"THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU"
Blu-ray Review by Kevin Carr
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)
Last year, I heard nothing but complaints about how many remakes, reboots, sequels and adaptations of old television shows were clogging up the cinemas. It was such a relief this spring to run into a slew of films that broke this mold. Many of the films (like “Source Code” and “Limitless”) were original stories, often told from a speculative fiction perspective. Others, (like “The Adjustment Bureau”) were adaptations of fiction that just hadn’t been told before. I welcomed that, and “The Adjustment Bureau” really helped give this spring a fresh scent.
The film follows a politician whose life is being adjusted by a mysterious group of people. However, when he runs into a woman several times in his life, it appears his fate might not be that adjustable. This was a fantastic piece of science fiction told in the flavor of a classic “Twilight Zone” episode. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt had some really nice chemistry, and even though her rather trite role as a would-be dancer was tired, the acting behind it was fun. And to top it off, the men in the Adjustment Bureau that are focusing his life had a strange warm and fuzzy feel to them while also showing a real eeriness.
The Blu-ray comes with a commentary, deleted and extended scenes and several featurettes: “Leaping Through New York,” “Destined to Be” and “Becoming Elise.” Blu-ray exclusive features include “The Labyrinth of Doors” which takes you through a map of the city with notes on each location, as well as BD-Live, pocketBLU and Digital Copy access.
Blu-ray Review by Kevin Carr
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Let’s be up front here... Channing Tatum is not a good actor. He’s not awful, but he’s a special breed of milky-white bland that falls flat on the screen. Sure, he’s good looking and has a great body, but he’s boring. So the fact that I was mildly interested in “The Eagle” shows that the film – and Tatum’s co-star Jamie Bell – were better than average. Still, Channing Tatum as the powerful soldier lead is a bit dry.
"SHARPAY’S FABULOUS ADVENTURE"
The story follows a Roman soldier who travels into the Highlands above the conquered British land to find a golden eagle standard that was stolen from the Empire. He is joined by a British slave who is meant to be his guide but whose loyalties are uncertain. On the whole, this film works as a sword-and-sandal piece. It has some decent battles, and the action is slick. However, like many modern war films, it gets too introspective on the horrors of war and the uncertain righteousness of any one side. And the portrayal of the Highland tribes is just a bit too heavy-handed in its attempt to parallel the struggles of the Native Americans.
The Blu-ray comes with the theatrical and unrated cuts of the film, though both have the same running time, and I noticed no difference. Features include an alternate ending, deleted scenes, commentary track and the featurette “The Eagle: The Making of a Roman Epic.” The Blu-ray also gives you BD-Live, pocketBLU and Digital Copy access.
by Kevin Carr
MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)
Now that the “High School Musical” franchise has been played out, Disney is trying to keep the magic going with “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.” In this direct-to-DVD film, Ashley Tisdale returns as Sharpay, only this time she’s the hero rather than the antagonist. Sharpay has a chance to make it big on the stage, so she travels to New York City to become a star. However, once she gets there, she faces a harsh city, high rent and a prima donna in the lead role. As a follow-up to “High School Musical,” this is cute. What’s really nice is that it doesn’t just rehash the same old story from the first three films. It gives Sharpay a reason to be the lead without violating all her narcissism from the series.
Like the “High School Musical” films, “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure” is made for the tween crowd, most of whom have grown up since the release of the first film. So it’s hitting a new audience. It’s not a film that’s made for sci-fi geeks and cinemasnobs, but maybe for their kids. In the end, it has some cute songs and a story that differentiates it from the original franchise enough to enjoy.
The Blu-ray includes a bonus DVD of the film. The features include bloopers, “Austin Cam” which follows the male lead on set and “The Evolution of Sharpay” which traces the character from her early “High School Musical” days to her own movie.
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