Wednesday, June 22, 2016

July 2016 - Two Years Later...

I am coming back! I am all ready working on my first review after taking some time off. Cheers, people! I will be re-formatting all previous reviews and changing the cover arts to match my scans. So, for example, if I have the case and cover art intact for said release that I review, the new layout looks like this:


I hope you like. This will take some time as I have about a hundred reviews up from the past few years.

- Eastwood.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Casket (2013)

Movie: 3/5
Video: 3/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

"If Only Peter Cottontail Was This Dirty."

NOTE: This is an official release, but burned onto a BD-R for the public.

Easter Casket tells the story of Asher (Josh Eal, Bath Salt Zombies); a religious warrior of God who must fight to save the world from the demonic possession of Cottontail (voiced by director Dustin Mills).  Asher's mission leads him to protect Aubrie (Erin R. Ryan, Skinless) who is in grave danger as her friend and higher ups have all ready been killed by Cottontail.

For being a small indie production, I enjoyed how wacky as hell it was. It may feel all over the place with following Father Asher and his quest to find Cottontail. Plus, we don't really get much of our villain until the last half of the film. However, the craziness of Cottontail is enjoyable whenever he is on screen and director Dustin Mills does a good job giving him a voice. I give the film 3/5.

Video: 3/5

Presented in 1080p with an MPEG-4/AVC transfer, shot in HD, I feel a bit conflicted about the presentation of the film. Bit rates stay around the single digits and low teens, the transfer is good. There is some pixelation and macro-blocking in a few shots. Especially when Father Asher is fighting an army of hatched chicks. Also, when scanning files on my computer, the film has a small size of 7.05GB for the film. Do not let this dissuade you, I give the visual presentation 3/5.

Audio: 4/5

For the film, we have English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. For being a basic stereo soundtrack for the film, it gets the job done. No complaints regarding it. 4/5.

Extras: 5/5

Packed full of extras; we have a ton crammed onto the disc. We have an hour-forty-five minutes of behind the scenes footage that is presented in 480i. Oddly, this behind the scenes footage rings in at over 9GB in size which is odd considering the film in HD is only 7.05 GB. We also have a commentary track along with subtitled trivia track that goes on throughout the film. Also, we have two introductions that you can have before the movie starts; one by the director and the other by Cottontail. And finally, we have deleted scenes.

This release is packed with extras that are enjoyable. The 105 minute B-T-S footage is a good insight on how movies are made. Considering how packed the disc is, I give the bonus portions 5/5.

Overall: 4/5

This release is out of print and only fifty copies were made. I picked it up on pre-order for $23 shipped. It is presented on a BD-R like previous films I have reviewed like Psycho Street and Hometown. I would like to see Cottontail return, if Dustin decides to make another one. I give this Blu-ray a 4/5.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Grotesque (2009)

Movie: 2.5/5
Video: 3/5
Audio: 3/5
Extras: .5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

"Ugh..."

I wonder what possess a filmmaker to make nothing but extreme violence because Grotesque takes it to the point of overkill. While most people will bash the seven Saw films and brand them with the idiotic and very snobish term "Torture Porn", those films at least have a plot. Hostel at least had a plot. A Serbian Film had a plot. Grotesque does not have a plot. And this is why this film fails.

The film is about a crazed doctor who kidnaps a couple and performs various sexual and violent acts upon them both. That's it, a film with no plot that wants to just show human suffering for seventy-three minutes. Why do I give this film a 2.5/5? I found it somewhat creative and the effects are not a total waste.

Video: 3/5
Presented in 2.35:1 in a 1080p presentation, Grotesque looks like it was shot with a basic high definition camera. While compression artifacts are present throughout, the film does not look completely bad. It's main color scheme of green and brown is somewhat strongly preserved through the whole "film". I give the presentation 3/5.

Audio: 3/5
Media Blasters give Grotesque only one audio presentation; Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo.  For what it is, it does it well. Does it honestly matter if you hear the man and woman scream in 2.0 or 5.1 DTS-HD MA? 3/5.

Extras: .5/5
Only bonus features is a trailer in SD and a DVD copy. Fantastic, .5/5.

Overall: 2.5/5
I question how much it cost Media Blasters to get the rights to this film. A studio that has been running themselves into the ground for years and they cling to whatever shocking garbage that they can get their hands on or make themselves like Late Fee. I think I paid $13 for this, don't pay more than that. 2.5/5.

Friday, January 31, 2014

An Elf's Story (2011)

Movie: .5/5
Video: 5/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 1/5
Overall: 3/5

"What's That?"

If A Walk in My Shoes taught me anything, is that there's more propaganda out there than I thought. Now, the makers of "Elf on the Shelf" have made a twenty-six minute short film that is nothing but nonsense for kids. This short revolves around Chippey (What's That?) who is sent from the North Pole to help make a child believe in Santa Clause again.

This short film is short of nothing but annoying music numbers that will make anyone over the age of six annoyed. And this biggest thing that puzzled me over this is that if someone touches an "Elf on the Shelf", it looses its power. Then how the hell do you get it out of the box? .5/5

Video: 5/5

Considering that this is completely computer animation, the video presentation is flawless. There's also the short film in stereoscopic 3D, but, I don't have equipment to view it. Despite that setback, presented in 1.78:1, the video is crystal clear. 5/5.

Audio: 5/5

There's two audio tracks for the short, English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and a LPCM 2.0 stereo track. Default track is the LPCM, why make two mixes is beyond me. It sounds fine for what it is. No complaints, I've complained enough and at the same time, I haven't. 5/5.

Extras: 1/5

There's a two minute trailer for this "short" film. However, I don't know where this trailer came from and who played it because this thing breaks down the whole twenty-five minute short in two minutes. It's like an old school digest 8mm film that you could buy back in the day.

There's a ten minute making of and I found it down right disturbing that this is a family affair. I find it so bizarre how they feel like they made a real movie. If this was fifty minutes longer than what it was, I could understand. This is only twenty-five minutes! They talk about scenes they like where these scenes only last two seconds! Smurfin' smurf, man!

Finally, we have a commentary track that is torture. Whoever the man is who is talking to the women, he sounds like Kenneth from 30 Rock. This is nothing but a self-serving commentary track that's missing lotion. These people clearly have no idea how ADR works as the woman talks about how the actor doing the voice for Santa was putting emotion in to the ADR and throwing his arms in the air.

And finally we have a DVD copy, because why not? Clearly if someone buys a DVD, they don't get a Blu-ray copy with it, so let's give the Blu-ray buyer a DVD for the hell of it. Please... Don't make me sick. I give these bonus materials a painful 1/5.

Overall: 3/5

It pains me to give this Blu-ray the score it gets. It doesn't deserve it. If you do or don't have kids, for the love of everything holy, run away! I paid $4 for this and I regret it since I watched this. Don't be fooled, it does not deserve a 3/5. Maybe Chip Chipperson will love it or at least love Chippey.

The Raid: Redemption (2012)

Movie: 5/5
Video: 3/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 3/5
Overall: 4.5/5

"German Release Does Not Contain Original Score."

Note: While the German release does not contain the original Indonesian score, I am not docking points for this release.

The Raid: Redemption tells the tale of a group of special ops who raid a building ran by a drug kingpin. Once inside, they have their cover blown and every vicious killer in the building is out for their heads. Rama (Iko Uwais, Merantau) is a tough soldier who soon takes the lead as he is cut off from his squad leader, Jaka (Joe Taslim; Fast & Furious 6) and other members from the squad. They all realize that the only way out is to go all the way to the top to face the leader of the building.

The movie is an action roller coaster. This was one of the first movies that I had seen after I survived getting hit by a car in 2012. I had to go to a small indie movie theater in Columbus, OH because it was the closest theater playing it. I was still heavily medicated at the time I saw it, so, I think the medicine I was on made me enjoy it more. The theater in my town finally got it a few weeks after and saw it digitally for my second showing of the film. Still loved it. 5/5.

Video: 3/5

Shot in HD, Koch Media uses Sony's transfer of the film. The transfer is very problematic. When I saw it on celluloid the first time, I don't remember it looking that rough. Seeing it on home video on Blu-ray, it looks rough with macro problems all over the place if it's not a close up shot. If I had to guess, this was shot in 720p. I give the video 3/5.

Audio: 5/5

We have two audio tracks for the film; Indonesian and a German dub DTS-HD MA 5.1 tracks. Both tracks sounded evenly good. I have no doubt that the Indonesian audio is probably the same track that is found on the U.S. Blu-ray. I give the audio presentations 5/5.

Extras: 3/5

While the extras in this release pails in comparison of the U.S. Blu-ray; we have the audio commentary by the director, Gareth Evans. Oddly, the commentary does not have any German subs as its in English. Claycat's The Raid which is a stop-motion animation version with cats that was done by a guy who makes Youtube videos. Then we have seven trailers and teasers and tv spots for Germany. And then finally, German dubbed trailers for Margin Call; Black's Game; and Who Killed Marilyn. While it's missing out, I do give the bonus material 3/5.

Overall: 4.5/5

I got this disc off of a Steelbook collector who got rid of the disc for about $5. While it is region free, it's not English friendly. Lucky for me, since German is my second language, this worked out in my favor that I got to experience one of my favorite films in German. If you don't speak German, please wait for my review on the U.S. release by Sony. I give the German Blu-ray 4.5/5.

[Rec.] 2 (2009)

Movie: 3.5/5
Video: 4/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

"Interesting, but..."

[Rec.] 2 takes place minutes after the first film has ended. The plot is pretty simple, after the original crew is sent in, another goes in to find any survivors. This group of police are armed to the teeth in helmet cams, which transitions back and forth from one to the next.

With how we get towards the end and with what we get during the film with all the revelations about the plague kinda turned me off of this whole story line. This is just an oddball route to take; the only thing that I can compare it too is like how the first Feast film was great and then by the time we got to the third film it was just downright atrocious. But, for being a horror film that has lots of jump scares, I did enjoy it. I give the movie 3.5/5.

Video: 4/5

Entertainment One has presented [Rec.] 2 in it's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with an MPEG4 transfer in 1080p. Shot in HD, the quality varies throughout the film. However, it's not as bad as the video quality of another shot on video film I reviewed, like Project X. Mostly the image is crystal clear but there is some video noise that is from the cameras itself, not the digitally manipulated noise that is in post that you can tell is added. I give the film 4/5.

Audio: 5/5

Entertainment One has given [Rec.] 2 two different audio presentations for the film; Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1 and Spanish LPCM 2.0 stereo. While listening to the audio, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 sounds better of the two tracks.

Extras: 5/5

Entertainment One has given the film a small, but a lot of time consuming bonus materials. First off before we get to the menu, we have trailers for The Tormented, Rec, 7 Days, and Unthinkable. We have an almost two hour documentary of [Rec.] 2 called, In an Infected World. This documentary was all right, it covers most ground about the whole production process. And then another hour of behind the scenes footage. And finally deleted and extended scenes. Watching this all in one sitting can be very over whelming, watch in moderation if interested. 5/5.

Overall: 4.5/5

Entertainment One has given the U.K. a fine disc for [Rec.] 2. Why they couldn't have made this disc region free since they have Canadian rights is beyond me. This disc is region B locked; I managed to buy this used for $3 and for that price, I think I got myself a deal. I give the U.K. release of [Rec.] 2 a 4.5/5.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

Movie: 3/5
Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 3.5/5
Extras: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

"Leave Town!"

Doug Liman's Mr. & Mrs. Smith tells the story of two lovers, John Smith (Brad Pitt; Too Young to Die, World War Z) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie; Gone in 60 Seconds, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) who are married and at the same time do not know that they're both hired assassins. After going on a mission, their covers are blown and now all hell breaks loose. Jane's second in command, Jasmine (Kerry Washington; Django Unchained, Lakeview Terrace) wants everything shut down and soon a hit is put out on both John and Jane's heads.

I have a problem with how the movie ends. To give a slight spoiler to a film that's pushing ten years old, there's no resolution. It's left open for a sequel which never happened and a failed television pilot to continue the story. I'm not too much of a fan of Doug Liman as he's claimed that there would be sequels to this and other films (Jumper) which never materialized. I do think that Pitt and Jolie did a good job on this film, but, the failed resolve makes me give this film a 3/5.

Video: 3.5/5

Kinowelt/Studio Canal has presented Mr. & Mrs. Smith in it's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Having not seeing the U.S. Blu-ray by Fox, I do not know if this is the same HD transfer. There is grain present throughout the film, but it looks somewhat scrubbed away. I can't tell if it's DNR or what. But, considering this is ten years old, I doubt this film will look any better. 3.5/5.

Audio: 3.5/5

Kinowelt/Studio Canal has given the film two different audio presentations for the film; English and a German dubbing in DTS-HD HR 7.1. For being this high in terms of audio, I found myself turning up the audio slightly. I encountered this in both audio tracks. I guess if you have the proper sound equipment to play in 7.1 channels, it might sound better. I give the audio presentations 3.5/5.

Extras: 3/5

German dubbed trailers for The Bank Job, Jumper, Meet Dave, Million Dollar Baby, P2 , Premonition, The Sentinel, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Three different audio commentary tracks in DTS; With Simon Kinberg and Doug Liman; Michael Tronick, Jeff Mann, and Kevin Elam; and with producers Lucas Foster and Akiva Goldsman. Deleted scenes. Domestic Violence: The Making of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. And Doug's Filmschool. With all this bonus material, if you're a fan of this film, it might be entertaining; but, I felt somewhat bored with all this.

Overall: 3.5/5

Like my previous review of the German Blu-ray for The Tourist, I got this disc from a Steelbook collector who sold off the Region B locked discs. Studio Canal simply re-uses the original Kinowelt disc because it was made before Studio Canal bought them out. I paid $3 for the disc and I know that the U.S. release goes for under $10. I give this German disc a 3.5/5.