DreamWorks | 2009 | 87 min | Rated PG-13 | Region free
| Apr 28, 2009
Anna returns home after spending time in the hospital following the tragic death of her mother.
Her recovery suffers a setback when she discovers her father has become engaged to her
mother's former nurse. That night, Anna is...
I haven't seen the original Korean film, A Tale of Two Sisters, so I have no basis for a comparison. I also didn't know anything about The Uninivited other than it being a horror/thriller. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I think it helps not knowing anything about a movie and not really having any expectations for it. Anyway, I really enjoyed the movie and it had some great twists. That's another reason I'm glad I didn't know anything about it. It is probably a lot more effective if you don't know the story behind it and it's definitely a lot more suspenseful that way.
The picture and sound quality were good but it didn't really strike me as a demo disc. I did really like a few of the sound effects though. As for the special features, I was mostly interested in the alternate ending but after checking it out, I liked the ending they went with better. They also have a special feature on the making of the movie and in that, compare it to the Korean film. It was interesting and some of the tidbits on the actors were pretty good as well.
Lionsgate Films | 1996 | 115 min | Rated PG-13 | Region free
| Apr 21, 2009
Radio astronomer Zane Ziminski becomes intrigued by some strange wavelengths and
noises he picks up over his transmitter. When he alerts his boss to his findings, he's
immediately fired. Zane decides to conduct an...
You really don't hear much about The Arrival but in my opinion, it's a cool sci-fi/thriller that's worth checking out if you haven't seen it. Even if you're not much of a sci-fi fan, the movie is a pretty good thriller. As for the blu-ray, I'm in the same boat as some of the others in that my home viewing of The Arrival was on VHS. So, the blu-ray is a nice upgrade from that. Overall, the picture and sound quality were better than I expected, with closeups (especially), having pretty good detail. Definitely not a demo disc (as someone else said, blacks are weak) but overall I'm pleased with the results. Recommended if you're a fan of the movie or you like sci-fi movies in general. If you like extras though, you won't be happy. Pretty much a barebones release.
Magnolia Pictures | 2008 | 82 min | Rated R | Region free
| Apr 14, 2009
A young couple retreats to the wilderness for a romantic camping weekend, but their idyll is
shattered when they are car-jacked by an escaped convict and his girlfriend on the run from the
police. As the foursome travel the...
Splinter was a nice surprise. I hadn't heard much about it but it ended up being a really good horror/thriller. It also reminded me of The Ruins at times but if you didn't like The Ruins, don't let that deter you from checking Spinter out. Anyway, it was shot digitally so it looks good and the sound was good as well. Highly recommended if you like horror movies.
Adapted from the Will Eisner's graphic novels, 'The Spirit' tells the story of a man who fakes
his own death and fights crime from the shadows of Central City. The Octopus -- who kills
anyone unfortunate enough to see his...
The Spirit is definitely a strange, campy and over-the-top type movie but if you can accept that from the get-go, it's a fun movie (IMO). It kind of reminded me of the Batman TV series (and movie) from the 60s in that regard. Albeit, a dark/violent version of that. Anyway, I enjoyed it and it looks and sounds great. Having said that, I can understand why some don't like it so if you're interested in it, you might want to rent it first.
Sony Pictures | 2009 | 99 min | Rated PG-13 | Region A (B, C untested) | Apr 07, 2009
Dave and Clarice Johnson are in their second decade of marriage. Dave's dreams of major league baseball success were dashed by an injury in college, leading him to a steady but unfulfilling career as the head of a small...
To borrow a word used on the back cover, Not Easily Broken is very inspirational movie. It has a good message and although the underlying message is religious in nature, the movie is never preachy and in fact, the movie only touches on it a few times throughout the whole movie. I suspect it was that way just to avoid being preachy since so many get turned off by that. So, what you have is a movie about marriage that is sometimes funny, sometimes serious, and sometimes touching. It covers the whole spectrum and to me, it was really enjoyable.
As far as the picture and sound quality are concerned, both are good but the disc isn't really a demo disc.
20th Century Fox | 1953 | 134 min | Not rated | Region A (locked) | Mar 17, 2009
One of the best Biblical epics of all time, based on a best-selling novel by Lloyd C. Douglas. It
tells the story of a Roman, played by Burton, who was in charge of the Crucifixion of Christ and
who later is converted to...
As much as I love movies, it's hard for me to believe but I had never seen The Robe until watching the blu-ray. It was an impressive experience. The movie was great and it was hard to believe that I was watching a film from 1953. It looked great and the sound was as good as could be expected from a film of that era. After reading the transcript from the chat with the Fox restorationist, it really gives you a good idea of what they had to go through to make it possible and makes you appreciate it even more. I thought the lead-in by Scorsese did a good job of building anticipation for seeing the first Cinemascope movie as well. I also liked that they provided the "flat" version using Bonus View. I thought that was a pretty convenient way of comparing them.
Anyway, highly recommended. The movie is great, it looks great and the extras are interesting.
This depiction of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus opens with his betrayal by Judas, his
condemnation by the Pharisees and his appearance before Pontius Pilate. Pilate defers to King
Herod, but Herod returns Jesus....
I saw The Passion of the Christ at the theater and it was pretty tough to watch so while I wanted the blu-ray, I wasn't looking forward to watching it. In fact, even though I have the DVD, I've never opened it. Anyway, as expected, it wasn't any easier to watch the 2nd time but I think that was one of the the points of the movie and why it's so graphic. That is, just trying to make it "stick" with you long after you've watched the movie.
As for the blu-ray, I think they did a good job with it. The picture and sound quality are good and I like that they included both versions of the movie. Highly recommended.
Disney / Buena Vista | 1990 | 120 min | Rated R | Region free
| Feb 10, 2009
Vivian is a spirited, streetwise diamond in the rough when she meets no-nonsense billionaire Edward. It's a chance encounter that turns a weeklong business arrangement into a timeless rags-to-riches romance when Edward hires...
If you haven't seen Pretty Woman yet you definitely need to check it out even if you don't usually enjoy the genre. It's funny, it's touching, it's just a great romantic comedy and Julia Roberts is perfect in the role. As for the blu-ray, I was pleased with the results with the picture quality being really good most of the time, especially during the well-lit scenes, but there are a few really low lit scenes that just look so-so. Thankfully there are only a few scenes like that. The audio was better than expected since so many of the slightly older movies can sound a little "tinny" but I thought this one sounded really good and very clear. It's front heavy since it's mostly dialog but the surrounds do kick in during the songs (pretty good soundtrack as well, in my opinion). Overall, highly recommended for fans of the movie and a nice upgrade. If you're not a fan of the genre, at least give the movie a rent if you haven't seen it. It's definitely worth it in my opinion.
Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) is a maverick cop with little regard for rules and nothing left to
lose. Hell-bent on revenge, he’s determined to track down those responsible for the brutal
murder of his family, but his obsessive...
I'll admit my expectations were low going into the movie because of all the negative press and comments but once again, I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the movie (I watched the unrated cut) and the picture and sound quality were excellent. At the beginning of the movie, it was pretty cool seeing a few scenes that look as if they were lifted out of the video game. Later on, it's just loosely based on the video game but close enough that it at least seemed somewhat familiar. I already knew about that though and had prepared for it so it didn't bother me all that much. That was about my only complaint so the bottom-line for me was, I thought it was a good action/crime movie with great special effects. Perfect match for blu-ray. If you need for it to be just like the game, you might want to rent it since the differences will probably bother you. If you just want a good action/crime movie with great special effects, I definitely recommend it. If you're worried about the bad press, rent it first to be sure you want it.
As for the picture and sound, as I mentioned already, I thought they were great. I loved the way the scenes were backlit with the snow in the foreground. It looked fantastic. The sound of the guns, especially the shotgun were great. The scene with all the breaking glass and the slow motion guns firing was excellent. Basically, several demo scenes for both picture and sound. As a blu-ray highly recommended. Bonus points for including both the theatrical version and the uncut version. Wish they'd always do that.
Attempting to pick up the shattered pieces of his life, a disgraced former cop (Sutherland)
takes a routine security job guarding the charred ruins of the once-famous Mayflower
department store in New York. But the...
I didn't know anything about Mirrors but I love horror movies so I bought it. I'm glad I did. In my opinion, it's a really good horror movie and for 3/4 of the movie, it was a great horror/thriller movie. Once you know what's going on, it changes a little and I thought it went a little over-the-top but it still kept me tense and it was still very entertaining. The movie also made me jump a few times and that always makes it more fun. Anyway, the special effects were really nice and the blu-ray looks good and sounds great. The audio provides a nice creepy atmosphere that really adds to the movie. Highly recommended if you like horror movies.
In the darkly futuristic world of Babylon A.D., the rules are simple: kill or be killed. Toorop, a ruthless mercenary hired to smuggle a mysterious young woman from the post-apocalyptic confines of Eastern Europe to the...
I had low expectations after checking one of the review sites but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought Babylon A.D. was a cool action movie and I really enjoyed it. Being a sci-fi flick probably helped in that regard since I love the genre. Anyway, I thought the picture and sound quality were great as well so in my opinion, it's a very solid release. If the critics have scared you off, just rent it first to make sure you want it.
The characters of C.S. Lewis's timeless fantasy come to life once again in this newest
installment of the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, in which the Pevensie siblings are magically
transported back from England to the world...
Excellent movie and nice improvement over the first one
I really liked The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe but one issue I had with the first film is that I never felt emotionally attached to any of the characters. In Prince Caspian, I think they did a great job rectifying that. I felt very attached to the main characters and even some of the creatures. As a result, I cared what happend to them and this made the film much more enjoyable and satisfying. It will also make it more appealing to watch multiple times. So, I'm very pleased with the direction they're heading and hope they'll continue the series.
As for the blu-ray, it's typical Disney. That is, great picture, sound and extras. Definitely a reference disc with some great demo scenes.
Echo Bridge Entertainment | 2008 | 101 min | Rated PG-13 | Region A (B, C untested) | Oct 14, 2008
Ving Rhames ('Mission Impossible') and Dean McDermott ('So NoTORIous') star in “Saving
God”, a heart-felt tale of the eternal struggle between good and evil. Reverend Armstrong
Cane (Rhames) served 15 years in prison for...
I thought Saving God was a good movie. Not quite as powerful as the book/movie/comic The Cross and the Switchblade but still effective. I thought the cast did a great job and the story was interesting. Highly recommended if you like these type of movies. As for the picture and sound quality, I thought they were pretty good for this type of movie but it's definitely not a demo disc.
Blue Underground | 1980 | 103 min | Rated PG | Region free
| Nov 04, 2008
When an inexplicable phenomenon transports a modern nuclear warship back in time to the
bombing of Pearl Harbor, the crew must decide between allowing the bloody attack to take
place and preventing it, which could forever...
In my opinion, The Final Countdown is very entertaining time-travel flick made even more interesting by the possibility of stopping the attack on Pearl Harbor. In most time travel movies, the characters involved are always trying to do as much as possible not to interrupt the time line so it's interesting to see some taking a different approach. I thought the acting was good but it was strange seeing some of them so young. It threw me for a second since I thought Martin Sheen was Charlie Sheen and I knew that wasn't possible.
Anyway, as far as the video and audio, it's a mixed bag. I thought the picture quality was good most of the time but there are some scenes that look a little rough. As far as the sound quality, one great thing about this disc is that it provides TrueHD, DTS-HD MA and Dolby Digital so you've got a great disc to compare the audio codecs, or so I thought. I guess with an older source, it's not going to be as easy to notice the difference. While I thought some of the lossless scenes were clearer, it wasn't a dramatic difference so there's wasn't much of a chance that I was going to notice a difference between the lossless codecs. I did try but I was never sure if I was hearing a difference or not. Maybe someone with better equipment (and ears) would more easily be able to tell a difference. The audio in general was good though but it does sound a little "tinny" like most older movies. By the way, I'd prefer to rate the video and audio a little lower than 4.0, probably 3.75 would work but since there isn't a step for that, just rounded up to 4 on both.
It's graduation day at Huntington Hills High-- a time for Pomp and Circumstance, tassels and
mortarboards, and serious introspection about the future. But tonight, the seniors will leave all
that behind for the things that...
I can't believe it has been 10 years since this was released. Seems just like yesterday. Anyway, I enjoyed seeing the movie again. Seth Green's character was as funny as ever and watching the extras, it was interesting to see that others in the movie realized he kind of stole the show. As for the picture quality and sound quality, both were good considering it's a comedy. I was pleased with the upgrade and if you're a fan of the movie, it's highly recommended.
DreamWorks | 2007 | 92 min | Rated PG | Region free
| Sep 23, 2008
Being king isn't for everyone — especially if you're an ornery ogre who smells like the shallow end of a
swamp. When Shrek married Fiona, the last thing he wanted was to rule Far Far Away, but when his father-
Shrek the Third is a little stale but for the most part, I thought it was still entertaining. Also, what it lacks movie-wise, it makes up for picture/sound quality-wise. The sound is good and the picture is stunning. Nice demo disc! If you liked the first two, definitely worth picking this one up.
Being a longtime fan of The Incredible Hulk comic, I had high hopes for the movie Hulk. For the most part, I wasn't disappointed so I was happy to purchase the DVD and I was happy to purchase the blu-ray. As for the blu-ray, they did a fairly good job with it. The picture quality is really good and the sound quality is great. If they had cleaned up the source a little, it would have been a perfect demo disc. Unfortunately, there are some white specs and black marks taking down the picture quality a notch. Other than that though, it looks great. Haven't seen the "reboot" yet so I'm looking forward to checking it out as well. As far as I'm concerned though, I would have been happy with a sequel to Hulk.
Sony Pictures | 2008 | 108 min | Rated R | Region A (B, C untested) | Sep 16, 2008
Dr. Jack Gramm is a college professor who moonlights as a forensic psychiatrist for the FBI. When Gramm receives a death threat claiming he has only 88 minutes to live, he must use all his skills and training to narrow down the...
I actually really liked 88 Minutes, that is, until the ending. The ending brought it down a notch for me and while I did like the alternate ending a little more, I still wasn't completely happy with how things turned out. Overall though, I enjoyed the movie. As far as the picture quality and sound quality, it was pretty good (imo) but didn't really standout (picture-wise or sound-wise). So, while I didn't really have any complaints, I wouldn't use it as a demo disc.
David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son Billy (Nathan Gamble) are among a large
group of terrified townspeople trapped in a local grocery store by a strange, otherworldly mist.
David is the first to realize that there...
The Mist is a good thriller / monster / horror flick that in my opinion shines because of the ending. You'll either love it or hate it but it's the reason to watch/get/rent the movie. The video and audio are adequate for the most part but only provides a few "wow" moments, mostly at the beginning of the movie and at the end. For example, a thunderstorm scene at the beginning looks and sounds great.
Born to race cars, Speed Racer is aggressive, instinctive and, most of all, fearless. His only
real competition is the memory of the brother he idolized - the legendary Rex Racer, whose
death in a race has left behind a...
Oh well, I said I wasn't going to get the movie without lossless audio but ended up changing my mind after seeing comments saying the picture quality was fantastic. They were right. It looks great and while I didn't think the lossy audio was nearly as clear as lossless, it wasn't too bad. Some of the special features were pretty interesting and it includes a DVD game as well as a digital copy. I tried the DVD game on the computer thinking it might be easier to play with the mouse but I had issues with wmp (in Vista) changing between windowed mode and full-screen mode when doing so. I didn't try to resolve it since I just wanted to see what kind of game it was. Basically, it provides a steering control (arrows) that you use to control a car in a live action video. I didn't last long (crashed) so I don't know if there's more to it or not.
Anyway, as for the movie, I really liked the cartoon growing up so I was interested in seeing how it would fare as a live action movie. I thought they did a pretty good job with it. I enjoyed it and it's actually a little surprising it did so poorly at the box office. So, I guess I'd say that if you're a fan of the cartoon and can live without lossless audio, it's recommended. It's a fun movie and it does look great.
Sony Pictures | 1996 | 138 min | Rated R | Region free
| Sep 09, 2008
Tom Cruise gives his best performance to date as a sports agent who suddenly discovers his
scruples — and promptly loses his job. But with the help of one loyal colleague and one
outrageous client, Jerry Maguire learns that...
With football season just getitng underway, it was nice to see Rudy and Jerry Maguire released. I won't really talk about the movie since most have probably seen it already but if you haven't, it's essentially a love story. It's centered around sports though (mostly football) and has several people from the world of sports portraying themselves in the movie. Anyway, in my opinion, the blu-ray release is pretty solid when compared to the DVD. In other words, it's not demo material but even so, I was never dissatisfied with the picture or audio quality. There just weren't many times when I thought, "wow, that looks/sounds great". Bottom-line, I felt it was a nice upgrade over the DVD and worth the cost just to be able to retire it (the DVD). If you're concerned about it not being demo material, just wait for a good sale but it's only $20 currently (at Amazon) and definitely worth that, in my opinion. Soundtrack is pretty good also.
Warner Bros. | 2008 | 392 min | Not rated | Region free
| Aug 19, 2008
The time: today. The stakes: all our tomorrows. A nascent AI, assisted by droids, continues to
edge toward world domination and the ruin of humankind. It accepts no limits. It fears no one.
Except John Connor. The machines...
Well, I love this show but it seems like every show I really like gets canceled so I'm keeping my fingers crossed with this one. I had missed some of the shows during the regular season and had been anxiously waiting for this to be released. The blu-ray release doesn't disappoint. I also really like watching a series like this. No commercials and getting to watch the episodes back to back with mininmal time between them is really nice. Anyway, can't wait for the next season to start.
As far as the picture and sound quality, I thought both were good, especially for a TV show, and while we don't get lossless, the audio was still pretty good. Highly recommended.
Sony Pictures | 2008 | 89 min | Unrated | Region free
| Aug 19, 2008
Donna's senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life. After surviving a horrible tragedy, she has finally moved on and is enjoying her last year of high school. Surrounded by her best friends, she should be safe from...
Not like the original but that's not necessarily a bad thing
In my opinion, doing a remake is always risky. People that liked the original are probably going to be overly critical and even if you're trying to be objective, it's hard not to compare every little thing. I had that issue with the Halloween remake. I didn't like it the first time but once I got over the reimagining of the original, I liked it. But, I tried to think of it as a completely different movie. The same sort of thing is going on here. If you think of it as a completey different movie that just shares the same title, it's easier to accept. That is, since it's a reimagining of the original, you'll be disappointed if you're expecting it to be like the first but standing on its own, it's not too bad. There's not anything orginal in the movie though but even so, I still enjoyed it. It was actually much better than I expected after reading comments and reviews on it.
As for the picture and sound quality, I thought the picture quality was really good and the sound was pretty good. There are also some nice extras. Anyway, if you like the horror genre and in general, like most horror movies, this one is probably worth checking out.
Edit: I initially listed what I voted for in the poll but spoiler tags don't seem to work so I removed it (since it could be considered a spoiler, I guess).
Sony Pictures | 2005 | 101 min | Rated PG-13 | Region free
| Aug 12, 2008
The winds of political change are rumbling through the halls of the Capitol as a popular
President is being targeted for assassination by a radical splinter group of dissenters deep
within the United States government. Only...
If you liked the first one, you'll probably like this one. I'm not going to pretend that this is a great movie but it doesn't change the fact that I enjoyed it and in my opinion, it's an entertaining action flick. I loved some of the over-the-top action scenes (e.g. the boat/bridge scene) and if you enjoy that type action, there's plenty of it. I also thought it looked and sounded great. I watched it pretty late at night and the neighbors probably weren't too happy after the scene where a series of charges went off. Anyway, bottom-line, if you liked the first one and like over-the-top type action flicks, I think you'll like this one.
Echo Bridge Entertainment | 2006 | 79 min | Unrated | Region A (B, C untested) | Jul 29, 2008
Claire Parker, a small-town Midwestern girl, leaves her night job at the convenience store and
awaits a ride home from her boyfriend Jimmy. When a stranger shows up in Jimmy's truck,
claiming to be his friend, she senses...
I watched Salvage after watching Mortuary and after a few minutes, I was predicting I'd like Mortuary a lot more. As it turns out, they're not really all that comparable. Mortuary is more of a low-budget horror flick that is a lot of fun to watch and at times kind of laugh at but Salvage is more of thriller, with some horror, and a lot more involved. It really didn't turn out anything like I expected and I didn't know what was going on until pretty close to the end of the movie (I guess I missed/didn't pick up on some of the earlier clues). Anyway, I really liked it and found it to be well worth the $10. Also, the girl's boyfriend was pretty funny at times, providing some comic relief to a fairly tense movie. I enjoyed that aspect as well.
As far as the picture and audio quality, the picture is so-so. Not too bad for this type of movie. The audio is only 2 channel Dolby or 2 channel PCM and that was a letdown at first but the movie didn't really need much more than that. That is, after I got over that fact, I was fine with it. Anyway, if you like thrillers/horror movies, definitely check it out. It's hard to go wrong with a $10 blu-ray but bear in mind, the video/audio are just so-so. In my opinion, it's still well worth the $10 though.
Echo Bridge Entertainment | 2005 | 93 min | Rated R | Region free
| Jul 29, 2008
The Doyle family moves to rural California to start a new life; perhaps a strange choice
because their new life takes on the form of running the long abandoned Fowler Brothers Funeral
Home. The locals fear the place, and...
Mortuary is a tough movie to rate. While I really liked it, I enjoy low budget horror flicks in general and accept the inevitable (bad acting, cheap special effects, etc.). Many people don't though. So, I don't want to mislead anyone, you definitely know you're watching a low budget horror flick but having said that, I thought it was great. It was a fun movie and I also thought it looked/sounded pretty good (a lot better than I expected). There aren't a lot of extras (just a trailer and the feature on how they made the graveyard) and the included one is in standard definition. It was kind of interesting but it also shows how they made the graveyard and I usually don't like seeing how they do things. Anyway, if you're able to enjoy low budget horror flicks, give the blu-ray a shot. For $10, it's hard to go wrong.
20th Century Fox | 2008 | 96 min | Rated PG | Region A (locked) | Aug 05, 2008
Anything can happen on Nim's Island, a magical place ruled by a young girl's imagination. It is
an existence that mirrors that of her favorite literary character, Alex Rover — the world's
greatest adventurer. But Alexandra,...
Reading the summary on the movie, I wasn't sure I wanted Nim's Island but after seeing favorable comments on the movie at this site, decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed it and it's also a movie that the whole family can enjoy. I was pretty amazed at how well Abigail Breslin (Nim) did in her role in Signs, especially for being so young, and I think she did a great job handling the lead role in Nim's Island.
As far as the blu-ray is concerned, I thought the movie looked great and the sound was pretty good as well. I may even use a couple of the scenes in the movie to demo audio. A good number of extras are also provided and out of the 3 games that are included, I liked the seaside shuffle the most. Kind of reminds me of Bejeweled. Anyway, if you're looking for a movie the whole family can enjoy, I highly recommend Nim's Island.
Sony Pictures | 1997 | 129 min | Rated R | Region free
| Aug 05, 2008
From the bridge of the Fleet Battlestation Ticonderoga, with its sweeping galactic views, to the desolate terrain of planet Klendathu, teeming with shrieking, fire-spitting, brain-sucking special effects creatures, acclaimed...
Checkout Starship Troopers if you're a fan of sci-fi / satire
Definitely checkout Starship Troopers if you're a fan of sci-fi and satire. The movie doesn't disappoint and neither does the blu-ray. It looks great with several demo scenes and the sound is pretty good as well. Lots of extras for those that care about such things and while I don't usually care all that much for them, I thought the FedNet mode was a great example of a worthwhile special feature. It was a nice touch. Highly recommended.
Sony Pictures | 2008 | 123 min | Rated PG-13 | Region A (locked) | Jul 22, 2008
Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is a shy, brilliant M.I.T. student who — needing to pay school tuition — finds the answers in the cards. He is recruited to join a group of the school's most gifted students that heads to Vegas every...
Entertaining movie and a nice game of Blackjack included
In my opinion, 21 is a highly entertaining movie and very underrated by critics. Also, knowing it's based on a true story makes it even more interesting. As far as the blu-ray is concerned, I thought it was great. The picture quality was great (some of the night shots of Vegas are stunning), the sound was good and it's probably one of the few times I've actually really enjoyed the extras. The included game of Blackjack is a lot of fun and I can even see myself popping in the disc occasionally just to play the game. Bottom-line, I recommend the movie and if you like Blackjack, definitely check out the game.
Summit Entertainment | 2008 | 113 min | Not rated | Region A (locked) | Jul 29, 2008
Jake (Sean Faris) is the new kid in school. When a beautiful girl (Amber Heard) befriends him, Jake thinks he's set. But instead, her fight-club boyfriend, Ryan (Cam Gigandet), smacks Jake a bloody, black-eyed welcome....
My expectations were pretty low after reading some of the reviews on the movie but I enjoyed it. The fighting/action was great and seemed believable (to me). It was also interesting to see what the actors had to go through to train for the movie. I also liked that they explained why the deleted scenes didn't make the cut. Anyway, I found the movie entertaining and it looks/sounds good. Recommended if you like these type movies.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer | 2008 | 98 min | Not rated | Region free
| Jul 29, 2008
While SG-1 attends the execution of Ba'al, the last of the Goa'uld System Lords, Teal'c and Vala inexplicably disappear into thin air. Carter, Daniel and Mitchell race back to a world where history has been changed: the...
I really enjoyed Stargate Continuum but at the same time it makes me really miss the series all over again. These movies are a lot of fun though and they have the same magic and chemistry of the shows. The only aspect that I was disappointed in was that one of the characters wasn't as involved in the show as I had hoped. Other than that, it was great.
As far as the picture and sound quality, since it's direct-to-video, it isn't going to rival the big budget movies but out of the direct-to-video blu-rays I own and have watched (around 4 or 5), I thought this one was one of the better ones. Some of it looks really nice but occasionally the special effects don't hold up very well under hi-def scrutiny. The sound quality was pretty consistent and again, thought it was one of the better direct-to-video presentations I've heard. One thing is certain, it makes me crave having the series in hi-def. I've read here that because of the way the early seasons were filmed, that probably won't happen but I'd be willing to accept a few seasons not being of the same quality.
Anyway, I love the series and the movies have been great in its absence so I hope they continue them. If you're a fan of the series, deinitely check out the blu-ray. It'll be a great addition to your collection.
Paramount Pictures | 1990 | 135 min | Rated PG | Region free
| Jul 29, 2008
Russia's newest Typhoon-class nuclear missile submarine Red October, equipped with a silent propulsion system, sets sail from Murmansk. At the same time a mysterious letter is sent from Red October's captain, Marko Ramius, to the...
As I mentioned in my user review of The Sum of All Fears, it along with The Hunt for Red October are my two favorite Jack Ryan movies. In my opinion, The Hunt for Red October is the best in the series. I think it's the best thriller and while I like the score in The Sum of All Fears a little more, the score for The Hunt for Red October is really good as well. It's another movie I'll pop in just to listen to while I do other stuff.
Anyway, as far as the blu-ray goes, I think they did an okay job with it. It looks much better than the DVD and it's also looks better than the HD broadcast of it that I recently recorded off Universal HD. Although, it did have some of the same issues as the HD broadcast. I thought the audio was good but like The Sum of All Fears, I had some issues with the volume being too low (mostly for dialog). Basically, I had to really crank the volume to be able to hear the dialog. No one else has mentioned that though so it may just be an issue on my end.
Bottom-line, the best movie in the series, a really good score and the picture and sound quality are a nice upgrade over the DVD. Highly recommended, although, if you're looking for extras, you may want to hold off or just rent it for now.
Paramount Pictures | 2002 | 124 min | Rated PG-13 | Region free
| Jul 29, 2008
When the president of Russia suddenly dies and is succeeded by a man about whom little is
known, tension increases as old fears ignite new paranoia. Director of Central Intelligence Bill
Cabot recruits a young analyst from...
Taking a look at the site Rotten Tomatoes, The Sum of All Fears is the lowest rated Jack Ryan movie but it, along with The Hunt for Red October, are my favorite two in the series. While I like the movie, I love the score. It's one of the few movies I'll pop in just to listen to while I do other stuff. In fact, I even bought the CD. Anyway, in my opinion, it's a good thriller with a great score/soundtrack so it has more replay value than most thrillers. As far as the blu-ray is concerned, I thought Paramount did a pretty good job with it. I thought the picture quality was really good and the sound quality was good. For some reason, with a couple of the recent Paramount movies, I've had to really crank the volume to even be able to hear the dialog. It may just be an issue on my end but since I had to fight with the volume a lot during the movie, I didn't feel I could go higher than 4.0. At least I could hear the score/soundtrack pretty easily and that was the most important thing to me.
Upon awakening with a start in an icy bathtub in a strange room — with a woman's
dead body inconveniently nearby — John Murdoch can't remember how he got there.
With a police detective hot on his trail and a psychiatrist...
Sci-fi/Thriller that's definitely worth checking out
Most people have probably already seen Dark City but if you're a fan of sci-fi and/or thrillers and for some reason haven't seen it yet, definitely give the blu-ray a shot. It's well worth it and while I don't always like when they make changes to the theatrical version, I liked the Director's Cut in this case. I'd rather not mention why since it's potentially a spoiler. Anyway, the pop-up facts that compared the versions and provided other trivia was pretty good as well.
As far as the picture and sound quality, I thought both were good. The picture quality is a little hard to judge though. At times, it looked a little too smooth (especially faces) but frequently on closeups of faces, hands or other items and even in some mid-range shots, the detail was really good and the picture was much sharper. I don't know, it seemed a little inconsistent to me but I figured it was meant to be that way. So, I choose to err on the high side and went with 4.5 for video although I was initially thinking I'd rate it a 4.0.
Bottom-line, if you've never seen the movie, it might be a little confusing the first time you see it but if you're a fan of sci-fi, you definitely need to check it out (if you haven't already). Highly recommended.
Universal Studios | 2002 | 92 min | Rated PG-13 | Region free
| Jul 22, 2008
In the notorious city of Gomorrah, an evil ruler is determined to lay waste to all the nomadic peoples of the desert. The few remaining tribes, never natural allies, have to unite or perish. Knowing their enemy relies on the...
I'm probably one of the few people that enjoyed The Scorpion King more than either of the Mummy movies. I thought it was a great mix of action and humor even if a few lines in the movie didn't have the greatest delivery. Anyway, thankfully Universal didn't neglect this movie so it looks and sounds pretty good. Some scenes even look great but it's also one of those times where the CGI occasionally sticks out like sore thumb due to the high definition. Bottom-line, the picture and sound quality are good and the movie is entertaining. If you're a fan of The Rock or action movies, I'd recommend giving The Scorpion King a shot.
Universal Studios | 1999 | 125 min | Rated PG-13 | Region free
| Jul 22, 2008
A full-scale re-imagining of Universal Pictures' seminal 1932 film, The Mummy is a rousing,
humorous, suspenseful and horrifying epic about an expedition of treasure-seeking explorers in
the Sahara Desert in 1925. Stumbling...
It's good to see Universal releasing on blu-ray and they did a great job with The Mummy blu-ray. The picture quality is really good and the sound is great. A nice set of extras and it was also nice to see Universal taking advantage of minor features like the custom icon for the PS3 and bookmarks.
Bottom-line, good action movie, great blu-ray and great price (I got mine for $19.99 locally). It's hard to go wrong with that and what a great start for Universal on blu-ray.
Sony Pictures | 1997 | 101 min | Rated R | Region free
| Jul 22, 2008
Three friends accidently hit and kill someone while they are driving drunk. They opt not to tell anyone about the murder and, in time, they pretend to forget about it. Their crime comes back to haunt them the following summer...
If you haven't seen I Know What You Did Last Summer yet I doubt anything said in a user review will get you to watch it. So, all I'll say is that if you're a fan of the horror genre and this movie in particular, definitely pick up the blu-ray. It looks great! The sound is good and the extras are fairly interesting even if they're only provided in standard definition. By the way, the blu-ray is also BD-Live enabled.
Anyway, I really like this movie so I'm glad to see that Sony did a great job with the transfer. Highly recommended.
Disney / Buena Vista | 2008 | 98 min | Rated PG-13 | Region A (B, C untested) | Jul 15, 2008
When rebellious street dancer Andie (Briana Evigan) lands at the elite Maryland School of the
Arts, she finds herself fighting to fit in while also trying to hold onto her old dream of dancing
with an underground Baltimore...
Step Up 2: The Streets is a solid sequel to Step Up. Step Up was a surprise. I was visiting family and one of my cousins said she was tired of watching football so she popped it in the DVD player, much to our chagrin by the way. It really didn't seem like our type of movie and each of us tried walking away from it only to return. As it turns out, I really liked it. So much in fact that I ended up purchasing the CD and DVD when I got back home. So, I had pretty high expectations for Step Up 2 and while I enjoyed it, I didn't like it quite as much as the first one. I liked the mix of dancing and music in the first one a little more and thought the chemistry of the characters in the first one was a little better. Step Up 2 was still a lot of fun though, the dancing is great and the music is good. Recommended, especially if you liked the first one.
As for the picture quality and sound quality, I thought both were good but not really a demo disc. The extras are solid as well.
20th Century Fox | 2008 | 89 min | Unrated | Region A (locked) | Jul 15, 2008
For photographer Ben (Joshua Jackson) and his new wife Jane (Rachael Taylor), his new assignment — a lucrative fashion shoot in Tokyo — was supposed to be a kind of working honeymoon. With this exotic professional opportunity and...
I'm not sure what to say about Shutter so I guess I'll start with the picture and sound quality. I thought both were really good and occasionally, it even looked and sounded great. Movie-wise, I don't know. It's supposed to be a horror/thriller but I didn't find it scary and it didn't make me tense like a good thriller normally does. I really like The Grudge, The Ring and more recently, The Eye but all of those I thought were scary at times and they also kept me pretty tense through a lot of the movie. Overall, I felt like they were a good mix of a horror movie and a thriller. Shutter tries some of the same stuff but for me anyway, it didn't really work all that well. The Grudge and The Ring both had really creepy sounds (that got to me) and all 3 effectively used sudden sounds/movement/appearing images for cheap thrills. Shutter seemed a little lacking in those areas and the story, while interesting, isn't original enough to be scary on its own (in my opinion). So, I'd recommend renting it first but if you're fan of these type movies, I really do think you should check it out. It has a lot of the same elements as the 3 movies listed and how they present it may work for you. At the very least, the blu-ray is good and the story is interesting.
DreamWorks | 2008 | 93 min | Unrated | Region free
| Jul 08, 2008
Bright sun, warm waters and sandy beaches beckon countless tourists every year, particularly
young adults seeking inexpensive fun. Enter Amy (Jena Malone) and Stacy (Laura Ramsey),
two best friends who bring along their very...
Great picture/sound quality, pretty good thriller/horror movie
I thought The Ruins was a pretty good thriller/horror movie and did a pretty good job of portraying how different people respond to a hopeless situation. Although, there is one aspect (discussing it is essentially a spoiler so I won't mention what it is) that made me chuckle even though it's not supposed to be funny. Other than that, I really enjoyed it. Also, I've seen so many horror movies that gore usually doesn't affect me but I have to admit, The Ruins made me turn my head a couple of times. Shudder...I just couldn't watch.
As far as the picture and sound quality, I thought both were great with several demo type scenes. The extras were pretty good and provides the theatrical ending and alternate ending. One of the endings matched what I thought would happen and the other one was slightly surprising so I'm glad they included both.
Recommended if you like horror movies but it might be best to rent it first just to make sure you want it. I'm happy with the purchase and found it good enough to watch more than once but the horror genre is one of my favorites.