You can hear Johnny every week on Wresting Uncensored. He's our top reviewer of books, film, DVDs and video games. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/northgenesis

UFC Ultimate Fighter 18 DVD review

the-ultimate-fighterSexual tension, childish pranks, and bloody fights are to be expected when for the first time ever in the history of reality show, Ultimate Fighter, men and women compete for UFC contracts.

Released today in a five-disc set, includes all 13 episodes and the Finale show of the 18th season. All the foul language is uncensored, although the rare captions are not.

Bonus content features deleted scenes from both teams training and moments at the house. Liz Carmouche training with Team Rousey is the best part of the extras. Besides Rousey complaining more on how fake Misha Tate is, there is nothing else involving their beef in extras.

UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, and Tate are bitter rivals. Their personal issues outside of the cage makes for entertaining television. Problem is the show starts to become about them instead of the fighters. Even though the show tries to help push the captains to interact, once the war of words gets heated immediately UFC staff breaks up a possible fight between the two. The UFC is usually confident both coaches will keep their cool, but not in this case.

You can tell the UFC has gotten better at producing this show if you have watched past seasons. Every aspect has improved. From telling each fighter story to the performance replays, the raw emotion of the show feels more real than ever. You can tell by the first episode if you are going to like this or not.

Disappointing to see the Rousey Tate fight is not included in this set. You get all the build and drama but you have to see another UFC event to witness the long awaited battle.

This DVD release is a major step forward for women’s MMA. It’s a different experience unlike the past seasons which is incredible to say.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier review

captain_america__the_winter_soldier___poster_ii_by_mrsteiners-d6fb15tA Soviet killing maniac known as ‘The Winter Soldier’ and the uncertainly of who is friend or foe are the main challenges for Captain America in the new Marvel film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Cap (Chris Evans) is joined this time around with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and reunited with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) on missions with S.H.I.E.L.D. Cap immediately clashes with Widow due to their different attitudes and her having a secret agenda led by Fury. Cap begins to question his purpose in this new world when he cannot trust Fury to tell him what’s really going on.

Cue in The Winter Soldier and absolute chaos breaks out.

In the confusion and anarchy caused, Cap ends up getting attacked by his own teammates in S.H.I.E.L.D. Cap is hunted down like a wanted criminal. In order to survive and try to figure out who has compromised the powerful agency, Cap puts his differences aside with Widow and enlists Falcon (Sam Wilson) to his crew.

The action scenes look spectacular in 3D. Breathtaking at times and so good you wish they would never end. While the story of The Avengers is not too important to this one, the first Captain America is. The past comes back to haunt Cap whether he likes it or not. The banter between Cap and Widow helps lighten the darker parts of this movie.

Georges St-Pierre playing Georges Batroc, a French villain, is a small but entertaining role. Fans of GSP will be demanding more as his screen time is limited. Intense fight scene with Cap though.

This continues the trend of fantastic superhero movies released by Marvel recently. Decent character development, funny moments and the best action adventure in Hollywood today. Chris Evans is not as charming and over-the-top like his rival IronMan. However, despite Cap’s dull personality, there’s more than enough excitement in this flick. Easily the best watch in theatres today.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

PG-13

Marvel Studios

136 minutes

In theatres now

 

 

The Pirate Fairy Blu-ray combo pack review

51RkeZU9wRLCaptain Hook and his crew for the first time have invaded the Fairies series of movies turning one of Tinkerbell’s friends against her in the fifth DisneyToon Studios installment, The Pirate Fairy.

Before he became Hook (voiced by James Hiddleton) he was James the cabin boy taking orders from Zarina (voiced by Christina Hendricks). Zarina started out as a dust keeper fairy, but her questions and experiments with pixie dust ended up getting her fired from her job. For one year she left Pixie Hollow behind.

She came back the following year and put everyone except Tinkerbell and her friends under a deep sleep. Zarina was able to steal the blue dust allowing her pirate crew to create their own pixie dust and allow them to fly with their ship out of Neverland and into many heists undetected. Tinkerbell and her friends try to stop Zarina, but have to deal with the Zarina changing all their special abilities.

This is the most enjoyable entry in the Fairy series as it is closest they have gotten to the original story of Peter Pan. Along with the pirates is the birth of the Croc and a visit to Skull Rock. Hiddleton’s Hook is arguably the most intriguing character. Watching Hook before he became a captain is different at first, but eventually you start to see the Hook we all know come into play.

Blu-ray extras include a featurette on the creative process behind this adventure, a quirky documentary on actual crocodiles, deleted scenes, Hiddleton describing his experience on set, and sing-alongs to the main songs in the film.

Surprised that it took this long for pirates to be introduced to this prequel series. Stretching the boundaries of the Peter Pan universe and paying homage to the classic makes this even more enjoyable. There will be another Tinkerbell movie made and hopefully they continue in this direction.

The Pirate Fairy

Walt Disney Studios

Run time of 90 minutes

Available now

WWE 50 book review

9781465419231Jam-packed with powerful, funny, emotional, and sexy photography on nearly every page best describes WWE 50, the new read from DK Books chronicling the vast history of the sports entertainment empire.

Written by Kevin Sullivan (not the wrestler) with large photos and quotes from WWE staff and Superstars from all the eras to tell the tale. Sullivan does a considerable amount of storytelling when introducing key moments in WWE history. The Early Years, National Expansion, Hulkamania, Wrestlemania, The New Generation, and so on. The pictures are visually stunned with over 1,000 Superstars. All WWE Pay-Per-View posters until Extreme Rules 2013 are shown on the first and last pages.

Special graphics are featured in certain sections. There is a ratings timeline graphic for the entire Monday Night Wars. Cards of the 1960s with results to the shows included. A tribute page is given for Owen Hart. Chris Benoit and the tragedy with his family is also surprisingly mentioned with Pat Patterson commenting on it. Each WrestleMania is retold with all the results given with at least one quote from someone involved with that particular show.

This is not your usual WWE history book as there is a lot of Thence moments addressed. The steroid scandal where Linda McMahon was scared for her husband’s safety. “Vince said, ‘If I go to prison, I’ll never come out alive. They’ll kill me when I’m in there.’” A-Team star Mr. T getting an employee fired from WWE. “In my opinion, and I’ve told him this to his face, Mr. T was the most unprofessional piece of work I have ever had the displeasure of being associated with,” says Mean Gene Okerlund. This is only just a taste of shocking comments you will discover.

A great backlog of WWE memories for long-time fans and educational for newer fans. If you have watched the WWE 50 Blu-ray or DVD you will find a lot of the same material covered, but there’s a different feeling watching and reading about WWE. Personally find this a great way to rekindle interest in WWE matches or segments before trying to find them and relive it again on the WWE Network, when that finally comes to Canada.

Disappointed there was not a section for Superstars of the early 2000s and Superstars of today. I, like many, wish certain Superstars and certain aspects were highlighted, however, the amount of quality and quantity is so great it is difficult to complain. In the end this is a great buy for any wrestling fan, casual or smart.

WWE 50

DK Books

Written by Kevin Sullivan

226 pp.

$26.00

Find it here

 

 

 

 

UFC: Best of 2013 DVD review

ufc-best-of-2013-dvd_500The fall of Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre from their untouchable reigns while most of the other champions remain unbeatable in UFC’s new DVD release, UFC: Best of 2013 Year in Review.

For years Silva and St-Pierre have dominated their weight divisions like no other. In 2013, the contenders finally caught to them. Silva suffered his first defeat in UFC getting knocked out after not respecting the power and skill of Chris Weidman. In the rematch, he unfortunately broke his leg in one of the disgusting injuries in UFC history. St-Pierre was able to defeat long-time rival Nick Diaz but following the beating he took from Johny Hendricks, St-Pierre decided to walk away.

UFC had another first with the introduction of female fights to the cards. Ronda Rousey successful defended her championship in an exciting bout against Liz Carmouche. The other title change last year saw Anthony Pettis against Benson Henderson. A rematch from WEC that Henderson had been wanting to avenge. Unfortunately, he was submitted in the first round, setting up a possible super-fight of Pettis against Jose Aldo.

Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos scored impressive KOs on their path to their trilogy fight. Once and for all, Velasquez put an end to the doubt on who is the best heavyweight in the world. Demetrious Johnson also enforced his dominance in the flyweight division knocking out his rival Joseph Benavidez in their rematch championship match.

This DVD is just highlights of these fights, if you want full fights you want to get the multi-disc set releases. This is recommended for those that just want to see the end of big fights and enjoy a great recap of the main UFC moments last year. Every is enhanced in high definition and you get unique camera views that you do not get in typical UFC DVDs. When you get the top fighters back-to-back it’s difficult to stop watching it all until it’s over.

UFC: Best of 2013 Year in Review

Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada

Run time of 300 minutes

Available now

Delivery Man Blu-ray review

DeliveryManBoxArt_zps98e2e2edFather of 533 children, owes $80,000 to people that want to drown him, and an angry pregnant cop girlfriend, sums up the mess Vince Vaughn finds himself in the new DreamWorks Pictures Blu-ray release, Delivery Man.

Vaughn plays an incompetent meat truck driver named David who tries to do the right thing, but always ends up creating a bigger mess. Hence, the huge debt, his girlfriend upset with him about being reliable, and deciding to get a lot of money quick by donating 693 times to a sperm bank.

His best friend and lawyer, Brett (Chris Pratt) advises him to keep quiet as the majority of his children want to know his true identity. However, with an envelope filled with profiles, David decides to check in on a few of his kids. Acting as a guardian angel, David does his best to get to know his own blood and help them with their life problems. Meanwhile, David tries to juggle his normal life and the approaching doom awaiting him.

If you have ever watched a Vince Vaughn movie recently, you know the type of character he plays and the kind of comedy he delivers. What makes this film stand out is his serious attempt at trying to be a father. Watching his kids struggling, trying to commit suicide, or being confined to a wheelchair, brings out an emotional side of Vaughn that makes you feel for him in a different way than usual. The story feels a little too surreal to take it completely seriously, but the difficulty of fatherhood David goes through are emotions that feel very real.

Blu-ray extras include a making-of-documentary, Vince Vaughn going off script and shooting out extra lines, bloopers and one deleted scene that would have complicated the story even further. Watching the bloopers it seems like there were more deleted scenes that will probably be in a future release.

Recommended for fans of Vaughn and parents interested in a unique funny dramatic tale of raising kids. The demands of hundreds ends up being a fun trip through different lives pulling Vaughn into different scenarios, one’s that would be difficult for a parent once in a lifetime. Vaughn & Pratt bouncing off each other are the best parts.

Delivery Man

DreamWorks Pictures

Run time of 105 minutes

In stores today

Muppets Most Wanted review

hr_Muppets_Most_Wanted_11

A evil Kermit the Frog look-alike and Ricky Gervais are taking the Muppets on a world tour of shows and secret burglary while real Kermit is in a Russian jail in the new movie, Muppets Most Wanted.

Gervais plays Dominic Badguy, an international manager that is getting the Muppets booked in better places than Kermit (Steve Whitmire) and getting them sold out quite easily. Kermit, feeling useless and ignored, decides to take Dominic on his offer for a nightly stroll.

On the walk, Kermit confronts his double a wanted criminal, Constantine, and is easily defeated. Constantine disguises his mole and puts one on Kermit to completely throw everyone off on their identities. Kermit is thrown into a Siberian prison controlled by Nadya (Tina Fey) with inmates Danny Trejo, WWE’s Hornswoggle, Josh Groban, and others.

Meanwhile the Muppets are having a lot of success with the fake Kermit, who is stealing from important buildings during the performances to find an ultimate treasure.

There’s some funny typical Muppets back-and-forth dialogue, lots of songs, an insane amount of cameos, this eight Muppets movie delivers what you’d expect. The story is not best one as it feels so ridiculous the emotional heartfelt scenes are not as compelling.

A good family watch that kids will enjoy as there’s enough action, mischief and silly moments to keep a young audience entertained. Fey, Trejo and even Hornswoggle deliver hilarious musical performances, some of which are arguably the best moments in the film.

Far from the best Muppets adventure, but if you’re looking for more of the same you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Saving Mr. Banks Blu-ray review

51+Yf976LZL._SL500_AA300_The story behind Mary Poppins had no songs, no colorful penguins, no happy ending, the battle to obtain the happiness Walt Disney envisioned is a costly depressing trip in Disney’s latest Blu-ray release, Saving Mr. Banks.

Emma Thompson stars as P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins. Travers is a protective, anti-social, argumentative person who does not want Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) to ruin her life’s work. Due to financial difficulties, she is forced to at least give Disney a try at making the story of Poppins.

She doesn’t want it to be a musical, under no circumstances can it be animated, and there cannot be the colour red in it at all. Just a few of the issues Travers give Disney and his working staff. Expect for his tough childhood, Walt Disney’s past is not looked into, nor is his personal views.

During Travers’ dealings with Disney, she is remembering her childhood, specifically her father (Colin Farrell) who got a new bank job and had to move their family. Her father loved her very much, but he was a drunk and it’s only a matter of time before that destroys everything around him.

Thompson is the main star and focus of the picture, as her interactions with Disney and her driver Ralph (Paul Giamatti) are the main conversation points. A fair amount of time is spent in the past, but it’s Thompson’s believable reactions and attitude that brings meaning to each scene.

Disappointed in the lack of extras when there should be many. No audio commentaries, no sit-down interviews with the actors and composer Richard Sherman, but you get Sherman singing “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” with the crew. You also get a look at how Walt Disney Studios has evolved from the 1960s and three deleted scenes.

A strong cast with powerful emotional scenes makes this story highly enjoyable. It feels questionable that this was completely true, but when it comes to the type of person Travers was, it feels like certain Disney staff members can never forget her. Be prepared to feel sad because as well as Disney can make you smile and laugh, they can make you cry waterfalls for hours.

Saving Mr. Banks

Rated PG-13

Walt Disney Studios

Run time of 125 minutes

In stores now

Disney’s Frozen Blu-ray combo pack review

612EOrBcl7L._SL500_AA300_A powerful secret magical ability has kept a princess isolated from society and her own sister in order to protect them from potential destruction in the new Disney Blu-ray release, Frozen.

The Academy Award winning flick stars Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel), Elsa is the one with the ability to freeze, shoot snow & ice, and create winter-like creatures because for an unknown reason she is magical. Her sister Anna is not.

As the king and queen died, Elsa was set to be crowned queen. This gave Anna the chance to leave the castle and interact with people for the “First Time in Forever.” In her song and dance she runs into Hans (Santino Fontana) a charming prince that she believes is her true love. Anna confronts her sister about this leading to Elsa’s magic getting exposed and turning the entire land into an endless winter.

Elsa flees the castle and hides in the mountains. Anna embarks on a mission to save her and ends up meeting an ice seller named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) who is the complete opposite of the love of her life, but the two settle their differences quickly in order to survive the cold and wildlife.

Frozen is a fun engaging story for children and adults that enjoyed the classic Disney movies. With a memorable selection of songs and gorgeous backgrounds, this film is a perfect addition to greats such as Lion King, Aladdin, and so on. This movie sets the standard for high quality animation. The humour provided by the snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) adds an extra element of awkwardness that is also commonly found in past Disney titles.

Not a lot in terms of extras. There’s a few deleted scenes with introductions to all of them, a musical presentation of how the film was made, music videos and trailers fill up the rest. It does feel like Disney held back on bonus content in order to comeback with a grander collector’s edition in a few years from now.

Best release by Disney in years, a must have.

Frozen

Rated PG

Disney Animation Studios

Run time of 102 minutes

In stores today

 

 

Non-Stop review

MV5BOTI3NzcxMjkzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDY0NTQ0MDE@._V1_SX214_Every 20 minutes one of 150 passengers on a flight will die unless the Air Marshal scrambles to find out who is doing this, problem is it could be anyone… even him.

Liam Neeson stars in the new suspense mystery thriller movie, Non-Stop. Neeson plays Bill Marks, an alcoholic smoker who is introduced with a plethora of issues. On board his flight heading to London, he randomly receives texts from an unknown source threatening the lives of every passenger unless $150 million is wired to an account in the name of Bill Marks. Due to his problems, you’re left wondering is this a potential setup or an insane plan by Marks?

Julianne Moore plays Jen Summers, the woman in the seat next to Marks on the plane. She aids in him in his plans to try and figure out who the killer is, but her asking of personal questions creeps paranoia into Marks’ investigation. Not to mention you got a guy on board who looks like a terrorist, hot heads, computer nerds, a whore, and rebellious teens to help complete the questionable suspects.

The mystery and the anticipation of every 20 minutes elapsing is the exciting selling point of this film. You learn more about certain characters with each death and the pressure to give into the terror demands grows stronger. Despite the close quarters there is still a considerable amount of action, and each death seemingly grows the amount of space on the plane. Thankfully there is no ridiculous reveal that insults the viewer and the suspense plays off with a spectacular finish.

This is a brave venture into a realm that has been difficult to enter post-911. Granted this story is a bit far-fetched, yet the realism of a terror attack is still a difficult issue for many throughout the world. Glad that this movie has been given the spotlight it deserves as it’s one of the best watches of 2014 so far. From the first terror message, it’s an incredible roller coaster ride until the credits.

Non-Stop

Rated PG-13

Universal Pictures Canada

Run time of 106 minutes

In theatres now