Rocky Heavyweight Collection Blu Ray Review

rocky heavy weight collection

Rocky Heavyweight Collection

Blu Ray Review

By Jessica Dwyer

Rocky is perhaps one of the best known underdog stories of the last few decades.  Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in the film as the lead character, catapulting himself in to super stardom and inspiring generations of film goers.

The original film is a classic and this collection showcases it better than any release I think I’ve ever seen.  And included with it are the five sequels that span the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s.  That’s one of the coolest parts of the Rock franchise and something that Stallone actually did with the character.  Within each movie we see this man living through these decades and having to change with them.  It’s pretty amazing when you think about it….how many other film series can boast that set in a current day and age and still be taken seriously?

Stallone’s career these days is focused on action films, but a lot of people seem to forget he can write more than just big blow em ups.  Rocky won best picture for 1977 and it wasn’t an accident.  It was also nominated for multiple best acting awards and screenplay.  If you haven’t seen the original Rocky, you need to fix this right now.

This set is pretty amazing for the MSRP of $59.99 which averages out at 10 bucks a Blu Ray.  The films look spectacular like this, especially after years of only seeing these on VHS or on standard DVD.  Kudos to the transfer people.

The extras in this set are just as great as the films themselves and total over 3 hours:

8mm Home Movies of Rocky (1975) — Narrated by Director John G. Avildsen and Production Manager Lloyd Kaufman

In the Ring: Three-Part Making-of Documentary

Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes: Makeup, Music, Directing and Camera Work

Boxing Featurettes: Three Rounds with Legendary Trainer Lou Duva, The Opponents and The Ring of Truth

Tributes: Burgess Meredith, James Crabe

Interview with a Legend: Bert Sugar

Video Commentary with Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone on Dinah! (1976)

Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots and More!

The tribute to Burgess Meredith is one of my favorite bits.  It will take you a while to get through everything in this collection and its a nice bit of history.

If you’re a movie buff you owe it to yourself to pick this up.  It’s still awesome to see The Italian Stallion come back strong against the bad guys be it Mr. T or the evil Ivan Drago.  And to see it this crystal clear just makes it even better.

You still cheer him on and that little kid in all of us always will.

 

 

The Doctors Revisited – DVD REVIEW

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Doctor Who:  The Doctors Revisited (1-4)

DVD Set Review

By Jessica Dwyer

BBC America’s Doctor’s Revisited which airs once a month throughout this year (as part of the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Who) is a handy tool for those who are new to the fandom and don’t know the history.  It’s also great for fans who are aware of the lengthy road that lead us to the global domination of the world by a Time Lord as we get to see actors from the series that we haven’t seen for a while such as Matthew Waterhouse, Louise Jamison, and Sophie Aldred.

It also gives us old school fans and new school fans the chance to see in total entire story lines in one setting from the Doctor Who archives, some of the best of those Doctor’s actually that gave us insight into that Doctor’s character.

What the BBC has done now is released a group of each of these revisits on DVD, starting with the 1st through the 4th and in October continuing with the 5th through the 8th.  The last group will have the 9th, 10th, and 11th.  Each set has the entire story and that Doctor’s Revisited special.

Now I’m not certain this will be the case with each release, but the first set came with four very cool looking magnets, each with a beautiful portrait of one of the Doctor’s surrounded by his most famous adversaries on it.  I hope this continues with each set.

In the first release the stories for the Doctor are as follows:

Doctor #1  The Aztecs

Doctor #2  The Tomb of the Cybermen

Doctor #3  Spearhead from Space

Doctor #4  The Pyramids from Mars

As I said, each of these discs also contains that Doctor’s “Revisited” special as well as an introduction to that story by Steven Moffat.  The quality of the episodes is decent considering The Aztecs and Tomb of the Cybermen are black and white and quite old.

All in all these sets are very nice inclusions to your Doctor Who library, but here’s where my critique isn’t as favorable.

If you are an old school fan and have been collecting the BBC DVD releases of Doctor Who then you’ll probably already have at least a couple of the episodes included in this set as all of them have already been released previously.  Those releases will have a TON of extras on them as that’s one great thing that the BBC Doctor Who DVD’s do have usually in spades.  So why would you want to spend 39.98 on a set that already has stories you already own?  Especially since those extras are NOT on these discs.

This is why I hope they continue including at least a little something in the release such as the magnets to give fans a little something extra for forking out additional money for something they already own.

These do include the revisited specials of course.   But I actually have a problem with those as well.  The issue I have with them is that they aren’t complete.  I get if they have a limited amount of time for them, but if you are paying homage to a 50 years long series then give it its due.  I’d even understand not having every companion on to talk that was still living.  But I think we should at least SEE every companion a Doctor had in his run.

It just felt like to me the specials were rushed through.  I’m still appreciative of what we do get…but in the upcoming release for Doctor 8 we don’t even have Paul McGann on the special talking about his turn as the Doctor.

In the end though these are nice sets, especially if you are new to the series and care enough to learn about its history (which you should because it’s pretty amazing.)  If you are an old school fan and haven’t bought the DVD’s this is a bargain at 40 bucks (typically the releases of one story arch cost at least 20 dollars minimum.)   And if you are completest you could do worse than picking these up.

The 1st through 4th are available now.  5th through 8th will be released October 1st.  We will see the final 9 through 11 just in time for Christmas on December 3rd.

 

Magic Magic – Movie Review by Jessica Dwyer

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Magic Magic

It’s not so magical

Movie Review

By Jessica Dwyer

It’s not often I have to force myself to sit through a film.   Usually I can find something to enjoy about a movie and focus on that, even in the direst circumstances.  Magic Magic though gave me nothing to hold on to.  It simply wanted me to suffer through it, which I did.

Directed by Chilean Sebastian Silva, Magic Magic follows young Alicia (Juno Temple who does her best wide eyed stare and freak out face) who is visiting her cousin in Chile.  This is her first time out of the country ever and it would appear she didn’t do much in the way of preparation.  She doesn’t know the language, her cousin Sarah hasn’t explained any of the living situations or who her friends are, and she has absolutely no coping skills when it comes to jet leg or stress.

In fact Alicia starts off acting weird already and being creeped out by everything around her.  That includes Michael Cera as the oddly named Brink who most people would have kicked in the balls after only a couple of the things he says and does after just meeting her.

Sarah leaves Alicia in the care of her friends as she’s called away to school.  Within a day Alicia is already freaking out more as she’s taken to a remote island with very little to no cell phone reception where everyone lives with a bunch of sheep and a horny dog.

While the DVD box and the trailer will lead you to believe the film is a typical psycho group preying on a girl horror flick it isn’t.  In fact it’s not a horror film at all really, but more of a psychological strangefest as we see Alicia slowly go crazy and sleep deprived.

I would also add the word “annoying” to that description.  Magic Magic is annoying and irritating to boot.  Now I know that might be the route the director is going for, so you can relate to Alicia and her feeling of unease and isolation at not knowing anything anyone is saying or anything about the country she’s in either…but that’s also known as being stupid.  I don’t feel sympathy for Alicia.  I feel like grabbing her by the neck and shaking her and telling her to shut up and deal.

But the thing is I feel like doing that to every character in the movie, especially Michael Cera’s Brink who seems to be going for the most annoying and most unlikeable in the film.  Once again I’m guessing that’s what Silva was going for, but I get the vibe at the end you are supposed to feel sorry for him.  I don’t know…the whole film is confusing on so many levels and that includes the ending.

Silva’s film plays out as awkward, confusing (I can’t say that enough as we have many characters talking in Spanish but no subtitles for those scenes set to show up…I guess that’s supposed to help with the whole “sympathizing for the main character” thing, but it only adds more annoyance,) and random.  It has moments that are just ugly (such as the puppy abandonment and the shooting of a beautiful bird for no reason) but he does have some lovely landscape shots in there.  But if he’s trying to get visitors for Chilean tourism this isn’t the movie to use.

In the end Magic Magic doesn’t really know what it is and we the viewer will walk away not knowing either.  Was it a horror film?  Not really.  Was it a thriller?  Well no, nothing thrilling really happened.  It would be best described as “the dangers of jet lag and prickish behavior.”   And that’s a sad statement since the film could have been so much more.  In the end Magic Magic’s spell was broken the minute I pushed play.

Fright Night 2: The sequel of a remake that’s a remake of a remake

You aren’t the only one confused by Fright Night 2 which is a remake of Fright Night 2 but is also a sequel to the remake of Fright Night while being a remake of Fright Night.

Yeah…that.

But after seeing the trailer I have a bit more hope for this film to be at least a decent movie.  And that’s mostly due to Jamie Murray taking the role seriously and looking amazing as a vampire.   But yeah, Peter Vincent in this isn’t selling me on his take on Peter Vincent.  So Direct to DVD this Halloween you’ll be able to catch the first official time we get a female Gerri Dandridge.

 

Twixt finally getting released on DVD

Twixt was a neat experiment by Francis Ford Coppola that made it a unique film experience for each and every audience that saw it in a theater.  It was released in 2011 in limited capacity.

Twixt is getting released to Blu Ray DVD this year and I’m excited to finally get a chance to experience it myself.

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The Film Festival Favorite Starring Val Kilmer, Elle Fanning and Bruce Dern Debuts on Blu-ray and DVD July 23

Written and directed by legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfatherfranchise, Apocalypse Now) as an homage to his lifelong love of the horror genre, the terrifying Gothic horror experience TWIXT arrives on Blu-ray and DVD July 23 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. A film festival favorite, the visually compelling film starring Val Kilmer, Elle Fanning and Bruce Dern has been screened to rave reviews at prestigious festivals including Toronto Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, San Diego Comic-Con, and the European Union Film Festival, among others.

TWIXT follows Hall Baltimore (Kilmer), a writer on a book tour who uncovers a disturbing murder that could be source material for his next novel. But as Hall investigates the killing, he finds himself confronted by chilling nightmares, including the ghost of a young girl (Fanning). As he uncovers more horrifying revelations, Hall discovers that the story has more to do with his own life than he could ever have imagined.

 

 

Need a bad ass? Cast Norman Reedus IN ALL THE THINGS.

That title pretty much says it all.  If you hadn’t heard yet or saw the trailer below…Norman Reedus IS The Punisher in the new Marvel Iron Man Anime Rise of Technovore.

It was already pretty cool that The Punisher was showing up in one of these…but now he’s got the voice of Reedus coming out of that skull bedecked chest.  So yes, that makes us here at Fangirl (as well as most of the free world) happy.

 

The Dark Knight Returns: Frank Miller Animated !!!

Here’s a twelve minute long sneak peek and behind the scenes video via David Selby’s website from the Dark Knight Returns: Part 1.  This is the animated version of the Frank Miller graphic novel and I CAN’T FREAKING WAIT FOR THIS FREAKING ROBOCOP IS THE VOICE OF BATMAN AND DAVID SELBY IS GORDON !!!!!!!!!  (breathe….) Okay I’m better.  Here it is.

 

Love Never Dies Blu Ray Review

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Because the Phantom is Forever:

Love Never Dies – Blu Ray Review

By Jessica Dwyer

Believe it or not I’m a complete and hopeless romantic.  It started when I was younger and was no doubt helped along by my unabashed love for Phantom of the Opera.  This only got worse when the amazing Andrew Lloyd Weber musical came into being and I was forever lost to the “music of the night.”

I wasn’t the only one of course.  POTO  was a worldwide phenomenon and is still going strong.  Michael Crawford passed his crown (or more to the point, mask) on to many an amazing talent over the years who took on the role of The Phantom not to mention the beautiful angels of music to take on the mantel of Christine from Sarah Brightman.

But for many phans (as the fans of the musical call themselves) the story didn’t end with the mob knocking down the Phantom’s door and Meg finding the mask.  It carried on in numerous fan publications and novels.  We couldn’t let The Phantom die.  Nor could Andrew Lloyd Weber it would seem.

A few years ago Weber did something that is rare, to downright never heard of in the annals of musical theater.  He penned a sequel to one of the biggest musicals of all time.  The result is a continuation of the tale of the Phantom and Christine set about ten years after the events in the original story.  It takes place in Coney Island, New York and is titled Love Never Dies.  The story follows the Phantom as he builds his own empire of freaks and magic amongst the carnival like atmosphere of Coney Island in the early 1900’s.  He’s unable to write as he used to and longs for Christine. 

He lures her back to him along with Raoul and their son with the promise of a fortune for just one performance.  Raoul has managed to squander away all their money on gambling and drinking.  Things weren’t the picture book romance they had dreamed when last we saw them leaving The Phantom behind.   While Raoul and Christine were living their lives, Meg Giry and her mother saved the Phantom and together they came to America where they have built his empire of Phantasma.   Jealousy and rivalry and love all come together during the events that unfold, leading to tragedy and redemption.

LND’s was updated from the original production.  The musical has been tightened up time wise, music and costumes, as well as entire songs removed.  The changes are indeed perfect and LND’s is a worthy sequel to POTO.  The version on the Blu Ray is the Australian production and is truly awesome.

The Blu Ray production is lush and beautiful.  It’s downright striking in some parts and this is only enhanced by Ben Lewis who is one of the tallest Phantoms I’ve ever seen.  He’s got a presence that is at once intimidating but will move you to tears in certain scenes.  Anna O’Byrne as Christine looks like a living porcelain doll.  She’s got the voice of an angel as well.  The sets are amazing, I can’t begin to do them justice or figure out how they managed to do all of this on a single stage.  It’s ingenious to watch and is gorgeous.

The music of course is also beautiful.  The key pieces being the title of the musical which O’Byrne soars with.  “Till I Hear You Sing” is as desperate and powerful as ever and if you want to see a love scene play out on stage the duet of “Beneath a Moonless Sky” will knock your socks off.   Simon Gleeson as Raoul shouldn’t be forgotten nor should Sharon Millerchip as Meg.  The entire cast is a joy to watch.

I absolutely loved this production and the Blu Ray is truly the way to go to enjoy it and to see the details that the cast and crew went to bring this to life.  If you are a fan of musicals and certainly if you are a fan of Phantom, then you need to add this to your collection.

Here are some clips for you to enjoy.