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Up: Blu Ray Review

Grab your copy of Up on Blu Ray 3D December 4, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyPixar

Grab your copy of Up on Blu Ray 3D December 4, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyPixar

Finding those complete films that deliver on all accounts is rare these days. When I first watched Up, I laughed, cried and was taken on a rollercoaster ride with the oddly paired old man and his accidental sidekick. As I reviewed the all new Blu Ray release, I was amazed as I relived all these emotions for a second time around. Now that’s a powerful film in my book!

Up 1In DisneyPixar’s Up, Carl Fredricksen deals with his loneliness and a promise to the love of his life by flying his house to the Venezuelan wilderness with the unwelcome assistance of a good-intentioned Boy Scout, Russell.

The team behind this movie provided such incredible depth of character; you see right past their cartoony shells and dive into the soul of a real person. Combine this with a highly entertaining adventure and what you have left is a timeless classic.

Up 3Edward Asner and first time actor Jordan Nagai are perfect together. Director Pete Docter did a fantastic job in getting a very natural performance out of the young Nagai – Not an easy thing to do when working with brand new actor.

Not only will kids love this movie, but as an adult, you’ll be glued to the screen beside the little ones as you watch Carl and Russell’s quest unfold (Just be sure to have a box of tissue handy).

Up 2As far as the Blu Ray release is concerned, this is one of the best. DisneyPixar has included both 3D and 2D Blu Ray discs, a DVD copy and a Digital Copy to future proof you as your home theatre evolves. The video in both the 3D and 2D copies is magnificent. While the 3D copy adds the expected immersion, it is shocking how much depth of image is in the 2D Blu Ray. On top of that, Michael Giacchino’s Academy Award winning original score sounds beautiful alongside the amazing audio design.

There isn’t a single special feature not worth watching in this home release. Included in the vast array of high definition features you’ll find:

• Cine-Explore Commentary

• Adventure Is Out There

• Partly Cloudy

• Dug’s Special Mission

• The Many Endings of Muntz

• Documentaries – A series of behind the scenes featurettes.

• Married Life

• Global Guardian Badge Game

• Up Promo Montage

• Worldwide Trailers

Not only do they include behind the scenes of the making of the film, they also provide a fun educational game for kids (just as much fun for adults).

UPBottom Line: This is how Blu Rays should be done. With a movie this good, why wait to let the fun begin? Pick up your copy today and go on a ride of a lifetime with your wee ones.

Movie Grade A+
Blu Ray Grade A+

Runtime: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Finding Nemo: Blu Ray Review

Pick up your copy of Finding Nemo on Blu Ray 3D December 4, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyPixar

Pick up your copy of Finding Nemo on Blu Ray 3D December 4, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyPixar

The story of an overprotective father’s desperate search for his lost son captured audiences worldwide like few films ever have. Unhindered perfection is the best way to describe what DisneyPixar produced in 2003 with Finding Nemo. Nine years after grossing over $900 million worldwide in theatres and Oscar Award acclaim, Nemo and Co. received the 3D treatment and is now available on Blu Ray.

Finding Nemo 1For those few of you who haven’t seen the movie, Finding Nemo is the story of a father and son clown fish that are quickly separated and spend the rest of the movie engaging the help of a variety of quirky sea creatures as they attempt to find their way back to one another.

It should go without saying, but for that sole individual who has yet to embark on this incredible journey, this movie is inspiringly original, and features some of the best voice work to date.

Finding Nemo 3Albert Brooks and Ellen Degeneres’ performances are sublime. Degeneres’ portrayal of the memory addled Dori is absolutely hilarious with just the right amount of emotion to provide an unforgettable character.

The all new Blu Ray release is fully loaded to future proof you (from a technology standpoint). Included are 3D and 2D Blu Ray discs, a DVD copy and a Digital Copy, ensuring that you can enjoy the film anywhere. The image quality is great, only topped by the immersive and dynamic audio design/mastering. Finding Nemo 4If you have the equipment to watch the movie in 3D, you’ll definitely enjoy the added depth the third dimension adds to this deep sea adventure. If you don’t, the 2D experience is no slouch, delivering a crisp, clean image.

There are a lot of special features to go through, including:

• Cine-Explore

Finding Nemo: A Filmmakers’ Roundtable

• Reinventing the Submarine Voyage

• A Lesson in Flashbacks

• Deleted Scene

• Knick Knack

• Trailers and Sneak Peeks

• Art Review

• Making Nemo

• Exploring the Reef

• Studio Tour

• Old School

• Deleted Scenes

• Outtakes

• Publicity Pieces

• Mr. Ray’s Encyclopedia

• Aquariums

Most of these features combine comedy, educational elements and a good deal of insight into the making of the blockbuster film. My only complaint would be with the lack of a “play all” option, as some of the features are a concise 10 seconds long, but take almost 30 seconds to load. Other than that, fans will have fun going behind the scenes with the cast and crew.

Finding Nemo 2Bottom Line: A must own DisneyPixar adventure that you’ll want to dive into time and time again.

Movie Grade A+
Blu Ray Grade A

Runtime: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Men In Black III: Delivers what the second movie couldn’t

Josh Brolin and Will Smith star in Men In Black III. Courtesy of Sony Pictures

The original and highly entertaining Men In Black came out in 1997, taking audiences on a rollercoaster ride of fictional extra-terrestrial conspiracy theories. Five years later, an unfortunate mistake was made resulting in the creation of a lackluster sequel that stepped too far from the charm of its predecessor. Fast forward to a decade later, and we’re a little hesitant with the third movie due to the dismal track record of money-driven sequels. Fortunately, Men In Black III returns to the formula that made the first movie a success.

In the third movie, Agent J (Will Smith) must travel back in time to prevent a ruthless alien, Boris the Animal, from murdering Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones).

The producers made the perfect decision to hire an entirely new set of writers to pen the script. They’ve limited the cheesy gags to the bare minimum, making them funnier than expected. This paired with a cohesive story made for a very entertaining movie.

The cast seemed to work very well together, especially Will Smith and Josh Brolin (young Agent K). Their humor and chemistry reinvigorated the characters and made the ride that much more fun.

Barry Sonnenfeld, director of the first two films, returns for the third installment with a welcome case of amnesia that eliminated Men In Black II from his memory. With his second chance at a sequel, he takes the audience on a journey that ties the first and third films together wonderfully.

Even the post-production 3D treatment is well done, as is the thunderous, dynamic audio mastering.

Bottom Line: Leave your well-founded fears at home and trek out for the sequel that should have been.

Grade B+

Runtime: 106 minutes
3D: Yes

Battleship: Good old fashion explosion porn

John Tui, Taylor Kitsch, and Rihanna star in Battleship. Courtesy of Universal Pictures

For the past two decades, Michael Bay has been “King of the explosion”, “Master of destruction”, “Terror to critics who flat out hate him”, etc. We’ve reached a milestone in Hollywood today with the release of Battleship, whose director, Peter Berg, has finally dethroned Bay with his movie which could have been alternately titled, “Life of an Explosion”.

In Battleship, Alex Hopper, a guy going nowhere in life, reluctantly joins the Navy and falls for the admiral’s daughter. Then, aliens are signaled to Earth and they do battle, much like the board game from Hasbro of which the movie is based.

That’s right folks, the story is about as thin as brothers Erich Hoeber (Red) and Jon Hoeber (Red) could possibly make it. Their script celebrates clichés and cheesy dialogues, leaving plenty of time for the director to blow everything up.

The cast is pretty much dreadful to watch. A lot of the attempted humor falls flat and there was no chemistry between any of the actors – Especially between Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker as the “love struck” couple. Kitsch better do something worth watching soon or he may find himself stuck in the “B” movie zone. What’s really sad is that the only person worth watching, Liam Neeson, was given very little screen time, even if the trailers would have you think otherwise.

However, if you’re in the mood for endless action or enjoy explosion “porn”, this movie has the goods to satisfy your every need. Some of the Transformers inspired CGI is crude, but at least the movie is shot nicely which allows the audience to see the ballistic action in its entirety.

Bottom Line: With your finger on the fast forward button, this is a great piece of demo material for your home theatre.

Grade C-

Runtime: 131 minutes
3D: No

The Innkeepers: Blu Ray Review

Ti West's latest horror flick is available on Blu Ray May 1st. Courtesy of eOne Media

Time has not been kind to the horror movie genre. While there seems to be a cult following, most would agree that horror films are without a doubt some of the worst films to have ever been made. The Innkeepers manages to avoid the garbage heap but keep your expectations low.

In horror specialist Ti West’s (The House of the Devil) latest movie, a pair of workers at an Inn (that’s going out of business) try to find signs from the spirit world only to find more than they bargained for.

West managed to impress with his great use of camera movements instilling a chilling sense of unease. His script, however, could use a few re-writes as some of the dialogue lingered on the strong side of smelly cheese.

Surprisingly, the acting from the two main actors, Pat Healy and Sara Paxton, is pretty good this kind of movie. Sara Paxton manages to make the funny scenes believable and keeps the “corny meter” from reaching dangerous levels. Keep an eye out for 80’s star, Kelly McGillis (Top Gun) as well.

However, the real star of the movie is provided by the original score of Jeff Grace (The House of the Devil). There’s a palpable eeriness to his work, which acts to enhance the unnerving vibe of the movie. The only failure lays in the over emphasized bass tones seemingly used as cues for the audience; unfortunately it was more distracting than anything else.

Special features included in the Blu Ray release include two commentaries with various cast and crew, as well as a fun The Innkeepers: Behind the Scenes featurette.

Bottom Line: Fans will be happy to own this home release, but everyone else should make due with a rental for their night of fright.

Movie grade C+
Blu Ray grade B

Runtime: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.4:1