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Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation DVD Review

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Review Copy Of DVD provided by Sony Pictures Australia

Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation is a film which comes directed by Genndy Tartakovsky who some may know as the same director that worked on Hotel Transylvania 2. The film stars Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade and Kathryn Hahn. It is the 3rd film in the franchise and this time around, Dracula and the rest of his monster friends decide to go out on a vacation of their own. They all go out to sea on a wild adventure on a cruise.

With Halloween fast approaching yet again and having to this year once more find some new films to watch during that week. Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation was high up on my list for films I’d love to watch this month. Sure I do like to have a big bunch of scary horror films which are much more adult to watch during Halloween, but having a bunch of spooky films that kids can also watch during October is also good to have, just in case you’ve got kids coming over or any in your household.

Having not seen Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation at the cinema, I wasn’t really sure what I’d be in for with this one on DVD. I’ve always liked the franchise and do occasionally like watching these sort of kids films so was keen to see how this one was this weekend. I’m happy to say that I rather enjoyed seeing this film at home and it’s filled with quite a bit of laughs throughout.

For the kids I think all the variety of monsters appearing in this and all the interesting looks of each of the many characters will keep them entertained. Additionally, there’s a fairly easy to follow story for young people. But there’s quite a bit in there for adults as well. Many adults will be familiar with the lore of the many characters in the film such as Dracula, Frankenstein and Van Helsing, but this is also maybe an area young kids may be a little lost with, especially if they’ve missed the previous two films.

As a Halloween film to watch this October, Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation is the perfect choice family film. It’s got a mixture of things for both adults and kids to enjoy. It’s both colourful and funny, with good music throughout. The film doesn’t really slow down all that much, it may not be many people’s favourite film in the franchise, but if you’ve spent the last few Halloween’s on the other two, this year this is one of the better family film offerings that’s new to watch.

As far as the DVD goes. It does come filled with quite a few special features. The special features actually do all play after the film’s credits. So if you’ve got kids at home watching this and you leave it on, there’s no need to really come back and individually press play on every single special feature on the DVD. A handy feature to have and one I wish was standard on many Blu-Ray and DVD releases (not just kid ones).

The highlights of the special features include 2 mini movies which are included on the disc. These are called Puppy! and Good Night Mr. Foot. Both are quite short features and remind me a lot of the Looney Tunes shorts we used to get on old VHS releases, why don’t we get to have those anymore? For fans of the Hotel Transylvania franchise, the two shorts are nice additions to have. Additionally the DVD release also comes with the following special features:

  • Scary-Oke Sing Alongs
  • Monster Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing Along With Dennisovitch
  • Johnny’s Home Movies
  • Drac’s Zing Tastic Read Along
  • I See Love Dance Party
  • Lyric Videos

For me out of these available special features. I really enjoyed the lyric videos the most. There’s quite a few of them inside there to watch and they are well put together musical segments. Overall actually Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation does have quite a few good musical tracks and themes. It’s a definitely a strength of the film.

Generally if you’re looking for a new release spooky film to watch this Halloween, then Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation is a good choice to have in you collection. It’s got decent special features on the DVD disc and the film is rather entertaining for both adults and kids to watch. It’s a solid at home family film experience.

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Blu Ray Reviews

Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom Blu-Ray Review

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Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom Blu-Ray Review - Review copy provided by Universal

Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom Blu-Ray Review

Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom is now out on Blu-Ray and comes packed full of special features and extras for fans of the film to watch and enjoy. But should you add this Blu-ray to you current film collection?

Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom is a film which comes directed by J.A. Bayona who some may know as the director of A Monster Calls (2016). The film stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Isabella Sermon and Jeff Goldblum. Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom is the latest film to be released in the Jurassic Park franchise and the second in recent years.

You can read my review in full for the film right here.

Since getting Jurassic World on Blu-Ray last week, I’ve now watched the film around 6 times in total. I have come to really enjoy this movie. It’s got a lot of charm to it and it’s quite a nice experience. Although the cinema is probably the best place to enjoy this film. it still holds up pretty well on the home release. I also felt that the sound on this Blu-ray for this film was good as I didn’t find myself having to put the volume up and down constantly in between the loud and quiet scenes as much as I do in other films I’ve watched on Blu-ray.

Jurassic-World-Fallen-Kingdom-blu-ray-review

Jurassic-World-Fallen-Kingdom-blu-ray-review

Apart from the main feature film, it does come packed with quite a few extras. All of them I really enjoyed watching and they provide a good insight into the behind a scenes making of the film. There are good videos in there featuring both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard where we see them take part in activities around the set and provide comments about different things in the film. There’s also some interesting pieces from Chris Pratt (Chis Pratt’s Jurassic Journals) where he goes around the set and chats to some non-famous people about the work they do on the film. It’s interesting to learn about all the different occupations one encounters on the film set and all the different things people do in the world.

Here’s a list of all of the special features on this Blu-ray:

  • On set with Chris and Bryce
  • The Kingdom evolves
  • Return to Hawaii
  • Island Action
  • Aboard the Arcadia
  • Birth of the Indoraptor
  • Start the bidding
  • Death by Dino
  • Monsters in a mansion
  • Rooftop showdown
  • Malcolm’s return
  • VFX evolved
  • Fallen Kingdom: The conversation
  • A song for the kingdom
  • Chris Pratt’s Jurassic Journals

Individually all of these reveal some very interesting things about the film. My favourite special features were Rooftop Showdown which went through how the final rooftop scenes were filmed and mentioned about the almost western style to those scenes, secondly the Monsters in a mansion feature explained about the angle they were going for by having all the dinosaurs moved to a single home. The VFX feature is also a great one and it’s interesting to see how everything visually was made. Overall the special features here on the disc are pretty decent and don’t feel like they were just thrown in there like on some other Blu-ray releases. There seems to be at least some thinking behind what went into this disc.

Where I think possibly some people might be a little let down with is with the audio commentary. There is no audio commentary at all on this particular release which is a real shame as I would have liked to have a watch of the film with the director or either Chris Pratt or Bryce Dallas Howard. For fans of films, audio commentaries sometimes do provide quite a bit of insight into the different scenes or what the director thought of certain moments that special feature segments don’t really cover. So that’s the only thing holding back this Blu-Ray release at the moment.

Overall this is a decent film to add to your current Blu-ray collection. If you liked the film at the cinema or are a fan of the franchise, it’s worth picking this one up if you’re keen. It does come packed with a lot of special features and much more than I was expecting. In the list I’ve written above, each of those features were quite interesting to see and provided a lot of insights into the behind the scenes action of the film. They also heavily feature both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in quite a few of them and those two are both interesting people to watch, which made watching it all through rather enjoyable. It doesn’t have any audio commentary, but other than that, I’m happy to recommend Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom for you future collection.

You can find copies of Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom On Blu-Ray on Amazon AU right here.

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Blu Ray Reviews

Non-Stop (2014) Review

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Non-Stop is a newly released film on DVD and Blu Ray that people can rent or buy and stars Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery and Linus Roache. The movie comes from director Jaume Collet-Serra who some may know for his work on House Of Wax (2005) or Goal II: Living The Dream.

In terms of films from Jaume Collet-Serra Non-Stop may be his best work. I have not seen every single one of his films but I have seen quite a few and Non-Stop for me is the most entertaining of his films. Non-Stop has a very simple and contained storyline. It follows Federal Air Marshall Bill Marks who is played by Liam Neeson on a plane ride gone wrong. Basically as you can see in the trailer, some maniac who I won’t reveal because of spoilers starts texting Liam Neeson. The maniac asks for 150 million dollars to be transferred into an account, if it doesn’t happen then a person will die every 20 minutes. It’s up to Liam Neeson, well Bill Marks to solve this mystery and also manage the worried airline passengers.

The plot really is very simple and is more a mystery thriller film that the usual Liam Neeson action, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its own fair share of fight scenes, of course it does! It’s a Liam Neeson film! I actually quite liked this movie and enjoyed that practically the whole film is contained to inside the plane as it helped increase the tension. A lot of movies feel the need to jump around to many locations and characters. But Non-Stop stays focused on just the one location and just a few chosen characters. It doesn’t mess around or go where it doesn’t need to and I liked that.

Side characters are there to be mostly distractions and during the movie you might be trying to guess or changing your guess throughout to figure out who it was that was texting Air Marshall Bill Marks. Most of the actors do quite well to help you question who they are at different points. Julianne Moore was great at being the suspicious woman who befriends Bill. Julianne Moore of course has starred alongside Liam Neeson before in Chloe (2009) and I think they have a good working relationship together. The flight attendant Nancy who was played by Michelle Dockery had me wondering about what she was up to for a long time during the film and of course she’s recognizable from her role in Downton Abbey. Linus Roache also appears in this film, but not as much as I would expect, many may know Linus for his role in TV series Vikings as he plays King Ecbert. . The film also has an appearance from Lupita Nyong’o who plays Gwen, many will know her now for her work in 12 Years A Slave, she is barely in this movie at all, so don’t expect much from her here. Corey Stoll also makes an appearance in the film, many would know him as Peter Russo from House Of Cards, he plays a policeman in the film. Overall the cast of actors all did well with their characters and were good enough to entertain for the 106 minute run time.

While the actors all did really great with all of their performances, it’s not like any of them did legendary work here, but they were good and entertaining for what this movie is. This movie is a good distraction on a Saturday night or Friday night. It’s got a really simple plot that anybody can follow and it’s an entertainment film. However even though its plot is super simple to follow it does mess it up a little towards the end. I wasn’t so convinced with the message and the motivations for the villain once they were revealed. It seems to go for a kind of political message that really was not portrayed so well and seemed out of place to me, it didn’t really need to go there I thought.

Overall Non-Stop is quite entertaining and many know what to expect from Liam Neeson films by now and this movie fits right into the mix with his recent works. I didn’t actually get bored in any parts of this movie and I quite enjoyed the mix of the cast of actors in this film. I also enjoyed the contained setting and thought it added to the tension which created a sense of urgency for what was going on in the plane with the characters. It falls down however with the ending and the poor motivations for the villains. But overall an entertaining simple film that is easily good value as a weekend rental.

7-out-of-10

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Blu Ray Reviews

Man Of Steel Blu-Ray Review

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Man of Steel was one of 2013’s biggest movies making well over 600 million dollars at the box office during its run. It’s currently out on Blu Ray and DVD but is it good? Well the Man of Steel was a film we rated quite highly on Resident Entertainment and you can read our full review right here,

As far as the film itself goes on this Blu Ray, I very much enjoyed watching it the second time through. While I did enjoy the film when I first saw it in the cinema I found I took much more away from viewing it a second time in terms of the message of The Man Of Steel. I also thought that on Blu-ray, this film looked great. The sound was excellent and it’s definitely a good one to have in your collection especially if you enjoyed the film in the cinema or definitely if you are a Superman fan.

The Blu-Ray is broken up into a three disc set:

Disc 1

The main feature film is on this disc which does not include any director or cast commentary to go with it. This disc is the 2D version of the film and likely the one most people will watch as most don’t have a 3D TV. The only feature available to view on this disc apart from the Man of Steel is a look at the behind the scenes for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug  called “New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth”.

It’s actually a pretty good extra if you are a fan of the Hobbit films as it shows you a lot of the actual locations that the movie was filmed at, and many are easily recognisable as part of the movie but are surprisingly all places in New Zealand. Many beautiful landscapes are shown along with the construction efforts the filmmakers went through to build the shire.

Disc 2

The main feature film is on this disc which does not include any director or cast commentary to go with it. This disc is the 3D version of the film and likely the one you would watch if you enjoy having the 3D experience.

Disc 3

This contains all the special features that you get with the Man Of Steel (apart from the “New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth”)

1. Strong Characters Legendary Roles

This explores the Superman canon and mythology as it has evolved over the years to become what is now known as the modern Superman tale. It explains little differences in charactersiation such as the changes in Lois Lane and her portrayal as a modern woman over the years along with the changing nature of Superman. It speaks about the importance of the death of superman series in the 90’s and how the story was changed over the years.

This is the best special feature I think on the disc as it provides quite a lot of information for the viewer about the source material that the movie derived much of its plot from. It also has many comments and ideas presented to the viewer from actors like Henry Cavill or Amy Adams and also the director Zack Snyder.

2. Krypton Decoded

This special feature takes a look at the special effects in the movie, the technology on Krypton, the design of the ships and the clothing and what the inspiration for all of it was. It’s a little bit cheesy though and comes in the form of an interview conducted by Dylan Sprayberry who plays the 13 year old Clark Kent in the film. I didn’t think it was really anything special and would have been better if they actually got Henry Cavill or any of the actors to do the interview and not a kid. It was lame and had silly jokes.

3. All Out Action

This special feature is a very good one and shows in a very detailed way the creative process and the training and preparation involved for the Man of Steel. It has comments from Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe and many others from the film who talk about the action sequences. It also shows Henry Cavill training and all the work he and everyone else had to do to get fit and strong for their roles. It was a very detailed special feature and quite a good one which I learnt a lot from and because of it I now have a new appreciation for the action sequences in the Man Of Steel.

4. Superman 75th Anniversary Animated Short

This special feature was a 2 minute long animated short that sort of goes over all the years of Superman in a very quick animated way. You see the changes over time. I didn’t think it was very good and just seems like an advertisement disguised as Superman history.

Overall this Blu Ray comes with one great movie and some interesting special features where you can learn a lot about Superman and the film making process. “All out action” and “Strong Characters Legendary Roles” were easily the best features but the rest were a bit of a let down and did really add anything special to the film. It’s still a good buy though and has its moments. I enjoyed it and seeing the film again in my own time was great.

 

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