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Currently showing posts tagged 2014

  • Into the Woods (2014) Blu-ray Review

    Into the Woods (2014)

    Director: Rob Marshall

    Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine & Johnny Depp

    Released by: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Based on the Tony Award-winning musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Into the Woods centers on iconic fairy tale characters including, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, young Jack (and his beanstalk) and Rapunzel as their stories intertwine with a childless baker and his wife, tasked to reverse a witch’s curse put upon them.  The impressive ensemble cast includes, Meryl Streep (August: Osage County), Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada), James Corden (The Three Musketeers), Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Chris Pine (Star Trek), Tracey Ullman (The Tracey Ullman Show) and Johnny Depp (The Lone Ranger).

    Beloved for its sensational music and risqué interpretations of fairy tales, Into the Woods takes certain liberties with its big-screen adaptation while, remaining true to the spirit of its stage production.  With all changes and revisions approved by its original creators, Disney’s modestly budgeted spectacle charms viewers with Dennis Gassner’s (Big Fish) rich production design and eclectic cast that all manage to carry Sondheim’s music with ease.  Incorporating characters from several Brothers Grimm tales, Into the Woods centers on a husband and wife baking team (Corden and Blunt), unable to have children due to a wicked witch’s (Streep) curse.  In order to break the spell, the couple must fetch various items belonging to fellow characters including, Little Red Riding Hood’s cape, Cinderella’s shoe, Rapunzel’s hair and Jack’s cow.  Accustomed to each character and their respective stories, Into the Woods turns audience expectation on its head with twists that playfully poke fun at the sappy and clichéd tales.  While, more adult content and heavier violence may be softened, suggestive sequences involving Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford in her film debut) and The Wolf, in a minor role by Johnny Depp re-teaming with his Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director, remain intact and inject a splash of innuendo.

    No stranger to the musical world, Director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine) delivers a fantasy world of wonder and fear that takes viewers‘ breath away.  Unsurprisingly loaded with musical sequences, Into the Woods bewitches with its rich soundtrack including, the film’s catchy prologue and the hilariously passionate “Agony” performed by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen.  While, its on-screen talent never lacks, the film’s standout performance belongs to Emily Blunt whose comedic timing and beautiful singing voice elevate the picture to even higher standards.  Although, captivating and gorgeous, Into the Woods experiences pacing issues in its final act that tend to drag the picture down.  Whilst, “happily ever after” doesn’t exactly apply as one would expect, characters dissatisfied with their fates seek to rectify them as danger looms from a violent female giant threatening the villagers of the woods.  A mild setback but, one that attempts to cram too much into a timeframe that would have benefitted from more breathing room.  Regardless of these mishaps, Into the Woods is a magical journey based on the fairy tales you thought you knew but, tweaked on a grand scale with astounding production detail and exhilarating musical performances.

    Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents Into the Woods with a 1080p transfer, bearing a 2.39:1 aspect ratio.  Although, doused in dimly lit, fog-entranced settings, Into the Woods astonishes with inky black levels that reveal no crushing and crystal clear visibility.  Skin tones register naturally and remarkably detailed while, more prominent colors found in Little Red Riding Hood’s cape and Cinderella’s gold gown pop and sparkle magnificently.  In addition, mildly used but, wildly effective, Into the Woods  visual effects sequences light up the screen with zero imperfections on display.  Simply put, Into the Woods casts a perfect spell of a transfer.  Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix, Into the Woods sings perfect harmonies with exceptional dialogue levels that project with sheer crispness.  Meanwhile, the plentiful musical sequences excite the mix with solid depth and range that will leave viewers enraptured by the powerful sound.  In one of Disney’s more recently packed releases, special features run aplenty including, an Audio Commentary with Director Rob Marshall, Streep Sings Sondheim - “She’ll Be Back” (4:48).  Introduced by Marshall, this newly crafted song was shot for the film but ultimately cut.  Also included, There’s Something About the Woods (13:23), The Cast As Good As Gold (10:10), Deeper Into the Woods, a four-part featurette covering From Stage to Screen (8:33), The Magic of the Woods (7:24), Designing the Woods (7:07) and The Costumes of the Woods (6:53).  Finally, Music & Lyrics allows viewers to jump directly to their favorite songs of the film or watch the entire film with optional lyrics while, Sneak Peeks for Disney Movie Rewards (0:32), Once Upon A Time (0:32), The Lion King Broadway Musical (0:32) and Disney’s Descendants (0:17) are included with a Digital HD Code of the release rounding out the supplemental material.

    Capturing the wondrous and fantastical realms of fairy tales, Into the Woods takes the familiar and delivers an entirely unique, slightly adult-oriented revision of happily ever after.  Richly conceived and supporting one of the most talented ensemble casts put forth in a musical, Disney’s big-screen adaptation does justice to its original production, giving movie audiences an effort well worth venturing into.  In addition, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Blu-ray release is unquestionably perfect with an informative and ample amount of supplements.  Wishing upon a star, Disney enthusiasts and the musically-minded will find magical delight journeying Into the Woods.

    RATING: 4.5/5

    Available today from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Into the Woods can be purchased via DisneyStore.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • Dark Haul (2014) Blu-ray Review

    Dark Haul (2014)

    Director: Daniel Wise

    Starring: Tom Sizemore, Rick Ravanello & Evalena Marie

    Released by: Scream Factory

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Dark Haul centers on a society of guardians who fall astray as they attempt to transport a demon creature and its half-human sister in an 18-wheeler to a secure location.  When a hidden agenda compromises their mission, the beast is unleashed with the society battling for the fate of the world and their lives.  Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan), Rick Ravanello (The Cave) and Evalena Marie (Remains) star.

    Produced in conjunction with the SyFy network, Dark Haul takes a far more serious approach to its material than past productions including, the “so bad, they’re good” Sharknado films.  Unfortunately, Dark Haul nosedives almost instantly with a 1700s-era prologue detailing a cryptic prophecy that births a demon creature and its half-human sister.  Flash-forwarding to present day, a secret society known as The Keepers continue their mission of attempting to capture the evil spawns to whisk them away to a barren Pennsylvania location.  Although, related to the grotesque creature and detained by The Keepers, Zib (Marie) is ordered to control her brother to ensure both their safety as they are forced into their new dwelling.  Finally captured and hauled off in an 18-wheeler, the winged beast is eventually freed, much to the dismay of Keeper member, Knicks (Sizemore).  As countless lives are taken, The Keepers and Zib must do everything they can to contain the monster before all hope is lost.

    Constantly referred to as The Jersey Devil yet, with no mention in its advertisements, Dark Haul takes what could have been a fun tale surrounding a New Jersey myth but, instead delivers an overly complicated mess.  Lacking in any semblance of suspense, this creature feature boasts dull performances and abysmal computer-generated effects that offer concrete evidence of its subpar budget.  In addition, the sibling creatures’ endless abilities to blind others, create mirages and speak telepathically to one another reeks of lazy writing and a means to easily excuse the characters out of any threat.  Action sequences involving a gas station in flames and countless Jersey Devil attacks offer little to no excitement with its conclusion leaving the viewer bewildered.  While, its premise showed mild promise, Dark Haul ultimately suffers from a far too busy and uninteresting narrative matched with atrocious effects work, derailing this horror offering as one SyFy’s more forgettable productions.

    Scream Factory presents Dark Haul with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.  Shot digitally, this SyFy offering relays relatively natural skin tones while, lacking sharper detail in most closeups.  The cold, desolate settings never contribute much color, leaving the film with a very drab appearance.  In addition, black levels disappoint with moderate levels of noise, disrupting the viewing experience.  Fairing better than its video transfer, Dark Haul comes equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix boasting audible dialogue levels and well handled boosts in action sequences involving inferno and gunshots.  In addition, an optional DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix is also provided for your listening pleasure.  Finally, a Trailer (1:45) marks the sole special feature on this release.

    Falling on the lower tier of SyFy productions, Dark Haul is an atrocious disaster that will leave viewers scratching their heads in disappointment.  Devoid of any thrills or excitement, Dark Haul loses its audience with an overcomplicated plot and a monster compromised by painfully dreadful modern effects.  Scream Factory’s Blu-ray presentation is adequate but, lacks the sharpness one might expect from a newly produced feature.  A complete blunder from start to finish, Dark Haul is a ride best missed.

    RATING: 2/5

    Available March 10th from Scream Factory, Dark Haul can be purchased via ShoutFactory.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014) Blu-ray Review

    Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014)

    Director: Bobs Gannaway

    Starring: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen, Curtis Armstrong, Stacy Keach & Hal Holbrook

    Released by: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    From DisneyToon Studios, Dusty Crophopper and a new gang of soaring characters take to the skies in this action-adventure follow-up.  Confronted with hard truths, accomplished racer Dusty, must adapt to his new situation in order to help those closest to him.  Dane Cook (Dan in Real Life) returns to voice the cropduster who could as he faces endless obstacles and dangers on his road to becoming a firefighter.  Above the world of Cars, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment proudly presents Planes: Fire & Rescue.

    Following the success of world racer Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook), Planes: Fire & Rescue finds the noble former cropduster confronted with crushing news about his malfunctioning gearbox.  With his racing career halted, an accident caused by Dusty signals the inadequate firefighting capabilities of Propwash Junction airport.  In order to reopen, Dusty heads to Piston Peak National Park to undergo firefighting training by working side by side with seasoned vets and combating intense blazes.  Ed Harris (A Beautiful Mind), Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Curtis Armstrong (American Dad!), John Michael Higgins (Bad Teacher), Hal Holbrook (Lincoln), Teri Hatcher (Coraline), Stacy Keach (American History X) and Cedric the Entertainer (Larry Crowne) co-star.

    MOVIE:

    Following the underdog formula of Cars, the original Planes skyrocketed from direct-to- video captivity to become a theatrical box-office smash.  Released only a year later, Planes: Fire & Rescue ambitiously moves the story in new directions with unimaginative results.  While, avoiding repetition and implementing more action, the sequel lacks colorful supporting characters and bolsters a dull narrative.  Moments of genuine emotion are halted far too quickly to be effective and the intended humor fails to register.  Dusty’s lively friends and co-racers from the original film are nonexistent or regulated to cameos, making way for a squad of new unmemorable characters.  Training with an efficient team of wilderness firefighters, headed by Blade Ranger (Ed Harris), Dusty hopes to find a new purpose in life while, restoring safety to his hometown.  Filled with visually impressive sequences of fire blazing action, Planes: Fire & Rescue ultimately registers as all fluff and little flair.

    Incorporating rock tunes from AC/DC and various pop culture references (Howard the Truck), Planes: Fire & Rescue should be commended for its willingness to experiment but, fails to obtain the simple charms that made its predecessor a delight.  Headlined by an impressive voice cast, the performers find difficulty making the shallow story and weak characters gel.  As a professed fan of the original, Planes: Fire & Rescue offers splendid, at times gorgeous, animation with an action-heavy emphasis but, in the end, nosedives into mediocrity.

    RATING: 2/5

    VIDEO:

    Where its narrative falters, its high-definition appearance soars.  Arriving with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, Plane: Fire & Rescue possesses the pristine charm of Disney’s newly released animated features.  Bright and bold, colors pop off the screen, ranging from the varying spectrums of the planes and the glorious scenery.  Black levels are handled with care, appearing with no crush or digital noise, allowing for optimal clarity.  In addition, scenes of intense inferno allow for impressive detail of the element to shine through.  Once again, Disney flies high with a pitch perfect transfer for viewers to marvel at.  

    RATING: 5/5

    AUDIO:

    Equipped with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix, Planes: Fire & Rescue registers loud and clearly with more than satisfying results.  Dialogue is crisp with only minor moments of sound effects and music dampening its volume.  The wailing wind as the planes soar by and the crackling fire are effective and balanced nicely throughout the mix.  Music including, Spencer Lee’s “Still I Fly”, is always given priority and forcefully invades your speakers.

    RATING: 4.5/5

    EXTRAS:

    • Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular (5:55): In this exclusive short, Dusty and Chug have to fill in for absent stunt show performers, Air Devil Jones and Vademonium, resulting in hilarity.

    • Welcome to Piston Peak! (2:49): Faux vintage commercial for the wilderness area seen in the film.

    • “CHoPs” TV Promo (0:45)

    • Air Attack: Firefighters From the Sky (4:47): Producer Ferell Barron and Director Bobs Gannaway tour a California Air Attack base giving viewers an inside look at the brave firefighters‘ rigorous training and complex equipment.

    • Deleted Scenes (4:32): Two scenes including Honkers and Dusty’s Dream No More are accompanied by intros from Producer Ferell Barron and Director Bobs Gannaway.

    • “Still I Fly” Music Video by Spencer Lee (1:31)

    • Animated Shorts: Dipper (1:45) and Smoke Jumpers (1:44).

    • Sneak Peeks: Promos for the Disney Store, Star Wars Rebels and Maleficent.

    • DVD Edition

    • Digital HD Code

    RATING: 2.5/5

    OVERALL:

    Hardly taking a breather after the original film’s success, Planes: Fire & Rescue zoomed into theaters less than a year later with lesser reverence.  Willing to spread its creative wings, this continuation ups the action but, substitutes humorous characters for uninspired ones.  DisneyToon Studios, predominately responsible for direct-to-video work including the popular Tinkerbell franchise, simultaneously delivers sensational animation and a hollow story.  Fortunately, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Blu-ray shines in every way possible from bold colors to quality sound mixing.  With the exception of the enjoyable Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular short, special features are rather scant and uneventful.  Released theatrically in 3D, Planes: Fire & Rescue joins Maleficent as the latest Disney offering to unfortunately evade a 3D Blu-ray release.  While, Planes: Fire & Rescue may entertain younger audiences, its hasty release and monotonous narrative limit a wider appeal.

    RATING: 3.5/5

    Available November 4thPlanes: Fire & Rescue can be purchased through Disney.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • Deliver Us from Evil (2014) Blu-ray Review

    Deliver Us from Evil (2014)

    Director: Scott Derrickson

    Starring: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris and Joel McHale

    Released by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    From the director of Sinister and Marvel Studios’ upcoming Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson, leads you into a supernatural journey through New York’s gritty streets.  Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise), Deliver Us from Evil melds the worlds of the police procedural with the occult for a truly terrifying experience.  Presented by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Deliver Us from Evil urges you to hold fast to your faith...  you’ll need it.

    Inspired by actual accounts, Deliver Us from Evil centers on New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana, Munich).  While, investigating a series of disturbing and unexplainable crimes, Sarchie discovers supernatural forces behind their doing.  Joining forces with a rebellious priest (Édgar Ramírez, Domino), the duo must confront demonic possessions that are overrunning the city.  Olivia Munn (The Newsroom), Sean Harris (Prometheus) and Joel McHale (Ted) co-star.

    MOVIE:

    No stranger to stories of the supernatural, Director Scott Derrickson took inspiration from Author Ralph Sarchie’s nonfiction work, Beware the Night, to weave his latest opus of horror.  Grounded in the urban reality of The Bronx, New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Bana) attempts to maintain law and order against daily dangers on the job.  Encountering several unexplainable crimes linked to three Iraqi war veterans, the faithless Sarchie begins experiencing supernatural occurrences.  Pursued by a hard-drinking unconventional priest (Ramírez), Sarchie begins to believe in the otherworldly incidents plaguing his life.  When his family becomes entangled in the demons wrath, Sarchie must confront his own skeletons and assist his unlikely priest partner in religiously combating the evil.  Bana adapts a New York accent effortlessly while, channeling the proper attitude and aggression to portray a tough street cop.  Loving, albeit neglectful of his wife and daughter, Sarchie’s grim dealings of recovering deceased babies from dumpsters and responding to spousal abuse calls takes drastic tolls on his psyche.  Unfortunately, Bana’s performance slightly lacks by not showing a stronger sense of his conflicting emotions.  While, showcasing more anger and depression would have humanized the character more, Bana still delivers a performance worth standing by.  Meanwhile, Édgar Ramírez breaks the obvious conventions of clergymen with his Latin American ethnicity and dependency on cigarettes and booze.  Intensely serious, Ramírez does well in his role as exorcist while, harboring personal demons of his own.  The gorgeous Olivia Munn is often underused but, satisfies in her role as Sarchie’s dedicated wife.  The unusual casting of funnyman Joel McHale as Sarchie’s partner plays to the film’s advantage with his subtle comic relief and strong chemistry with Bana.  In addition, McHale’s aggressive training with knives pays off as his stunt scenes come off authentic and thrilling.

    While, Derrickson’s previous encounter with demonic possessions, 2005’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose, was more courtroom drama, Deliver Us from Evil shares more with 70s police dramas and Martin Scorsese’s underrated Bringing out the Dead.  Disturbing in its gritty realism of horrific crimes, the film’s supernatural layer of possessions, contorted bodies and inanimate objects moving, invokes a genuine sense of uneasiness and suspense.  With the exception of minor character flaws, Deliver Us from Evil is an effectively frightening effort in urban crime and demonic terror.  

    RATING: 4/5

    VIDEO:

    Deliver Us from Evil arrives in a 1080p transfer, sporting a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.  Shot in predominant darkness with endless nighttime sequences, somber overcasts and dimly lit offices, Deliver Us from Evil shines on the Blu-ray format.  Crisp and clear with no crushing whatsoever, detail is remarkable allowing for total appreciation of subtitles such as Bana’s five ’clock shadow and Sean Harris‘ outstanding prosthetic scars.  While, colors are virtually nonexistent in this supernatural tale, the intendedly grim appearance is flawless.

    RATING: 5/5

    AUDIO:

    Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, Deliver Us from Evil packs a solid punch with dialogue relayed with no hitches.  The mix also makes great use of a variety of ranges, including subtle animals noises in The Bronx Zoo to the wildly booming intensity of the film’s climatic exorcism sequence.  Demonic gibberish, crashing glass and the impactful use of songs from The Doors earn this track a perfect seal of approval.

    RATING: 5/5

    EXTRAS:

    • Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Scott Derrickson

    • Illuminating Evil (13:36): This slightly brief, albeit informative, making of featurette traces the origins of the project and its appeal to the production team.  Co-Writer/Director Scott Derrickson, Co-Writer Paul Harris Boardman, Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the core cast of Bana, Munn and McHale are all interviewed.

    • Deliver Us from Demons (8:25): Exclusive to the Blu-ray release, Prosthetic Makeup Designer Mike Marino shares his creative process crafting Sean Harris‘ detailed prosthetic scars.

    • The Two Sergeants (8:05): In another Blu-ray exclusive featurette, Co-Writer/Director Scott Derrickson and Star Eric Bana discuss the real Ralph Sarchie and the importance of capturing his mannerisms and intense personality.

    • The Demon Detective: “The Work” and the Real Ralph Sarchie (9:37): In this final Blu-ray exclusive, Author Ralph Sarchie is interviewed about his tenure on the New York Police force, his encounters with the supernatural and his current work as a demonologist.

    • Previews: Trailers include No Good Deed, The Equalizer, The Remaining, Predestination, Grace: The Possession and The Calling.

    • Digital HD Code

    RATING: 4/5

    OVERALL:

    Continuing his successful genre efforts, Director Scott Derrickson has weaved an undeniably eerie and disturbing tale about a faithless law enforcer tasked with facing the devil.  Capturing a grim tone set in the real world hell of South Bronx, Deliver Us from Evil continues to widen Derrickson’s creative canvas as he plunges into “marvelous” worlds of magic and sorcery.  Much to the delight of viewers, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has delivered pitch perfect audio and video treatments with a wide-ranging spread of rich and informative bonus features.  Just in time for the Halloween season, enthusiasts of gritty cop dramas and supernatural thrillers will find much in Deliver Us from Evil to keep you equally entertained and unsettled.  

    RATING: 4.5/5

    Availble now, Deliver Us from Evil can purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • Next Goal Wins (2014) DVD Review

    Next Goal Wins (2014)

    Director(s): Mike Brett & Steve Jamison

    Starring: Thomas Rongen, Jaiyah Saelua, Nicky Salapu, Gene Ne’emia & Larry Mana’o

    Released by: Ketchup Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    In 2001, the American Samoa soccer team suffered a 31-0 loss to Australia, hailed as the worst defeat in international history.  Before long, losing became a way of life for the struggling team who had seized to win a game in nearly two decades.  Defying the odds and keeping their passion high, the once laughed at team would turn their luck around.  Inspiring and emotional, Ketchup Entertainment proudly presents the critically acclaimed documentary Next Goal Wins, a real-life Cinderella story set in the world of international soccer.

    Next Goal Wins centers on the ragtag American Samoa soccer team, a successfully losing unit for nearly 20 years banished to the bottom of the FIFA World rankings.  Skill levels at a minimum and hope nearly lost, Dutch coach Thomas Rongen invades the islanders lives and pushes them to limits unknown to them.  With a month to prepare for the World Cup Qualification campaign, Rongen sets out on an unbelievable journey with his new team that will leave you cheering on your feet.

    MOVIE:

    While, never being a sports enthusiasts, fictional films or inspiring documentaries on the topic have always been rewarding experiences.  In the vein of Hoop Dreams, Next Goal Wins is an encouraging tale of the American Samoa soccer team who after becoming the laughing stock of the soccer world, manage to remain optimistic against their humility.  Unfortunately, their positive outlook does little to help their athletic skills until American-based coach Thomas Rongen takes on the challenge of guiding them.  Rongen is a tough, no-nonsense coach that is determined to mold the heart of the team into a strategically sound crew.  With the tragedy of a recent tsunami fresh in their minds and the players working several jobs on top of playing soccer for free, the admiration for these hardworking individuals is staggering.  Inviting two off-island players to join the league, the American Samoans’ brotherly love and unwavering support for one another is moving.  The genuine acceptance of all people is spotlighted on Jaiyah Saelua, the first transsexual player to compete in international football, whom her fellow players accept with open arms.  Tirelessly working and perfecting their technique, Thomas Rongen, recently suffering the loss of his daughter, learns much about himself and develops a lasting bond with his squad. 

    Next Goal Wins is exhilarating as the American Samoans embark on a series of World Cup Qualifying games that leave you an emotional wreck.  While, the highly evolved team make great strides, ultimately they don’t win their final qualifying game but that hardly matters.  The heart and lasting message of Next Goal Wins is not about winning but rising above oppression and proving to yourself change is possible with hard work, determination and love.  A true Cinderella story littered with colorful personalities and an emotionally sweeping journey for the viewer ranks Next Goal Wins as one of the finest sports documentaries in recent years.

    RATING: 5/5

    VIDEO:

    Utilizing the RED Epic camera and shot on 5K resolution, Next Goal Wins is presented in a widescreen format (16x9) and looks quiet nicely.  Beautiful footage of the island location is captured while, the bulk of the runtime centers on typical interview style segments and on-field training footage with detail decently relayed.  As most documentaries are shot with little direction and constantly moving, Next Goals Wins looks as fine as any documentary made with today’s technology.

    RATING: 3.5/5

    AUDIO:

    Equipped with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, Next Goal Wins is always audible, capturing all dialogue with no real issues to speak of.  Of course, pre-arranged interviews are most likely of slightly better quality but overall the mix has nothing worth complaining about.

    RATING: 3.5/5

    EXTRAS:

    - Theatrical Trailer

    RATING: 0.5/5

    OVERALL:

    First time documentarians Mike Brett and Steve Jamison have captured an incredibly moving and engaging look into the lives of the undervalued American Samoan soccer team.  Dismissed for years as never-ending losers, Thomas Rongen’s efforts lit a new fire of determination into the struggling team, taking them on the ride of their lifetime.  Non-sports fans need not worry as Next Goal Wins promises to inspire and move you better than most of today’s dramas.  The American Samoans acceptance of all people regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation and their unbreakable optimism is well worth applauding.  The strength of this unforgettable documentary will leave you teary-eyed and determined to make your own dreams a reality.

    RATING: 4.5/5