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Beatriz at Dinner (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Miguel Arteta’s “Beatriz at Dinner” is provocative and unsettling but the mark of a very good film is one that will prompt people to debate, to talk and possibly to learn from.  Is it a great film, no it’s not.  But it’s a film that will no doubt resonate for each person who watches it, may it be positive or negative.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Brown Amy LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Beatriz at Dinner

YEAR OF FILM: 2017

DURATION: 83 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1 widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

RATED: R (Language and a Scene of Violence)

COMPANY: Lions Gate

AVAILABLE ON: September 12, 2017


Directed by Miguel Arteta

Written by Mike White

Produced by Aaron L. Gilbert, David Hinojosa, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon

Co-Produced: Fiona Walsh Heinz, William B. Macomber

Executive Producer: Jason Cloth, Brad Feinstein, Lewis Hendler, Richard McConnell, Andrew Pollack, Alan Simpson, Jose Tamez  Co-Executive

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh

Cinematography by Wyatt Garfield

Edited by Jay Deuby

Casting by Joanna Colbert, Meredith Tucker

Production Design by Ashley Fenton

Set Decoration: Madelaine Frezza

Costume Design: Christina Blackalier


Starring:

Salma Hayek as Beatriz

John Lithgow as Doug

Connie Britton as Kathy

Jay Duplass as Alex

Amy Landecker as Jeana

Chloe Sevigny as Shannon

David Warshofsky as Grant

John Early as Evan


Beatriz (Salma Hayek), an immigrant from a poor town in Mexico, has drawn on her innate kindness to build a career as a spiritual health practitioner in Los Angeles. Doug Strutt (John Lithgow) is a cutthroat, self-satisfied billionaire real estate developer. When these two opposites meet at a dinner party, their worlds collide and neither will ever be the same.


With all the political turmoil that currently exists in the world, especially in America, filmmaker Miguel Arteta (“Youth in Revolt”, “The Good Girl”, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”) and writer Mike White (“School of Rock”, “Nacho Libre”, “The Good Girl”, “Orange County”) reunite for another film that takes on today’s hot topic in regards to the clashing of cultures but also a clash between rich and poor.

The film stars Salma Hayek (“Frida”, “Desperado”, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”), John Lithgow (“Interstellar”, “3rd Rock from the Sun”, “Cliffhanger”), Connie Britton (“Nashville”, “Friday Night Lights”, “Spin City”), Jay Duplass (“Transparent”, “Togetherness”, “Cyrus”), Amy Landecker (“Doctor Strange”, “Project Almanac”, “Transparent”), Chloe Sevigny (“Boys Don’t Cry”, “Big Love”, “Love & Friendship”) and David Warshofsky (“Taken”, “Captain Phillips”, “Now You See Me”).

And now the film will be released on DVD courtesy of Lions Gate.

The film begins with a woman named Beatriz (portrayed by Salma Hayek) having a dream of riding in a boat and paddling in the waters and seeing a white goat.  She awakens when a brown goat in her bedroom starts making a lot of noise.  As Beatriz tries to quite down her two dogs and the goat, she leaves for her job to a massage therapy center.

Beatriz leaves her job to tend to a client, Kathy (portrayed by Connie Britton)who lives in a wealthy, gated home.  As Beatriz massages Kathy, Beatriz tells Kathy of how her neighbor had killed one of her goats and becomes emotional when discussing it.

As she is done with her client and is about to head out home, her car doesn’t start.  She tells Kathy that she is unable to leave the driveway as her car is not working but her friend will be picking her up after he is done with work.

Kathy invites Beatriz to join them for dinner and while her husband, Grant (portrayed by David Warshofsky) is against it, because real estate developer Doug Strutt (portrayed by John Lithgow) would be arriving and it’s an important dinner, he eventually decides to allow Beatriz to join them for dinner.

Immediately, Beatriz tries to fit in by trying to make conversation with lawyer Alex (portrayed by Jay Duplass) and Shannon (portrayed by Chloe Sevigny), Doug and his wife Jeanna (portrayed by Amy Landecker).  And as Beatriz introduces herself and how she knows Kathy and what she does, the two don’t have much of an interest talking to her.

And as these three couples are celebrating their latest project and Kathy introduces the ladies to Beatriz as a healer and they start talking mean about a female celebrity, which the women get into but Beatriz is wondering why these women would talk so mean about a person they don’t know.

As she goes to visit Grant, Doug and Alex, Doug mistakes her as a servant but Grant explains that she is a guest.  As she talks about where she came from, Doug makes jokes which leads to Beatriz to say that she has seen him before.

We then see the three women looking at photos and they see Kathy and Doug’s daughter who had cancer and her daughter standing alongside Beatriz.

Kathy then tells the other women about Beatriz’ challenges of being separated by her family as a child, leaving her hometown and being raised by her grandmother in the United States but also losing her husband.

As the group gather to dinner, they all have conversation about their successful project, which Beatriz then interrupts and talks about coming from Mexico and Doug asks if she came legally.

She explains that her hometown in Mexico was destroyed by a failed hotel and she asks if Doug was the developer.  He denies it.

As Beatrix leaves and makes a call, she calls up a friend and asks if Doug Strutt was the developer that they protested against.

As the group goes into the dining room, Doug talks about hunting and the excitement of hunting and killing a wild animal and shares photos of him killing a rhinoceros on his last safari.  This sets off Beatriz who tells everyone it’s disgusting and she throws his phone.

Everyone is shocked at Beatriz’ behavior and it leads to an awkward evening between Beatriz and the home she is temporarily staying at.

And Beatriz contemplating if it’s fate that she’s at the house and perhaps she is destined to get revenge by killing Doug.  Will she do it?  What will happen throughout the evening?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Beatriz at Dinner” is presented in 1:85:1 and is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital. For the most part, picture quality is good as it gets on DVD. .  Closeups show good detail, outdoor scenes are vibrant and for the most part, I didn’t notice any major artifacts or banding issues during my viewing of the film. The soundtrack is primarily dialogue driven

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Beatriz at Dinner” comes with a trailer.

EXTRAS:

“Beatriz at Dinner” comes with a slipcover.


“Beatriz at Dinner” is a provocative film that will no doubt get people talking.

Beatriz who represents the poor who came from Mexico and living in the United States and works a healer is  an animal lover, cares about the land and willing to stand up for it.  She is spiritual, caring and a very good person.

But poor Beatriz, her car breaks down at a wealthy client’s home and while she is invited to the party, these wealthy people surely don’t want Beatriz around.

It’s immediately evident as Beatriz tries to fit in.  First the women, as they discuss a female celebrity in a mean-spirited way and talks about the celebrity’s vagina and photos online which leads Beatriz to leave and tries to talk with the men.

Developer Doug thinks Beatriz is a servant and asks her to get him more alcohol, a wealthy land developer which Beatriz believes may be the person that forced her and people from her village out of their area in Mexico to build a hotel.

And to cap things off, when Doug starts talking about his hunt from his last Safari trip, this immediately sends Beatriz off the edge and she starts to think, what if she was destined to be at this party for one reason.   And that reason was to kill a man responsible for hurting the land, hurting living things.

Miguel Arteta and Mike White have no doubted crafted a film that touches on hot topics that we have seen in the news these past few years.

For me, I can see both sides because I grew up in an area of California where the population is mostly Mexican and I have had numerous Mexican friends, especially those with Native American ancestry, who come from families who are very spiritual people and feel strongly about the land, respecting the living animal that they must kill for food.

And also, I also come from an area where there are many hunters (not all Caucasian) and I have many friends who are hunters.  And I also have friends who are wealthy and those who are lawyers and real estate developers.

A number of them are two opposite ends in terms of perspective and livelihood and I knew that if you were to put them in a household together to discuss these hot topics, each would be strong with their beliefs and conviction that either side won’t back down.

This is the fracture of American society that is more evident more than ever thanks to social media.  One posts a photo of killing a deer or wildlife, despite it being legal, there are numerous people who will be passionate to show their distaste over the photo or video posted and as we have seen in news reports, a lot of the time, they receive death threats.

As for the destruction of land, this is an ongoing hot topic that has existed globally.  From the chopping of trees, especially the effects of deforestation and saw its effects on Easter Island and we are seeing it going on in the rain forests of other countries.  We have seen people forced to leave their lands and even going to inner city where gentrification is forcing lower income households to move.

There are passionate debates on both ends and there probably will not be any decorum, especially in a world where people feel that the haves do not have any compassion for the have nots.

“Beatriz at Dinner” is provocative and unsettling because for me watching this film, I knew that it would be an awkward situations.  Beatriz is compassionate about people, about animals and about life.  And when she is in the presence of people who celebrate over the killing of life, the development of land for business and forcing people to move, you see a ticking time bomb that is about to detonate.

You just wonder how far Beatriz will go.

The film features a wonderful performance by Salma Hayek and it’s no doubt the most unsettling and provocative film I have seen her star in.  Also, a film where she’s not glamoured up, she is able to portray a character that represents many people who feel they have no voice in today’s society.

As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is as good as one can expect.  But it’s pretty much a barebones DVD with no special features but a theatrical trailer.

Overall, Miguel Arteta’s “Beatriz at Dinner” is provocative and unsettling but the mark of a very good film is one that will prompt people to debate, to talk and possibly to learn from.  Is it a great film, no it’s not.  But it’s a film that will no doubt resonate for each person who watches it, may it be positive or negative.


How to Be a Latin Lover (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

For those who are looking for a laugh-out-loud comedy with a wonderful cast, definitely give “How to Be a Latin Lover” a try!  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Pantelion, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: How to Be a Latin Lover

FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 115 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Lions Gate

RATED: PG-13

RELEASE DATE: August 15, 2017


Directed by Ken Marino

Written by Chris Spain, Jon Zack

Produced by Eugenio Derbez, Ben Odell

Executive Producer: Mike Upton

Associate Producer: Erica Oyama

Cinematography by John Bailey

Edited by John Daigle

Casting by Deborah Aquila, Tricia Wood, Lisa Zagoria

Production Design by Marcia Hinds

Art Direction by Alex Gaines, Thomas P. Wilkins

Set Decoration by Cindy Coburn

Costume Design by Molly Grundman


Starring:

Eugenio Derbez as Maximo

Salma Hayek as Sara

Raphael Alejandro as Hugo

Rob Lowe as Rick

Kristen Bell as Cindy

Mckenna Grace as Arden

Raquel Welch as Celeste

Linda Lavin as Millicent

Renee Taylor as Peggy

Rob Corddry as Quincy

Rob Riggle as Scott

Rob Huebel as Nick

Michael Cera as Remy

Mather Zickel as James


Eugenio Derbez (INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED) and Salma Hayek head an all-star cast in this hilarious comedy about an aging ladies’ man who learns that love and trust must be earned.


Actor Ken Marino is known for his acting roles and for his writing work for films such as “Wanderlust” and TV shows such as “Childrens Hospital”, “Wainy Days” and “The State”.  And now, Marino directs the comedy film “How to Be a Latin Lover” which is co-written by Chris Spain and Jon Zack.

The film stars Eugenio Derbez (“La familia P. Luche, “La jugada”), Salma Hayek (“Frida”, “Desperado”, “Once Upon a time in Mexico”), Raphael Alejandro (“Once Upon a Time”, “Almost Human”), Rob Lowe (“The West Wing”, “Wayne’s World”, “Parks and Recreation”), Kristen Bell (“Frozen”, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, “Veronica Mars”), Raquel Welch (“The Three Musketeers”, “Fantastic Voyage”, “Legally Blonde”), Linda Lavin (“The Intern”, “Wanderlust”, “The Back-Up”), Renee Taylor (“Alfie”, “The Nanny”, “The Producers”), Rob Corddry (“Hot Tub Time Machine”, “What Happens in Vegas”, “Warm Bodies”), Rob Riggle (“Hangover”, “21 Jump Street”, “The Daily Show”), Rob Huebel (“The Descendants”, “I Love  You Man”) and Michael Cera (“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”, “Juno”, “Superbad”).

The film which was created for $10 million would go on to make over $60 million in the box office.

The film revolves around a man named Maximo (portrayed by Eugenio Derbez) who seduced an older woman when he was a younger in hopes he could live the good life.

He ended up marrying Peggy (portrayed by Renee Taylor) for 25-years, using her to get the things he wants and having her spoil him.  And his fellow gigolo friend, Ric (portrayed by Rob Lowe) does the same with his wife, Millicent (portrayed by Linda Lavin).

But Betty is now much older, more than twice his age and now she’s 80-years-old, can hardly move and now they are celebrating their anniversary.

Forgetting about their anniversary, Maximo pretends that he was going to buy her a new sports car (with her money) and they meet a smooth talking car salesman Remy (portrayed by Michael Cera).

After going out for a game of golf, he comes home early and finds out that Peggy is having an affair with Remy and she ends their marriage.  And because they married with a prenup, he is left with nothing.

Jobless and having no home, Maximo moves in to his estranged sister’s (portrayed by Salma Hayek) home, along with her 10-year-old son Hugo (portrayed by Raphael Alejandro).

When he takes Hugo to school, he finds out that he as a crush on a girl named Arden (portrayed by Mckenna Grace) and Mckenna has a wealthy single grandmother named Celeste (portrayed by Raquel Welch) and when his buddy Ric tells him how wealthy she is, immediately Maximo tries to find a way to get close to Celeste, which is not easy considering he has an overprotective chauffeur, Quincy (portrayed by Rob Corddry).

Meanwhile, Maximo wants to transform his sister’s young son from a nerdy science fan to a Latin Lover.  And also try to work odd jobs in order to pay off debt.


VIDEO:

“How to Be a Latin Lover” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). Outdoor scenes are vibrant, picture quality showcase wonderful detail.  I didn’t notice any major banding or artifact issues during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“How to Be a Latin Lover” is presented in English and Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and features crystal clear dialogue. While surround channels capture environment ambiance, this film’s soundtrack is primarily dialogue and music-driven.

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“How to Be a Latin Lover” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Ken Marino, producer Ben Odell and editor John Daigle.
  • Show Me Your Sexy! Learning How to Be a Latin Lover – (17:35) How “How to Be a Latin Lover” went from a TV comedy and became a film built around actor Eugenio Derbez and more.
  • A Little Help from My Friends – (11:08) How Ken Marino got his celebrity friends involved in the film and interviews with the cast.
  • Extended/Deleted Scenes – (33:39) Extended and deleted scenes form “How to Be a Latin Lover”.

EXTRAS:

“How to Be a Latin Lover” comes with the Blu-ray and an UltraViolet HD code.


Far often we see films about older women going after younger men and often in media, we see younger women going after older, wealthy men.

But what if the roles were reversed and you have a film that showcase a gigolo who goes after an older woman in order to have a lifestyle of luxury?

The answer is Ken Marino’s comedy “How to Be a Latin Lover” starring popular Latino actor Eugenio Derbez as the film’s protagonist, Maximo.

A comedy featuring an all-star cast which includes Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Michael Cera, Linda Lavin, Raquel Welch, Rob Cordry, Rob Riggle to name a few, “How to Be a Latin Lover” is a laugh loud comedy about a gigolo who got the life he wanted by marrying a wealthy, single, older woman for her money.

Fastforward 25-years later and Maximo is older, gained a few pounds, but still enjoying life, being pampered and spending money that is not his.

And as his 80-year-old wife wants to celebrate their wedding anniversary, having forgotten the anniversary, he takes her to a sportscar shop and pretending to buy it for her (when he wants it for himself), Maximo is unaware that the car salesman (also a gigolo) would end up having an affair with Maximo’s wife.

And now she wants to end the marriage and because they had a prenuptial agreement, he gets nothing.  No money, he’s flat broke and all he has is his luggage and fancy clothing.

Where to go but his estranged younger sister Sara’s apartment, where she lives with her 10-year-old son Hugo.  And because Maximo wasn’t there for her, especially after her husband’s death or even their mother’s death, she is very upset at him.  But knowing that he is family, she allows him to live with him until he can fully support himself.

But for Maximo, not having the life of luxury proves to be difficult and now wants to find a suger momma and what best than to go after the wealthy Celeste (portrayed by Raquel Welch), who happens to be the grandmother of the girl that young Hugo likes.

So, Maximo feels if he can change Hugo from being a science nerd and being a gigolo like him and captivate the attention of the girl he likes, it will lead him straight to Celeste.  Or will it?

The film also stars Rob Lowe, a fellow gigolo and Maximo’s friend who is courting a character portrayed by Linda Lavin; Kristen Bell as a cat-loving person who manages an ice cream shop; Rob Riggle and Rob Huebel as bullies who want Maximo to pay him the $1,000’s owned and more.

As for the film on Blu-ray, colors are vibrant (considering the film was shot outdoors a lot) and lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue and music.  And there are numerous special features including two featurettes, audio commentary and extended and deleted scenes.

Overall, for those who are looking for a laugh-out-loud comedy with a wonderful cast, definitely give “How to Be a Latin Lover” a try!  Recommended!

Sausage Party (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

November 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Sausage Party” probably will be known as the most wildest, sexually pervasive R-rated animated film to be showcased on the big screen.  And there is no doubt that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have once again raised the bar of craziness to be displayed in an animated film.  “Sausage Party” gives new meaning to the words “Food Porn” and will no doubt entertain audiences familiar with Rogen/Goldberg films.

Images courtesy of © 2016 Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Sausage Party

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 89 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p Ultra High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio), English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), English – Audio Description Track, French, Hungarian, Polish VO, Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital. SUBTITLES: English SDH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croation, Czech, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Turkish

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Strong Sexual Content, Pervasive Language and Drug Use)

RELEASE DATE: November 8, 2016


Directed by Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon

Screenplay by Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Story by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jonah Hill

Produced by Megan Ellison, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, Conrad Vernon

Executive Producer: David Distenfeld, Jonah Hill, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, James Weaver

Co-Producer: Pilar Flynn, Jillian Longnecker, Alex McAtee

Music by Christopher Lennertz, Alan Menken

Edited by Kevin Pavlovic

Casting by Francine Maisler

Production Design by Kyle McQueen

Art Direction by Kyle McQueen


Featuring the Voices of:

Michael Cera as Barry

James Franco as Druggie

Bill Hader as Firewater/Tequila/El Guaco

Salma Hayek as Teresa

Jonah Hill as Carl

Anders Holm as Troy

Nick Kroll as Douche

David Krumholtz as Lavash

Danny McBride as Honey Mustard

Lauren Miller as Camille Toh, Tampon

Edward Norton as Sammy

Nicole Oliver as Sally Bun

Craig Robinson as Grits

Seth Rogen as Frank/Sergeant Pepper

Paul Rudd as Darren

Kristen Wiig as Brenda


In this CG-animated movie, one sausage leads a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store. The film features the vocal talents of some of today’s best comedy stars – Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, and Salma Hayek.


When you get Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (both created “Superbad”, “Pineapple Express”, “This is the End” and “The Interview”) together, you know that the two are going to raise the bar of the wildest and audacious comedy that can appear on the big screen.

While the comedy can be looked as moronic and obscene, there is no doubt an audience that enjoys there style of comedy and when the two began working on their first animated film and news that it was a audacious and obscene animated film titled “Sausage Party”, the first initial Red Band trailers were enough to let viewers know that this was an animation film for adults and not for children.

And the animated film which had a budget of $19 million, would make over $138.4 million worldwide.

And now, “Sausage Party” will be released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The animated film is set in a supermarket called Shopwell’s and the food and grocery items just want to be taken to the “Great Beyond” by human shoppers.

Meanwhile, a group of sausages, especially Frank (voiced by Seth Rogen) and his girlfriend, a bun named Brenda (voiced by Kristen Wiig), can’t wait to be taken to the Great Beyond and consummate their relationship.

For now, the two discuss that they can only do tips.

Meanwhile, other sausages such as Barry (voiced by Michael Cera), Carl (voiced by Jonah Hill) and Troy (voiced by Anders Holm), also look forward to consummating with the other buns in the Great Beyond.

As the pack of sausages and buns are selected and the group celebrate, a returned jar of Honey Mustard (voiced by Danny McBride) tries to tell everyone the horrors of the Great Beyond and that what they think is untrue.  The human shoppers, which they have known as their gods, will eat them.

As no one is willing to listen to Honey Mustard, Honey Mustard tries to commit suicide and Frank and Brenda try to save him.  Honey Mustard tells Frank that he must find a bottle of liquor named Firewater (voiced by Bill Hader) and learn the truth about the Great Beyond.

Unfortunately, Honey Mustard’s suicide leads to an accident inside the store and Frank, Brenda, a lavash named Kareem (voiced by David Krumholtz) and a bagel named Sammy (voiced by Edward Norton), along with an evil douche named Douche (voiced by Nick Kroll) have fallen out of the shopping cart.  While everyone manages to be unhurt, unfortunately, Douche is badly damaged and discarded and he now hates Frank and blames him for being damaged.

As the group tries to find their way back, Frank heeds Honey Mustard’s warning and goes to the liquor aisle in order to find Firewater to learn the truth.

But he is unaware that douche is planning to take revenge against him.

Meanwhile, the others try to find a way back and run into a lesbian taco named Teresa (voiced by Salma Hayek) who falls for Brenda.

But will these food items discover the absolute truth of what is in the Great Beyond and what happens to food items?


VIDEO:

“Sausage Party” on 4K Ultra HD is presented in 2160p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio) features a vibrant, colorful pallette as each character is bursting with color, with characters showcasing great detail and reflections.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sausage Party” on 4K Ultra HD is presented in English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), Czech, English – Audio Description Track, French, Hungarian, Polish VO and Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital.

“Sausage Party” is a film that features crystal clear dialogue, music and sound effects.  There are moments with action sequences that are well-utilized through the surround channels.

Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish and Turkish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sausage Party” comes with the following special features (only on Blu-ray portion only):

  • Good Food Gag Reel – (7:29) “Sausage Party” gag reel.
  • Shock and Awe: How Did This Get Made? – (5:08) “Sausage Party” creators discuss the challenge of getting the film made and the edits that had to be made in order for the film to be created.
  • The Booth – (9:28) The original table read for “Sausage Party” and then behind-the-scenes of the recording of the voice talent for the film.
  • Line-O-Rama – (4:57) Behind-the-scenes of the improvisation used by the voice actors for the film.
  • The Great Beyond – (4:01) The composers discuss the music for the film.
  • The Pitch – (2:33) Interview with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg on how they pitched the film to the film studios.
  • Seth Rogen’s Animation Imaginatorium – (1:05) A parody of the Walt Disney’s old classic introductions, but featuring Seth Rogen promoting “Sausage Party”.

EXTRAS:

“Sausage Party” will come with both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray plus an UltraViolet Digital HD code. Also, a slipcover.


When it comes to films involving Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the approach I have is similar to how I have approached Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow films.

You know what you are going to get, but you wonder how far they can push the envelope.

For years now, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, have created films that try to push the envelope in moronic comedy and attracting an audience who wants more and more of it.

What makes “Sausage Party” so different is what if you can create the most audacious, filthy animated film involving food products, who are characters.

Needless to say, I can understand why studios had passed on the film because making something so explicit and sexually pervasive is not what you can expect from an animated film.

Sure, back when I was young, we had “Heavy Metal” and then we had the profanity-laden “South Park” and moreso recently with the series “Robot Chicken” involving toy action figures getting it on.

But Rogen and Goldberg managed to up the level of craziness, sexual references and even a hardcore food orgy with “Sausage Party” and giving new meaning to the word, “Food Porn”.

But while there is a story that exists in “Sausage Party” as food products (yes, they are each a character) hope to be selected by human customers and be taken to the Great Beyond where they can exist in true harmony and consummate with other food products.  And for sausage wiener, Frank and bun, Brenda…these two can’t wait to get it on.

Unfortunately, Frank learns the truth of what the “Great Beyond” truly means and what happens to food products and tries to warn his fellow food products that they will die if they are taken by humans.

And while the bar of Rated R animation has been pushed to the highest level by Rogen and Goldberg, I can’t help but be surprised of how this film was actually made and given the greenlight by a studio.  And truth be told, the only thing that really stays in my mind right now is the food orgy for the film’s final climax.  Which is somewhat fitting but makes me think of the parents who let their kids watch the movie with them in, in thinking they were getting something like a “South Park” but instead got something much more different than anticipated.

Needless to say, it’s moronic humor with sexual pervasiveness and if you are not cool with that, then “Sausage Party” is not for you.

But if you want something that you usually never see and are open to crazy scenes involving food products, then you’ll no doubt find “Sausage Party” to be wild and crazy ride.

As for the 4K Ultra HD, picture quality is fantastic as colors are vibrant as the film is quite colorful and while not Pixar animation quality, the film’s characters all seem to work very well.  From reflections seen on characters, to food type textures that are very detailed for each character.  Animation is well done.  As for the lossless audio, there is a good number of sound effects and action sequences but for the most part, this is a dialogue and music-driven film.  But lossless audio for the most part is crystal clear.

As for special features, you get a good number of special features included on the Blu-ray disc.  But it would have been great to have an audio commentary by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, crew and actors/actresses involved in the voice over for the film.

Overall, “Sausage Party” probably will be known as the most wildest, sexually pervasive R-rated animated film to be showcased on the big screen.  And there is no doubt that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have once again raised the bar of craziness to be displayed in an animated film.  “Sausage Party” gives new meaning to the words “Food Porn” and will no doubt entertain audiences familiar with Rogen/Goldberg films.

Grown Ups 2 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

grownups2-a

I had a lot of fun watching “Grown Ups 2” and yes, it’s a Happy Madison film that I enjoyed!   But for those who never enjoyed Happy Madison comedy films or are too serious of an individual, then this film is not for you!  But if you are one who just wants to laugh at something that may be stupid but yet hilarious and fun, then “Grown Ups 2” may be worth your time.

Images courtesy of © 2013 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Grown Ups 2

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 101 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:85:1, English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0, English Subtitles: English, French, French, Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R

Release Date: November 5, 2013

Directed by Dennis Dugan

Written by Fred Wolf, Adam Sandler, Tim Herlihy

Based on the Characters Created by Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf

Produced by Jack Giarraputo, Adam Sandler

Co-Producer: Kevin Grady

Associate Producer: Daryl Kass

Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams

Cinematography by Theo van de Sande

Edited by Tom Costain

Casting by Roger Mussenden

Production Design by Aaron Osborne

Set Decoration by Jennifer M. Gentile

Costume Design by Ellen Lutter

Starring:

Adam Sandler as Lenny Feder

Kevin James as Eric Lamonsoff

Chris Rock as Kurt McKenzie

David Spade as Marcus Higgins

Salma Hayek as Roxanne Chase-Deder

Maya Rudolph as Deanne McKenzie

Maria Bello as Sally Lamonsoff

Nick Swardson as Nick

Steve Buscemi as Wiley

Colin Quinn as Dickie Bailey

Tim Meadows as Malcolm

Jon Lovitz as Squats Fitness Janitor

Shaquille O’Neal as Officer Fluzoo

The all-star comedy cast from “Grown Ups” returns with some exciting new additions! After moving his family back to his hometown to be with his friends and their kids, Lenny (Adam Sandler) finds out that between old bullies, new bullies, wild bus drivers, cops on skis and 400 costumed party crashers, sometimes crazy follows you.

In 2010, the Happy Madison comedy “Grown Ups” was released in theaters.

Featuring a story of the lives of friends in their 40’s, the film was known for featuring an all-star cast which includes Adam Sandler (“Happy Gilmore”, “The Waterboy”, “Big Daddy”, “Saturday Night Live”), Chris Rock (“Down to Earth”, “CB4″”Death at a Funeral”, “Saturday Night Live”), Kevin James (“The King of Queens”, “Hitch”, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”), David Spade (“Just Shoot Me!”, “Joe Dirt”, “Saturday Night Live”), Rob Schneider (“Deuce Bigalow”, “50 First Dates”, “Saturday Night Live”), Salma Hayek (“Desperado”, “Frida”, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”), Maria Bello (“Payback”, “Secret Window”, “World Trade Center”), Maya Rudolph (“Bridesmaids”, “Gattaca”, “Saturday Night Live”), Steve Buscemi (“Fargo”, “Reservoir Dogs”, “The Big Lebowski”), Colin Quinn (“Saturday Night Live”, “A Night at the Roxbury”), Tim Meadows (“Mean Girls”, “The Ladies Man”, “Saturday Night Live”) and many other talent.

The film would gross over $271 million in the box office and that would guarantee a sequel titled “Grown Ups 2” directed by Dennis Dugan  (“Grown Ups”, “You Don’t Mess with Zohan”, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry”).

The film would bring back all talent (except Rob Schneider and those who played his family) including reuniting the stars with former “Saturday Night Live” alumni but also starring Nick Swardson (“Just Go With It”, “Grandma’s Boy”, “The Benchwarmers”), Taylor Lautner (“Twilight” films), Milo Ventimiglia (“Hero”, “Rocky Balboa”), Alexander Ludwig (“The Hunger Games”, “Race to Witch Mountain”), Oliver Hudson (“Rules of Engagement”, “The Breed”), former WWE wrestler Steve Austin, Shaquille O’Neal (“Steel”, “He Got Game”, “The House Bunny”), David Henrie (“Wizards of Waverly Place”, “How I Met Your Mother”) and may more.

And similar to the first film, the sequel would earn over $238 million in the box office.  And now, “Grown Ups 2” will be released on Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD UltraViolet in Nov. 2013.

“Grown Ups 2” takes place three years after the first film.  Former Hollywood agent Lenny Feder (portrayed by Adam Sandler)and his family have moved to his hometown of Connecticut where he grew up.  Lenny and his wife Roxie (portrayed by Salma Hayek) wake up to a wild deer urinating on him, while his children Greg (portrayed by Jake Goldberg), Keithie (portrayed by Cameron Boyce) and his daughter Becky (portrayed by Alexys Nycole Sanchez) are getting ready for school.

At Eric Kamonsoff’s (portrayed by Kevin James) home, his wife Sally (portrayed by Maria Bello) is trying to teach his son Bean (portrayed by Frank Gingerich) math.  Bean is getting every answer wrong but Sally believes that she should not tell him he’s wrong and ruin his confidence, while Eric just watches.  Meanwhile, his daughter Donna (portrayed by Ada-Nicole Sanger) has created light-up sneakers to wear at school.

At Kurt McKenzie’s (portrayed by Chris Rock) home, Kurt surprises his wife Deanne (portrayed by Maya Rudolph) with an anniversary gift by putting it inside his baby’s diaper, making his wife think their son Ronniie (portrayed by Kaleo Elem) had pooped in his diapers.  As Deanne is surprised about the anniversary gift, she forgets to give Kurt an anniversary present which she gets flack from Kurt and their kids Andre (portrayed by Nadji Jeter) and Charlotte (portrayed by China Anne McClain).

For Marcus Higgins (portrayed by David Spade), he meets the 17-year-old son that he never knew he had but finds out that his son Brad (portrayed by Alexander Ludwig) is a really bad kid with tattoos and carries a knife.  Marcus tells his kid that he will be taking him to the last day of school and he will be gone working at a soup kitchen.

With his children taking a bus, he finds out that the driver Nick (portrayed by Nick Swardson) is out of it and depressed, so Lenny offers to drive the school bus.  But he finds out that his oldest kid, Greg is in love with another girl, his middle child Keithie is getting bullied.  So, as Lenny tries to be there for his children, he ends up picking the guys up and all decide to visit a lake where they used to party and have fun as teenagers.

Now knowing that Lenny’s son Greg, Kurt’s son Andre and Marcus’ son Brad are pretending to be college students to hang out with the drunk college kids.

But while there, the guys are ganged up by a frat led by Andy (portrayed by Taylor Lautner) and are told that old people have no business on their lake and anyone who stays (or returns back) in their hometown are losers.

They end up making the grown up men dive into the lake naked.  Leaving the guys humiliated, but as for their sons, they are mortified of seeing their father nude, while Brad is upset that his father lied to him and said he was going to work at a soup kitchen.

Later on in the day, the frat arrive to their frat house and find their home demolished and spray painted, leading them to believe that the grown ups were responsible and now want to pummel them.

Not knowing that the frat are looking for them, Lenny is about to throw a big ’80s party for his family and friends.

VIDEO:

“Grown Ups 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio) and the film looks great on Blu-ray.  There are a lot of closeups that show great skin and cloth (clothing) detail and colors are vibrant. But with many shots outdoor, these scenes look fantastic and the indoor scenes are well-lit.

I didn’t notice any artifacts, banding or any issues during my viewing of the film.

Every time I see a movie that has archive footage in the middle mixed, you can immediately tell, and it kills my illusion. It’s like you’re watching something and it has a film star shot in super 35mm, or high end HD, and then you cut to this old video format or stock footage and it just looks so different. – See more at: http://www.bringthenoiseuk.com/201210/music/interviews/film-interview-pablo-larrain#sthash.c0tJDaQP.dpuf
Every time I see a movie that has archive footage in the middle mixed, you can immediately tell, and it kills my illusion. It’s like you’re watching something and it has a film star shot in super 35mm, or high end HD, and then you cut to this old video format or stock footage and it just looks so different. – See more at: http://www.bringthenoiseuk.com/201210/music/interviews/film-interview-pablo-larrain#sthash.c0tJDaQP.dpuf

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Grown Ups 2” is presented in English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA and also has an English – Audio Description Track.  The film is primarily center and front channel driven as dialogue is crystal clear, but the soundtrack also features a lot of music which sounds fantastic in HD.  There are some moments of ambiance but for the most part, this is a film that is dialogue and musically driven.

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Grown Ups 2” comes with the special features:

  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring a total of eight deleted scenes.
  • Look Who Stopped By – (4:26) The stars that make an appearance in “Grown Ups 2”.
  • Mr. Spade’s Wild Ride – (2:10) The making of the hilarious tire rolling scene.
  • Shaq and Dante: Police Force – (1:53) A look at the behind-the-scenes antics of Shaquille O’Neal and Peter Dante as police officers.

EXTRAS:

“Grown Ups 2” comes with the Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet code for the Digital Copy version of the film.  Also, the Blu-ray comes with a slipcover.

grownups2-b

Hilarious, fun and just all-out crazy, “Grown Ups 2” is one of the better Happy Madison films I have watched and made me laugh continuously!

I know that I am starting to sound like a broken record by saying this often but I feel as I need to repeat it.  If you enjoy Happy Madison films, you know what type of comedy film you are going to get.

Often I read from film critics that try to compare Sandler’s latest films with “Big Daddy” or “50 First Dates” and really, they shouldn’t.  Adam Sandler and this goes with a lot of the cast members of the film such as Chris Rock, David Spade and Kevin James films.  These are films that are not meant to be taken seriously but you often watch to have fun, have a few chuckles and just enjoy the popcorn comedy.

And “Grown Ups 2” is a comedy that made me laugh for its stupid yet hilarious humor and I couldn’t help but laugh and enjoy this film.

From the opening scene of a deer peeing in Lenny’s mouth, Eric belching, sneezing and farting (a.k.a. burpsnarts) and others trying to learn the combo, Marcus dating a female bodybuilder who is teased for her masculinity and Kurt, in hilarious Chris Rock fashion, delivering the one-liners!

Nick Swardson delivers one of the most creepiest character roles ever as Nick.  Always being mistreated by Lenny and friends but a man trying to figure out his sexuality, after being dumped by his wife for putting a banana up his bum (at her mother’s home).  Swardson has a way of delivering these unusual character roles (that are so wrong but you can’t help but laugh) and he does it perfectly.

The film also has many special appearances by former Saturday Night Live talent.  Tim Meadows reprising his role as Malcolm and his one word “Whaaaat?” which make you laugh. Jon Lovitz as the perverted janitor.  Cheri Oteri as Penny, the obsessed wife of Wiley (portrayed by Steve Buscemi) who dated Lenny back in sixth grade and can’t let go.  So, much that she wears the beret that she wore back in sixth grade decades later.  Andy Samberg and Will Forte as male cheerleaders having a little too much fun giving Eric and Sally’s car a cleaning to the tune of Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”.

Even Shaquille O’Neal has a role as a police officer who likes to have fun with Lenny and friends. Stone Cold Steve Austin as Lenny’s childhood rival, Dan Patrick playing a role in which he wears tight shorts that exposes his butt cheeks, Norm Crosby is even in the film as a K-Mart employee and more.

Yes, there is a lot fart and masturbation jokes and a lot of puking, including a deer urinating in Lenny’s mouth.   As juvenile the film is, it’s so crazy that I found myself laughing at the antics and also rooting for the grown ups.  And immediately, it’s one of those films that film critics will hate and yet, scratch their head and wonder how these Happy Madison films continue to make a lot of money.

The film definitely hits a nostalgic tone for those who grew up in the ’80s and it tries to make a connection for the grown ups but also the young adults/teenagers with the casting.  One of the few comedies where you see older adults vs. the college young adults in a fight.  But once again, one shouldn’t look at this film for anything deep or politically correct.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture and audio quality are fantastic.  Picture quality is vibrant and full of detail, while lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue and music.  Special features are a bit minimal for this Blu-ray release and was expecting to hear an audio commentary or even to see see how much improvisation was used in the film.  But for the most part, the Blu-ray PQ and AQ are very good for this release!

Yes, Adam Sandler has done films that are very good such as “Anger Management”, “The Wedding Singer”, “50 First Dates” but when he brings along David Spade, Kevin James, Chris Rock and a lot of the SNL alumni, you pretty much know what you’re going to get.  And as critics keep writing “Sandler can do better” reviews, the fact is that juvenile or self-deprecating humor has been a staple of his Happy Madison comedy films for decades.

And as these films continue to make money, by no means should it reflect on society with troglodyte behavior, but more as people wanting to get away from reality, stress, the economy, whatever and just need a dose of something so different or against the norm, and sometimes something so stupid and funny.

While there is quite a bit of crappy films that have come from Happy Madison Productions, I have to say the “Grown Ups 2” film was entertaining.

Overall, I had a lot of fun watching “Grown Ups 2” and yes, it’s a Happy Madison film that I enjoyed!   But for those who never enjoyed Happy Madison comedy films or are too serious of an individual, then this film is not for you!  But if you are one who just wants to laugh at something that may be stupid but yet hilarious and fun, then “Grown Ups 2” may be worth your time.

Here Comes the Boom (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a fan of Kevin James, may it be from television via “The King of Queens” or his past films, “Here Comes the Boom” is an exciting and hilarious film and his best one yet!  “Here Comes the Boom” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Here Comes the Boom

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 111 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:85:1, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French, Spanish, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin Traditional), Korean, Thai

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (Bouts of MMA Sports Violence, some Rude Humor and Language)

Release Date: February 5, 2013

Directed by Frank Coraci

Written by Kevin James, Allan Loeb, Rock Reuben

Executive Producer: Marty P. Ewing, Jack Giarraputo, Jeff Sussman

Producer: Todd Garner, KEvin James

Co-Producer: Aimee Keen, Rock Reuben

Associate Producer: Gino Falsetto

Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams

Cinematography by Phil Meheux

Edited by Scott Hill

Casting by Justine Baddeley, Kim Davis-Wagner

Production Design by Perry Andelin Blake

Art Direction by Alan Au

Set Decoration by Denise Pizzini

Costume Design by Hope Hanafin

Starring:

Kevin James as Scott Voss

Salma Hayek as Bell Flores

Henry Winkler as Marty Streb

Greg Germann as Principal Betcher

Joe Rogan as himself

Gary Valentine as Eric Boss

Charice as Malia

Bas Rutten as Niko

Reggie Lee as Mr. De La Cruz

Mark DellaGrotte as himself

Mookie Barker as Assistant Principal Elkins

Jackie Flynn as Joe Duffy

Nikki Tyler-Flynn as Mollie Streb

Former collegiate wrestler Scott Voss (Kevin James) is a 42-year-old, apathetic high school teacher. When budget cutbacks threaten to cancel some of the school’s programs and lay off its music teacher (Henry Winkler), Scott creates a scheme to raise money by moonlighting as a mixed martial arts fighter. Everyone thinks Scott is crazy – most of all the school nurse, Bella (Salma Hayek). In his quest, Scott gains something he never expected as he inspires his students and becomes a sensation that rallies the entire school.

From Frank Coraci, the director of “The Waterboy”, “The Wedding Singer” and “Click” comes the comedy “Here Comes the Boom”.

Written by actor Kevin James (“The King of Queens”, “Hitch”, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”), Allan Loeb (“Just Go With It”, “21”, “The Switch”) and Rock Reuben (“Zookeeper”, “The King of Queens”), “Here Comes the Boom!” is a film inspired by Kevin James’ interest in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and watching the UFC, which he and fellow comedian Joe Rogan would watch years ago.

Wanting to create a comedy that ties in with the UFC, James brought in his friends, Joe Rogan (“The Fear Factor”, “NewsRadio”), former UFC Heavyweight Champion and “Inside MMA” host, Sebastian “Bas” Rutten and professional Muay Thai kickboxer and trainer Mark DellaGrotte (“The Ultimate Fighter 4”) and also a bunch of professional fighters to the film.

But alongside James, he brought in talent with Salma Hayek (“Frida”, “Desperado”, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”), Henry Winkler (“Happy Days”, “The Waterboy”, “Night Shift”, “Click”), Greg Germann (“Ally McBeal”, “Bolt”, “Sweet November”), Charice (“Glee”, “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel”) and brother Gary Valentine (“The King of Queens”, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry”).

And now “Here Comes the Boom” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 2013.

“Here Comes the Boom” is a film that revolves around former collegiate wrestler turned biology teacher, Scott Voss (as portrayed by Kevin James).  Scott is apathetic as a teacher and doesn’t seem to care about teaching and his habits have put him on the wrong side of Principal Becher (portrayed by Greg Germann).

One day, Scott needs to get out of his crossing guard duty and goes to one teacher who can probably do it, Marty (portrayed by Henry Winkler), one of the most respected teachers in the school and the teacher of the dedicated music department.  That same day, Scott learns from Marty that his wife is pregnant and Scott congratulates him on being a father, which Marty asks for him to keep secret.

Meanwhile, Scott tries to find ways to go on a date with school nurse Bella Flores (portrayed by Salma Hayek) but she is not interested.  During a day at a teacher’s meeting, they are given bad news that the school will be doing some major cuts and will have to make unfortunate decisions. One of those decisions is to end the music department and lay off Marty, as the school does not have $48,000 to keep Marty as part of staff.

This leads to an argument between Scott Voss and Principal Becher  as Scott tries to defend Marty and his music department.  And because of the high emotion and the fact that Scott knows that Marty needs to keep his job because his wife is pregnant, Scott makes the announcement that he will raise the $48,000 (thinking that the other teachers would help him).

Meanwhile, in class, his student Malia (portrayed by Charice), who is one of Marty’s best music student and also one of Scott’s best students in his class, tells him that her father lost his cook and she may need to quit school.  Also, Scott’s brother Eric (portrayed by Gary Valentine) is having difficulty at home raising all his children, having a wife that constantly nags at him and his painting business is not doing so well  If anything is going well, it’s the fact that he loves cooking and watching cooking shows.

But not knowing how to raise that much money, he takes a job as a night instructor to help people get their citizenship but seeing that the check to teach is under $150, Scott worries that he may not be able to raise the money. Meanwhile, one of his students, Niko (portrayed by Bas Rutten)  approaches him for outside tutoring and Scott agrees.

But when he visits Bas’s home, he finds out that Bas is actually a former MMA fighter and while watching a UFC matchup with Niko and his friends, he learns that the loser of a UFC matchup wins an easy $10,000.  This leads to Scott thinking that if he took part in MMA fights, he can raise some quick money.

So, the following day, Scott goes to Niko’s to receive MMA training but Niko doesn’t want to see his 42-year-old teacher get killed, but Scott is insistent.  So, Niko wants to see Scott’s skills, books Scott to fight in an amateur MMA tournament and in the first fight, Scott gets beaten up with a single kick to the face.

Realizing that he made the wrong mistake, Scott goes to visit Marty’s home to tell him the bad news that he can’t raise the money.  But when Marty isn’t hope, he instead talks to his wife Molie (portrayed by Nikki Tyler-Flynn) and realizes that Marty never told his wife that he is being laid off from work and Scott knows he can’t tell his wife the bad news.  So, decides he will continue to raise the money.

So, Scott takes on his next MMA fight and this time Marty accompanies them.  And during the fight, Scott is getting beaten up pretty badly and while he is losing the majority of the matchup, he is able to withstand his opponents and stay on hs feet for the full three rounds.  But on the third round, Marty throws a desperation punch and knocks his opponent out and wins big money.  Scott’s success starts to become viral on YouTube, Bella Flores starts to get closer to him and he begins making more money to save Marty’s job.

This leads to more matches, more winnings (and losses) but Niko then schedules Scott to train with Muay Thai MMA trainer, Mark DellaGrotte, to train hard and prove he can take on fighters in the big leagues.  But is Scott even ready for the big leagues?

VIDEO:

“Here Comes the Boom” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio).  The film looks fantastic on Blu-ray as close-ups show amazing detail of the characters faces.  Skin tones are natural, black levels are nice and deep but the film looks fantastic with no compression artifacts or any visual problems at all.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Here Comes the Boom” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and French, Spanish and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital.  The film is primarily dialogue driven with plenty of music, so front and center-channel driven.  Good use of surrounds for crowd ambiance, especially during Scott Voss’ entry to the ring.  Good use of surrounds during the more action intense sequences but for the most part, lossless audio is very good!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin Traditional), Korean and Thai.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Here Comes the Boom ” come with the following special features:

  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring a total of 17 deleted scenes including the original ending.
  • Gag-Reel – (2:26) A short gag reel featuring the outtakes from “Here Comes the Boom”.
  • Here Comes the Cast – (6:24) Director Frank Coraci and the cast talk about various cast members and working together.
  • Gino vs. Ritchie – (3:49) The Associate Producer vs. Kevin James Stand-in in a MMA sparring match.
  • Back to School – (4:27) Finding a closed down school in Boston to film “Here Comes the Boom”.
  • Learning How to Fight – (8:48) Joe Rogan and Kevin James discuss their interest in MMA a long time ago and how Kevin has been training for years.  Also how the trial and error of filming the fight scenes with real fighters and more.
  • Three Amigos – (5:39) A featurette of Henry Winkler, Bas Rutten and Mark BellaGrotte working together.
  • The Pros – (3:00) Interviews with the professional MMA fighters who starred in “Here Comes the Boom”.
  • Disco Street Fighting – (2:05) A training video by Nico (Bas Rutten) on “Disco Street Fighting”.

EXTRAS:

“Here Comes the Boom” comes with an Ultraviolet code which allows one to download the film to their computer and select Apple and Android devices and the ability to stream to computers, tablets or smartphones.

After the disappointing “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”, I have to admit that I was not sure if I wanted to see “Here Comes the Boom”, that is until I reminded myself of the many chances I have given Adam Sandler films and realized that actor Kevin Smith is part of the same crew of actor/comedians and you have to give them the benefit of the doubt.  But also, you have Frank Coraci as director, and so I figured that I should give the film a chance.

And after watching Smith’s latest film “Here Comes the Boom”, I have to say that I enjoyed this film a lot!

A film about an overweight man having to compete in the UFC, I’m sure is going to be a source of laughs for a lot of people but for this film, what makes it work is the fact that Kevin James is a big fan and follower of mixed martial arts (MMA) and the UFC.  He has trained not to fight but trained in MMA for his workout in the past several years and for this role, he dedicated himself to a regiment to get fit.

While we are not going to see anything drastic such as Tom Hanks “Castaway” of seeing a man with pounds transform to a rail thin individual, Kevin Smith is seen to go through some changes within the body and eventually see some muscle definition.

You also get a cast of unlikely “three amigos” joining in on the film with “Happy Days” actor Henry Winkler being put together with the loud and talkative former UFC heavyweight champion fighter Bas Rutten and the famous Boston Muay Thai trainer Mark DellaGrotte.  You really don’t know what to expect when you have these three as part of Team Scott Voss and suffice to say, hilarity ensues from the moment this film starts to the way it ends.

Add in the beautiful Salma Hayek and the singer with the beautiful voice, Charice and you have an entertaining action/comedy film.

While not exactly a Rocky-style of film, as a viewer, whether or not you enjoy MMA or not, you sympathize with the character of Scott Voss, the teacher and underdog who is doing all he can to rescue the music program at his school and his friend, Marty’s job.   But it’s that friendship that is developed in the storyline that ultimately becomes entertaining.

Henry Winkler as Marty, the timid musician who is softspoken but tries to help Scott in unusual ways, Niko who is trying to become a US citizen but also a bit jealous that Scott is getting a chance to fight in the UFC and his career ended after a significant injury and Mark DellaGrotte who puts Scott through a test by sicking three of his best fighters to see if Scott deserves to be trained.

The fight choreography is fantastic and you actually learn through the special features that some of these fighters that had to fight against Scott are still competing in the UFC and it’s not easy to train a fighter to pull their punches, because it works against their training.  So, actor Kevin James took a pounding in several scenes and he also dished it back as well against the fighters in the film.

But for the most part, everything comes together and I have to say that it’s Kevin James best film yet!  And it helps when the actor is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the subject, and in this case, mixed martial arts.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality and lossless audio is fantastic.  There are are good amount of special features included and for the most part, a solid Blu-ray release overall.

If you are a fan of Kevin James, may it be from television via “The King of Queens” or his past films, “Here Comes the Boom” is an exciting and hilarious film and his best one yet!  “Here Comes the Boom” is recommended!

 

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The final film of the “El Mariachi” trilogy.  “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is a film that delivers in action, guns, explosions…you name it.  And to hear this film on Blu-ray is fantastic.  But compared to the other two films (“El Mariachi” and “Desperado”), the film delivers as a popcorn action-flick but the focus of the film is not all about El Mariachi.  Otherwise, an essential film to own if you have enjoyed the trilogy and worthy of upgrading to Blu-ray, if you own the original DVD.

Images courtesy of © 2003 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Once Upon a Time in Mexico

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2003

DURATION: 102 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English, French, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital,  Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (For Strong Violence and for Language)

Release Date: January 4, 2011

Written and Directed by Robert Rodriguez

Produced by Elizabeth Avellan, Carlos Gallardo, Robert Rodriguez

Co-Producer: Sue Jett, Tony Mark, Luz Maria Rojas

Music by Robert Rodriguez

Cinematography by Robert Rodriguez

Edited by Robert Rodriguez

Casting by Mary Vernieu

Production Design by Robert Rodriguez

Art Direction by Melo Hinojosa

Set Decoration by Eva Castro, Patrice Laure

Costume Design by Graciela Mazon


Starring:

Antonio Banderas as El Mariachi

Salma Hayek as Carolina

Johnny Depp as Sands

Mickey Rourke as Billy

Eva Mendes as Ajedrez

Danny Trejo as Cucuy

Enrique Iglesias as Lorenzo

Marco Leonardi as Fideo

Cheech Marin as Belini

Ruben Blades as Jorge FBI

Willem Dafoe as Barillo

Gerardo Vigil as Marquez

Pedro Armendariz Jr. as Advisor

Leaping back into action, gun-slinging, guitar-toting hero “El Mariachi” is back in town in ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, as director Robert Rodriguez delivers the epic final chapter of his pulp Western trilogy. Starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Eva Mendes, Enrique Iglesias and Willem Dafoe ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO is a full-frontal assault.


Ten Minute Cooking School

Ten Minute Flick School

The Anti-Hero’s Journey

In 1993, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez debuted with his Spanish independent film “El Mariachi” created for $7,000.

Although the film did not make a huge earning in the box office, the film went on to make $1.5 million in video sales and for Robert Rodriguez, his dreams of becoming a filmmaker came true as he went on to make two TV movies in 1994 and the sequel to “El Mariachi” titled “Desperado” which would cost $7,000,000 and became a box office hit.

Since “El Mariachi”, Robert Rodriguez has inspired filmmakers who have dreamed of getting a shot in Hollywood and his story of his adventures in making “El Mariachi” was written in his book “Rebel Without a Crew” and he has become a hero among upcoming filmmakers who have been inspired by his story of doing all it takes to get your film noticed and eventually making your dream come true of becoming a successful filmmaker.

From the first two films of the “Mariachi Trilogy”, Rodriguez went on to create the “Spy Kids” trilogy and direct films such as “The Faculty” and “From Dusk Till Dawn”.  But the film that helped him get established needed its final conclusion for the trilogy and by 2003, he would go on to create “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”. The trilogy would feature an all-star cast with Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Eva Mendes, Danny Trejo, Enrique Iglesias, Cheech Marin, Ruben Blades, Willem Dafoe, Marc Leonardi and more!

It was the most expensive film in the trilogy with a budget of $29 million but earned its money and more with over $98 million in the box office.

With successful sales on VHS, LD and on DVD of the first two films, the trilogy will now be released on Blu-ray in January 2011 (“El Mariachi/Desperado” as a dual feature and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” as a standalone).

“Once Upon a Time in Mexico” features El Mariachi (played by Antonio Banderas).  El lives in a small Mexican town where people make their living building guitars.  But one day, Cucuy (played by Danny Trejo) shows up with his men and start questioning some of the guitarmakers of the whereabouts of El Mariachi.  Because they are protecting him, one is killed.  To prevent further bloodshed, El gives himself up to Cucuy and his men.

El is taken to meet with CIA agent Sheldon Sands (played by Johnny Depp).  El is hired to kill General Emiliano Marquez (played by Gerardo Vigil), a leader of a guerrilla force who has been hired by Mexican drug lord Armando Barillo (played by Willem Dafoe) to assassinate the President of Mexico (played by Pedro Armendariz Jr.) and overthrow the Mexican government who is clamping down on drug dealers.

For El, this is what he has been waiting for as we see his history and we learn that he and Carolina (played by Salma Hayek) fought against corruptness together (after the events of “Desperado”) and in a shootout, ended up wounding General Marquez.   A few years later, El and Carolina are happily married with a young daughter but one day, in retaliation for getting shot by El/Carolina, the General killed Carolina and his daughter in cold blood and even left El for dead.

So, El wants revenge against General Marquez and knows he will need to bring some friends, Mariachi and weapons experts Lorenzo (played by Enrique Iglesias) and Fideo (played by Marco Leonardi).

Meanwhile, Sheldon Sands shows a sign that he is a corrupt CIA agent and uses his plan to bring FBI Agent Jorge Ramirez (played by Ruben Blades) out of retirement to exact his revenge against the Mexican drug lord Barillo who murdered his partner.  Also, Sheldo is working with AFN operative Ajedrez (played by Eva Mendes) to follow Barillow.

Throughout the film, we see allegiances shift between characters who are dedicated to helping CIA agent Sands and those loyal to the Mexican drug lord Armando Barillo.  As for El, his main goal is for revenge and that is to avenge Carolina and his daughter by killing General Marquez.  Who will die and who will survive in this final “El Mariachi” film?

VIDEO:

“Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1).  Of the three films in the “El Mariachi” trilogy, as one would expect from a film created in 2003 versus the previous two from the early-to-mid ’90s, this film looks absolutely great on Blu-ray.  The colors are vibrant, there is detail that can be seen with the characters, their surroundings and the picture quality looks much clearer.  The blacks are nice and deep, the reds, browns and ambers are brilliant and for the most part, you can see details such as grime on the faces of characters (especially the child that helps out CIA agent Sands) and more detail on the weapons and surroundings much better on Blu-ray than its DVD counterpart.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is presented in English, French and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Where “Desperado” definitely shined with its guns ablazing lossless soundtrack, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is an action driven film that features many gunshots, many rifle shots, bullets whizzing, explosions galore.  If you thought “Desperado” was action-packed, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is a tour-de-force when it comes to action and weapons being shot in full force within this trilogy.

Dialogue and music is clear through the center and front channels but there is such a wonderful use of the surround channels and LFE that audiophiles should be happy with the lossless soundtrack.  It sounds absolutely wonderful in HD especially when you compare it to the original DVD, the Blu-ray packs a wallop in terms of audio!

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Once Upon a Time in Mexico” special features are presented in standard definition, English Stereo and with Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.  Special features include:

  • MovieIQ – If your Blu-ray player is connected to the Internet, while watching the film, you can access facts, trivia and movie information about “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”.
  • The Cutting Room – Select certain video clips and edit and share them with other friends via Blu-ray live.
  • Robert Rodriguez Audio Commentary – Like the previous films, Robert Rodriguez audio commentaries are wonderful as he goes into detail of how scenes were shot and cost-cutting corners that he used in editing and more.  Just a wonderful commentary for those who want to become a filmmaker.
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary – Featuring a total of eight deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by director Robert Rodriguez.
  • Ten-Minute Flick School – (9:04) Robert Rodriguez shares a few of his filmmaking techniques employed into “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”.
  • Inside Troublemaker Studios – (11:22) Robert Rodriguez gives a tour inside of his studio, Troublemaker Studios.
  • Ten-Minute COOKING School – (5:48) Robert Rodriguez teaches viewers how to cook puerco pibil.
  • Film is Dead: An Evening with Robert Rodriguez – (13:18) Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo talking to the audience about “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”.
  • The Anti-Hero’s Journey – (18:03) Director Robert Rodriguez and cast of the trilogy talk about the journey and the making of the films and how they embraced Rodriguez’ vision.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Bloody: Inside KNB FX – (19:03) Behind-the-scenes of the visual effects of “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”.

When it comes to the “El Mariachi” trilogy, for any fans who have followed the career of Robert Rodriquez and was inspired by his book “Rebel Without a Crew” to his mini-film school special features and audio commentary, you can’t help but respect Robert Rodriguez.

From the time he made “El Mariachi” and doing all he can (including interesting ways to fund “El Mariachi” back then) to stay within a budget, he has become a studio’s favorite director and since 1993 and for any film student, you can’t help but respect his determination and his passion for making a movie and trying to get his independent film recognized.  But most of all, even today, he manages to keep it real, continuing to help future filmmakers by providing tips and advice on DVD and Blu-ray releases that he takes part in.

Even with the release of the wonderful “Sin City” Blu-ray to most of the releases that he gets to become involved in, typically all DVD and Blu-ray releases featuring the work of Robert Rodriguez are worth owning.  Future filmmakers, both the “El Mariachi/Desperado” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” are recommended.  The amount of information and advice he gives to filmmakers through his commentary and special features are incredible!

With that being said, let’s first talk about “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”, a film that has had its positives and negatives among film critics because unlike the previous two films, because it featured plenty of characters, the main character of El Mariachi is diluted.  He has a presence in the film, he is important in the film but he is just a part of the film whereas the two previous films were shaped around him.  In fact, USA Today film critic Claudia Puig was correct in my opinion when she said the film paid homage to spaghetti Westerns such as Sergio Leone’s “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”.

The film is focused more on bodies dropping, weapons firing, explosions and action after action, while the romantic and dramatic elements of El Mariachi and a woman is much different in this film as the love of his life has been killed and once again, he must get his revenge.  The previous two films helped shape the character of El Mariachi, the third film tends to make him out like a Jonah Hex/Punisher comic book anti-hero in which he is a man that is literally untouchable and whoever goes against him, you know they are not going to survive.

So, approaching the film in that aspect, the film works on that level because viewers want to see bodies drop and how El Mariachi wins over the bad guys is what has been impressive in the previous two films.  This time, the story has a lot going on with the characters of CIA agent Sands, agent Ajedrez, drug dealer kingpin Armando Barillo, retired FBI agent Jorge Ramirez, Billy Chambers and I have to admit that If found myself lost when it came to connecting the dots of the characters relationships, down to the point where I just wanted to see more of El Mariachi and his buddies getting revenge.

By the end of the film, I was content and for those who want a very good Western action popcorn flick, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” fits the bill!  For those who wanted more of a character driven storyline, unfortunately this film diverts itself from how the previous two films and aims to fit everyone else’s storyline in the film.

So, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is pretty subjective to the viewer and feel that some will have a mixed feeling towards this film but action fans and those wanting to see an all-star cast will find the film to be an enjoyable, fun and action-packed.  If anything, this film is an early Rodriguez movie that showcases his love of featuring many characters, many stars as he would continue to do again in his later films such as “Sin City”, “Planet Terror” and “Machete”.

Now if you own the trilogy on DVD, is the Blu-ray worth upgrading to?  If you want the best PQ and AQ and have the hardware to support it, then most definitely.  These films benefit from the lossless soundtrack and the picture quality is awesome as well.  The special features are the same with the exception of the trailer and the two (not-so-fun) games that were included on the original DVD but not on the Blu-ray release.  But if you do have the hardware to take advantage of the HD lossless, then you’re going to love the upgrade because films such as “Desperado” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” sounds fantastic!  And also they look great in 1080p.

Overall, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is a film that definitely delivers in action but unlike the two films, is not a character driven story that focus on El Mariachi completely.  But still an essential film as part of the trilogy and both Blu-ray releases are definitely worth owning and are worthy of the upgrade to High Definition.  Definitely recommended!

Salma Hayek attends the “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” Premiere at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival

May 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - Premiere - 63rd Cannes Film Festival

Actress Salma Hayek attends the ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ Premiere at the Palais des Festivals during the 63rd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2010 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images). Content © 2010 Getty Images All rights reserved.

Actress Salma Hayek arrives for the 2008 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Awards

January 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

picapp: Actress Salma Hayek arrives for the 2008 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Awards gala held at Cipriani in New York on January 14, 2009. (UPI Photo/Ezio Petersen) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom. Content © 2009 Newscom . All rights reserved.

2008 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Awards in New York

Wild Wild West (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 27, 2003 by · Leave a Comment 

Netflix, Inc.

BUY THIS DVD

CAST: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek
DIRECTED BY: Barry Sonnenfeld
PRODUCED BY:
RATING: PG-13
INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE URL:http://us.imdb.com/Title?0120891
TYPE OF MOVIE: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Comedy, Western
DURATION: 107 minutes


Jim West is a guns-a-blazing former Civil War hero. Artemus Gordon is an inventive U.S. Marshal who excels in disguise. When the United States is threatened by psychotic Confederate Arliss Loveless, President Ulysses Grant teams the duo up to bring him to justice. On a hazard-packed train journey from Washington to Utah, West and Gordon must combine their skills to best Loveless and his diabolical machines. (IMDB)

DVD EXTRAS:

• Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
• Color, Dolby, Widescreen, Closed-captioned
• Commentary by director Barry Sonnenfeld
• Theatrical trailer(s)
• Behind-the-Scenes Documentaries: HBO First Look: It’s a Whole New West, The Gadgets: a behind-the-scenes look at the special effects, props and gadget used in the film, Dress For the West: a look at the film’s costumes and make-up, Hardly Loveless: meet the real women behind Loveless’ ladies
• Outtakes
• Music Videos: Wild Wild West by Will Smith, Bailamos by Enrique Iglesias, Music Video Newswrap
• Stills Gallery: Photos from the publicity archives
• DVD-ROM Features: The Steel Assassin Interactive Game, Artemus Gordon’s Mind Projection Theater revealing a trainload of behind-the-scenes clips, Genre Essays, Web Events & Chat Room Access, Original Theatrical Web Site, Sampler Trailers
• Widescreen anamorphic format

KNOWN DVD SECRET(S): None that I know of

DVD REVIEW:

Unfortunately, this film is known as Will Smith’s worst big-budget movie to end the 90’s.  Mixing the West with Sci-Fi was what people didn’t like.  Another would be the bad comedy and for Western fans who love historical accuracy and loved the original show, this one is far from the original and making it hip for today’s crowd.  Unfortunately, that’s where this movie fails to deliver.

Fortunately, for bad films we see very good DVD’s packed with special features and “Wild Wild West” delivers with documentaries, outtakes, music videos, DVD-Rom games and so much more.

I found the special features much better than the actual film itself.  As for the video quality, there are many artifacts and the audio quality is very good at digital 5.1.

You really have to enjoy this movie or have it because it was a gift from a friend who found it for sale or pre-reviewed. 

THE MOVIE: D+
THE DVD EXTRAS: A+
THE DVD OVERALL: C

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