Tag Archives: Blu-Ray

The Return of “Twin Peaks”

The past couple of months around here have been totally surreal and packed with enough weirdness, heartbreak and family drama to fill a whole season’s worth of episodes, so, it was kind of strangely appropriate for this to be the week that Showtime announced that they would be airing a nine episode “third season” of Twin Peaks in 2016.

That’s right, the show that brought dark, daring, non-linear storytelling to network television is finally returning to the airwaves. Hooray! I’ve been waiting for something like this for years, and though most die-hard Peaks fans expected a return to the Peak-a-verse via another movie, graphic novel or a spin-off series featuring new characters, no one was expecting co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost to reunite for a third season of the original series! Wow, Bob, wow, does it get any cooler?

News is still trickling out about the casting and such, but, if the clip Lynch and Frost released is any indication, I imagine, we, like Kyle MacLachlan’s Agent Dale Cooper just might be seeing Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) again as well.

I know it sounds geeky, but, I remember totally flipping out when the scene in the clip above aired on the original series. “‘I’ll see you again in 25 years?!’ What the hell does that mean? Is she coming back to life?!” And while I relished discussing the meaning of that scene (and almost every other aspect of the show!) back in the day, the thought that it might actually be clarified literally twenty five years later is downright thrilling!

To steal a quote from a fellow, diehard Peaks fan: can we just skip 2015 and get to the good stuff already? So excited!

 

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“The LEGO Movie: Everything Is Awesome Edition”

If you missed The LEGO Movie in theatres earlier this year, the DVD/Blu-Ray hit stores yesterday, so, now’s your chance to catch this epically cool flick on the small screen. And if you did see the movie and loved it as much as we did, then, you gotta check out the “Everything is Awesome Edition” which includes a DVD, Digital Download, two Blu-Rays (one in HD and one in 3D) and, best of all, a LEGO minifigure of Morgan Freeman’s character, Vitruvius!

That’s right, you get an actual LEGO toy with your movie. Cool, huh? The only complaint Greta and I had is that Vitruvius doesn’t come with his iconic chewed-up sucker cane. As you can see, we were able to craft him something similar-looking from our ever-growing LEGO collection, but, an actual cane accessory would have been nice.

And in case you were wondering how the movie holds up on second viewing, all I can say is that we watched it together tonight (It was my Father’s Day gift from Greta and we’re kinda making the holiday a weeklong event this year!) and I’m already looking forward to watching it again. Yep, it really is that awesome!

Oh, and if you’re looking for a deal on the movie, the lowest price I found anywhere this week online or in stores was $34.99 at Best Buy, and while I’m not a huge fan of the home of the Geek Squad, I am a fan of a bargain, so, guess where we bought it?

Happy LEGO Movie release day, amigos…keep on bricking!

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Date Night TV: “Girls”

I should start by saying that up until about a month ago I had sort of a love/hate relationship with Lena Dunham, the writer/director/creator of HBO’s hit series Girls. And though I know it’s never cool to judge a filmmaker by their personal life — if I did I’d have a hard time stomaching Woody Allen movies too, which I love! — but after watching Dunham’s feature film debut Tiny Furniture on DVD about a year ago, I couldn’t stop hating her. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was great and explores many of the same issues and even character types as Girls does.

The problem I had with Dunham’s movie is that it was released by my beloved Criterion Collection, whose main objective, as I may have stated here before, is to release “a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films”. Yes, Tiny Furniture is contemporary (it was released in 2010) but I think it’s still a little early to tell if it’s “important.”

And then I learned that Dunham is from a family of New York art world superstars — her father is a painter and her mother and frequent co-star, Laurie Simmons, is a well-known photographer — who no doubt circulate in the same hip, underground crowds as the Criterion Collection execs do. So, then I hated her even more. In my mind, Dunham was nothing more than a privileged rich kid using Mommy and Daddy’s connections to make so-called “indie films” that debuted on the freaking Criterion Collection! Urgh…so lame!

Lena Dunham on GIRLS

GIRLS cast

The problem was though, I still loved the movie. And then Girls came along and I loved that too. Correction, I more than love it. Mrs. Yeti really likes it too, but, I’m kind of obsessed with the show right now. And then I started reading and learning more about Dunham and I realized that, parental art-world connections or not, she really is talented as all hell. So, when we finally got HBO last month, I put my own professional jealousies aside and started watching season one of Girls from the beginning. And it was fucking hilarious!

Sad, funny, goofy, dirty, real, authentic, it’s one of the best-written shows I’ve watched in a long time. Dunham and her amazingly gifted cast are a joy to watch each week, especially when one (or all) of their lives are spinning wildly out of control. Oh, man…it’s fantastic. And season two, which started three weeks ago has been even better. I have actually taken to writing down memorable quotes from the show on my iPad. Yes, I’m that kind of fan.

The only problem that I can find with Girls so far is that it is not even remotely kid-friendly. In fact, the other day Greta came into the room while I was trying to watch it and even before anyone said or did anything profane, Greta said: “Daddy, I don’t think I should be watching this show.” Ha! And she was right, the next scene would have required way too much explaining to a toddler. So, I put on The Princess and the Frog for the twentieth time instead.

But, if you and yours happen to have a night to yourselves, one of those cherished “date night-ins” that have become so chic of late, then pop in the first season of Girls and go to town. Seriously, you will laugh your ass off. Truly groundbreaking stuff!

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Movie Night with Greta

Mrs. Yeti had to work late tonight so Greta and I did what we always do on those rare Sunday nights when we’re alone, we headed to our favorite old school video store, Odyssey Video in North Hollywood, for some dollar movie madness. Yep, that’s right, not only is there still an independent video store (or a video store period!) in the valley, but, Odyssey also stocks loads of cool movies and has 99¢ rental nights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Not bad, huh?

So, Greta and I head over there to rent Aladdin — which we don’t own on DVD and will probably have to buy on Blu-Ray when and if it’s ever released from the dreaded Disney vault — but it was checked out. Next on our list was the cinema classic Monster High: Ghouls Rule, which just came out last week. Unfortunately, they didn’t even carry that gem of a title, so, we set about looking for something else we could both agree on.

Forty-five minutes later (!) we settled on Kung Fu Panda 2, which, shockingly, neither of us had seen. I have actually spent much longer picking out the right movie with my brother, but, trust me, forty-five minutes in a video store with a very opinionated toddler can seem like a lifetime. We fought, made-up, cried, laughed, the full spectrum of human emotions in one visit to a cramped video store in North Hollywood. It was awesome.

And though I would have preferred if we’d gone with my first choice, a lovely Blu Ray of Mars Needs Moms, Greta’s first choice (or, you know, third choice after Aladdin and Monster High weren’t there) was the live-action version of Bratz. Blech, even I couldn’t handle that torment. So, after much spirited debate — the guy who runs the store kept chuckling at our “negotiations” — we finally settled on Kung Fu Panda 2. And man, am I glad we did because that movie rocked!

Not only was it a million times better than the first Kung Fu Panda (which I also loved, by the way), but, the backstory at the heart of this movie was very sweet and tremendously moving. I know it’s just an animated movie, but, wow, they did some really great stuff with the story this time around. I think my favorite thing was the way they deepened the already very strong relationship between Po, the titular panda, and his adoptive father. I’m not kidding, man, I was weeping in spots. Lord knows I’m a sucker for father-child stuff, but, this movie earned every punch it pulled, pun intended. I haven’t been that moved in a while, really beautiful stuff.

And the action’s not so bad either. Greta got so wrapped up in the spectacle of it all that she started Kung Fu chopping everything in site. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but, she was so moved by the father-child relationship in the movie that she kept telling me how much she loved me. So, who am I to complain?

Anyway, if you happen to have a real-life, non-chain video store in your neighborhood, support them by checking out Kung Fu Panda 2, or hell, even the Bratz movie, for yourself. I guarantee you’ll like it, even if you’re not a sappy old stay-at-home-dad like me…

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“Cinderella Diamond Edition”

If you’re a movie geek like me, then you’ve probably bought you fair share of animated Disney films on different formats over the years. Personally, I’ve bought some Disney movies FOUR times over the past twenty years, once on VHS, again on laserdisc, one more time on DVD and finally, once again on Blu-Ray. Crazy, huh? The thing is, I kept thinking: “One day, my child will cherish these films on INSERT FORMAT HERE.” Never in my wildest dreams did I think that the viewing format would change four times before my kid starting watching movies. Yikes…I guess that’s what we get for waiting so long to have kids.

In any case, Mrs. Yeti and I decided last year that we would not re-purchase any of the classic Disney animated films when they were “released from the Disney vault” onto beautiful Blu-Ray editions. Nope. If we had a DVD of the film — which we do, for most of them, at least — then that would have to do. Yes, I know…it’s sad to think of poor Greta watching the lowly Platinum Edition of a Disney film while a sparkly new Diamond Edition was on store shelves. But, come on, how many times does a man have to buy a damn movie?!

That said, all of our best laid plans went out the window last week with Disney’s Diamond Edition release of the movie classic Cinderella. Yep, we fell for the sales pitch. Even bought the movie within days of it’s release and everything, but, we had good reason. See, this Cinderella comes with a DVD, a Blu-Ray and the all-important digital download. Yeah, I know, those sneaky bastards at Disney found a fifth format to make me buy…urgh!

But, trust me, that digital download is a life-saver, especially if you have a iPhone (or iPad!) savvy kid who likes to watch their movies whenever and wherever they want to. And, digital download aside, this is one hell of a Diamond Edition.

The Blu-Ray image is gorgeous, the new menus are beautifully rendered and the extras are truly spectacular. Sure, there are a bunch of hold-over extras from the Platinum DVD release a few years back, but, there are also loads of new extras that really make the movie shine. My favorite two are a new short film about the woman who inspired the design of the Fairy Godmother entitled:  The Real Fairy Godmother, and a quirky little short about shoe designer Christian Louboutin and his efforts to design a modern-era glass slipper. Sweet, oddly-moving and beautifully-shot, the live-action short isn’t even mentioned on the box but Greta loved it and so did I.

And if all those cool extras aren’t enough for you, the Blu-Ray disc also includes the animated short: Tangled Ever After. Picking up where the 2010 feature film left off, the short follows the goofy hijinks that Maximus and Pascal get into at Razpunzel’s wedding to Flynn Ryder. It’s very cute and surprisingly-clever, but, I still think Rapunzel looks better with blonde hair than that dishwater brown she has at the end of the movie. But, hey, who am I to criticize a Disney Princess?

Oh yeah, and best of all, since we bought our Cinderella Diamond Edition at Best Buy, we also scored a free plush Lucifer (the mean cat!) doll as a gift with purchase. I think Greta would have preferred plush helper mice instead, but, hey, free is free.

So, if you haven’t bought Cinderella a hundred times before and are looking for a cool Christmas gift for the little princess on your Christmas list, this is one Diamond Edition that’s well worth buying. And in case you were wondering, I was not paid for this endorsement, I’m just a big old Cinderella geek. I wrote a Cinderella script of my own a few years back and came to really love that plucky blonde orphan. I mean, say you will about the Disney Princesses, but, Cinderella at least had a job and, you know, a strong work ethic and stuff. And if you ask me, Cinderella is the most-modern of the classic Disney Princesses. I’m hoping that’s why she’s Greta’s favorite too. But, something tells me it’s all about those groovy glass slippers for her.

Either way, check out Cinderella on Blu-Ray today!

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The crying game…

I don’t know if it was the gloomy weather outside or what, but, I swear, it felt like Greta cried all day long yesterday. She wasn’t sick, or overtired or hungry. Nope, as far as I can tell, she just felt like crying…about everything. All. Day. Long. She cried when a car outside drove by too fast, and when the DVD player took too long to load (actually, I cry about that sometimes too…stupid slow-loading Blu-Rays!) hell, she even cried about crying. Seriously. She said she was sad because she’d been crying too much. I was like, hello, there is a cure for that!

Urgh, I spent so much time trying to stop her from crying that at the end of the day all I wanted to do was cry. No, not cry. I wanted to break down, TV-movie-style: yelling at her to shut the hell up, throwing my frying pan at the wall, ending with the dramatic collapse into heaving sobs on the kitchen floor. Like all good Lifetime movie crazies I would’ve felt terrible about it all the minute after it happened, but, wow, did I wanna throw some kitchen goods yesterday. Yikes…

Luckily, Mrs. Yeti read the writing on the wall (or perhaps the glazed, diary-of-a-mad-househusband look in my eyes) and took over the Greta wrangling chores the minute she came home. The crying and dramatics didn’t stop, but, my distance from them helped keep me sane long enough to cook dinner — yes, even cooking dinner was a relief, and, no, I didn’t throw any pots or pans — and clean up. Hell, I even had time to finish organizing and backing up the music files on our laptop. Hooray!

Of course, this morning Greta woke up all smiles and sunshine, so, I’m guessing (or hoping!) that the waterworks will be more of an every other day event, but, who knows. All I know is that if this stage is gonna be around for a while, I’m gonna need to get me some serious earplugs…

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The future is now…

OK, so, over the weekend, I totally visited the future, and you know what, it’s today. Seriously! After dinner Sunday night one of us shouted: “Hey, let’s rent ‘Rango’ tonight!” So, I call our video store — yes, we still go to an independent, non-chain video store and it’s awesome! — and ask them if they have the movie. Unfortunately, it’s already checked out. Suckage…

Normally, that’s where this story would end because I’ll only go into a Blockbuster Video if it’s on fire, and there are cute, baby animals inside in need of rescue. But tonight, I decided to try the future instead. So, I Googled “Red Box” on my iPhone, downloaded the free App, clicked here, clicked there, and in less than a minute a copy of “Rango” (on Blu-Ray no less!) was waiting for me to pick it up at my local Red Box stand. I shit you not, it was that easy. All I had to do was pick it up.

And ten minutes and $1.65 later, we were watching the movie on our TV at home. I swear to God, if that’s not the future, than I don’t know what is…insanity!

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