4 DVDs to watch with the family over the holidays

These four Blu-Ray/DVD releases, Top Gun: Thirtieth Anniversary, Star Trek Beyond, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Goat  can help bridge the entertainment generation gap at home this holiday season. As families gather together, many end up watching favorite films that come out of the cabinet once a year.  These films can range from the holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life to The Godfather Saga.  This year, why not mix it up a bit and bond with family members from multiply generations with the following films:

Top Gun: Thirtieth Anniversary Edition - This is the film that launched Tom Cruise to super stardom. Before the release of Top Gun in 1986, Cruise became a star with the teen classic, Risky Business but his stardom went into the stratosphere with the release of Top Gun.  Cruise, plays Maverick, the young, in-you-face U.S. Fighter pilot with a need for speed, a lot to prove, and even more to learn. Top Gun represents our country at its peak in the 1980s.  The American economy was raging, American military might could be felt around the world and President Reagan had the Russians on the defensive.  This box office smash hit with an amazing soundtrack (sold over 9 million CDs to date), great aerial action sequences and a tight storyline had young American men lining up to serve their country and people around the world as envious of us as ever.

This two disc Blu-Ray/DVD set comes in a slickly designed steel box with a confident looking Cruise on the cover. Disc 1 is in Blu-Ray format and includes some awesome special features that go beyond the commentary of producer, Jerry Bruckheimer and the late director, Tony Scott.  The special features are presented on a menu page that looks like it is straight our of a Playstation game and includes the following: "Best of the Best: Inside the Real Top Gun" featurette, Survival Training Featurette, TV spots, behind the scenes of the film, 4 classic music videos and more. Disc 2 is the DVD format of the film along with similar special features.  There is also a digital copy of the film for customers to download.  Even after 30 years, Top Gun still stands the test of time. This film was made before CGI existed so the film footage is true to life, showing amazing dog fighting sequences and beautiful aerial footage that will illuminate your flatscreen.

For family viewing purposes, the film is appropriate for grandparents, parents, teenagers or college age kids.

Next up is Goat.  This film follows 19-year-old Brad (a solid performance by Ben Schnetzer), newly arrived to college and desperate to belong after a traumatic attack back home.  Taking a cue from his older brother, Brett (Nick Jonas), Brad decides to pledge a fraternity.  At first, it’s all parties and girls. But as Brad enters into the final stretch of the pledging ritual—known as “hell week”—things take a violent, humiliating turn.  What occurs in the name of ‘brotherhood’ tests both boys and their relationship in brutal ways.  Goat is an excellent film with a surprisingly strong performance by singer, Nick Jonas.  If you are looking for the next Mark Wahlberg, here he is.  Jonas performance is both strong and nurturing as the older brother who helps navigates Brad’s journey through the pledging process.  There’s more to Goat than a fraternity that goes rogue and a cameo appearance by James Franco makes it even more enticing to watch this holiday season.  

For family viewing purposes - parents and college age kids only

Star Trek Beyond - The highly anticipated next installment in the globally popular Star Trek franchise returns with director Justin Lin at the helm of this epic voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise and her intrepid crew.  In Star Trek Beyond, the Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy led by Krall (played superbly by British actor, Ebris Elba) who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test. Elba's performance is reminincent of Ricardo Montalban's Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The film itself is spectacular with an opening sequence that will keep you glued to your screen. The two disc set features over an hour of special features and will surely satisfy any Star Trek fan.  The “To Long and Prosper: 50 Years of Star Trek” featurette is an excellent tutorial for newbies as it recaps decades of Star Trek episodes and movies in a film montage. The “Trekking in the Desert: On location in Dubai” featurette gives viewers the behind the scenes footage many fans are looking for.  In this segment, Dubai is the star offering a film location that is literally a city of the future, a place that looks like it's 400 years in the future.  Simply, amazing.  I especially liked the back story, "New Life, New Civilizations" segment on how they created the aliens for the film. Since this is the 50th Anniversary of the franchise, Star Trek Beyond features 50 alien life form characters that were created for the film. In addition, there is rememberance featurette dedicated to the late Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, who tragically died this past summer.

For family viewing purposes - grandparents, parents, teenagers and college age kids.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows  - Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo and Raphael are back to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). After supervillain Shredder escapes custody, he joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly), to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil with similar intentions: the notorious Krang. This two disc collection offers a variety of special features.  Disc 1 in Blu-Ray format includes the feature film, deleted scenes and Turtle videos including “War Are Family Whoa!”, "Expanding the Turtlevers,” "House Party" and more.  Disc 2 is the feature film in DVD format.  An added bonus includes 2 reversible Turtle masks so you can wear your favorite Turtle colors when you go out on the town.  This is a unique little bonus that is tightly packaged on the cover of the Blu-Ray/DVD set.

For family viewing purposes - grandparents, parents and the kids.