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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY on Digital HD March 24 and Blu-ray April 4

February 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Announced today on The Star Wars Show and StarWars.com, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” will be coming home on Digital HD on March 24th and Blu-ray on April 4th. This news comes on the heels of the start of production announcement of the untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story. “Rogue One” has established its place within the Star Warsuniverse and the hearts of moviegoers, becoming the seventh highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S.

Arriving early on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on March 24, and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on April 4, the release includes never-before-seen “Rogue One” bonus material that will take fans behind the scenes with the movie’s diverse, dynamic cast and inspired team of filmmakers. An intimate collection of stories reveals how the film came to life, as well as hidden Easter Eggs and film facts that audiences may have missed in the theater.

Bonus features include*:
A Rogue Idea – Hear how ILM’s John Knoll came up with the movie’s concept – and why it’s the right film to launch the Star Wars stand-alone films.
Jyn: The Rebel – Get to know Rogue One’s defiant, resourceful survivor, and hear what it was like for Felicity Jones to bring her to life onscreen.
Cassian: The Spy – Diego Luna shares insights into his complex, driven character, who becomes a hero through selflessness, perseverance and passion.
K-2SO: The Droid – Explore the development of this reprogrammed Imperial droid, from initial pitch and character design through Alan Tudyk’s performance.
Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills – Go deeper into the relationship between these two very different characters, with Chinese superstars Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.
Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary – Forest Whitaker and Riz Ahmed reflect on Saw Gerrera, the broken Rebel leader, and Bodhi Rook, the Imperial pilot who defects.
The Empire – Meet a dangerous new Imperial adversary…and cross paths once more with the most iconic villain of all time.
Visions of Hope: The Look of “Rogue One” – The filmmakers describe the challenges and thrills of developing a bold new look for the movie that can fit within the world of the original trilogy.
The Princess & The Governor – See what it took to bring the vibrant young princess of “Star Wars: A New Hope” – as well as one of her most memorable foes– – back to the screen.
Epilogue: The Story Continues – Filmmakers and cast celebrate Rogue One’s premiere and look forward into the future, to the Star Wars stories yet to be told.
Rogue Connections – Uncover Easter eggs and film facts hidden throughout the movie that connect “Rogue One” to the Star Wars universe.
* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer.

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The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“The Asterisk War” is action-packed and entertaining as Ayato and Julis, Saya and Kirin must take on their most powerful rivals in the tournament yet as they close in on the semifinals. How will these two fighting duos do in the Phoenix Festa competition? Find out in the exciting, “The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3”. Recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2017 ANIPLEX INC. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 13-18) 150 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, English and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Aniplex of America Inc.

Release Date: February 21, 2017


Originally created by Yuu Miyazaki

Original Character Design by okiura

Chief Direction by Manabu Ono

Directed by Kenji Sato

Script by Munemasa Nakamoto, Yuki Sugawara, Yukito Kizawa

Music by Rasmus Faber

Character Design by Tetsuya Kawakami

Art Director: Yukihiro Watanabe

Chief Animation Director: Tetsuya Kawakami

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Kakuma/Kira Buckland as Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt

Atsushi Tamaru/Erik Scott Kimerer as Ayato Amagiri

Ari Ozawa/Brianna Knickerbocker as Kirin Todo

Ayana Taketatsu/Cherami Leigh as Pham Thi Tram (Fan Xinglou)

Chinatsu Akasaki/Cassandra Morris as Ernesta Kuhne

Haruka Chisuga as Sylvia Lyyneheym

Haruka Yoshimura as RM-C (Rimsy)

Juri Nagatsuma as Priscilla Urzaiz

Mai Nakahara/Michelle Ruff as Haruka Amagiri

Mutsumi Tamura/Cristina Vee as Camilla Pareto

Nao Tōyama/Erika Harlacher as Claudia Enfield

Nobuo Tobita/Lucien Dodge as Shuma Sakon


After successfully destroying the Gravi-Sheath, Ayato and Julis free the Urzaiz sisters from their shackles. However, Ayato’s side effect of forcefully releasing the seal and its time limit are now known to the other teams. As the Phoenix Festa finals continue, Julis must come up with a strategy to cover for Ayato’s inability to fight at full strength due to the seal’s side effect. Will Ayato and Julis be able to survive in the Festa?


The tournament continues as Ayato and Julis must now fight Song Ran and Zhou Kunzhan of Jie Long.  And Saya and Kirin’s semifinal match is against AR-D and RM-C.  Who will be the victors?

What is “The Asterisk War” about?

In 2012, writer Yuu Miyazaki and illustrator okiura created the Japanese light novel series “The Asterisk War” (Gakusen Toshi Asutarisuku).

Published by Media factory, a two-volume manga adaptation was then created for Media Factory’s “Monthly Comic Alive”.

In 2015, A-1 Pictures would create an anime TV series adaptation with two seasons having now been completed.

And now, the anime series will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex of America Inc. With volume 3, this limited edition box set features the first episodes of the second season (episodes 13-18).

The anime is set in the 20th century and an event called Invertia has destroyed many cities on Earth. Because of the collapsing economy, the Integrated Enterprise Foundation has become the leader of the world.

A parallel city of Rikka, known as Asterisk is the the main setting of this anime series.

Asterisk has six academies which hold tournaments, known as “Festas” in which humans and people with super abilities called Genestella participate in battle against each other.

Seidoukan Academy is ranked fifth in Asterik and the series focuses on main protagonist Ayato Amagiri, a Genestella, who is investigating the disappearance of his sister Haruka.

On his first day of school, he meets a student (who happens to be a Lieseltanian princess) named Julis-Alexia von Riessfeld. And due to circumstances because he is new at the academy (which make him seem like a pervert), he is challenged to a duel against her.

The two get into battle and she is amazed by Ayato’s fighting ability and superpowers but the battle is ended when someone tries to send a spike towards Julis-Alexia and she is saved by Ayato (who, unfortunately lands on top of her and his hand on top of her chest).

The battle is ended early by Seidoukan Academy’s Student Council President Claudia Enfield because the match was not legal.

And who is this Kirin Todou that Ayato meets for the first time? And why is her uncle abusive towards her and how will Ayato make an impact on her life?

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Festa featuring a battle between duos and Ayato and Julis and their friends Saya and Kirin will face the strongest fighters from the other five schools.

For the first episodes of season two (episodes 13-18), Ayato and Julis must take on the powerful Song Ran and Zhou Kunzhan in order to move into the semi-finals.  While Saya and Kirin must take on the devastating robotic duo, AR-D and RM-C.

Meanwhile, someone has kidnapped Flora.  Who is responsible?


“The Asterisk War” features the following characters:

  • Ayato Amagiri – A Seidoukan Academy student who transfers to the school to investigate his sister’s disappearance. He shows great power but can only control it for several minutes. He wants to protect Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt.
  • Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt – The fifth ranking student of Seidokan Academy and happens to be the First Princess of Lieseltania in the western Czech Republic. She is quite distant to everyone at the school but when Ayato tries to get close with her and wanting to protect her, she eventually starts to warm up to him.
  • Claudia Enfield – The blonde, buxom, second highest ranking student of Seidoukan Academy and also the Student council President. She tries her best to seduce Ayato.
  • Saya Sasamiya – A childhood friend of Ayato who moved abroad. She is an airhead at times and bad with directions. She is great with weapons and artillery and often gets Julis riled up as Saya prefers Ayato to spend time with her.
  • Kirin Toudou – The top ranking student of Seidoukan Academy. Because Ayato shows kindness to her all the time, she becomes a friend of his. But as she vies for Ayato’s attention, she deals with a demanding and abusive uncle.

VIDEO:

“The Asterisk War” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). There is a lot of detail featured in the art backgrounds, a lot of characters featured and these characters have great detail and shadowing. Colors are absolutely vibrant. There is slight softness, but that is expected with anime TV series. But overall, wonderful animation especially during the action sequences by A-1 Pictures.

I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Asterisk War” is presented in English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0. Both soundtracks are well-acted and are crystal clear through the front channels.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Asterisk War vol. 3” features the following special features:

  • Bonus Preview Episodes – Bonus preview episodes.
  • Web Previews
  • Textless Opening and Ending Song

EXTRAS:

“The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3” comes with a slipcase with package illustration by Tetsuya Kawakami, clear cases with 2-side wraps, six collectible pinup cards, a 40-page deluxe booklet about the characters, sketches and more. Also, a bonus third disc (CD included, Duration: 12:17) featuring “The Asterisk War Soundtrack – Infusion Mix #2” featuring one music track.


As the beginning of the second season of “The Asterisk War” begins in vol. 3, the tournament continues as Ayato and Julis and Saya and Kirin take on their next competitors.

Ayato and Julis must take on Song Ran and Zhou Kunzhan of Jie Long in order to make it to the semi-final.  While Saya and Kirin must take on the robotic duo, AR-D and RM-C in the semifinal.  Meanwhile, Flora has been kidnapped.

A lot has changed since the first season as Ayato and Julis have become partners who trust each other and watch each other’s back, while Saya and Kirin, who seemed like a duo with nothing in common, also have grown as partners.  But both groups must take on their most dangerous rivals yet.

While vol. 3 is more of a tournament-driven, action-packed volume, we do get backstory on Camilla.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the battle progresses as now we head into the final episodes of “The Asterisk War” season two.

As for the animation, as always, A-1 Pictures does a magnificent job with character designs, action sequences and for the most part, background art and lighting effects are well-done.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good for a TV series and features a good stereo solid lossless soundtrack. Which are well-acted for both Japanese soundtracks and the English dub. Special features are your typical previews and opening and ending theme. But you do get slipcase, collectible pin up cards, a third CD with a 13-minute soundtrack and 40-page deluxe booklet. So, there is quite a bit of swag included with “The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3”.

Overall, “The Asterisk War” is action-packed and entertaining as Ayato and Julis, Saya and Kirin must take on their most powerful rivals in the tournament yet as they close in on the semifinals. How will these two fighting duos do in the Phoenix Festa competition? Find out in the exciting, “The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3”. Recommended!

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Moonlight (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Moonlight” is a film that lingers within you, because it captivates you from beginning to end. From the exceptional storyline and the wonderful acting, Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” is deserving of every award it has been nominated for and has won. This film is perfect in many levels may it be in directing, story, cinematography, editing, this is rare. And typically those rare films are often called a “masterpiece”. Director Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” is no doubt a masterpiece! Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Moonlight

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 111 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:39:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R (Some Sexuality, Drug Use, Brief Violence and Language Throughout)

RELEASE DATE: February 28, 2017


Directed by Barry Jenkins

Screenplay by Barry Jenkins

Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Produced by Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

Co-Producer: Andrew Hevia, Veronica Nickel

Executive Producer: Tarell Alvin McCraney, Brad Pitt

Associate Producer: John Montague

Music by Nicholas Britell

Cinematography by James Laxton

Edited by Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders

Casting by Yesi Ramirez

Production Design by Hannah Beachler

Set Decoration by Regina McLarney

Costume Design by Caroline Eselin


Starring:

Ashton Sanders as Chiron

Trevante Rhodes as Black

Alex R. Hibbert as Little

Mahershala Ali as Juan

Shariff Earp as Terrence

Duan Sanderson as Azu

Janelle Monae as Teresa

Naomie Harris as Paula

Jaden Piner as Kevin (9)

Patrick Decile as Terrel

Jharrel Jerome as Kevin (16)

Andre Holland as Kevin

Stephon Bron as Travis


A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. Anchored by extraordinary performances from a tremendous ensemble cast, Moonlight is profoundly moving portrayal of the moments, people, and unknowable forces that shape our lives and make us who we are.


From filmmaker Barry Jenkins (“Medicine for Melancholy”, “My Josephine”) comes his award winning film “Moonlight”.

Nominated for eight Academy Awards and the Golden Globe winner of “Best Motion Picture”, “Moonlight” is based on the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” written by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

The film stars Mahershala Ali (“Luke Cage”, “House of Cards”, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), Janelle Monae (“The Equalizer”, “Friends with Benefits”), Naomie Harris (“Skyfall”, “28 Days Later”, “Spectre”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”), Alex R. Hibbert,  Ashton Sanders (“The Retrieval”), Trevante Rhodes (“Westworld”, “If Loving You is Wrong”), Andre Holland (“42”, “Selma”), Jharrel Jerome and many more.

And now the critically acclaimed “Moonlight” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD.

“Moonlight” revolves around the life of Chiron and is told in three parts.  The first part titled “Little” as a child, the second part titled
“Chiron” as a teenager and the third part titled “Black” as an adult.

Without spoiling too much of the film, the first part begins with introducing us to a young Chiron (portrayed by Alex Hibbert) who lives in a drug infested area of Miami.

Chiron is shy and because he is short (and often called “Little”), he is often targeted by bullies.  Unfortunately for Chiron, because he is often emotionally abused by his druggie mother Paula (portrayed by Naomie Harris), he doesn’t like going back home.

While Chiron is hiding from his bullies, a crack dealer named Juan (portrayed by Mahershala Ali) feels bad for Chiron and takes him to his girlfriend, Teresa’s (portrayed by Janelle Monae) home.

And Juan becomes like a father figure to Chiron.  Chiron is naive about how Juan makes a living and his connection to his mother.

Meanwhile, he befriends a kid named Kevin (portrayed by Jaden Piner) who befriends Chiron and even teaches him how to defend himself.

And as the film progresses, how will life be for the shy and withdrawn Chiron as he gets older, goes to high school and later in adulthood?  Will he still be the target of bullies?  And from the abuse that he endures throughout his life, how will this abuse affect Chiron?

And throughout his life, Chiron tries to learn about his identity in the midst of confusion.


VIDEO:

“Moonlight” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). The film features great detail on closeups but what is striking is the backdrops of Miami.  The cinematography by James Laxton (“Camp X-Ray”, “Yoga Hosers”, “Tusk”) was absolutely wonderful!  And the editing by Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders in coordination with the music by Nicholas Britell was well-done!

The film looks absolutely wonderful in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Moonlight” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  The film is primarily dialogue and music driven.  Dialogue is crystal clear and Nicholas Britell’s (“12 Years a Slave”, “Whiplash”, “The Big Short”) music is an integral part of the film and sounds beautiful.  Surround channels are reserved for ambiance but for the most part, this is a dialogue and music-driven soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Moonlight” comes with the following special features:

  • Ensemble of Emotion: Making Moonlight – (21:36) The cast and crew discuss the story and the casting for “Moonlight”.
  • Poetry Through Collaboration: The Music of Moonlight – (10:06) Composer Nicholas Britell discusses the music featured throughout the film.
  • Cruel Beauty: Filming in Miami – (5:38) A featurette about filming in Miami.
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Moonlight” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


I am a firm believer in movie magic and as a cineaste, you always want to experience a film that is unique, magical but also thought-provoking and stays in your head for hours, days and if it’s that good, it will be a memory that stays within you for a lifetime.

“Moonlight” is an adaptation of a semi-autobiographical play “Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney.  A play written by McCraney to cope with the death of his mother who died of AIDS.  As McCraney shelved the project for over a decade, filmmaker Barry Jenkins was introduced to the work of McCraney through the Borscht arts collective in Miami and it would lead the two to collaborate on a live film adaptation and splitting the story into three chapters.

But most importantly, making sure that the film remains true to McCraney’s personal story of growing up as a homosexual, during a time when being gay was not accepted and people kept their sexual preference as private or people were confused about their identity, that they didn’t know why they were experiencing the same emotions towards the same sex.

And for McClaney and Jenkins, the two came up with a screenplay that both share similar experiences.  Both McCraney and Jenkins had mothers who struggled with drug addiction, both grew up in Liberty Square in Miami and more.

And it’s this collaboration that would prove to be magical because it’s one thing for McCraney to write a story semi-autobiographical play about his life, but for it to be envisioned into a film and having a cinematographer, editor and composer who would utilize their skills to the upmost efficacy, would work wonderfully.

Each actor portraying Chiron in difference ages of his life, performed their roles based on emotion and movement through eyes not just the words.  You feel the anguish, the sadness and the hurt that each of these characters are experiencing.

And the casting was magnificent, but it’s also important to note that filmmaker Barry Jenkins kept the three versions of Chiron from ever meeting and to have a story that plays out in different times of Chiron’s life, watching the film almost felt as you were watching the same character age throughout his life, when in fact, you are watching three actors who were able to make the audience to feel Chiron’s pain, as a child, as a teenager and as an adult.

And without spoiling the film, I’ll just keep it at that.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture and lossless audio are well-done and you get a few special features included as well.

Overall, “Moonlight” is a film that lingers within you, because it captivates you from beginning to end.   From the exceptional storyline and the wonderful acting, Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” is deserving of every award it has been nominated for and has won.  This film is perfect in many levels may it be in directing, story, cinematography, editing, this is rare.  And typically those rare films are often called a “masterpiece”.

Director Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” is no doubt a masterpiece!  Highly recommended!

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Contract to Kill (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Contract to Kill” may please the hardcore Steven Seagal action film fans.  But among the action films which he has starred in recent years, this film is not one of his better ones.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Contract to Kill

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 90 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R

RELEASE DATE: February 28, 2017


Directed by Keoni Waxman

Written by Keoni Waxman

Produced by Binh Dang, Steven Seagal, Keoni Waxman

Executive Producer: Phillip B. Goldfine, Pierre-Andre Rochat

Line Producer: Cristian Bostanescu

Music by Michael Richard Plowman

Cinematography by Trevor Mirosh

Edited by Trevor Mirosh

Casting by Dominica Circiumaru, Gillian Hawser

Production Design by Dan Toader

Set Decoration by Alina Pentac

Costume Design by Oana Draghici


Starring:

Steven Seagal as John Harmon

Russell Wong as Matthew Sharp

Jemma Dallender as Zara Hayek

Mircea Drambareanu as Jose Rivera

Sergiu Costache as Ayan Al-Mujahid

Ghassan Bouz as Abdul Rauf


When the CIA stumbles upon evidence that a dangerous group of extremists is planning to join forces with a drug cartel, CIA operative John Harmon assembles a high-tech team to turn the two groups against each other in an explosive confrontation.


Producer Keoni Waxman has collaborated with action star Steven Seagal for several films and a TV series such as “True Justice” and “Mercenary: Absolution”.

And this time around, Waxman has directed and written Seagal’s latest action film “Contract to Kill”.

The film along with Steven Seagal, also stars Russell Wong (“Romeo Must Die”, “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”) and Jemma Dallender (“I Spit on Your Grave 2”, “The Mirror”, “Community”).

And the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 2017.

Steven Seagal plays the role of John Harmon, a former CIA agent and now a retired mechanic who is called back into service by the C.I.A. to perform an assassination on a criminal kingpin.

Because of the high stakes involved, John requests a team with two other people.  Agent Zara Hayek (portrayed by Jemma Dallender), who was trained by Harmon and had a romantic relationship with him, is his weapons expert.  While Matthew Sharp (portrayed by Russell Wong) is a communications hacker, drone specialist and martial arts expert.

The three go to Istanbul to uncover a brutal plot of Islamic extremists using Sonora drug-smuggling routes to bring in deadly weapons and their leaders into the United States.

How can Harmon take these criminal organizations down?  And is someone leaking information to the enemies before Harmon can get to him?  Is it one of his team members?  Can anyone be trusted?


VIDEO:

“Contract to Kill” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). The film features great detail on closeups but special effects, such as one scene involving kids watching a plane blow up, the quality of the visual effects was quite lacking.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Contract to Kill” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. There are action scenes that are utilized by the surround channels but for the most part, this film is driven by ambiance or police chasing down the criminals.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Contract to Kill” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of Contract to Kill – (14:46) The cast and crew discuss working on the film.
  • Contract to Kill Trailer

EXTRAS:

“Contract to Kill” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


From filmmaker, writer and producer Keoni Waxman comes his action film “Contract to Kill”, as a former CIA/DEA operative named Jonathan Harmon is investigating terrorists that were captured in Mexico.  As Harmon is joined by two people, FBI Agent Zara and communications hacker/drone specialist Sharp, the three go to Istanbul to uncover a brutal plot of Islamic extremists using Sonora drug-smuggling routes to bring in deadly weapons and their leaders into the United States.

But to prevent an attack on America, Harmon comes up with an idea to have two savage forces to go against each other and waiting for the best moment for him and his team to attack.

I pretty much grew up watching Steven Seagal action films and while the Steven Seagal of the past is a much different man of the Steven Seagal of today, with his most recent films, the 2016 action film “Code of Honor” is one of his better films showcasing the actor.

Finding the better shots but also cast members that can help in carrying the film.

I tend to compare Seagal with WWE’s Hulk Hogan. Coming back as a wrestler in his 50’s at the time and taking on his younger counterparts such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and a few others.  And each time Hulk Hogan returns, now knowing he is in his ’60s, knowing he can still kick a lot of butt but you know deep inside, he’s not the same man that we watched when he was in his ’20s.  He’s not as quick, he’s not the same physically, but yet he has that presence and charisma that people still root for him.

In other words, he has created a legacy built from his earlier and successful years and has carried it on to the present time.

Watching Steven Seagal in “Contract to Kill”, you’re watching a man who has few lines, speaks very slow and not the same quick action star we once knew and we know he can dish it, we know he can still be portrayed to kick extreme ass and the body count of enemies still remains high in his films.

But yet, like his counterparts such as Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Jackie Chan, these are men are in their ’60s and ’70s but action film fans still want to see them kick ass.

As I watched “Contract to Kill”, we can see Seagal leading a team but to remain the nimble action star, the older action star making love to his young co-actress, the film didn’t work for me because situations seemed quite implausible.

One of my worst pet peeves when it comes to action films is seeing people hit and yet there are no bruising, no blood, nothing to show that they’ve been beaten.  Yet, we see actress Jemma Dallender’s character of Zaya, still looking beautiful with no sign of facial trauma. And despite being trained by the best, she ends up being a damsel in distress.

And I suppose there are other things about the film that didn’t work for me in terms of editing and flow, but in the end, Steven Seagal direct-to-video films are popcorn action films that are never expected to be deep.  If anything, they are action films mean to entertain and show us that Seagal can still kick ass.

As for the Blu-ray, “Contract to Kill” comes with a few special features and the enthusiasm behind-the-scenes with the actors working on the film. discussing working on an action film.

Overall, “Contract to Kill” may please the hardcore Steven Seagal action film fans.  But among the action films which he has starred in recent years, this film is not one of his better ones.

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Tresspass Against Us (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Tresspass Against Us” features a wonderful performance by Michael Fassbender and child actor Georgie Smith. But as far as the film goes, “Tresspass Against Us” is a film that no doubt had its entertaining moments.  But in the end, the film has its share of storyline continuity problems in which some scenes were rather ineffective and also issues with the lack of character development.  Still, the film had some redeeming factors that may make one interested in giving the film a try.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Tresspass Against Us

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 100 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:39:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R (Pervasive Language, Some Disturbing Behavior and Brief Graphic Nudity)

RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2017


Directed by Adam Smith

Written by Alastair Siddons

Produced by Andrea Calderwood, Gail Egan, Alastair Siddons

Executive Producer: Joshua Astrachan, Rose Garnett, Frederick W. Green, Peter Hampden, Phil Hunt, Norman Merry, Compton Ross

Associate Producer: Joe Wheatley

Music by The Chemical Brothers

Cinematography by Eduard Grau

Edited by Kristina Hethrington, Jake Roberts

Casting by Shaheen Baig

Production Design by Nick Palmer

Art Direction by Andrea Matheson

Set Decoration by  Sophie Phillips

Costume Design by Suzanne Cave


Starring:

Michael Fassbender as Chad Cutler

Brendan Gleeson as Colby Cutler

Lyndsey Marshal as Kelly Cutler

Georgie Smith as Tyson Cutler

Rory Kinnear as P.C. Lovage

Killian Scott as Kenny

Sean Harris as Gordon Bennett

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Sampson

Kacie Anderson as Mini Cutler

Gerard Kearns as Lester

Tony Way as Norman

Barry Keoghan as Windows

Ezra Khan as Jamail

Alan Williams as Noah


Academy Award® nominee Michael Fassbender stars as the conflicted yet loyal son unable to escape from the crime empire led by his father, Golden Globe® nominee Brendan Gleeson.


From filmmaker Adam Smith (“The Chemical Brothers: Don’t Think”, “Desire”, “Dr. Who”) comes his latest British-American film “Tresspass Against Us”.

Written by Alastair Siddons (“In the Dark Half”, “Inside Out”), the film stars Michael Fassbender (“Prometheus”, “Inglorious Basterds”, “X-Men: Days of Future Pass”, “X-Men: First Class”), Brendan Gleeson (“Edge of Tomorrow”, “Gangs of New York”, “Troy,”, “Braveheart”), Lyndsey Marshal (“The Hours”, “Festival”, “A Short Stay in Switzerland”, “Hereafter”), Rory Kinnear (“The Imitation Game”, “Skyfall”, “Spectre”) and young actor Georgie Smith.

“Tresspass Against Us” revolves around Chad (portrayed by Michael Fassbender), his wife Kelly (portrayed by Lyndsey Marshal) and his three children,which include eldest son, Tyson (portrayed by Georgie Smith).

Chad lives in a trailer park community (with mostly Irish travelers) in which his father Colby (portrayed by Brendan Gleeson) is the criminal ringleader who organizes heists involving others living in the community.

But Chad doesn’t like the toll its taking on his family and would prefer to leave the criminal world, so his children could get a proper education and not grow up in the trailerpark community living poor and a life of crime. Because Chad grew up illiterate, and sick of the life that he and his family have, he is wanting out of the group.

His father Colby knows nothing about life outside the trailer park and has his own belief of religion and education.  And Chad and his wife know that the more Tyson stays around Colby and others in the trailer park, he will more than likely become a criminal like him?

But would it be easy for Chad and his family to leave the life they have ever known?

Meanwhile, Colby has everyone working on a major heist?  But what happens when all things go wrong?


VIDEO:

“Tresspass Against Us” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). The film features great detail on closeups and retains its grain.  For the most part, picture quality for the film is very good.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Tresspass Against Us” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Dialogue and The Chemical Brothers musical score is crystal clear. There are action scenes that are utilized by the surround channels but for the most part, this film is driven by ambiance or police chasing down the criminals.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Tresspass Against Us” comes with the following special features:

      • On the Set of Tresspass Against Us – (21:54) The cast and crew discuss their work on the film and working with cast members, including the child talents.
      • Heartfelt: Director Adam Smith on The Chemical Brothers – (4:47) Director Adam Smith talks about his long working relationship with The Chemical Brothers and working with them on “Tresspass Against Us”.

EXTRAS:

“Tresspass Against Us” comes with an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


There are always people who grew up uneducated and living a life of poverty that want to become a better person, to go back to school and get their degrees in hopes they will not live the life that they or their parents or ancestors had lived.

“Tresspass Against Us” is a straightforward film about a father/husband named Chad who is starting to want out of the trailer park community full of Irish criminals led by his father, Colby.  For the sake that his family can live a decent life and their children become educated and not living a life of crime.

Chad has always been wrapped around his father’s finger, whatever his father wants, he expects Chad to do it.  And while it seems that no matter how bad things get, despite wanting to stand up for himself and his family and wanting to become more defiant against his father and leave the life they only know for a better one.

Being illiterate, Chad wants his children to become educated and leave the community but also to leave his father.  But unfortunately, Chad’s oldest son Tyson appears to have more love of their current life and often listens to their grandfather.  A man who likes telling tall-tales and giving his own opinion about the education system and more.

To be truthful, one of the film’s problems is that these characters are not likeable and very messed up.

Sure, they are the product of their environment and could they escape that environment and start over in another area?  Or once a riff raff, always a riff raff?

While the film tries to make Chad’s father, Colby the antagonist of the film, the film starts to change when it becomes a heist film and the cops want nothing more but to bust Chad and the criminals in the trailerpark community.  They just need the evidence to bust them all.  And so for these community of thieves, they find themselves as targets by the police.

For a film to be enjoyable, one should enjoy the characters and its storyline.  I felt that Michael Fassbender and youngster Georgie Smith had great chemistry as father and son on the big screen.  Georgie manages to have the pottymouth like the other travelers and you can’t help but enjoy those moments shared between father and son.

But as much as I enjoyed the film, the film lacks in character development and substance.  Enjoyable as the movie is, it’s not a film that I would want to watch for a second or third time.

The picture quality for the film is very good, as with the lossless audio and you do get a few special features included on Blu-ray.

Overall, “Tresspass Against Us” features a wonderful performance by Michael Fassbender and child actor Georgie Smith. But as far as the film goes, “Tresspass Against Us” is a film that no doubt had its entertaining moments.  But in the end, the film has its share of storyline continuity problems in which some scenes were rather ineffective and also issues with the lack of character development.  Still, the film had some redeeming factors that may make one interested in giving the film a try.

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Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Edition” is a film that gets better with age.  I came onto watching this film for the first time in over 25-years and realized for the first time about how awesome the casting, the writing and choreography was for the entire film.  And the fact that the 30th Anniversary Blu-ray release is jammed with over six hours of special features and comes with a 7.1 lossless soundtrack makes this Blu-ray release worth owning!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Edition

FILM RELEASE: 1987

DURATION: 101 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: PG-13

RELEASE DATE: February 7, 2017


Directed by Emile Ardolino

Written by Eleanor Bergstein

Produced by Linda Gottlieb

Co-Producer: Eleanor Bergstein

Executive Producer: Mitchell Cannold, Steven Reuther

Associate Producer: Doro Bachrach

Music by John Morris

Cinematography by Jeff Jur

Edited by Peter C. Frank

Casting by Bonnie Timmermann

Production Design by David Chapman

Art Direction by Mark Haack, Stephen J. Lineweaver

Set Decoration by Clay A. Griffith

Costume Design by Hilary Rosenfield


Starring:

Jennifer Grey as Baby Houseman

Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle

Jerry Orbach as Jake Houseman

Cynthia Rhodes as Penny Johnson

Jack Weston as Max Kellerman

Jane Brucker as Lisa Houseman

Kelly Bishop as Marjorie houseman

Lonny Price as Neil Kellerman

Max Cantor as Robbie Gould

Charlie “Honi” Coles as Tito Suarez

Neal Jones as Billy Kostecki


In the summer of 1963, innocent 17-year-old Baby (Jennifer Grey) vacations with her parents at a Catskills resort. One evening, she is drawn to the staff quarters by stirring music, and there she meets Johnny (Patrick Swayze), the hotel dance instructor, who is as experienced as Baby is naive. She soon becomes Johnny’s pupil in dance and love.


In 1987, a low-budget film titled “Dirty Dancing” directed by Emile Ardolino (“Sister Act”, “Three Men and a Little Lady”, “Chances Are”) and a screenplay written by Eleanor Bergstein (“It’s My Turn”, “Let it Be Me”) would become a massive box office hit earning over $214 million worldwie.

The film would catapult the careers of unknown actors Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey (both starred in the 1984 film, “Red Dawn”) and “Dirty Dancing” would be the first film to sell more than a million copies on home video and its soundtrack would generate two multi-platinum albums and multiple singles with “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” winning an Academy Award for “Best Original Song” and a Grammy for “Best Duet”.

And with the 30th Anniversary of “Dirty Dancing”, Lionsgate will be releasing a 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition and normal Blu-ray release.

“Dirty Dancing” is set during the summer of 1963 and revolves around the Houseman family visiting the Kellerman resort in the Catskill Mountains.

Frances “Baby” Houseman (portrayed by Jennifer Grey) is a 17-year-old high school graduate who plans to attend the Mount Holyoke College to study economics in underdeveloped countries and then enter the Peace Corps.

Baby’s father, Jake (portrayed by Jerry Orbach) is a doctor and friend of Max Kellerman (portrayed by Jack Weston), the resort proprietor.

Bored at the resort, Baby meets Max’s grandson Neil (portrayed by Lonny Price) and immediately she is becomes smitten with the resort’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle (portrayed by Patrick Swayze).

Johnny is from the other side of the tracks.  He is the leader of the working-class entertainment staff and is often dancing with his dance partner, Penny Johnson (portrayed by Cynthia Rhodes).

When Johnny’s cousin Billy needs to deliver watermelons to the the staff quarters, Baby volunteers and she watches Johnny and Penny doing a dance that she has never seen before, “dirty dancing”.

When Penny finds out that she is pregnant by Robbie Gould (portrayed by Max Cantor), who is a womanizing waiter and is cheating on her and dating Baby’s older sister, Lisa (portrayed by Jane Brucker) and other female guests, Penny wants to get an abortion but doesn’t have the money.

for the time being, Johnny needs a new female partner as another nearby resort is having a performance week.  So, Baby volunteers.

But will Baby learn how to learn how to dance and learn the “dirty dancing” moves along with Johnny?  And what happens when these two get closer to each other?


VIDEO:

“Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). For a 30-year-old film, it’s important to remind everyone that they shouldn’t expect the best HD presentation for an older film, especially for ’80s films as it seems there are quite a number of films that have received a good dose of DNR (digital noise reduction).  The good news is that “Dirty Dancing” retains its grain structure and the film looks very good in HD.  An improvement for those who love the film and own it on DVD, you’ll definitely want to upgrade.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Edition” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX Auio. Dialogue and musical score is crystal clear.  With the 7.1 lossless soundtrack, great use of music and ambiance through the surround channels.  But I absolutely applaud Lionsgate for including a 7.1 soundtrack on this Blu-ray release.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary” comes with the following special features:

      • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with writer/co-producer Eleanor Bergstein
      • Audio commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Kenny Ortega, Miranda Garrson, Jeff Jur, Hilary Rosenfeld and David Chapman.
      • Happy Birthday, Dirty Dancing – (29:17) Celebrities and those in the entertainment industry discuss the 30th anniversary of “Dirty Dancing”.
      • Patrick Swayze: In His Own Words – (12:52) Patrick Swayze talks about dancing, performing and working on the film.
      • Eleanor Bergstein – Thoughts on a Lifetime of Dirty Dancing – (6:40) Eleanor Bergstein discusses her memories of the filming of “Dirty Dancing” and its enduring popularity.
      • Patrick Swayze Uncut – (13:22) From the last interview with Patrick Swayze about “Dirty Dancing” before his death.
      • Dirty Dancing: The Phenomenon – (13:44) The popularity of “Dirty Dancing” and how well the film did for its premiere and how a low-budget film became a phenomenon.
      • The Rhythm of the Dancing – (4:08) The cast discusses the soundtrack for the film.  Patrick Swayze discusses writing and doing the music for “She’s Like the Wind” and how it got into the movie and more.
      • Hungry Eyes Music Video – Featuring Eric Carmen’s music video.
      • She’s Like the Wind Music Video – Featuring Patrick Swayze’s music video.
      • (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life Music Video – Featuring Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes music video.
      • Cast Interviews: Jennifer Grey – (11:14) Interview with actress Jennifer Grey.
      • Cast Interviews: Eleanor Bergstein – (18:35) Interview with writer/co-producer Eleanor Bergstein.
      • Cast Interviews: Miranda Garrison – (16:12) Interview with assistant choreographer Miranda Garrison (who also played the role of Vivian).
      • Cast Interviews: Kenny Ortega – (15:23) Interview with choreographer Kenny Ortega.
      • Deleted Scenes – Featuring eleven deleted scenes.
      • Extended Scenes – Featuring seven extended scenes.
      • Alternate Scenes – Featuring three alternate scenes.
      • Jennifer Grey Screen Test comparisons – Featuring two screen test comparisons: Baby Blackmails Lista and Baby Confronts Dad + Extended Scenes
      • Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey Screen Test Montage – (1:10) Dirty Dancing test montage with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.
      • Outtakes – (:37) Outtakes from “Dirty Dancing”.

EXTRAS:

“Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Edition” comes with a DVD version of the film and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


I don’t think it’s necessary to discuss how much a phenomenon “Dirty Dancing” was back in the ’80s.  Popular film, popular musical soundtrack and a film that is an excellent case of a film that didn’t require much money to create, nor did it need all-star talent.

If anything, director Emile Ardolino and writer Eleanor Bergstein were able to create a film that resonates strongly, emotionally, visually with the audience.  But also a film that has people wanting to get up and dance and sing a long to its musical soundtrack.

And the casting of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey was absolutely perfect!

This is an example of movie magic where everything came together and now, “Dirty Dancing” is considered a classic.

And now, here we are 30-years later and I’m watching the film for the first time probably over 25-years.

I was only a young teen but my memories of the film are easy to remember.  Watching the film over and over as it was shown on cable, hearing the music play over and over on the radio but most of all, remembering as a teenager and seeing two of my favorite characters from “Red Dawn” appearing together in another film.

And to see how their careers would blossom after this film finished its run.  Patrick Swayze became a household name and he would return in two other hit films “Ghost” (1990) and “Point Break” (1991), Jennifer Grey would take on more TV films and would appear on television series, while Broadway legend Jerry Orbach would become a familiar face on the drama show “Law & Order”.

If anything, this film would become part of that ’80s allure.  The film was bold for its time, while today, the type of dirty dancing has evolved for today’s modern generation. Sexy dancing doesn’t have the same mystique now as it did back in the ’80s.

And last but not least, there have been several times when I rewatch an ’80s film and question myself of why did I like it then but didn’t like it now.  “Dirty Dancing” was a film (and its musical soundtrack) that became too much overkill and I literally strayed away from watching the film again until now.

Watching “Dirty Dancing” again 30-years  later, I felt I appreciated the film so much more now, than I did as a teenager.  The attention the film had towards choreography and even the small moments featuring Baby dancing by herself and later with Johnny, seeing her improve as a dancer but also seeing this undeniable chemistry between the two actors onscreen.

The 30th Anniversary Blu-ray release comes with a wonderful limited edition set but this normal version that I’m reviewing is no slouch as it features over six hours of extras.  I was impressed by the number of special features included on the 30th Anniversary Blu-ray release and found the commentary and features to be quite entertaining.

Overall, “Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Edition” is a film that gets better with age.  I came onto watching this film for the first time in over 25-years and realized for the first time about how awesome the casting, the writing and choreography was for the entire film.  And the fact that the 30th Anniversary Blu-ray release is jammed with over six hours of special features and comes with a 7.1 lossless soundtrack makes this Blu-ray release worth owning!

Recommended!

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Fairy Tail vol. 22 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fairy Tail” vol. 22 is an action-packed storyline concluding the Tartaros Arc which features several deaths and a lot of destruction. And the Fairy Tail guild will never be the same.  A fantastic conclusion for season seven!  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2016 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Fairy Tail Vol. 21

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 253-265) 325 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English DolbyTrue HD 5.1, Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation

Release Date: December 6, 2016


Originally created by Hiro Mashima

Directed by Shinji Ishihara

Script by Atsuhiro Tomikoa, Fumihiko Shimo, Masashi Sogo, Shoji Yonemura

Music by Yasuharu Takanashi

Character Design by Aoi Yamamoto

Art Director: Junko Shimizu

Chief Animation Director: Takao Sano

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures, Satelight


Featuring the following voice talent:

Aya Hirano/Cherami Leigh as Lucy Heartfilia

Tetsuya Kakihara/Todd Haberkorn as Natsu Dragneel

Rie Kugimiya/Tia Ballard as Happy

Sayaka Ohara/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Erza Scarlet

Yūichi Nakamura/Newton Pittman as Gray Fullbuster

Shinichi Kotani/R. Bruce Elliot as Makarov

Akira Ishida as Zeref

Daisuke Kishio/Eric Vale as Loki/Loke

Daisuke Namikawa as Jeral/Mystogan

Eri Kitamura/Jamie Marchi as Kana Alberona

Hiroki Touchi as Pantherlily

Hiroki Yasumoto as Elfman

Kazuhiko Inoue as Gildarts Clive

Mai Nakahara as Juvia Loxar

Mariya Ise as Levi Macgarden

Miyuki Sawashiro/Lydia Mackay as Ultear Milkovich

Ryoko Ono/Monica Rial as Mirajane

Satomi Satou as Wendy

Sayaka Narita as Aries

Wataru Hatano as Gajeel Redfox

Yui Horie as Charle


With the battle of Tartaros still raging on, the wizards of Fairy Tail may have finally met their match. The threat of three thousand Faces hangs over them, and the power of the Demon Gates takes their breath away when they reveal their true Etherious Forms.

Right when things begin to look up, an even bigger threat appears Acnologia! Beaten and exhausted, can the wizards find the strength to take on Tartaros and this monstrous dragon? When the fire inside Natsu erupts, he will have a startling and unexpected reunion. But the time for catching up and seeking answers will have to wait E.N.D. and the ready-to-detonate Faces are moments from destroying the magical world as they know it!

The final battle for the magical world happens now!


The seventh season of “Fairy Tail” concludes with a devastating finale.

Gray confronts his father Silver, who reveals that he is a corpse that was brought back to life by Keyes’ necromancy curse and he desperately wants his son to kill him, but can Gray do it?

Meanwhile, the search is over for Natsu as his father, the dragon Igneel has returned, as does Mard Geer and Acnologia who intends to wreak destruction on the world.

Erza takes on Kyoka in a battle to the death.

Who will die?  Who will survive?

Find out in the final episodes of the “Tarturos Arc”.  All this and more in vol. 22 of “Fairy Tail” (episodes 253-265) available now on Blu-ray + DVD combo pack from FUNimation.

What is “Fairy Tail”?

For those who are not familiar with “Fairy Tail”, let’s just say that it’s one of the most exciting, long running anime magic/adventure series to be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

In Japan, “Fairy Tail” is a manga series which began in 2006 and was created by mangaka Hiro Mashima (known for his manga series “Rave Master”). Featured in Weekly Shonen Magazine, the manga series is still ongoing, meanwhile an anime adaptation of the manga series was created in 2009 produced by A-Pictures and Satelight. And similar to the manga series, is also ongoing!

With the 22nd Blu-ray release of “Fairy Tail”, this latest volume features episodes 253-265.

The anime series is directed by Shinji Ishihara (“Aoi Kokuhaku”, “Tenbatsu Angel Rabbie”, “Tokyo Majin” and is written by Masashi Sogo (“Bleach”, “Yukikaze”, “Hunter x Hunter”). The anime series features character design by Aoi Yamamoto, art direction by Junko Shimizu (“Midori Days, “Blue Dragon”, “Trinity Blood”) and music by Yasuharu Takanashi (“Naruto Shippuden”, “Hell Girl”, “Gantz”, Ikki Tosen”).

A Quick Summary of what “Fairy Tail” is about?:

“Fairy Tail” revolves around a 17-year-old celestial wizard named Lucy Heartfilia who dreams of joining a sorcerer guild known as Fairy Tail, a group known and feared for the destruction they cause. One day, she runs into Natsu Dragneel, a guy who is traveling to the land of Fiore along with his partner Happy (a talking blue cat with wings) who is searching for his foster parent, a dragon named Igneel who has disappeared.

While traveling to Fiore, both Lucy and Natsu encounter a sorcerer claiming to be the famous Salamander of Fairy Tail. Natsu is the first to object that the man is a phony but the fans of Salamander are dismayed by Natsu’s comments and beat him up, meanwhile Lucy finds out that this fake Salamander is using his sorcerer abilities to make young women fall for him.

As Lucy tries to show her gratitude to Natsu for breaking the spell that would have otherwise have hypnotized Lucy, the two become friends.

But when the fake Salamander tells Lucy that he would get her into Fairy Tail, she knows he is a fake but any chance of getting to join the guild would make her dream come true, so she decides to visit him.

But it’s all a ruse and the fake Salamander is just trying to find female slaves and because he is so powerful, Lucy does not have the magic necessary to beat him. But coming to Lucy’s rescue is Natsu, who is revealed to be a true member of Fairy Tail and also revealed to be the true “Salamander”. And he easily beats the fake Salamander up.

When Natsu discovers that Lucy’s dream is to become a Fairy Tail member, he asks her to join him and he can help her get into the guild and from that moment on, Lucy becomes Natsu’s partner in various Fairy Tail guild missions and for each mission they beat, the more income they make.

And more money means more keys to gain more powers, which would help Lucy become a powerful celestial wizard!

And together, Natsu and Lucy develop a wonderful friendship as they grow as partners but also a guild members with their other teammates.


“Fairy Tail” Vol. 22 features the following characters:

  • Natsu Dragneel – Also known as “Salamander”, Natsu is a kindhearted, always hungry wizard who travels with his partner Happy in search of Igneel, a dragon who raised Natsu but is now missing. Natsu is a dragon slayer and a wizard who can perform “Lost Magic and can have physical properties of a dragon. He specializes in Fire Dragon Slayer Magic which allows him to breath fire and ingest fire as a form of nourishment.
  • Lucy Heartfilia – A celestial wizard who can summon contracted spirits (with special abilities) through a set of keys known as Gatekeys. She treats these spirits as friends. Her dream is to join Fairy Tail and through meeting Natsu, now her dream can come true.
  • Happy – A blue cat with wings and a best friend to Natsu. He can fly and can carry a person while flying. He is also known to irritate Lucy.
  • Gray Fullbuster – A powerful wizard of Fairy Tail and the opposite of Natsu, in that he has control of ice. Gray has the power of Ice Make which can make him create weapons or anything out of ice. He was raised by the wizard Ur. He also has a bad habit of taking of all his clothes without realizing it.
  • Erza Scarlet – An S-Class wizard (high-ranked) and is the most powerful member of the Fairy Tail guild. She has magic known as “The Knight” which allows her to summon and equip weapons and armor and also has the ability to resist magic attacks. She is feared by others because of her lack of compassion.
  • Mirajane – A 19-year-old S-Class wizard who is the cover girl of Sorcerer’s Weekly magazine and helps Lucy understand what is happening with the members of the Fairy Tail guild. She has the ability to change her appearance to something she previously encountered.
  • Cana Alberona – A short-tempered heaving drinking woman. She uses card magic to cast her spells.
  • Elfman – Mirajane’s younger brother who is known for his physical strength. He can absorb the power of any monster he defeats.
  • Loke – A flirtatious wizard who is often seen in the company of many women.
  • Makarov Dreyer – The elder master of Fairy Tail. He is constantly busy because of his guild members becoming too violent.
  • Juvia Lockser – Originally a member of the Phantom Lord Guild and now a member of Fairy Tail and is obsessed with Gray.
  • Gajeel Redfox – Originally a member of the Phantom Lord Guild, Gajeel is similar to Natsu in the fact that he is a Dragon Slayer raised by the dragon Metalicana. He can transform his body into metal weapons.
  • Jellal Fernandes – A former child slave that grew up with Erza Scarlet. Thought to be dead, he is found by Oracion Seis and revived by Wendy Marvell and is being used to find the destructive spell known as Nirvana.
  • Wendy Marvell – A female Dragon Slayer who is accompanied by her Exceed partner Carla. A master of Sky Dragon Slayer magic, she can heal injuries. She becomes an ally of Fairy Tail.

VIDEO:

“Fairy Tail” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1). It’s important to note that this is a anime TV series, not a film or an OVA and is a weekly anime series. What that means is A-1 Pictures and Satelight, have their hands full, especially if they have other TV series to work on that week. Typically a lot of anime series are quickly done in order to make it by their weekly deadline and sometimes, they are done the day of deadline. So, production values for TV series are typically not that high if they are working on multiple series.

Fortunately A-1 Pictures has become one of the newer studios that have been doing production for quite a number of popular hit series such as “Blue Exorcist” and “Big Windup!” and Satelight does a lot of the in-between animation. So, while they are a smaller, growing company, they are not overburdened as other studios and that means, more time dedicated to the anime series.

“Fairy Tail” features cool production value. A lot of detailed artwork, because of the many adventures, you get so many locations and not the typical regurgitated scenery.

There is a lot of detail featured in the art backgrounds, a lot of characters featured and these characters have great detail and shadowing. Colors are absolutely vibrant, black levels are deep. I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release. If anything, the Blu-ray really brings out the details and colors of the series and looks fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fairy Tail” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Dialogue and music is clear through the front channels for the lossless stereo soundtrack but because the English is 5.1, there is better use of the surround channels.

In fact, I found myself listening to the English dub track for “Fairy Tail” much more than the Japanese soundtrack because of the 5.1 but also, FUNimation did a magnificent job with the casting of this series. I was very pleased especially with the casting of Lucy, Natsu, Happy, Grey and Erza and for the most part, I think whichever you prefer, you will be pleased with Japanese and English audio tracks.

But for the most part, for a TV series, lossless audio is crystal clear and while not the most immersive soundtrack (which I typically don’t expect TV series to boast incredible immersive lossless soundtracks, unlike a film or OVA series), “Fairy Tail” does sound very good on Blu-ray!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fairy Tail” vol. 22 features the following special features:

  • Episode 253 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer/Adapted Script Writer) with voice actor Newton Pittman (voice of Gray).
  • Episode 258 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer/Adapted Script Writer) with Vic Mignogna (voice of Mard Geer) and Janelle Lutz (voice of Kyoka).
  • Fairy Tail in the Booth: Sting, Rogue and Mard Geer – (3:05) Featuring the behind-the-scenes in the studio showcasing the voice actors for Sting, Rogue and Mard Geer.
  • Textless Opening Song: “Believe in Myself”
  • Textless Closing Song: “Azayakana Tabiji”
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer for “Fairy Tail”
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

EXTRAS:

“Fairy Tail” vol. 22 Blu-ray also comes with both a Blu-ray and DVD version.


With the seventh season “Fairy Tail” and the final “Tartaros” arc coming to a close, we have watched as the dark guild of Zeref’s demons are trying to resurrect their master and Zeref’s ultimate creation, E.N.D.!

In the early part of the “Tartaros Arc”, as the Magic Council discusses Tartaros recent activity and the decrease in dark guilds, Jackal of the Nine Demon Gates infiltrates the meeting and destroys the building the council are meeting at and everyone is killed including Lahar.

News of the Magic Council’s assassination spreads throughout the villages and Doranbolt, who is one of the few survivors from the attack, goes to the dungeon to extract information on Tartaros. And more members of the Nine Demon Gates continue their attacks leading to more deaths.

While this latest volume is probably one of the darkest story plots of “Fairy Tail” prior to the “Tartaros Arc” is a storyline that features the demons of Tartaros planning to destroy Fairy Tail. And with a few of the primary characters escaping, it places each character in danger and fighting their most difficult battle yet.

In this latest 22nd volume, the battles continue as Natsu and Gajeel take on Torafuzar and Tempester, Erza takes on the final Demon Gate Kyoka, but just when all battles reach its peak, Acnolgia shows up out of nowhere and wreaks destruction in the area.

But coming to the defense of the guilds is the one dragon that Natsu has looked for, his fire dragon father Igneel.  And to make things worse, Mard Geer steals the book of the E.N.D.

Needless to say, this is a tragic arc with many deaths and something that will change the course of the Fairy Tail guild.

And what’s shocking is that we have seen the Fairy Tail guild take on powerful foes, nearly lose but are able to overcome their challenges.  But can this latest challenge be too much for them?

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good for a TV series and features a good solid lossless soundtrack. It’s important to emphasize that this is a TV series and not a film or OVA, thus the production quality of animated TV shows tend to be lower (and created in a short time) than a film/OVA, so there is a bit of softness and shadowing and detail are not utilized a lot for this series.

As for special features, you do get the English voice actors providing commentary for two episodes and also get to see a short video clip of a few voice talents recording their scene.

Overall, “Fairy Tail” vol. 22 is an action-packed storyline concluding the Tartaros Arc which features several deaths and a lot of destruction. And the Fairy Tail guild will never be the same.  A fantastic conclusion for season seven!  Recommended!

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God Eater Vol. 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“God Eater” is a wonderful action-packed series that is more on the deeper, violent side of anime series showcasing an apocalyptic setting. Humanity has nearly been obliterated by monstrous Aragami and only a small group of God Eaters, wielding aragami-derived weapons known as God Arc can fight back. But it’s these mysterious New Types that can wield the God Arcs to amazing weapons that may give humanity a chance. A thrilling, action-packed anime series so far, “God Eater” vol. 1 and 2 are highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © BNEI/PROJECT G.E. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: God Eater Vol. 2

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: Episode 8-13 (141 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese & English Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: January 31, 2017


Director: Takayuki Hirao

Script by Kei Tsunematsu, Takayuki Hirao

Music by Go Shiina

Original Character Design by Koichi Itakura

Character Design by Keita Shimizu

Art Director: Masaru Yanaka

Anime Production: ufotable


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ryūichi Kijima/Robbie Daymond as Lenka Utsugi

Atsuko Tanaka/Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Tsubaki Amamiya

Chiaki Omigawa as Licca Kusunoki

Daisuke Sakaguchi/Lucien Dodge as Kōta Fujiki

Hiroaki Hirata/Kyle Hebert as Lindow Amamiya

Kanae Itō/Erika Harlacher as Hibari Takeda

Kazuya Nakai/Crispin Freeman as Soma Schicksal

Maaya Sakamoto/Cherami Leigh as Alisa Illinichina Amiella

Rica Fukami/Wendee Lee as Aisha Gauche

Rikiya Koyama/Spike Spencer as Johannes von Schicksal

Sayaka Ohara as Sakuya

Taiten Kusunoki as Paylor Sakaki

Tomohisa Asou as Daigo Oguruma


After the previous encounter with Dyaus Pita that left them both physically and mentally scarred, Lenka and Alisa both return to the base. Feeling there might be a correlation with the Aragami’s behaviors, Lindow decides to go off the reservation and investigate the truth behind the “Aegis Project.” At the same time, Director Johannes Von Schicksal announces the plan to accelerate the completion of the Aegis Project through Operation Meteorite – a means to wipe out a large amount of Aragami and receive their cores.

With newfound resolve, Lenka returns to the battlefield with his new God Arc, designed by Dr. Paylor Sakaki. However, when Lenka is reunited with his teammates, what awaits them is a twisted fate, and the aura of despair brought on by the black Vajra…

The epic conclusion to the anime series based on the best-selling video game God Eater by Bandai Namco Entertainment!


How does the past affect the present?

In the second half of “God Eater”, we learn how Johannes, Sakaki and Aisha were experimenting with the Managam Project and the gathering of Oracle Cells began and how the first Aragami emerged.

And how Lenka’s heightened compatibility is caused by God Arc’s Oracle cells invading his body, but when he uses this power, it may lead quickly to an earlier death the more he uses his God Arc.

Also, the tragic past of Lenka is revealed.  And Lenka and friends must take on Pita.

All this and more in conclusion to the first season of “God Eater”!

What is “God Eater” about?

In 2010, “God Eater”, a sci-fi adventure video game series developed by Shift and published by Bandai Namco was released in the U.S. for the Sony PSP.

Since then, several “God Eater” video games have been released and in 2015, an anime series created by ufotable aired on television in July 2015.

The series is directed by Takayuki Hirao (“Death Note”, “Garden of Sinners”, “Magical Sisters Yoyo & Nene”), script by Takayuki Hirao (“Magicl Sisters Yoyo & Nene”, “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack”) and, character design by Keita Shimizu (“ef: a tale of memories”, “REC”, “Negima!?”), art direction by Masaru Yanaka (“Ghost Hunt”, “Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~”, “Samurai Girls”) and music by Go Shiina (“Kyousougiga”, “Tales of Zestiria the X”, “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack”).

A total of 13 episodes were created and now, “God Eater” vol. 1 (featuring the first seven episodes) will be released on Blu-ray in North America courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.

The series is set in 2071, and the world has been nearly destroyed by mysterious monsters known as Aragami.

To fight these Aragami, an organization known as Fenrir has God Eaters, people who can wield “God Arc” weapons made from Aragami cells to exterminate them.

And it is being discovered that certain people, known as New Types, can wield God Arc’s and switch from gun and blade form.

The series revolves around a young man named Lenka Utsugi, who desperately wants to destroy all Aragami. But unfortunately, he is not ready for battle despite his hot headed temper that wants to fight and destroy them.

Lenka and Kota Fujiki are sent to training under a stern woman named Tsubaki. And as Lenka is always determined of wanting to help anyone, unfortunately that leads him to make rash decisions which would let him be killed during training mode.

This is unacceptable and when Lenka breaks orders from Tsubaki to not fight, while trying to fight and rescue someone from the Aragami, he reveals that he is a New Type.

But because he’s not fully-trained, he is almost killed until he is rescued by the First Unit of God Eaters, Soma, Lindow and Sakuya.

But because Lenka disobeyed orders, he is jailed and is awaiting court-martial and may need to surrender his God Arc. But because of his New Type abilities and that New Type users are a rarity, he is given a second chance to fight, must team up with Russia’s New Type, Alisa Illinichina Amiella. Another person who has a hot-temper and disregards rules.

And as Lenka and Alisa join a team of God Eaters, can these New Type God Eaters work together and defeat the Aragami but also rescue many human lives?

Also, is there someone pulling the strings behind-the-scenes and are wanting the Aragami to succeed?


VIDEO:

“God Eater” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The anime series is absolutely vibrant and colorful. The background, especially the foreground artwork are beautifully painted and well-detailed, while the character designs are well-done and well-shaded. This is a gorgeous looking anime series and I thought the Aragami designs were very awesome.

But for the most part, character designs and background art for “God Eater” look fantastic in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“God Eater” is presented in Japanese and English linear PCM stereo. Dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels and I heard no distortion while watching this anime series.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“God Eater” vol. 2 comes with the following special features:

  • God Eater Extra 02 Bonus Part A – (10:57) Interviews with Go Shiina and Naomi Kaitani about the music of the series.
  • God Eater Extra 02 Bonus Part B – (8:59) Featuring an interview with the band Ghost Oracle Drive (bassist Takenori Sakauchi, guitarist Kazuki Sato, drummer Toshiyuki Wakayama and vocalist Kenta Matsukuma).
  • God Eater Extra 03 – (23:25) A special episode summary of the series and its characters with interviews with the anime staff and more.
  • Textless Opening and Endings

EXTRAS:

“God Eater” vol. 2 comes with a slipcase and a 20-page deluxe booklet.


Having played “God Eater” on the Sony PSP and Sony Vita, I have to say that the “God Eater” anime series had made me enjoy the series even more, now that we have a much more intuitive storyline that is not only addicting but action-packed.

While there is some level of banality of an unknown hero that fights for an organization and no one knows if the newcomer is ready for battle, which many have seen in anime such as “Blue Demon” and “Seraph of the Vampire”, “God Eater” is an anime series that is much more deeper, violent and for the most part, humanity is on the losing side of the battle against these monstrous entities known as Aragami.

The main protagonist is Lenka Utsugi, a boy raised on the poor side of town, despises Aragami with a passion but even more, hates turning a blind eye to the suffering of humans who can’t defend themselves.

He wants to help everyone, anyone even though it’s against Fenrir’s orders and it tends to get him in trouble.

But as he is a New Type starting to discover his own ability and not fully trained, Fenrir needs all the help they can get to fight these Aragami. And for now, he and another hot-headed New Type named Allisa is what they have.

And both want to help humanity, and despise Fenrir’s practice of only helping those that are useful to the cause.

The first seven episodes develop the story of Lenka and later Allisa but also doing a good job of showing how dismal things are on the planet and how devastating the Aragami are. How they kill with no remorse, they kill anything that stands in their way and no one understands why, or why these monstrous things have shown up on their planet.

The second half focuses on the past of Lenka but also the past of Johannes, Sakaki and Aisha were experimenting with the Managam Project and the gathering of Oracle Cells began and how the first Aragami emerged.

But also the true enemy is revealed.

Overall, the second half and conclusion to “God Eater” was fantastic.  A lot of drama, emotion and action featured in each episode and this second half shows us the apocalyptic world and the sacrifices that are necessary for humanity to continue on.  Unfortunately, certain people have their own interpretation of how the world should be.

But for the series as a whole, fans should be happy with the overall storyline and also a teaser of what to look forward to, if another season is created.

It also helps that characters from the video game are featured in the anime series, and so, this series does give a much more deeper appreciation for the entire “God Eater” series.

As for the Blu-ray release, animation is fantastic as characters are fully of detail, are well-shaded. The Aragami look absolutely frightening and their animation and overall design is fantastic. Background art is well-done, music adds to the riveting fast-paced, action-packed environment of the series.

And you also get the special features with crew interviews plus a 20-page deluxe booklet as well.

Overall, “God Eater” is a wonderful action-packed series that is more on the deeper, violent side of anime series showcasing an apocalyptic setting. Humanity has nearly been obliterated by monstrous Aragami and only a small group of God Eaters, wielding aragami-derived weapons known as God Arc can fight back. But it’s these mysterious New Types that can wield the God Arcs to amazing weapons that may give humanity a chance.

A thrilling, dramatic and action-packed anime series, “God Eater” vol. 1 and vol. 2 are highly recommended!

 

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The Eagle Huntress (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

For anyone who are open to learning about new cultures and seeing the life of those living in rural regions, Otto Bell’s “The Eagle Huntress” is truly inspirational and also visually beautiful to watch.  I enjoyed it and also recommend it!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Eagle Huntress, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Eagle Huntress

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 88 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:85:1 Aspect Ratio, Kazakh 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: G (General Audiences)

RELEASE DATE: February 7, 2017


Directed by Otto Bell

Produced by Otto Bell, Sharon Chang, Stacy Reiss

Executive Producer: Jeremy Chilnick, Dan Cogan, Barbara Dobkin, Susan MacLaury, Daisy Ridley, Regina Kulik Scully, Marc H. Simon, Morgan Spurlock

Music by Jeff Peters

Cinematography by Simon Niblett

Edited by Pierre Takal


Starring:

Narrated by Daisy Ridley

Aisholpan Nurgaiv

Rys Nurgaiv


THE EAGLE HUNTRESS follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, THE EAGLE HUNTRESS features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography every captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl’s quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film.


In 2016, filmmaker Otto Bell would film a Kazakh-language British-Mongolian-American documentary titled “The Eagle Huntress”.

Executive-produced by documentarian Morgan Spurlock (“Super Zie Me”, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”, “Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?”) and Daisy Ridley (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, “Scrawl”, “Lifesaver”), who also narrates the film.

And now the documentary will be released by Sony Pictures Classics in February 2017.

“The Eagle Huntress” revolves around Aisholpan Nurgaiv, a 13-year-old Kazakh girl from Mongolia and is from a family of nomads that spend their summers in a yurt in the Altai mountains and during the winter, they live in town.

For seven generations, her family have been eagle hunters and she wants to become one.

While Aisholpan studies hard as she dreams of becoming a doctor but also has learned from her father Nurgaiv, an eagle hunter/trainer, who has won a few Golden Eagle competitions.  She was taught by her father to care for an eagle and train them and dreams of competing in the major competition, but the competition is dominated by male eagle hunters who believe in a males-only tradition.

But Nurgaiv has always believed that males and females are equal and that Aisholpan can compete.

So, one day, Aisholpan with her father climb up a mountain and she is able to capture and train her own eaglet.

But what happens when Aisholpan enters the annual Golden Eagle Festival?


VIDEO:

“The Eagle Huntress” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1). Overall picture quality shows amazing detail during closeups. Skin tones are natural, black levels are nice and deep. Many outdoor shots and for the most part vibrant and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The documentary looks very good in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the lossless audio, “The Eagle Huntress” is presented in Kazakh 5.1 DTS-HD MA and an English audio description track 5.1 Dolby Digital.

The lossless audio is primarily dialogue and musically driven, with surround channels for natural ambiance (especially with the eagle or birds squawking or chirping in the background).

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Eagle Huntress” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Otto Bell.
  • Capturing the Eagle Huntress – (10:26) Behind-the-scenes on the making of “The Eagle Huntress”.
  • Theatrical Trailer

What started with a photograph from a photographer, would lead filmmaker Otto Bell to go to western Mongolia to create a film in the least populated rural region of the country.

Observing families and how eagles were living with the humans and sure enough, when Otto Bell and his crew proposed to make a film about 13-year-old Aisholpan Nurgaiv, the daughter of an eagle hunter/trainer, from her catching an eagle to her competing in the annual Golden Eagle Festival.

But also to learn about the challenges that Aisholpan experienced because she was female competing in a competition that was primarily male-dominated.  And no doubt, a gender-breaking opportunity and showing that a female can compete along with the males.

With no money, no budget and shooting on a shoestring budget, with only a few crew (which included using GoPro cameras), the crew were able to get aerial shots with a drone and utilize a RED EPIC camera and lightweight crane to accomplish the film.

The film no doubt was able to be boosted by narration by actress Daisy Ridley but the storyline of “The Eagle Huntress” is made enjoyable with the true-to-life filming of the daily life of young Aisholpan but also the cinematography of Simon Niblett was able to capture the beauty but also showing us the risk that Aisholpan had to accomplish in hunting her first eagle but eventually training it for competition.

“The Eagle Huntress” documentary that is no doubt amazing for the accomplishment of a 13-year-old girl, who many considered not suitable to participate in the annual Golden Eagle Festival competition but what happens after and to hear the male competitors discuss her win, was no surprise.

While the documentary is inspirational, I was also impressed by what the film crew with hardly any budget was able to accomplish in getting this film made.  And with modern technology, director Otto Bell and cinematographer Simon Niblett were able to document a day in the life of a teenager and a region that many people are not familiar with.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is fantastic and lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue and music.  Special features includes an insightful audio commentary but also a featurette showing the challenges of filming this documentary on a shoestring budget.

For anyone who are open to learning about new cultures and seeing the life of those living in rural regions, Otto Bell’s “The Eagle Huntress” is truly inspirational and also visually beautiful to watch.  I enjoyed it and also recommend it!

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Nerdland (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Nerdland” is an animated film for those who want something silly, audacious and are into moronic humor.  While the Blu-ray release is barebones, the animated film is still worth watching for its creative and refreshing animation and storyline.

Image courtesy of © 2016 Sandy Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Nerdland

FILM DATE: 2016

DURATION: 83 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:35:1 Aspect Ratio, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English,English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: February 7, 2017


Directed by Chris Prynoski

Written by Andrew Kevin Walker

Produced by Gavin Polne, Andrew Kevin Walker

Executive Producer: Kathy Landsberg, Chris Prynoski, Shannon Barrett Prynoski

Co-Producer: Ben Kalina

Music by Mark Brooks, Emily Kavanaugh

Production design by Antonio Canobbio


Featuring the following voice talent:

Paul Rudd as John

Patton Oswalt as Elliot

Hannibal Buress as the Nerd King

Kate Micucci as Sally

Riki Lindhome as Linda


Aspiring actor JOHN (Paul Rudd) and wannabe screenwriter ELLIOT (Patton Oswalt) are slacker best friends who have seen their dreams of super-stardom fizzle. With their 30th birthdays looming and desperation growing, they decide that in this 24/7, celebrity-obsessed world of over-shared navel-gazing, there are more ways to get famous than ever before — so why not become famous by the end of the day, at any cost?! With only the grudging support of a wacky collectible store owner (Hannibal Buress) and their one-sided love for a pair of equally fame hungry women (Riki Lindhome & Kate Micucci) to keep them going, John and Elliot troll Los Angeles on an attention grabbing journey of reckless publicity stunts and failed heroics. While navigating their hyper-stimulating landscape of consumerism gone wild, our disheartened duo inadvertently become key witnesses in a high profile crime that sets the news cycle on fire, making them household names… but only if they can survive the infamy and worldwide shame.


From Andrew Kevin Walker, the man who wrote “Se7en”, “The Follow”, “8MM” and filmmaker/producer Chris Prynoski (“Metalocalupse”, “Turbo FAST” and “Freaknik: The Musical”) comes the animated film “Nerdland”.

The film features the voices of Paul Rudd (“Ant Man”, “Role Models”, “I Love You, Man”), Patton Oswalt (“The King of Queens”, “Magnolia”, “Young Adult”), Hannibal Burress (“The Eric Andre Show”, “The Secret Life of Pets”, “Neighbors”), Kate Miccuchi (“When in Rome”, “Don’t think Twice”, “Rio 2”) and Riki Lindhome (“Million Dollar Baby”, “The Last House on the Left”, “My Best Friend’s Girl”).

“Nerdland” is an animated film that was based on a concept by screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker who has pitched the concept in various iterations for years.  As a fan of “Metalocalypse” and “Superjail!” and cartoons on Adult Swim, Walker approached Chris and Shannon Prynoski of Titmouse and from there, their collaboration with Chris Prynoski as a director, would lead to an animated film.

“Nerdland” revolves around two best friends, aspiring screenwriter Elliott and aspiring actor John.  The two dream of reaching stardom but instead they are failures.

Wanting desperately to have fame, John and Elliot decide that to become famous, they must become infamous.

May it be putting their lives at risk in an inferno, hacking into a major corporation, trying to get beatup by police or perhaps becoming murderers?


VIDEO:

“Nerdland” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio).  The animated film features a colorful palette and I didn’t notice any artifact issues during my viewing of this animated film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Nerdland”is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA.  The lossless audio is primarily dialogue and music driven.  Surround channels are music and ambiance-driven.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nerdland” comes with no special features.


“Nerdland” is an interesting film.  During the first viewing of the film, I felt that it was ridiculous and moronic, along the lines of “Beavis and Butthead” and I thought the film would make a better television series shown on the Cartoon Network.

But I watched the film for a second time and I found it to be much more enjoyable as I saw how the film parodies reality in terms of how people seek fame in any way imaginable, to poking jokes on hacking to how video games can lead to violence and so forth.  If anything, I enjoyed the writing by Andrew Kevin Walker and how he was able to find a balance between the moronic Elliot and equally moronic but verbally intelligent John and see how these two individuals who keep failing, would find a way to become famous.

I also enjoy the fun style of animation which is quite fresh with its colorful characters (yes, people who are colored green or blue), backgrounds of environments and of course, the character designs.  Some characters look quite hilarious!

And Paul Rudd and Patton Oswalt do a good job as voice actors for their role of John and Elliot.

I know already that this animated film is going to be subjective to the viewer.  The animated film definitely has a balance of moronic humor and for some, the animation may not be their kind of style.

But I think its the absurdity of the characters and their actions is what makes this animated film quite refreshing, if you are into this type of humor.  I suppose, since I review so many animated films, may it be Disney to Japanese animation, sometimes certain films have a sort of banality and lack of fresh ideas that you can only want to see something that stands out on its own and is different than the norm.  “Nerdland” is audacious, ridiculous and I enjoyed it because of that.

As for the Blu-ray release, the animated film is colorful and the lossless audio is dialogue and musically driven.  And surprisingly, there are no special features.  It’s a barebones Blu-ray release and that totally blows because an audio commentary and featurettes would have made this Blu-ray release even cooler.

Overall, “Nerdland” is an animated film for those who want something silly, audacious and are into moronic humor.  While the Blu-ray release is barebones, the animated film is still worth watching for its creative and refreshing animation and storyline.

Purchase this Blu-ray from Rightstuf

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