The Hundred-Foot Journey Blu-ray review


Two restaurants, Indian and French, go to extreme lengths competing against each while their chefs-in-training create a romantic bond in a film produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, The Hundred-Foot Journey.

A political riot caused the Kadam family to flee to London. Due to the horrible housing area and poor vegetables for cooking they move again to France. There they discover the perfect place to bring Indian cuisine to the French, problem is they got a snobby holier than thou proprietress Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) with a Michelin-starred French restaurant across the street trying to crush their dream.

Somewhat of a culture clash except they keep the majority of the language in English. Except for one moment in the French restaurant where Mallory asked for an English translation when it is clear everyone there was French. Appeasing the majority audience but destroying the veil of realism.

Complaints are filed, buying out all the fish and mushrooms, and a bit of violence goes down between the two sides. Meanwhile, Hassan (Manish Dayal) the star cook of the Kadam becomes infatuated with the sous-chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon). They share their love of cooking with each other until eventually giving into biological urges. A new conflict arises as Hassan wants to work for Mallory.

Blu-ray extras feature a sit-down conversation with Spielberg and Winfrey talking about their first time working together in 30 years and a detailed segment on how to make coconut chicken.

Odd story with good acting, great landscapes, the cultural differences are entertaining and educational. This movie can make you hungry with all the food made and devoured.

Directed by Lasse Hallstrom

122 minutes

Available today

 

 

Planes: Fire & Rescue Blu-ray combo pack review

With his ability to race in jeopardy, Dusty Crophopper attempts to become an aerial firefighter despite causing more trouble than helping in, Planes: Fire & Rescue, available in blu-ray combo pack.

The cast of Planes returns in this all-new feature film, but instead of focusing on Dusty (Dane Cook) trying to win another race, something inside of Dusty stops working on him while in the air. Dusty survives a near fatal crash, but is informed his gearbox needs to be replaced. Problem is that it is obsolete and there is no way to fix him. He can never race again.

Frustrated and in an effort to prove he can still race, Dusty makes an unexpected night takeoff to show he can still do it. Instead he nearly crashes and causes a fire to break out. A safety truck informs everyone if fire regulations are not satisfied the hangar will be shut down. Due to the guilt he feels Dusty attempts to become a certified firefighting plane to appease the safety requirements.

Dusty has trouble learning the techniques taught to him by Blade (Ed Harris). Following orders, procedures and the importance on safety are heavily pushed. Not surprising as the film starts off with a dedication message to firefighters that have and currently risk their lives to save lives. Better than the original in many ways. A story that does not feel like Cars and despite Dusty being an accomplished hero he can still make mistakes. It is a different adventure but more enjoyable as the issues are a bit more serious allowing the comedy to ease the drama.

Filled with special features keeping you entertained for a bit of time as they are all short. Unfortunately no director’s commentary in this release.

Planes: Fire & Rescue

DisneyToon & Walt Disney Animation Studios

84 minutes

 

 

Maleficent Blu-ray combo pack review

One of the greatest Disney villains becomes the only one who can defeat true evil in, Maleficent, a different twist from the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy this Tuesday.

Angelina Jolie stars as the legendary villain who in this version of the story was the true hero. King Stefan (Sharlto Copley) was the villain that betrayed her, stole her wings and broke her heart. Stefan gave her companionship as a child and her first kiss. Greed kept Stefan away for a time. Greed brought him back and turned Maleficent’s heart cold.

The curse scene stays true to the original, powerful acting by Jolie and Copley during it.

Afterwards, lots of revisions. Maleficent is the one taking care of Aurora (Elle Fanning) while her protectors argue. She changes her mind on the curse but cannot break it. All the while Stefan grows in paranoia and insomnia.

Disregard how the original played out and enjoy the adventure presented. Lord of the Rings grand-style fight scenes, dazzling lively backgrounds and magical creatures galore. Despite a PG rating there is some dark and violent moments. The torture the twisted king and demented fairy put each other through is accompanied with chilling music and hateful intentions.

Special features include a lot of behind the scenes discussions on creating the special effects and how the wardrobe for Jolie came together. Fanning talks about how she loved the animated original and getting the opportunity to play as Sleeping Beauty.

Disney usually delivers when it comes to bringing back classic characters with a fresh look. Worked for the Wizard of Oz with evil also created with a broken heart and human greed. The special effects are so good the story does not have to be filled with character depth. 97 minutes goes so by so quick because the movie is highly enjoyable visually.

Maleficent

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

97 minutes

 

Ouija review


A board game, believed to be a way to communicate with the dead, has put a group of teens in a supernatural fight for their lives in the new movie, Ouija.

Laine (Olivia Cooke) and Debbie (Shelley Hennig) played when they were kids. However, as young adults Debbie is found dead one night after unsuccessfully trying to burn Ouija. At first everyone believes it was suicide, but Laine finds video footage of Debbie rediscovering their former adventure before her untimely demise. Rounding up her boyfriend Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), her sister Sarah (Ana Coto). Debbie’s ex Pete (Douglas Smith), and her friend Isabelle (Bianca Santos), Laine tries to play Ouija to try and speak to Debbie.

Unfortunately, they end up contacting Debbie’s killer causing all their lives to be terrorized no matter where they go.

At times the music and the dark backgrounds can create suspenseful moments and jolt you from your seat. The death scenes are arguably the best moments due to how sudden and violent they are. Not heavy on blood or body parts flying all over the place. Focuses more on terror then a quick death.

A lot of attention is put on the characters coping with Debbie’s death. The film would have felt more realistic if there was more on the school dealing with the increase of apparent suicides. The teens seem to be able to do whatever they want with no authority watching over them.

Worth a few chills, nothing groundbreaking from the usual scary movie, scarier for those that have played Ouija.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day review


A birthday wish curses Alexander Cooper’s entire family as he watches each go through extreme mishaps in the new Disney movie, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Alexander (Ed Oxenbuld) had a day where pretty much everything went wrong. He embarrassed himself in front of the girl he likes and his class, no one is going to his birthday party, and his family is busy with their own lives to give him much attention. He wishes on a birthday sundae that they could experience his pain.

The movie is a lot of fun because Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner play great parents. Carell as Ben whom is always optimistic and tries to positive and funny. Garner as Kelly is always trying to be politically correct and professional. Kelly works while Ben is unemployed taking care of the baby. When disasters hit the family they do whatever they can to keep their clan going. Eldest son Anthony (Dylan Minette) gets a pimple before prom, their daughter (Kerris Dorsey) gets sick before her big part as Peter Pan in the school play, the baby gets green marker all over his face, they deal with it along with their own problems.

Although it might sound a bit too dramatized the film feels like this is what a family goes through. Days when nothing goes right and your mom sees your penis. The funny moments, mainly with Carell, followed by a bit of harsh reality is the best parts. It feels like the writers had a good understanding what goes through the mind of a middle child almost on the verge of being a teen. Eerily familiar personally.

Highly recommend this flick as it was surprisingly highly enjoyable. One of the sleeper hits of the year.

Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition review


Relive the classic Disney fantasy tale with Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition, now in Blu-ray HD and has new deleted scenes that tell of a completely different version with a deleted character.

Loaded with extra content and featuring the original 75-minute film remastered with greater detail on backgrounds and landscapes. Maleficent casting a spell of pending doom on Princess Aurora while three fairies pretend to be her aunts does not go down like the live action movie did. Prince Philip ends up as the main hero after his brief encounter with Aurora causes him to fall in love with her.

As shown in the bonus features, it is a fairy-tale that modern flicks criticize and poke fun at for being so distant and far-fetched from how people actually are. Suited for fans of the original, or if you enjoy watching classical animation. While Maleficent is highlighted heavy in the extras, there is nothing but a trailer when it comes to the movie starring the dark fairy.

The three new scenes are a rough draft of moments that are major and slight modifications to the tale. Different approaches to Maleficent’s entrance and Aurora getting led to the spinning wheel are two of them. The third one entitled “The Fair” is a what if Aurora stayed locked in the castle scenario. As can be expected, Aurora dreams of being free from her shielded imprisonment and eventually gets the opportunity to sneak away to a fair. In this scenario Maleficent enlists the services of a Vulture that is trying to find a better use than what he is. Pretty much a comedy character.

Disney will only have Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition available for a limited time before it goes back in their vault for a long time. If you are thinking about purchasing it do not hesitate.

 

Muppets Most Wanted review

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.

Disney’s Frozen Blu-ray combo pack review

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

Frozen [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)

Guardians of the Galaxy review


Five outcasts band together to keep a powerful planet destroying orb out of an evil tyrant’s hands and into the hands of someone with a lot of money in Marvel’s new movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. Chris Pratt stars as Star Lord, an unsuccessful space thief who steals an orb that can destroy life instantly if it falls into the wrong hands. Enter Ronan (Lee Pace), an obsessed power hungry maniac doing the bidding for super villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) until he can gain more power than Thanos. Ronan sends Thanos’ half daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to retrieve the orb from Star Lord, but ends up battling a raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a one-line talking tree named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). The four of them end up in jail where they put their differences aside, at least long enough to keep Gamora from getting killed by the inmates and Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista). Drax’s wife and daughter were killed by Ronan and getting revenge is his main objective. Fortunately, Star Lord is able to convince him not to and in the meantime Rocket comes up with an amazing escape plan. The action in 3D is the incredible standard Marvel comes out with. What makes this movie special is the amount of character interaction and engaging conversations the five misfits have with each other. It feels like there is a lot going on all the time that you have to pay attention to everything on screen. Star Lord’s obsession with ’80s music, Drax always serious demeanor, the odd friendship of Rocket and Groot, and the relationship between Star Lord and Gamora, the heroes trying to work together is more entertaining than them trying to save the galaxy. Marvel movie lovers will not be disappointed and this film has the potential to be the biggest summer release. It is worth watching more than once in theatres.

Un week-end à Paris DVD review

Married 30 years and on the verge of separating, a couple return to their honeymoon location, Paris, and embark on a variety of misadventures in the TVA Films DVD release, Un week-end à Paris.

Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) attempt to reinvigorate their marriage but end up coming to terms with the issues that push them towards divorce. Both realizing they are getting older, they question why they are even together through a series of conversations which is the main feature of the film. About halfway through the movie they meet up with one of Nick’s long-time friends, Morgan (Jeff Goldblum) whom invites to a party that tests their ability to remain together or not.

Money, children, accusations of infidelity, it feels like almost every standard issue a common married couple has to deal with is touched upon. The quality of the film lies in how real the characters talk to each other. Funny at times at how random Meg can be with her actions and her moods. Nick comes off very whiny and insecure creating awkward and dramatic moments.

While Morgan is featured little, his role helps create some of the best moments in the flick. By the time the dinner table scene arrives there is a growing tension between Nick and Meg that explodes in a public and shocking way. It feels like a journey uncovering their marriage filled with bickering, bargaining, and romance.

English and French are the two versions available in the feature menu. Unfortunately no extras are included. Director’s commentary or a behind the scenes featurette on how the thought process came together would have been intriguing.

Un week-end à Paris

TVA Films

93 minutes