Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wayne's World 2 Blu-ray Review

Wayne's World 2 Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 29.2 GB
Film Size: 26.6 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: Free

"We're not worthy! We're not worthy! We're not worthy!" - Wayne & Garth
Video
Wayne's World 2 comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The transfer looks a bit more dated than Wayne's World at times, but both are very similar looking. The Blu-ray still provides the sharper and detailed look that one just can't get with DVD. The DVD versions just can't compare, despite still not being demo material presentations. The print does have it's share of dirt and specks, but was never excessive. Fans of the film will be pleased. 7/10.

Audio
A 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track is included, and like Wayne's World, impresses when it comes to music. The music is lively, clear, and aggressive. It definitely left me impressed, but doesn't really mix well with otherwise dull track. Dialogue was fine, and effects were front-heavy. Once again a surprising track, but far from perfect. 7.5/10.

Extras

Commentary with Director Stephen Surjik

Extreme Close-Up (14:06) (SD)
Cast interviews and thoughts about bringing this sequel, and ideas for the film. Fans of the film should definitely enjoy it.

Blu-news Summary
I tried to like Wayne's World 2, I really did. I loved the characters, and I found myself laughing every once in a while, but the story was far more mediocre than the first film. There were some very cool guest stars in the film, but it was ultimately a quick cash film. They saw the success of Wayne's World, and pushed a sequel out as fast as they could.

The Blu-ray release is quite improved, featuring good video, surprising audio, and ported DVD extras. The video and audio aren't perfect, but the upgrade is clear to those who have seen them on DVD. Wayne's World 2 may end up in your collection anyway if your a fan of Wayne's World. Ultimately, I would recommend making Wayne's World 2 'A Rental.'

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Wayne's World Blu-ray Review

Wayne's World Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 28.8 GB
Film Size: 25.5 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: Free

"Wow! What a totally amazing, excellent discovery!" - Wayne CampbellVideo
Wayne's World comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film starts out rough, looking very dated and ugly, but the transfer improves significantly after the first few minutes. The film has never looked better, featuring a sharper and more detailed presentation. Colors see a significant upgrade, as do black levels. There's no way one could be disappointed with Wayne's World on Blu-ray, it's far from a stunner, but it's truly never looked better. I actually expected worse from the high-def presentation. 7/10.

Audio
A 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track is included, and I thought it was very nice. One thing that I was impressed by both Wayne's World as well as Wayne's World 2 is the music, it was both aggressive and clear, and really brought the high-def feel to what could have been another mediocre audio track. Dialogue is front and center, sound effects are mostly front-heavy, but do travel to the surround area at times. Not amazing, but definitely surprising. 7.5/10.

Extras

Commentary with Director Penelope Spheeris

Extreme Close-Up (23:15) (SD)
Cast and crew interviews and stories, many from the Director Penelope Spheeris.

Theatrical Trailer (2:06) (HD)

Blu-news Summary
Wayne's World is a totally fun film. The characters are so funny and memorable, and it's one of the reasons many love the film so much. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are absolutely hilarious, and while the film is dated, it's certainly still funny. The film won't appeal to everyone, but it's certainly one to at least give a rent.

The Blu-ray release is quite nice, featuring improved video, surprising audio, and ported DVD extras. Wayne's World on Blu-ray is 'Worth Checking Out.'

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Without A Paddle Blu-ray Review

Without A Paddle Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 34.5 GB
Film Size: 30.3 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: Free

"Stay calm. Get in the fetal position.
It won't bother you if you're in the fetal position."

- Tom Marshall
Video
Without A Paddle hits Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The look is about what I expected, clearly benefiting from a high-def transfer, but not stunning either. The colors were a nice upgrade, and details were usually very sharp and impressive. The film has a thin layer of grain present throughout the presentation, but nothing distracting. The print is fairly clean as well, with the occasional speck, but nothing excessive. Fans of the film will definitely be pleased with the high-def presentation. 8/10.

Audio
A 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track is included, and is fairly weak. I can't say I was expecting too much, but I would have hoped a film that not only relies on comedy but a bit of adventure would make a more engaging surround use. Surround use is quite minimal, with the amount of effects and music staying within the front left and right speakers. Dialogue was front and center, and was always clear. I can't say the track was bad, it just could have been mixed better originally. 7/10.

Extras

Commentary by Director Steven Brill

Video Commentary by the Cast and Director (Picture-in-Picture)

MTV's Making The Movie: Without A Paddle (18:10) (SD)
Making of the film, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews. It was hard to watch too much, as the standard definition quality is fairly bad.

Additional Scenes (24:09) (SD)
Included are 13 additional scenes with optional Director commentary.

MTV Interstitials (2:43) (SD)
6 MTV Interstitials are included, basically short promos for the film.

Theatrical Trailer (2:32) (SD)
The package states an HD trailer is included, but unfortunately it's in standard definition.

Blu-news Summary
Without A Paddle is a fairly funny film, with a pretty solid target audience, the teenager. MTV extras alone help prove that. I enjoyed it, but it's not something I plan to get much more viewing out of. The film is a solid rental for those who have never seen it before, just don't expect too much.

The Blu-ray release is nice, featuring a great video presentation, a decent audio track, and all extras from the DVD. Without A Paddle On Blu-ray is 'A Solid Rental'. It's also one that I would 'Recommend' upgrading if your a fan of the film.

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There's Something About Mary Blu-ray Review

There's Something About Mary Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 42.2 GB
Film Rating: R/Unrated
Region: A

"When I was 16 years old, I fell in love." - Ted
Video
There's Something About Mary comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation, and includes both versions of the film via seamless branching. I have to say, I was actually turned off from the very beginning to the presentation. It was very soft, and looked like an upconverted DVD. After time flashed forward, the presentation got significantly better.

There's Something About Mary has never been the sharpest looking film, and this is certainly improved in every aspect. Colors were improved, detail while not stunning was also a bit better. Just the overall sharpness improvement will have fans pleased. It's not a stunning transfer, but it's certainly not as bad as others would make you believe. It does have a few ugly scenes, but it still is worthy of a Blu upgrade. 7.5/10.

Audio
Fox has included a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, and is pretty fitting. The film is a front-heavy experience, with dialogue staying front and center. The film's music and effects also tend to stay within the front left and right speakers, lightly creeping into the surround area. It definitely won't impress, but I don't think anyone honestly would expect it to. 7/10.

Extras

Getting Behind Mary

Backstory: There's Something About Mary

Comedy Central: Reel Comedy

Up a Tree with Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins

Franks and Beans: A Conversation with W. Earl Brown

Exposing Themselves: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Still, Chris Elliot

Touchdown: A Conversation with Brett Favre

Interview Rouette with Harland Williams

Puffy, Boobs and Balls

Around the World with Mary

Marketing Mary

''Everyday Should Be A Holiday'' - Music Video

Outtakes

''Build Me Up Buttercup" - Karaoke

Behind The Zipper

Blu-news Summary
There's Something About Mary is one hilarious film. The casting was pretty much perfect, and the story and gags are pretty much amazing. Cameron Diaz as Mary is absolutely fantastic, and there are some great supporting characters as well, such as Magda.

The Blu-ray release is no stunner, but it's certainly about as good as one could expect. Fox has also included all extras from the DVD release. There's Something About Mary on Blu-ray is 'Recommended.'

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Woodstock: 3 Days Of Peace & Music Blu-ray Review

Woodstock: 3 Days Of Peace And Music Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 36.7 GB
Film Size: 36.2 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: Free

Video
Woodstock comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The release looks about as good as one could expect, footage is presented via a unique split-screen, with performances in both split-screen and letterboxed forms. It's never going to amaze, but it's definitely about as good as it will ever look, and the clearer the better for a historic time like this. The footage featured has never looked better, and fans will definitely see the upgrade. 7.5/10.

Audio
Warner has included a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track. List new Warner releases, Woodstock defaults to Dolby TrueHD, which is a nice change from Warner. The track improves quite nicely over the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, however don't expect miracles. Woodstock's audio will never be impressive, without substituting the audio, which should never happen. Fans should be pleased with the upgrade. 8/10.

Extras

Disc 1:
BD-Live

Disc 2:
The Museum at Bethel Woods: The Story of the Sixties & Woodstock (4:33) (SD)

Customize Your Own Woodstock Playlist
Select the songs you like, skip the ones you don't, to create a playlist.

Opening Of Festival (3:21) (HD)
Footage from the opening of the festival

Closing The Festival (1:20) (HD)
Footage from the closing of the festival, such as the request of filling up trash bags.

The Camera (3:53) (HD)
Michael Wadleigh talks about the Eclair NPR camera that he used for the film.

365,000 Feet Of Film (2:03) (HD)
Dale Bell talks about how they got all the film that they did to document Woodstock.

Shooting Stage (2:44) (HD)
Michael Wadleigh talks about shooting around the stage.

The Lineup (2:39) (HD)
Ever wonder how they got the bands lined up for Woodstock? Michael Lang explains, as well as interviews from members of certain groups who participated.

Holding The Negative Hostage (1:51) (HD)
Dale Bell talks about his experience with Technicolor sending a copy of the negative to Warner Bros. without permission, what did they do?

Announcements (3:45) (HD)
Listen to announcements made during Woodstock, some are very interesting.

Suits Vs. Longhairs (5:58) (HD)
Dale Bell and Michael Wadleigh discuss Warner wanting to screen the film, as well as their concern with screening it.

Documenting History (3:45) (HD)
Dale Bell and Michael Wadleigh and more discuss the original idea of documenting Woodstock.

Woodstock The Journey (2:34) (HD)
Members from Sha Na Na, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Ten Years After, and more discuss the amazing amount of people traveling from all over to Woodstock.

Pre-Production (3:05) (HD)
Martin Scorsese discusses his idea to do a concert film, utilizing 16 mm equipment. He heard about a big event that was going to occur. It also talks with others involved in making things happen.

Production (4:21) (HD)
The crew discusses capturing Woodstock on film.

Synchronization (1:52) (HD)
See how they were able to sync the sound tape and film together.

The Crowd (1:54) (HD)
Crew and band members discuss how people of all kinds coexisted for 3 days.

No Rain! No Rain! (3:18) (HD)
Leo Lyons of Ten Years After discusses the rain starting before they were going to perform, as well as stories from others.

3 Days In A Truck (2:05) (HD)
Eddie Kramer talks about his experience capturing the sound on tape, and experiencing the 3-day event from a vehicle.

The Woodstock Effect (3:26) (HD)
Members of Sha Na Na explain that without performing at Woodstock, they would not have the success that they did.

Living Up To Idealism (5:06) (HD)
The crew discusses the legacy of Woodstock.

World's Longest Optical (2:46) (HD)
The filmmakers explain how they shot in 16 mm, and screened in 70 mm.

Critical Acclaim (6:41) (HD)
See how the public, performers, and others reacted to the film.

Courtesy Of The Museum At Bethel Woods: The Hog Farm Commune (3:18) (SD)
Wavy Gravy and more discuss the Hog Farm Commune.

Hugh Hefner and Michael Wadleigh: The Woodstock Connection (9:30) (HD)
Hugh Hefner talks about his interview with Michael and episode about Woodstock, on his show 'Playboy After Dark.' Footage from the episode is included.

Blu-news Summary
Woodstock is such a famous and historical event that really will be remember forever. It wasn't just about the music, but people of all kinds coming together. The film is very impressive, covering every aspect of the event. The traveling, the performances, the weather, and much more. Fans of Woodstock, or those who have always had curiosity, this is one to see.

The Blu-ray release is very nice, featuring good video, nice audio, and a very impressive amount of extras and informative material. The extras are almost completely presented in high-definition, and all look very nice. The film is only half of the Blu-ray experience, as all this material included is both interesting and informative. The release comes in special limited and numbered packaging, with some very nice additions, pictured below. The Blu-ray release is a 'Must Own For Fans.'

Packaging:

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spring Breakdown Blu-ray Review

Spring Breakdown Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 13.0 GB
Film Size: 12.5 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: Free

Video
Spring Breakdown comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The video is nice, but not amazing. I was shocked to see the small encode size provided for a high-def release, but regardless it still is a nice upgrade from standard definition. There were no crushing or macroblocking issues, and no excessive use of DNR from what I could tell. The film had a few moments that looked as if they were touched just a little, but I am leaning more towards how it was filmed. Colors were fairly impressive, particularly any outdoor party scene. Spring Breakdown features every color imaginable, and it all looks very pleasing. It looks just fine, and certainly high-def. 7.5/10.

Audio
A 5.1 Dolby Digital track is included, and wow has it been a long time since I've had to say that for a major studio. I noticed that the release was prepared in January in anticipation of an earlier February release date, unfortunately the earlier release date did not happen. Which is why the film features a lossy audio track. The track was fine for what it was, but nothing impressive. Dialogue never sounded as clear as we have come to expect from a Blu-ray release. I don't see this being released with high-def audio any time in the near or far future, so I wouldn't let this stop you from picking it up. Warner has definitely stepped up since this was made. 5/10.

Extras

Commentary by Director Ryan Shiraki and Writer Rachel Dratch
The commentary track is by far the best extra included. Both Ryan Shiraki and Rachel Dratch are featured, and always have something to say about everything. There's a lot of things I didn't catch while watching the film, that are pointed out by them. It's a fun and even informative track.

Additional Scenes (2:50) (SD)
There are four additional scenes, and the funniest one is the last one. Fans should definitely enjoy them, despite them being in standard definition.

Gag Reel (2:04) (SD)
Typical gag reel, some funny bits some not so funny bits.

BD-Live
Download the latest Warner Bros. trailers.

Digital Copy
Have been originally produced for February release, the disc is unfortunately only Windows Media compatible.

Blu-news Summary
Spring Breakdown is a film that I was quite anxious to watch since I first heard of it. I am a big Amy Poehler fan, which is why I may sound a bit biased. The film is direct-to-video, but that doesn't keep it from being just as funny as a theatrical release. It doesn't rely on special effects, etc. Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, and Parker Posey are great as a trio, and I found myself enjoying the film much more than I had anticipated. It's not up there with the best comedies, but it provides a good time.

The Blu-ray release is good, but far from impressive. With a good video presentation, a disappointing audio track, and a small amount of extras. It's hard for me to recommend the disc as a whole, but I would at least 'Give It A Rent' for film alone.

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