Blu-Ray Releases: Jan. 27 – Feb. 2

Welcome to another weekly preview of upcoming Blu-Ray releases! You may notice that we’ve implemented some design changes; sometimes a new look can go a long way.

This week, Hotel Transylvania makes Club Med look like a daycare, the Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection explodes onto store shelves, and a slew of Oscar winning short films get a home release.

Ready for this week’s Blu-Ray releases? Then read on.

Hotel Transylvania 

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, and Andy Samberg.

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

A computer-animated comedy film directed by the creator of the totally-underrated Samurai Jack. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Plot: Welcome to Hotel Transylvania, Dracula’s lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula has invited some of the world’s most famous monsters – Frankenstein and his wife, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, a family of werewolves, and more – to celebrate his daughter Mavis’ 118th birthday. For Dracula, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem – but his world could come crashing down when a human stumbles on the hotel for the first time and takes a shine to Mavis.

My Thoughts: I actually saw it last night and I laughed far more than I thought I would. There’s a good mix of comedy and family drama to make this a worthwhile watch for children and adults alike. If you’re looking for something to watch with the kids, or even just a light film to wind down with over the weekend, then you should add this to your collection. For your Useless Information Pile: the film earned a total of $316 million on a budget of $85 million, making it the most successful Adam Sandler film ever.

Our Rating: 2.5/5

If you’d like to make a more informed decision before parting ways with your weekly paycheck, then check out our review of Hotel Transylvania.

Seven Psychopaths

Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, and Abbie Cornish.

Director: Martin McDonagh

A dark British comedy directed by the man behind In Bruges, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was well-received by critics.

Plot: A screenwriter, struggling for inspiration for his script, gets drawn into the dog kidnapping schemes of his oddball friends. Things take a turn for the worse when a gangster’s mutt goes missing.

My Thoughts: I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m eagerly awaiting its release. I enjoyed In Bruges and, while I’m not a huge fan of Colin Farrell’s work, I’m a lover of all things Christopher Walken. Crack yourself a beer and watch this when the kids go to bed.

Our Rating: 4.5 /5

Check out our Seven Psychopaths review to read what our reviewer had to say about the film.

Paranormal Activity 4

Starring: Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively, Sprague Grayden, Stephen Dunham, and Brian Boland.

Directors: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman.

A supernatural horror film and the fourth in the Paranormal Activity film series. While reviewers universally panned it, it was a box office success.

Plot: It has been five years since the disappearance of Katie and Hunter, and a suburban family witness strange events in their neighborhood when a woman and a mysterious child move in.

My Thoughts: I only saw the first film of the series in theaters, but several friends of mine are big fans of the franchise. While many critics say the found-footage concept has been done to death, these films continue to draw an audience, which is why a fifth entry in the series is set to hit theaters in October. If you’re a horror fan then you might want to give this watch. For your Useless Information Pile: the post-credits scene of the film teases Paranormal Activity: The Oxnard Tapes, which is an upcoming Latino spin-off of the Paranormal Activity series.

Our Rating: 3.5/5

To see why the film earned a WGTC rating of 3.5, check out our Paranormal Activity 4 review.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 2

Starring: Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, Mark Valley, and Michael Emerson.

Director: Jay Oliva

The second part of the animated film adaptation of the popular 1986 Batman comic book story arc The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. Come for a geriatric Batman cleaning up Gotham City, but stay for his ultimate showdown against Superman.

Plot: Batman, along with new sidekick Robin, has finally reclaimed Gotham City and allowed a ray of hope to penetrate the reign of terror that The Mutants had cast upon his city. With Batman back in the spotlight, the extended media coverage has awoken a far worse evil at Arkham Asylum: The Joker! Forever destined to be mortal enemies, The Joker has a diabolical scheme that may pull Batman down to the darkest levels of insanity. While on the horizon a global catastrophe races towards Gotham and with it comes a familiar face: The Man of Steel. Witness as the aging Dark Knight wages a tireless war against crime while proving that courage and will are indeed timeless.

My Thoughts: I absolutely loved it. The first part was good, but I wasn’t completely sold on the film’s villains The Mutants. Everything changed for me in this installment as Batman faces off against The Joker and Superman. This is a must-to-own for any comic book fan.

Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection

Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, William Atherton, Alan Rickman, Paul Gleason, and Reginald Veljohnson.

Director: Various

The fifth film in the Die Hard film series, A Good Day to Die Hard, doesn’t hit theaters for another two weeks but you can get your fix with this sweet collection.

Plot: Includes Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard, and Decoding Die Hard (all of which include a ton of ass-kicking).

My Thoughts: Yippee ki-yay Mother…! I love the Die Hard series. Last week, I sat down and watched the first film with some friends of mine, and it still stands the tests of time. Presidents may change, global warming may boil the Earth, but seeing Bruce Willis’ John McClane blowing up bad guys will never stop being entertaining. A highly advisable purchase for any action lover.

Shorts International Presents: Oscar Winning Short Films

Starring: Various

Director: Various

If you’ve had a long week and don’t think you have the mental capacity to watch a full-length feature film, then sit down and relax with one of these eight Oscar winning short films.

Plot: Short films include: God of Love, The New Tenants, Toyland, West Bank Story, The Lost Thing, Logorama, The Danish Poet, Ryan and Harvie Krumpet

My Thoughts: I’ve only seen Toyland and The Lost Thing, but I’m very excited to add this Blu-Ray to my collection. Short films don’t get the same measure of respect as feature-length films from audiences, mostly because not many people have the opportunity to see them. Believe me when I say that the quality of the narrative and the sense of character in a short film can be surprisingly good. If you’re looking for something different, then this Blu-Ray is for you.

Downton Abbey: Season 3

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, and Joanne Froggatt.

Director: Various

The third season of the critically-acclaimed UK show only hit networks in the US earlier this month, but now you can get ahead of the pack with this Blu-Ray purchase.

Plot: Downton Abbey tells the story of a complicated community. The house has been home to the Crawley family for many generations, but it is also where their servants live, and plan, and dream, and they are as fiercely jealous of their rank as anyone. Some of them are loyal to the family and committed to Downton as a way of life, others are moving through, on the look out for betterment or love or just adventure. The difference is that they know so many of the secrets of the family, while the family know so few of theirs. But for all the passions that rage beneath the surface, this is a secure world, serene and ordered, and, at first glance, it seems it will last forever. Little do they know, family or staff, that the clouds of the conflict that will change everything are already gathering over their heads.

My Thoughts: I’m a fan of the show and this season has been excellent so far. I can’t say enough good things about the acting, production level, and overall intensity of what the show’s creator, Julian Fellowes, has brought to the small screen. It’s not a show for everybody, but those who are typically turned off by period dramas may find themselves pleasantly surprised.

That’s all for this week. We’ve had wicked cold temperatures over the past week here in the Great White North and I’m right in the middle of my hibernation cycle. If you look out the window and feel the same, then have yourself a Blu-Ray weekend.

Are you a fan of any of this week’s releases? Let us know in the comments below.