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  • The Hitman’s Bodyguard

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 18th, 2017

    “It’s my job to keep you out of harm’s way.”

    “I am harm’s way!”

    In The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Samuel L. Jackson is the very definition of badass as contract killer Darius Kincaid. Which begs the question: why would a prolific hitman need a bodyguard? That question is a great source of entertainment throughout the film’s duration. Needless to say, the bodyguard is not necessary, but no one could ever doubt that the pairing of Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds is comedic gold. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is without question one of the best films of the summer.
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    Snatched (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 18th, 2017

    It’s not that hard to understand why Hollywood icon Goldie Hawn came out of semi-retirement to star in Snatched alongside comedian Amy Schumer. The South American-set mother/daughter comedy filmed in picturesque Hawaii, and Schumer was a hot box office commodity coming off the successful Trainwreck. (Holy oxymoron!) I just wish Hawn’s first movie in 15 years — a co-headlining gig, no less! — wasn’t such a wildly uneven effort. Because even though Snatched doesn’t fully utilize the talents of its legend, it’s apparent that Goldie’s still got it.
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    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 18th, 2017

    Reboots are all the rage in Hollywood, in case you haven’t heard. Even a relatively low-key property like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cinematic Universe series isn’t immune. Based on the wildly popular books by author Jeff Kinney, the first three movies featured the same core group of likable actors and become rock solid hits made on modest budgets. So you can understand why Fox would want to keep the series going, even if original star Zachary Gordon became too old to play the perpetually put-upon Greg Heffley. This new offering features an all-new cast, but too much of the same cringeworthy and juvenile humor; it’ll make you wish someone had hidden the reset button from this franchise.
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    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 17th, 2017

    “Of course I have issues; that’s my father.” 

    When I walked out of the theater in 2014 after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, I knew I had just seen something special, and knowing a sequel was already guaranteed had me excited to see what was next for this band of misfits.  Since the release in 2014 the film hasn’t just become my favorite Marvel film; it is one of my favorite films, period.  So as photos and trailers began to trickle out, I began to wonder if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 could actually hold up to the first.
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    Exclusive Interview With Daniel Cross Director Of I am the Blues

    Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on August 17th, 2017

    There is a dying breed of musicians in the deep south that are the last remnants of the roots of the Blues. Many of them are gone and those that do remain are in their 80’s and 90’s. Someone needed to get down there and capture this treasure before it’s gone forever. That somebody turns out to be Daniel Cross, who put together the visceral and emotional documentary I Am The Blues. He spent time with these musicians. He listened to their stories and their songs. I had the opportunity to talk with Daniel and he shared those experiences. You really have to hear what he discovered. Bang it here to listen in on my chat with Daniel Cross

    You can also find out more about the film and see extra footage by banging it here: I Am The Blues

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    Union Furnace

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 17th, 2017

    A few minutes of watching the news lately will reflect an ongoing division in race, but the one divide that seems to be more prevalent is the one between blue- and white-collar Americans. The Purge franchise has tapped into this and the exploitation of the classes being ramped up to a high degree. But personally I feel that’s a franchise that still is missing a rawness that never quite allows you to feel that it is real; it’s like a dark fairytale of what may come in the distant future. Union Furnace, instead, takes a more grounded approach to the upper class taking advantage of those in need and presents what could be a terrifying reality going on in small town America.
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    Exclusive Interview With George Schlatter Creator Of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In

    Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on August 15th, 2017

    It was 50 years ago this year that Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In first appeared on NBC. It quickly took the country by storm. The show added such pop culture staples as Sock It To Me, You Bet Your Bippy and Here Comes The Judge. The show managed to attract the biggest names in entertainment of the era. The cast have gone on to become household names. It’s where stars like Goldie Hawn, Arti Johnson and Lily Tomlin got their starts. And it all started with the mind of George Schlatter. After all of those years George still has quite a bit of spunk left. I had the honor to spend nearly a half hour talking to him. Now you get to hear what he had to say. Bang it here to listen to my chat with George Schlatter.

    You can also find out more about the complete series of Laugh-In by going Here.

    Look for our review of the complete series coming in the weeks ahead.

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    Billions: Season Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 15th, 2017

    In one corner you have U.S Attorney Chuck “The Scholar” Rhodes, played by Paul Giamatti. He’s the reigning world champion with a record of 80+ to 0. In the other corner is Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis; he could also be considered undefeated. He runs a sexy brokerage firm. Both of these guys walk and talk like champs. There’s a lot of trash-talk between them, but both have very lurid and potentially devastating skeletons in their perspective closets. This season finds them each willing to risk anything just to get to the other.
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    NCIS: New Orleans: The Third Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 15th, 2017

    “Welcome back to New Orleans.”

    The most recent member of the NCIS family enters its third season. There are some changes, but not just in the show’s cast. I have noticed a concerted effort to use the term NOLA by both the characters and various signs and symbols displayed throughout the new season. It’s a bit odd, because at one point a character chastises an outsider that the locals prefer New Orleans. Minutes later that same character uses the term NOLA. The crew now even wear lanyards that say NCIS:NOLA on them. I have not been to New Orleans post-Katrina, so I’m not up on whatever local thing might be going on with the name.
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    Tuesday Round Up: August 15, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on August 15th, 2017

    Everyone’s favorite rag-tag team of rollicking a-holes is back for another adventure. And no I’m not talking about myself and the rest of the UpcomingDiscs staff…Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 arrives in 4K! But that’s not the only ultra-HD title we’re bringing you this week: Warner Bros. reboots one of the world’s most famous stories with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (4K). Meanwhile, Lionsgate hops in the backseat with The Lincoln Lawker (4K), while Cinedigm shoots straight with Hickok (4K). Paramount steps into the ring with Chuck, CBS visit the Big Easy with NCIS: New Orleans — Season 3, and Showtime goes for broke with Billions: Season 2. Meanwhile, Metropol Pictures turns up the heat with Union Furnace, while Fox pages through the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul and visits South America for the Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn kidnapping caper Snatched.

    But wait…there’s more! Friday brings a pair of new theatrical releases for us to review: we’ll let you know if it’s safe to check out The Hitman’s Bodyguard and spend a day at the races with Logan Lucky, Steven Soderbergh’s new heist comedy.

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    The Lincoln Lawyer (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on August 15th, 2017

    Suspenseful, intriguing, and exciting, The Lincoln Lawyer makes the legal system entertaining.  With all the TV attorney shows pushing for top ratings, this film comes at the right time.  A strong cast, excellent direction, and a riveting storyline make The Lincoln Lawyer a must-see. Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) keeps his legal business close to him, in his car.  Defending the lowlifes or whoever desperately needs legal assistance, Mick turns down very few clients.  While working on a questionable case, his confidant Val Valenzuela (John Leguizamo) gives him the name of Beverly Hills playboy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe).
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    John Wayne Double Feature Rio Lobo/Big Jake (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 15th, 2017

    “It is, I think, going to be a very harsh and unpleasant kind of business and will, I think, require an extremely harsh and unpleasant kind of man to see to it.” 

    That man, of course, is John Wayne. They called him The Duke, and he was indeed western cinema royalty for six decades. He represented the American ideal of the tough guy who stood up for the weak and didn’t shy away from a fight. His characters usually worked hard, and they played just as hard. He had a unique way of turning a phrase and has been one of the most widely impersonated Hollywood voices. By the time the 1970’s rolled around, Wayne was coming to the end of a long career.
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    King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 14th, 2017

    “For centuries man and mage lived side by side in peace until the rise of the mage sorcerer Mordred. Turning his dark ambition against man, he marches on the last remaining stronghold: Camelot.”

    So it finally happened: I found a Guy Ritchie film that I didn’t enjoy. I wasn’t expecting much from King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, but it is worth noting that I got even less than I expected. I know that sounds cruel, and I will admit that there were a few things that I did enjoy, but the number of things that went wrong versus what went right is not a close margin.
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    Annabelle: Creation

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 10th, 2017

    Following the success of The Conjuring, it was no surprise that sequels would follow, but I have to admit seeing an Annabelle film was a bit unexpected. While The Conjuring was based on true events (as true as one may or may not wish to believe in the paranormal), Annabelle was mostly a work of fiction. I’ll admit I’m a bit of the fan of the Warrens and have read plenty about their investigations, and I certainly feel their life is ripe for the Hollywood treatment along with the hundreds of case files they developed over the years.  While the first Annabelle did well at the box office, it took a beating by critics, but those involved at the studio see that there is still money to be made as they continue to expand the franchise.
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    Big Little Lies (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 10th, 2017

    Big Little Lies — HBO’s star-studded and (deservedly) Emmy-nominated limited series — is structured like a typical murder mystery. We know someone has been killed, but we don’t know the perpetrator or even identity of the victim. On top of that, the limited series format promises that we’ll actually have an answer by time these episodes wrap up (**cough** The Killing). But the reason Big Little Lies shines— other than top-notch performances and stellar direction — is because beneath the murder-mystery veneer lies a darkly funny drama about all manner of adult relationships: husband/wife, ex-husband/ex-wife, mother/daughter, mother/fellow-mother, and so on.
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    Blindspot: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 10th, 2017

    When we begin the second season of Blindspot, three months have passed since the first season’s explosive finale. We are placed back in the action with the same time having passed on the show. Jane (Alexander) has been kept at a covert CIA black ops location where she is being tortured for information. It is a fortuitous time to rejoin the action, because we arrive just in time to see her engineer a clever escape. Meanwhile Kurt Weller (Stapleton) and his team have been back to more mundane FBI cases, and it’s obvious they miss the excitement of working the tattoos. They’re about to get their wish, and things are about to get pretty intense as we join the sophomore season of Martin Gero’s Blindspot.
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    Bender

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on August 10th, 2017

    In the early 1870’s the residents of Labette County, Kansas, lived alongside a family of serial killers. Known later as “The Bloody Benders,” their modus operandi was to lure travelers into their grocery store, invite them to stay for dinner, crush their skull with a hammer, and slit their throat to ensure death. Afterward, they would bury the remains somewhere on their property. Just as soon as they had been discovered, they vanished without a trace, making it difficult to ascertain if all the details we know are factual or fictional. However, stories like these are the perfect playground for filmmakers, as they are able to take as many creative liberties as they would like, and in the end, they need only say its “inspired by true events.” That being said, Bender is one of many adaptations of these events, but it looks to be one of the only films that explicitly deals with the actual Bender family and their specific victims.
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    Going in Style 2017 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on August 9th, 2017

    Putting a twist on the original movie Going in Style, director Zach Braff does a good job of reviving the comedy for modern-day audiences.  He turns up the laughter with memorable situation comedy and actors who can deliver some of the best one-liners.  It’s a lot of fun for a date night or just a chance to get away from the humdrum to laugh a little. Retired and trying to scrape by on his retirement check, Joe Harding (Michael Caine) is about to hit an unexpected brick wall. With his mortgage in jeopardy from lack of timely payments and his granddaughter needing help with tuition, he’s in a very tight spot.  His best friends Albert Garner (Alan Arkin) and Willie Davis (Morgan Freeman), who have been living together for the past 25 years to curb expenses, are about to be in the same boat.
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    Tuesday Round Up: August 8, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on August 8th, 2017

    The competition for TV viewers’ eyeballs has never been fiercer, so it’s hard for any network drama to make a lasting mark. The sexy and mysterious amnesiac at the center of Blindspot knows a little something about lasting marks…her entire body is covered in cryptic tattoos! Star Jaimie Alexander’s Jane Doe might not recall much, but we remember the hit NBC drama just fine and we’ll soon be taking a glance at Blindspot: Season 2, courtesy of Warner Bros. Meanwhile, IFC is at the head of the pack with Wolves, while Paramount puts up its Duke-s with a Rio Lobo/Big Jake John Wayne Double Feature on Blu-ray.

    Now it’s time for your weekly reminder before signing off: if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    Gifted (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 8th, 2017

    Extraordinary people come with singular issues and needs.”

    On the surface, being blessed with a genius-level intellect seems like good thing, right? So it’s interesting that movies about uncommonly smart people (Good Will Hunting, A Beautiful Mind, and The Imitation Game to name a few) tend to focus on the extreme isolation and inevitable exploitation of these individuals. Gifted is about a potential “one-in-a-billion” math prodigy and her weary, protective uncle, who carries himself like someone who’s seen too many movies about exploited geniuses and knows full well that “nobody likes a smart-ass.”
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    The Boss Baby (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 7th, 2017

    “Survival of the fittest. It’s the law of the jungle. There’s always someone trying to take what’s yours. How do I know? It almost happened to me.”

    Where the heck has Alec Baldwin been lately? I seem to recall he was a pretty hot A-list movie star actor at one time. There was The Hunt For Red October, and then there was… OK, forget the A-list movie star bit. He was really an A-list television star. He killed it in 30 Rock and then of course there was… OK. Re-set. Now I remember. There was that hugely popular radio talk show he had going on for, what was it, five minutes?
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    Ghost in the Shell (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 7th, 2017

    “In the future, the line between human and machine is disappearing. Advancements in the technology allow humans to enhance themselves with cybernetic parts. Hanka robotics, funded by the government, is developing a military operative that will blur the line even further. By transplanting a human brain into a fully synthetic body, they will combine the strongest attributes of human and robot.” 

    …and resistance is futile. OK. Wrong franchise.
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    1944

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 7th, 2017

    In times of war it is very easy to think of your enemy as the embodiment of evil. Sometimes it is necessary to do so. However, more often than not, the person on the other side of the line is just like you, a patriot doing their duty for their country, with mild to moderate understanding of the overall big picture. 1944 helps to illuminate this point, as the audience gets to experience the war from both sides of the battle. In this case it was Estonians fighting on both sides, further complicating the morality of the situation.
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    A Ghost Story

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 7th, 2017

    It’s difficult to be original and innovative when it comes to tackling a haunted house film. Ghost stories have been around for ages and told just about every way you can imagine, so what do you do to give the audience something they have never seen before? After coming back from directing Pete’s Dragon, writer/ director David Lowry a delivers a small intimate film that manages to take the haunted house story and makes it something unique from all the rest. Though when I say unique, and when I say innovative this may not be a positive for some. The film begins by introducing us to a couple played by Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara; their characters are simply credited as C & M.
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    S.W.A.T.: Under Siege (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 4th, 2017

    An action film with a running time of 89 minutes should mean that it’s going to be lean on the story and keep things moving at a fast pace.  S.W.A.T: Under Siege delivers just that, but unfortunately in the process delivers something that we’ve seen many times before.  The film is being branded as a sequel (by name only) to S.W.A.T (2003), the film with Colin Farrell which was an adaptation from the TV series from the 70’s.  S.W.A.T: Under Siege has nothing to do with any of the previous incarnations, and has relocated from sunny California to Seattle Washington. But is the film worth checking out?  Well I’m not a fan of sequels that go straight to DVD, but this film does dangle a wild card for the audience that convinced me to give this a shot, Michael Jai White (Spawn, Black Dynamite).
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