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Dragon Ball Z: Movie Pack Collection Two (Movies 6-9)
Dragon Ball Z: Movie Pack Collection Two (Movies 6-9)
DVD ~ Sean Schemmel
Price: $22.28
11 used & new from $14.97

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DBZ Returns to DVD, December 11, 2011
As someone who was a diehard DBZ fan, I used to anticipate the show's airing each night from Mon-Thurs more than anything, I was tied to what would happen next in the storyline like a soap opera fan. When the movies finally became available it was an exciting breath of fresh air, plotlines that could be placed in the greater narrative but that were free to tell isolated stories, all new (though sometimes reborrowed) action set pieces, overall just getting to see the characters in different situations.

This second movie pack is probably going to be most fan's favorite. It contains the films that have the most advanced DBZ action before getting as silly as some later films did. They also focus most heavily on Goku and the core group whereas in earlier ones favorites like Vegeta were missing and in later ones Goten and Trunks start taking up more screen time.

The package is a similar size (though not exact) to the DBZ orange season sets. It also has similar coloring and artwork design, so it looks cohesive on a shelf if not part of a set. The case is a cardboard slip shell that holds 2 small slip cases (the first had 3 housing 5 movies, so this one is smaller).

I do find it odd that the 13 films weren't released in two movie packs rather than 3 (holding 5, 4 and 4 films respectively). This release pattern also leaves almost no fan favorites on the third impending release, Wrath of the Dragon being the only one I personally feel compelled to rewatch. A question for anyone who knows, why aren't these also being released on Blu-ray for fans who want HD? I personally am fine with DVD but it seems odd that they were moving to releasing all the films on Blu and are now back to rereleasing them on DVD alone.

For fans who don't already own the movies or for those who desperately need more room on their shelves and don't mind buying this to replace the single releases (like myself), this set is a great bargain despite being the umpteenth time these have been repackaged. 5 stars for fans but 4 from me because the division of the movies is weird and no blu option.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 31, 2011 3:44 PM PST


No Title Available

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choose One Name and Go By It..., November 13, 2011
A scene at a clothing store in which John Edgar Hoover is told he has bad credit finds him telling them that they are incorrect, they must be speaking of another John Hoover. They ask if he is indeed John Hoover and he says yes but adds that he signs his name different ways, not usually just plainly as John Hoover but with his middle name or E initial included (his mother did always call him Edgar). The shop owner then tells Hoover to open up a new account and sign it with one name and to go by that name. John takes the application form and writes J. Edgar Hoover.

To me this scene is symbollic of the larger film. J. Edgar Hoover is a film about a man who, like many of us, had many sides and aspects that composed who he was. He was greatly conflicted about which side he should portray publicly and stumbled rather awkwardly in his younger years, illustrated wonderfully in the film, until finally deciding that J. Edgar Hoover was who he was going to be. That was the side he was going to live publicly and the person he was going to be, right or wrong, with full conviction. The rest of the film shows us the consequent problems, struggles and complications that follow from this choice.

I was concerned that this film wouldn't live up to my expectations, others have been rating it rather ordinary and others negatively, few seem really excited about it after having viewed it. In a way I can see where they are coming from. It is a long film with dark moody colors, almost as if Eastwood wanted it to be black and white, and a lot of dialogue that moves quite fast without much regard for helping the audience along or spelling things out. All that aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and while it didn't blow my mind or leave me with any great revelations about my own life it was a great movie experience and had me thinking and entertained the entire time I was watching it.

I'm not sure where all the more negative or critical reviews are coming from, perhaps people have high standards from Eastwood and expected something groundbreaking, perhaps they just expected something different, but after all the negative or ho-hum opinions I had heard about this film I was pleasantly surprised and recommend it for fans of drama or biopics. I especially recommend it for those like myself who have been waiting for a more compelling film this movie-going season.

Perhaps I enjoyed it more because I have seen a truly terrible line of recent films in cinemas, Jack and Jill being the latest before seeing this (that movie was awful, so awful. I thought it would be bad but in an over the top funny way, it was just bad). So maybe my enjoyment was raised during this film because other recent films have left me underwhelmed and bored or wanting my money back. I haven't seen an excellently crafted film in theaters since The Help and haven't even thought one merited repeat viewings since the surprise that was 50/50. This film didn't knock me out but I will definitely watch it again and will likely even buy it on Blu-ray because I want it to be part of my collection and think it will become more engaging upon future viewings.

People are complaining about the old age make up, it never bothered me once despite other reviewer comments making me more critical than usual. People say there are many impersonations of presidents and such that are distracting, the only one that felt as much to me was Richard Nixon's brief appearance towards the end because it was so over the top. People say it drags, but I was never wanting for it to hurry or speed along, I was always compelled with what was on screen. There are complaints that the broken narrative is confusing and jumps too much, it's fairly straightforward with only two timelines occuring. Hoover in his old age is dictating his past for a manuscript and both these timelines are otherwise chronological and move forward with one another. People say there is no real message or overriding theme to speak of, I think deeper digging and repeat viewings will find them more well constructed than others are giving credit right now. Most of all though, even if some find merit to these criticisms I don't find that any of them would keep the film from being enjoyable as a whole.

This film may be getting less positive reviews because people thought it could have been so many things that it isn't. In the end I feel Eastwood and the writer picked a direction and identity for the film and much like J. Edgar they decided to move forward with full conviction. It is what it is and any negatives don't outweigh all the positives it brings in my opinion, but everyone will judge the film differently I suppose, much like everyone has different opinions on J. Edgar Hoover the man.

It may also help me that I'm very interested in history and this time period. Also in how institutions such as the FBI got built up and came to be (the film does an excellent job at explaining how the bureau slowly found ways to gain power and independence). Anyways, give this film a chance, I give it five stars because I may not have LOVED the film but I did love the experience of watching it, if that makes sense.


Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated: Season 1 Part 2
Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated: Season 1 Part 2
DVD ~ Spike Brandt
Price: $11.99
50 used & new from $3.38

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the Series, and Much Happier with This Release, November 6, 2011
Apparently WB is listening to the fans... somewhat. After the first three releases that basically ripped customers off with only 4 episodes and no features for 10-15 bucks a piece they have announced the second half of the season will be released in a 2 disc dvd set with the final 14 episodes, Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated Season 1, Part 2. Date is set for January 24th, 2012. I wish they would have released the first half of the season this way or hope they will now. That said there is still something that troubles me.

There is no mention of Blu-ray or of any special features being included, I feel like the fans of this series deserve special features, even basic ones, and there is no reason not to release these in HD. At least the dvd set, if nothing else is released, allows fans to own over three times as many episodes as these volume releases but at only $5 more suggested retail price. The set will be only $19.99 and likely sold on sale by amazon and other retailers. This is a step in the right direction WB and I give credit where credit is due. Hopefully they do something similar if not better with their other series Young Justice.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 25, 2012 6:14 AM PST


Young Justice: Season 1, Volume Three
Young Justice: Season 1, Volume Three
DVD ~ Jesse Mccartney
Price: $8.99
48 used & new from $4.72

43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LOVE the series, NOT these releases, November 6, 2011
*****A (slightly) BETTER RELEASE IS SCHEDULED***** As another reviewer has posted, do not buy this unless you absolutely feel you have to. Even if you don't mind these boneless releases there is a Volume 1-3 bundle being released that will only cost 3 dollars more ($14.99) than this volume does alone ($11.99). So while I still wish a proper release was coming at least they have bundled the boneless releases for a better price, its already listed on amazonYoung Justice: Season 1 Volumes 1-3.

This show only gets better as the first season progresses so much layering, so much character development and so much well done action. That said, these releases are still fairly pointless, they could release a Season 1: Part 1 blu by now with special features and then release the second half later with more but instead we just get the episodes and nothing more when mots of us can tivo them.

I understand the marketing aspect and trying to rake in as much cash as they can, though I may not agree with it, but WB is just terrible at these volume releases. If they do want to continue these releases, as I've said before and will continue to say, they could really learn a lesson from Nickelodeon. The Last Airbender series is a key example, they broke those seasons up and released them with only 4 (and later 5 episodes per disc), but at least they included some basic extras. Those basic extras, 4-5 minute behind the scenes interviews and such, became much more in depth as the show gained popularity, including complete animatics, full episode commentaries, etc. Then in an effort to force fans to double dip later they would package all those releases together, extras included, and add even more new features (on one occassion four all new commentaries on the finale) while charging a much more reasonable price.

WB, with many of its animted series, seems to think this market is purely for children and just tosses out standard definition episodes as if they still cannot be attained any other way. This isn't the nineties or even the early 2000's, there is no justifiable reason to purchase episodes alone in low quality. With todays digital age these episodes can be bought digitally in better definition or even found online for free in the same quality they broadcast.

Come on WB get your act together and put in at least a minimal amount of effort. Add some clips of Weisman talking about the show, throw on a rough animatic, even a featurette talking about the creation or the materials the show is based on. This is a great show but these releases are insulting, I can only hope we get a proper release when the season finishes but even then I fear WB may shove out the episodes without any extras and may not even put them in high definition. What happened to the days of releases like Batman: TAS or Justice League? Let's have a welcome return to releases like that or better yet releases like The Last Airbender Complete Collections.

For those who haven't seen the show, it is AMAZING! The action is excellently choreographed and maintains a reality that surpasses most current blockbusters, and I'm not just hyping it, the fights are unique and have a weight and reality to them while feeling fresh and like we haven't seen them done this way before. The character's are each well defined and unique and the character development is well balanced, giving us a bit of new insight each episode as well as having some building love interests just to keep things fun. The stories are drawn right from the comics but are given a dimension of reality that finds them feeling adult. The animation is top notch and overall this show breathes new life into the DC Universe, which has been feeling a bit stale for most since Justice League Unlimited ended.

Give this show a try but don't bother with these idiotic DVD's, maybe if no one buys them they will finally change their methods.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 14, 2012 4:13 PM PST


Captain America: The First Avenger (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Captain America: The First Avenger (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Chris Evans
Offered by 40K ITEMS ON SALE
Price: $35.19
64 used & new from $10.46

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Words: Hayley Atwell, November 6, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the best comic book movie to be released this summer. That is what it is, a comic book movie. It does not surpass that level but nobody ever said it had to. While not a Spider-man 2 or Dark Knight it fits in well as a first entry in an inevitable series. Perhaps not the fun, turn the formula on its head, film that Iron Man was, it is still an excellent comic book film that manages to have developed characters and a story actually propelled by plot rather than CG sequences (I'm looking at you Transformers 2 and 3). Still, even with all its positive attributes the film might've been largely a one time viewing for me, that is, if it hadn't been for Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter.

My personal, and largest, issue with comic book movies has been their seeming inability to cast memorable and talented women in the leading lady spot. While the leading lady role has frequently been nothing more than a damsel in distress (other than perhaps in team up movies such as X-men), something unfortunately true even of Nolan's gritty Dark Knight films, here we find that is not the case. Peggy Carter is a female character who stands out amongst the many comic book movie female characters. She is strong willed, independent, can handle herself, never asks for help, doesn't take any crap and does it all in a period where women were undeniably treated as less than men. She does all these things yet she can still walk into a bar in the middle of the film wearing a red dress that leaves everyone at a loss for words.

Even better than Peggy Carter's character, and the reason I named the actress rather than the character in my review title, was the casting of Hayley Atwell in the role. The character could have become something much different without a capable actress to play the balance of tough yet feminine. Worse it could have been filled by some less capable big name actress for box office draw. For years in comic book movies I have either dreaded or at best barely stomached the casting of female leading roles.

Kirsten Dunst had her moments in the Spidey films but then would come the time when she had to be kidnapped and scream and holler for help, she also always needed a man in her life, if not Peter then another stand in to take his place. Batman Begins casting of Katie Holmes always seemed strange to me, why in a film full of lower status but credible actors would Nolan cast a more household name with much less credibility? Whatever the reason, she played the part but it is not the role anyone remembers from that film. The same goes for the sequel, in which I had high hopes Maggie Gyllenhaal would make welcome changes to the previously pitchy character, unfortunately I dare say that Rachel Dawes only became more helpless and became the one negative to be found in The Dark Knight.

More recently I was disappointed to find Gwenyth and Natalie both playing supposed strong women but one (Pepper Potts) who is subordinate to a man who treats her badly and still needs to be saved in the end and the other (Jane Foster) fairly shallow and school girlish overall.

While Jane only likes Thor at first because of his muscles, Peggy meets Steve Rogers/The Cap when he is a ninety pound weakling. We see her first tinge of interest in him when he is still this small, all based on his philosophies on fighting and dating. It is this established connection before he becomes a perfect male specimen that cements the story and keeps us truly engaged. Peggy and Steve truly bring out the best in eachother and actually share a common bond of struggling to break free from their respective stereotypes that allows the audience to believe in their relationship, one that is actually formed out of friendship first. The film is great and a wonderful starting point for a series, the ending is unique if only a plot device required for the Avengers tie in and I truly can't wait to see where they take Captain America in his sequel. He has by the end of the film, especially thanks to Peggy Carter, become quite a different hero with quite a different chip on his shoulders than any we have yet to see.

So I have wondered why comic book movies don't cast relatively unknown actresses to play these parts and allow them to really create a character. Finally Captain America has done just that with the lovely Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter and I hope we see much more of it in future comic book films. The saddest part of Captain America and perhaps the thing that compells me to want to see it again Repeated times is that based on the ending it is very unlikely we will see the fantastic Peggy Carter/Hayley Atwell in all her glory in any of the sequels. They have some big shoes to fill when they inevitably try to create a Sharon Carter character, let's hope they take cues from however it was that they came to choose Hayley.

**By the way, I would like it if Hayley or someone like her played Wonder Woman for DC, brits are already playing supes and batman might as well fill in the big three with a third, and let's not only have a more obscure actress with talent but one who can fill out the costume properly, no stick thing actresses such as when people were rallying for Megan Fox to play WW.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2011 6:09 PM PST


Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - Playstation 3
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - Playstation 3
Offered by O' MY GAMES
Price: $18.99
339 used & new from $3.98

196 of 237 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREATNESS from small beginnings..., November 1, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Greatness is a word I want to stress regarding this game. Drake's Fortune was great fun, a welcome departure from the end of the world/futuristic shooters predominating at the time. Among Thieves was the ultimate sequel and built wonderfully on all aspects of the first. Drake's Deception, the third entry in the series, is something else altogether. This game sets a new precedent for how inclusive and engaging video games can be. There will be some who won't feel so strongly but most anybody who loved the first two is going to LOVE this.

>Graphics 5/5 - As always, fantastic! They have managed to improve on the sequel. While the game still looks the same overall it is the details that ND continues to add that makes each game an improvement over the previous one. This entry specifically seems to push the already present cinematic feel - as evidenced brilliantly by its opening scene and chapter as well as numerous times during the game in cutscenes and gameplay.

They show off their abilities by purposely trying to show us different settings than the previous games. The London Underground is wonderfully designed, the Colombia streets are populated and lively, a temple found in Syria has a wonderfully cinematic design, etc. They also show off their ability to render fire, sand, some excitingly trippy hallucination style sequences where everything is warped, and a fantastic (if slightly out of place in the overarching story) swaying environment on a ship. Another nice touch is some levels occurring during day and others at night.

Character acting has again improved as much between this and the last game as the last game did over the original. Faces are fuller and more expressive (Chloe's face is major evidence of this). This game looks so good family members will stop to see what I am watching and so entertaining they then wind up sitting down to watch me play.

>Gameplay 4.5/5 - Drake's Deception has everything you loved about the first two games, only more finessed and perfected. Enemies are now slightly smarter and diverge on your position quicker (though in some ways I'd argue this makes them easier to take down, no more pin downs). The weapons system has been updated and tweaked (anyone who played the beta knows aiming is more particular, but you quickly adapt). Drake now grabs weapons automatically when out of ammo, another nice added detail.

The best new feature seems to be the updated brawling system. In what reminds me of the recent Batman Arkham games, Nate can now evade, counter and take on multiple opponents. It's all great fun and plays well. The ability to dive underwater becomes well utilized in later chapters. The new ability to ride a horse is simple but works well, think of the jet ski from the first game only updated, you sort of just steer and shoot. Another nifty new detail is the ability to throw back grenades, though you have to time it well.

Having finished the game I will say objectively that any faults to be found are in gameplay pacing/mechanics. All games I've experienced have a sometimes clumsy quality to gameplay. On occasion you press a button and it doesn't do what you want, that's just part of gaming. In Uncharted this manifests itself when sometimes trying to reach for a specific ledge, it can look like Drake is doing calisthenics.

The other issue is more subjective but this game seems to have less prolonged gun fights (which I always enjoyed) and more of the game plays itself in a sense. Another reviewer said it best noting that the game holds the players hand more this go around (press square now, circle now, etc), this may please some but will definitely aggravate others looking for more challenge. Though this may be due to my having a better handle on the gameplay by this third installment it would still be nice if some new/larger challenges were added to compensate for those who have learned from the previous entries.

>The story 5/5 - I won't give anything away but well crafted stories are a key reason for the popularity of this franchise, this entry doesn't disappoint in that regard. The actors perform great as always, so many nuances brought to the characters. This game takes the world of the previous games and expands on it. If the second game was a continuation of the story from the first then this game is an opening up of the characters, their world and the story being told.

A wonderful backstory for Nate and Sully is crafted and played out and a flashback of sorts is handled in a respectful way when it could've felt cheap or forced. There is a very Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade feeling here. This game has the mix of action, humor and romance that previous games had with strong emphasis on emotion in some key scenes (and for those concerned I felt Elena and Chloe's respective returns were well handled and logical continuations).

Another possible criticism though, the villain in this entry is formidable and compelling but when you finally reach the ending I don't feel she is as well utilized a final boss as either Navaro or Lazarvic. The villains overall are also not well explained, not that they have to be, some mystery is always nice, but how this one guy appears and vanishes almost magically at several points I'll never know. Then there is no real boss showdown. There is also a character, Charlie, who is fun but severly underdeveloped and largely used only for story purposes. These don't detract from the game at large but I mention them as I hope they aren't issues that will magnify as further installments are released.

>Online Content 5/5- It was adding the online content to the sequel that propelled this series to a new status within the gaming world and here it looks like they aim to keep that status. So far it looks like all the fun of the Beta without most of the bugs or any of the restraints. Everything seems to run smoother and it feels more like playing Uncharted 2's online content, though perhaps this is because I'm more used to the updated mechanics after playing the full campaign? Anyway, you get more customization, more options, more everything.

>Conclusion > Game of the year? You better believe it. Certainly if you are new to PS3 or debating the commitment this game makes it well worth it. You don't have to have played the first two for this to be enjoyable (though I suggest both based on their own merits and to make this story even more enjoyable). While some game studios dream in the recesses of their mind only to wake and find it vanity, Naughty Dog are dreamers of the day. They act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible, and in making Drake's Deception, this they did.

The game is 22 chapters of greatness and should be a good 8-10 hours on the main story depending on player ability. Then there is the treasure hunting/trophies and acclaimed multiplayer to ensure you get well worth the $60 price tag. Overall I'd say this game could be critically rated at the worst 4.5/5 but as a fan I'll say anyone else who enjoys these games is going to rate it 5/5, no doubt.
Comment Comments (40) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 11, 2012 11:34 AM PDT


Batman Year One (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Batman Year One (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Bryan Cranston
Offered by Shop Zoombie
Price: $17.29
53 used & new from $5.30

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "From Here, It Looks Like An Achievement", October 12, 2011
So I am aware that posting reviews on these DC Warner Premiere titles is risky or precarious at best. The fans are quite knowledgeable and while some don't want a fluff review others are full of adoration for their favorite characters and want reviews that only say positive things. Having had the privelege to obtain and view the film a week before its planned release I am going to attempt to review the actual overall quality for those who are uncertain about making this purchase. While all opinions are obviously subjective I will try to state facts and point out any statements that are based more on my opinion to allow each individual to decide for themself.

Adaptation/Story: Overall this is an excellent adaptation, 10/10. The film follows the exact plot of the original Frank Miller graphic novel, and as has been stated in interviews with Bruce Timm and others, it doesn't leave any scenes out but some are added/very slightly rearranged. The added scenes, in my opinion, don't feel out of place. They are in tone with the original material and are also kept few and far between. Certain monologues/inner dialogues have been slightly changed or shortened but the essence of each is kept true to the source material.The story, needless to say, is fantastic and establishes Batman in a dark gritty world of realism, pure genius on the part of Frank Miller.

Note: Only a rewording of Bruce Wayne's opening monologue felt pointless to me, rather than saying he should've taken the train to be closer to the enemy he says from the plane he can't see the enemy. I feel his desire to be near the enemy was better felt with the original line. Sorry to nitpick.

Animation: Stunning 9/10. It is clean and crisp, which may seem contradictory to my next statement, they perfectly capture Mazzucchelli's gritty and realistic artwork and clearly let it drive the art direction of the film. It is well directed, with nearly every shot and design taken right from the graphic novel and having been brought to life, though Jim Gordon's jawline has been made slightly more defined. There is a wide array of fantastic color selection but still a muted tone that recalls the look of the graphic novel.

That said, my own personal preference for the fluid style of animation I was raised on (BTAS for example) leaves me feeling newer DC features often have a stiff/static feel to their animation no matter how beautiful it is, which is sometimes the case here. I've never been sure if this comes from intention in design, trying to emulate certain anime styles or if it has to do with budgetary constraints. In any case it isn't an issue for most and detracts little to nothing from the beauty and style of the animation. (For an example see the scene where Bruce Wayne kicks over the tree and how it falls over).

Voice Acting: Well done, 8/10 overall.

Eliza Dushku seems an odd choice to me to play this version of Catwoman as she is caucasian and here Selina Kyle is African American. At the same time this happens a lot in animation and her voice work suits the character and brings real emotion, attitude and strength to the character. She is able to flesh out the character surprisingly well given a short amount of screen time.

Bryan Cranston plays Jim Gordon. I am bias here as I am a huge fan of Cranston and his recent work on Breaking Bad, but I find him to portray Gordon as a relatable and likable man who is tough yet tired. Any occassional stiffness in his inner dialogues seems to be an intentional direction given by Andrea Romano and is faintly noticed at best.

Ben Mckenzie plays Bruce Wayne/Batman. I admit to being a fan of Mckenzie from my younger years watching The OC, but here I feel his voice seems out of place and somewhat forced, that's where voice acting loses points. It doesn't ruin my enjoyment of the film as a whole, and will likely grow on me over future viewings but his inner dialogues and monologues play very stale, especially the robotic opening dialogue, which had me concerned for the rest of the feature, but thankfully it levelled out as the film progressed and became more tolerable. The stiffness again seems to be partly an intentional choice but I feel a little more emotion could have been injected without risking oversentimentality.

Other voice actors do phenomenal work, Jeff Bennett and Grey Delisle are old pros while Katie Sackhoff and Jon Polito fit well into their characters. The only other misuse of voice besides Mckenzie, in my opinion, was Alex Rocco as Falcone/The Roman. I enjoy Rocco's voiceover on other series but he felt more like the voice of a thug than the boss of a high profile crime family.

Sound: 10/10. The score is used well and sparingly. This world is immersive and the sound effects are all realistic and chosen to enhance that immersive feeling. The final credits are amazing and really left me on a high, I hope all future titles incorporate panels from the source material into their closing credits, simply fantastic. The score over the final credits was also well done, a moody rock ballad, it felt like a Batman theme but was also reminiscent of the late 80's style, the era the story was first published and seems to be set in.

So overall I don't want to make this any longer than it has to be. It is a faithful adaptation, probably for my money the most faithfaul adaptation DC/Warner Premiere have done so far. I am bias as a huge Bat-fan but I place this and Batman: Under the Red Hood [Blu-ray] as the two best films so far, with Justice League: The New Frontier Special Edition [Blu-ray] coming in third. I would actually place this one above Red Hood only because I admire Frank Miller's story so much and find the world created to be so much more distinct and layered. With only 64 minutes of runtime this is a short film but an immersive one that merits repeat viewings, for me anyways.

I'll leave each reader up to their own decision based on this information but I say this is worth the money for fans of Batman or for fans of Frank Miller. Even better if you are a fan of both. I'm glad this time I wasn't disappointed. I also know that some question why so many of these releases have to feature Batman, why not some other DC heroes, but after seeing Year One pulled off this well I am personally hoping they attempt Batman: The Long Halloween in the near future.

Amazon's rating system is flawed, based on their five star system I love this film and give it 5 stars, if this was a rating out of 10 I would give an overall 9/10.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 25, 2011 10:23 AM PDT


Breaking Bad: Season 4 [Blu-ray]
Breaking Bad: Season 4 [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Bryan Cranston
Offered by Warehouse Deals 4 Less
Price: $17.60
84 used & new from $13.57

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaking the Mold, October 12, 2011
WARNING: This Series Is Extremely Addictive (Spoiler FREE Review)

This series truly has a perfect balance. The drama, both crime and family, is portrayed excellently. There is a nice blend of dark and light humor. The action and tension keeps you addicted and craving more. Then there are equal parts of character development and exploration that add a nice depth to the mix. Add all those elements together and they have found the perfect formula for this series. It really earns it's reputation as one of television's greatest series (filling a specific void that has been lingering since series like The Sopranos, The Shield and The Wire left our screens). This season is great and Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul continue to show how they earned their respective 2010 Best Lead/Supporting Actor Emmy Awards. Their pairing and subsequent chemistry are what binds this series together.

Some have said this season was too slow for too long and that the series lost its previously inspired pacing, I had similar thoughts but trusted the writing staff and if the beginning of the season is slower paced the last four or five episodes certainly balance out the equation with nonstop twists, action and developments.

The fourth season consists of the following thirteen episodes:

1 Box Cutter
2 Thirty-Eight Snub
3 Open House
4 Bullet Points
5 Shotgun
6 Cornered
7 Problem Dog
8 Bug
9 Hermanos
10 Salud
11 Crawl Space
12 End Times
13 Face Off

This season is once again amazingly crafted. It picks up exactly where the third season left off with a suspenseful and eventful premiere that sets up a conflict that plays out the entire season, slow burn has been most used to describe it. If it seemed to slow down after that initial episode and focus on character exploration it can be forgiven as the show has earned that by this point. By episode 9 things are clearly building to an endpoint of magnificent crafting and the final 5 episodes are amazingly entertaining in escalating proportion. The key to this fourth season will be rewatch value, what seemed to be slower paced filler will be seen in second viewing as establishing important plotlines that needed to pay off by the finale. A finale which Gilligan has said was crafted to be satisfactory as a series finale in case the show didn't make it back (which thankfully it has).

*The one thing I agree felt random though was a storyline that once again focused on Marie stealing things, not sure what that paid off towards in the long term? Anyone else have ideas?

Special Features:

I'll list the official specs when they are announced but these sets always have behind the scenes and some informative audio commentaries with Vince Gilligan and the actors. While I love Mad Men and those sets reveal a lot of information in their commentaries they are nowhere near the Breaking Bad sets when it comes to behind-the-scenes. The Breaking Bad sets are, in my opinion, the best television series sets you can buy for your money. Both in terms of features and the aforementioned rewatch value.

The other thing about Breaking Bad, and I've said it before but will keep saying it, is that it has it's own unique niche. There are other great series on television, arguably Mad Men, Walking Dead and Boardwalk Empire among others, but Breaking Bad has something all its own. It doesn't have a period setting, it doesn't have any supernatural elements such as vampires or zombies, it is set in a modern day reality. While those other things are fun, Breaking Bad is a refreshing series that doesn't have to pay service to anything other than its story. This means that it is always attemping to tell its story in unique and interesting ways. They are always trying to break new ground and push the envelope in every way. The directing, the music selection, the writing/storytelling, every single element of this series tries to do something new or original and it is quite apparent when watching any of the episodes. Viewers also have to realize how little funds this great series is given to work with in comparison with others, keeping that in mind I'd say they definitely utilize their money for optimum production value. So if this season seems to play slower in the begining I say that after three amazing seasons the writer's and crew have earned that right. This will no doubt be the most breathing room the series ever has, now that there are officially only 16 episodes left in its production life, they will be running towards a finish in a fashion one can only expect from Breaking Bad.

I should note I own the first three seasons on Blu-ray and they look great, but I've also seen them on DVD and they still look pretty darn good, so DVD buyer's won't be missing much. That said I'll definitely being going all in for the fourth time and getting the Blu-ray. I had withdrawal symptoms while waiting between the third and fourth seasons and while I hope they take time to craft the final 16 episodes properly I really want to get my next fix started by next year at this time. I can't wait to buy this and hopefully it comes out long before the fifth season so that I can have a temporary fix, though I assume they will try to coincide its release with the next season premiere as per usual.


Batman: Year One [Blu-ray]
Batman: Year One [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Eliza Dushku
Offered by Chicago-Media
Price: $10.49
64 used & new from $4.97

105 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "From Here, It Looks Like An Acheivement", October 12, 2011
So I am aware that posting reviews on these DC Warner Premiere titles is risky or precarious at best. The fans are quite knowledgeable and while some don't want a fluff review others are full of adoration for their favorite characters and want reviews that only say positive things. Having had the privelege to obtain and view the film a week before its planned release I am going to attempt to review the actual overall quality for those who are uncertain about making this purchase. While all opinions are obviously subjective I will try to state facts and point out any statements that are based more on my opinion to allow each individual to decide for themself.

Adaptation/Story: Overall this is an excellent adaptation, 10/10. The film follows the exact plot of the original Frank Miller graphic novel, and as has been stated in interviews with Bruce Timm and others, it doesn't leave any scenes out but some are added/very slightly rearranged. The added scenes, in my opinion, don't feel out of place. They are in tone with the original material and are also kept few and far between. Certain monologues/inner dialogues have been slightly changed or shortened but the essence of each is kept true to the source material.The story, needless to say, is fantastic and establishes Batman in a dark gritty world of realism, pure genius on the part of Frank Miller.

Note: Only a rewording of Bruce Wayne's opening monologue felt pointless to me, rather than saying he should've taken the train to be closer to the enemy he says from the plane he can't see the enemy. I feel his desire to be near the enemy was better felt with the original line. Sorry to nitpick.

Animation: Stunning 9/10. It is clean and crisp, which may seem contradictory to my next statement, they perfectly capture Mazzucchelli's gritty and realistic artwork and clearly let it drive the art direction of the film. It is well directed, with nearly every shot and design taken right from the graphic novel and having been brought to life, though Jim Gordon's jawline has been made slightly more defined. There is a wide array of fantastic color selection but still a muted tone that recalls the look of the graphic novel.

That said, my own personal preference for the fluid style of animation I was raised on (BTAS for example) leaves me feeling newer DC features often have a stiff/static feel to their animation no matter how beautiful it is, which is sometimes the case here. I've never been sure if this comes from intention in design, trying to emulate certain anime styles or if it has to do with budgetary constraints. In any case it isn't an issue for most and detracts little to nothing from the beauty and style of the animation. (For an example see the scene where Bruce Wayne kicks over the tree and how it falls over).

Voice Acting: Well done, 8/10 overall.

Eliza Dushku seemed an odd choice to me to play this version of Catwoman as she is caucasian and here Selina Kyle is African American (*several people have told me Selina isn't African American here, I seem to have made the same mistake I made with Luthor in Superman:TAS. I concede I was mistaken, nevertheless I still see her that way when I read the graphic novel or watch this, I always thought it added an interesting new dynamic). Dushku's voice work suits the character and brings real emotion, attitude and strength to Selina. She is able to flesh out the character surprisingly well given a short amount of screen time.

Bryan Cranston plays Jim Gordon. I am bias here as I am a huge fan of Cranston and his recent work on Breaking Bad, but I find him to portray Gordon as a relatable and likable man who is tough yet tired. Any occassional stiffness in his inner dialogues seems to be an intentional direction given by Andrea Romano and is faintly noticed at best.

Ben Mckenzie plays Bruce Wayne/Batman. I admit to being a fan of Mckenzie from my younger years watching The OC, but here I feel his voice seems out of place and somewhat forced, that's where voice acting loses points. It doesn't ruin my enjoyment of the film as a whole, and will likely grow on me over future viewings but his inner dialogues and monologues play very stale, especially the robotic opening dialogue, which had me concerned for the rest of the feature, but thankfully it levelled out as the film progressed and became more tolerable. The stiffness again seems to be partly an intentional choice but I feel a little more emotion could have been injected without risking oversentimentality.

Other voice actors do phenomenal work, Jeff Bennett and Grey Delisle are old pros while Katie Sackhoff and Jon Polito fit well into their characters. The only other misuse of voice besides Mckenzie, in my opinion, was Alex Rocco as Falcone/The Roman. I enjoy Rocco's voiceover on other series but he felt more like the voice of a thug than the boss of a high profile crime family.

Sound: 10/10. The score is used well and sparingly. This world is immersive and the sound effects are all realistic and chosen to enhance that immersive feeling. The final credits are amazing and really left me on a high, I hope all future titles incorporate panels from the source material into their closing credits, simply fantastic. The score over the final credits was also well done, a moody rock ballad, it felt like a Batman theme but was also reminiscent of the late 80's style, the era the story was first published and seems to be set in.

So overall I don't want to make this any longer than it has to be. It is a faithful adaptation, probably for my money the most faithfaul adaptation DC/Warner Premiere have done so far. I am bias as a huge Bat-fan but I place this and Batman: Under the Red Hood [Blu-ray] as the two best films so far, with Justice League: The New Frontier Special Edition [Blu-ray] coming in third. I would actually place this one above Red Hood only because I admire Frank Miller's story so much and find the world created to be so much more distinct and layered. With only 64 minutes of runtime this is a short film but an immersive one that merits repeat viewings, for me anyways.

I'll leave each reader up to their own decision based on this information but I say this is worth the money for fans of Batman or for fans of Frank Miller. Even better if you are a fan of both. I'm glad this time I wasn't disappointed. I also know that some question why so many of these releases have to feature Batman, why not some other DC heroes, but after seeing Year One pulled off this well I am personally hoping they attempt Batman: The Long Halloween in the near future.

Amazon's rating system is flawed, based on their five star system I love this film and give it 5 stars, if this was a rating out of 10 I would give an overall 9/10.

**For those, like myself, who once thought titles like The Long Halloween were an impossibility without butchering them for length there seems to be new hope. The upcoming adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns will be a two part production. If they do well we may yet see proper adaptations of Long Halloween and Dark Victory that are actually at the quality they deserve.
Comment Comments (21) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 25, 2013 9:31 PM PST


Real Steel (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy)
Real Steel (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Hugh Jackman
Offered by Phase 3, LLC
Price: $13.49
50 used & new from $6.17

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hits You Over The Head..., October 7, 2011
...in good ways and a few bad. First of all let me say, and my rating should suggest, that I recommend this film. I enjoyed it as a fun popcorn movie. Will I buy it? Probably not; but I would watch it again for sure. This film is pure escapsim but in a much more endearing way than most cgi robot films. This is Rocky meets Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots, an odd combination but one that works overall.

Hugh Jackman and Evangeline Lilly really make this story work on a much higher level than it should. There is some unrealistic and forced dialogue that is delivered well enough and sincerely enough to keep it from being distracting. The child actor does a decent job and though he isn't always quite natural I can't fault him and he has the personality needed for the role (perhaps his look just reminds me too much of the awful kid who played Anakin Skywalker in Phantom Menace, but this child is far more spirited and likable). The rest of the casting is fun, if not a little stiff, but the film moves along at a pace where you just enjoy the ride and characters serve their purpose.

The real stars of the film are Hugh, Evangeline and the young kid (Dakota Goyo) and they keep you involved. Then there is the Real selling point who might also be considered a star, the robot, Atom. He is well designed and even a likable character despite not having a single line of dialogue. I kept expecting them to go in the direction of the robot having an artificial intelligence but thankfully things are left more light and ambiguous.

Other positives, the CG is great overall, the cinematograhpy is well done and doesn't make you sick or lose track of the fights. The fight arenas are each different and each of the fights, which can feel repititive in a film like this, feels fresh and distinct in enough ways to stand as unique.

The story has some points that don't play as naturally as they could, expository lines and forced scenes, but ultimately all is forgiven in the final showdown when the final blows are thrown as they are (both literally and metaphorically). If the climax of the film doesn't make you cheer it at least makes you feel good and returns you for a brief moment to a level of nostalgic childhood excitement.

We all know where the film is going, but it is fun getting there. And we've never seen it done with robots before, so why not? Go out see this film and have some fun, its a good film for the preteen/young adolescent crowd or for families (despite some colorful dialogue from both father and son). This films ending really, ahem, packs a punch...


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