Blu Tuesday: Batman v Superman 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 social media with your friends.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

WHAT: Terrified of what Superman (Henry Cavill) could do with his godlike power after witnessing the damage he caused during the Battle of Metropolis, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) – now a seasoned crime-fighter as the vigilante Batman – becomes obsessed with stopping him by any means necessary. Meanwhile, billionaire tech genius Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is building his own weapon to combat the alien threat using a piece of Kryptonite uncovered in the Indian Ocean. But when Luthor discovers that he shares a common enemy with Bruce, he manipulates Batman into doing his dirty work for him.

WHY: It’s scary to think that Warner Bros. is betting the future of its entire DC Comics film slate on “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” because it’s an overlong, overstuffed and disjointed mess of a movie that’s made only slightly better with the new Ultimate Edition extended cut. The film is constantly being pulled in mutiple directions, tirelessly working to function as a sequel to “Man of Steel,” a Batman reboot and a prequel to the forthcoming Justice League movie. That it’s even remotely coherent at all is to the credit of director Zack Snyder. In fact, there’s a really solid superhero flick buried somewhere beneath all the clumsy plotting and self-seriousness, but while the film has its charms – specifically, Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jesse Eisenberg’s bold take on Lex Luthor – Snyder gets so caught up in teasing future installments that he neglects his characters in the process. “Batman v Superman” wants to have its cake and eat it too, and although you can’t fault Snyder’s ambition, if Marvel taught us anything with its measured buildup to “The Avengers,” it’s that the proverbial cake tastes much better when it’s been earned.

EXTRAS: The Blu-ray release is packed with over two hours of bonus material, including a behind-the-scenes look at uniting the heroes of the DC cinematic universe, in-depth profiles on Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor, production featurettes on the Batmobile and Batcave, filming the titular showdown and much more.


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Third Time’s Not the Charm: The worst threequels in cinema


Sometimes it’s best to quit when you’re ahead. It’s tempting to keep on going with the gravy train and assume that the cash will just flow in based on the name alone, but sometimes that means coming up with paper-thin excuses to make a movie, to tell a tale no one was asking for, and to simply try to skate by on the goodwill of the former films. Some of these duds are nadirs of the series; some of them are just portents of worst things to come. A couple would be the forerunners for better films (“Rambo” is a great return to the brutality and morality of “First Blood,” and many Trekkies hold “Star Trek IV” close to their hearts), but for the most part, these third entries are unabashed attempts to cash in on known quantities without any of the artistic merits of the previous two films.

There are some pretty good threequels as well, but these ten films aren’t anywhere in the neighborhood of being considered good. In conjunction with the upcoming release of “Star Trek Beyond,” the third part in the new Kelvinverse “Star Trek” series, it’s time to reflect on the ten worst threequels in film history.

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#SmellEm If You Got ‘Em! All-access at the 2016 ESPYS and after-party


I asked Cam Newton to teach me how to dab and this was his response.

In the first 15 minutes at the official after-party of the 2016 ESPYS, I shook Richard Sherman’s hand, met former Lakers’ player/coach Byron Scott and told him he got a raw deal after his recent firing, and got a selfie with former Detroit Pistons “bad boy” John Salley. The Spider’s body was made for selfies:

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Drink of the Week: The Hawaiian Cocktail

The Hawaiian Cocktail.I’m not sure how it was that you could call a drink The Hawaiian Cocktail back in the day without including any specifically Hawaiian ingredients, but that was apparently the case when “The Savoy Cocktail Book” was published in 1930. Indeed, based on the ingredients, it may have been more apt to call today’s drink the Californian or Florida Cocktail, since there isn’t a trace of anything native to Hawaii and the drink is dominated by orange juice. On the other hand, if you take a picture of this drink in the right light, it’s pretty much the same color as pineapple juice, so there’s that.

So, why this particular drink? Well, within 30 or so hours of the time this post goes live, I will be on Kauai to attend the wedding of a very old and valued friend and, if not now, then when? Yes, there are better known cocktails associated with the 50th state in the Union, and I’m pretty sure there are probably better tasting ones. However, they’re mostly a bit more fattening than average, and I’m actually trying to lose weight right now.

Suffice it to say, this is a drink that’s a bit on the sweet side but which, I think, can work reasonably okay if you keep your ingredients on a short leash.

The Hawaiian Cocktail

2 ounces gin
1 ounce fresh orange juice
1/2 ounce orange curacao or Grand Marnier

Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with lots of ice, shake very vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Salute our nation’s 50th state and maybe look up the meaning of “mahalo” for the 50th time. I know it means something nice and polite, but I keep forgetting what that is.

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Third Time’s the Charm: The best threequels in cinema


The third entry in a film franchise can often be a real lull in the series that barely extends a reason for it to continue. However, there are more than a few examples of great Part Threes (or threequels, if you’ll allow the portmanteau) in cinema where they not only justify their existence but stand alone as great and entertaining films in their own right. Some of them are wrapping up trilogies (or impromptu trilogies), while others give the series a resurgence of energy and importance, but they all deliver the goods when people could have easily just gone on autopilot. As audiences prepare to see what type of movie “Star Trek Beyond” will be, here are the top ten best threequels in film.

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