Top Five Zombie Movies

Zombie_top_five_featureWhen it comes to the zombie genre the definable standards are fairly fluid. There have been numerous approaches to defining zombies and how they are created and killed. Well, maybe, the method of killing a zombie is the only universal standard in the genre. Zombies can be created from chemicals, radiation, viruses or unknown. They can be fast or slow, organized or automatons. The genre continues to develop into more plausible stories with some movies providing pseudoscientific explanations. Some zombie movies now even offer cures. In recent years the genre has moved from the fringe to the main stream with the successful television show The Walking Dead and this summer’s hit movieWorld War Z. This is my list zombie movies that I have enjoyed. This list contains spoilers. Consider yourself warned.

5. Warm Bodies

Buy
Buy

This film included three interesting additions to the genre even if they were not necessarily original. Warm Bodies had two tiers of zombies. 1. There are dead people who are zombies and then there are zombies who become more zombified. 2. What I enjoyed about this film was the possibility that zombies could come back to life, well at least mostly. 3. If a zombie eats someone’s brain that zombie experiences their victim’s memories and emotions. This was arguably the first zombie romantic date movie, because of the romance that develops between the two leading characters. (My wife does not agree with this.) Warm Bodies contains the following types of zombies:

  • Intelligence: Smart, memory recall from victim’s brains
  • Senses: Sight and Audio Sensitivity
  • Curability: Depending on which tier of zombification
  • Speed: Slow to Extremely Fast
  • Zombie Killing People: Horde
  • People Killing Zombie: Head shot

4. World War Z

Buy
Buy

I am including World War Z in this list, because of what it has done for the genre overall. There were concerns within the movie industry that the World War Z would fail epically, but those concerns were put to rest. World War Z has become the most successful zombie movie of all time with a worldwide gross of over a half billion dollars. It can not be overlooked that World War Z cost nearly $200 million. Clearly, Brad Pitt and his team at Plan B Entertainment believed in the story presented in Max Brooks’ book of the same title. And after a few months in theaters their investment has paid off. With the success of World War Z there is an increased likelihood that other movie studios will invest in zombie movies of higher quality. World War Z contains the following types of zombies:

  • Intelligence: Some Intellect
  • Senses: Sight and Audio Sensitivity
  • Curability: TBD
  • Speed: Slow to Fast
  • Zombie Killing People: Horde
  • People Killing Zombie: Head shot

3. Zombieland

Buy
Buy

Zombieland was successful for only one reason, and this is only my opinion, Woody Harrelson. He made this movie. His character, Tallahassee, was the stabilizing force for the other characters. Even though he was a source of humor he kept everyone grounded. I don’t mean grounded in the sense of his character playing the straight guy in a comedic dynamic, because clearly that was Jesse Eisenberg’s character Columbus.

There has been discussion within the movie industry about a possible sequel, but it does not appear to be getting traction. This year Amazon ordered a television pilot based on the characters from the movie for its Amazon Instant video service. Upon completion and release of said pilot it was soon announced that the series would not be produced. Zombieland is a fun interesting movie that appears, for the time being, to be a one time experience. Zombieland contains the following types of zombies:

  • Intelligence: Not Very Smart
  • Senses: Sight and Audio Sensitivity
  • Curability: Incurable
  • Speed: Slow to Fast
  • Zombie Killing People: Horde
  • People Killing Zombie: Head shot

2. Night of the Living Dead

Watch Online
Watch Online

It is arguably the zombie movie that created the current genre that brought us World War Z (for better or worse). It is a masterfully executed film. In 1968, when the film was released, the United States was still struggling through severe racial inequality. This film offered something rarely seen during that time, a Black man leading an all white cast as the hero. The irony of Ben (Duane Jones) being the sole survivor of the zombie horde only to be killed by an all white posse could not be ignored during this racially tense time.

Due to a mismanaged copyright this film is now in the public domain and can be watched online for free. You can watch it below if you like.


Night of the Living Dead contains the following types of zombies:

  • Intelligence: Not Very Smart
  • Senses: Sight and Audio Sensitivity
  • Curability: Incurable
  • Speed: Slow
  • Zombie Killing People: Horde
  • People Killing Zombie: Head shot

1. 28 Days Later

Buy
Buy

I have watched this movie about a dozen times and I finally realized why I liked it so much. Simply,the characters made fairly reasonable decisions. Most zombie movies are plagued with stupid characters who make stupid decisions. 28 Days Later had conflict because of circumstances and not because of idiotic decisions. Not until late in the second act of the movie do the main characters meet people who were dangerous.

The director, Danny Boyle, brought an intelligence and sophistication to the genre that had previously been lacking. And something I consider a pleasant break from the typical zombie movie, it featured women who were tough, not guy tough, but woman tough. They were not helpless and irrational. Most zombie movies have the obligatory stupid woman that goes off alone for no logical reason or chooses to embrace her zombified boyfriend.

If you have never seen 28 Days Later it is worth watching. Skip the sequel 28 Weeks Later. Even though it has a great cast, the plot of the sequel is filled with character choices that are inexplicably stupid. One would be forgivable, but I remember about five really nonsensical choices.

28 Days Later is a standout in the genre. I hope that more movies within the genre can take cues from it to build smart interesting stories. 28 Days Later contains the following types of zombies:

  • Intelligence: Alert and aware
  • Senses: Sight and Audio Sensitivity
  • Curability: Incurable
  • Speed: Fast (humanly so)
  • Zombie Killing People: A few zombies can get the job done
  • People Killing Zombie: trauma to vital organs

What are your favorite zombie movies? Let me know in the comments below.

Now You See Me Buyer’s Guide

now-you-see-me-featureI remember watching the preview for this movie and being intrigued by the idea of whether the magic was real or not. Now You See Me, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo and Dave Franco (James Franco’s little bro), has talent to spare. For secondary casting they borrowed some of the best from the most recent Dark Knight series: Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. I enjoyed this movie at the theater and thought the director Louis Leterrier did a solid job of keeping the audience interested and questioning whether or not the magic was real.

For this Buyer’s Guide we will consider the purchases from iTunes, Amazon Instant, Vudu as well as the Blu-ray disc set.

Now You See Me on iTunes

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Buy
For $17.99, Now You See Me from iTunes comes in 1080p with 5.1 Dolby surround sound. You can watch this purchase on Macs, PCs and all iOS devices. Now You See Me from iTunes comes with three extras: The Spring, Card Throwing and The Coin Vanish. These extras show you how to perform those tricks.



Now You See Me on Amazon Instant

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Buy
Now You See Me comes with no extras and stereo sound. This purchase will allow you to watch the movie on Amazon’s line of Kindle tablets. With Amazon’s iOS app you can watch your purchase on an iPad or iPhone. Smart Blu-ray players like Sony’s BDP-S5100 3D Blu-ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi allows you to watch this movie and others on your television. Now You See Me from Amazon Instant cost $17.99.




Now You See Me on Vudu

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Buy
The standout feature of Now You See Me from Vudu is the extended cut. The Extended Director’s Cut has 16 minutes of footage not shown in the theatrical release. Like a purchase from Amazon Instant you can watch this through a Smart Blu-ray Player on your HD television. This can be watched on both Android and iOS devices. You can also watch them on Macs and PCs. It comes in 1080p with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound.



Now You See Me on Blu-ray

Now You See Me on Blu-ray comes stacked with the following content:

Buy
Buy

    • Extended Director’s Cut Featuring 16 Minutes of Never-Before-     Seen Footage
  • Audio Commentary with Producer Bobby Cohen and Director     Louis Leterrier
  • “Now You See Me Revealed” featurette
  • “A Brief History of Magic” featurette
  • Deleted Scenes



The movie is presented in 1080p video with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround sound. The Blu-ray disc set includes a Blu-ray, DVD and the UltraViolet Digital Copy. The digital copy is a standard definition version of the movie.

Wrap Up

Now You See Me is a fun movie. It’s a nice movie to watch on a flight or when you want to relax at home. I am not too interested in any of the extras (maybe the director’s commentary). Vudu offers the best deal in terms of viewing options with the extended director’s cut.

Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray Buyer’s Guide


Star-Trek-Into-Darkness-feature4_editThe day my wife and I went to see Star Trek Into Darkness at the theater the room was packed with people. This is usually not the case when you’re seeing a movie one month after its opening night, but Star Trek Into Darkness had staying power. Director J.J. Abrams and the cast have taken what we love as Star Trek fans and made it stronger and in ways more in-depth.
Star Trek Into Darkness (STID) will be released on Blu-ray on September 10, 2013. I have already written the Digital Download Buyer’s Guide. This Buyer’s Guide will compare the numerous Blu-ray disc sets that are available.

All Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray disc sets come with the following:

  • Feature film in 1080p High Definition on a Blu-ray disc
  • Feature film in Standard Definition on a DVD
  • Digital Copy

Special Features:

  • Creating the Red Planet
  • Attack on Starfleet
  • The Klingon Home World
  • The Enemy of My Enemy
  • Ship to Ship
  • Brawl by the Bay
  • Continuing the Mission

There are six versions of Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-ray to choose from.

Buy
Buy
The standard Blu-ray set contains the above mentioned content. It has a cover featuring Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumerbatch. It is currently priced at $19.99 at Amazon.com.






Buy
Buy
Next on the list is the Blu-ray 3D disc set. It has the decimated Enterprise getting ready to crash into San Francisco Bay. It has all of the standard content plus the addition of the 3D Blu-ray disc. If you have a 3D television or plan to buy one in the future it may be a good choice. It is currently priced at $24.99 at Amazon.com.

Depending on the popularity of a film different retailers will have exclusive Blu-ray disc sets. Four retailers are offering exclusive disc sets of STID.

Star Trek Into Darkness Amazon Exclusive

Buy
Buy
Amazon.com is offering the Blu-ray 3D disc with a movie accurate phaser. Priced at $79.99 this Limited Edition Gift Set is for the serious Trekkie. The Blu-ray case is the same as the regular Blu-ray 3D disc set. The case shows the Enterprise in an uncontrolled descent into the San Francisco bay. Both the phaser and the disc set will come enclosed in a box unique to this Limited Edition release. It features Chris Pine with his aimed phaser in the foreground.



Star Trek Into Darkness Target Exclusive

Buy
Buy
Target is offering Star Trek Into Darkness with an extra bonus disc with exclusive content. The cover features a cropped Star Fleet emblem quartered with the four lead actors in each section. If you pick this one up after it is released leave a comment below regarding the value of the Bonus disc. The bonus disc comes with the 3D disc or without. It is priced $34.99 and $29.99 respectively.



Star Trek Into Darkness Best Buy Exclusive

Buy
Buy
Lastly, Best Buy is offering their version of Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray disc set with an exclusive slip cover. Currently, there are no details regarding this option other than being priced at $19.99.





Star Trek Into Darkness Walmart Exclusive


Buy
Buy
Walmart is offering a Limited Edition Gift Set that includes two great features. First, Walmart is the exclusive retailer selling the Star Trek Into Darkness Steelbook within the Limited Edition Set. The set also includes a 1:50 scale collectible Star Trek Villain Ship. It has the Blu-ray disc, DVD and Digital Copy. It is currently priced at $39.96.

Wrap Up

The extra disc of content, the phaser, the Steelbook case with the villain ship are all intriguing options. I usually offer advice on which is the best option to purchase, but for this Buyer’s Guide I will not be making a recommendation. I am excited that fans have so many great options to choose from. When it comes to buying Star Trek Into Darkness I may find myself picking up a few versions.

Chromecast vs Apple TV

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Recently Google announced and began selling Chromecast, their answer to Apple TV. Both devices are designed to connect to your HD television through a HDMI port. Everyone was excited by the unexpected price of $35 for Chromecast. But is price everything? Apple TV cost $100. Is Apple TV worth triple the price of Chromecast. This will be a quick comparison of the movie watching experience each of these devices brings to your living room.

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Buy Chromecast

These devices are meant to connect your television with your movies and other media in the cloud (a network of stored information on the Internet). Neither device is designed to store your movies within themselves. Chrome has 2GB of storage and Apple TV has 8GB. Even though Apple TV has four times the storage, 8GB is just enough to store one 1080p movie within the device. To really determine the movie watching value of each device you will need to compare the services that respectively support them.

Google and Apple each have their own media store. Google has Google Play and Apple has the iTunes store. For the most part Google Play sells nearly every major release that the iTunes store sells. Additionally, the movies are usually priced the same. However, there is a difference between what the two stores offer.

One of the experiences I really appreciate when watching a movie from home are special features, commentary and extras. Blu-ray disc sets, for nearly all movies, continue to provide the most in regard to Special Features and Extras. First, Google Play does not offer any extras with a rental or purchase even though they charge the same price as iTunes. iTunes usually offers a view extras or special features that you would find on Blu-ray. If you appreciate a more in-depth movie watching experience at home the limits of Google Play will disappoint.

The price of Chromecast is attention grabbing, but it comes with tradeoffs. Even though it has limited channels and offers a shallow home movie experience it will get better over time. When iTunes first opened it did not offer any extra content with a purchase. I believe that overtime Google Play will mature to provide a deeper movie watching experience. In the meantime Google’s aggressive pricing of Chromecast will push Apple to increase the value of Apple TV by lowering the price or adding functionality. So, we the movie watching public win either way.

Star Trek Into Darkness Digital Download Buyer’s Guide

star_trek_into_darkness_feature_2One of the best science fiction movies of this year, Star Trek Into Darkness is now available for digital download. Directed by J.J. Abrams, Star Trek Into Darkness is the second movie of the rebooted series. There are many things to like about this film and for this buyer’s guide we will be comparing five of the digital download options available. This Buyer’s Guide will be for fans, yes Trekkies! With that said price will not be considered. Let’s get started.

Star Trek Into Darkness on iTunes

itunes_logo_150 For $19.99 Star Trek Into Darkness from iTunes comes in 1080p video and Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Beyond a top quality viewing experience iTunes offers numerous extras. This purchase offers enhanced commentary from the director J.J. Abrams and his crew. As well as, the making of the film and featurette regarding the villain. Lastly, Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch cover their preparation for their action packed climatic scene. This purchase can be watched on PCs, Macs, on television through Apple TV and on all other iOS devices: iPads and iPhones.

Star Trek Into Darkness on Amazon Instant

amazon_logo_150 For the same price as iTunes, $19.99, you get Star Trek Into Darkness without any extras, but as always it can be watched on numerous devices. This purchase can be watched on television through numerous Smart Blu-ray Players. If you have an iPad or iPhone you can watch it through Amazon’s Instant Video app and you watch your movies on Amazon’s line of Kindle tablets. Oddly, it can not be watched on Android devices.

Star Trek Into Darkness on Google Play

google-play-logo_150 Like the other digital download options Star Trek Into Darkness from Google Play cost $19.99. It comes in 1080p resolution with 5.1 surround sound. With the recent release of Chromecast you can easily watch your purchase on television. It can be watched on Macs, PCs, Chromebooks and Android devices. Google continues to expand their viewing options.

Star Trek Into Darkness on Vudu

vudu_logo_150 Vudu is still top dog when it comes to the number of devices you can use to access your movies. At a price of $22.99 you can watch this purchase on nearly every established device platform. It can be watched on iOS and Android through the Vudu Player app. Many Smart Blu-ray Players include Vudu streaming. Even though it is the most expensive of this list, Vudu offers the most viewing possibilities by far.

Star Trek Into Darkness on Xbox Video

xbox_logo_150 Xbox Video offers Star Trek Into Darkness for 1600 points, the equivalent of $19.99. It can be watched on your television through a Xbox 360 gaming device. It can also be watched on Windows Surface tablets, Windows 8 Phones and PCs. At the writing of this article, Microsoft stated that there were no extras with this purchase.

 
 

Xbox Live iTUNES VUDU GP AI
Price $19.99 $19.99 $22.99 $19.99 $19.99
Ways To Watch   PCs, Xbox 360, Windows Surface tablet, Windows 8 Phone Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod or PC PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, Smart Blu-ray players, Smart TV’s, iPad, iPhone, Mac and PC, Roku, Android tablets and Phones Android tablets and   phones, Google TV, Mac and PC PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, Smart Blu-ray players, Smart TV’s, iPad,Kindle Fire (HD), Roku, Mac and PC
Max Resolution On TV 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p
Digital Copy Max Resolution 1080p 1080p Standard Definition for mobile devices 1080p 1080p
Audio 5.1 DTS-HD Dolby Digital 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Stereo Stereo

 

Wrap Up

In the case of Star Trek Into Darkness content is king. Vudu provides the broadest options for devices on which you can watch this movie. Of all of the digital download options iTunes provides the most video content. Even with providing the most video content, Star Trek Into Darkness from iTunes is competitively priced. Purchasing this film from iTunes is the best way to watch Star Trek Into Darkness at home.

Epic Blu-ray Unboxing Walmart Exclusive


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Here is the WaysToWatch.com unboxing of Epic.






The Walmart Exclusive of the Epic Blu-ray set contains:

  • One Blu-ray disc
  • One DVD
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy
  • Three Snack Packs

The Epic Walmart Exclusive Blu-ray set contains the following extras:

  • Birds, Bugs, and Slugs: Forest Explorer
  • Rot Rocks
  • The Epic Life at 2 Inches
  • Mysteries of Moonhaven Revealed
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Sneak Peek

Oblivion Walmart Exclusive Metalpak Blu-ray Disc Unboxing


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Here is the WaysToWatch.com unboxing of Oblivion.






The Oblivion Walmart Exclusive MetalPak Blu-ray set contains:

  • One Blu-ray disc
  • One DVD
  • UltraViolet/ iTunes Digital Copy

The Oblivion Walmart Exclusive MetalPak Blu-ray set contains the following extras:

  • Audio Commentary
  • Promise of a New World contains the following:
  • Destiny: The development of the story.
  • Voyage: The Inspiration and design of the Bubbleship.
  • Combat: The actions and stunts.
  • Illusion: The visual effects.
  • Harmony: Oblivion’s Music
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Isolated M83 Score: Watch the entire film with the music track.

Oblivion Buyer’s Guide


oblivion-movie-buyers-guideDirected by Joseph Kosinski, Oblivion was the first major movie release of Summer 2013. For this Buyer’s Guide I will simply choose the option that will offer the most content for the price. For the Oblivion Buyer’s Guide I will consider all four blu-ray options in addition to the digital purchasing options.

Oblivion on iTunes

itunes_logo_150Of all of the digital options Oblivion from iTunes definitely offers the most movie extras. It comes with numerous extras that are on the blu-ray disc set. Presented in 1080p with Dolby 5.1 surround sound Oblivion is a 4.44 gigabyte download. For $14.99 this purchase from iTunes is fully compatible with all iPhones, iPads, Macs and PCs. This purchase comes with the following extras:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Destiny
  • Illusion
  • Harmony

Oblivion from Vudu

vudu_logo_150I was disappointed to see that the purchase of Oblivion from Vudu does not include any extras for the price of $14.99. You can access this purchase on a wide variety of devices. Vudu presents Oblivion in 1080p with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound. I like this buy for its numerous options for viewing.


Oblivion from Google Play

google-play-logo_150The selling point for any purchase from Google Play is the numerous Android devices on which it can play. Oddly, not all Android devices are compatible with the Google Play store. These purchases can also be played on Chromebooks, Macs and PCs. It comes in 1080p video with stereo sound. For $14.99 Oblivion from Google Play leaves much to be desired, because it lacks any extra features.


Oblivion from Amazon Instant

amazon_logo_150Recently, Amazon Instant presented 42 with movie extras. Unfortunately, that purchase was not the beginning of a trend. Oblivion from Amazon Instant can be watched on and through numerous devices. For $14.99, this purchase comes in 1080p video with stereo sound and no extras or special features.


Oblivion on Blu-ray

oblivion_blu-ray_coverFor $19.99, this set contains 2 disc, a Blu-ray disc and a DVD. Presented in the highest quality 1080p with 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The big differentiator from all of the digital purchasing options is the number of extras you get. Audio commentary from the director Joseph Kosinski and actor Tom Cruise is included on the Blu-ray disc. You will also get a 48 minute making-of video, Deleted Scenes and the score of the movie by M83 in 5.1 surround sound. For your digital devices the set includes an UltraViolet digital copy option. This is a great purchase for $19.99, but there are more to follow.

Oblivion on Blu-ray the Target Exclusive

oblivion_target_exclusive_bIn addition to what is included with the regular disc set you get a lenticular slip cover and a Concept Illustration Booklet. In their exclusive set Target usually offers a book of some form and the trend continues with this Oblivion exclusive. This is a collectible item that comes at a price for $24.99. A solid buy for any fan.


Oblivion on Blu-ray the Best Buy Exclusive

oblivion_best_buy_exclusiveFor $24.99, this exclusive from Best Buy delivers an extra disc that contains 30 minutes of bonus content. Also, buying this set from Best Buy gives you a free rental from Best Buy’s CinemaNow digital download program. The slipcover is the same as the normal Blu-ray disc set.


Oblivion on Blu-ray the Walmart Exclusive

oblivion_walmart_exclusive_bThis Walmart exclusive contains nothing in terms of extra content, but for fans and collectors the disc set comes in a Metalpak case. That is the only differentiating feature for a price of $23.96.




Wrap Up

itunes_logooblivion_best_buy_exclusiveOf the digital download options iTunes is far and away the winner.

For the same price as the competition, iTunes offers numerous extras in excellent quality. But overall, the exclusive from Best Buy is the top option for buying Oblivion for home viewing. It comes with all of the regular extras with an extra disc.