We’ve had some really cool DVD and Blu-ray selections come our way during the month of February — some cool TV throwbacks and a hefty supply of films. Not that bad of a collection coming into what is usually a dead month for most forms of media. But are they worth your time to buy? We delved into all of these to check out the special features before you head off to buy them!
Rugrats: Season 3 & 4
Last year, Nickelodeon released the first two seasons of arguably one of their most famous franchise cartoons, Rugrats. This time we got the remaining two seasons of the show, which, depending on the fan you are, is either where they lost you or really hit their stride. These are the years that essentially lay the groundwork for the sense of humor and art style that would carry the series the rest of its run. You get some memorable episodes in here like “Angela Breaks a Leg” and “Naked Tommy”, as well as some of the first episodes where they’re not split into two stories like “Vacation” and “Chanukah”. Sadly, that’s all these two releases have — the episodes and nothing more. I made a comment last time that I’m going to stand by here, and that’s of all the series Nickelodeon has produced over the years, Rugrats would be one that would be amazing to hear behind-the-scenes stories about. Sadly, we don’t get that in these collections, but they’re still worth owning if you love the series.
24 Hours to Live
If you liked the film Crank, you might get a kick out of 24 Hours to Live, as it’s basically the same premise with a few tweaks and the John Wick treatment. Ethan Hawke is a mercenary dragged out of retirement who is killed during a firefight but is brought back to life with a special regeneration surgery that gives him only a short amount of time to get revenge and redemption. Sadly, the only thing you get from this one is the film. Its a fine dumb action flick that you can have some fun with, but beyond that, there’s no extra substance to the physical release.
A former Sundance film produced by IFC Films, Walking Out features an estranged father taking his son out to the wilderness to hunt for the first time, which quickly turns into a survival film as the wilderness and mother nature turn against them in a heartbeat of bad luck. The film is actually pretty good as an indie release, and you’ll actually get the chills in some of these shots with the scenery of snowy Montana everywhere you look. The features are kind of lacking though, as you just have the trailer and behind-the-scenes stuff. We can go either way on this one, but it’s at least a must-watch if you’re into independent films.
Day of the Dead: Bloodline
Oh, George A. Romero, how I wish you were still with us to prevent films like this. Day of the Dead: Bloodline is basically what you would expect from a team looking to remake a classic and add a few twists, complete with clichéd moments and people you like dying early and zombies behaving slightly different from every other zombie movie you’ve ever witnessed. The lone bonus to the DVD is a featurette about reviving the franchise, which isn’t all that great to watch. This is a hard pass all around unless you’re someone who absolutely needs to own all things zombie.
The Girl Without Hands
If you’ve ever wanted to see what a Brothers Grimm story would be like if someone decided to turn it into a horror film, The Girl Without Hands is pretty much up your alley. The film is a beautifully animated tale that turns hand-painted works into a full story from the mind of Sébastien Laudenbach. The Blu-ray only has a few special features, which include an interview with Laudenbach, as well as a making-of featurette and a series of short films he made, plus trailers. Normally we’d be a little frustrated that wasn’t enough, but considering the film, we give it a pass and say this is one to definitely check out.
Drag Me to Hell
Drag Me to Hell was probably one of the better B-horror films to come out in the past decade, as it combined a little bit of terror with gore and humor. But of course, what else would you expect from a Sam Raimi film? The movie focuses on a young woman who is cursed by a gypsy woman after the bank she works for took her home, and her now constant attempts to escape the curse and make things right with the now deceased gypsy. This release is a special two-disc release, the first being an HD remaster of the original theater cut along with production diaries, TV and theater trailers, and interviews with the main cast and Raimi. The second disc is an HD remaster of the director’s cut, along with updated interviews nearly nine years since the 2009 release, a still gallery, and a chat with composer Christopher Young about the soundtrack. This is a must-own for horror fans, even if Raimi may not be your top director for the genre.
Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie
If you love the TV series Hey Arnold!, then chances are picking up the film is going to be on your list of purchases. Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie debuted back in November as a proper ending to an episode called “The Journal” and basically serves as three episodes of the series tied together into a single 80-minute film. While that’s all good for the show, there’s nothing here for features or bonus content, which is a bummer. A buy if you love the series, but a pass if you wanted a little more out of a DVD release.
Wonder is one of those films that’s meant to pull every heartstring until the thing falls out of your chest crying. It’s the story of a boy who has had multiple surgeries since birth to correct deficiencies so he can hear and see, but his face is left not looking normal after plastic surgery. It goes through your standard beats of the kid being made fun of and hitting a low point, then finding a way to turn it all around and find love through friendships. The disc is loaded with featurettes including how they made the child actor look the way he was described in the book, the family dynamic, being kind, and a host of other feel-good lessons. It also comes with film commentary, a music video, and a look at the film’s soundtrack. It’s a nice film that is worth checking out, because sometimes you need a good cry.
Lady and the Tramp
If there’s ever a company that will get you to buy the same movie six times over, it’s Disney. The latest addition to their Signature Collection (which is code for super deluxe cleaned up Blu-ray version) is Lady and the Tramp. A classic piece of Disney cinema that will forever be in people’s hearts and parodied with the spaghetti scene. This version comes with three ways to watch: The original version, a sing-along version, and a version which shows notes from Walt’s Story Meetings. You also get fun selections like seeing stories through the trinkets in Walt Disney’s office, a look at Walt’s fogs, and learning secrets and hidden facts about the film. Not to mention all the extras that have been in previous DVD releases. This is a must-own for Disney lovers, as well as anyone who doesn’t have a copy of the film yet.
The Ballad of Lefty Brown
The Ballad of Lefty Brown is one of those revenge western films that makes you feel the ruggedness of the west and the cold heart-wrenching thirst for payback. Bill Pullman rides off to kill the man who killed his lawman partner played by Peter Fonda, with the help of a few more who don’t mind getting their hands bloody for justice to be served. The Blu-ray comes with audio commentary from Pullman and director Jared Moshe, along with two featurettes on the design of the film and making the story feel real on paper. It’s a pretty decent film with some nice extras, worth your time if you’re into westerns.
Blaze and the Monster Machines: Heroes of Axle City
A look at a release for younger kids from Nickelodeon, Blaze and the Monster Machines is currently one of the network’s biggest shows for the Nick Jr. side of viewing. This specific release comes with four episodes of the series tied into one DVD. Unfortunately, like the other Nickelodeon releases on this list, it doesn’t come with any special features, just the episodes by themselves. If your kids like the series and they can’t get enough of it, this is one of those DVDs where you can throw it in and leave them be for a couple hours.
Earlier we talked about Day Of The Dead being a horror film that didn’t really need to be made, and you can toss the latest installment of Hellraiser into the same pile. This film basically tries to do its best to expand the Hellraiser universe to a degree and put a new spin on some old tricks, but ultimately as we were watching it, I ended up asking myself several times, “why did this get made?” It’s honestly not that great. If you’re going to buy it anyway for being a Hellraiser fan or a horror film buff, the bonus features include deleted and extended scenes, as well as a gag reel that’s kinda funny to watch. Beyond that, skip this one.
Hell or High Water
Hell or High Water was a pretty fun movie to watch, as we’re basically seeing a modern-day western with actors who can pull off all the high notes. The film shows two brothers turned bank robbers in Chris Pine and Ben Foster trying to get enough cash to save the family home, with Jeff Bridges as the marshall on their heels the entire way. This one came with a decent set of extras as you’re getting a filmmaker Q&A, shots from the red carpet premiere, and a few featurettes revolving around the performances and the making of the film. I say you should at least see it as you get to see Pine be a criminal and Bridges being a hardass lawman.
Doomsday Device is the kind of film you are most likely to find on Syfy on the weekend. The story revolves around a gang of crooks who have stolen an ancient Japanese artifact that will bring the end of the world and it’s up to two FBI agents to stop them. This is a combination of bad GCI, bad acting, and enough plot holes to drive an army through. It is simply bad, and there are no featurettes to back it up to even make the bad parts worthwhile. Unless you’re really into the cheese, don’t pick it up.
Hangman is a film where, as I could best describe it, is if Zodiac and Se7en got together and made a thriller buddy cop film. Al Pacino and Karl Urban are detectives hunting down a serial killer that plays the game hangman as a taunt for all the people they’re going to hang. The film itself isn’t too shabby and it’s nice to see Urban doing something that isn’t sci-fi or comic book related. The Blu-ray, however, only has two special features that are basically listening to Pacino talk Hollywood and a behind-the-scenes featurette. It’s not a bad film, might be worth your time, but don’t expect anything fabulous from the bonus content.
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