October 23, 2014

This is Where I Leave You on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD December 16

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment have officially announced they will release This is Where I Leave You to Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital HD on December 16, 2014. The film stars Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Jane Fonda. The Blu-ray specs are 1080p video in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 for audio. Below are the official details:


When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.


* Deleted and Extended Scenes
* The Narrative Voice: A Discussion with Shawn Levy and Jonathan Tropper
* The Narrative Voice: A Commentary with Shawn Levy and Jonathan Tropper
* The Gospel According to Rabbi Boner
* Points of Departure

Dolphin Tale 2 on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD December 9

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has officially announced they will release the heartwarming family film Dolphin Tale 2 to Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital HD on December 9, 2014. The film stars Harry Connick Jr, Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. The Blu-ray specs are 1080p video in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 for audio. Below are the official details:


The inspiring true story of Winter isn’t over. Several years after receiving a prosthetic tail, Winter loses her surrogate mother, leaving her alone, grieving and unwilling to engage with anyone, even her best human friend, Sawyer. Worse, she may have to be moved from her home at the aquarium due to regulations requiring dolphins to be paired. When Dr. Clay Haskett and his dedicated team can’t find her a companion, it looks like they may lose their beloved Winter...until an unexpected turn of events brings them Hope.


* Dolphin Tale 2: Underwater Magic Dolphin Tale 2: True Story
* Look Who's Running The Show
* Bethany Hamilton Meets Winter
* Dolphin Tale 2: The Mission
* Cozi Zuehlsdorff - "Brave Souls"
* Gavin DeGraw - "You Got Me"
* Blooper Reel

October 22, 2014

Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" - Teaser Trailer

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 3D Extended Edition Blu-ray Review


The Quest through Middle-earth continues in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, when the epic fantasy adventure is released as an Extended Edition on Bluray 3D and Blu-ray on November 4th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE). A production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, this extended cut of the second film in The Hobbit Trilogy includes 25 minutes of extra film footage that extends individual scenes, making this the must-see, definitive version for fans. Both versions of the Extended Edition include more than nine hours of new bonus features that will enrich the experience of the Trilogy as fans gear up for the December 17 theatrical release of the third and final film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.


The Desolation of Smaug is a darker and more intriguing film than it's predecessor and sets up things that I feel will end brilliantly with the last film of the series There and Back Again. Now that the main character introductions are out of the way this film starts off with Bilbo, the Dwarves and Gandalf on the run from Azog and his fierce crew. Gandalf has to leave his friends soon after and this leads to some of my favorite scenes that include Gandalf and Radagast finding out that the Nine Ringwraiths have been set free and that the Necromancer in Dol Guldur is no mortal man summoning them. The CGI work is improved and the on location footage is visually stunning. The actors do a fine job an it is nice to see Bilbo have a lot more fire and courage in this one. Martin Freeman continues to show why he was the right choice.

The addition of Tauriel the Elf played by Evangeline Lilly is a welcome one. I always enjoyed her work on the tv series LOST and she is brave and beautiful in this newly created role. The action is fast and fun, especially the river rapids escape scene that includes some brilliant orc kills from Legolas and Tauriel and some of the Dwarves like the portly but spry Bombur. The pacing slows a little once they arrive in Laketown but picks right back up when the Dwarves enter Erebor and encounter the dragon Smaug. Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice to character and has a lot of fun being menacing and interested in his prey at the same time. The film ends with him escaping and on his way to wreak havoc on Laketown. Peter Jackson and his crew have crafted a worthy sequel and I look forward to the last chapter. The extended edition seamlessly blends in extended and new scenes. I really enjoyed the addition of Thrain back into the story as well as a little more info about the Witch-king of Angmar and his entombment. The section of the film with Beorn gets some more breathing room and fleshes out his worries of the darkness that is brewing in Middle-earth. 9.5/10

The included Extended or NEW scenes are as follows:

The Quest for Erebor (Extended)
Queer Lodgings (NEW)
Where the Shadows Lie (Extended)
The Elven-Gate (Extended)
Mirkwood (Extended)
The Master of Lake-town (Extended)
The World of Men (Extended)
The Prophecy (Extended)
A Warm Welcome (Extended)
The Parting of the Company (Extended)
The Lonely Mountain (Extended)
A Spell of Concealment (Extended)
Son of Thror (NEW)
The Enemy Revealed (Extended)


The Desolation of Smaug arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer in the aspect ratio of 2.40:1 - The look of this chapter follows the darker tone of the film. Colors range from desaturated and almost gray to brilliant, warm hues of warm sunlight when Bilbo climbs to the top of a tree for a vantage point. The blue sky, white puffy clouds and the mix of colors on the tree leaves really pops. Lush greens and granite mountains look stunning during the rapids escape scene. Blacks were deep with good shadow delineation but there were few instances of crush. Fine detail was excellent with the highly detailed craftsmanship of the costumes and weaponry being a wonder to look at. Just on Bilbo's alone you can see lapels, the detailing in every stitch, the textures and fibers used to create his vest and coat. Every single gold coin covering or stuck under Smaug's scales is clearly defined. No signs of banding or digital noise were seen throughout the extended editions 186 minute running time.

The 3D presentation is presented on two discs and allows for a beautiful presentation with no signs of ghosting on my display. Depth and dimensionality is brilliant and draws the viewer into the world of Middle-earth. Smaug looks stunning in three dimensions and his movement is lifelike. The 2D version of the extended edition is presented on one BD-50 disc and despite there being an added audio commentary and 25 minutes of more footage put back into the film this looks every bit as good as the theatrical cut released back in March. No signs of compression artifacts or anomalies. 10/10


Audio is provided by a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. - Like the Dragon Smaug this audio presentation is powerful and massive. The various accents and languages used come across crisp and clear. Atmosphere is created with light breezes moving through the air, the sounds of approaching spiders coming down on you, and the rushing rapids flowing and crashing along the river walls and stones. LFE performance was most impressive when Smaug awakens. Every deep bellow of his voice, every movement of his massive frame brings deep, rich bass that adds to the magnificence of this creature. Howard Shore's musical score is beautifully presented and is never crushed under the weight of sound effects during the action sequences. A dynamic and demo worthy addition to any collection is what this track is through and through. The extended edition scenes are integrated seamlessly and Howard Shore's accompanying new bits of score sound lush and never drowned out in the mix. 10/10


**DISC 3**

Audio Commentary - Director/Writer/Producer Peter Jackson and Writer/Co-Producer Phillipa Boyens cover every detail you could ever want to know about the second film in The Hobbit trilogy. Well worth taking the time to listen to all the way through.

* New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 2 (HD,7min11sec) – A beautiful travel post card showing the filming locations for The Desolation of Smaug that make this reviewer want to visit New Zealand in the future.

**DISC 4**

The Appendices Part 9 Into The Wilderland The Chronicles of the Hobbit - Part 2 (HD, 5hrs26sec) - Continuing the tradition started with the LOTR Trilogy Extended Editions and last years The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition this set's two discs full of bonus features is extensive and are as enjoyable as the films themselves. Every aspect of the production is covered in great detail. There is a play all feature or you can watch each part separately. Below is the descriptions provided on the disc for each piece.

* Opening (HD, 3min22sec)

* A Warm Welcome (HD, 29min23sec) - The Dwarf actors find themselves buried in fish and shrunk in size via slave mo-con. Orlando Bloom tackles wire-rig stunts and battles "faux-cap" Orcs. Crew and surprise guests make cameo appearances on the Lake-town sets.

* Business of the State (HD 15min24sec) - While improvising scenes with the Master and Alfrid, Peter Jackson tosses eggs at actor Ryan Gage, and directs Stephen Fry as he courageously eats plate after plate of the delicacy known as "mountain oysters".

* Shelter on the Long Lake (HD, 20min19sec) - On the multiple-scale Bard's House sets, Evangeline Lilly perseveres through her first shooting days and stunts; James Nesbitt's daughters make their debut; and the Dwarf actors navigate their way through a massive prop toilet.

* In the Halls of the Elvenking (HD, 29min17sec) - Featuring two deleted scenes, Lee Pace makes his debut as the Elvenking; Peter and the actors rehearse the face-off between Thranduil and Thorin; and the Dwarf actors have fun improvising in the Elven cells and barrels.

* Flies and Spiders (HD, 29min43sec) - The cast face numerous challenges on the various Mirkwood sets, including fighting imgaginary spiders, unexpected rainfall, carrying a very heavy Bombur dummy and being "cocooned" in giant spider webs.

* Queer Lodgings (HD, 27min2sec) - On location, green=screen comes to the rescue and Stephen Hunter demonstrates his sprinting ability; the massive sets dwarf the cast and crew; and slave mo-con makes Mikael Persbrandt eight feet tall while he performs to tennis balls.

* On the Doorstep (HD, 18min28sec) - An overzealous Graham McTavish nearly destroys the set, Benedict Cumberbatch makes a surprise visit, and, in designing and building the secret entrance to Erebor, it turns out the "hidden door" is hidden from the actors as well.

* Inside Information (HD 26min12sec) - The Production attempts to create a mountain of gold coins, while Martin Freeman's acting talent is on display as no two takes are the same - plus he's not only acting with a dragon who isn't there, but who hasn't been designed yet.

* Down the Swift Dark Stream (HD, 15min42sec) - The Dwarf cast goes on location to the Pelorus River on New Zealand's South Island for a barrel-riding adventure that turns into one of the most memorable days of the entire shoot.

* Barrels Out of Bond (HD, 30min5sec) - All departments get involved in creating the barrels sequence, blending digital effects and practical filming - from actors on a jet-powered wet set, to performance capture and water simulation - culminating in the wrap of the 2nd Unit.

* A Chance Meeting (HD, 20min37sec) - Pick-ups filming on Film 2 commences with a new opening for the film and the recreation of the town of Bree. LOTR veterans wax nostalgic as they walk through the iconic set, while the "Carrot Man" makes a return appearance.

Erebor Rekindled (HD, 27min59sec) - Conceiving an entirely new ending to Film 2 requires shooting the climatic forges sequence during pick-ups - just months before the premiere - putting Peter and the post teams in a race against the clock to the film into theaters.

* ...Into the Fire (HD, 7min58sec) - A first look at what's to come in the next installment as our behind-the-scenes journey continues in The Chronicles of the Hobbit - Part 3.

**DISC 5**

The Appendices Part 10 The Journey to Erebor (HD, 5hrs5min51sec) - Play all feature available or you can watch each piece individually.

* Summoning Smaug: Last of the Fire-drakes (HD, 1hr16min31sec) - A comprehensive look at the history of Tolkien's iconic dragon, and the design, creation and animation in bringing Smaug to the screen, including Benedict Cumberbatch's unique and immersive approach to the role.

- The Last and First Dragon (26min36sec)
- Conversations with Smaug (24min50sec)
- Into the Dragon's Lair (25min36sec)

* The People and Denziens of Middle-Earth (HD, 1hr11min48sec) - Focuses on the design and creation of characters and creatures making their debut in Film 2, as well as the actors who bring these characters to life.

- Beorn: The Shape-Shifter (25min8sec)
- The Spawn of Ungoliant (16min49sec)
- The Men of Lake-town (30min17sec)

* Realms of the Third Age: From Beorn's House to Lake-Town (HD, 1hr34min7sec) - Follows the creation of Middle-Earth location, from conceptual design to fully realized practical sets and digital environments.

- Beorn's House (26min40sec)
- Mirkwood Forest (17min)
- The Woodland Realm (21min5sec)
- Lake-town (29min55sec)

* The Music of The Hobbit (HD, 1hr0min54sec) - Focuses on the wide range of the new themes that comprise The Desolation of Smaug's score, composer Howard Shore's writing process, and the recording of the score by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

- Overture: Music of the Wilderland (21min36sec)
- 1st Movement: The World of Men (20min25sec)
- 2nd Movement: In the Halls of Erebor (19min14sec)