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Broken Vows (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Broken Vows” is a decent directorial feature film debut by filmmaker Bram Coppens. It does have its share of problems, felt too simple of a film but for those who enjoy stalker films, will no doubt be entertained by the creepiness of the film’s antagonist and the performance by Wes Bentley.

Image courtesy of © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Broken Vows

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 91 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen 2:40:1 aspect ratio, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R (Disturbing Violent Content, Language and Some Sexuality)

Release Date: October 11, 2016


Directed by Bram Coppens

Written by Jim Agnew, Sean Keller

Produced by Wendy Benge

Co-Producer: Barbara Florentino

Associate Producer: Laurens Nuyens

Executive Producer: Larry Landove

Co-Executive Producer: Jim Agnew, Sean Keller

Music by David Julyan

Cinematography by Kees Van Oostrum

Casting by Barbara Florentino

Production Design by Dins W.W. Danielsen

Set Decoration by Linda Louise Sheets

Costume Design by Bonnie Stauch


Starring:

Wes Bentley as Patrick

Jaimie Alexander as Tara

Cam Gigandet as Michael

Alexandra Breckenridge as Debra

Astrid Bryan as Justine


In this chilling, sexy thriller, Tara (Jaimie Alexander, TV’s “Blindspot”) finds her life unraveling after hooking up with bartender Patrick (Wes Bentley, The Hunger Games) during her bachelorette party in New Orleans. Patrick becomes obsessed with Tara, not knowing she’s about to marry Michael (Cam Gigandet, The Twilight Saga franchise), and tracks her down to her quiet California home. As Patrick’s obsession turns violent, Tara stands to not only lose her marriage and her loved ones, but also her life.


Bram Coppens makes his directorial feature film debut with his psychological thriller, “Broken Vows”.

Written by Jim Agnew (“Rage”, “Game of Death”, “Giallo”) and Sean Keller (“Rage”, “Mammoth”, “Gioallo”), the film stars Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”, “American Beauty”, “Interstellar”), Jaime Alexander (“Blindspot”, “Thor” films, “The Last Stand”), Cam Gigandet (“Easy A”, “Pandorum”, “Priest”) and Alexandra Breckenridge (“The Walking Dead”, “American Horror Story”).

The film revolves around Tara (portrayed by Jaimie Alexander), a woman who is engaged to Michael (portrayed by Cam Gigandet) but still hasn’t gotten past the fact that he had cheated on her.  But she loves him and gave him a second chance.

Meanwhile, Tara is out on vacation in New Orleans with her best friend Debra (portrayed by Alexandra Breckenridge) and other friends.  She meets a bartender named Patrick (portrayed by Wes Bentley) and has a one night stand with him.

But the following morning, she regrets what she did and feels awkward when Patrick wants to have more to do with her and confesses his love for her and goes so far to tattoo her name on his wrist.

But Tara leaves and is look forward to her upcoming wedding with her fiance, Michael.

But when she and her friends leave New Orleans, she realizes that she forgot her smartphone and Patrick begins looking at everything on her phone and tries to know everyone that she associates with.

While Tara is feeling guilty about what she had done, she hopes to forget and move on with Michael and continue to plan on her upcoming wedding.

But to her surprise, when she gets home to meet with her fiance Michael and assumes he is in the shower, she discovers Patrick.

Tara tells Patrick that there is nothing between them, but he refuses to believe that she feels nothing for him.

As Tara confides to Debra that she is being stalked by Patrick, she finds out that Patrick (who has pretended he is Michael) has called the wedding planner and places that she has made wedding plans and reservations and canceled them.  He even has gone as far to get close to Tara’s family and realizes that Patrick is obsessed with her and she may lose those that she cares about.


VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Broken Vows” is presented in 2:40:1 widescreen and  English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio with optional English and Spanish subtitles.  Picture quality and audio quality is as good as it can get on DVD.  The film features quite a bit of action sequences, so there is good use of the surround channels during these moments.  Dialogue is crystal clear.

The show is presented with optional English and Spanish subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Broken Vows” comes with no special features.


Bram Coppens directorial debut with “Broken Vows”, is a stalker film that had the potential to be a chilling psychological thriller, but instead feels too tame and felt that it was created for television.

First, let’s discuss the positive about the film.  The storyline revolving around Tara, who’s fiance Michael had cheated on her, still has resentment for what he had done.

While she has given him a second chance, she is still hurt about how she was betrayed and part of her wants to get even by having a one night stand while in New Orleans.

Her friends urge to her to talk to the bartender that she met, and soon enough, she hooks up with the bartender named Patrick.

The following morning, she realizes that she has made a big mistake.  Thinking it was just a simple one night stand, instead, Patrick has confessed his love to her, tattooed her name on his wrist and she realizes how much of a big mistake she made.

To make things worse, she leaves her smartphone (with no security pin code or anything to protect her data, despite saying how everything of her life is on her phone) at Patrick’s home and he starts studying all the information on it.

And eventually follows her back to Santa Monica, breaking into her home and while Tara tells him that nothing will happen between them, he refuses to believe her.

It doesn’t take long for Tara and her friend to find out that Patrick is obsessed with her and will do anything to end her upcoming wedding, but when she hires a private investigator, she finds out that he has a long list of mental issues and a history of violence, many restraint orders against him, has stalked many women and one of the women he had stalked was murdered.  But investigators didn’t have enough evidence to arrest him.

And now, Patrick is obsessed with Tara and wants her only to himself.  And everyone she cares about may be in risk of losing their lives.

While the film is a decent stalker film, what I didn’t like is how tame the film was.  Sure, it shows people dead (after the fact).  Until the action sequences at the end of the film, there is no shocking visuals portraying Patrick as sadistic.  We see him as creepy but we only see his really bad side showing up towards the end of the film and showing how cunning of a stalker he really is.

If anything, “Broken Vows” felt like a film you would catch on television.  A straightforward story that is entertaining but felt too simple and safe for its own good and while OK for some people, I felt the film could have took the violence up a notch considering it’s an R-rated film and could go a bit further, instead of showing people dead after the fact.

But I will give actor Wes Bentley some props for his portrayal as an obsessed stalker.  Considering the film’s darker scenes revolved around his performance and he did a good job.

As for the DVD, it’s a barebones DVD with no special features.  Picture and audio quality is good as it can get on DVD.

Overall, “Broken Vows” is a decent directorial feature film debut by filmmaker Bram Coppens.  It does have its share of problems, felt too simple of a film but for those who enjoy stalker films, will no doubt be entertained by the creepiness of the film’s antagonist and the performance by Wes Bentley.

 

The Presidents Collection (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“The Presidents Collection” is well-made, well-researched and I found it entertaining and absolutely informative. If you are a history buff and have a thirst for knowledge and wanting to know more about each of the 44 Presidents of the United States, then “The Presidents Collection” is worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2016 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: The Presidents Collection

AIR DATE: 2005-2008

DURATION: 8 Episodes (5 Hours and 57 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4×3 Full Screen, 1:33:1 Presentation, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English SDH

COMPANY: Lionsgate/History/A&E Networks

RATED: N/A

Release Date: October 4, 2016


Written and Produced by Rhys Thomas

Developed by Allan Heinberg

Executive Producers: Craig Haffner, Donna E. Lusitana

Executive Producer for History: Susan Werbe

Produced by Greystone Communications, Inc. for History Television Network Productions


Starring:

Narrated by Edward Herrmann


An unprecedented eight-part chronicle of the personal lives and legacies of the remarkable men who have presided over the Oval Office, from George Washington to Barack Obama.


From 2005-2008, Greystone Communications, Inc. produced “The Presidents Collection”, an eight-part survey of the personal lives and legacies of those who presided over the Oval Office.

A highly acclaimed series which aired on History Television Network, the series has been updated to included President Barack Obama.

And now will be released on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate.

From the first president, George Washington back in 1789 to Barack Obama, “The Presidents Collection” is based on the book “To the Best of My Ability”, edited by Pulitzer Prize winner James McPherson and features rare and unseen photographs and footage, unexpected insights and trivia from journalists, scholars and politicians such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Wesley Clark, Bob Dole, and former President Jimmy Carter.

The insightful and entertaining series examines the positives and negatives of each presidency.


VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Presidents Collection” is presented in full screen 4:3 (1:33:1 aspect ratio). For the most part, as one can expect from a series that covers presidents in history, there is a lot of use of archived video footage.  With the majority of the footage used were in good shape, present modern day footage featuring land scenery or interviews with historians and politicians look even better.

As for audio, the series is presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital audio and narration and interviews are clear and understandable.

The show is presented in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Presidents Collection” comes with no special features.


For any history buff, “The Presidents Collection” is an entertaining, insightful eight-part survey that showcases each of the Presidents of the United States.

Going in-depth to the positives and negatives of their presidency, the dirty elections, the scandals, the tragedies and how the presidents were viewed at the end of their term but how historians would look at the presidency many decades later.

The series does a great job of exploring the President of the United States and going further into examining their strength and weaknesses of their involvement in politics.

And to be truthful, as many history and political classes I have taken in high school and college, I feel that I’ve learned much more through watching “The Presidents Collection” because the series focuses so much on the accomplishments and what the presidents are remembered for.  So much studying in class, you learn so much and plenty of what you learned are committed to short term memory as you go on from one president to another.

Sure, what you learn is condensed but it keeps to the facts and the key factors that each President is known for.  And as mentioned, positive and negative issues are touched upon.  And what you watch, makes it more easier for audiences to follow.

And last, while the series aired back in 2005, this DVD version features an updated version of “The Presidents Collection” with the inclusion of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Overall, “The Presidents Collection” is well-made, well-researched and I found it entertaining and absolutely informative. If you are a history buff and have a thirst for knowledge and wanting to know more about each of the 44 Presidents of the United States, then “The Presidents Collection” is worth watching!

 

 

One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Three (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

September 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a “One Piece” fan, you do not want to miss one of the most memorable episodes of the “One Piece” series!  Find out who lives and dies in “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Three, available now on DVD from FUNimation!  Highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 1999 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Three

DURATION: Episodes 481-491 (Duration: 320 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English and Japanese stereo

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: September 20, 2016


Originally created by Eiichiro Oda

Directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, Konosuke Uda, Munehisa Sakai

Series Composition by Hirohiko Uesaka

Script by Hirohiko Uesaka, Hiroshi Hashimoto, Junki Takegami, Michiru Shimada, Naoki Koga, Ryota Yamaguchi, Suminori Takegami, Yoshiyuki Suga

Music by Kouhei Tanaka, Shiroh Hamaguchi

Character Design by Kazuya Hisada, Noboru Koizumi

Animation Production by Toei Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy

Akemi Okamura/Luci Christian as Nami

Hiroaki Hirata/Eric Vale as Sanji

Ikue Ohtani/Brina Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper

Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Young as Nico Robin

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Ian Sinclair as Brook

Travis Willingham as Portgas D. Ace

Edward Newgate as Whitebeard


Will Whitebeard’s final stand usher in a new era? Ace is freed from his shackles but escaping Marineford isn’t going to be that easy. The Navy has their sights set on the two brothers as they make a mad dash towards freedom. Injured, but not down for the count Whitebeard rises to put a stop to his crew’s attack, giving them the order to escape to the New World and leave him for dead. Unwilling to let the man who raised him stand alone against his enemies, Ace turns back to lend a hand. Before he can reach his destination, Akainu appears to test the might of his magma against the flames of Fire Fist Ace. As their battle heats up, Luffy and the rest of the world can only watch as the legendary pirate Whitebeard strikes out with all his power and attempts to sink Marineford to the bottom of the sea.


In the long storyline of “One Piece”, there is one storyline that has struck a chord with fans, especially in Japan, as it mourns one of the popular characters of the manga/anime series.

In this latest volume  of “One Piece” (Season Eight, Voyage Three), we have watched as Luffy and Whitebeard and fellow pirates have come to the aid to save Ace from execution.

But Akainu (one of three admirals of the Marines) is determined to make sure that they both are dead.

And as this volume features tragedy, the battle between the pirate and marines leads to the escape of Blackbeard and the Blackbeard Pirates.  And for Whitebeard, his former teacher is now his greatest enemy.  One will win, but the other will not survive.

Do not miss one of the most memorable episodes of the “One Piece” series!  Find out who lives and dies in “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Three, available now on DVD from FUNimation!

What is “One Piece”?

“ONE PIECE” is a popular anime series based on the popular manga series serialized in Shonen Jump by Eiichiro Oda. Suffice to say, “ONE PIECE” is the highest selling manga for Weekly Shonen Jump and its popularity has extended to various anime (via the TV series, OVA and films) and video games in America and also worldwide.

The series is so popular, the episode count currently in Japan is in its 18th season and a total of 755 episodes have been aired in Japan.

Despite receiving a heavily edited version in North America via 4Kids Entertainment earlier on, FUNimation began releasing the original, uncut versions since May of 2008 and here we are in 2016, now with the DVD release of “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Three” (Episodes 481-491), available now, courtesy of FUNimation.

“ONE PIECE” is an adventure anime about a 17-year-old boy named Monkey D. Luffy who gained enormous strength (and stretching abilities) after eating a magical demon fruit. He eventually teams up with a group of pirates and have the name “The Straw Hats”. Luffy’s driven to one day obtain the most sought out treasure known as “One Piece” and eventually become the King of the Pirates.


The Straw Hat Pirates consists of:

Monkey D. Luffy – A 17-year-old guy who is the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates and dreams to be a pirate king by getting his hands on the “ONE PIECE” artifact. When he was young, he accidentally ate a devil fruit which made his body rubbery and can stretch and blow up. An airhead of sorts, loves to eat but always believes and fights for his friends.

Roronoa Zoro – A 19-year-old skilled swordsman. A skilled and very strong fighter. Wants to be the greatest swordsman in the world.

Nami – The navigator of the group. The main female crew member and really good at weapons.

Usopp – A 17-year-old marksman. A talented inventor and artistic. Known by his long nose, his marksmanship with slingshots and weapons are great. He quit the Straw Hat Pirates and took on a new identity.

Sanji – The chef of the crew. A skilled fighter that uses only kicks in battle and is passionate towards Nami.

Tony Tony Chopper – A reindeer with a blue nose. Ate a devil fruit known as human-human fruit which makes him human in someways but keeping his reindeer look. Able to speak to humans, walk upright and also able to have transformations to become a huge beast. But his talent is his medical skills as he was trained by the Doctrine to become a doctor. Has very low self-confidence because he had been treated badly not only by his kind but also by humans and has not really had a friend but the Doctor and Doctrine.

Nico Robin – The former Vice President of Baroque Works who has become the newest member of the Straw Hat Pirates despite some of the crew not trusting her since she was a former enemy. Has the ability to use her body parts and project them elsewhere and other mysterious abilities not yet known.

Franky – A cyborg who can rebuild his body using pieces of metal and his dream is to build a ship and become its shipwright and sail to the end of the world.

Brook – A pirate from before the time of Roger, he was killed but because of the Paramecia-type-Revive-Revive Fruit, he rose again as a skeleton. An excellent musician, he becomes a member of the Straw Hat Pirates.


VIDEO :

For most television series, because they are created nearly before they are aired on television, unlike film and OVA’s, there typically is not much detail involved in a Japanese animated television series. “ONE PIECE” is probably one of those rare exceptions in that it has really cool character designs and very detailed artistic backgrounds. Of course, since it is on DVD, you will see some artifacting, combing and edge enhancement but it’s not so noticeable unless you are really looking for it.

The anime series is presented in standard 4:3 definition but for a television series, “ONE PIECE” sports cool and unique character designs and beautifully painted artistic backgrounds. Definitely one of the better looking anime series that has remained consistent and has not downgraded since it first aired on television. Character designer Kazuya Hisada (who worked on the “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball GT” series) and Noboru Koizumi (who worked on “Giant Robo”, “Dragon Ball GT” and “Tenchi Universe”) have been very good of capturing “One Piece” creator Eiichiro Oda’s unique style.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, “One Piece” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English Stereo and Japanese Stereo. Of course, the English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound is the better audio choice to listen to, although one who has a receiver that can set their audio to all channels can definitely enjoy the Japanese stereo track as well. But both audio tracks are done very well and I have to admit that “ONE PIECE” has one of the most solid English dub tracks for an anime TV series. Very well done on both audio tracks but again, have been very impressed by the voice talent for the series thus far.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Three” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 482 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Joel McDonald (ADR Director), Colleen Clinkenbeard (voice of Luffy) and ason and production assistant, Katherine Salavarria.
  • EPISODE 486 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Joel McDonald (ADR Director), Matt Thurston (voice of Shuryu) and Cole Brown (voice of Blackbeard).

DISC 2:

  • Top 10 Moments – (18:13) Colleen Clinkenbeard, Mike McFarland, Brina Palencia, Joel McDonald, Godswill Ugwa and Katherine Salavarria discuss their top ten moments.
  • Textless Opening Song – “One Day”

With the release of “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Three”, the episodes are from the Japanese 14th season (featuring episodes 481-491) as this volume features one of the most heartbreaking episodes ever featured on “One Piece”.

Major deaths take place in this volume and the plot revolves around Luffy and Whitebeard trying to save Ace from being executed by the Marines.  And it’s not going to be an easy save, as the three powerful Admirals of the Marines are present and Akainu (one of three admirals of the Marines) is determined to make sure that both Luffy and Ace are dead.

Meanwhile, as the battles are taking place, destruction happens and Blackbeard and his pirates have been released and are now causing problems, which leads to another tragic death.

The volume also features the return of Trafalgar Law who comes to try to offer Luffy and Jimbei assistance. And we also see the return of Shanks and his crew!

This latest DVD volume is truly epic, heartbreaking and no doubt an emotional rollercoaster.  If you haven’t read the manga series and are just watching the anime series, one can’t simply put into words of how these episodes will no doubt make you shed a tear if you are a “One Piece” fan.  But it’s these episodes that takes the series and its character to a new direction.

This volume is purely all action, as we get to see Ace fight for his life, Whitebeard fighting against Akainu and Blackbeard, the return of characters and so much more!  This is probably the biggest war between the pirates and the marines that we have seen thus far.  And it was no doubt the bloodiest and tragic battle yet.

Needless to say, this volume has a tremendous amount of action and “One Piece” fans will not be disappointed!

As for the DVD, picture quality is very good on DVD, audio is also crystal clear with both voice acting soundtracks are well done, as “One Piece” is one of the best cast anime series, everyone is right for their role and considering that Toei was strict on the casting for the English dub, FUNimation did a fine job in their cast selection and I was pleased with both Japanese and English dub soundtracks. As for special features, you get two audio commentaries and a few cast and crew discussing their top 10.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Three” is an another action-packed volume as Luffy and Whitebeard and friends are now closer to Ace but as the Marines and Pacifistas try to undermine them from rescuing Ace, will they be able to make it happen?

If you are a “One Piece” fan, you do not want to miss one of the most memorable episodes of the “One Piece” series!  Find out who lives and dies in “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Three, available now on DVD from FUNimation!

Highly recommended!

 

The Catch: The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I really enjoyed the first season of “The Catch”!  Entertaining characters, with each episode featuring an enjoyable storyline with many twists and turns.  “The Catch: The Complete First Season” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2016 ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: The Catch: The Complete First Season

DURATION: 10 Episodes (425 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen 1:78:1 aspect ratio, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: ABC Studios

RATED: TV 14 DLSV

Release Date: September 27, 2016


Created by Kate Atkinson, Helen Gregory, Jennifer Schuuur

Developed by Allan Heinberg

Directed by Kevin Dowling, Bill D’Elia, Rob J. Greenlea, Regina King, Mike Listo, Julie Anne Robinson, John Scott, John Terlesky, Jann Turner

Written by Lyndsey Beaulieu, Jim Campolongo, Jon Dorsey, Gregory Goetz, Oanh Ly, Ameni Rozsa, Danny Tolli, Sherry White

Produced by Joanne Toll Matthew Ramsey, Oanh Ly

Co-Producer: Noah Evslin, Holden Chang

Associate Producer: Gabriel Garcia, Akua Murphy

Executive Producer: Betsy beers, Shonda Rhimes, Julie Anne Robinson,

Co-Executive Producer: Kate Atkinson, Kevin Dowling, Sherry White, Jim Campolongo, Helen Gregory

Music by Chad Fischer

Cinematography by Jeff Jur, Ross Riege, Christopher Faloona

Edited by Phil Fowler, Matthew Ramsey, Charissa Sanjarernsuithikul, Shoshanah Tanzer

Casting by Jamie Castro, Linda Lowy, John Brace

Series Production Design by Jessica Kender

Art Direction by Brian Grego

Set Decoration by Lisa Clark

Costume Design by Peggy A. Schnitzer


Starring:

Mireille Enos as Alice Vaughan

Peter Krause as Benjamin Jones

Jay Hayden as Danny Yoon

Rose Rollins as Valerie Anderson

Sonya Walger as Margot Bishop

Elvy Yost as Sophie Novak

Jack Ido as Agent Jules Dao

Alimi Ballard as Reginald Lennox III

John Simm as Rhys

Caleb Smith as Agent Shawn

Nicole Pettis as Robin

Nia Vardalos as Leah Wells

Shivani Ghai as Felicity

Medalion Rahimi as Princess Zara Al-Salim

Elena Rusconi as Holly

Jamie VanDyke as Rita

Alan Ruck as Gordon Bailey

Lesley Nicol as Sybil Griffiths


Television’s sexiest cat and mouse game blends the wages of sin with the art of seduction for utterly intoxicating entertainment. From Shondaland, the producers behind SCANDAL and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, comes THE CATCH: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON. Meet Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos): Strong, smart and tough-as-nails. She specializes in foiling world-class criminals with her elite team at Anderson/Vaughan Investigations, so she’s devastated after losing her heart — and her life savings – to dashing, international conman Benjamin Jones (Peter Krause) — a.k.a. “Christopher.” Desperate to extract some serious payback, Ali embarks on a secret quest to nab her ex-fiance, but the spark that ignited between them refuses to die. Soon, both Alice and Ben find themselves caught between trying to keep one step ahead of his murderous associates and her crime-fighting colleagues… and trying in vain to keep their hands off each other! Relive the danger and fun of this high-stakes romance with all 10 episodes — plus intriguing bonus features — that draw you into the passionate, deliciously twisted clutches of THE CATCH.


From executive producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers (“Grey’s Anatomy”, “How to Get Away with Murder”, “Scandal”) comes the American mystery television ABC series, “The Catch”.

Created by Jennifer Schuur, Kate Akinson and Helen Gregory and developed by Allan Heinberg, the first season features ten episodes.  And with a second season having been renewed, “The Catch: The Complete First Season” will be available on DVD courtesy of ABC Studios.

“The Catch” stars Mireille Enos (“World War Z”, “The Killing”, “If I Stay”), Peter Krause (“Parenthood”, “The Truman Show”, “Six Feet Under”), Jay Hayden (“The House Bunny”, “State of Emergency”), Rose Rollins (“The L Word”, “Mission: Impossible III”, “Pixels”), Sonya Walger (“The Good Sister”, “The Librarian: Quest for the Spear”, “The Factory”), Elvy Yost (“Mildred Pierce”, “The Office”), Jack Ido (“Lockout”, “Inglorious Basterds”, “West”), Alimi Ballard (“Numb3rs”, “Fast Five”, “Men of Honor”) and John Simm (“Life on Mars”, “Sex Traffic”, “Human Traffic”).

The series begins with Alice Vaughan (portrayed by Mireille Enos), a former FBI agent now private investigator in Los Angeles.  She and her partner, Valerie Anderson (portrayed by Rose Rollins) and their crew which includes Danny (portrayed by Jay Hayden) and hacker Sophie (portrayed by Elvy Yost) are trying to track down a Mr. X who have been stealing from their clients.

Somehow the thief is always one step ahead of them.

For Alice, while she and the others try to nail down the mysterious, Mr. X.  Fortunately, she keeps sane thanks to her love life with Benjamin Jones (portrayed by Peter Krause).

What Alice doesn’t know is that Mr. X is actually her boyfriend, Benjamin.  Who is working with Margot Bishop (portrayed by Sonya Walger) and Reginald Lennox IIII (portrayed by Alimi Ballard).

But after Benjamin steals all of Alice’s money and also hacked into her firm’s client list, while he loves Alice, he knows that he doesn’t want to get her dragged into his dangerous life of crime.  So, he disappears.

And when Alice finds out that Benjamin has disappeared, his business has disappeared and her bank account has been cleared out and the firm’s client list has been hacked, they all realize that Benjamin is Mr. X.

And now Alice wants revenge by catching the man who did her wrong.

But the more she gets deeper involved in finding him, the more danger she finds herself in.


VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Catch: The Complete First Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 televisions. For the most part, the series looks good on DVD, nice good closeups and skintones are natural and during low light scenes, I didn’t see any major noise or compression artifacts. For the most part, the series does look very good on DVD but I wish it was released on Blu-ray.

As for audio, “The Catch: The Complete First Season” is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and the series is primarily dialogue and music driven. Dialogue is clear and understandable.

The show is presented in English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Catch: The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:

  • Bloopers – (2:50) “The Catch” bloopers!
  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring four deleted scenes.

Shondaland’s “The Catch” is an entertaining and enjoyable cat-and-mouse drama series.

Unlike other cat-and-mouse series, “The Catch” is much different in the fact that the series first becomes cat-and-mouse with the protagonist Alice trying to search for the man who was the love of her life but is actually a con artist.

But as the con artist, Benjamin Jones is supposed to pull of this major con with Alice, instead he has fallen in love with her, and she with him.

So, these two keeping hooking up despite the fact that they are working on two opposing sides.

But as both try to help each other and protect each other, because of that, it puts both of them in a very dangerous position.

While the main protagonist, Alice Vaughan’s primary antagonist is her lover, Benjamin Jones.  The antagonists is the criminal syndicate that Benjamin works for, who is led by Margot Bishop, who is part of a powerful criminal family.  But for Margot’s team, their antagonist is her brother Rhys and for both siblings, their worry is their mother, the matriarch of the criminal family, Sybil Griffiths.

So, there are a lot of twists and turns with this series and with each episode, the pendulum swings of who has more control.

And while the series features Alice and her team taking on various jobs as an investigative team, we see the other side as Margot Bishop and her team trying to pull of major cons.

And what Shondaland drama would be complete without the sex. Yes, there many hookups in this series but of course, the main story revolves around both sides trying to outdo each other and who will be the first to take the other down.

Performances by both Mireille Enos and Peter Krause are well done.  Enos, who did a magnificent job in “The Killing” does a great job as the often conflicted Alice Vaughan, while Krause does a great job of playing the smooth yet caring con artist, Benjamin Jones.

Also, the series has a wonderful cast of support characters and series writers did a good job of utilizing them in various storylines.

As for this DVD set, picture quality and audio quality are good. As for the special features, you get four deleted scenes and gag reel.

Overall, I really enjoyed the first season of “The Catch”!  Entertaining characters, with each episode featuring an enjoyable storyline with many twists and turns.  “The Catch: The Complete First Season” is recommended!

 

The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For those who enjoyed the “Lion King” and the direct-to-video sequels, will no doubt enjoy this animated television series on DVD as Simba and Nala’s young son, Kion and his friends must protect the Pride Lands. For children and the young at heart, “The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power

DURATION: Six Episodes (137 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 aspect ratio, English, Spanish and French Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Disney

RATED: TY V

Release Date: September 20, 2016


Directed by Howy Parkins

Written by Ford Riley, John Loy, Elise Allen, Kevin Hopps, Jack Monaco

Produced by Ford Riley

Casting by Brian Mathias


Featuring the following voice talent:

Dee Bradley Baker as Hyenas/Tano

Max Charles as Kion

Joshua Rush as Bunga

Diamond Whit as Fuli 

Atticus Shaffer as Ono

Kevin Schon as Jungu

Vargus Mason as Cheezi

Phil LaMarr as Goigoi

Jonny Rees as Mzingo

Rob Lowe as Simba

Khary Payton as Rafiki

Jeff Bennett as Zazu

Dusan Brown as Beshte

Sarah Hyland as Tiifu

Gary Anthony Williams as Mufasa

Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa

Christian Slater as Ushari

Gabrielle Union as Nala

Andrew Kishino as Janja

Madison Pettis as Zuri

Eden Riegel as Kiara


Alone, every hero has his or her own special talent. But when champions work together, the results are “un-Bunga-lievable”! Defend the Pride Lands with Kion and his courageous team in Disney’s breathtaking adventure series based on the legacy of THE LION KING. You’ll run like the wind, move mountains and save the day with these five brave friends as they summon their inner powers and help protect the Circle of Life. Packed with action, music and over two hours of fun, THE LION GUARD: UNLEASH THE POWER proves that when heroes join forces, they’re truly a force to be reckoned with!


Disney has had many successes since Walt Disney created the popular animation studio back in 1923.

With the success of their live action films and their PIXAR 3D animated films, still to this day, “The Lion King”, the 32nd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics remains as the most successful animated film for the legendary company earning over $862 million in the box office (created with a budget of $45 million) and in terms of overall animation, it’s the fifth highest grossing animated film of all time and the #1 highest grossing film when it comes to hand-drawn animation.

The film earned two Academy awards plus a Golden Globe for “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” and is the #4 animated film on the American Film Institute’s “10 Top 10” list.

With the “The Lion Guard – Return of the Roar-“, the television animated film (the pilot) which aired on Disney Junior back in November 22, 2015.  That was also the beginning of the TV series titled “The Lion Guard” (which airs on Disney Junior).

The story continues with Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala and the adventures with his Lion Guard.

Selected by Kion is Bunga (honey badger) the bravest, Beshte (hippopotamus) the strongest, Ono (egret) the keenest of sight and Fuli (cheetah) the fastest.   But this group must learn to work together as a team to take on various challenges.  Can Kion’s Lion Guard protect the Pride Lands?

The episodes featured on “The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power” are:

  • Episode 7 – Fuli’s New Family – Bunga finds out that he is immune to snake bites, but accidentally thinks that he is immune to everything.
  • Episode 3 – Bunga the Wise – When Bunga talks to Rafiki, a little miscommunication makes Bunga think he is the wisest animal in the Pride Lands.
  • Episode 5 – Eye of the Beholder – Janja hears that Ono has temporarily lost his vision and he and the vultures try to take advantage of the situation.
  • Episode 9 – Follow That Hippo! – A young elephant named Mtoto idolizes Beshte.  But what happens when both are attacked by hyenas.
  • Episode 8 – The Search for Utamu – Bunga, Kion, Ono and Beshte search for Utamu grubs and we learn how Bunga met Timon and Pumbaa.
  • Episode 1 – Never Judge a Hyena By Its Spots – What happens when Kion meets Jasiri, a friendly hyena?

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Each time I have watched a Disney animated classic, suffice to say, there are no disappointments. Each release has been spectacular when it comes to picture quality and while “The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power” may not be a film, but for the most part, animation is still colorful and background and environments are well-painted.

Presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), there is no doubt that fans of the film and children who loved “The Lion King” films will enjoy this DVD.

The TV series is presented in English, Spanish and French Dolby Digital. Dialogue and music is clear and the action sequences sound very good via the surround channels.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power” comes with no special features.

EXTRAS:

“The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power” comes with a free power necklace with changeable discs, a slipcover and a Disney Movie Reward code.


As the animated pilot film “The Lion Guard – Return of the Roar-” marks a sort of passing of the torch as Simba’s son Kion has demonstrated that he has the “Roar of the Elders” and will be the leader of The Lion Guard and protect the Pride Lands.

“The Lion Guard” animated TV series continues where the pilot has left off and Kion has chosen to be the Lion Guard and his fellow members of the team who will protect the Pride Land.

The characters are humorous and fun to watch. And with a total of six episodes included on “The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power”, the series will no doubt entertain children and even the young at heart.

The series focuses on Kion (the second-born cub) and his guard which includes Bunga (honey badger) the bravest, Beshte (hippopotamus) the strongest, Ono (egret) the keenest of sight and Fuli (cheetah) the fastest.

Of course, while friends, they have to also work as a team and the animated series reflects the group trying their best to work together and as one of them tends to run off on their own, they eventually learn the importance of working as a team.

For the most part, it’s an animated series with a good dose of humor and action. And for those who enjoyed the pilot film, the original film and the direct-to-video sequels, will no doubt enjoy this DVD release.

For parents who are curious if there are any dark situations that may scare young children, not really. Compared to the original “Lion King” film in which Scar and his team of lions or even the creepy hyenas, the hyenas featured in “The Lion Guard” are just as young as Kion. So, in a way, this film was created for a much younger demographic and is lighthearted and fun.  Especially the characters of the Lion Guard, especially the crazy, fun Bunga who tends to misunderstand things easily.

Picture quality and audio quality is as good as it can get on DVD, unfortunately there are no special features but as a plus is that the DVD does come with a free power necklace with changeable discs.

Overall, for those who enjoyed the “Lion King” and the direct-to-video sequels, will no doubt enjoy this animated television series on DVD as Simba and Nala’s young son, Kion and his friends must protect the Pride Lands.

For children and the young at heart, “The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power” is recommended!

 

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Taika Waititi’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is a delightful comedy that will captivate you from beginning to end. I absolutely enjoyed this film and I highly recommend it!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Majestical Pictures Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 101 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:35:1 Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Thematic Elements Including Violent Content and For Some Language)

AVAILABLE ON: September 27, 2016


Based on the Book by Barry Crump

Directed by Taika Waititi

Screenplay by Taika Waititi

Produced by Carthew Neal, Matt Noonan, Leanne Saunders

Line Producer: Sarah Cook

Executive Produced by Charlie McClellan, James Wallace

Cinematography by Lachlan Milne

Edited by Tom Eagles, Yana Gorskaya, Luke Haigh

Casting by Stu Turner

Production Design by Neville Stevenson

Art Direction by Jon Lithgow

Costume Design by Kristin Seth


Starring:

Sam Neill as Hec

Julian Dennison as Ricky

Rima Te Wiata as Bella

Rachel House as Paula

Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne as Kahu

Oscar Kightley as Andy

Stan Walker as Ron


Raised on hip-hop and foster care, defiant city kid Ricky gets a fresh new start in the New Zealand countryside. He quickly finds himself at home with his new foster family: the Loving Aunt Bella, the cantankerous Uncle Hec and dog Tupac. When a tragedy strikes that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, both he and Hec go on the run in the bush. As a national manhunt ensues, the newly branded outlaws must face their options: go out in a blaze of glory or overcome their differences and survive as a family.


New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi’s name is getting known for his upcoming film “Thor: Ragnarok”, but in New Zealand, the filmmaker has made a lot of noise as an actor but also with his films “What We Do In the Shadows” and his most recent film, the comedy “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”.

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” stars Sam Neill (“Jurassic Park”, “Event Horizon”, “The Hunt for Red October”), Julian Dennison (“Shopping”, “Paper Planes”, “Chronesthesia”), Rima Te Wiata (“Sons and Daughters”, “Hosuebound”, “Full Frontal”) and Rachel House (“Whale Rider”, “Eagle vs. Shark”, “Boy).

And now the film will be available on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film revolves around a troubled kid named Ricky (portrayed by Julian Dennison), who loves hip hop, loves to eat and always finds himself in a lot of trouble.  And with no foster home willing to take him in, child welfare service brings him to the New Zealand countryside and he is taken in by a foster family, Bella (portrayed by Rima Te Wiata) and the scruffy Hec (portrayed by Sam Neill).

Bella took Ricky in and taught him how to hunt and gave him a lot of love and accepted him for how he is.

And Ricky began to love living with Bella, his dog Tupac (which Bella gave to him as a gift) and the often grouchy Hec. But one day, Bella passes away and now Hec has to raise Ricky.

But when Hec receives a letter from child welfare services that because Bella has passed away, Ricky is no longer allowed to live in the country.  Considering the New Zealand countryside as his home and the only place where he felt love, Ricky doesn’t want to leave.

So, Ricky fakes is own death by making a makeshift dummy with his clothes and burns down the barn.  Ricky runs away with his dog Tupac.  And Hec goes out too look after him.

But when child welfare services arrive, Paula (portrayed by Rachel House) comes to a conclusion that the bereaved Hec is mentally unstable and has abducted Ricky.  Which results in a national manhunt as New Zealand police are after both Hec and Ricky, who they dub themselves as “The Wilderpeople”.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

As for the DVD, it’s important to let people know that the film is available on Blu-ray if you want the best picture and audio quality.

The picture quality for “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is as good as one can expect on DVD. The film is presented in 2:35:1 aspect ratio and audio (English 5.1 Dolby Digital) is primarily dialogue-driven and certain scenes with outdoor ambiance and occasional action sequences.

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” features the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Director Taika Waititi and actors Sam Neill and Julian Dennison.
  • Behind the Scenes – (3:27) Interviews with director Taika Waititi and the cast about the film.
  • Blooper Reel – (2:28) Blooper reel for “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”.

Once in awhile, you come across a film that captivates you for its characters and good ol’ storytelling.

Taika Waititi’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is an enjoyable film as comedy and humor plays a big part of the film.

Young Ricky (portrayed by Julian Dennison) is a wannabe gangster, often causing trouble stealing, vandalizing and doing whatever he wants and getting a lot of trouble for it.  And so, no foster parent is willing to take him in.

Except Bella, who lives in the countryside with the often angry, Hec.  Immediately, Ricky shows his distaste of living in the country and tries to runaway, but it makes it a bit difficult for Ricky, knowing that he’s in the middle of nowhere.

For Bella, she accepts Ricky for the way he is and loves him for being himself.  And because of that, Ricky gets closer with Bella and accepts her like a loving aunt and motherly figure.

She cooks for him, she sings for him, she teaches him how to hunt and make life better in the countryside and buys him a gift, a dog which Ricky names him as Tupac.

But unfortunately, the happy life for Ricky is turned upside down when Bella dies unexpectedly.  And because of her death, he is no longer allowed to live with Hec and in the countryside due to child welfare services rules.

And when he fakes his death and Hec goes after him, the child welfare services automatically assumes that Hec abducted Ricky and a nationwide manhunt begins.

And we eventually see Ricky and Hec start to bond with each other through their months of trying to survive in the wilderness and calling themselves” The Wilderpeople” and hunters and law enforcement hunting them down.

Part of the fun of watching “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is the clever writing by incorporating a lot of comedy.  May it be spoken dialogue or a characters actions, I was quite surprised to see how natural and how good the performance of the young Julian Dennison was for the film.

When a film relies on a performance and quirkiness of a child actor and the delivery of a character’s line, you can’t ask for wonderful casting and this is where Julian Dennison shines as a young actor.

And pairing him up with veteran Sam Neill, it’s a film that works very well.  Sure, the whole plot is quirky and farfetched but it’s also part of the enjoyment of this entire film.  It’s unpredictable, it’s hilarious and so much fun!

As for the DVD, picture quality and audio is very good as it can get on DVD but if you want better quality, definitely go for the Blu-ray release version of the film.  As for special features, an audio commentary, behind-the-scenes featurette and a blooper reel is included.

Overall, Taika Waititi’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is a delightful comedy that will captivate you from beginning to end. I absolutely enjoyed this film and I highly recommend it!

 

Highlander Director’s Cut: 30th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Highlander Director’s Cut: 30th Anniversary Edition” is for those who loved the first film and are wanting to see a restored version of the director’s cut (preferably on Blu-ray) but also wanting to see newer special features including recent interviews with filmmaker Russel Mulcahy and actor Christopher Lambert and the two hour making of featurette. Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 1986 Highlander Productions Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Highlander Director’s Cut: 30th Anniversary Edition

YEAR OF FILM: 1986

DURATION: 116 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1 Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH and Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R (Strong Action Violence, A Scene of Sexuality and Some Language)

AVAILABLE ON: September 27, 2016


Directed by Russel Mulcahy

Story by Gregory Widen

Screenplay by Gregory Widen, Peteer Bellwood, Larry Ferguson

Produced by Peter S. Davis, William M. Panzer

Associate Producer: Eva Monley, Harold Moskovitz, John H. Starke

Executive Produced by E.C. Monell

Cinematography by Gerry Fisher

Edited by Peter Honess

Casting by Diane Dimeo, Michael McLean

Production Design by Allan Cameron

Art Direction by Martin Atkinson, Tim Hutchinson

Set Decoration by Ian Whittaker

Costume Design by James Acheson


Starring:

Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod/Russell Edwin Nash

Roxanne Hart as Brenda J. Wyatt

Clancy Brown as Victor Kruger/The Kurgan

Sean Connery as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez

Beatie Edney as Heather MacLeod

Alan North as Lt. Frank Moran

Jon Polito as Det. Walter Bedsoe

Sheila Gish as Rachel Ellenstein

Hugh Quarshie as Sunda Kastagir


Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the original cult classic that inspired movie and TV franchises! An immortal Scottish swordsman must confront the last of his immortal opponents, a murderously brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled “Prize.”


Back in the ’80s, Russell Mulcahy (“Teen Wolf” TV Series, “Resident Evil: Extinction”) was known for directing popular music videos from Duran Duran’s, The Tubes, The Buggles and Bonnie Tyler and his popularity of his music videos shown on MTV would easily lead to Mulcahy to feature films.

His second feature film, “Highlander” (1986), based on the story by Gregory Widen, may have not been a huge box office hit, but it would eventually become a cult classic and a film that people would eventually see countless times on cable TV.

Meanwhile, an actor named Christopher Lambert, who shot many films in France, would star in the 1984 American film, “Greystroke: The LEgend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes” and would eventually lead to other prominent lead role in his second American film “Highlander”.

The film would also star Roxanne Hart (“Letters from Iwo Jima”, “The Verdict”, “Chicago Hope”), Clancy Brown (“The Shawshank Redemption”, “Starship Troopers” and voice of Mr. Krabs in “SpongeBob SquarePants”), Sean Connery (“Dr. No”, “The Hunt for Red October”, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, “The Rock”) and Beatie Edney (“In the Name of the Father”, “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day”, “Prime Suspect: The Lost Child”).

And the original “Highlander” would lead to four more film sequels and a television spin-off series, an animated series and two animated films.

With the 30th Anniversary of “Highlander”, the film has been restored and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Lionsgate.

“Highlander” is the title and the name given to Connor MacLeod.  An immortal who has lived for hundreds of years and is now living in New York City, year 1985.

While leaving a wrestling match, he comes across another immortal named Iman Fasil and Connor decapitates him.  But because of the energy surge caused by the defeat of an immortal, it leads to a lot of damage and police arrest him.

As police interviews Connor, the story shifts back to the 16th century in the Scottish Highlands.  A place where Connor and his clan, Clan MacLeod prepare for a major battle.

Meanwhile, in 1985, a detective named Brenda Wyatt (portrayed by Roxanne Hart) finds Fasil’s sword and as an expert in metallurgy, realizes it’s an extremely rare Toledo Salamanca broadsword.  When Connor goes back to retrieve his own personal sword where he fought Faisle, he sees Brenda investigating and examining the sword and metal shards left behind from the battle.

We find out that Connor is madly in love with his wife Heather (portrayed by Beatie) and we learn that the main nemesis is an immortal known as The Kurgan (portrayed by Clancy Brown) who assists Clan Fraser in fighting Clan MacLeod for the sole right to slay Connor.

While the Kurgan injures Connor, his men save him from being decapitated by the Kurgan.  But when his men takes him back to the village to prepare for Connor’s expected death, instead, he recoveries from his wounds and the village thinks it may be thee work of the devil, and the people of his village want him dead.   But because he is the clan leader, he is exiled and he leaves with his wife.

Through his travel, he meets a mysterious immortal named Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (portrayed by Sean Connery) who trains Connor on how to sword fight.   And learns about the game of immortals.  Immortals must be decapitated and the last survivor becomes the winner and for each immortal they beat, they receive a transfer of power known as “The Quickening”.  And that the Kurgan is the most powerful immortal and must not ever die by him or else mankind will enter a dark age.

Fastforward to 1985 and the Kurgan has arrived and wants nothing more but to decapitate Connor MacLeod.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

It’s important to note that if you want the best picture and audio quality for this 30th anniversary edition of the “Highlander”, then the Blu-ray version is the way to go.  As for the DVD, the picture quality for “Highlander Director’s Cut: 30th Anniversary Edition” is as good as one can expect on DVD. Comparing to older DVD release, picture quality is evident and the film doesn’t look so aged.

The film is presented in 1:85:1 aspect ratio and audio is in English 5.1 Dolby Digital is primarily dialogue-driven and there was good use of the surround channels for the film.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Highlander Director’s Cut: 30th Anniversary Edition” comes with the following special feature:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Russell Mulcahy
  • Interview with Director Russell Mulcahy – (23:00) Interview with the director of “Highlander”.
  • Interview with Christopher Lambert – (20:33) Interview with “The Highlander”, Christopher Lambert.
  • The Making of Highlander – A two hour documentary about the making of “Highlander”.
  • Deleted Scenes – (6:09) Five deleted scenes
  • Archival Interview with Christopher Lambert – (8:52) Older archived French interviews with Christopher Lambert.
  • Trailer – Theatrical trailer for “Highlander”.

When it comes to LD, VHS, DVD and Blu-ray releases, “Highlander” is one of the films that I tend to repurchase.

Along with films from my childhood, “Star Wars” films, “Indiana Jones” films, “Back to the Future” films, “The Goonies”, “Karate Kid”, “Rocky” films, “Mad Max” and others that were part of the 1980’s, that you would catch on cable many times during the day, “Highlander” was a film that occasionally was shown and a film I enjoyed.

It had everything that a lot of people enjoyed. From its action, a humorous protagonist, a scary antagonist, a cool teacher thanks to Sean Connery’s performance and who can’t forget the use of an excerpt from Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages” hit song, “It’s better to burn out, than fade away”.

And for those who grew up in the MTV years, the fact that the film was directed by popular music video director, Russel Mulcahy was a major plus at the time.

And back in 1986, as a freshman in high school when this film came out, I thought of “Highlander” as a cool action film!

Who wouldn’t like a film about an immortal named Connor MacLeod who has been in this endless game of fighting other immortals to be the last one standing.  The guy who get’s all the girls and a crazy, tall antagonist known as “The Kurgan” who was quite wicked and wild.  And you can’t help but be excited for this film.

And here we are in 2016 and the film is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary and receives another Blu-ray and DVD release, but this time, the film has been restored and you also get a number of special features including a more recent interview with director Russel Mulcahy and actor Christopher Lambert.  Plus a two-hour making of, deleted scenes, archival interviews and an audio commentary!

And while watching this film again, sure, the acting was not all the best at times, but yet, you can’t help but enjoy the humor and also the violence in the film.  The characters have always been the best thing of the film and each moment seeing Lambert with Sean Connery was very cool to watch and you can’t help but think but how cool suave Connery was in his role as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez.

But also how awesome Clancy Brown was as the main antagonist, Victor Kruger/The Kurgan.  From the facial expressions, his way of words and knowing that he is one heck of a crazy, powerful antagonist.

And while I still find the “Highlander” to be a very cool film, I see it as a cool ’80s film, while the film does hold up 30th years later, similar to when I watch other ’80s films, I have found a few scenes to feature so-so acting and the flow of the film was not as smooth when it comes to scene transitions. But considering what Russel Mulcahy had to work with, in terms of budget and also the technology of its time, he did a great job.

But I wish that for this 30th anniversary, they would have included the original version of the film as well.  But for this DVD release, you get the director’s cut and another DVD with the making of featurette and other special features.

And last, Christopher Lambert embodied the role of Connor MacLeod and would set him up for future films as an action star and if anything, Connor MacLeod continues to be a major character today as “Highlander” still lives on, may it be film, TV series, animation, etc.

Overall, “Highlander Director’s Cut: 30th Anniversary Edition” is for those who loved the first film and are wanting to see a restored version of the director’s cut (preferably on Blu-ray) but also wanting to see newer special features including recent interviews with filmmaker Russel Mulcahy and actor Christopher Lambert and the two hour making of featurette.

Recommended!

 

Elephant Kingdom (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s about time that Thailand’s popular 2009 animated film “Khan Kluay 2” would be released in the U.S. as “Elephant Kingdom”.  While the English adaptation is easier to follow, and slightly strips away any Thailand historical references, families will find the animated film to be entertaining and enjoyable!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Elephant Kingdom

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 101 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:35:1 Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: PG (Violence, Peril, Thematic Elements and Rude Humor)

AVAILABLE ON: September 20, 2016


English Version Directed by Mychal Simka

Written and Produced by Mychal Simka

English Version Written by Doug Davidson, Jocelyn Wright

English Version Executive Producers: Barry Brooker Stan Wertlieb

English Version Co-Executive Producers: Ryan Black, Eli Wooten

English Version Associate Producers: Martin Guiterrez, Mary Peterson

Animation by Kantana Animation Studios


Featuring the Voices of:

Cary Elwes as Rock

Alexa PenaVega as Melody

Carlos PenaVega as Rally

Mikey Bolts as Pugsley

Ambyr Childers as Queen Diane

Garrett Clayton as Wingman

Mikey Bolts as Pugsley

Patrick Warburton as The King


From Lions Gate entertainment comes the animated film “Elephant Kingdom”.  Also known as “Khan Kluay 2” and made in Thailand by Kantana Animation back in 2009, the animated film is the sequel to the popular 2006 3D CG animated film (note: the original film was released on the video in the U.S. as “The Blue Elephant”).

Featuring voice acting by Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride”, “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”, “Liar Liar”), Alexa PenaVega (“Spy Kids”, “Repo! The Genetic Opera”, “Sleepover”), Carlos PenaVega (“Big Time Rush”, “Grease Live!”), Garrett Clayton (“Teen Beach Movie”, “The Real O’Neals”, “The Fosters”), Ambyr Childers (“We Are What We Are”, “The Master”) and Patrick Warburton (“Ted”, “Rules of Engagement”, “Family Guy”).

The animated film introduces us to an elephant couple that are expecting baby twins.

Rock (voiced by Cary Elwes) and his wife Melody (voiced by Alexa PenaVega) are excited about having twins but Melody is a little sad that Rock is never home and is always working.

Not long after Melody gave birth to twins, Melody and her twins are kidnapped by the powerful human king (voiced by Patrick Warburton).

While Rock is deeply saddened by the kidnapping of Melody, the twins and other elephants from the kingdom, he knows he must go out and rescue them from their kidnappers.

Meanwhile, the Human King wants to capture rock and looks to use the twins to his advantage.  As an evil sorcerer separates Melody from her twins, she receives the compassion from the kind Queen Diane (portrayed by Ambyr Childers).  And a little help from their friends Wingman (voiced by Garret Clayton), Rally (voiced by Carlos PenaVega) and Pugsley (voiced by Mikey Bolts).

Will Rock be able to save his wife and children but also other elephants held captive?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Elephant Kingdom” is presented in 2:35:1 Widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Since the animated film is intended for children, for the most part, children will love the cute elephant characters.  While the more discerning animated fans, may feel that “Elephant Kingdom” looks like CG made a decade ago (the animated film was released in Thailand back in 2009).

Overall, the environments have great detail, skin tones do have very good detail but this is an older animated film just released in the US in 2016 and I feel that children watching the film, probably will not care about the animation quality too much.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Elephant Kingdom” comes with the following special features:

  • Giving the Characters a Voice: At the Recording Studio – (11:54) Behind-the-scenes of the making of “Elephant Kingdom” and recording of the voice talent.
  • Minuscule Bonus Episodes – Featuring four mini animated shorts: Shellproof Nut, Lettus, Hyperactive and Some Weird Fly.
  • Elephant Kimgdom Trailer

EXTRAS:

“Elephant Kijngdom” comes with a slipcover and UltraViolet HD code.


For those looking for an animated family film, will want to check out “Elephant Kingdom”.

It’s important that while the film was the sequel to the animated film “Khan Kluay” in Thailand, for most people who have never watched the original film, can watch this film easily, as the writers tailored the story for people to enjoy if they never saw the original film.

The story of an elephant named Rock and his friends, searching for Rock’s wife Melody and his two twins that were kidnapped by humans.  And a wicked sorcerer, who wants to use the elephants for his own evil purposes.

It’s a race against the clock as Rock and other elephants must save them quickly!

The English version of the film is different from the original Thailand film in that a lot of the Thailand references are removed for a easier film for the masses outside of Thailand to follow.  For those familiar with the context of elephants and their use in Thailand films, part of the popularity of the film in Thailand is how an elephant named Khan Kluay would rise to become the war elephant for King Naresuan.

While the English version, Rock is busy with work and an easier story to follow. The Thailand version is a little more deeper as the elephant, Khan Kluay is a war elephant for a King and he is bound by his duties of honor and struggles with following his duty as a war elephant and also family time. In Thailand, King Naresuant is one of Thailand’s most revered monarchs and his fight against the Taungoo Burma, during the Toungoo Dynasty (ruling dynasty of Burma).  So, the Thailand version had a connection to the country’s history.

So, there are slight differences from the English adaptation of the original Thailand film.  But I felt the writers did a solid job of creating a simpler, straightforward story that is easier outside of Thailand to follow.

Animation is good but if you have been spoiled by Disney Pixar animated films, I can see many people feeling that the animation looks like it was made a decade ago (this film was released back in 2009).  Skin textures on both humans and the elephants are well-detailed, backgrounds are well-detailed, as well as various environments.  But in the end, the animated film is for children and they are less caring if the animation is highly detailed or looks amazing.  I really do feel that children would enjoy “Elephant Kingdom”.

The animated film features cute elephant characters and good voice acting, there are a few things to consider that the film does have its fair share of violence.  From the wicked sorcerer and his zombie warriors, a near-tragedy and other situations that gave the film a PG rating, I do feel that some young children, may get a bit spooked by certain characters and actions.

But for the most part, it’s an entertaining animated film.  And while the “Khan Kluay” films were extremely popular in Thailand, while its 2016 DVD release in the U.S. is a little late, I guess it’s better late than never.  So, It’s about time that Thailand’s popular 2009 animated film “Khan Kluay 2” would be released in the U.S. as “Elephant Kingdom”.

While the English adaptation is easier to follow, and slightly strips away any Thailand historical references, families will find the animated film to be entertaining and enjoyable!

 

 

Edge of Winter (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

While “Edge of Winter” has its tense moments, I couldn’t help but think how the film could have been made better if various plots involving the mother or some exciting rescue attempt was made. As banal it would have been, it would have still provided an ending with closure. But with how the film ended, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending at all.  But the film could have been worse or even tragic. which I’m glad wasn’t the case.

Images courtesy of © 2016 Wild Ontario men, Inc. and Baker Boys Productions Inc. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Edge of Winter

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 89 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:40:1 Widescreen, English, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Language and Some Violence)

AVAILABLE ON: September 27, 2016


Directed by Rob Connolly

Written by Rob Connolly, Kyle Mann

Produced by Jonathan Bronfman, Kyle Mann

Co-Producer: Aaron Barnett, Michael Risley

Executive Produced by Jeff Sackman

Cinematography by Norm Li

Edited by Greg Ng

Casting by Kerry Rock

Production Design by Craig Lathrop

Art Direction by Andrea Kristof

Set Decoration by Mary Kirkland

Costume Design by Joanna Syrokomia


Starring:

Joel Kinnaman as Elliot Baker

Tom Holland as Bradley Baker

Percy Hynes White as Caleb Baker

Rachelle Lefevre as Karen

Shaun Benson as Ted

Shilo Fernandez as Richard


Recently divorced and laid off from his job, Elliot Baker (Joel Kinnaman, Suicide Squad; Run All Night) is desperate to spend more time bonding with his sons, Bradley (Tom Holland, Captain America: Civil War) and Caleb (Percy Hynes White, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb). What starts as family day trip to teach his boys how to shoot turns into a nightmare when they become stranded. As they retreat to a desolate cabin, Elliot’s mounting fear of losing custody pushes him to the edge. The brothers quickly realize that the man responsible for keeping them safe has now become their biggest threat.


Rob Connolly has worked on the production-side of filmmaking for a variety of shorts, but in 2016, Connoly directed and co-wrote alongside Kyle Mann (producer of “Capote”, “Push” and “Wrecked”) the psychological thriller, “Edge of Winter”.

The film stars Joel Kinnaman (“The Killing”, “RoboCop”, “Run All Night”, “Safe House”), Tom Holland (“Captain America: Civil War”, “The Impossible”, “Locke”, “In the Heart of the Sea”), Percy Hynes White (“The Grand Seduction”, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”) and Rachelle Lefevre (“Twilight” films, “White House Dawn”, “Under the Dome”).

And now will be released on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film begins with Elliot Baker (portrayed by Joel Kinnaman), an unemployed outdoorsman who is happy to have his sons Bradley (portrayed by Tom Holland) and Caleb (portrayed by Percy Hynes White) stay with him for a short while, while his ex-wife Karen (portrayed by Rachelle Lefevre) go off on their winter vacation.

The kids have not stayed with their dad all that long, but immediately they get a taste of his temper when they find his rifle and start playing with it and are caught by him.

But while we get to see Elliot’s temper, he then decides to take the kids to go out to the country and use the rifle.  He wants to see his kids grow up to be good men and he sees this as perfect bonding time.

Bradley and Caleb are brothers that are often arguing with each other and Caleb often wanting to get the same opportunities as his older brother.

So, when Bradley starts to take a shot with the rifle, he hurts his arm and gives up, which shocks Elliot.  But you can tell that Bradley is not having as much fun with his father.

As for young Caleb, he starts enjoying the time of shooting the rifle with his father.  But when his father has him shoot at a rabbit, Caleb is left stunned that he shot a live animal and then watching his father put the rabbit out of his misery.

Wanting to see Bradley happy, Elliot then decides to bust through a gated area and have Bradley give his oldest son a chance to drive in the part of the country, despite the fact that Bradley doesn’t have a license.

And all goes well until, both brothers start to fight again and young Caleb is wanting to drive.  This causes Bradley to crash the vehicle into a wall of snow and the snow gets stuck.

Elliot’s temper starts to flare again but he decides to find a way to get the truck out of the snow because of the frigid temperatures.

But as the three are inside the truck, trying to keep warm, Caleb accidentally lets a secret slip that their new stepfather received a promotion and that the entire family are planning to move the family to London.

This leaves Elliot distraught and emotional that he furiously starts pounding on the steering wheel, scaring the boys and seeing that their father has anger issues and is quite unstable.

With the three in the middle of nowhere, Elliot and his sons take a trip cross-country to find shelter.

And for Elliot, the emotionally distraught father starts to consider, what if he and his sons live in the middle of nowhere, living off the land, so they can’t be taken away from him.  And if anyone gets near them, he will protect his children and prevent anyone from taking his sons away from him by force.

Meanwhile, both boys feel that their father has lost it and because there is no cell phone signal in the middle of nowhere, they are unable to call out for help.  With his father having a tight leash on them, can they escape?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

As for the DVD, the picture quality for “Edge of Winter” is as good as one can expect on DVD.   The film is presented in 2:40:1 aspect ratio and audio (English, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital) is primarily dialogue-driven and certain scenes with outdoor ambiance and occasional action sequences.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Edge of Winter” features no special features.


I first discovered Swedish actor, Joel Kinnaman in the 2010 film “Easy Money” and since then, his acting career has been wonderful as he had starring roles in film such as “Suicide Squad”, “Safe House”, the “RoboCop” remake, two more films in the “Easy Money” series and also TV series such as “The Killing” and “House of Cards”.

For the most part, I have enjoyed his films, but immediately, having watched the trailer for “Edge of Winter”, you immediately know where his character is headed as we see an emotionally, mentally unstable father going crazy.

Having watched the film, Kinnaman plays the rugged outdoorsman, Elliot Baker.  A man who hasn’t had luck working in the great outdoors in the lumber industry and because he has tried to restart his life, he has not had much contact with his two children.  But he enjoys being around them, whenever he has the chance.

When his two children, Bradley and Caleb stay with their father for the Winter, as his ex-wife and her new husband go on vacation, we see Kinnaman immediately trying to get his children to be grown men.

But unlike Elliot, his sons are nothing like him.  They care less for the outdoors, they don’t shoot rifles, they are very much different.

And when Bradley tries to shoot a rifle and it hurts his arm, Elliot immediately tries to tease his son of not being man enough and trying to give him a little tough love.  While Caleb wants to shoot a rifle and have fun.  But quickly that fun ends, when Elliot has his son kill a rabbit.  And for young Caleb, the thought of killing a living thing leaves him a sad because he never thought he would go that far, nor did he think he would actually kill the rabbit.

Elliot then tries to teach his oldest son to drive but when his sons start to bicker while Bradley is driving, things go out of control and they get into an accident and the truck is stuck in the middle of nowhere and temperatures are dropping quickly.

But this family outing with their dad starts to go downhill when the kids tell him that they are moving to London with their parents and will not be seeing their father. But their step-father will purchase a plane ticket, so Elliot can visit them in England.  Needless to say, Elliot starts to lose it emotionally, mentally and he literally snaps.

So, the film starts to transition of a film of survival between a father and his two sons as they try to brave the elements and find shelter.

And as we see them go through some challenges, including a scene where Elliot falls through the ice on a frozen lake, what makes you feel could be a redeeming factor of father trying to help his children survive becomes a tale psychological horror as Elliot decides to hold the kids in a cabin, they will live there and live off the land and no one will take his kids away from him.

But it’s when we see people getting close to the cabin, we start to see Elliot start thinking in his head that everyone coming nearby are there to steal his children away from him.  So, Elliot feels to protect his children, he must hurt/kill anyone that comes near the cabin.

And from there on, all hell has broken loose and the children, they realize their father is mentally ill and has lost it and now their lives are in danger.

As the story of a distraught parent is nothing new, the fact that we see in the news of murder suicides especially when a distraught parent handles a divorce or losing their family, mental illness is no doubt a problem in society and watching “Edge of Winter”, we know how bad things can turn out and watching Elliot, he simply has lost it and when he starts attacking and killing people, who he thinks are after his children, we immediately start hoping that the kids can find a way to escape.

As for the DVD, picture quality was good as one can expect on DVD.   The film is presented in 2:40:1 aspect ratio and audio (English, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital) is primarily dialogue-driven and certain scenes with outdoor ambiance and occasional action sequences.  Unfortunately, there are no special features.

While “Edge of Winter” has its tense moments, I couldn’t help but think how the film could have been made better if various plots involving the mother or some exciting rescue attempt was made. Even exploring the source of Elliot’s behavior.  As banal it would have been, it would have still provided an ending with closure. But with how the film ended, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending at all.  But the film could have been worse or even tragic. which I’m glad wasn’t the case.

 

 

Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich” is an entertaining World War II action film.  It may not be one of the more memorable WWII war films made, but the film is less of a popcorn action film with a good story.

Images courtesy of © 2016 Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 101 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1 Widescreen, English, French and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese Traditional, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (For Violence, Language and Brief Nudity)

AVAILABLE ON: September 27, 2016


Directed by Claudio Fah

Written by Robert Henny, Don Michael Paul

Produced by Jeffery Beach, Phillip J. Roth

Line Producer: Yanko Ushatov

Executive Produced by Cherise Honey

Cinematography by Martin Chichov

Edited by John Gilbert

Casting by Jeff Gerrard, Gillian Hawser

Production Design by Jana Grazer

Costume Design by Olga Mekikchieva


Starring:

Sean Patrick Flanery as Captain Evan Blackburn

Tom Sizemore as Master Sergeant O’Malley

Kip Pardue as Clarence Edward

Stephen Lang as General Emil F. Reinhardt

Rutger Hauer as Oskar Halminski

Eric Ladin as Robert Sites

Johannes Herrschmann as Adam von Konig

Pasha D. Lychnikoff as Major Aleksandr Kulkov

Tom Padley as Theodore Dix

Julie Engelbrecht as Elke Schroeder

Michael Epp as Karl Krauss

Andrew Byron as Tolstoy

Martin Bermoser as Visser


From the producers of Company of Heroes and starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Tom Sizemore, Kip Pardue with Stephen Lang and Rutger Hauer, comes an intense thriller from the frontlines of World War II. As Operation Valkyrie prepares to assassinate Adolph Hitler, an Allied special ops team prepares to extract the man destined to lead post-war Germany. But after Valkyrie fails, everything changes. Now, unlikely allies must work together to stop a group of Nazi Officers from fleeing to Argentina and establishing the Fourth Reich.


From filmmaker Claudio Fah (“Hollowman 2”, “Northmen – A Viking Saga”, “Sniper Reloaded”) and writers Robert Henry (“Who’s Your Caddy?”, “Lego Atlantis”) and Don Michael Paul (“Company of Heroes”, “Sniper: Legacy”) comes their World War II film, “Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich”.

The film would star Tom Sizemore (“Saving Private Ryan”, “Black Hawk Down” Heat”), Sean Patrick Flannery (“The Boondock Saints” films, “Powder”, “Saw 3D”), Kip Pardue (“Remember the Titans”, “The Rules of Attraction”, “Driven”), Stephen Lang (“Avatar”, “Conan the Barbarian”, “The Men Who Stare At Goats”), Rutger Hauer (“Blade Runner”, “Batman Begins”, “Sin City”), Eric Ladin (“American Sniper”, “The Brink”, “Boardwalk Empire”), Tom Padley (“Silent Witness”, “DCI Banks”), Julie Engelbrecht (“The Last Witch Hunter”, “Before the Fall”, “The Red Baron”), Michael Epp (“Collide”, “The Childhood of a Leader”) and Pascha D. Lynchnikoff (“Deadwood”, “A Good Day to Die Hard”).

And now “Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich” will be available on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Nearing the end of World War II, dissent is spreading through Germany , Nazi soldiers who were disenchanted with the leadership of the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler, would plan on Operation Valkyrie (the assassination of Adolf Hitler).

Meanwhile, the Nazi’s are sending large number of mysterious cargo to Prussia for an unknown reason.

In the UK, allied forces has Captain Evan Blackburn (portrayed by Sean Patrick Flanery) to take on one final classified mission and he can return to his family.

Blackburn would lead an Allied special ops team to extract the man who will lead post-war Germany, German colonel and resistance fighter, Albrech Mertz von Quirnheim.

But upon arriving to Germany, their plane is shot down and they are captured by a group of Nazi SS officers.

But fortunately for the Blackburn and his men, they are rescued by Russians led by Major Aleksandr Kulkov (portrayed by Pascha D. Lyncnikoff) are disguised as Nazi SS Officers and are able to escape.

Meanwhile, Nazi soldier Karl Krauss (portrayed by Michael Epp) is in charge of making sure the mysterious Nazi cargo is transported to Prussia.  But working on the inside, trying to get as many information as she can to feed the rebellion is Elke Schroeder (portrayed by Julie Engelbrecht).

And as the Allied Forces have their classified mission, the Russians also have their mission and because both have different goals, both teams are suspicious of each other and tensions are high.

But when word arrives that Operation Valkyrie was a failure, both teams are now being hunted down by the Nazi.

Can both teams survive their mission and what is the Nazi plan of the mysterious train cargo?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“The Real MVP: The Wanda Durant Story” is presented in 1:78:1 Widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality is good, as one can expect on DVD and with most of the film shot outdoors, picture quality is good. Dialogue and music is clear and understandable.

Subtitles are in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Real MVP: The Wanda Durant Story” features no special features.


In 2012, secret files in Brazil and Chile were opened to reveal a big secret that Argentina and South America have been keeping.

Around 9,000 Nazi war criminals and those who aided them (Croatians, Ukranian, Russians and other western Europeans) escaped and started new lives in South America.

It was estimated that as much as 5,000 escaped to Argentina, around 2,000 to Brazil, around 1,000 to Chile and the rest went to Paraguay and Uruguay.

Because Argentina was a country that was neutral towards the Nazi, Argentine President General Peron sold 10,000 blank Argentine passports to ODESSA, a secret organization that was created and setup to protect former SS Nazi officers and soldiers (including Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann – who was captured in 1960 by the Mossad and executed, Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele and Treblinka death camp commander Franz Stangl) in the event of defeat.

But how were these thousands of people able to move and live in another country?

The film “Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich” explores the situation and also what happens when an Allied Team is sent to Germany to extract the person who may least post-Germany if Operation Valkyrie, to assassinate Adolf Hitler, was successful.

We know that Operation Valkyrie was unsuccessful, the organizers were executed but for both teams, they are stuck in German soil and must find a way to continue their mission and find out what is in the mysterious cargo that the Nazi’s are transporting and get out of Germany alive.

Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich” comes from the producers of the 2013 film “Company of Heroes”.

The film revolves around Sean Patrick Flanery, Kip Pardue and others of the Allied Forces involved in this risky mission to extract a German military leader who is involved with the planning of Operation Valkyrie and will run post-Germany if the mission is successful.

But majority of the film focuses on the group on the run, Flanery’s character as Captain Evan Blackburn is a man who just wants to be with his wife and child and can’t wait to get this mission over.  Blackburn takes orders from Stephen Lang’s character, General Emil F. Reinhart and his right-hand man, Master Sergeant O’Malley (portrayed by Tom Sizemore).

And the group are often at odds with Major Aleksandr Kulkov (portrayed by Major Aleksandr Kulkov) and the Russian team as both teams do not trust each other.

Michael Epp is the main antagonist as Karl Krauss, who is a cold unsympathetic Nazi officer, Karl Krauss.  Julie Engelbrecht plays the role of Elke Schroeder, a beautiful woman who tries to get secret information from Krauss and get to Rebel leader, Oskar Halminski (portrayed by Rutger Hauer).

“Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich” was much more enjoyable than “Company of Heroes”, in the fact that it was not just a popcorn action film but a story that ties into how many Nazi’s were able to escape to Argentina and the secret files that were made public by German prosecutors in 2012 and also the Nazi submarine that was unearthed in Argentina in 2015 after an earthquake.

Because there is many characters, really, there was no importance placed on other characters, just knowing that both Allied Forces and Russian Forces under their leader were both sacrificing their lives for their mission.  There is no major plot involving someone’s personal background, other than Kip Pardue’s character, Clarence Edward, flirting with Engelbrecht’s character, Elke Schroeder.

As for the DVD, picture quality is good as it can get on DVD.  Wished it was released on Blu-ray, like “Company of Heroes”.  The audio is presented in English, French, Japanese and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital and because of the number of machine gun battles and explosions, there is good use of the surround channels.  Dialogue and musical score are crystal clear.  Unfortunately, there are no special features, so this is a barebones DVD release.

Overall, “Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich” is an entertaining World War II action film.  It may not be one of the more memorable WWII war films made, but the film is less of a popcorn action film with a good story.

 

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