Blu Tuesday: Mad Max, Star Wars Rebels and More

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on Facebook and Twitter with your friends.

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

WHAT: Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is just barely surviving in the post-apocalyptic wasteland when he’s captured by tyrannical leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and forced to serve as a human blood bank for his diseased minions. But when a chance meeting between Max and war-rig driver Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) – who’s trying to rescue a group of female sex slaves that Joe plans to use for repopulation – results in his miraculous escape, he reluctantly agrees to help get the girls to safety.

WHY: George Miller may be 70 years old, but that hasn’t stopped him from outclassing filmmakers half his age by making one of the craziest and most badass action movies in ages. Though “Fury Road” looks absolutely gorgeous, with John Seale’s stunning cinematography providing a painterly quality to the visuals, the real reason to see it is for the action. Conceived as one long car chase, the film is packed with some of the most amazing action sequences you’ll ever see. It’s a minor miracle that no one died during the making of this movie, because Miller’s high-adrenaline set pieces are so visceral and unbridled that you genuinely fear for the lives of the actors and stuntmen with each explosion, car flip and crash. The overcranked, sped-up look works better in some places than others, but for the most part, the gonzo vehicular mayhem is a jaw-dropping assault on the senses that gets weirder as it goes along. Every minute of action is pure cinematic magic, though the dead space in between proves troublesome. Tom Hardy does what’s required of him as the mysterious, soft-spoken Max, but Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is the only character who’s given any actual development, bringing a humanity to her performance that stands head and shoulders above the rest. While the movie would have benefited from a tighter runtime and falls short of the worship-like praise that many people have heaped upon it, this is easily Miller’s best “Mad Max” film yet.

EXTRAS: In addition to a fairly extensive making-of featurette, there’s an interview with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron about their experiences on the movie, a look at designing the cars and other props, some behind-the-scenes footage from filming the action sequences and three deleted scenes.

FINAL VERDICT: BUY

“Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season One”

WHAT: In the wake of the Clone Wars, the Galactic Empire rules the galaxy with an iron fist. But a group of rebels – including Jedi-in-hiding Kanan, Twi’lek pilot Hera, Mandalorian weapons expert Sabine, Lasat honor guard Zeb and astromech droid Chopper – take a stand against their oppressors with the help of newest member Ezra Bridger, a teenage pickpocket with the ability to control the Force.

WHY: Following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and subsequent announcement that more “Star Wars” films were on the way, it only seemed natural to launch a new animated series as part of the hype machine. Though “Star Wars Rebels” doesn’t have anything to do with the upcoming movies (at least, not that we know of yet), it is part of the franchise’s official canon, set between the events of the “Clone Wars” animated series and the original trilogy. Unfortunately, the show is a little confused tonally as a result of trying to cater to both younger audiences and older fans. So while there are some things to really enjoy about “Rebels” (like the action and Ralph McQuarie-inspired designs), I’m not crazy about the jokier, PG-rated bits with Ezra, Zeb and Chopper. Additionally, the endless barrage of cameos featured in the first season (from C3P0 and R2D2, to Lando Calrissian and Darth Vader) is an unnecessary attempt to connect the “Rebels” crew to more familiar characters when it should be trying to exist as its own entity. The allure of that type of fan service is understandable, but it gets to the point where it makes the show feel beholden to the past when it should be looking ahead to the future.

EXTRAS: The Blu-ray release includes 14 behind-the-scenes featurettes, a collection of short films, a sneak peek at the upcoming second season and more.

FINAL VERDICT: RENT

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3 Easy to Make Seafood Dinners

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You don’t have to go to a restaurant to eat seafood. In fact, seafood dinners are some of the fastest cooking and easiest meals you can make in the comfort of your own home. To prove it, try out these three simple and delicious seafood dinner recipes.

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A roundtable chat with the drunk historians of “Drunk History”

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It’s hard not to kind of love the very simplicity of the concept behind Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.” Every episode features three absolutely true episodes from history as recounted by a really and truly very drunk person, and then reenacted by a cast of often famed and always 100% sober actors who are nevertheless mouthing dialogue direct from the drunken booze-addled narrator’s mouth. Yes, it’s a one-joke premise, but it’s a very good joke and somewhat educational besides.

As both a tried and true geek and Bullz-Eye’s official cocktail guy, it made total sense for me to meet with some of the creators and cast of “Drunk History” at Comic-Con last July. Each episode of the show, which returns to Comedy Central September 1st, is based in a different U.S. city, featuring important political, social and pop cultural stories from that particular city’s storied past. This year’s list includes Miami and two of this writer’s favorite drunk places, Las Vegas and New Orleans.

I was fortunate to meet with the show’s creators who first launched the series as a set of “Funny or Die” web videos. That would be actor and comic Derrick Waters – who appears in segments as a sort of drinking chaperone for the featured drunk historian, as well as in all of the reenactments – and producer Jeremy Konnor. Also along for the ride were performers Taran Killam of “SNL” fame, and the voluble actress Paget Brewster (“Community,” “Criminal Minds”), who holds the rare honor of being both a reenactor and a drunk historian. She and her cohorts had plenty to say on the topic of mixing history with booze.

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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to September

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Now that the summer movie season is finally over, it’s time to turn our attention to fall, and more importantly, awards season. Though you don’t normally see many Oscar hopefuls being released in September, over the past few years, studios have begun rolling out potential contenders earlier and earlier in order to get a leg up on the competition, and there are a few films this month that definitely fit the bill. Of course, if you’re still pining for some mindless entertainment left over from the doldrums of August, there’s plenty of that too.

“The Transporter Refueled”

Who: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Gabriella Wright and Radivoje Bukvic
What: In the south of France, former special-ops mercenary Frank Martin must rescue his kidnapped father after he unwittingly helps rob a Russian kingpin.
When: September 4th
Why: Apparently, the dearth of original ideas in Hollywood has gotten so bad that movie franchises from the early 2000s are now being rebooted, and if that sounds totally ridiculous, it’s because it is. The last two “Transporter” films may not have been very good, but rebooting the series with a different actor is hardly the answer. If the studio wanted more “Transporter” movies, they should have just done another sequel with Jason Statham instead, because this new version with Ed Skrein (who famously quit his recurring gig on “Game of Thrones” to make the film) looks even more terrible than Statham’s final appearance in the title role.

“The Visit”

Who: Kathryn Hahn, Ed Oxenbould, Olivia DeJonge and Peter McRobbie
What: A single mother sends her two children to visit their grandparents for the week, only to discover that the elderly couple is involved in something deeply disturbing.
When: September 11th
Why: M. Night Shyamalan’s career has been circling the drain for the better part of a decade now, so it’s not surprising to see him reduced to making found-footage horror movies in order to pay the bills. There’s nothing even remotely scary in the trailer to suggest that “The Visit” will be anything other than a disappointment, which is a shame, because Shyamalan used to have a real talent for creating suspense. His last few films were a complete joke, however, and while it would be nice to see him stop the rot with a low-budget genre movie that plays to his strengths as a director, “The Visit” simply doesn’t look the part.

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Inessa Chimato on the beach

We discovered the beautiful and curvy Inessa Chimato several years ago in her Featured Model shoot for Bullz-Eye, so we’re thrilled to feature another gallery of this lovely redhead as she’s featured in another Kaloopy video.

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