Monday, June 29, 2009

The Pink Panther 2 Blu-ray Review

The Pink Panther 2 Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 34.1 GB
Film Size: 26.4 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: A

Video
The Pink Panther 2 comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The release is almost perfect, with strength in every area. Colors were rich and vivid, while detail reached stunning levels at times. Black levels were solid, and overall sharpness was impressive. Like most new releases, the film is free of any technical issues, dirt and specks, etc. It's definitely an impressive high-def presentation. 9/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is included, and it did the job nicely. The audio track was never amazing, but the sound field was used quite well. Dialogue was clear as can be, while the film's music expanded to the front and surround speakers. The music use was quite aggressive, and in a good way. It's just as I had expected, a lively but not amazing audio presentation. 8/10.

Extras

Disc 1:


Gag Reel (3:33) (SD)
Pretty standard gag reel.

Drama is Easy...Comedy is Dangerous (7:43) (HD)
The crew and cast talk about the physical comedy used in the film.

A Dream Team Like No Other (13:57) (HD)
The cast talks about the major characters and people involved, a decent amount of behind-the-scenes footage is included as well.

Master Thief - Global Crime Showdown! (BD-Java Game)
A trivia game of sorts with questions from all over the world.


Disc 2:


27 Classic Pink Panther Cartoons (2:50:00) (SD)


Disc 3:


Digital Copy (Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media)

Blu-news Summary
It's definitely great to see more family content hitting Blu-ray every week, the Pink Panther 2 is just one of them. The film is quite clean and funny, which I'm sure many parents will appreciate. Steve Martin is back, and to be honest I actually enjoyed this film much more than the previous. It can't compare to the original films, but it's a good comedy for the new generation and those who never saw the original films. It's a solid rental, and possible purchase for those with children.

The Blu-ray release is very good, featuring an impressive video presentation, good audio track, and a nice amount of added extras. The Pink Panther 2 is a 'Recommended' Blu-ray disc.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Knowing Blu-ray Review

Knowing Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 38.4 GB
Film Size: 31.5 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: A

"The numbers are the key to everything." - John Koestler
Video
Knowing comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film has a fairly muted color palette for the majority of the film, but that doesn't keep it from being very impressive. The level of detail and sharpness are quite astounding at times, many being some of the best I have seen on Blu-ray. The film has a good amount of pop that makes it leap off the screen. The transfer is free of any technical issues, and is pretty much flawless. I was both pleased and impressed, and others will be too. 10/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included, and it's sure to wow audiences. The film has some really amazing moments, and they are only brought more to life with the high-def audio mix. The mix is completely immersive, with fantastic surround use for effects. The audio will have your room shaking from explosions and more. I was really impressed with the small details featured in the track that only made it more immersive. The audio track is definitely demo material from start to finish. 10/10.

Extras

Audio Commentary with Director Alex Proyas
Alex Proyas has a lot to say in the included audio commentary. I definitely love commentaries when it feels more prepared, and this is one of them. It's set up more in an interview form, which actually worked very nicely.

Knowing All: The Making Of A Futuristic Thriller (12:36) (HD)
Definitely the more interesting and entertaining featurette. The behind-the-scenes footage is fantastic, and it was great to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they filmed some of the events. It's not too long, but they manage to cover quite a bit. Fans of the film, or fans of film effects will definitely enjoy this.

Visions Of The Apocalypse (17:15) (HD)
Professionals in specific fields discuss potential end of the world situations, as well as mythologies from all over the world. It's actually fairly interesting, but creates fear more than anything.

BD-Live
Currently unavailable.

Blu-news Summary
Knowing was a very enjoyable film. I actually watched it twice, and took a bit more from the film on the second viewing. Nicolas Cage isn't the person I would have cast for the role, but he did his part just fine overall. The story was quite good, and there were some very shocking moments throughout the film as well. It's definitely an enjoyable film. Some may not like the ending, but I found it to be very good overall. Those curious about the film should at least give it a rent, don't skip it.

The Blu-ray release is a complete treat from Summit Home Entertainment. This disc is total demo material, and will please fans of the film and fans of high-definition in general. The bonus features are minimal, but are very entertaining and informative. Knowing on Blu-ray is a 'Highly Recommended' disc.

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Confessions Of A Shopaholic Blu-ray Review

Confessions Of A Shopaholic Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 29.7 GB
Film Size: 24.4 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: A

Theatrical Trailer


"When I was 7 most of my friends stopped believing in magic. That's when I first started. They were beautiful, they were happy. They didn't even need any money, they had magic cards." -Rebecca Bloomwood


Video
Shopaholic comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. I was generally very impressed with the high-def transfer. Detail while not stunning was above average. The film looked sharp and colors were particularly impressive. There were no technical issues, making the transfer about as good as it gets for the film. The presentation looks very nice, and will leave everyone very pleased. 8/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and sounds just as I expected. The audio was very clear, but hardly used the surround speakers. Like most romantic comedies or comedies in general, surround use stays minimal. Dialogue is front and center, while the film's effects and music stay quite within the front left and right speakers. Regardless, the audio definitely sounds far more impressive than DVD quality, which won't leave anyone complaining. 7.5/10.

Extras

Wardrobe by Patricia Field (3:01) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes with the amazing Patricia Field, the woman who selected wardrobe for films such as The Devil Wears Prada and Sex And The City. Her sense of style is very impressive, and although her personal dress is quite odd at times, there's no doubt she's one of the best to have involved.


Temple Of Shopping (2:32) (HD)
Director P.J. Hogan and crew talk about using the Henri Bendel building, as well as the theme for the store in the film.


The Green Scarf (1:33) (HD)
Patricia Field and crew talk about the green scarf, and how they found the perfect scarf.

New York: Fashion Central (2:34) (HD)
The cast talks about New York, as well as filming there.

Sample Sale Madness (1:58) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes of the sample sale featured in the film.

Window Shopping (1:50) (HD)
See how they did the window shopping scene as the mannequins applaud.

Deleted Scenes (6:19) (HD)
4 deleted scenes are included, and are actually better than I expected. They are about the same quality as the scenes included in the film. Ultimately you will like them if you liked the film.

Bloopers of a Shopaholic (2:07) (SD)
A collection of average bloopers, see some below.


"Stuck With Each Other" Music Video by Shontelle Feat. Akon (3:25) (SD)

"Accessory" Music Video by Jordyn Taylor (3:23) (SD)

"Takes Time To Love" Music Video by Trey Songz (2:32) (SD)

Digital Copy (Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media)

Blu-news Summary
Confessions Of A Shopaholic is definitely a mixed designer bag. While I found the film to be a pretty good chick flick, I couldn't get over how annoying Isla Fisher was. I don't keep it a secret that I do enjoy chick flicks, but throughout the whole movie I couldn't help but feel sorry for her character. I couldn't help but feel that Isla Fisher overplayed the part a bit too much, bringing the same overly annoying tone that she did in Wedding Crashers. This wasn't even Legally Blonde cute annoying. Isla Fisher definitely has the look, she was just a bit too much. Perhaps I am being a bit too critical.

The story mixes a bit of fashion and finance, which was executed quite well. As mentioned earlier, I didn't really like Isla Fisher, but the film is still enjoyable. The supporting cast is very good, and there were some very funny parts. The girls that I viewed the film with enjoyed it much more than I did, so at least it will make the wife or girlfriend happy.

The Blu-ray release is quite good, with impressive video, fitting audio, and an interesting selection of bonus features. The film is definitely not for everyone, but it's definitely a solid rental. For fans of the film, the Blu-ray is definitely the way to go.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Defiance Blu-ray Review

Defiance Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 43.9 GB
Film Size: 34.3 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: A

Video
Defiance comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. This is one fantastic presentation, and one that will leave anyone very impressed. The amount of detail in scenes is fantastic, everything is sharp and clear, and colors are rich and vibrant as well. Black levels also held up very nicely. The scenery in the film makes even more for a high-def treat. Defiance is a demo experience from beginning to end. 10/10.

Audio
Paramount has included a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track that is sure to impress. The mix does a good job at bringing the forest environments to your home theater. Dialogue was clear as can be, and the film's effects were generally impressive as well. It's not necessarily a demo track, but it is definitely immersive. 9/10.

Extras

Commentary by Director Edward Zwick

Defiance: Return to the Forest (26:06) (HD)
The cast and crew talk about the story, the characters, and the film.

Children of the Otriad (13:42) (HD)
Some of the children (now adults) talk about their parents who were in the Otriad.

Scoring Defiance (7:01) (HD)
Edward Zwick and James Newton Howard talk about the score for the film, and the challenges and process that came with it.

Bielski Partisan Survivors (1:59) (HD)
Photos taken by Director Edward Zwick of some of the survivors of the Bielski Partisan group.

Theatrical Trailer 1 (2:05) (HD)

Theatrical Trailer 2 (2:28) (HD)

Blu-news Summary
Defiance was a nice surprise, and one that many will enjoy. Like most films it has it's faults, but the story is very good, and it's a film that should be seen at least once. If you are unsure about the film, give it a rent, I'm sure you will find at least something to like about it.

The Blu-ray release is almost perfection, with a demo video presentation, an immersive audio track, and some nice high-def bonus features. Defiance on Blu-ray is 'Recommended.'

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Morning Light Blu-ray Review

Morning Light Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonFilm Size: 27.0 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: A

Video
Morning Light sails it's way to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The quality is quite good considering the environment where the documentary was filmed. The high-def quality is quite nice, the colors were vivid and detail was pleasing as well. There were quite a few ugly scenes, but the issues were more with the source than the transfer. Fans of the documentary will definitely be pleased with the Blu-ray release. 8/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included, and does the job nicely. Dialogue was clear as can be, and captured the noises of the waves, wind, and other sounds quite nicely. It's a documentary, so expecting an amazing audio experience really isn't so easy. I didn't have any issues with the audio at any time, it just won't be demo material. 7.5/10.

Extras

Stories From The Sea Hosted By Jason Earles (28:32) (HD)
Jason Earles, from the hit Hannah Montana series hosts as cast and crew share stories.

ESPN Special - Morning Light: Making The Cut (41:52) (HD)
A pretty interesting featurette, although a lot was covered in the actual documentary. I guess it is a bit more in-depth than the documentary as far as focusing on casting.

Blu-news Summary
Morning Light was a fun little documentary, but I was actually expecting it to be a bit better. I love documentaries, and the experience was captured well, it just wasn't such an amazing thing to see. I'm sure it was amazing for this involved though, and an experience they will never forget.

The Blu-ray release is quite nice, featuring a good video presentation, a faithful audio mix, and two interesting featurettes. For fans of the documentary, the Blu-ray release is definitely the way to go. For those new to it, I would recommending that you 'Give It A Rent First,' as it may be the type of title you watch only once.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

24: Season 7 Blu-ray Review

24: Season 7 Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonRegion: A

Disc 1: Episodes 1-4
Disc 2: Episodes 5-8
Disc 3: Episodes 9-12
Disc 4: Episodes 13-16
Disc 5: Episodes 17-20
Disc 6: Episodes 21-24

Video
24: Season 7 hits Blu-ray with 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentations. The show looks pretty good, but not amazing. The quality is definitely mixed, but more pleasing than disappointing. There are some scenes that are pretty much perfect, and others that look slightly better than a good unconverted DVD. The issues are not because of a bad Blu-ray transfer, but rather how it was filmed. In the end, I was definitely more pleased with the Blu-ray release. 8/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for every episode, and it sounds fantastic. Being a TV show, I didn't expect such a stellar audio presentation for the episodes. I was totally wrong, this is both an impressive and dynamic release. Dialogue was always clear, and the show's effects had fantastic direction and clarity as well. Fans of the show haven't experience 24, until they have heard it in high-def. 9.5/10.

Extras

Disc 1:
Audio Commentary (Episodes 1-4)

The Fimucite Festival Presents : The Music Of 24 (13:05) (SD)
Footage of the Orchestra performing the music of 24.

Disc 2:
Audio Commentary (Episodes 5-8)

Disc 3:
Audio Commentary (Episodes 9-12)

Disc 4:
Audio Commentary (Episodes 13-16)

Disc 5:
Audio Commentary (Episodes 17-20)

Hour 19: The Ambush (12:46) (HD)

Disc 6:
Audio Commentary (Episodes 21-24)

Deleted Scenes (HD)
Include optional commentary.

24-7: The Untold Story (15:48) (HD)
The people behind 24 discuss the issues they had coming into season 7, and making it the season that it was.

Blu-news Summary
24: Season 7 definitely had it's problems behind-the-scenes, but the content of the show this season was definitely stepped up from the last couple of seasons. Fans of the show already know what to expect, but the season is still great for newcomers. The only recommendation I would make to newcomers, is to watch 24: Redemption first. It definitely helps explain the characters and story for Season 7. 24 is one of those shows that will have you wanting to watch episode after episode without breaks.

The Blu-ray release is very good, with pleasing video, fantastic audio, and good extras. Each episode has an audio commentary, and the featurettes included are interesting. 24: Season 7 on Blu-ray is 'Recommended.'

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