Firestorm Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Andy Lau, Ka Tung Lam, Michael Wong, Yao Chen
  • Director: Alan Yuen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: September 23, 2014
  • Run Time: 118 minutes



  •  

             Firestorm is what I imagine The Town or Heat would have looked like, had the director been John Woo rather than Ben Affleck and Michael Mann. The storyline is a rather straightforward crime narrative that is built around gun-heavy action sequences. It is cops against criminals, and most of the time this battle is carried out with an old-school appreciation of the bullet-ballet. There are even a few sequences that utilize pigeons, within the battle and the cinematography.

     

    Hannibal: Season Two Blu-ray Review

  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Release Date: September 16, 2014






  •  

     

            I loved the first season of “Hannibal,” both for the visual excesses and the intelligent utilization of an infamous cinematic villain. While some of the elements remain the same, such as the cast and the stylistic choices in cinematography and art direction, the very fact that the first season allowed the narrative to progress outside of the serial-killer-a-week formula also ensured necessary changed in the second season. While I still enjoy the actors involved, much of the second season of “Hannibal” begins to feel like the writers painted themselves into a corner with season one’s finale.

     

    Arrow: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Emily Bett Rickards
  • Producers: Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 9
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: September 16, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: September 16, 2017
  • Run Time: 1056 minutes


  •  

            Every network now has their own superhero series, though few have managed the edgier qualities that “Arrow” became known for after the first season. Even “Gotham” feels like it could have used a little bit of this same verve. While the second season falters in the middle a bit, stretching out material until the resolution by the end of the season, it still manages to deliver many of the elements that made the first season a success. New characters are introduced, while others simply reappear with new alter-egos. The strength in the show lies in the decision to have a narrative through-line for each season, and this one develops the villain of Deathstroke.

     

    Macbeth Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, Martin Shaw
  • Director: Roman Polanski
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Release Date: September 23, 2014
  • Run Time: 140 minutes



  •  

     

            William Shakespeare’s plays are known for the words, and how poetically this prose is able to replace action that goes unseen onstage. There is a natural tendency to lean heavily upon Shakespeare’s words when adapting his work to screen, and only the strongest of visual directors have managed to avoid this pitfall. Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation of “King Lear,” Ran, is a perfect example of a successful film adaptation. Despite its failures in the box office, Roman Polanski’s Macbeth is a truly visceral film experience that captures the essence of Shakespeare’s play while utilizing the strength in the medium of film.

     

    Very Good Girls Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Demi Moore, Peter Sarsgaard
  • Director: Naomi Foner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: September 23, 2014
  • Run Time: 93 minutes


  •  

            It would be easy to blame Very Good Girls on the restricting roles offered to female leads in Hollywood, with a cliché love triangle and forced moments of sexual awakening amongst teen girls being the only subjects of interest in the film. However true this may be in most cases, Very Good Girls is the directorial debut of female screenwriter Naomi Foner, proving that predictable female coming-of-age fodder can feel false regardless of who makes it. Although there is plenty of forced melodrama in the derivative love triangle at the center of the story, what is most surprising is how much the male gaze remains alive at the hands of a female filmmaker.

    Neighbors Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
  • Director: Nicholas Stoller
  • 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
  • Dubbed: Spanish, French
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • Release Date: September 23, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016




  •         Neighbors begins with a sex scene between a married couple who have recently had a child and bought their first home. In this opening sequence they are attempting an act of spontaneous pleasure, but are inevitably pulled back into their role as parents. This scene sets up the film perfectly, because the main focus is on the struggle that this couple has transitioning from a recklessly carefree lifestyle to the monotony of parenting and life after college. If only the focus had remained on this, Neighbors would have been a brilliant film. Instead, it gets distracted by useless bromance subplots and over-the-top vulgarity, making it feel a bit directionless and disappointingly average.

     

    Think Like a Man Too Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Dennis Haysbert, Jerry Ferrara, Michael Ealy, Adam Brody
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, Korean
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 
  • Studio: Sony
  • Release Date: September 16, 2014
  • Run Time: 106 minutes


  •  

            Think Like a Man left very little impression on me. On one hand, even had I hated the film, it might have stuck in my memory longer than the generic, mediocre, bland experience I had. In some ways, Think Like a Man Too succeeds as a sequel to that film, because only a few atrocious over-indulgences remain in my memory only days after watching it. It isn’t bad as much as it is offensively uninspired, like a younger and hipper relative to another star-studded Sin City bomb; Last Vegas.

     

    Korengal DVD Review

         Director: Sebastian Junger
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Virgil Films and Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 90 minutes


  •  

     

            In 2010, the Academy Award nominated war documentary, Restrepo, provided audiences with a visceral look at the war in Afghanistan by following a platoon in one of the deadliest valleys. Named after a fallen soldier who would also inspire the name of a high-ground outpost in the Korengal Valley, Restrepo focused a great deal on the grief felt by the platoon at this loss. The follow-up feature developed with the help of Kickstarter by filmmaker Sebastian Junger is conversely more interested in the appeal and monotony of the actual lifestyle developed in war.