The Neon Demon Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks
  • Director: Nicholas Winding Refn
  • Format: Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
  • Studio: Broadgreen
  • Release Date: September 27, 2016
  • Run Time: 117 minutes



        Few filmmakers cause as much division amongst critics and audiences as Nicolas Winding Refn, with his last two films receiving both boos and standing ovations when premiering at the Cannes Film Festival. Love him or hate him, Refn knows how to get a reaction out of audiences. Stanley Kubrick also had this gift, and like many of Kubrick’s films, I believe the work of Refn will be celebrated as underrated genius with the passing of time. The Neon Demon may be the perfect example of this, many of the reviews resembling the same polarizing opinions held of The Shining in 1980.  

The Shallows Blu-ray Review

  • Actor: Blake Lively
  • Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
  • Producers: Lynn Harris, Matti Leshem
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: September 27, 2016
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2019
  • Run Time: 86 minutes




        The Shallows is reminiscent of several similar films, but it borrows sparingly from these other narratives. Although a film featuring an aggressively attacking shark begs comparison to Jaws, it is really only the great white shark which is borrowed from Spielberg’s classic creature feature. The simplicity of the story structure in The Shallows is actually far more connected to survival narratives, most obviously including those that take place in the vastness of the ocean like Open Water and Life of Pi. But the best moments of The Shallows rely on the innovation needed for survival, as displayed in other survival film such as Buried and 127 Hours, though Jaume Collet-Serra’s film lacks the same emotional resonance and attachment to the protagonist.

Warcraft 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell
  • Director: Duncan Jones
  • Writers: Duncan Jones, Charles Leavitt
  • Producers: Charles Roven, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Alex Gartner, Stuart Fenegan
  • Format: 4K, Digital_copy
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    PG-13
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: September 27, 2016
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018




        Special effects and non-stop visual spectacle should not be this dull. Maybe I missed something. Maybe if I played the popular World of Warcraft game that the film is based on, it would make more sense. That might help, but it still wouldn’t fix the film’s undeniably dreary tone and any element of joy. Even Avatar gave us moments to marvel at the peaceful beauties in the world of Pandora, but Warcraft is two hours of self-serious derivative storylines as lifeless as the effects often appear. Or maybe I missed something in the dense fantasy lore.

Labyrinth 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud, Shelley Thompson, Christopher Malcolm
  • Director: Jim Henson
  • Producer: Eric Rattray
  • Format: 4K
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, German, Czech, Polish, Finnish, Swedish, Korean, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, Norwegian, Indonesian, Thai, English, Spanish, Danish, Turkish, Greek, Japanese
  • Dubbed: German, French, Portuguese, Czech, Italian, Hungarian, Spanish, Japanese
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    PG
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: September 20, 2016
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2019 (Click here for more information)
  • Run Time: 101 minutes



        No doubt the most well known of the Jim Henson puppet fantasy films, Labyrinth is also the one that happens to have two huge stars in it. At the time Jennifer Connelly was a child model being turned into an actress, and had never carried a film the way that Labyrinth required, especially considering most of the supporting cast was puppets. The other driving celebrity in this film is the glam-fabulous David Bowie, who wrote and performed the five original songs in the film. What really makes this film work better than The Dark Crystal is the inclusion of human actors, which allows the audience to participate in the Wizard-of-Oz-like fantasy more directly.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople DVD Review

  • Actors: Rhys Darby, Julian Dennison, Sam Neill
  • Director: Taika Waititi
  • Producers: Taika Waititi, Leanne Saunders, Carthew Neal, Matt Noonan
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2016
  • Run Time: 101 minutes




 There is something inherently pleasant about the narrative of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, a film so jovial in nature that it manages to feel fresh despite a slightly derivative style and familiar themes. It is never surprising, but it is also an undeniable crowd pleaser, thanks in part to effective casting. And even if we have seen similar films come from Wes Anderson and his imitators, there is something undeniably enjoyable about the addition of New Zealand accents to the equation.

Edge of Winter DVD Review

  • Actors: Joel Kinnaman, Tom Holland, Percy White, Rachelle Lefevre, Shiloh Fernandez
  • Director: Rob Connolly
  • Producer: Kyle Mann
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Portuguese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Spanish, English, Japanese
  • Dubbed: Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Rated:
    R
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2016
  • Run Time: 89 minutes



 Usually I enjoy trying to figure out what the point of a film’s narrative is, attempting to discover what the message is that the filmmaker was trying to make. This became a frustrating experience when thinking about Edge of Winter, however, because I couldn’t help but feel like there was no point beyond the viewing of the film itself. And if that is the case, it is a film which shamelessly uses the prospect of a father harming his own sons for suspense and the main source of entertainment. I want to believe that there is something more to this film, but I was unable to find anything.

Complete Unknown DVD Review

  • Actors: Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, Danny Glover
  • Director: Joshua Marston
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 4, 2016
  • Run Time: 92 minutes




 Though Complete Unknown comes from a screenplay written for the screen by Julian Sheppard and director Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace), its narrative often feels best suited for a theatrical production. It isn’t just that the script is dialogue heavy, or even the fact that each act of the film has a convenient change of location. It feels suited for theater because of the level of intimacy created within the narrative. Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz give such nuanced performances that I often felt as though I knew them in real life. If a filmed version of these performances gave me the impression I was in the same room as the actors, I can only imagine the reality would be that much more impressive.

Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich DVD Review

  • Actors: Tom Sizemore, Stephen Lang, Sean Patrick Flanery
  • Director: Claudio Fäh
  • Disc Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Spanish, English, Japanese
  • Dubbed: French, Thai, Japanese
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated:
    R
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2016
  • Run Time: 101 minutes



 The unnecessarily over-complicated title for Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich may actually be the perfect representation for the content of this sadly lackluster low-budget war film. It may attempt to follow in the tradition of classic war films of the past, but often instead resembles a low-budget mockbuster of these movies. A lot of this has to do with amateur acting, cheesy dialogue, and especially bad CGI to replace any real stunt work or practical effects.