June 18, 2016

Midnight Special Blu-ray Review


Writer/director Jeff Nichols proves again that he is one of the most compelling storytellers of our time with the sci-fi thriller “Midnight Special.” A provocative, genre-defying film as supernatural as it is intimately human, “Midnight Special” follows a father, Roy (Michael Shannon), who goes on the run to protect his young son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), a boy with mysterious powers that even Roy himself cannot comprehend.

What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcement quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government. Risking everything, Roy is committed to helping Alton reach his ultimate purpose, whatever that might be and whatever it costs, in a story that takes audiences on a perilous journey from Texas to the Florida coast, while exploring the bonds of love and trust, and the nature of faith.


Director Jeff Nichols first caught my attention with Mud. It was a great mix of story, visuals and a perfect cast. With Midnight Special he shows why he is one of the best to come along in recent memory. The film is a thrilling mix of sci-fi, quasi religion and road movie with a father doing everything he can to protect his very special son and get him where he needs to go. Michael Shannon has been one of my favorite actors of the past 15 years, one who brings a quiet intensity that makes you never sure where he stands. His protrayal of Roy shows a different side to them in some very touching but never schmaltzy scenes with the equally great Jaeden Lieberher who plays the very special Alton. The cast is rounded out with fine work by Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver and Kirsten Dunst.

I didn't know what to expect going into this and was engaged from minute one to the hopeful final moments. While the journey is better than the destination due to the reveal of where Alton was going has divided audiences, this is a brilliant piece of sci-fi drama that will hopefully gain a larger fan base now that is home on Blu-ray. 9/10


Midnight Special arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer in the aspect ratio of 2.40:1 - Cinematographer Adam Stone and director Jeff Nichols decided to shoot Midnight Special on film and it helps give the movie a look that harkens back to classics such as Close Encounters, Starman and E.T. The color palette is a mix of yellows,sunshine oranges, steel blues, crisp whites, and lush wood grains. Fleshtones have a natural appearance. Black levels remain deep and rich while never sacrificing shadow delineation. Fine details in clothing textures, beard stubble and depth of field were all pleasing to look at with exceptional clarity. A light amount of film grain is seen and adds to the visual feel the filmmakers were going for. 9/10


Audio is provided by a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. - Dialogue reproduction is flawless. Where this track really shines is in the LFE channel. Bass is super deep for some key scenes, while gunfire and vehicular mayhem gets some hefty crunching. Dynamics are top notch when the film goes from near silence to a wall of sound with ease. Surround activity was excellent with great use of the rear channels helping to create wonderful sense of atmosphere. The score by David Wingo is one of the best of the year and it's beautifully presented here within the mix. 9.5/10


* Origins (HD, 12:36 Play All) - A collection of vignettes exploring the characters with director and cast discussing the motivation of each one. Included are:
- Roy (HD, 02:06)
- Lucas (HD, 02:40)
- Sarah (HD, 02:46)
- Alton (HD, 02:46)
- Sevier (HD, 02:15)

* The Unseen World (HD, 05:12) - Cast and crew give insight on the plot and production.

June 17, 2016

Puerto Ricans in Paris Blu-ray August 2nd

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has officially announced they will release Puerto Ricans in Paris to Blu-ray and DVD on August 2, 2016. The Blu-ray specs are set to be 1080p video in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track for audio. Below are the official details:


The fashion world of Paris is not ready for Luis (Luis Guzmán) and Eddie (Edgar Garcia), two NYPD investigators recruited by a fashion agency to track down the thief who has stolen its latest handbag designs. Barreling through the fashion shows, nightclubs, and hipster cafes of Paris, these two strangers in a strange land must use their wits to track down the elusive thief and collect a large bounty that would change their lives back home. Puerto Ricans in Paris is a laugh-out-loud, fish-out-of-water comedy.

The Huntsman: Winter's War Blu-ray August 23rd

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has officially announced they will release The Huntsman: Winter's War to Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on August 23, 2016. The Blu-ray specs are set to be 1080p video in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track for audio. Below are the official details:


The Huntsman: Winter’s War stars Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road, Monster) as the evil Queen Ravenna, who betrays her good sister Freya (Emily Blunt: Sicario, Edge of Tomorrow) with an unforgivable act, freezing Freya’s heart to love and unleashing in her an icy power she never knew she possessed. Retreating to a kingdom far to the north, Freya raises an army of Huntsmen as her protectors, with the only rule that no two of them should ever fall in love. As a war for domination escalates between the two queens, the hero standing between good and evil is Freya’s most elite Huntsman, Eric (Chris Hemsworth: Thor, Star Trek Into Darkness). Alongside fellow warrior Sara (Jessica Chastain: The Martian, The Help) — the only woman who has ever captured his heart — Eric must help Freya vanquish her sister or Ravenna’s wickedness will rule for eternity.


* Two Queens and Two Warriors (Blu-ray Exclusive) – The true heart of The Huntsman: Winter’s War is found in its three powerful women, Ravenna, Freya, and Eric’s lost wife, Sara. Learn how the strength and complexity of the film’s female roles drew potent new star power in Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain, as well as convincing Charlize Theron to reprise her role as Ravenna.

* Meet the Dwarfs (Blu-ray Exclusive) – Nick Frost’s Nion and Rob Brydon’s Gryff brought a sense of levity and fun to the adventure — especially once they met their female counterparts. Explore the importance of all four dwarf characters in the film and on set, where the actors who portrayed them earn a reputation for keeping the fun rolling, even when the cameras stopped.

* Magic All Around (Blu-ray Exclusive) – Rooted in history, but inhabited by magic, the world of The Huntsman: Winter’s War is a true visual spectacle. Follow along and see how the magic made it to the screen. From Freya’s icy freeze to the gold-laden goblins of the forest, explore the visual effects at work with an exclusive peek behind the curtain.

* Deleted Scenes with Commentary

* Gag Reel

* Dressed To Kill – Academy Award®-winning costumer Colleen Atwood returns to help reignite the splendor she brought to Snow White and The Huntsman. A visual feast, her costumes often border on the supernatural in their beauty while helping bring the characters to life.

* Love Conquers All — From the infectious enthusiasm of director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan to the sisterly bond shared by Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron, the set of The Huntsman: Winter’s War was filled with laughter and life. Actors and artists came together to help create a fairy tale about the pure power of love — and had a blast along the way.

* Feature Commentary by director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Ratchet & Clank Blu-ray September 16th

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has officially announced they will release Ratchet & Clank to Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on September 16, 2016. The Blu-ray specs are set to be 1080p video in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track for audio. Below are the official details:


Based on the celebrated video game franchise, Ratchet & Clank follows two accidental heroes who join forces to save the universe. Ratchet is a “lombax” with big dreams of joining the elite fighting team, the Galactic Rangers. Clank is a spunky robot who discovers that the evil alien Chairman Drek has a weapon that can destroy whole planets in a moment’s notice. The two misfits must use their wits to help the Rangers save the day in this thrilling and funny adventure featuring the voices of Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), John Goodman (Monsters, Inc.), Bella Thorne (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), Rosario Dawson (The Lego Batman Movie), and Sylvester Stallone (Creed). The stellar voice cast is rounded out by the game’s original performers including James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward, and Armin Shimerman, reprising their respective video game roles of Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark, and Dr. Nefarious.


* Ratchet & Clank: A Hero’s Journey - Cast and Crew discuss what a hero means to them and how Ratchet and Clank both measure up. Featuring interviews with director Kevin Munroe and stars James Arnold Taylor and Bella Thorne.

* Ratchet & Clank: Leveling Up - Cast and Crew talk about adapting a video game to film and the legacy of Ratchet & Clank. Featuring interviews with director Kevin Munroe and stars James Arnold Taylor and Bella Thorne.