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Blu-ray Review: The Awakening

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 20 2013, 3:08pm

Set in London in 1921, Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), author of the popular book "Seeing Through Ghosts," has devoted her career to exposing claims of the supernatural as nothing but hoaxes. Haunted by the recent death of her fiancé, she is approached by Robert Mallory (Dominic West) to investigate the recent death of a student at the all-boys boarding school where he teaches. When students at the school report sightings of the young boy's ghost, she decides to take on the case. Initially, the mystery surrounding the ghost appears nothing more than a schoolboy prank, but as Florence continues to investigate events at the school, she begins to believe that her reliance on science may not be enough to explain the strange phenomenon going on around her.

This movie differs from what people perceive as a typical scary/horror movie...


Blu-ray Review: Hotel Transylvania

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 19 2013, 3:08pm

Welcome to the Hotel Transylvania, Dracula's (Adam Sandler) 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 bride, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, a family of werewolves, and more--to celebrate his daughter Mavis's 118th birthday. For Dracula, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem--but his world could come crashing down when one ordinary guy stumbles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.

What can I say about Adam Sandler...


Blu-ray Review: Looper

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 18 2013, 3:04pm

In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented - but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a "looper" - a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) - is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good... until the day the mob decides to "close the loop," sending back Joe's future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination.

Every once in a while, Hollywood gives us...


Blu-ray Review: The Bourne Legacy

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 5 2013, 3:12pm

The narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: The Bourne Legacy. The writer/director expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. On the verge of having their conspiracy exposed, members of the government’s intelligence community will stop at nothing to erase all evidence of their top-secret programs – even the agents involved. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) must use his genetically engineered skills to survive the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse and finish what Jason Bourne started.

The movie shows the domino effect caused by Jason Bourne's activities. We are introduced to two more operations in this movie...


Blu-ray Review: Frankenweenie

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 4 2013, 3:08pm

From creative genius Tim Burton comes Frankenweenie, a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life-with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor's fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new "leash on life" can be monstrous. A stop-motion animated film; Frankenweenie was filmed in black and white and rendered in 3D, which will elevate the classic style to a whole new experience.

Even though the movie presentation was flawless, as mentioned above, the movie itself was very lacking. Now before you read on, you should know that...


Blu-ray Review: For a Good Time, Call...

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 1 2013, 3:50pm

Overachiever Lauren is suddenly on her own after her boyfriend breaks up with her. Free spirit and irrepressible Katie is about to lose a dream apartment unless she can find a roommate. They reluctantly agree to room together even though they have nothing in common, until Lauren discovers that Katie is working as a phone-sex operator, and recognizes a good business opportunity. But as their business partnership takes off, their newfound friendship finds unexpected challenges that may leave them both, as they say, hanging on the telephone.

I had my reservations when it came to actually watching this movie. It didn’t seem like a movie that a guy would be drawn to watching without the help of a woman. But...


Blu-ray Review: End of Watch

By Ryan Gibbs • Jan 31 2013, 3:39pm

From the writer of Training Day comes a gripping, action-packed cop drama starring Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. In their mission to abide by their oath to serve and protect, Officers’ Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Pena) have formed a powerful brotherhood to ensure they both go home at the end of watch. But nothing can prepare them for the violent backlash that happens after they pull over the members of a notorious drug cartel for a routine traffic stop. Seen from the point of view of the officers, gang members, surveillance cameras, dash cams and citizens caught in the line of fire, a 360 degree perspective creates a gritty, compassionate and intense portrait of the city’s darkest streets, and the brave men and women patrolling them.

End of Watch is the most realistic cop film that I have seen, at least in recent years. The film is shot from a variety of cameras, whether it is Brian Taylor's personal camera, the dashboard cameras in the ...

4K (Ultra HD)Blu-ray

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Announces "Mastered in 4K" Blu-ray Titles Timed with Sony 4K TVs

By Shane Sturgeon • Jan 11 2013, 6:08am

To compliment the electronics industry's launch of 4K Ultra HD Televisions, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is proud to leverage its growing 4K asset library to present "Mastered in 4K" Blu-ray™ titles. While maintaining the studio's commitment to the highest possible quality Blu-ray releases, the "Mastered in 4K" offering takes these efforts even further.

"Mastered in 4K" Blu-ray releases will feature titles such as...

Blu-rayInternet HD Video

Panasonic Expands on Award-Winning Devices with 2013 Blu-ray Disc™ Player Lineup, Focusing on High-Quality Picture, Sound, Design and Smart Networking

By Shane Sturgeon • Jan 10 2013, 11:39pm

Panasonic, a major developer and contributor to the success of the Blu-ray format, today introduced an expanded Blu-ray Disc Player lineup with two new Full HD 3D models – the DMP-BDT330, DMP-BDT230, and two 2D Blu-ray Disc Players – the DMP-BD89 and DMP-BD79.

Additionally, Panasonic...


Blu-ray Review: E.T.- The Extra-Terrestrial

By The HT Guys • Dec 27 2012, 3:41pm

A heartwarming story of the special bond 10-year-old Elliot forges with an alien he names E.T. The adventures they share as Elliot tries to hide his new friend and E.T. tries to get back to his planet provide plenty of action, laughter and tears.

E.T. is a very charming and warm classic piece of movie history that still remains to be relevant for today’s generation of kids. Spielberg does a great job of telling the story without simplifying the movie, which makes it relate to adults as well as children. It could be said that movie is...


Blu-ray Review: Brave

By The HT Guys • Dec 21 2012, 3:36pm

Scottish princess Merida uses her archery skills to establish her independence, but when she accidentally angers the ancient land's three powerful lords and is granted a poorly conceived wish by a witch, she must go on a quest to repair the damage.

Brave does a great job of examining the complex relationship of a mother and a teenage daughter. It captures the wildness of youth and the heavy responsibilities of adulthood in a magical story. All the characters are well defined and likeable, which makes the story very easy to digest. Half way though the film...


Blu-ray Review: The Expendables 2

By The HT Guys • Dec 20 2012, 3:26pm

In this high-octane thriller, Mr. Church brings the Expendables back together for an easy job -- but things go wrong, and one of the mercenaries is brutally murdered. Now the band of hired guns goes on a mission of revenge in hostile territory.

This movie isn’t shy about delivering the goods. If you like the action movies of the 80’s love movies with corny one liners, this movie’s for you. It’s...

Blu-rayHTPCs & Laptops

HDTV and Home Theater Podcast - Podcast #561: HT Guys Home Theater in a Box 2012

By The HT Guys • Dec 14 2012, 6:54am

There are so many Home Theater in a Box systems out there many of which cost less than $400. But seriously, what can you get for $400. A good center channel typically costs more than most HTIB systems on the market today. Each year we try to assemble a Home Theater in many boxes that we would be proud to show off in our homes. Our system will have at a minimum a HDTV, Blu-ray Player, Receiver, and 5.1 speakers, all for less than $2500.


Blu-ray Review: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

By The HT Guys • Dec 7 2012, 3:04pm

Having ended their African adventures, Alex and his friends set their sights for New York City -- this time, hitching a ride with a traveling circus. But as they make their way through Europe, they run into their fair share of roadblocks.

I had fun watching this movie with my kids, but you won’t ever catch me watching it alone. It’s an entertaining silly movie, but it falls flat when...


Blu-ray Review: Prometheus

By The HT Guys • Dec 6 2012, 3:07pm

When scientific explorers unearth an artifact that points to the origins of humankind, they're pulled into the unexpected adventure of a lifetime. But if they falter, the very future of their species is at stake.

Prometheus is a not a typical science fiction film. Yes it’s a scary space movie about meeting aliens, but it...


Blu-ray Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

By The HT Guys • Dec 5 2012, 8:30pm

Honest Abe: he was the 16th president, the Great Emancipator ... and a righteous slayer of the undead spurred to action by his mother's vampiric murder. History and legend are both turned upside-down as Lincoln tracks the creatures of the night.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is not the type of movie you watch for an accurate depiction of history, great acting, or a heart wrenching story, but what you do get is a fun flick with some decent action scenes. In the wake of Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries, it’s nice to see a movie that...


Blu-ray Review: Paranorman

By Ryan Gibbs • Nov 26 2012, 3:57pm

From the makers of Coraline comes the story of Norman, a boy who must use his ability to see and speak with the dead to save his town from a centuries-old curse. In addition to spooky zombies, he’ll also have to take on mysterious ghosts, wily witches and worst of all, clueless grown-ups. But this young ghoul whisperer will soon find his paranormal abilities pushed to their otherworldly limits. Featuring the voice talents of Kodi Smit-McPhee (Norman), Anna Kendrick (Courtney), Casey Affleck (Mitch), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Alvin), Leslie Mann (Sandra), Jeff Garlin (Perry) and John Goodman (Mr. Prenderghast), it’s a frightfully funny and magically thrilling adventure for the whole family in eye-popping stop-motion.

I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to watch Paranorman. Would it be just another children’s movie or would it truly be a movie the whole family would enjoy? The answer is...


Blu-ray Review: Savages

By Ryan Gibbs • Nov 22 2012, 3:55pm

Entrepreneurs Ben (Aaron Johnson), a peaceful and charitable marijuana producer, and friend Chon (Taylor Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL, run a lucrative, homegrown industry - raising some of the best weed ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with Ophelia (Blake Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town... until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. When the merciless head of the BC, Elena (Salma Hayek) and her enforcer, Lado (Benicio Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bond of the three friends, Ben and Chon - with the reluctant assistance of a dirty DEA agent Dennis (John Travolta) - wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. And so begins a series of increasingly vicious ploys and maneuvers in a high stakes, savage battle of wills.

I’m just going to cut to the chase…Savages for me is one of the best movies in the last year or so that I have had the privilege to watch. The acting is .. ...


Blu-ray Review: Brave

By Ryan Gibbs • Nov 14 2012, 12:10am

Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida's actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it's too late. -- (C) Disney

Brave might be the first foray in fairytale storytelling by Pixar but...


Blu-ray Review: The Avengers

By The HT Guys • Oct 9 2012, 2:28pm

An all-star lineup of superheroes -- including Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk and Captain America -- team up to save the world from certain doom. Working under the authority of S.H.I.E.L.D., can our heroes keep the planet at peace?

This summer offered up a few amusing action flicks, however The Avengers was by far the most entertaining films of the year (and yes I know the year isn’t over). I will try to write the review without having much of a slant, but...