Friday, December 16, 2011

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 11.3 GB
Runtime: 25 Mins.
Region: A
The Video
Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special’ debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. While the quality of the animation is slightly weaker than the actual films, this special does look quite impressive in high-definition.

Like with most animated material, colors are rich and vibrant throughout. The level of detail is also impressive, particularly the textures of the characters. The high-def release also includes a standard DVD copy, which when compared is no competition for the Blu-ray disc.

‘Ice Age’ looks fantastic. I really had no issues with the presentation at all, it’s as strong as the source material allows and I couldn’t have asked for better. While there are better looking animated releases on Blu-ray, ‘Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special’ does impress. 9/10

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. Also included are Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mixes. Optional subtitles include English SDH and Spanish.

The mix is surprisingly immersive, making full use of the surround speakers throughout. Dialogue is centered, balanced, and features excellent clarity. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from the audio mix, so what we get on this Blu-ray release is certainly surprising. 9/10

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc):


Ice Age: Continental Drift Sneak Peek (2:03) (HD)
A sneak peek clip from the next Ice Age film is included.

Music Video (3:00) (HD)
Swingin’ Jingle Bells

Disc 2 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film

Disc 3 (DVD):

Digital Copy version of the film
Compatible with iTunes.

There aren’t too many bonus features included, a silly music video and a sneak peek into the next film. The DVD and Digital Copy are nice and welcome inclusions for such a short special, making the high-def combo pack the obvious choice. 4/10

The Special
“When Sid accidentally destroys Manny’s heirloom Christmas rock and ends up on Santa’s “naughty list,” he leads a hilarious quest to the North Pole to make things right – and ends up making things much worse. Now it’s up to Manny and his prehistoric posse to band together and save Christmas for the entire world.”

It seems every year we get more animated holiday specials from a few of the animation studios, and now Ice Age is the latest series to get the holiday treatment. I actually enjoy the ‘Ice Age’ films for what they are, fun family films. This special is no different.The special certainly isn’t anything ‘special’ in terms of how memorable it is, but I do think it was a lot more entertaining than it could have been. The characters and the cast behind them are back, and the humor is quite solid for audiences of all ages.

‘Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special’ is certainly cute and with the smart low prince point that Fox Home Entertainment has provided for this release, I would certainly recommend any ‘Ice Age’ fan adding this release to their high-def collection. 7/10

The Blu-news Summary
Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special’ is a fun special that the entire family will enjoy. The Blu-ray release features an impressive video and audio presentation, but not so many bonus features. Overall this Blu-ray release is definitely ‘Recommended.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray Review

Release Date: 9/13/2011
TV-Rating: TV-14
Region: ABC
The Video
Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season” features a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation for all 22 episodes of the season. Having seen the previous seasons on Blu-ray, I knew what to expect, and it does not disappoint.

The show has a dark and gritty look, and it looks absolutely fantastic in high-definition. Detail is excellent and generally makes for some very demo worthy moments. The colors are also an improvement from standard definition, colors are rich and blacks are inky as can be.

I didn’t notice any technical issues throughout the season. If you love the look of the show, you will be very impressed by ‘Supernatural’ on Blu-ray. Is it among the best looking television shows on Blu-ray? Perhaps not, but I certainly think it’s impressive, considering the look of the show itself. 9/10

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for each of the 22 episodes. Also included are Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.

I was always very satisfied with the standard 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks included on previous seasons, but Warner Home Video has stepped it up and included lossless mixes for all the episodes and there is definitely an improvement.

Dialogue comes through crisp and clear. Most impressive is the effective surround use, which definitely enhances the experience. For a television series, the audio mixes included are pretty fantastic. Fans of the previous seasons on Blu-ray will definitely notice the audio improvement this season. 8.5/10

The Extras

Disc One (38.2 GB):


Jensen Ackles: A Director’s Journey (26:46) (HD)
Lead actor Jensen Ackles talks about taking on directing.

Disc Two (36.3 GB):

Audio Commentary
For episode “Clap Your Hands if You Believe”

Disc Three (42.0 GB):

Audio Commentary
For episode “The French Mistake”

Trivia Track
For episode “The French Mistake”

Alternate Takes and Outtakes (4:28) (HD)
For episode “The French Mistake”

Episode from Supernatural: The Anime Series (22:44) (HD)
Includes English DTS-HD Master Audio mix.

Another episode from Supernatural: The Anime Series (22:45) (HD)
Includes English DTS-HD Master Audio mix.

Disc Four (39.2 GB):

The Hunter’s Guide to Season Six (HD)
Filled with over 45 featurettes, on-set photos and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. You won’t want to miss a page of this interactive guide detailing how the entire season was created.

Supernatural and the Quest of the Soul (29:21) (HD)
This is a documentary all about the soul, a major theme in the Supernatural series.

Gag Reel (11:11) (HD)
For those who like gag reels, there is plenty of footage included.

There are a lot of cool features included on this release. For a television series, this is actually very impressive. The features are all included in high-def, including the bonus anime episodes (which also have their own Blu-ray release). 9/10

The Season
Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season’ makes for a pretty impressive high-def release. More importantly however is the quality of the show itself. ‘Supernatural’ has been on the air since 2005 and still stands strong in a time where shows are being canceled left and right.

Those familiar with the previous season and it’s ending, have no worries. I was a bit worried about this season after the season five finale, which many said could have served as the series finale. Season six picks up a lot better than I expected, delivering entertaining storylines that will have you coming back for more.

What I love about ‘Supernatural’ is the added humor; it’s nicely balanced and makes for just a fun show. The lead actors are excellent together, and they are the really the reason the show has remained as popular as it has. Season six is a great return for the series, definitely surpassing my expectations. 8/10

The Blu-news Summary:
Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season’ is fantastic. The Blu-ray release features impressive video presentations and immersive audio mixes. The extras included this season are also quite nice and extensive. This high-def release is 'A Must Own’ for any fan of the show.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

For a goulish good time, catch Rosebud, B-Dawg, Buddah, Budderball, and Mudbud in their all-new Halloween-themed movie available on Blu-ray combo pack this week (9/20/11)! SPOOKY BUDDIES continues the overwhelmingly popular franchise that features the adorable talking puppies, with action, laughs, and fast-paced adventure.

Buddies Are Back!

Bdawg Released the Halloween Hound



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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mars Needs Moms 3D Blu-ray Review

Release Date: August 9th, 2011
Film Rating: PG
Region: ABC
The Video
Mars Needs Moms’ debuts on Blu-ray 3D with a 1080p MVC video presentation and Blu-ray 2D with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. As expected, the film looks quite fantastic in both viewing modes.

Viewing the film in high-definition is the obvious choice. The upgrade is huge, with a notable improvement in details and textures. Colors are definitely more vivid and pop off the screen. Those without a 3D setup will still find quite a bit of natural pop.

Those with a 3D setup are in for an even better viewing experience. This film does keep pop-out 3D effects to a minimum, although they are there. What I found especially cool about the 3D presentation is the depth, which was particularly impressive for a film like this.

When Milo is tumbling down a pile of garbage or jumping his way across a long hallway, it literally looks like you can jump in the television and go all the way down the hall with him. Those looking for pop-out effects will find some light use; one of the most common uses is for the weapons, which definitely appear to be outside the television screen.

Regardless of viewing preference, Mars Needs Moms looks fantastic in high-definition. This film may not have used the 3D effect as aggressively as other films, but it certainly added to my viewing experience. There is some slight banding, but I really don’t have any major complaints about the video presentation. 9/10.

The Audio
Disney has included an English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for both the 3D and 2D discs. An English 2.0 Dolby Digital Descriptive Video Service track is included, as well as French, Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks. Optional subtitles include English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Disney really knows how to deliver with their 7.1 mixes and this one is no different. The mix manages to make excellent use of your entire home theater setup, creating an immersive experience like only Disney can.

The film’s dialogue comes through as clear as can be at all times. The audio effects are well placed and feature excellent direction. The film’s score also comes through clearly and beautifully. The audio definitely enhances the experience, it’s just very impressive. 10/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray 3D Disc):


Deleted Scene (HD)
This deleted scene is included exclusively on the Blu-ray 3D disc, and I actually really enjoyed it. I think it should have been included in the actual film.

Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc):

Easter Egg (0:51) (HD)
Click ‘bonus features’ and before you scroll down to the actual features, scroll up and click enter. This is an animated scene which has no connection to the film. Why was it included? I have no idea.

Fun With Seth (2:28) (HD)
Seth Green stars as Milo, go behind-the-scenes with the actor.

Martian 101 (2:51) (HD)
Learn about the special language in the film.

Deleted Scenes (28:32) (HD)
With introductions by Director Simon Wells.

Discover Blu-ray 3D with Timon & Pumbaa (4:24) (HD)
For those who want to learn more about Blu-ray 3D, watch this animated short.

Disc 3 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film
Perfect for the kids.

Disc 4 (DVD):

Digital Copy of the film
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media devices.

The extras included are fun, although quite simple. The exclusive deleted scene on the 3D release is a nice addition, and the behind-the-scenes features are also very cool. The DVD/Digital Copy additions make this the obvious choice. 7/10.

The 3D Movie
‘Mars Needs Moms’ is considered the big Disney flop from this year. I have to admit, I kind of had a feeling it wouldn’t be a hit. After seeing the first trailer, it definitely looked quite mediocre and bland. Certainly not something I would expect from Disney, obviously many people felt the same way and passed on the theatrical experience.

Watching the Blu-ray 3D release was my first time viewing the film and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. No, this is not an animated masterpiece by any means, but it’s certainly a harmless family film that many might enjoy.The film tells the story of a boy named Milo, who doesn’t exactly get along with his mother. He tells her some awful things before he goes to bed, but feels guilty and gets up to apologize. As he looks for his mother, he realizes something isn’t right. Aliens have abducted his mother, and the adventure begins there.

The film has a lot of heart, with a lot of touching moments. However, some of the characters are quite forgettable and I do think the story as a whole could have been a little stronger. That being said, it is a cute film, just not the best from Disney.

Overall I think younger audiences will find the most entertainment from this film, but it definitely has whole family appeal. There are definitely better films, but I don’t recommend you cross this film off your viewing list as you may be pleasantly surprised. 7/10

The Blu-news Summary
Mars Needs Moms’ is a cute film with an excellent Blu-ray 3D release. The video and audio presentations are both impressive, and the extras included are also quite satisfying. Overall this Blu-ray 3D release is ‘Recommended.


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Friday, June 24, 2011

Death at a Funeral (2007) Blu-ray Review

Release Date: June 7th, 2011
Disc Size: 30.4 GB
Film Size: 29.2 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: A
The Video
Death at a Funeral’ debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The 2007 film looks fantastic in high-definition and thankfully the print is in great condition, free of any damage or dirt and specks.

The overall clarity is impressive and makes for an obvious improvement from standard definition, from beginning to end. There really isn’t one scene that could be confused for DVD quality, detail is always strong.

Colors are pleasing and black levels are solid throughout. The film looks as good as one could expect in high-definition and this is certainly a very respectable high-def transfer. 8/10

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. Also included are Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks. Optional subtitles include English SDH and Spanish.

The audio mix included is satisfying, however I didn’t find it as impressive as I would have hoped. This is a comedy, so I didn’t expect very much surround use, but I did expect fantastic clarity. While dialogue is generally easy to understand, it lacked the high-def oomph typical with a lossless mix, it felt very limited.

Overall this mix is definitely more appreciated than just a standard Dolby Digital audio track, but this is certainly not among the best lossless mixes you will hear. It gets the job done, but I wish dialogue was crisper. 6/10

The Extras

Audio Commentary
With Director Frank Oz.

Audio Commentary
With Writer Dean Craig and Actors Alan Tudyk and Andy Nyman.

Gag Reel (7:47) (SD)
This is very funny gag reel and there is plenty to see.

Theatrical Trailer (2:19) (HD)
The film’s theatrical trailer is included in high-definition.

The extras included are all DVD ports, but thankfully nothing appears to be missing. The theatrical trailer inclusion is always welcome and the two audio commentaries are very fun and informative. 5/10

The Movie
I was hoping ‘Death at a Funeral (2007)’ would receive a Blu-ray release, especially after seeing the remake. I have never seen this original film, but I found the humor of the remake to be far better than I expected, so of course my expectations were high.

‘Death at a Funeral’ is a wacky film that had me laughing from beginning to end. The entire film takes place in one day at a funeral service and the humor and drama that surrounds the event. We are introduced to many different family members as they all struggle with their own hilarious issues.The characters are fantastic, and I realized one of the actors reprises his role in the remake as well. I love the humor; a lot of it is intentionally stupid, so stupid it’s actually smart. The entire film is just so funny, and I certainly prefer it over the remake now that I’ve had the chance to watch both films.

‘Death at a Funeral’ is an absolutely hilarious film that is definitely worth watching. I dare you to try to watch the film and not laugh, it’s pretty much impossible. I loved it; the movie is harmless fun and has very good replay value. 9/10

The Blu-news Summary
Death at a Funeral (2007)’ is incredibly hilarious with a good Blu-ray release. The video presentation is strong while the audio mix gets the job done. The extras included are enjoyable as well. Overall this Blu-ray release is easily ‘Recommended’ for the film alone.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Original Sin Blu-ray Review

Release Date: June 7th, 2011
Disc Size: 38.4 GB
Film Size: 37.7 GB
Film Rating: Unrated
Region: A
The Video
Original Sin’ debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The video presentation is certainly a mixed bag, but I wouldn’t put the blame on the transfer for the issues as the high-def encode appears to be quite healthy.

The film is 10 years old, so I expected some slight aging, but many shots certainly look far older due to specks and dirt that pop up on a regular basis. There are also many wide area shots which are quite blurry, almost as if the camera shot them out of focus, but this isn’t really an issue with regular scenes.

Despite the dirt and specks, there is still plenty that I found enjoyable about the video presentation. Many scenes were impressive looking, with sharp detail and excellent clarity. Unfortunately, the film looks that more inconsistent because of the drastic differences.

This Blu-ray release is certainly an improvement from the DVD release, depending on the scene you will find a moderate to undeniable and impressive difference. Overall it is clear that MGM has not properly preserved the film, which is a shame to see on any film.

I think fans of the film that have put up with the DVD will appreciate the upgrades found with the Blu-ray release, but don’t go in expecting to be impressed during the film’s entire run time. Ultimately, this one is in need of a cleanup already, and I don’t think it will be seeing one anytime soon. 5.5/10

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included as the lossless option. Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks are also included. Optional subtitles include English SDH, Spanish and French.

The lossless audio track included is certainly the most superior aspect of this release, featuring a nice engaging mix that focuses on presenting dialogue as crisp and clear as possible. The film does make some moderate use of the surround speakers, which I thought was just right.

This is certainly the best the film has ever sounded and I don’t really have any complaints. For a 10 year old film it met my expectations and many times sounds like it was recorded just yesterday. This won’t make for demo material, but it’s certainly very good. 7.5/10

The Extras

Audio Commentary
By Director Michael Cristofer

Music Video (1:47) (SD)
“You Can’t Walk Away From Love” by Gloria Estefan

Original Theatrical Trailer (2:09) (HD)
The theatrical trailer is presented in high-definition, which is a nice surprise.

An audio commentary, music video and theatrical trailer are the only bonus features to be found on this release. The extras were ported over, but it’s a shame nothing new was included. 3.5/10

The Movie
10 years since it's original release, ‘Original Sin’ debuts on Blu-ray high-definition. Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas star in this sexy attempt of a thrilling drama, which ultimately fails to have any serious impact on viewers.

It has been years since I last saw the film, long enough for me to forget about the film completely. When the title was announced for Blu-ray I was certainly looking forward to revisiting, but shortly after starting the film it all came back to me. Angelina Jolie has always shown particular strength in dramas and action films, but even she failed to save the film. Antonio Banderas is certainly a respectable actor and his performance in this film is likely as good as it gets, in a role that is hard to believe regardless of the actor.

The film’s strongest aspects are the sex scenes, which also tend to run a little long. The film’s leads do have good chemistry, but the storyline ripped straight out of a soap opera or cheesy love novel just isn’t that great.

‘Original Sin’ isn’t awful (despite my criticism), but it does fail to be memorable. Without the revealing sex scenes, this one wouldn’t have anything to be remembered for. The film’s leads still make for a decent viewing experience, but we certainly have seen both leads in far better movies, adding to the disappointment. 6/10

The Blu-news Summary
‘Original Sin’ features a satisfactory video presentation with a very pleasing audio mix. The extras included are DVD ports, which I’m glad are included. Overall this Blu-ray release is ‘For Fans Only.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Red Riding Hood Blu-ray Review

Release Date: June 14th, 2011
Blu-ray Disc Size: 28.9 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: ABC

Trailer:


Red Riding Hood is available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand and for Download 6/14!

The Video
Red Riding Hood’ debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation, featuring both cuts of the film via seamless branching. I found the clarity of the film to always be great, you won’t ever confuse the presentation for a standard DVD, but detail isn’t always as sharp as I would have liked.

Colors are nicely presented, although the film does have a darker look. Black levels are nowhere as inky as I would have liked, generally looking a bit more grayish. The look of the film as a whole just doesn’t blow me away, and perhaps it is just the way the film is intended to look (much like Twilight does).

The presentation can be impressive and is impressive throughout, it just doesn’t reach the demo levels I’m used to with a typical new release film. Overall there is a significant improvement to be found, despite the disappointing aspects. Once you pop in the DVD, you will be much happier with the Blu-ray release.

Warner Home Video’s transfer does have a few issues to be found, but overall I think the film was intended to have the look that we see on this Blu-ray release. I may sound a bit too critical in my review, but there are plenty of positive aspects, overall I enjoyed this Blu-ray release very much. 7.5/10

The Audio
Alternate Cut: An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the only audio option included on the alternate cut of the film. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Theatrical Version: An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless audio option included. French, Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks are included on the theatrical version. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

The audio mix is strong, just as I had hoped. Dialogue is crisp and clear, always easy to understand. The film’s audio effects can be a bit front-focused at times, but definitely opens up whenever the real action happens.

The film’s score comes through clearly, making fantastic use of the surround speakers. The most exciting audio moments are the moments when you anticipate the wolf, and when the wolf actually appears. Overall this is a very impressive mix, with many demo worthy moments. 9/10

The Extras
Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc):
Secrets behind the Red Cloak (PiP)
This is a Picture-in-Picture commentary by Catherine Hardwicke, Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons, plus storyboards and conceptual artwork. This feature is available only for the Theatrical Version.
Behind the Story (HD)
  • The Reinvention of Red Riding Hood (5:25)
  • Red Riding Hood: Red’s Men (3:18)
  • Red Riding Hood: Making of the Score (11:00)
  • Before The Fur…Making of the CGI Wolf (0:40)
  • Casting Tapes (7:24)
  • Rehearsals (5:52)
  • Red Riding Hood in 73 Seconds (1:28)
Deleted Scenes (4:18) (HD)
Four deleted scenes are included and presented in high-definition.
Gag Reel (2:37) (HD)
This gag reel consists mostly of people falling or bumping into things.
Music Videos (HD)
  • “The Wolf” – Fever Ray (2:20)
  • “Just A Fragment of You” – Anthony Gonzales & Brian Reitzell (3:07)
Easter Egg (0:26) (HD)
After ‘Music Videos’, click right to a blank space, then click enter. This is a joke feature in which the director argues with the Big Bad Wolf on casting… really stupid.
BD-Live (Internet Connection Required)
Preview trailers for other Warner Home Video releases and view features from other films.

Disc 2 (DVD):
DVD copy of the film
Digital Copy of the film
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media devices.

I was very impressed by the extras included. The picture-in-picture commentary was a nice surprise, and I loved all the behind-the-scenes footage included as well. The DVD and Digital Copy are a nice addition for fans of the film, making it the obvious choice. 8/10

The Movie
I did not see ‘Red Riding Hood’ theatrically; the film didn’t start off with the greatest reviews so I chose to stay away. The film’s trailers also didn’t particularly do anything for me either, but I have always found Amanda Seyfried to be a great actress in every role she has taken on.

I went into the film with low expectations to be honest, and perhaps that is why I was quite surprised that I actually enjoyed the film. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, you definitely get a lot of Twilight vibes from the film.

The Twilight similarities can be found throughout the film, whether it is story, characters or look. The story has a bit of a love triangle, and there is certainly a lot of mystery to it. Some of the lines are a bit cheesy like you would see in a Twilight film as well.

While it does have plenty of Twilight similarities, I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I did Twilight. The film is certainly made to appeal to teenage audiences, so it doesn’t get too extreme, but I thought it was well done for a PG-13 film.The film is based on the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale, but I would say loosely based. All the major connections to the classic story are here, but there are so many differences to be found that I can’t say they are very similar at all.

‘Red Riding Hood’ hasn’t received a very positive critical response, but my job isn’t to go along with what everyone else is thinking, even if I come across as stupid. Personally, I liked it. Sure, there are cheesy lines and some storylines that didn’t go anywhere significant, but I still found it to be enjoyable.

The mystery in the film may be obvious to some, but it also may throw you off from time to time. I think it is a fun popcorn flick that some may be pleasantly surprised by, I certainly was. For a teen-targeted film, I certainly have seen far worse, just don’t go in with the highest of expectations. 7/10

The Blu-news Summary
Red Riding Hood’ is a fun popcorn flick with a good Blu-ray release. The visual presentation is definitely satisfying and the audio mix will impress throughout. The extras are both entertaining and informative, and there is quite a bit to see. Overall this Blu-ray combo pack is ‘Recommended’ to anyone who enjoyed the film.


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