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

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

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

 

 

The Jungle Book Diamond Edition Blu-ray review

51IPn+CfCtL._SY300_The last movie Walt Disney worked on, Jungle Book, has been released on Blu-ray for the first time in gorgeous digital high definition and comes with over 2 hours of bonus features.

The Disney story of the boy named Mowgli raised by wolves and befriended by a black panther named Bagheera now comes with luscious background art, boosting the imagery of nearly every scene. The songs are all there, with Baloo’s “Bare Necessities”, King Louie’s “I Wanna Be Like You”, Ka’s “Trust in Me” and more.

If you ever pause the movie at any point, you are taken to Bear-E-Oke, a segment voiced by Baloo as he introduces a song from the movie that plays with the lyrics to the song until you decide to return to the movie.

Besides getting the classic film in HD, the reveal of an alternate ending is a major eye-opening look at how everything could have changed drastically. No longer is Mowgli seduced into the man village, a brand new villain, his parents and a grand finale confrontation with Sheer Khan goes down in an ending that could have easily added another half hour to the presentation.

Brand new featurettes with interviews on Disney animators on sparking creativity, special introductions with Diane Disney Miller and composer Richard Sherman and a sitdown interview with the two of them together give you an inside look on how this movie was created the first time and the effort put into bringing it back to life.

Not only is Jungle Book Diamond Edition great to have just because it’s one of the most memorable Disney flicks of all-time, but out of the most recent Disney home video releases the extras on this release raises the quality to another level.

The Jungle Book

Rated G

Feature run time of 78 minutes

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UFC: Ultimate 100 Knockouts DVD review

imgresEver wanted to pound the life out of a person to the point where you’re hitting them so hard and frequently that they fall unconscious into what appears to be a forever sleep?

That will probably get you arrested and serving possible jail time. Thankfully it’s not illegal to watch the UFC: Ultimate 100 Knockouts and enjoy nearly three hours of the most memorable knockouts not only in UFC history, but throughout MMA history.

Pride, WEC, Strikeforce, Affliction, current UFC and classic UFC, all are taken into consideration as you get to see some of the greatest fighters of all-time on this DVD. Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva, Rampage Jackson, Dan Henderson and many many more.  You also get the lesser known fighters that scored impressive KOs, like Mike Russow, Anthony Johnson, Jeremy Stephens, Spencer Fisher, and others.

A few of the finishes get post-fight comments from some of the fighters talking about how the ending all came together. It’s intriguing to hear how close it was for the winning fighter on several occasion as a few talk about an injury or how they were hurt during the fight. It pushes home the idea that you can go to sleep out of absolute nowhere.

The 100 list is a debatable one that fans and critics will definitely argue. The UFC makes no effort in hiding this fact, but does feature a section of honourable mentions. Although debates can be made, it’s fair to say the UFC did include the best knockouts that either changed the course of a UFC weight division or the best career defining or career ending KOs.

You get so much incredible action in just one DVD, it’s easily the best release of UFC this year and arguably one of the best sports DVDs of early 2014.

UFC: Ultimate 100 Knockouts

Rated 14A

Available on Blu-ray & DVD

Run time of 2 hours & 38 minutes

In stores Jan. 28, 2014

UFC 166 DVD review

51Id2699flL51Id2699flL51Id2699flL._SY300_Relive not one, not two, but all three Cain Velasquez VS. Junior Dos Santos championship bouts on the UFC 166: Velasquez VS. Dos Santos III DVD in stores Jan. 21.

The two best heavyweight mixed martial artists had a back-and-forth trilogy, with Dos Santos winning the first one early in round one and Velasquez dominating Dos Santos for five straight rounds in their second encounter. The third battle finally put to rest the questions to who can lay claim to being the best heavyweight in all of MMA as Velasquez stopped Dos Santos in the final round. As great as Dos Santos is at boxing, Velasquez was able to out-strike him and put Dos Santos down with several takedowns. Dos Santos was bloody and beaten, while Velasquez looked to have a gas tank that could keep on going.

Velasquez’s teammate, the undefeated Olympian Daniel Cormier also delivered a beat down to Big Country Roy Nelson in every round of their fight. Nelson proved once again that he could take a punch as Cormier nailed nasty jabs that could probably knock down most heavyweights. Cormier fought smart and did not engage Nelson in close for too long, respecting the power of Nelson and his ability to score a sudden knockout.

One of the top candidates for Fight of the Year occurred on this event with Gilbert Melendez taking on Diego Sanchez. Melendez looked like he was going to win the fight early giving Sanchez a busted eye and wobbling him with several punches. However, Sanchez withstood the punishment and brought the fight to Melendez in the third making it a very close decision in the end, one that is still debated to this day. Regardless, this fight was a must see for fight fans.

UFC 166 had a number of incredible knockouts, the UFC debut of Canadian Sarah Kaufman, and features the entire history of the Velasquez-Dos Santos war. It’s one of the few UFC events that was so good you’d want to watch it over and over again for the many amazing moments.

UFC 166: Velasquez VS. Dos Santos III

Rated 14A

Run time of 340 minutes

In stores Jan. 21, 2014

 

UFC 166 Fight Card

Main

Cain Velasquez VS. Junior Dos Santos III

Daniel Cormier VS. Roy Nelson

Gilbert Melendez VS. Diego Sanchez

Gabriel Gonzaga VS. Shawn Jordan

John Dodson VS. Darrell Montague

Prelims (Disc 2)

Tim Boetsch VS. CB Dollaway

Nate Marquardt VS. Hector Lombard

Sarah Kaufman VS. Jessica Eye

George Sotiropoulos VS. KJ Noons

TJ Waldburger VS. Adlan Amagov

Tony Ferguson VS. Mike Rio

Jeremy Larsen VS. Andre Fili

Dustin Pague VS. Kyoji Horiguchi

Bonus

UFC on Fox

Cain Velasquez VS. Dos Santos

UFC 155

Cain Velasquez VS. Dos Santos II

 

Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray combo review

Large_50 years ago a musical hit the silver screen entitled Mary Poppins, now for the first time on blu-ray you can find out how this joyous film almost never happened.

Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition BD+DVD+Digi [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)

Disney has released a special conversation between Poppins composer Richard Sherman and the actor who plays him in Saving Mr. Banks, Jason Schwartzman, revealing that the story of making the movie was a difficult road due to creative differences. The interview explains how Sherman came up with the songs, his relationship with Walt Disney, and letting Schwartzman touch his Oscar for a few seconds.

The 1964 classic starring Julie Andrews as the magical nanny Poppins and Dick Van Dyke as Bert, a friendly street musician, looks better than ever on blu-ray and is packed with even more extras. There’s a song-a-long feature with Mary, a deleted song, “Chimpanzoo”, a making of Mary Poppins featurette, The Cat That Looked at a King short starring Julie Andrews as Poppins, audio commentary with Andrews, Van Dyke, Sherman, and Karen Dotrice.

Needless to say Disney did more than just give you the feature presentation with this release. They also included an option for lyrics to appear only for when the songs play during the flick.

If you bought past Poppins DVD releases there’s not too much in the way of new extras and the high quality resolution of Poppins on blu-ray. However, if you have not bought the past releases or are such a huge Poppins fan that you need any new aspect then it’s worth the buy. It still holds up as one of the most treasured family films of all-time, a top gift for the holiday season.

Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital] (Bilingual)

Rated G

Walt Disney Pictures

Run time of 139 minutes

 

Planes Blu-ray combo review

51eR5sCiGhLA plane designed for dropping fertilizer wants to become more than what he is by entering a race around the world putting himself at risk with the hazardous weather conditions and backstabbing competitors.

Set in the world of Cars, Disney’s Planes stars Dane Cook as the voice of Dusty Crophopper, the plane with a passion for flying although not too high because he is afraid of heights. Despite his fear and lack of experience flying anywhere but the same crop field every day, he is able to convince an old war plane Skipper (Stacy Keach) to help train him with friends Chug (Brad Garrett) and Dottie (Teri Hatcher).

Dusty’s competition and eventual nemesis Ripslinger (Roger Craig Smith) is the fake role model three-time champion that acts like a hero to the media but is deep down rotten to the core. At first Ripslinger does not think much of Dusty but when Dusty shows that he can compete with the top racers in the world, Ripslinger starts to devise a plan to permanently end Dusty’s life. When Ripslinger uses Dusty’s love interest Ishani (Priyanka Chopra) to trick him into a trap, Dusty is more determined than ever to beat Ripslinger and cut Ishani out of his life.

While there is a race going on the movie is mainly about the teacher student relationship of Dusty and Skipper as Skipper teaches Dusty a lot yet Dusty does not listen to all of Skipper’s advice, sometimes pays the price sometimes finds a better solution. Trust issues become a main factor when Dusty discovers Skipper’s shocking past.

The bonus extras include deleted scenes that are unfinished animation, a Top Ten list of the top flyers of all-time, and a featurette on how this project came together and was not originally part of the Cars world or was about planes. No audio commentaries are included. Figure skating champion Joannie Rochette voices French-Canadian plane Rochelle.

It’s nice to see a Disney movie that’s not mainly a love story. While there is a romance story-line between two planes it’s not the focus. Compared to classic Disney movies this is nothing out of the ordinary except for the beautiful 3D animation. Not a bad film, it’s funny at times but nothing as captivating as the classics.

Planes

Rated G

Disney

Run time of 90 minutes

In stores today