We♥Movies is a directory/catalog of old Martial Arts films and collectible movies.  

Dragon Dynasty Double Feature: Seven Swords / Battle of the Warriors

posted Dec 30, 2019, 6:00 PM by Vu Nguyen

From Vu

Seven Swords / Battle of Warriors
(Jan 24, 2017)
I recently purchased this Dragon Dynasty Double Feature, featuring Seven Swords and Battle of the Warriors. I had no idea they released this Double Feature.  It's basically two original Blurays packaged together with a new paper slip showcasing both artwork.

I did not own Battle of the Warriors on Bluray, but the price was so cheap ($8), that I didn't mind getting a second Seven Sword Bluray.

I already own Battle of the Warriors on DVD, but having it on BD was just a bonus.


Seven Swords: In the early 1600's, the Manchurians have taken over sovereignty of China and established the Ching Dynasty. The newly set-up government immediately imposes a Martial Arts Ban, forbidding the practice of martial arts altogether in order to gain control and order. A group of soldiers travel the country seeking out those who would flout the law. A swordsman and his disciples decide to take the fight to the enemy, following a plea from a group of villagers. The SEVEN SWORDS is formed and their heroic journey begins. As they lead the entire village to the road of a safer place, they discover there is a trator amongst them. Between this narrow gap of life and death, the situation is further complicated by the blossoms of love.

Battle of Warriors: Story centers on a battle during China's Warring States Period, a series of civil wars, which spanned from the 5th to the 3rd century B.C. Based on a popular Japanese manga, which was in turn based a Japanese novel inspired by Warring States history in China.


05: Seven Swords
Ultimate Edition (04 May 2010)

14: Battle of the Warriors: Special Collector's Edition [Blu-ray] (3 Mar 2011)

Beware of current and future Lionsgate films

posted Sep 11, 2019, 9:51 PM by Vu Nguyen

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Movies Anywhere
Movies Anywhere As a DVD, and now Blu-Ray, collector, I’ve been following the movie studio’s Digital Copy since its introduction as either iTunes or Windows files, via a bonus Digital Disc on retail DVD releases. . …

This is just a warning to movie lovers and a public service announcement: beware of new and future Lionsgate releases.

If you buy new Lionsgate movies, you are now required to download their Lionsgate VIP app to get access to your digital copy.

Of course, the first thing I did was trying to bypass this by using their website … but it just won't work. You’ll need their app to scan a hologram and QR code.

In my experience with it, it had a terrible time trying to scan in the code and I'm not the only one - just take a look at all the negative reviews. They all say the same thing, they just can't get it to work. And it's so frustrating, especially because there was nothing wrong with the original way of redeeming your movies (by typing in a long code).

The biggest problem is that Lionsgate forces you to download and use their unwanted app. To add insult, you're also required to give them your email address and allow them access to your camera (to scan).

I did eventually get the app to scan in my hologram code and it offered some redemption options: Vudu, iTunes, etc. I tapped on Vudu and it errored out. Thankfully, the link contained a reference to the one-time generated code - and I manually typed that into Vudu account on my computer to finally get a digital copy of John Wick 3.

The whole experience left a very sour taste in my mouth, and like many of these negative reviewers (which is an overwhelming 90% negative reviews), I'm probably not going to buy another Lionsgate film in the future. This thing is a nightmare.

I guess I can look on the bright side of things, I’ll save money from not buying John Wick 4.

Here is a small sample of some reviews:

Totally worthless on a tablet. Lionsgate must be trying to get one over on the customer. You can redeem your digital code any other way that works.

If I could I would rate this app 0/5. Very shifty way to redeem your digital copy and even more tedious if the scan does not work. Having to contact their support(forces you to opt into email sub service) to get the code that should have just came in the box with the movie. This is app is just a way to seize a way into your personal data for them to collect and use at whatever discretion. Screw this app and the people behind it.

Unnecessary app. Just adds extra steps to download. It's all a scam to collect your email as there is no option to opt out of marketing emails. On top of that app barely works as intended (unless it was intended to piss off its user and in that case bravo for this s#@!.)

Not ready for prime time. Had to install it on 2 different devices to get it to work. And they force you to supply your email. Intrusive and unnecessary.

It sucks. I tried to redeem a code for over an hour and couldn't redeem it. Go back to the goddamn code you used to have.

Doesn't work for scanning codes at all. Bad move by Lionsgate. Prepare for a customer service nightmare.

Does not work. There are images layered on top of the form that needs to be filled in. App also asks for location info to redeem a move you already bought.

First of all, i do not need another app. I have plenty. I have a Vudu account and that is all i want. I just purchased John Wick 3, and i can not get the scan code to work for the Lionsgate app. So they lied. There is no digital copy. The app does not work.

Agree with most other reviews. Absolutely worthless app. I was able to scan the code, but then it wouldn't allow me to redeem the movie.

Absolutely horrible to FORCE customers to install your company app JUST TO GET WHAT THEY PURCHASED! I will never purchase another Lionsgate Title!

Horrible app! Installed app, finally after 30 minutes got to scan. Then while trying to go to email it kept telling me password was incorrect. By the time I got into email, movie scan and app disappeared! No icon, nothing even though it says app installed. Probably have close to 500 digital movies. First & last time I will ever go through this, never again!

Trash, imagine making something simple and fast, no longer simple and fast.... Have to download a stupid app, wasting space, JUST TO REDEEM A MOVIE TO WATCH ON A DIFFERENT APP. IDIOTIC!!!! 0/5 RATING IF I COULD..... DELETED

vu (vu@weheartmusic.com) weheartmusic.com facebook.com twitter.com/weheartmusic

We♥Movies: Christmas Week film reviews

posted Dec 22, 2018, 4:20 AM by Vu Nguyen

We♥Movies: Christmas Week film reviews

With Winter officially here (now according to the calendar) and temps staying frigid as the concert bookings slow around the holidays, it’s a perfect time to head inside and catch a movie.

Here’s a few that we’ve managed to see, to help navigate your holiday viewing, and we’ll also make mention of the musical content in each--


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In the forthcoming Bumblebee film (to be release on December 21, 2018), a spinoff of the popular Transformers films, actress Hailee Steinfeld (as Charlie Watson) is seen wearing a The Smiths T-Shirt in the film trailer (youtube.com). …


This much-awaited entry from the DC Universe returns Jason (Game of Thrones, Conan) Momoa to the title role, with Amber Heard as love interest Mera, and Nicole Kidman as his mother, directed by James Wan, best known for Saw and the last couple Fast and Furious films.

Told mostly chronologically, the movie opens with his origin (including Kidman in some heavy action scenes that rival her ex-husband Tom Cruise) and the plot involves the Atlantian taking the throne from his evil half-brother Orm (Ocean Master), played by a stoic Patrick Wilson.

Less dark than any of the Zack Snyder DC films, it features a quick moving story (aided by comic book writer Geoff Johns on the script) but some sequences and dialogue come off as hokey or contrived, maybe better off staying in the comics, than on-screen. The third act amps up all the CGI and even features the voice of Julie Andrews (?!) as a monster guarding a sacred trident.

Hit and miss, it has its moments, but is no Wonder Woman, or wouldn’t rank high if it was a Marvel Studios movie. Ocean Master and the other villain, Black Manta don’t seem too menacing, though Heard does look good in her green bodysuit.

Musically, the film is well scored by Rupert (Wonder Woman) Gregson-Williams but also includes a Pitbull (ugh) remake of Toto’s “Africa”, snippets from Depeche Mode, Greta Van Fleet, Roy Orbison, and Sigur Ros, and a mostly forgettable end title song from Skylar Grey.

Director Wan throws in some quick easter eggs (H.P. Lovecraft paperback, Anabelle doll, and other movie homages) to keep the attentive on their toes and a short mid-credits scene doesn’t add much to the continuing storyline. Not terrible, but often shallow.

Aquaman is in theatres now

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (W♥M rating – 7 out of 10 hearts)

Mortal Engines
Mortal Engines

With a look that is part steampunk, part Terry Gilliam, part Neil Gaiman, this ambitious film directed by Peter Jackson protege Christian Rivers, is often a marvel to look at, but often weak in the storyline and dialogue.

A post-apocalyptic tale of moving and dueling cities stars a conniving Hugo Weaving and outsider female hero Hera Hilmar, in her first studio film. The film (based on books by British author Phillip Reeve) is mostly a case of too much icing/ too little cake, with the Junkie XL soundtrack being one of the high points.

Mortal Engines is in theatres now-

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (W♥M rating – 6 out of 10 hearts)

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

One of the only good things about seeing Venom in the theater recently, was the end-credit extended preview of this eye-poppingly good movie from Sony Pictures Animation, a movie that could have so easily been an over-confusing trainwreck, but instead is a hyper-fun rollercoaster ride.

Armed with original looking animation and a strong voice cast (including Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, and Liev Schreiber), it overcomes any negative feelings I had going in for mostly lame characters like Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, and even Spider-Ham.

Musically, the soundtrack balances a Daniel (Oceans 8, Molly’s Game) Pemberton score with hip-hop tracks from Post Malone, Swae Lee, and Nicki Minaj (zzzz).

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is in theatres now.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (W♥M rating – 8 out of 10 hearts)


This is the sixth film in the modern Transformers film series, the first without director Michael Bay and is a prequel that shows the robots’ first journey from their home planet of Cybertron, to Earth.

Basically, a teen and her robot friend story, the action is more subdued than the previous films and there’s a little more script attention to character development than before. Hailee Steinfeld is tolerable in the lead tomboy role, with wrestler John Cena playing a Section 7 agent on her (and Bumblebee’s) trail while the Decepticons try to influence the humans to take their side. For a better version of a similar enough story, just re-watch The Iron Giant.

With Bay out of the director’s chair, Travis Knight takes over, with his previous credits being the son of Nike founder Phil Knight and starting out as a wannabee rapper called Chilly Tee (ok, he helmed the good Kubo and the Two Strings as well), but I actually started to miss the trademark Bay over-the-top fighting and effects at some point.

Musically, the film thinks because it’s set in 1987, that any familiar 80’s tune can be placed in randomly- from “Save a Prayer” (1982) to “Runaway” (1984) to “I Can’t Drive 55” (1984) and so on, whether it fits the year the film is set in, or not. Steinfeld proves her music street-cred by wearing Motorhead, Smiths, and Madonna tour shirts throughout and my colleague Vu will appreciate the numerous Smiths placements, from “Bigmouth Strikes Again” and “Girlfriend in a Coma” heard, to The Smiths’ album Strangeways, Here We Come being the first cassette tape inserted into Bumblebee- at least that one got the year right, released in 1987.

Bumblebee is in theatres now

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (W♥M rating – 6 out of 10 hearts)


Christian Bale’s literally transformative performance as former VP Dick Chaney is the main (and maybe only) reason to see this film, which starts chronologically but eventually devolves into an over-opinionated skewed character study, often to the point of Michael Moore-like parody.

Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush and Amy Adams as wife Liz Chaney are in fine form as well, but the problem lies in the script from director Adam (Anchorman, The Big Short) McKay which is as scattershot as Chaney himself was, when he accidentally shot his friend in the face while hunting in Texas, but Bale is worth the watch.

Oscar winner (for Moonlight) Nicholas Britell provides the musical score for the film, which is effective and never too intrusive.

Vice opens on Christmas Day

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (W♥M rating – 7 out of 10 hearts)

If Beale Street Could Talk
If Beale Street Could Talk

At its heart, this overdue adaptation of a James Baldwin novel set in Harlem in the early 70s, is a just a simple love story. KiKi Layne and Stephan James play the young couple, he soon incarcerated for a crime he likely did not commit.

Both sets of parents play into the story with a particularly strong performance from Regina King, who plays Layne’s character’s mother and writer/director Barry Jenkins continues the subtle less-is-more style he showed first in the Best Picture Oscar-winning Moonlight, portraying a quiet elegance in a closeup of a face, or on a slow pan of a living quarters.

Like Vice, Nicholas Britell provides the score, but it’s much more effective here, with slow jazz framing one scene, while mourning cellos help set another. Not quite as strong as Moonlight, it’s still a poignant and very literary film.

If Beale Street Could Talk opens Christmas Day

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (W♥M rating – 8 out of 10 hearts)

Escape Room
Escape Room

With a familiar set-up of six supposedly random strangers put together in a situation where things soon go wrong, this Adam (forgettable Paranormal Activity and Insidious sequels) Robitel-helmed psychological drama starring Taylor (who?) Russell and Logan (Love, Simon) Miller is somewhat entertaining for the first two-thirds as the group try to unravel the keys of getting out of five different and deadly rooms.

Where the train goes off the rails is the cheap and somewhat rushed ending, where the anticipated big reveal is underwhelming and the door is not only wide open for a sequel, it practically starts the next movie, over-confident that this franchise will continue.

The musical score is by Brian Tyler and John Carey, Tyler coming hot off of Crazy Rich Asians and having worked on Avengers Age of Ultron and Iron Man3, and the music while reasonable, is ultimately as forgettable as the film itself.

Escape Room opens in theatres on January 4

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (W♥M rating – 5 out of 10 hearts)

john (johnc@weheartmusic.com) weheartmusic.com twitter.com/weheartmusic

Shaw Brothers titles available to stream for free on Amazon Prime

posted May 27, 2018, 11:26 AM by Vu Nguyen

From Vu

If you have Amazon Prime, you can stream all their Shaw Brothers titles in HD for being a member.  Amazon Prime is $120 and comes with free streaming videos and 2-day shipping. If you don't want to pay the annual fee, each title is $3.99 for SD and $6.99 for HD.  In my opinion, since they remastered these titles for DVD, they look just fine on SD. If you want the best image quality, then pay a little more for HD, since Bluray version of these titles are rare. Many of these films never made the transition to Bluray (or finding the Bluray is a rarity), so HD Digital is your only option.

Sample titles:

Solo: A Star Wars Story (film review)

posted May 27, 2018, 11:05 AM by Vu Nguyen

Solo: A Star Wars Story Poster

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Star Wars
Beginning with a new interview with Joker’s voice actor Mark Hammill (Star Wars) and ending with a music feature, featuring composers Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, and Lolita Ritmanis. ....

“It`s a losing proposition but one you can`t refuse, It`s the politics of contraband, It`s the smuggler's blues” – Smuggler’s Blues (Glenn Frey)

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the latest effort in Disney’s master plan to schedule a new Star Wars film in theatres every year, with character-focused back story tales, supplementing the opposite-year’s main storyline. 

Set prior to the events of 1977’s Episode IV (A New Hope), a younger Han Solo (you find out a little history about his name along the way) finds adventure when he joins a team of galactic smugglers, including a 190+-year-old Wookie named Chewbacca. Indebted to the gangster Dryden Vos, the crew devises a plan to travel to the mining planet Kessel to steal a batch of valuable coaxium. In need of a ship that can make the journey, Solo meets Lando Calrissian (smartly played by Daniel Glover) the suave owner of the perfect vessel for the dangerous mission -- the Millennium Falcon.

The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han, alongside Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (the voice of Lando’s co-pilot droid) , Joonas Suotamo (as Chewie), and Paul Bettany (as the villainous Vos).

After originally being helmed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Lego Movie, Jump Street franchise), the studios removed the duo, in favor of director Ron Howard, with a screenplay by series veteran Lawrence Kasdan and his son, Jonathan. 

The end result is a mostly enjoyable, though seemingly over-safe chapter in the mythos,- one that never completely disappoints, but one that never completely thrills either.  Howard is adept in delivering the action and pacing, but is not visually unique in his execution, though a few sign posts pop up along the way (Ron’s brother Clint in a cameo role, as well as Warwick [Willow] Davis) to remind you it is under his direction. 

Ehrenreich takes some getting used to in the lead role, he not as gruff as Harrison Ford, but still displays a lot of the characteristics that define the iconic character.  Glover, however, fits immediately into the Lando role like a…err, glove, perfectly channeling the bravado, swagger, and eminent cool that Billy Dee Williams originally brought to the role. 

Harrelson seems to be enjoying himself as Solo’s mentor and fellow bandit Tobias Beckett and Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke plays Qi’ra, -part damsel in distress, part survivor who even works in a little GOT-style sword play in, towards the end of the movie. 

The problem (not an issue in Rogue One) is convincing the audience to embrace some of these new faces as the characters they know, and provide a story that leans somewhat on the past chapters but also stands on its own merits. 

More diehard fans of the series will revel in the backstory of how Solo made his fabled Kessel Run in record time, the deeper meaning behind the trinket given to Leia in The Last Jedi, and how Solo and Chewie meet for the first time, but it’s a given that all make it out of the adventure unscathed, as we know where their futures will take them. 

The female roles in particular, seem a little underused, as Clarke’s characters motivations are never clearly defined, Waller-Bridge’s L3-37 is mostly there for comic relief, and Newton’s Val doesn’t get enough overall screen time. 

Fans of the series will still have a fun time, and casual moviegoers will happily go along for the ride as well, though it seems like it could have been something much more.

With the studio turmoil surrounding the film, it’s maybe a surprise it turned out as well as it did, though you can probably walk (instead of run)  to see it on the big screen, or casual fans can easily wait until home video. 

Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theatres Friday.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (WHM rating – 7 out of 10 hearts)

john (johnc@weheartmusic.com) weheartmusic.com twitter.com/weheartmusic

Update (27 Jan 2018)

posted Jan 27, 2018, 5:49 PM by Vu Nguyen

August 1, 2003
Intercontinental Video Limited

VENGEANCE (1970) (Indonesia)
09 Jun 2005
United Home Entertainment

VENGEANCE (1970) (France)
09 Jun 2005
CTV International

Deals: Star Trek Enterprise Season One Blu-Ray for $7.55, plus digital comics

posted Dec 30, 2017, 6:48 AM by Vu Nguyen

From Vu

Marvel Comics

Once in a while, you know I like to pass along really good deals.

As a big Star Trek fan, a close friend of mine told me about this really good deal for Star Trek: Enterprise Season 1 on Blu-Ray for only $7.55: amazon.com

I couldn't believe it, I ended up buying the first three season for about $50.

Let me tell you, I originally bought these on DVD for $50 each, so getting three seasons for the same price I paid for the DVD, I couldn't pass it up. 

Also worth noting: Enterprise is the first Star Trek they shot on HD, the other series were all shot and presented (originally) for Standard Definition for Television.

While you're there, just a reminder that the Kindle Store has a massive Marvel and DC Comics sales (as well as other publishers).  If you buy Kindle comics, they are also available on your Comixology, providing you link your two accounts.  While all the DC digital trades are sold for $4.99, regardless of page count, the Marvel sale to scaled to release dates or discounts based on pricing.  For example, Infinity Gauntlet is sold for $2.99 (256 pages), but Black Widow: Web of Intrigue is sold for $6.50 (176 pages).

Alien: Covenant

posted May 22, 2017, 5:29 AM by Vu Nguyen

There were plenty of options for us over the weekend, including Art-A-Whirl and Springcon (MSP Comic-Con), but the weather wasn’t exactly cooperating. So we actually spent our money on indoors, which included going to the theaters to watch the new Alien: Covenant film.

This is the sixth Alien film, and it’s probably one of my new favorite, following the original Alien and Aliens, of course. I’ll start with the things I like: great acting from everyone on this film. Visually, everything looks spectacular. I love the Alien, its movement and look is very clean and fluid. All the acting is superb, especially during the frantic horrific scenes.

James Franco briefly made an appearance in the film, but after digging into it - apparently he originally had a much larger role in the film, but was cut out of the released film. I think director Ridley Scott made the right choice, giving us the backstory to the captain and the ship (the Covenant) would have made the movie too long.

If you’ve seen enough films, the Alien: Covenant plot is very typical of a sci-fi/horror film. They make a bad decision or wrong turn to investigate a nearby planet, not on their itinerary. Lead character (usually a girl), in this case, an unwanted leadership role by actress Katherine Waterston. The twist at the end, I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say that the group of people that saw this film with me all saw this coming. Despite all the tropes and clichés, I still fully enjoyed it.

My one complaint is, and this isn’t a spoiler if you’ve watched the trailer, why didn’t the crew of the Covenant wear space suits or protective gear when they landed on the Alien planet? Even in Prometheus (the previous film), everyone wore space suits with helmets. It didn’t make sense why this crew wouldn’t follow protocols or common sense.

Alien: Covenant

In Theatres May 19th, 2017 | © 2017 20th Century Fox

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.

Director: Ridley Scott
Actors: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby
Genre: Action and Adventure, Science Fiction,
Run Time: 2 hours 1 minute

Movie of the Year(s)

posted Jan 17, 2016, 7:23 PM by Vu Nguyen

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Mad Max
MAD MAXINE eonline.com E Online is reporting that Charlize Theron is ready to go beyond Thunderdome. ....

As you know, I love movies... particularly 70s Kung Fu and 80s horror. Unfortunately these films are lost when it comes to a younger generation of movie fans (who doesn't care much for these "classic" films). When they asked me for some advice in "modern" films, I realized that I don't really have a list handy for them. I've rectified that problem, and also crown my favorite movie in 2015 is Mad Max: Fury Road.

Below are some films in the past five years that I love. Spoilers ahead, in some cases!

I love the Mad Max trilogy. Well, more Road Warrior than I am with Thunderdome, but still, they were three really great movies.

I've been following the Mad Max: Fury Road since it was mentioned in 2009 as possibly about Mad Max's son. Then it was announced that Tom Hardy would play the villain and that Charlize Theron would be the new Mad Max(ine). Of course, now that Fury Road is out, we realized that a lot of changes were made to the story.

Of course, I would love to see an alternate Mad Max story, but what we got with Fury Road was just as satisfying.

I saw the film in theaters with the D-Box seating and it was really a great experience.

As for the story, there's really not a great story here. They drive around a lot and the film is one giant car chase movie... which is what I love about it!

The Raid
THE RAID 2 (2014)
The original The Raid failed, because of lack of story, so The Raid 2 is one of the rare time that the sequel is superior to the original film. The story of The Raid 2 is pretty complicated with a ton of characters to keep track of... and is not always easy to understand.

The best part about The Raid 2 is the introduction to the brother/sister assassins: Bat Man and Hammer Girl. We hope to see more weird characters like this in the third Raid film.

Also: the fights are unbelievable and unlike anything you've ever seen. If you're a fan of martial arts, you have to check this series out.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour
The French film Blue Is the Warmest Colour has one of the raunchiest (and realistic) sex scene I've ever seen in a mainstream film. This film is definitely deserving of that NC-17 rating.

Ultimately the story is a teenager Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) falling in love with the girl with the blue hair Emma (Léa Seydoux). Emma rejects Adele, but Adele still longs for her first love. The film is ultimate about Adele (which the original title "The Life of Adèle – Chapters 1 & 2") and her coming of age story.

There's fallout for the film after it was released. Both of the actress said that they were extremely uncomfortable with the love scene (which, let's face it, is the main centerpiece of the film) and felt like they were prostitutes. It's troubling because there probably won't be a Chapters 3 and 4.... not that the film needed a sequel.

DREDD (2012)
Look, we're all still trying to forget the Sylvester Stallone film!

What I absolutely love about Dredd is that it is just an unapologetic ultraviolent and over-the-top take on the Judge Dredd character. They got it right, especially if you look at the dark and gritty 2000 AD weeklies. Judge Dredd is a bit of a bastard sometime, especially how he treats the criminals. His rule is harsh, but fair.

The story is actually very, very similar to The Raid: Redemption, which came out around the same time. In both stories, the hero is trapped inside a building and he has to make his way to the top floor... encountering dangers at every level.

DRIVE (2011)
In the early 2000, I had an unlimited rental card at my local video rental store. What that meant was I could suddenly check out any of their library one at a time. It was like real-life Netflix! I went to the video rental store almost every day to check out random films.

One of the films I distinctively remember checking out was Pusher (1996) by a young Danish director called Nicolas Winding Refn. I didn't know it then, but it would be one of my favorite films. Nearly a decade later, he followed that original film with two sequels, Pusher II and Pusher 3 in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

His breakout films for the English language market (since all his pre-Pusher films were in Danish) seemed to be Fear X, followed by Bronson and Valhalla Rising. I did not see Fear X, but I did love Valhalla Rising a lot.

Anyway, let's just say that his masterpiece may be the underrated Drive film. It's actually a pretty easy to follow story, and I know a lot of people didn't "get" the film or just hated it. I think it's great, I love the 80s synth soundtrack, and the violence was just unreal.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Few people realized that this Edgar Wright's film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is actually based on a comic book. I've been following Wright's work since I first met him for the launch of Shaun of the Dead in Minneapolis in 2004. So I'm already a fan, but what Wright did with this film was just incredible. Really fun and quirky, and a great soundtrack.

While I couldn't care less for Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), I must confess, I did fall a little for Ramona Flowers (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

There you have it - my favorite movie for each year.

It was hard to just pick one favorite film, so here are my runner ups:

- The Book of Eli (2010)
- Attack the Block (2011)
- Prometheus (2012)
- Gravity (2013)
- Edge of Tomorrow* (2014)
- Ex Machina (2015)

* Surprisingly a decent film, but it suffered from bad marketing - aka Live. Die. Repeat. ... why didn't they just called it All You Need is Kill, which is the original Japanese title.

Scanners: Criterion Dual-Format Edition

posted Jan 1, 2016, 6:22 AM by Vu Nguyen

I'm a big David Cronenberg fan, owning many of his releases on DVDs (including Rabid, Fast Company, The Brood, Videodrome, The Dead Zone, The Fly, Crash, Naked Lunch, Eastern Promises) so I'm really in no hurry to make the expensive jump Blu-Rays.

As a Christmas gift to myself, I decided to get one of my favorite Scanners on Criterion Blu-Ray. This three-disc edition is a nice upgrade to my MGM DVD.

I haven't had a chance to look over the special features (which unfortunately is only available on as Standard Definition on DVD), but includes a new Scanners documentary, interview with Michael Ironside, interview with Stephen Lack, and interview with Cronenberg (excerpt only from 1981).

As for the actual film, it is a new 2k digital film transfer with monaural soundtrack. There are no commentaries or additional audio soundtracks. I was pretty disappointed in the lack of extras for the film (even MGM had at least a French dub for the Canadian fans). Cronenberg probably was too busy to do a commentary on this film, but previous Criterion DVDs I own had experts and critics... so there are ways of adding bonus content without the director's involvement (especially if the filmmakers have passed away).

As with all Criterion Blu-Rays and DVDs, they do not come with a digital code or offered their films on UltraViolet. I'm assuming this has to rights holder and legal reasons.

Making up for the lack of film features, Criterion included a new 2k version of Cronenberg's first film Stereo (1969). I previously got this film as a bonus from another DVD set, but it's not one of my favorite films.

With all three or four discs releases, Criterion has been putting them on Digipak. I feel the cardboard packaging is unique versus the normal Criterion plastic cases (however, the majority of collectors seems to prefer the boring plastics because it fits better on their shelves). Personally speaking, I love the Digipaks because they look cool.

The only downside to Criterion releases is that are really expensive (with the exception of some popular titles). Scanners (Dual-Format Edition) retails for $39.99... and from my experience, it's hard to find good discounts on their movies. I ordered my copy from Amazon for $25, and I still felt like I was paying too much, considering that brand new films just making their way to Blu-Ray are sold for only $20 (which you can always find at a discount or wait for the prices to drop to $10).

In the past, when I was still buying Criterion DVDs, I would wait for Barnes & Noble to have their "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" sale and would stock up, or wait for Criterion's "Flash Sale", which is 50% off their retail price. I think the last time I participated in their Flash Sale, their website went down due to demand... but I eventually got in to pick up the Three Colors boxset (for $40, plus shipping & taxes... pushing it to $50).

Scanners: MGM (DVD) and Criterion (Blu-Ray)

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