Let’s face it, this year had some pretty amazing movies and lucky for us, a bunch of them are available for the holiday season. Whether you are into superheroes, mercenaries, bow and arrow slinging red heads, time traveling hit men, a futuristic dystopian world, spiders or talking teddy bears, there is something for everyone on your list. Take a look at these 10 Blu-rays that made it to the top of BLURPPY’S list.
The Hunger Games: The global blockbuster adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, dominated the competition at the box office, opening to a staggering $155 million. Jennifer Lawrence portrays heroine Katniss Everdeen in Gary Ross’s action-oriented adaptation of author-screenwriter Suzanne Collins’s young adult bestseller. Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, the Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister’s place to enter the games, and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy when she’s pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. This was a fantastic movie and the blu-ray contains some great extras like, The World Is Watching – Making The Hunger Games and Preparing For The Games: A Director’s Process.
The Dark Knight Rises: Christopher Nolan redefined what superhero movies are all about with his first two films in the Dark Knight Trilogy. He continues his string of superior offerings with the third, and sadly, his final installment in the trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises. (Seriously, if he did 5 more of these I don’t think ANYONE would complain.) If you can get past Christian Bales odd raspy voice as the caped crusader and Tom Hardy mumbling through a mask, you are easily immersed into Nolan’s vision of Gotham and it’s protector, the caped vigilante. In this story it has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane. The blu-ray contains extra features like, a very cool Batmobile documentary, a featurette called The Journey of Bruce Wayne, and a 17-featurette in-depth look at the making of the film called Ending the Knight. Fans of Christopher Nolan, Batman, exceptional movies, superheroes, villains, and incredible, mind-blowin vehicles MUST stuff this in a stocking for that special someone this holiday. It truly is a must have movie.
The Expendables 2: Sly is back for round 2 with all his friends to shoot, slice, blow up and destroy practically everything in sight. After the huge success of the first film, it was obvious that a second, and now a third would follow. With a cast that includes: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Chuck Norris you KNOW you are in for a good time. Barney Ross and his crew, along with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time — six pounds of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. This movies is everything you think it is. Packed with 80’s action stars, tons of amazing stunts, great fight scenes, exotic locations and tons of testosterone, it is a great way to spend almost 2 hours. As usual, the blu-ray has some great extras like: Gods of War – Assembling Earth’s Mightiest Antiheroes, Big Guns, Bigger Heroes, and our favorite, the always popular Gag Reel.
Marvel’s The Avengers: Marvel and Joss Whedon outdid themselves with this one. After experiencing massive success with the Iron Man, Captain America and Thor movies Marvel boldly took on the challenge of an ensemble flick with the larger than life characters. Never before has such a cast of leading character been combined so effortlessly and THAT is all because Joss Whedon was at the helm. He crafted a movie with action, comedy, and eye gouging special effects, the likes of which we have never seen. It has been heralded as “the greatest superhero movie of all time” and I am inclined to agree. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, and directed by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series. Go all in on this one and get the 4-disc combo. It has TONS of great extras and of course, our favorite, the Gag reel.
Ted: This raunchy comedy is number 6 of this years top grossing box office movies earning over $218 million dollars world wide. Starring Mark Wahlberg, 2012’s sexiest woman alive – Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel McHale and Seth MacFarlane as Ted this one will have you rolling with laughter. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane brings his boundary-pushing brand of humor to the big screen for the first time as writer, director and voice star of Ted. In the live action/CG-animated comedy, he tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish…and has refused to leave his side ever since. Their friendship is tested and pushed to its limits when Wahlberg’s girlfriend of 4 years, Kunis, wants more out of their relationship. What ensues is well worth watching, just don’t let the kids in the room. Ted can be a little…inappropriate for a teddy bear.
Prometheus: If sci-fi is your game, then Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien genre that made him oh so popular starting back in the late 70’s is just for you. This one stars Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Noomi Rapace and is a prequel to Ridley’s beloved Alien franchise. The film takes a team of scientists and explorers on a harrowing journey that will test their physical and mental limits and strand them on a distant world, where they will discover the answers to our most profound questions and to life’s ultimate mystery. This one is a visual smorgasbord and even though it does leave some pretty big questions unanswered, I am absolutely looking forward to the follow up that Ridley has teased.
The Raid-Redemption: Indonesian director Gareth Evans takes you on a non-stop, bloody, kick-ass adventure in this one. In the heart of Jakarta lies a rundown apart¬ment infested with druggies and drifters. It’s ruled by a ruthless drug lord who uses the tenement to shelter his junkie customers, pushers, enforcers and brutal killers. The apartment block is considered untouchable by even the bravest of police until one early morning when, cloaked under dawn’s darkness, an elite SWAT team, led by officer Rama, raids the peril-filled structure. As Rama’s squad races between the maze of rooms and floors, encountering a barrage of gunfire, machetes, and ruthless hand-to-hand combat around every corner, the stakes get higher and higher building to an explosive crescendo and an ultimate battle. You barely get to catch your breath in this one and if you like action, click the link above and get ready, because this film delivers.
The Cabin In The Woods: This one is an instant horror classic with tons of twists and turns that will have you jumping out of your chair. Chris Hemsworth stars as a young professional who visits a quaint cabin in the woods with a group of friends and ends up scratching the surface of something so massive and horrific that they can only begin to fathom it as time quickly runs out. Co-written by Joss Whedon (man did HE have a good year!), the film also stars Richard Jenkins (LET ME IN), Bradley Whitford (THE WEST WING), Kristen Connolly (THE HAPPENING), Brian J. White (STOMP THE YARD), Amy Acker (ANGEL), Fran Kranz (DONNIE DARKO), and Jesse Williams (BROOKLYN’S FINEST). Chris Hemsworth is a leading actor that is destined to take over Hollywood. (With or without Thor’s hammer.) It seems that he is staring in great movies left and right. I am SO bummed that he has passed on the Mitch Rapp roll in American Assassin. He would have been perfect for the part from author Vince Flynn’s spy series!
Brave: I am a huge fan of Pixar and Braveis a perfect family film for all ages. As Pixar’s first female antagonist, Merida is a great roll model for kids everywhere. Well, kinda. She doesn’t listen to her parents, she acts out and is stubborn, but beside all THAT, she comes around and DOES redeem herself. Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In “Brave,” a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of 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 (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (voice of 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.
The Amazing Spider-Man: If I’m being totally honest, when I first heard about this one I was like, “COME ON! Another Spider-man reboot? Tobey McGuire OWNS that role, move on!” After seeing it, I couldn’t be more wrong. This movie is THE Spider-man movie. The Tobey films were good but Andrew Garfield NAILS Peter Parker perfectly. NAILS, NAILS, NAILS IT! The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker, an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors, his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero. Remember, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Director Marc Webb, Andrew Garfield and the rest of the team have taken the power of the Spider-man mythos and created something very special.