DVD Update 12/17 (Prisoners, Futurama Volume 8, 2 Guns)
2 Guns (Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital November 19, 2013)
2 Guns delves into the brutal world of undercover officers, drug kingpins, and crooked law enforcement, emerging with a proficiently scripted crime thriller. In lesser hands, this clash of severe situations and insolence in the face of death might fail, but both Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are comfortable with their cocky characters to balance the laughs with the shootouts. The breezy jazz wafting into the action scenes doesn’t hurt the atmosphere either. The protagonists’ incessant back-and-forth banter steadily improves as the picture progresses, while the plot devolves into a messy pile of crosses and double-crosses with a conclusion that remains unforeseeable – but not entirely savory. Worth witnessing, however, is the snappy dialogue poured from two easygoing actors reveling in their craft.
Undercover naval intelligence officer Michael Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) is tasked with stealing $3 million in cash from Mexican cartel boss Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). In order to pull off the job, “Stig” allies with resourceful DEA agent Bobby Bean (Denzel Washington), and the unlikely duo plot to rob the Tres Cruces Savings & Loan. But when Stig and Bobby walk away with $40 million more than they bargained for, they realize they’ve been set up, and the two men are disavowed from their respective agencies. With no one left they can trust, Stig and Bobby must partner up once more to track down Greco, recover the loot, and stay one step ahead of the cartel, the DEA, the Navy and a bloodthirsty madman intent on retrieving his stolen millions.
Exclusive Blu-ray Combo Pack Features include The Good, The Bad, and The Sexy where Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos and James Marsden talk about what it was like to play their characters, Finding the Vibe, Living Dangerously, Deleted and Extended Scenes, Feature Commentary and Much More!
The Ultimate Life (Available on Blu-ray December 10th, 2013)
This touching story of hope, love and family values is the much anticipated follow-up to the heartwarming film and best-selling book The Ultimate Gift. Three years after receiving life-changing gifts from his grandfather Red, Jason Stevens finds himself in need of guidance once again. When the foundation his grandfather left him is challenged in a courtroom battle, and the love of his life travels to Haiti to support a hospital in need, Jason realizes he’s lost all direction. But just when it looks as though he may lose it all, he discovers his grandfather’s precious journal. With everything he loves hanging in the balance, Jason embarks on an incredible journey into the past – through the journal – to learn what it truly means to live…THE ULTIMATE LIFE.
Unfortunately, without Garner returning, and without the budget for the original, this sequel can’t manage to duplicate the appeal of the original – thought its themes and PG-rated content are “family approved” by The Dove Foundation.
Special features on this single-disc Blu-ray include a Digital HD Ultraviolet copy that can be redeemed and used by the end of 2015 for use on portable devices (as well as your TV). “The Heart of The Ultimate Life” is a featurette on the themes of the film, with behind-the-scenes snippets. A handful of deleted scenes and the “One Life” music video are also on the disc, accompanied by brief interviews with a few of the cast members, author Jim Stovall, and producer Rick Eldridge.
Impractical Jokers: The Complete First Season (Available on DVD November 26th, 2013)
Utilizing pranks but taking the hard edge away from something like The Tom Green Show or Jackass or even Punked, TruTV’s Impractical Jokers generates genuine laughs with surprisingly clean material. Sal, Joe, Q, and Murr are four longtime friends who star in this hidden camera show in which they compete to embarrass each other in a series of hilariously humiliating challenges and outrageous dares, all to the amusement and consternation of the general public. Each episode concludes with a punishment of epic proportions for the biggest loser of the previous hijinks. The Season One set features deleted scenes (all of which are great), behind-the-scenes footage, an introductory bio on the impractical jokers themselves, and commentary tracks for five of the episodes.
Futurama Volume 8 (Available on 2-disc Blu-ray December 10th, 2013)
Attention, easily brainwashed citizens of Earth! You are now under the control of FUTURAMA Volume 8: the highly animated sci-fi comedy from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Packed with mind-altering, brain-exploding extras not shown on TV, this outrageous collection includes 13 mesmerizing episodes featuring maniac street racers, robot grave robbers, and nerve-wracking nose transplants. You’ll watch, you’ll laugh, you’ll obey. The Hypnotoad commands it!
Fry and Leela’s Big Fling
T.: The Terrestrial
Forty Percent Leadbelly
The Inhuman Torch
Saturday Morning Fun Pit
Assie Come Home
Leela and the Genestalk
Game of Tones
Murder on the Planet Express
Stench and Stenchibility
Futurama is one of the greatest sci-fi spoofs out there, culling humor from some incredibly obscure sources alongside the obvious rips of the most popular science-fiction masterpieces (movies, TV, and books). It’s a shame there’s not enough of a fanbase to keep it going, especially considering many of the episodes far surpass Family Guy’s later seasons. This 2-disc Blu-ray set features full-length audio commentary tracks on all of the episodes, along with extra animator commentary on Game of Tones. Deleted scenes, a three-part exploration of the animation process at Rough Draft Studios, Inc. (the animation itself has never been particularly inspiring, borrowing heavily from The Simpsons’ look), and a bit on the writers. All in all, a must have to complete any Futurama fan’s collection.
Prisoners Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (Available December 17th, 2013)
A wealth of engrossing ideas populates “Prisoners” as it carefully unravels modicums of information to relate a macabre mystery. Tantalizingly, tidbits of notions and clues are doled out, almost teasingly, to string the audience along for a nail-biting ride. Unfortunately, despite a kidnapping premise that has the strength and suspense to pull viewers in, not unlike the cryptic mazes that one bizarre murder suspect scrawls undistractedly, the running time offers a drastic disservice.
What begins as a happy Thanksgiving meal together for the Dover and Birch families quickly escalates into a fevered nightmare when their youngest daughters Anna and Joy mysteriously vanish. Determined to locate the missing girls, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) tracks down shy, reclusive Alex Jones (Paul Dano) who may have been the last one to see the two children. But when Jones, with a defectively limited mind, refuses to talk and is released from police custody, Anna’s father Keller (Hugh Jackman) takes it upon himself to continue where the law could not. Kidnapping Alex, Keller tortures the boy in the hopes of uncovering any clues to his daughter’s whereabouts. But as time quickly runs out for all involved, Keller and Loki are drawn deeper into a labyrinthine mystery where everything is deviously connected.
The Blu-ray Combo features a featurette with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal as they discuss the relationship between their screen characters Keller and Loki. A second tidbit showcases a good selection of cast members to speak about their performances and roles. The set also includes Digital HD Ultraviolet, allowing users to view the movie on a computer, tablet or smartphone (in addition to the TV). If you can get past the startlingly long runtime, Prisoners is a worthwhile thriller with nail-biting suspense and a dark, absorbing mystery.