Tag Archives: Blu-Ray

VIZ Media Announces Home Media Release of Ranma ½ OVA & Movie Collection!

The three Ranma ½ theatrical films and eleven episode-length Original Video Adventures that followed the original gender-bending anime series are being released on home media as part of the Ranma ½ OVA & Movie Collection.

The Blu-ray release will also contain a 32-page booklet, and clean opening and ending credits. The DVD release will only have the clean opening and ending credits.

Ranma ½ OVA & Movie Collection will be in stores on September 19th.

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Transformers: The Last Knight Gets 4K UHD Release! 5-Movie Collection Coming!

Michael Bay’s (allegedly) final entry in the Transformers series, Transformers: The Last Knight will be released in 4K UHD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D™ Combo Pack.

The Transformers movie with the unique Arthurian slant will arrive in all formats on September 26th – with the DigitalHD release date set for September 12th.

A Transformers 5-movie Blu-ray package will also be released on September 26th.

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Blu-ray Review: Shin Godzilla!

Shin Godzilla – which opens in over 400 theaters for an eight-day run beginning Tuesday, October 11th – is the 29th in the franchise’s 32 year history.

Unlike all but the first few films in the franchise, this Godzilla is not campy – Godzilla is not Japan’s champion. Instead, it’s a destructive force of nature that, like the original, echoes the dangers of the atom. This time, though, it’s not atom bombs, but the nuclear disaster at Fukushima – and its subsequent fallout – that are being obliquely referenced.

Like Gojira/Godzilla, the first film in the series, Shin Godzilla opens on a single boat – this time, though, it is deserted. Inside, on a table, are a large envelope and one piece of origami.

Suddenly the boat is rocked by an eruption of water and we cut to an outside shot showing a plume of water arising from a mass of turbulence in the water surrounding the boat. Then we cut to a traffic tunnel suddenly springing a leak and tons of water cascading down on traffic.

Then we move to scenes with government officials trying to figure out what’s going and what to do; a huge gilled creature (with familiar spines down its back but otherwise not at all familiar) moving up a river – then back to the politicians and, finally, a press conference where the speaker goes off script seconds before what he says is proven utterly incorrect.

Before long, the creature changes – instant evolution – a couple of times and now is revealed as the Godzilla we all recognize.

Again, politicians meet and meet and meet, taking forever to decide what to do – even after Godzilla begins to wreak havoc on Tokyo. In between meetings, a young pol named Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa, Attack on Titan) wonders aloud why there must be so many meetings – even to schedule a press conference.

Yaguchi soon finds himself heading up a geek squad to see if they can figure out a way to deal with the giant lizard without having to deal with red tape.

Eventually, pressure from the U.S. brings Kayoco Ann Patterson (Satomi Ishihara, Attack on Titan) into play. She has intel that she shares with Yaguchi – the envelope we saw on the boat earlier – and we learn what the writer had called a potential such creature: Godzilla (though the Japanese characters used say ‘Gojira’).

This serves two purposes – it presents a possible origin for the creature (some sea creature dined on nuclear waste and evolved) and poked a bit of fun at the arguments between fans on whether Godzilla or Gojira is the correct name for the creature (it’s both guys!).

It also suggests that bureaucracy has its limits and sometimes red tape has to be cut.

From there it’s a race – to find a way to stop Godzilla/Gojira before it lays waste to the whole of Tokyo, and before U.S. pressure can convince the U.N. that the nuclear option is the only viable one.

Written and directed by Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion)/co-directed by VFX director Shinji Higuchi (The Floating Castle), Shin Godzilla is a mix of static scenes of bureaucracy in action/inaction; more frantic sequences of Yaguchi’s geek squad (later referred to as the Special Disaster Bureau) actually getting stuff done, and sequences of mass evacuations and armed attempts to take down Godzilla.

Even at its campiest, the Godzilla movies have always been less than reverent about government than most (in one, Japanese crowds exploded into laughter when the Big Guy trampled a building that housed Japan’s equivalent of the IRS, as just one example) and Shin Godzilla is no exception.

It’s not that it pictures Japanese politicians as buffoons, exactly, but more that they are hampered by all the rules and regulations and traditions that hamstring them (though there are one or two buffoons, there are also a few very capable pols here – not the least of which is Yaguchi).

The sequences with Godzilla’s destruction and fleeing Tokyo citizens are more realistic and emotionally impactful than in many of the films since the original – the tone definitely builds audience tension and concern, while the futile attempts of Japans’ Self Defense Forces to stop the monster add to the feeling that every aspect of Japanese life is on the verge of collapse.

In the end, it comes down to a race between the special Disaster Bureau/geek squad and the U.S.-backed decision to nuke Godzilla (and render the city of Tokyo forever unlivable) – and Anno and Higuchi stage these moments well.

Adding to the tension, Patterson refuses to evacuate with the rest of the Americans station in Japan to continue working with Yaguchi because she doesn’t want to see her grandmother’s country suffer a third nuclear bomb.

In a positive twist, Patterson and Yaguchi do not fall in love/hook up – though their political ambitions could certainly see them working together again. Another positive twist is that scientist who first theorizes Godzilla feeds nuclear power is a woman – after being derided, when it turns out she’s right, she is offered an apology!

Shin Godzilla’s biggest flaw is, perhaps, Anno’s overemphasis on the government’s being hamstrung by its own rules, regulations and traditions (and the idea of saving face in front of the international community of the U.N.).

Even with the humor in seeing government officials hurrying from one meeting to set up another to set up another and then heading off to that that meeting, some of those scenes could easily have been trimmed without losing the satirical point he’s making (again, guys, Fukushima!). Even some of the scenes with the geek squad could have been shorter.

The bits concerning the pushy Americans, unlike the rest of the political stuff, are not pushed too hard – just enough to make a point for the purpose of the story.

This Godzilla has a few surprises in regard to the Big Guy, too, that require some thinking outside the box to stop him – and the effects work is superb for the most part (the early iteration of the big lizard is a bit wonky, but that could be a subtle call back to some of the franchise’s less expensive effects work – if not an actual homage).

As it is, Shin Godzilla is still a heartbeat under two hours, so it’s not like it badly overstays its welcome. It’s not quite as good as the first film (an absolute masterwork) or as much pure fun as some of the ‘60s and ‘70s efforts, but it is very entertaining and well worth seeing.

The Blu-ray’s only bonus feature (trailers are not a bonus feature!) is Godzilla vs. Nerds – Interview, a weird  – but curiously informative discussion of the movie by three Funimation employees/Godzilla fans and the guy who draws the Godzilla comics for IDW.

Grade: Shin Godzilla – B+

Grade: Features – B

Final Grade: B+

VIZ Media Releases Limited Blu-ray Edition of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Season 1!

VIZ Media has announced the release of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Season 1 in a Limited Edition Blu-ray set.

The series follows the exploits of surrogate brothers Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando, who discover a mysterious stone mask. The mask is an artifact of an ancient Central American culture and is capable of granting its wearer eternal life, but only at a heavy price.

The set’s 26 episodes include the complete Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency story arcs.

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Ghost in the Shell: Still Stunning On the Blu-ray!

Scarlett Johansson plays The Major in Ghost in the Shell from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures – now available on home video, including 4K UHD.

Ghost in the Shell is based on a Japanese manga by Masamune Shirow and a classic anime by Mamoru Oshii – both of which deal with the questions of what constitutes identity and whether humanity remains when the line between human and machine disappears.

Rupert Sanders’ live-action Ghost in the Shell touches on these ideas more I expected it would and is a cracking good science fiction-action movie as well.

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Once Upon a Time in Venice – Never Mess with a Man’s Dog!

In the last couple of years Bruce Willis has made about a half-a-dozen films that could be considered B-movies – most of which were fair-to-awful.

Once Upon a Time in Venice – the Blu-ray is in stores now –  leans into the better than average zone. It’s a slight bit of noir-ish fun that finds the only licensed detective in Venice Beach trying to get his dog back – which is much harder (and more convoluted than you’d think).

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Bad News: Assassin’s Creed Is Coming to Home Video!

Assassin’s Creed (aka The Complete and Utter Waste of an Oscar®-Worthy Cast) is coming to home video in Digital HD (March 10th), 4K ULTRA HD, 3D Blu-ray & DVD (March 21st).

None of its several features is an audio commentary track, so we still won’t know what heck the filmmakers were thinking.

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Bleach Set 2 Comes to Blu-ray!

In the popular anime series Bleach, for as long as he can remember, Ichigo Kurosaki has been able to see ghosts. But when he meets Rukia, a Soul Reaper who battles evil spirits known as Hollows, his life is changed forever. Now, with a newfound wealth of spiritual energy, Ichigo discovers his true calling – to protect the world of the living and the dead as a Substitute Soul Reaper.

Bleach Set 2 (including episodes 28-55) is coming Blu-ray on January 31st. Further details follow the break.

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Sherlock: Season Four and Dirk Gently Come to Home Video!

BBC Home entertainment is looking to add a little mystery to your life beginning with the home video release of Sherlock: Season Four on January 24th, and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (now available in the US).

Read on for details.

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Moana Comes To Home Video Beginning in February!

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana is coming to home video with a fleet of extras including a new Moana mini-movie and the theatrical short, Inner Workings.

Moana will be available in Digital HD on February 21st and on Blu-ray and DVD on March 7th. Follow the jump for a complete list of bonus material (and yes, even the DVD has an audio commentary track).

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Pinocchio Bonus Clips from Upcoming Blu-ray

Pinocchio is out on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere This Week. To celebrate check out these new bonus clips from the early days of Disney Animation that show Walt Disney’s process while creating Pinocchio! You can download it today. Have I said lately how much I adore Disney Movies Anywhere? Buy it once and it shows up on almost all Digital services including Ultraviolet, iTunes, Microsoft, PSN Network, Amazon and Google!  The really cool thing is the extras are always included as well. I wish ALL studios would do this. Sick of having to choose between services. Disney gets mad props for going a step beyond in the way they treat their fans. Yes, I’m saying all of this because I expect my free review copy :).  But come on Disney, 4K Man, 4K!  Check out the clips.  Pinocchio is out on Blu-ray™ and DVD on Jan. 31.

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