Piranha 3DD Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Danielle Panabaker, David Koechner, Katrina Bowden, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff
  • Directors: John Gulager
  • Writers: Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton
  • Format: Color, 3D, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: The Weinstein Company
  • Release Date: September 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 83 minutes

  •             The title of this film tells you all that you need to know. They could have waited until there was a Piranha 2 in order to make one called 3DD, but instead they made Piranha 2 in 3D and called it 3DD for the important inclusion of large breasts in the storyline. The franchise also attempts to keep many of the same elements similar to the original, although the gore seems far less shocking when not accomplished at the hands of Alexandre Aja. Even though director John Gulager is accustomed to gory horror, having previously directed Feast, it is quite clear that the goal for Piranha 3DD is simply to imitate the original remake instead of doing anything new or original.

                There is enough similar in Piranha 3DD to the original to keep fans happy, from excessive nudity and violence to the comical CGI creatures which do all of the killing. The main difference in the storyline is simply a change of location for the attacks. While the first one had a Piranha attack in the open water, Piranha 3DD moves the action to a swimming pool. After previous attacks, few people go in the water anymore, leaving an opening for a water park to make a killing. Then the real killing begins when the water used to fill the pools is taken from a reservoir filled with the prehistoric creatures.

    Casting is one of the few things that actually make this sequel stand out somewhat, adding humor in-between scenes of vulgar nudity and gruesome gore. There is a memorable one-liner from Gary Busey in the opening scene, before his demise, though it is the inclusion of David Hasselhoff as himself which makes the movie. This tongue-in-cheek performance is far more entertaining than most of the carnage brought on by the man-eating fish. There are a few moments where the film purposefully pushes the gore to the point of bad taste, and these moments are likely to please the fans enough, but the entire endeavor felt short of complete. At 83 minutes, it moves fast and is over before there is time to think about all that seems to be missing.

    The 3D Blu-ray combo pack includes a 3D Blu-ray as well as the standard Blu-ray disc, not to mention a DVD and digital copy of the film. The special features are padded with some great comedic additions, including a featurette for each of the three comedic supporting stars; David Hasselhoff, David Koechner, and some bloopers with the reliably unpredictable Gary Busey. There is also a filmmaker commentary with Gulager, deleted scenes and a short film with John McEnroe.

    High School Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Michael Chiklis, Adrien Brody, Colin Hanks, Sean Marquette, Matt Bush
  • Format: Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • Release Date: September 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 99 minutes

  •             The premise for High School is so cleverly promising, filling the mind with so many smoke-filled ideas and jokes that the actual film seems more than a little disappointing. What gags and jokes regarding marijuana that are within this film just seem obvious, whereas much of the humor relies to heavily upon a cast which is not particularly known for comedic abilities. This isn’t to say that High School doesn’t have moments, but director John Stalberg Jr. doesn’t always know how to reign back his actors and much of the antics end up a little too goofy even for a stoner comedy.

                Matt Bush stars as Henry Burke, valedictorian of his high school class until a reunion with an old friend puts his future at risk. The day after Henry smokes weed with his old friend Breaux (Sean Marquette), the school principal (Michael Chiklis) institutes a mandatory drug test for all students. Seeing no way of passing the test, instead Henry and Breaux come up with a plan to make everyone else in the school fail the test also. Replacing the brownies for a bake sale with a fresh batch of high grade marijuana brownies, the two friends are able to get the entire high school high.

                Much of the film is not focused on the antics of the drug addled minds in the high school, however. Instead we are primarily focused on all of the sobering facts that Henry must take into consideration with these actions. There is the angry drug dealer they stole the marijuana from in order to bake the brownies, played by an almost unrecognizable Adrien Brody, as well as a vindictive principal and a competitive student trying to steal the valedictorian spot from Henry. Unfortunately, all of these take priority in the plot than any of the more humorous aspects of the film, such as the drug use. It is also a little bit distracting to watch Chiklis try so hard to be humorous. Try as he may, this is not his genre and no amount of fake hair can make him funny.

                The Blu-ray release of this ambitionless stoner comedy comes with few perks. There is a rather dull commentary track by executive producer/co-writer/director Stalberg Jr., as well as a few deleted scenes which are no better than what was already in the film. This movie had promise but needed a steadier hand behind the camera, as well as a screenplay that took a few more risks.