August 31, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road Blu-ray Review


Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.

Directed by Oscar®-winning filmmaker George Miller (“Happy Feet”) and starring Tom Hardy (“The Dark Knight Rises”) in the title role and Oscar® winner Charlize Theron (“Monster,” “Prometheus”) as Imperator Furiosa, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is the fourth film in the franchise’s epic history.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ “Mad Max: Fury Road” also stars Nicholas Hoult (“X-Men: Days of Future Past”) as Nux; Hugh Keays-Byrne (“Mad Max,” “Sleeping Beauty”) as Immortan Joe; and Nathan Jones (“Conan the Barbarian”) as Rictus Erectus. Collectively known as The Wives, Zoë Kravitz (“Divergent”) plays Toast; Riley Keough (“Magic Mike”) is Capable; Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”) is Splendid; supermodel Abbey Lee is The Dag; and Courtney Eaton is Fragile. Also featured in the movie are Josh Helman as Slit, Jennifer Hagan as Miss Giddy, and singer/songwriter/performer iOTA as Coma-Doof Warrior. The cast is rounded out by well-known Australian actors John Howard and Richard Carter, supermodel Megan Gale, Angus Sampson, Joy Smithers, Gillian Jones, Melissa Jaffer and Melita Jurisic.

Miller directed “Mad Max: Fury Road” from a screenplay he wrote with Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris. Miller also produced the film with longtime producing partner and Oscar nominee Doug Mitchell alongside executive producers P.J. Voeten, Iain Smith, Graham Burke and Bruce Berman.


Mad Max: Fury Road is being hailed as "The Best Action Movie Ever" by many critics and while I wouldn't go that far as the story and character building is a bit too light, this is without a doubt the most thrilling, innovative, balls-to-the-wall action film to come around in a very long time. From the first few minutes when Max is captured in the desert and brought back to be a blood donor for Immortan Joe's War Boys the film rarely takes it foot off the pedal. Tom Hardy plays Max close to the vest but he opens up a bit more towards the end when he feels a duty to help Imperator Furiosa and forms a mutual respect with her. I'm sure max will be fleshed out a bit more in the inevitable sequel. Charlize Theron is for my money the main character as she is the most kick-ass heroine to come along since Sarah Connor and the most driven on completing her goal to save The Wives from slavery and go to the "Green place". Nicholas Hoult makes you sympathize for his War Boy character Nux.

Immortan Joe is a batshit crazy villain and that goes without saying his followers are too. The character design is something that sets the film apart and makes your draw drop that this was made. Every penny of the budget is seen on screen, especially in the brilliant stunts and vehicular mayhem that is on display here. When you break it down the story is basically being chased from one end back to the other but what a ride it is. I suggest you go get some chrome paint so you can get all shiny when you watch this. Witness! 10/10


Mad Max: Fury Road arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer in the aspect ratio of 2.40:1 - The film is a visual feast and this demo worthy transfer brings it all home in stunning fashion. Clarity and detail was eye popping. Stitching, textures, Max's stubbly face, the insane vehicle and character designs are easily seen. I found myself upon second viewing pausing several scenes just to take in the amazing visual look of this furious, apocalyptic world. Colors range from warm, sun-drenched orange hues of the desert, gorgeous blue skies, to the cold blue moonlight of the night. Yes, it's all shiny and chrome. Blacks were nothing short of deep and inky at all times. No signs of nagging artifacts.

The 3D presentation exhibits a nice sense of depth while shying away from a lot of the cliched 3D shots most productions use. There are of course a couple but they are used to good effect. I'm happy to report I experienced no signs of ghosting on my display.10/10


Audio is provided by a Dolby Atmos 7.1 track. - This is hands down the most dynamic and powerful listening experience of the year so far. LFE performance features brutal and gut-wrenching bass that makes you feel like you are on the Fury Road. The engines rumble with startling aggression. When something explodes it will make you nearly jump out of your seat. Surrounds are utilized to perfect effect with silky smooth pans, out of nowhere directional effects, and crisp and engaging environmental support. The almost perfect score from Junkie XL was represented beautifully in the mix and is never drown out with all the ongoing action. 10/10


* Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road (HD, 28:38)

* Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels (HD, 22:37)

* The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa (HD, 11:18)

* The Tools of the Wasteland (HD, 14:26)

* The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome (HD, 11:11)

* Fury Road: Crash & Smash (HD, 4:02)

* Deleted Scenes
- I Am a Milker (HD, 00:32)
- Turn Every Grain of Sand! (HD, 1:49)
- Let's Do It (HD, 00:59)

Paper Towns Blu-ray October 20th

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has officially announced they will be releasing Paper Towns to Blu-ray and DVD on October 20, 2015. The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Below are the official details:


After the phenomenal success of The Fault in Our Stars, author John Green returns with another heart-warming tale in PAPER TOWNS, available on Blu-ray™ and DVD October 20. Join rising stars Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff in the breakout performances of their careers as they go on an epic journey of love and adventure. For a limited time only, get your Paper Towns fan pack Blu-ray with collectible packaging including shareable sticky notes of inspirational quotes from the film and a U.S. map!

Adapted from the bestselling novel by John Green, PAPER TOWNS is a coming-of-age story centering on Quentin, a high school senior who has been in love with his enigmatic neighbor Margo since childhood. After taking him on an all-night adventure through their hometown, Margo suddenly disappears--leaving behind cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher. The search leads Quentin and his quick-witted friends on an exhilarating adventure that is equal parts hilarious and moving. Ultimately, to track down Margo, Q must find a deeper understanding of friendship--and true love.

The PAPER TOWNS Blu-ray comes with nearly an hour of deleted scenes from Q and Margo’s journey, commentary from the director and Green, and exclusive behind-the-scenes featurettes. Watch a never-before-seen gag reel and learn more about the making of the film from the actors, filmmakers and Green in a three-part documentary. Take a road trip with the author and cast, watch the stars engage him in lightning round interviews and see how much fun they all have when the cameras aren’t rolling!


* Audio Commentary by Jake Schreier and John Green

* Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Jake Schreier and John Green
- Minivan
- Margo Leaves Clues
- Be Yourself
- Teenage Rebellion
* Alternate Scene: "Shake It Off"

* Paper Towns: The Making Of
- Playing out the Strings
- Building a Paper Town
- John Green on Set

* John and Nat: Lightning Round

* John and Cara: Lightning Round

* Gag Reel

* Promotional Featurettes: Van Chats
- Memorable Moments
- Coming of Age
- Road Trips
- Lurlene

* Gallery

* Theatrical Trailer

The Originals: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review


As Original vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus Mikaelson returned to the vibrant, supernaturally charged city of New Orleans in season one, he was stunned to learn — along with his siblings Elijah and Rebekah — that Hayley, a werewolf, was pregnant with his child, and his vampire protégé, Marcel, whom the Original siblings had thought long dead, was ruling the French Quarter. Soon, a bloody war escalated between vampires and witches — the stakes raised by powerful teenage witch Davina and by Klaus’s bond with Cami, a student with a painful past — and a ruthless pack of wolves seized the opportunity to stage a violent coup. Now, in season two, a new status quo must be adjusted to, as the newly empowered werewolves control the city. Klaus struggles with weaknesses as Elijah desperately tries to save Hayley — now a hybrid — from a vicious spiral of self-destruction. Meanwhile, with the re-emergence of several Mikaelsons, “family is power” takes on new meaning.

Season Two of The Originals stars Joseph Morgan (The Vampire Diaries, Ben Hur), Daniel Gillies (The Vampire Diaries, Saving Hope), Phoebe Tonkin (The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle), Charles Michael Davis (Grey's Anatomy), Leah Pipes (Sorority Row), Danielle Campbell (Prison Break) and Yusuf Gatewood (The Interpreter), with Plec executive producing along with Michael Narducci (The Vampire Diaries, Medium) and Leslie Morgenstein (The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars). Created by Plec, the series is based in part on the character Klaus from The Vampire Diaries novels by L.J. Smith. The Originals will continue for a third season on The CW in fall 2015.


The Originals: The Complete Second Season arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 - Colors are well balanced and feature some brilliant, lush pops of blood. Skintones appeared natural as does the overall palette. Black levels were consistently deep and inky, shadow delineation was solid. The New Orleans and Georgia locations are bathed in detail and the image was always crisp and clear. No compression artifacts to speak of. 9/10


Audio is provided by a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. - Dialogue was crystal clear and placed front and center in the mix. Surrounds feature smooth pans and crisp environmental effects. LFE performance is tight and precise when called upon and adds nice depth to the score and music cues. 9/10


* The Originals: Always and Forever (HD) - In this featurette, we will hear from cast and creators on how season two explored new depths of what it means to be a family.

* The Awakening Web Series (HD) - Explore this companion series on Kol Mikaelson (Nathaniel Buzolic) and his quest to form an alliance with the witches of New Orleans in 1914. Also, go behind the scenes with the cast and creators of the digital series.

* The Originals: 2014 Comic-Con Panel (HD)

* Come Visit Georgia PSA (HD)

* Deleted Scenes (HD)

* Gag Reel (HD)

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray Review


The Vampire Diaries continues its sixth season with more delicious drama to sink your teeth into. In season five, after a passionate summer with Damon, Elena headed to Whitmore College with Caroline, not knowing Bonnie sacrificed her life for Jeremy’s. Meanwhile, Stefan and Caroline’s friendship deepened as they stood up to the Travelers, a nomadic witch tribe driven to strip Mystic Falls of magic and cast out its supernatural residents. In the shocking season finale, Damon, fearing he would lose his loved ones on the crumbling Other Side, made a huge sacrifice to bring them all back — with catastrophic and heartbreaking results. Season six follows the characters’ journey back to each other as they explore the duality of good versus evil inside themselves. Matt Davis reprises his role as Alaric Saltzman, recently returned from The Other Side. Plus, the season will make you misty-eyed as the departure of a major character will turn lives upside down and leave us asking what happened to Mystic Falls.


The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Sixth Season arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 - Colors tend to stay in a decidedly darker palette but there bursts of more bold primaries at times. Skint tones look natural and how the characters should appear. Blacks levels were rich and deep, the show like to live in the shadows. Fine detail was impressive showing off the attention paid to set design and wardrobe. 9/10


Audio is provided by a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. - This collection of episodes feature tracks that exhibit solid dynamic range and fidelity. Dialogue was prioritized front and center, remaining crystal clear through the 22 episodes. Surrounds provide an excellent sense of environment utilizing impressive directional effects. LFE performance was tight and precise, adding some nice bass notes to music cues as well.9/10


* The Vampire Diaries: Good Bite and Good Luck (HD) - The executive producers and cast of The Vampire Diaries say a final farewell to Nina Dobrev, Steven R. McQueen, Marguerite MacIntyre, and Michael Trevino, after six memorable years.

* The Vampire Diaries: Best.Reaction.Ever. (HD) - Fan reactions to big moments throughout the season will be curated from Twitter, fan sites and other social media, and pieced together to tell the story of season six via fans’ reactions.

* Audio Commentary - Writer/Director Julie Plec provides commentary for her directorial debut "Let Her Go".

* The Vampire Diaries: 2014 Comic-Con Panel (HD)

* Come Visit Georgia PSA (HD)

* Deleted Scenes (HD) - A nice selection of deleted scenes spread out over the four Blu-ray discs.

* Second Bite: Gag Reel (HD) - An amusing look at cast and crew messing up and having fun on set.