thoughts on pop culture

Excellent 2009 Blu-ray Review Roundup

As of last year, I stopped buying DVDs and only purchase hi-def discs for my collection. With rare exception, I don’t plunk down my cash for blu-ray discs unless they meet two criteria: 1) Amazon better have a great price (under $25) and 2) It better have a great review from Their reviewers do amazing in-depth reviews of every disc that comes their way, and they haven’t steered me wrong yet.

And, if you keep an eye on their page, you’ll never pay list price again.

Read the 2009 Mid-Year Blu-ray Report Card at

July 14, 2009 Posted by | Blu-ray, dvd, Home Video, Movies, Technology | , , , , | Comments Off on Excellent 2009 Blu-ray Review Roundup

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Returns in September


I’ll update this post once there is an official date [UPDATE – It’s September 17th!], but I had to share my excitement from seeing the teaser for a September return of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Based on previous press releases, we already know season five will include 13 episodes, and I just found out that two future (season 6?) Christmas-themed episodes will be released to DVD early.

Until then, here’s a bonus from last year’s season four finale to tide you over.

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, dvd, Home Video, Premiere, Renewed, Television | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Returns in September

Movie Review: Up


Up – Animated/Family – Starring Ed Asner, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Christopher Plummer – Directed by Pete Docter – PG – 96 minutes

What is it like? A mash-up of Secondhand Lions, Indiana Jones, The Goonies, and White Fang.

Favorite Scene? The montage of Carl and Ellie’s relationship was an example of what makes Pixar the undisputed champion of animated features. It hit every emotional note I can think of, and all with no dialogue. The marriage of the most advanced computer animation with all the classic techniques of silent film show us that the creators at Pixar have a huge amount of respect for the medium they work in.

Will kids like it? Based on the full theater I sat in, the kids enjoyed it very much. However, there were a few scenes that hit more adult notes and lost the kids in the process. I heard a lot of fidgeting and talking during those moments, although for the most part the kids were entranced. I saw it in 3D, and there were lots of oohs and aahs throughout.

Will adults like it? Absolutely. Pixar films are always good at appealing to the adults who have to bring the kids to the theater. The difference with Up is that I think the adults will actually enjoy the movie even more than the kiddies. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of adult emotions in this movie, which by definition are better understood by adults.

Theater or Rental? Theater, without a doubt. It’s easy to think that 3D isn’t that big of a deal since every big animated movie this year is being released in 3D. That is not the case with Up. Pixar took the time to invent a whole new method for creating 3D animation, and it shows. The movie is not filled with gimmicky 3D that jumps out of the screen for no reason. Instead, they use the technique to create the depth and scope that makes you feel like you’ve really traveled to a South American jungle plateau. As for the rental, don’t bother.  You’ll want to go ahead and pre-order this one on blu-ray (or dvd if you must) in plenty of time for Christmas 2009.

May 31, 2009 Posted by | Blu-ray, dvd, Family, Movies, Premiere, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Movie Review: Up


As many of our favorite tv programs wrap up their seasons, I will be taking the opportunity to devote some of my posts to movies as well. Looking at the massive number of review sites that fill the interwebs, I’ve decided to take a slightly different approach to reviews. Instead of numeric ratings, which are rarely based on any actual measurements, I will simply answer a short list of questions for each movie I talk about. Some of the questions will be the same each time, and some of them will vary depending on the genre of the movie. If you have any suggestions for other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments, drop me an email, or a tweet.

Taken Liam Neeson Torture Scene

Taken (Extended Cut) – Action/Thriller – Starring Liam Neeson – Directed by Pierre Morel – Unrated – 93 minutes

What is it like? Man on Fire set in Europe with an Irish guy instead of in Mexico with a Black guy.

Favorite Scene? The torture scene (pictured above) is great, but my favorite was actually a tense dinner confrontation between Neeson’s character and an acquaintance from his CIA past. This scene included the best surprise of the movie.

Does it kick ass? No, It destroys it. I don’t normally think of Liam Neeson as a take-no-prisoners badass, but he is in this movie. 

Favorite fight? The final fight sequence of the movie was my favorite, particularly the use of the “hero throws himself through a sheet of glass on purpose” tactic.

Own it or rent it? Rent it. I was pleasantly surprised by how awesome this was, but a lot of my joy was in the shock-factor of some of the unexpected moments. Even in the midst of really enjoying the movie, I could tell it wouldn’t be the same the second time around.

Blu-ray or DVD? Definitely blu-ray. The DTS Master Audio track will remind you why you spent the money on your home theater in the first place.

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Action, Blu-ray, dvd, Home Video, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Taken

The State Complete Series DVD to be released on July 14th

It’s finally official, The State complete series DVD set has been announced for release on July 14th, and all I can say is, “I wanna dip my BALLS in it!”

TV Squad did a great interview with founder David Wain about the long road to release.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, dvd, Home Video, Premiere, Television | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The State Complete Series DVD to be released on July 14th