On DVD & Blu-Ray: October 20, 2015

Come what may, the initial experience one has with Jurassic World can certainly be seen as nothing short of impressive. Considering my leveraged expectations and my unease around any Jurassic Park sequel to be able to pick up on a solid enough story that validated continuing the series I went into the fourth film in the dino-series hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Fortunately, director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) and his team have found a fine excuse to return to the "clouded island" as this new film is set in real time, twenty-two years after the events of Steven Spielberg's original. The events of that film are acknowledged and referenced in a way that proves, despite his continuing mishaps, that Dr. John Hammond (the late Richard Attenborough) was never able to give up on his dream of creating this tourist attraction featuring living biological dinosaurs cloned from prehistoric DNA. In light of this, Trevorrow and the three other credited screenwriters on this gig, present the audience with a vision of every possibility and beyond that Hammond could have ever imagined and that Dr.'s Grant and Sattler along with the pleasingly pessimistic Dr. Malcolm denied spectators so many years ago. While The Lost World and Jurassic Park III felt more like missed opportunities than anything else, the one thing Jurassic World indisputably gets right is that it takes advantage of the opportunity set up by the first film to deliver the audience a fully functioning Jurassic Park and not only puts on display how it could actually work, but shows that it has been running smoothly for some time. It is somewhat refreshing that Trevorrow and his script don't focus as much on the aspects of man again attempting to play God despite the main conflict here being an extension of what Dr. Hammond was doing in the first film, but rather this movie has its sights set on something a little more current and slightly dumb yet ultimately rewarding in realizing there has been some serious thought put into where to take such a strand. Without saying much more, Jurassic World is first and foremost a fun summer thrill ride that doesn't take itself too seriously and delivers on what it knows audiences want from it. Full review here. B

Z For Zachariah possesses qualities both appealing and disenchanting. What more can be done with the post-apocalyptic scenario that we haven't already seen and yet when this scenario contains only a trio of engaging actors might we actually get something enticing? Of course, there are numerous ways in which we could look at the factors that influence whether a film is appealing or not, but until actually taking it in we can't be sure what surprises it might hold. What surprises most about Z For Zachariah is not that the only three actors in the film deliver superb performances, but that they are so well written and developed that part of the narrative comes to be how these three individuals deal with one another's personalities and character traits. An aspect such as this is so inherent to our daily routines that we don't think twice about it, but when there is even a slight possibility these could be the last three human beings on earth the importance of how they get along with one another is magnified. Based on a novel by Robert C. O'Brien that was published in 1974 Z for Zachariah apparently diverts from it's source material in rather large ways to not only tell a tale of survival, but one of meaningful survival. Full review here. B-

Paper Towns is the second John Green Adaptation to come along in two years. It got rather mixed reviews, but surprisingly was box office poison whereas last year's Green feature, The Fault in Our Stars, was a massive hit. While I'd read Fault and felt somewhat more invested in it I never got around to reading Paper Towns and then never got around to seeing the film. I certainly plan on checking it out at some point, but it definitely doesn't feel like a big deal that I need to rush out to rent.

Testament of Youth feels like a film that has been floating around forever. It stars Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones) and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) in a film about a British woman who recalls coming of age during World War I which includes a story of young love, the futility of war, and how to make sense of the darkest times. I've heard the performances are good and the movie overall is solid, but honestly I can't muster up enough interest to go out of my way to stop at a redbox for it.

The Wolfpack, on the other hand, is a documentary about a group of brothers who were locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and learned about the outside world through the films they watched and is one that I've been anxious to see ever since I glimpsed it's trailer. It only played in my town for a week or so at the small arthouse theater before disappearing so I'm happy to see it finally receiving a home video release. I'll definitely be checking this one out as soon as I can.

The Vatican Tapes came and went so quickly and garnered such horrible reviews to boot that you can go ahead and count me out.

If you don't know why this 30th Anniversary set is coming out this week go ahead and google it. Then watch this fun video. And this fun video. And this fun video.

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