How’s this for a Blu-Ray release Trifecta Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Saturday Night Fever and Grease from the fine folks at Paramount Home Video.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
High-schooler Ferris Bueller (Mathew Broderick), his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara), and his best bud Cameron (Alan Ruck) are off on the spontaneous romp through Chicago known as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. You’ll also enjoy righteous bonus materials that give you an insider’s peek at this hilarious comedy hit from John Hughes (Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Sixteen Candles). So, barf up a lung, forge a “sick note” from the parents, and tag along on the funniest adventure to ever sweep through the Windy City. What are you still doing here? Save Ferris!
Getting the Class Together – The Cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The Making of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Who is Ferris Bueller?
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Street date: May 5, 2009
S.R.P. $39.99 US/ $49.99 Canada
Runtime: 102 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 US/ PG Canada
I just finished watching the depressing Things We Lost In The Fire, how do I follow that up? With the equally depressing, overwrought drama A Mighty Heart, which Angelina Jolie was nominated for her work as the wife of Daniel Pearl an American Journalist working for The Wall Street Journal who went missing for 10 days and was eventually discovered he was killed Pakistan by Terrorist. The film is a harrowing tale of one wife’s quest to find out the truth of what happened to her kidnapped husband. Jolie is amazing in this movie.
When I saw this, it was on the Paramount lot in one of their older screening rooms. Instead of being able to see all the subtitles in the movie I was staring at the back of someone’s head, so I came real close to walking out. Here in the comfort of my own home I can appreciate how good this movie is. Director Michael Winterbottom crafts a story that is more than a grieving wife story, it’s a well-crafted mystery. Even though we all know how it ends, the journey to that revelation is really good. The amazing thing about Jolie is that when she does take on a part she gives herself totally to it, you never see the “star,” just the character she’s playing. When you are at her level, it’s no longer about her having that “It” factor.
This is a terrible HD transfer it doesn’t even look as good as an upscale DVD. The picture is grainy and a bit fuzzy and the colors are drab and overcast. Having crystal clear 5.1 Dolby TrueHD seems a little wasted on this. There are three language tracks English, French and Spanish (both in Dolby Digital 5.1) and Five Subtitle Tracks – 2 English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The menu navigation simple and straightforward nothing fancy. I do like the video background with the scenes on the home screen, very beautiful.
A Journey of Passion: The Making of A Mighty Heart – A 30 Minute doc about the making of the film. (Standard Def)
Public Service Announcement for the Pearl Foundation with Christiane Amanpour (2 Min, SD)
Committee to Protect Journalist (8 Min, SD)
Theatrical Trailer (HD)
A Mighty Heart is an important film that should be seen, for no other reason than to watch Jolie once again show why she is “Angelina Jolie.” But this Blu-ray version is not the format to see it in. The regular DVD would be better. This will be released March 24, 2009 for a retail price of $29.99.
Movie – A
Video – C-
Audio – B
Features – D
Menu/Navigation – A
Final Overall Grade – D
EM Review by
Originally posted 3.14.09
I’ve never met him, but David Fincher is one dark guy. This is the man who did Seven, which I loved, Fight Club, which I loathed, Zodiac. No wonder he followed that up with the Oscar nominated The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. But this review isn’t about his latest epic; it’s about his last one Zodiac about the unsolved, 1969, San Francisco Serial Killings. When I first saw this a few years ago, I thought it was dull, primarily because I don’t like Jake Gyllenhaal but on this second viewing it works for me. And hey, it starts with Lee “Mouth from One Tree Hill” Norris getting shot up, you can’t go wrong with that. Mark Ruffalo is great as Inspector David Toschi. The cinematography in this film is beautiful. I’m not sure it’s enhanced any by the HD transfer. But the lighting really shines and you can see the depth the shadows. It’s actually a beautiful transfer, so I’ll contradict myself and say that yeah it adds depth to the film. I still hate Jake though. Continue reading Blu-ray Review: Michelle looks at Zodiac!→
I watched High School Musical in 2006 when it first came out on The Disney Channel. I’m a sucker for musicals and the teen romance. At the time, I was, meh, about it. It was fine for what it was, but I had no idea it would explode into the phenomena that it has. It’s a testament to Disney’s marketing power. They still know how to tap in the tween demo. The thing that makes the High School Musical series work is the energy of the cast. You can’t help but get swept up in their exuberance. Musically, it pretty much sucks. Especially in High School Musical 3: Senior year. Zac Efron (Troy Bolton) has a terrible voice it’s very weak and timid, as is the music itself. But there is undeniable chemistry between Zac and Vanessa Hudgens (Gabriella Montez).
This time out, the kids are in their Senior Year and have to put on a Play about their lives. They find out that Julliard has one scholarship available and everyone starts fighting over it. The non-musical moments with the evil Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) and her brother Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) are great. Disney felt the need to shoehorn new, younger characters into this film. And they are horrible, it’s clear they want to do a 4th film with these new characters, just don’t. You have a great cast in the original don’t soil their memories with these awful new people.
I keep saying this and it’s true. Disney Home Video knows how to put together a Blu-ray package. The Deluxe edition of High-School Musical 3: Senior Year. Is tasty, tasty, tasty. This package includes the Extended Version of the Film, Disney’s Digital File, and if that’s not good enough, they even throw in a DVD copy of the film. Now that’s service! Of course the picture is full 1080pm, 1:85:1 aspect ratio with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. There are two audio and subtitle tracks – English and Spanish. I think I’m going to have to set up my 7.1 surround system and get rid of my Sony Soundbar. Continue reading Blu-Ray Review: Michelle looks at High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Deluxe Extended Edition!→
The film that taught the world to “Wish Upon a Star” shines brighter than ever when Walt Disney’s original classic, Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition is released from the Disney vault on March 10, 2009.Available for the first time in high-definition and 2-Disc DVD,
Pinocchio is brilliantly restored with enhanced picture and sound unlike anything you’ve ever seen or heard before. This classic story of magic, adventure and loyalty will be available for a limited time only and comes loaded with bonus features that unlock the doors to the magical world of Pinocchio.
The special 2-Disc Blu-ray release not only includes a bonus standard definition DVD of the classic animated film in the same package, allowing viewers the opportunity to enjoy Pinocchio on a standard def DVD while they are preparing to upgrade to a 1080p Hi-Def Blu-ray experience in the near to present future, but provides viewers accessibility to Disney’s popular BD-Live Network, a backstage pass for Blu-ray Disc owners to chat, video stream, participate in communal games and download exclusive content unavailable to general DVD owners. Walt Disney’s second animated feature, Pinocchio debuted 70 years ago with vibrant hand drawn animation, universally loved music like the Academy Award® winning original song “When You Wish upon a Star,” and a touching story that made it an instant classic. Introducing audiences to the magical favorites of Pinocchio, Geppetto the puppet maker and the Blue Fairy, Pinocchio also marks the screen debut of a character who became one of Disney’s signatures: the fast-talking, wisecracking Jiminy Cricket.Continue reading BLU-RAY NEWS: Pinocchio Goes Blu March 10th!→
On Tuesday March 10th, Paramount Home Entertainment and Comedy Central will release South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season on DVD and (for the first time ever) Blu-ray! This exclusive 3-disc set includes all fourteen uncensored episodes and some great special features such as A Day-to-Day making of South Park and mini-commentaries by the creators. Get ready to laugh as SOUTH PARK: THE COMPLETE TWELFTH SEASON comes to DVD and Blu-ray on March 10, 2009!
All fourteen uncensored episodes from South Park’s twelfth season are now available in this exclusive three-disc set. In this collection, SOUTH PARK follows the new President-elect from his acceptance speech to his first official day of duty as Commander in Chief. The boys keep busy helping a pop-princess who’s down on her luck, negotiating a truce for striking Canadians, and preventing giant rodents from destroying the world. For them, it’s all part of growing up in SOUTH PARK.
* The Making of “Major Boobage” Disc One
* Six Days to South Park – A Day-by-Day Making of South Park (Super Funny Times) Disc Two
* Six Days to South Park – The Sixth Day (About Last Night) Disc Three
I have two quick Blu-ray reviews for you. First up is last fall’s Eagle Eye featuring EM Favorite and “discovery,” Shia LaBeouf, solidifying himself as an A list action star. I’m still not entirely convinced this is the route he should be going with his career, yes you can’t turn down Transformers or Indian Jones, but I think he should have thought long and hard before taking this on. Eagle Eye is an almost blatant rip-off of Will Smith’s Enemy of the State. I didn’t like this when I saw it in the theater and on Blu-ray it somehow works for me. I have more patience for watching stupid stuff at home than I do in a theater. But this movie really requires you to shut your brain off, there’s no chemistry between LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan and the action scenes felt really generic.
The video quality on this Blu-ray is of course excellent. The full 1080p really shows. I didn’t notice any artifacts in it, which is as it should be considering this is a new film. But I have to say it until I’m blu (pun intended) in the face, I HATE letter boxing. I have this beautiful 46-inch Bravia, why do I have to still put up with half my picture being cut off? The problem is the color palette is pretty dull, all blacks and blues, nothing that makes you standup and take notice. I watched The Duchess right after this one and the difference is stark. This is one of those films that I don’t think needs to be on Blu-ray, I don’t really see much of a difference in picture quality from this and the standard definition version. And when studios charge you 50 percent more for the Blu-ray then the picture really needs make you go wow. This is a nice transfer, but the film itself is just really plain.
The Dolby 5.1, True HD Audio sounds great. My room shook doing the explosions…
The menu navigation is plain as can be, but well laid out and simple to follow.
Deleted Scenes – You get three deleted scenes and an Alternate Ending, each scene is only about a minute each. (HD)
Asymmetrical Warfare the making of Eagle Eye (25 Mins, HD)
Eagle Eye on Location Washington, DC (6 Mins, HD) – Since I live in DC, I really liked seeing my city on display. It’s funny that when films are shot here, we rarely here it about it, other than maybe a small item in the Post or when they shut down entire neighborhoods. What sucks is they don’t feature anyone from the DC Film Commission in the clip.
Is My Cell Phone Spying on ME (9 Min, HD) – A feature about big brother spying on people.
Shall We Play A Game? (9:25, HD) – A cool featurette where Eagle Eye director D.J. Caruso sits down with his mentor Director John Badham who did War Games.
Road Trip (3 Min, HD) – About the Car Stunts.
Gag Reel (7 Min, HD)
The features are actually more intriguing the film. Really enjoyed all of them, but again, Dreamworks did nothing special for the Blu-ray version there’s nothing here that really showcases the format, although I do appreciate getting all of them in HD.
Eagle Eye actually works much better in a home environment than it did for me in the theater. I’m glad I gave it another try, my issues with the film still remain, but it’s more tolerable. The Blu-ray is a nice enough edition to add to your collection – only if you can find it on sale for like $18, it’s not worth the premium Blu-ray $40 retail (Dreamworks is out of their ever loving minds, putting a $40 suggested retail price on this thing) – you can currently pick it up on Amazon for $18. If you are on the fence, pick up the DVD version, there really isn’t a real difference between the two.
Movie Grade – C
Video – B-
Audio – A
Menu Navigation – A
Features – B-
Final Overall Grade B-
EM Review by
Originally Posted 02.03.09
For a show that I claim to hate, I have somehow managed see the show at least three times – not on broadway, though. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, I hate almost all the characters because they are whiny, pretentious and self involved. But the high points outweigh the story. After all of these years, I still love all the big songs like Take Me or Leave Me, Seasons of Love, One Song, I’ll Cover You and La Boheme. The show had it’s final Broadway performance last September and the folks at Sony Home Video captured the moment on a beautiful Blu-Ray package. The picture and audio is sharp and clean, that I feel like I’m in the audience. The final performance brought back a lot of the stars from the original production (who were also featured in Movie version) including: Idina Menzel (Maureen), Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Angel), Adam Pascal (Roger), and Tracie Thoms (Joanne). It made watching the final performance sort of bitter sweet. I wish all Broadway and Theater shows put their performance on DVD and especially Blu-Ray. Yes you can’t beat the experience of seeing a show live, but hey, live shows on Broadway are outrageously expensive – $200 – $400 and they sit there and wonder why revenue is down. This Blu-ray really brings the performance home and actually makes me want to catch Rent the next time in NY, oh wait… The whole point of this performance is, its the curtain call. One of the cool little special features is an 8 minute Curtain Call with the original cast doing a surprise appearance singing Seasons of Love. The Camera pans around to all of the people in the audience crying and I’ll admit it, it got to me.
Again, let me reiterate, I hate all the characters in this production, not a single sympathetic one. Sure we’re supposed to feel for Angel, but when we’re introduced to her, she sings happily about some old rich woman paying her to kill her neighbor’s dog. Right away, I hated her. Not to mention the song is stupid and terrible – crass, commercialized pop drivel – the same thing the show espouses against. The only one who I thought was sympathetic was Benny because all of his former “friends,” completely turned on him when Benny decided to try and make something of himself. He was bending over backwards to help these people, let them stay Rent free for a year, tried to work out a compromise so he could build his condos and he got “spit” in the face for his efforts even tho their condos were as good as the coal harbour condos for sale I once saw in a website. The show tries desperately to make him the bad guy and the symbol of “greed,” and “commercialism,” but he wasn’t.
The Blu-Ray extras include –
The Wall (HD, 6 Minutes) – A short featurette about the back staged Wall of the Theaters. It’s just the camera panning over the names with an instrumental version of “I’ll Cover You” in the background, pretty nice and kind of moving, because again, you realize this is it, another NY Institution is gone.
Rent The Final Days on Broadway (HD, 36 Mins) – A 36 minute documentary on the last days of Rent.
Casting (HD, 7:50) – A discussion with the Casting Directors about the show.
Jonathan Larson PSA (HD, 5:53) – A short PSA about Rent creator’s Jonathan Larson’s Foundation.
The Final Lottery – (HD, 9 Min) – About the final Lottery for people trying to secure tickets for the final performances. Apparently, they gave away tickets to the first two rows for $20. And it’s something they did from the beginning, which was a cool gesture. It’s one of those “secret” things that NY Insiders know – and I spent half a year living there and never knew.
BD-Live – Lame
There’s nothing wrong with these featurettes, they are excellent (except BD-Live, ugh) but they don’t do anything to truly showcase or distinguish the Blu-Ray format from regular DVDs.
As I write this review, I’m starting to convince myself that the characters really aren’t that bad, what sells the show for me are the high points. They still resonate today, all of these years later and it’s sad to know that Rent’s gone from Broadway. It just seems like one of those things that would always be there. This Blu-Ray does a perfect job of capturing those final moments. But I have to say, I’m really annoyed that Sony didn’t include Digital Copy on this disc or really take advantage of any of the interactive features. Yes the picture and audio are fantastic, but Sony are the creators of the Blu-ray format so they have a special obligation to make every one of their discs be a showcase – especially when they expect people to pay a premium price for it. The Blu-ray retails for $38.95 and the Regular DVD $24.95. Both will hit the streets, February 3, 2009.
2008 started off great for Blu-ray backers when they won the non-war with HD-DVD. We consumers expected this fight to last awhile but was surprised when it barely lasted a year. I was firmly on the HD-DVD side of the fence. They had clear standards, when you purchased an HD-DVD disk you knew what to expect in terms of features. I also thought that competition would be good for consumers. Plus the the Blu-ray group still didn’t have a handle on what should be standard and what shouldn’t be. Then they finally released the profile 1.1 spec which included picture in picture and Ethernet ports as standard features on all players. Later in the year they issued the 2.0 spec which brought along BD-Live.
At the time of the announcement I wrote one of my patented screeds saying how it would be bad for consumers, that prices of Blu-ray disks were way too high and that, without competition, there was no way they would come down. Of course my screed made the Internet rounds and I was ridiculed and lambasted on popular websites like the AV-Forums, but guess what – I was right. Exactly what I predicted would happen, did happen. The price of players didn’t go down, the cost of movies actually went up and you have Netflix charging an extra buck to cover their Blu-ray costs. I mean really, $39 for Superbad?
Even though they released a lot of new feature enhancements, most of the major Hollywood studios are content to just release HD catalogue films with very little additional features that take advantage of the format. It amounts to nothing more than double dipping and for this privilege they are charging $10 – $15 more and they wonder why consumers aren’t jumping on the BD Bandwagon.
I skipped Death Race when it was in the theaters earlier this year, it’s not because I didn’t want to see it, I just ran out of time and these days if you don’t see a film on opening weekend it’s long gone by week two or three. Which is a shame, because after watching it, I’m surprised it didn’t do better. It’s a solid mid-tier action flick, that at times takes itself way to seriously for the material. Jason Statham is actually really good in this and man did he get ripped. At first I thought the muscles on his back were CG. There’s not a lot of fighting as most of the action takes place in the Death Race a grueling 3 Day Race where prisoners are forced to race to the Death. The big dog in cellblock is Warden Hennessey played with fierceness by Joan Allen. When she struts into the Prison Yard, you see the fear and respect the Prisoners have in her. Director Paul W.S. Anderson really gives this film the grit that it deserves, but like I said, it’s almost too serious, I would have liked a little levity.
As with all Anderson HV Releases, this Blu-ray has some really cool features. It’s one of those showcase discs that includes everything the format offers. Picture and Picture commentaries? Check. Audio Commentaries? Check. BD-Live? Check. Boatload of HD Features? Check. For specifics we have:
Start Your Engines: the Making of Death Race – 20 Minutes (HD)
Behind the Wheels: Dissecting the Stunts – 8 Minutes (HD)
Feature Commentary with Paul W.S. Anderson and Producer Jeremy Bolt
Universal’s U-Control interactive remote thing that lets you control when and where your Picture and Picture shows up.
A Full Dossier of all the drivers and their cars that you can pull up at any point in the movie using the U-Control. Pretty slick and cool how it’s implemented.
There’s a really neat multi-angle feature that let’s you cut an entire 13 minute sequence together using over 8 different camera angles. As you watch the race scene you just mouse over the angles you want to use. There are aerial shots, in car close ups, shots of Joan Allen in the control room, the pit crew, it’s pretty comprehensive. Once the scene is done you click the save button and it’ll automatically play back your edit. Not only that but you can cut it multiple different times and it’ll store your edits. Through BD-Live (which wasn’t turned on during the review period) you’ll be able to upload your edits to the community. Also with BD-Live will incorporate live chat and you can do your own live Race Commentary. The picture is of course full widescreen 1080p with a 2:35:1 aspect ratio (I still don’t like letterboxing on my TV) and has HD Audio. On top of all of this, the Blu-ray includes the Unrated and Theatrical release of the movie as well as a Digital Copy.
I’m really happy with this release and it is one of the best Blu-ray releases of the year. Death Race hits the streets Dec 23, on Blu-Ray ($39.99 retail) and an Unrated DVD Version (29.99).
Movie Grade B
Picture – A
Audio – A
Final Overall Grade – A
EM Review by
Originally posted 12.21.08
Hmm… What do you say about one of the greatest Sci-Fi films ever made? Other than that it’s one of the greatest Sci-Films Ever Made? Just in time for the release of the Keanu remake, The Day the Earth Stood Still (the Original) is now out in Blu-ray. This 50’s Black and White classic looks absolutely gorgeous. The only drawback is the picture isn’t in Widescreen format it’s a pretty harsh full frame 1:33:1 ratio (or standard 4.3). So the picture looks a bit cropped on the sides on my 46 incher, it’s like watching standard def broadcasts on any normal HDTV. The only way to get it to fill up the screen is to select the widescreen mode on my television – which I don’t like to do because it makes the picture look stretched and the 5.1 HD Digital audio is clear and clean.
Originally, I didn’t think this disk had that many features, but once I delved into it, there’s a lot to discover here. Fox’s habit of making some of the worst navigation in the history of DVD and now Blu-ray continues here. It wouldn’t be a Fox release if the menus weren’t confusing or had really small fonts.
The disk starts with an 8 minute preview of the new Keanu remake. I watched about 3 minutes of it before I got incredibly bored. I have no interest in seeing this, but I’ll probably make time over the long X-mas weekend. The stupid thing is once you skip this intro you can’t navigate to it again (unless you stop the movie), because the preview isn’t one of the special features you can easily navigate to, incredibly dumb. Some of the standout features include an interactive game that let’s you be Gort and lazer blast some troops. It’s a incredibly lame and cheesy flash game, but I actually spent about 15 minutes playing with it. Then there’s this unique make your own soundtrack thing that let’s create music with the Thermin and then apply it to the scene where Gort first comes out of the ship. Very neat, there’s a scale and you just scroll up and down it to select your notes. Once you are done you click the Apply to scene button and it’ll automatically play the scene with your new score. There’s no BD-Live where you can share your creations, but I love the concept and the ease of use.
Other features include:
DVD Commentary track with the Director Robert Wise and Nicholas Meyer (who did Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn)
The World of the Thermin – This is the instrument used to create the unique sounds of TDTESS. There are two little featurettes, one where Peter Pringle explain what a Thermin is and a live performance. Both are about 2:15 and in HD
Making of Feature – 23:53 (HD)
Decoding Klaatu, Barada, Nikto – A documentary about the history of the cold war – 16:14 (HD)
A Brief History of Flying Saucers – 34:02 (HD)
The Astounding Harry Bates – 11:03 (HD)
Edmund North: The Man Who Made The Day The Earth Stood Still – 14:43 (HD)
Race to Oblivion, an anti-war short from Edmund North, narrated by Burt Landcaster – 26:41 (HD)
There’s even an 2 hr Audiobook! Farewell to the Master – About 2 Hrs.
Fox Movietone News – 6:21
I’m not sure how to grade the picture quality, like I said at the beginning the picture is gorgeous, but I hate the fact that it’s 1:35 ratio so it’s not even widescreen. But the sheer number of features and the fact it is a great movie are more important than my concerns about the aspect ratio. The Day The Earth Stood Still is available now on DVD ($19.99) and Blu-ray (34.90).
Move Grade – A+
Picture Quality – B
Audio – A
Features – A
Final Overall Grade – A-
EM Review by
Originally Posted 12.21.08