Wishmaster Collection – Blu-ray Review

When you think of the concept of a Genie, many things may come to mind. The hilarious Genie from Aladdin voiced by Robin Williams (1992). The gorgeous Jeannie played by Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970). Maybe it’s Shaq in the kid-friendly Kazaam (1996). Or even Jeannie and Babu from the short-lived Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Jeannie (1973). But what if genies weren’t well-intentioned, kindly, and oftentimes comical manifestations that appear from a lamp to grant their so-called “master” three wishes? What if there was something malicious in store for the one who summoned them?

Welcome to the world of Wishmaster. A world where the phrase “Be careful what you wish for” has never been more apt, and in this four film series, what a person wishes for can have very deadly consequences. In fact, deadly, disgusting, and demoralizing are all perfectly accurate words to describe what the evil Djinn has in store for those who seek his services.

If you haven’t guessed by now, Wishmaster is a horror franchise that started in 1997 and spawned three sequels: Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999), Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell (2001); and Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled (2002). Only the original Wishmaster made it to the big screen and was produced by horror master Wes Craven.

The first, like many franchises, is the best of the series with plenty of great practical horror effects, a game cast that includes Tammy Lauren (The Young and the Restless, Martial Law), Robert Englund (the original A Nightmare on Elm Street series), and Andrew Divoff (Lost, Air Force One), and an intriguing storyline with plenty of jumps and scares for horror fans. While it’s also has the shortest runtime of the four, it’s also the best in terms of narrative setup and execution without being too excessive.

Following the law of diminishing returns – as most horror franchises often do – the three movies that follow are not nearly as intriguing, but the basic premise remains the same throughout. I also felt that the films lost the magic and fun that the original had. After Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies, the Djinn is recast with John Novak who does a decent job in the role, but Divoff’s presence is definitely missed.

Now, I can’t place all the blame of the filmmakers. After all, some premises are hard to stretch and prolong for a series of films. Heck, some films can’t even stretch their premise across just one storyline, let alone many. But like the Saw and Final Destination franchises, the characters are less important than the creative manner in which each victim is killed. And if it’s kills you want, this franchise is chock full of ‘em in every manner and method possible. And isn’t that essentially why we watch films like this? It’s not for the acting or the story, it’s for the inevitable blood and gore.

The Wishmaster Collection is a very impressive box set with four films on three Blu-ray discs. There are many, many special features, the bulk of which are for the original film. The full rundown for each film is as follows:

WISHMASTER SPECIAL FEATURES
o Audio Commentaries:
· Director Robert Kurtzman and screenwriter Peter Atkins
· Director Robert Kurtzman and stars Andrew Divoff and Tammy Lauren
o Isolated Score Selections/Audio Interview with composer Harry Manfredini
o Featurettes
o “Out of the Bottle” – Interviews with director Robert Kurtzman and co-producer David Tripet
o “The Magic Words” – An Interview with screenwriter Peter Atkins
o “The Djinn and Alexandra” – Interviews with stars Andrew Divoff and Tammy Lauren
o “Captured Visions” – An Interview with director of photography Jacques Haitkin
o “Wish List” – Interviews with actors Kane Hodder and Ted Raimi
o Vintage Featurette: “Making of Wishmaster
· Trailers, Spots, Galleries: Teaser & Theatrical Trailers, TV & Radio Spots, Storyboard & Still Galleries
· Behind-the-Scenes Footage Compilation

WISHMASTER 2: EVIL NEVER DIES SPECIAL FEATURES
o Audio Commentary with writer/director Jack Sholder
o Trailer
o Still Gallery

WISHMASTER 3: BEYOND THE GATES OF HELL SPECIAL FEATURES
o Audio Commentary with director Chris Angel and cast members John Novak, Jason Connery, and Louisette Geiss
o Vintage Featurette: “Making of Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell
o Trailer

WISHMASTER 4: THE PROPHECY FULFILLED SPECIAL FEATURES
o Audio Commentaries:
· Director Chris Angel and cast members Michael Trucco and Jason Thompson
· Director Chris Angel and actor John Novak
o Featurette: “Wishmasterpiece Theatre”
o Trailer

Horror movies are meant to scare and entertain, and sometimes we can learn a lesson or two from those nefarious evildoers who wish to cause the characters harm. Perhaps Wishmaster is a morality play about the dangers of greed and excess in the modern age. Perhaps the Djinn has come to tell the world that even free wishes come at a price; and that price is your soul!

I enjoyed the series, and while the first one was by far the best, the rest were Saturday afternoon escapist fare that was still enjoyable. I recommend the Wishmaster Collection!

The Wishmaster Collection is available now on Blu-ray!

What is your favorite Wishmaster scene or film? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Ali & Nino – DVD Review

A love that transcends two differing cultures. A time of war determined to keep them apart. A life both are desperate to have together despite the obstacles. Ali & Nino is an enchanting and thought-provoking love story that shows that love can sometimes overcome anything. Even in a time of cultural unrest, with countries choosing sides for both political and financial gain, the attraction between two young lovers can never be diminished.

Set against the backdrop of the early stages of World War I, Ali & Nino introduces us to our young couple: the headstrong and confident Nino (Maria Valverde) and Ali (Adam Bakri). It is clear that they are a pair that truly have designs on a future together in spite of their religious and cultural differences (Nino is Christian, Ali is Muslim). Both are welcomed and accepted by the parents of the other, and all seems well.

Until the war begins.

The sudden change in the political climate throws Ali and Nino’s plans to marry into upheaval. It is the overriding conflict itself that threatens to rip their future together apart and tear their love asunder. Will Ali and Nino find love once again and rekindle the flames of passion the war threatens to snuff out for good?

Religion is a key factor in the narrative of the film, and what screenwriter Christopher Hampton executes so beautifully is showing both Muslims and Christians as people instead of ideologues and caricatures of the cultures they represent. These are real people with real issues, loves, hopes, and dreams. He shows that even with differences it’s our similarities that matter most in the long run and allow us to live together in peace.

This is an extraordinary film. Superb acting. A great story. Beautiful cinematography. It’s a period piece set in a time that is rarely explored in film, which makes the narrative all the more intriguing. I was also delighted to see a few familiar faces with Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride, Homeland) and Connie Nielsen (Gladiator, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) co-starring as Nino’s parents.

I highly recommend Ali & Nino!

Ali & Nino is available now on DVD.

Wolf Creek: Season One – DVD Review

The continent of Australia. Home to some of the world’s deadliest snakes, spiders, and sea creatures, and one very determined serial killer: Mick Taylor. He’s a man with no conscience. A man who kills for pleasure. A man who may have finally met his match in the new series, Wolf Creek. It’s time for Mick’s bad deeds to finally get the punishment they deserve.

A follow-up to the 2005 and 2013 films, Wolf Creek: Season One delivers a gory and suspenseful story of revenge and payback as one of the survivors of Mick Taylor’s lunatic killing sprees decides to hunt down and killer the killer. When her family is brutally killed by Mick during a vacation to the Australian Outback, Eve (Lucy Fry) escapes with a gunshot wound and nothing left to live for but her new desire to take down Australia’s most infamous serial killer. Will her efforts be in vain, or will she succeed at preventing others from falling victim to his violence?

I vividly remember the first Wolf Creek film, specifically a scene where Mick Taylor severs the spinal cord of one of his victims. The image still resonates in my head; from the sound effects to the looks on the faces of both Mick and his victim when her spine is cut clean through (ugh!).

I was happy to see that they were able to cast John Jarratt once again in the titular role of serial killer Mick Taylor. It lends an air of authenticity to the series. I feel if they had had to recast the role that it would not have had the same impact as it does, especially since a mask or makeup aren’t a key aspect of the character.

Wolf Creek: Season One delivers the goods and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final moments of the finale. It’s exciting and fun to see what happens when the tables are turned and the one who has been tormenting, torturing, and slaughtering tourists in Australia may have finally met the one surviving victim willing to go toe to toe with him and take him out at any cost.

Wolf Creek: Season One includes a number of great featurettes that include: Cinema to Series: The Legacy of Wolf Creek; Making a Television Series; Meet the Stars; Discovering the Outback; a Visual Effect Featurette; and Meet the Supporting Cast.

I really enjoyed Wolf Creek: Season One. If you enjoyed the movies, or are a fan of smart horror, you’re sure to enjoy it, too!

Wolf Creek: Season One is available now on DVD!

What’s your favorite moment from the Wolf Creek films or series? Leave a comment and let us know!

SIX: Season One – Blu-ray Review

The United States military is one of the reasons our country has endured and survived since its founding over 200 years ago. The strength and bravery of the men and women who dedicate their lives and sometimes sacrifice themselves to protect the people of this nation makes the heroic above and beyond any Marvel or DC Comics creation.

There are millions of stories that can be told about these strong men and women and several are explored in the latest History Channel series, Six. More importantly: Navy SEAL Team Six. You may know the name; they are the elite group of SEALs that took out Osama bin Laden in 2011. Here, a variety of their missions are brought to life and the personal lives are also shown. After all, they aren’t just warriors, they’re also human.

Six is a celebration of America’s elite fighting forces. We get an insiders look at what goes into planning and executing some of the most daring and dangerous military missions of the 21st century. These men are more than a military unit, more than friends; they are a family. One that must work together to not only achieve the goals of their mission, but also to never leave a man behind no matter what it takes to get them back alive.

With a superb cast, realistic action sequences, and its hear rooted in true stories, Six delivers plenty of military-based action, suspense, and intensity. If you enjoy war stories, war films, or anything having to do with our great American military, Six is a definite must see!

Six: Season One is available now on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD.

What your favorite military-based series, film, or documentary? Leave a comment and let us know!

Disney’s Moana – Blu-ray Review

Disney has done it again! Moana is fun, exciting, mesmerizing, and energy-filled family fun! I truly enjoyed every moment of this tale about a young girl and her quest to save her people and the island they inhabit. The adventure is at full sail as Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) teams with demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) on a mission that takes her to new and exciting places she once only dreamed of seeing.

Disney is a master at pulling together humor, heart, music, and story into a feast for all the senses; and Moana is no exception. In fact, it’s one of their best yet! I loved the setting, the time period, the characters, and the ancient lore that drives Moana to seek out Maui’s assistance on her quest. Every aspect of the film is solid, and I laughed as much as I cried throughout the films many ups and downs.

Did I mentioned I loved this movie!?

Along with Moana, the blu-ray includes lots of special features:

Maui Mini-Movie: Gone Fishing

This was very short, but also very fun!

Short Film: Inner Workings

With a brief intro by its creators, Inner Workings is another solid short from the creative minds at Disney.

Deleted Song: “Warrior Face”

Voice of the Islands

Things You Didn’t Know About…

Find out interesting trivia about the cast.

Island Fashion

They Know the Way: Making the Music of Moana

Music Video – “How Far I’ll Go” sung by Alessia Cara

Deleted Scenes

Fishing for Easter Eggs

If you enjoyed Tangled, Frozen, or any past Disney animated classic, I know you’ll LOVE Disney’s Moana! It’s grade-A entertainment!

Disney’s Moana is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download!

What’s your favorite Moana moment? Leave a comment and let us know!

Power Rangers Dino Super Charge: Extinction, Vol. 2 – DVD Review

Get ready for the fast-paced, action-packed, multi-colored excitement that is Power Rangers Dino Super Charge: Extinction! Power Rangers! Dinosaurs! Wacky villains! There’s so much intergalactic excitement happening and so much energy surging through this fast-paced series that you’ll be saying “Go, Go, Power Rangers!” each and every episode!

Tasked to protect the Energems, the Rangers must join forces time and time again to keep these precious stones out of the hands of their evil nemesis, Sledge. Along the way they have to fight and protect the universe from a whole host of baddies that have nothing more on their minds than the ultimate destruction of the Rangers so they can keep on being the baddest baddies on the planet…and the universe!

The Power Rangers have been a staple of American TV since 1993, and their popularity has continued to thrive for generations. The 1992 version of the Japanese series Super Sentai was adapted and Americanized into what became Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Since then, the franchise has grown and evolved into the latest incarnation, which is a new feature-length movie that hits theaters March 24, 2017 (there have been two other Power Rangers films in 1995 and 1997).

Whether it’s the original 1993 series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Saban’s latest, Power Rangers Dino Super Charge: Extinction, of the upcoming film, it’s clear that the Power Rangers and their message of teamwork, optimism, and hope will continue to be a part of the American culture for decades to come.

I highly recommend Power Rangers Dino Super Charge: Extinction to fans of the series and kids who enjoy action-filled shows!

Power Rangers Dino Super Charge: Extinction, Vol.2 is available now on DVD!

What’s your favorite version of Power Rangers? Leave a comment and let us know!