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.

           

    Bird People DVD Review

         Actors: Josh Charles, Ana├»s Demoustier, Roschdy Zem, Taklyt Vongdara
  • Director: Pascale Ferran
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: January 13, 2015
  • Run Time: 128 minutes


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            Bird People is an unexpected delight; a true example of the pure spirit of what independent cinema is meant to be. Somehow after a few decades of Sundance Film Festivals and the original daring spirit that first created the market for independently produced cinema, the storyline for many of the films are so predictable that an argument could be made that it has simply become another genre. These dialogue-dominant narratives offer few surprises in story, most often merely showcasing the talents of the filmmaker and/or their leading cast members. You could easily find common threads in plot, creating sub-genres for road-trip films or family dysfunction, and suddenly these formula-heavy stories no longer carry the subversive spirit of independent cinema; they merely appear to be films too small for the franchise-crazed film industry to bother with.

    Days and Nights DVD Review

        Actors: Katie Holmes, William Hurt, Allison Janney
  • Director: Christian Camargo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2015
  • Run Time: 91 minutes




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            Days and Nights does not take enough time to tell us who these people are or give us the opportunity to care about them before throwing them into a series of mishaps and melodramatic scenarios.  Part of the problem is the simple excess of characters. As well as making it more difficult to remember each person’s connection to the others, many of the talented cast members go largely unused. On the other hand, some of the cast’s most amateur performers are also handed the brunt of the dialogue-heavy material. The result is a mixed bag of awful and endearing, though the overall film is simply an uneven mess that should have been fixed with either a rewrite the shooting script and/or a different cut of the film that includes more from select characters and less from others.

     

    Maison Close: Season One Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Valerie Karsenti, Anne Charrier, Jemima West, Catherine Hosmalin
  • Director: Jacques Ouaniche
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • Release Date: January 27, 2015
  • Run Time: 480 minutes



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            The greatest mistake made in marketing this French costume drama is the misrepresentation of what can be expected. Sex sells, so it is hardly a surprise that this is the element of the series which has been embellished in attempts to get American audiences to become viewers, but this is not the type of series to indulge in the exploitation of its actresses. Instead, this is a show which exposes the poor treatment of the unfortunate women who were once in this position, exposing the real-life drama rather than catering to the campier elements that the marketing team contradictorily uses as a selling point. Although sex is at the center of the storyline, it is all in service of the narrative and with far less nudity than one might expect from a French series about a bordello.

     

    The Skin Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Burt Lancaster, Marcello Mastroianni
  • Director: Liliana Cavani
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen
  • Language: Italian
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • Release Date: January 13, 2015
  • Run Time: 142 minutes


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            Intentionally shocking and defiantly vulgar in its presentation, Liliana Cavani’s controversial film adaptation of Curzio Malaparte’s short stories about the corruption of war often feels like a dramatic endeavor from Monty Python. Violence is so extreme that it is nearly cartoonish, and the characters all seem created for the sole purpose of satire. There is great impact in the cinematic choices made to enhance the narrative’s satirical outlook, perhaps no less when considering the modern relevance to the tale as well as when it was made. The war of each time period may change, but the ugliness of the spirit seems to stay the same.