How Do You Know on DVD is available now. The film stars Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd in a “comedy” from writer-director James L. Brooks (As Good As It Gets, Spanglish). The reason I put comedy in quotes is because I don’t think I laughed once. In fact, I don’t even remember feeling elated by the story at all. The main thought I had running through my head while watching this was, “why would someone make this story? It’s just so weak.” Second thought after that was why, or better yet, how did they get these big name actors to go in on such a weak script. I figure it’s because the writer and director of the film is none other than James Brooks, who wrote and directed the fantastic As Good As It Gets.
Lisa (Witherspoon) is a professional Softball player that gets cut from the team and is currently dating Matty (Owen Wilson), who is on top of his game as a professional baseball player, when she also meets George (Paul Rudd) in the worst time of his life and they begin to find commonalities. Now, the story is supposed to be about a budding relationship between Lisa and George and Matty is just there for humor, but I don’t see any chemistry between any of them. If anything, it just seems like a story of a girl that is realizing she isn’t as young as she used to be and for that, must pick a mate before it’s too late. She can choose a fellow athlete who cheats on her but is rich and good looking, or she can choose the desperate business guy who is about to be indicted, but seems to worship her. Neither choice seems that great. That’s probably why I felt nothing when she chose someone in the end.
The DVD is pretty slim on special features as well. There are some deleted scenes that are worthy of being left on the cutting room floor. One of them explains the behavior of Lisa a bit more, but not really needed. There are some bloopers that are light-hearted at best. The commentary does lead you to feel a bit more for the story as you see why they chose this story to begin with. The only special feature you really need to watch though is one called “Extra Innings” in which the stars all get interviewed about the movie and what aspects of the story drove them to choose this piece. It is clear that most picked this because they are all fans of Brooks’ work prior to this. James L. Brooks also talked about how he formed this story, and after hearing a bit more, it’s becoming clear that he should have probably focused on writing two separate stories, instead of this lackluster story.
Hereafter on Blu Ray is available now. I will be reviewing the Blu-ray + DVD and Digital Copy which gives you plenty of opportunities to watch this film. This is another movie that was a bit of a lackluster story. George (Matt Damon) is an average American guy with a not so average ability to connect to the afterlife ever since he was a child. French journalist Marie (Cecile de France) has a near death experience that changes her perspective of life and the fragility of it, and a young London school boy is torn from the closest person in his life, he seeks to find the reason behind it and all three lives are intertwined.
The best part of the film is the tsunami in the beginning of the film to set up the story for Marie and her near death experience. Unfortunately, this is not a disaster movie, it’s about a people dealing with death. So therefore, the film sort of drops off throughout. Although, this is directed by Clint Eastwood, who seems to have all the answers when it comes to figuring out a working story. One thing that Eastwood is kind of fantastic with is casting. All of the cast seems to interact flawlessly and therefore, the story flows effortlessly. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t lend itself to much re-watching.
The special features may seem like there aren’t that many in the blu ray. The features are all worthy in length and pretty enjoyable however. They speak in depth about the making of the tsunami and all the special effects that went into it, which was fun to watch. They talk in depth about psychics and mediums and everyone’s thoughts on whether they are real or not. They get little tid bits from all the actors and main staff on the afterlife and hereafter and whether they believe it exist or not. They also talk about the closeness of identical twins, which are one of the main characters in the film. Lastly, there is a special feature on the great Clint Eastwood. The man is a legend and everyone would love to work with him. If any of you read our review on Invictus, or have seen it yourself, you have seen this special feature on Clint Eastwood. It’s a good feature that will have you loving Eastwood even more than you did before. Because of all the personal special features included on this blu ray I say you have to at least see it once.
Stand By Me will is available on Blu Ray by March 22nd. If you don’t know the story of Stand By Me I’m not sure you can call yourself a fan of film. For those who don’t know I will enlighten you. Stand By Me follows the lives of four friends as they set out on a journey to find the body of a missing teen. Through voice over and flashbacks we dive deeper into the lives of the four boys making the story more about the unity of the group rather than the mystery of they body.
For those looking to upgrade their current copy of the film need to look no more. The 25th anniversary edition looks stunning on Blu Ray. These Blu Ray upgrades keep getting better and better. In 1080p the film jumps off the screen like never before. The more vibrant colors help add to the overall feel of the film. The change in color tone has never been more apparent. Along with the picture the sound has also been brought back to life. The 5.1 DTS-MA gives you all the reason you need to revisit the classic film.
Stand By Me isn’t just a fast cash grab, not only did they go back and remaster the film, the special features have also been revisited. While most of the features can be found on other releases, its the addition of a new picture in picture commentary track that add to the value. The track includes Rob Reiner, Corey Feldman, and Wil Wheaton. I love it when a classic film allows it’s creators to take another look. This track is no different and adds even more to the story of the creation of the film. With all these new additions is hard not to add Stand By Me to your Blu Ray collection.
Yogi Bear on Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital Copy is also available now. I know that this film got a lot of flack for being what it was and voted one of the worst of the year, but I think there are times when critics look too critically at a film that was only intended to delight children. The story is about Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, who we all grew up with, living in Jellystone Park, when Ranger Smith tells them that the park is going to be closed by the Mayor for rezoning if they don’t raise a bunch of money. Some are going to say that this plot is too political and just using the children’s platform to pronounce their love of environment and hate of government. If we all just took a step back to the days of Hanna Barbara cartoons, they all covered stuff such as this. We didn’t think it was preachy then, because our country was not going through as much turmoil and bull shit as it is today. So, just relax and let your kids watch Yogi and Boo Boo be silly and steal picnic baskets and save the forest.
Besides the story, the film looks absolutely stunning in Blu-Ray. I was expecting a pretty straight forward Blu-ray when I popped it in and I ended up sitting in amazement at how crisp and clear the picture was. The forest and live action shots looked almost 3D, like I could reach into the screen and feel the bark of the trees. Yogi and Boo Boo looked really good too being set against such a crisp background, they didn’t look all cartooney against it. I would let any kid watch this simply because it’s so eye-catching. The special features are mainly for kids too. There is a game, and and interactive map of Jellystone where kids, or adults, can select a piece and it takes you to a feature about the animation, or the set design, or the location in which it was all shot. I went in expecting to fail this Blu-Ray because of the reputation it has, but I’m sorry, those critics are all very jaded and need to get outside more. Even the voices of Boo Boo and Yogi, voiced by Justin Timberlake and Dan Aykroyd were pretty spot on from my memories of growing up with Yogi Bear.
Last and certainly least is The Tourist, available now. The Blu-Ray looks really crisp and beautiful because the film was entirely shot in Venice. But you can not make a film by filming two of the most beautiful people in one of the most beautiful cities and throw some guns and Russians in and call it a thriller. This was probably the most abysmal piece of crap I have had the luxury of sitting through since Sex and the City 2 came out. Once again, that was a film that focused so much on the location and the look of the characters, and didn’t pay one bit of attention to the story. This story is attempting to be a who dun it meets James Bond type story, but the sad fact is, you have it all figured out about fifteen minutes into the film. Jolie is a woman that is being followed, she is supposed to meet her lover, who is a wanted man, yet no one knows what he looks like. She receives an anonymous letter telling her to take a train and find someone to fool the followers into believing he is really there. That poor sap is Johnny Depp. Blah Blah Blah, from there, there is boat chases, roof top chases, people speaking Spanish, people speaking Russian, and absolutely zero shreds of dignity lift. This was an epic fail. I hated it, and I didn’t even want to finish it. Don’t even get me started on Angelina Jolie’s saddest attempt ever at a British accent!
For the benefit of the Blu-ray review, however, I will finish the review. The picture was superb. Much of the scenes were low lit and it looked stunning. The sound was just ok. It kind of went in and out of my left and right ears at inappropriate times. The special features are just as boring as the film. “Canal Chats” is simply watching the director drive a boat around, smoking a cigarette talking about how Venice is awesome.
“A Gala Affair” is all about one of the final scenes and what it took for it to come together. They talk about costumes, choreography, location, dancing and just how freaking elegant the whole thing is. The best feature on the Blu-ray is called “Action in Venice” in which they kind of dissect everything that went into the action sequences, specifically the boat scene. It took them seven days and multiple levels of precautions in order to preserve the canal. They even had the jumper taking antibiotics to prepare for jumping in the water, which they say is filthy. This is still not worth enough of a rent in my opinion, you are better off just forgetting this film altogether.
by Angela Davis