surprising to watch the outcome. The examination in human nature is compellingly real, and neither man is simply good or bad. They are both flawed in their actions and character at times, but this does not prevent them from being capable of good deeds as well.

                The Blu-ray release of Footnote includes a behind-the-scenes featurette and an evening with writer/director Joseph Cedar. The high definition is actually quite good in this film, which despite being primarily dialogue filled has some visuals which are enhanced as well.












    Detention Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Josh Hutcherson, Shanley Caswell, Spencer Locke, Dane Cook, Jesse Heiman
  • Director: Joseph Kahn
  • Writers: Joseph Kahn, Mark Palermo
  • Producers: Joseph Kahn, Clayton Reaser, David Kang, Greg Tharp, Jennifer Krobot
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Arabic, English, German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: July 31, 2012
  • Run Time: 93 minutes



  •             Detention is like a horror comedy made for children with attention deficit disorder. It is part Scream, part Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and part Donnie Darko, all rolled up into approximately 93 minutes of run time. Whether or not Detention is a good film is up for debate, but it would be difficult to call this film boring or predictable. It also happens to be visually dynamic and stylish, which does not hurt the cause.

                Referred to as a hipster horror film, Detention begins with the bloody murder of a high school cheerleader. A popular horror franchise has a new film coming out and all of the popular kids will be there to see it. In the meantime one of their classmates is dressing up as the film’s killer, Cinderhella, and killing off random members of the student body. The students at Grizzly Lake should probably be more concerned with this than they are, all preoccupied with their own weird stories which range from a football player with fly genes in him to a time traveling mother/daughter body swap. This is a strange film which is about a dozen different things and nothing all at once.

                Joseph Kahn’s dynamic horror comedy may not be for everyone, but it is worth checking out for any horror fans jaded by the predictability of the genre. This is a tongue-and-cheek horror film; a movie for people who watch too many movies. The cast helps with the fast-paced dialogue, though ironically it is Dane Cook who speaks the slowest in this film. Josh Hutcherson and Spencer Locke also star. The special features on the Blu-ray include a behind-the-scenes making-of viewing mode, called the Cheat Mode. There are also screen tests and footage of the rehearsal for the fight scene. There is also a little bit of random additional footage of Cook on set.