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  • Trace Adkins: Live Country

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 27th, 2015

    His uncle played Christian music, and he sang bass in a chorus for some years. His father gave him a guitar and started him on lessons at age five. With all of that background, it seems no surprise that Trace Adkins became a hit on the country music scene. It was obvious to everyone but him. Instead he looked to sports and a chance to be a lineman for Louisiana Tech until he blew out his knee. When the doc told him he had no chance at a football career, did he turn to that music? Nope.
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    Exclusive Interview With Tom Whitus – Writer/Director Of The Junior Spy Agency

    Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on January 26th, 2015

    A while back Normandy reviewed The Junior Spy Agency, written and directed by Tom Whitus. It took a while and word got back to Tom and he was gracious enough to offer up some of his valuable time. It’s a neat little family movie. I had a great time talking to the brains of the outfit. Bang it here to listen in on my fun chat with Tom Whitus.

     

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    The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 26th, 2015

    Hello, please allow me to observe you working.”

    A sign bearing those words hangs inside Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation factory responsible for films like Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro. It’s one of many polite directives that adorn the airy workspace, but it also describes the mission of The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. The movie gives fans an unprecedented look inside the world (and walls) of Studio Ghibli, and watching the creative process is alternately fascinating, frustrating, and exciting. However, the documentary also surprisingly turns out to be an elegy for a dying art form.
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    Zarra’s Law

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 25th, 2015

    Justice or vengeance: how often the lines of the these two things become blurred. At what point does justice become vengeance, or when does it become warranted to take the law into your own hands? Zarra’s Law tells the story of two men who have lived their life coloring inside the lines, doing the right thing, only to see the murderer of someone they loved dearly walk free after a less-than-satisfying sentence. Retired cop Tony Zarra’s (Tony Sirico) life is frozen at the moment he witnessed his brother’s murder. Despite being on separate sides of the law (Tony being a cop and his brother being a member of the mob),
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    Heather McDonald: I Don’t Mean to Brag

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 25th, 2015

    Soccer mom comedy, there’s a new one for me. I must say, not what I expected. I haven’t spent a lot of time devoted to the life and times of a soccer mom, but after Heather McDonald’s “I don’t mean to brag, it is clearly more interesting than it seems. In this hour special she lays it all out for you, from breastfeeding (or more accurately non-breastfeeding) to her less-than-romantic sex life with her husband (to husbands everywhere, the expiration date of condoms is not a legitimate come-on). When it starts out, you may be thrown by the less-than-funny skit intro, but I assure you, there are a few things worth seeing.
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    Boardwalk Empire: Season 5 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 22nd, 2015

    “If we’re good today, we’ll be better tomorrow.”

    The final season of Boardwalk Empire breaks the mold of what the show has been for the first four years. The action jumps ahead several years to 1931. It’s a necessary plot point if we’re going to be ending the popular series in the fifth season. I understand the jump and why it works. I guess my only real question is: why are we jumping ahead to end what is one of the best shows on television?
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    Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 22nd, 2015

    Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, just about everyone out there knows their “sign”.  I never really put too much stock in astrology; it always seemed like harmless fun people can have for a few moments each day as they read their horoscope for the day to see what possible good fortune can come their way.  In the new film, Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse, the film takes a different look at these astrological signs.  Rather than be signs that help reveal one’s personality, these symbols instead are supposed to be warnings for the upcoming apocalypse. 
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    Kroll Show: Seasons One & Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 22nd, 2015

    Thanks to Chappelle’s Show, Comedy Central has helped pave the way for comics on the cusp of breaking out to produce their own sketch comedy shows to springboard themselves to a larger audience.  Key & Peele has flourished in the sketch comedy scene, and now there is Nick Kroll with his own sketch comedy show Kroll Show.  But in the world of sketch comedy, is there really a need for more shows? After all, NBC still has Saturday Night Live; well, to be fair, it has been a while since SNL has been consistently funny.
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    Contest – Win Wonder Years Season 2 On DVD From Time Life & Star Vista

    Posted in Contests by Gino Sassani on January 22nd, 2015

    We have some great friends over at Time Life and Star Vista. They’re you’re friends, too. This time it’s season 2 of The Wonder Years. Take a trip back in time to what it was like to be a kid in the 1960′s. Plus there’s Joe Cocker’s version of A Little Help From My Friends. It’s all here for a lucky Upcomingdiscs winner.

    1. Fill out your name and email address in the comment form below – your email address will remain private and visible only to us.
    2. Do not post your address as an actual comment!  Instead tell us – Who was your best friend when you were 10?
    3. Only those comments that answer our question will be considered.

    Contest is open to residents of the U.S. & Canada only, and will conclude on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015.
    Please – only one contest entry per person!

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    The Bridge Season 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 20th, 2015

    “It’s complicated.”

    Fox has decided to jump off The Bridge. In a move I find more than a little surprising, the show ends here with this second season. From the sets extras I get a strong idea that no one involved with the production saw it coming either. This was one of the better shows on television, and with Sons Of Anarchy also finished, Fox is losing some extraordinary quality to their lineup. At least Sons Of Anarchy got to run its course and tell its story. Sadly, the same can’t be said for The Bridge. I was looking forward to more from a show that was getting better as it moved into its own invention.
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    Boyhood (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 20th, 2015

    Boyhood is all the rage right now. With all the hoopla surrounding the film, it should be noted that it is ordinary. It is just about people living their lives. One could even call it boring. One can say that because life is boring. It is not as exciting as it is in the movies. Life is about small moments that add up to memories and then it is over. Boyhood doesn’t make grand statements about boyhood, or about motherhood or fatherhood for that matter. It is just about a few people and what happens to them.
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    Viktor

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 20th, 2015

    We can blame thank Liam Neeson — or “Liam Neesons” — for this recent run of action movies about men of a certain age who tear their way through some part of Europe in the name of their missing or dead children. Viktor — a French/Russian production starring Gerard Depardieu and Elizabeth Hurley — is one of these latest Taken take-offs. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more inert revenge films you’re likely to see.
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    Contest: Win A Copy Of Mama’s Family: Season 4 or 6 From Time Life And Star Vista

    Posted in Contests by Gino Sassani on January 19th, 2015

    We have some great friends over at Time Life and Star Vista. They’re you’re friends, too. They keep trying to make sure you get to spend enough time with Mama. Of course, we’re talking about Mama Harper and the gang at Mama’s Family. They’ve given us copies of both season 4 and 6 to give away. All you have to do is tell us which one you want. Each season will go to a lucky winner who wanted that season.

    To win just follow these instructions.

    1. Fill out your name and email address in the comment form below – your email address will remain private and visible only to us.
    2. Do not post your address as an actual comment!  Instead tell us – Which one do you want?
    3. Only those comments that answer our question will be considered.

    Contest is open to residents of the U.S. & Canada only, and will conclude on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015.
    Please – only one contest entry per person!

     

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    The Identical (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 19th, 2015

    What if Elvis Presley had an identical twin brother no one ever knew about? (It would certainly help explain all those Elvis sightings years after the King’s death.) That’s the kooky conceit at the center of The Identical. Unfortunately, rather than embracing the absurdity of its premise, the movie is an amateurish, uninspiring combination of “by-the-numbers musical biopic” and “painfully-earnest family drama.”
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    American Sniper

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 17th, 2015

    “The thing that haunts me are all the guys that I couldn’t save.”

    I have to admit I was a little skeptical that Clint Eastwood followed up his directing stint on Jersey Boys as quickly as he did to shoot American Sniper. The former was far from one of his better efforts, and he looked increasingly out of his element by the time it was said and done. He jumped into his preparation for American Sniper almost immediately, and the results could have been…underwhelming. Instead Eastwood hit his target with the kind of profound impact I don’t think I’ve seen from him since Unforgiven.
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    Foxcatcher

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 16th, 2015

    While writing up this review the Oscar nominations are going to be announced in a few hours and for Foxcatcher, any nominations it receives will be yet another footnote in this films journey as it widens its release to a larger audience.  Ever since director Bennett Miller won best director at Cannes in 2014 for the film Foxcatcher has become one of the most buzz worthy films of 2014 with a trio of actors that have had more than their fair share of  praise for their performances.
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    Exclusive Interview With Toby Stephens From Black Sails

    Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on January 16th, 2015

    Black Sails fans rejoice. We’ve got another great interview for you. It’s back to the top of the call sheet once again. I had an opportunity to chat with Toby Stephens who plays Captain Flint on the show. He had some insightful things to say. He also gave us some sneak peeks for season 2. Bang it here to listen in on my chat with Toby Stephens.

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    Jessabelle (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 15th, 2015

    When I think about the swamps of the Louisiana bayou, with the exception of hungry gators lurking beneath the murky depths, I can’t help but think about the connection it has to the supernatural.  I blame seeing Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond for this.  It’s a film that haunted me when I was a kid, and the imagery has stuck with me over the years.  There have been numerous films over the years that have explored the supernatural of the bayou; most successfully we saw this in the Kate Hudson thriller The Skeleton Key.
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    Bad Turn Worse

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 15th, 2015

    There are 32 ways to tell a story, but there’s only ever one plot…that things are not what they seem.”

    Early on in Bad Turn Worse, a character mentions this maxim credited to writer Jim Thompson (“The Grifters”, “The Killer Inside Me”) apropos of almost nothing. It’s kind of a clunky, inauthentic interjection, but the message is clear and crafty: directors Simon and Zeke Hawkins know they’re not re-inventing the wheel in terms of plot, so where they really hope to grab your attention is in how they present their stylish, well-acted feature film debut.
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    Banshee: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 14th, 2015

    “There will be casualties”

    Alan Ball got my attention in 2001 with HBO’s black comedy Six Feet Under. It was one of the most original shows I had ever seen, and to this day I find it hard to characterize the series when asked to do so. It was there that he also introduced me to Michael C. Hall, who continues to amaze me in the role of Dexter over at Showtime. When Six Feet Under left the airwaves, Ball didn’t waste very much time in bringing his quirky style back, this time to the horror genre
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    Tyrant: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 13th, 2015

    “Those who are feared make peace. Those who are kind get killed.”

    Both temperaments are well represented throughout the first season of Tyrant, FX’s Middle East-set family drama. I say “family drama” because even though the show features plenty of political power plays and double-crosses, Tyrant is at its best when it focuses on the rotting and crumbling of the central Al-Fayeed clan. Call it Godfather-lite.
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    Annabelle (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 13th, 2015

    “Since the beginning of civilization, dolls have been beloved by children, cherished by collectors and used in religious rites as conduits for good and evil.”

    The Conjuring was one of the best horror movies to come along in years. Why? Because it was a good scare with a story that didn’t totally insult our intelligence or leave us scratching our heads too many times. The movie also dealt with its own red herring of sorts in a possessed doll kept under wraps by that film’s hero couple.
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    Men, Women & Children (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 13th, 2015

    The internet is destroying everything. It seems crazy, but it’s true, and most people know it. I mean that so many businesses have been destroyed by the tremendous growth of the internet and its insidious and unchecked influence. The newspaper business, music business, broadcast business and probably the movie business have been fundamentally and permanently altered. Men, Women and Children addresses how it affects each and every one of us on a daily basis. We’re all aware of this. It’s our lives now, and it wasn’t 10 years ago.
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    Girls: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 12th, 2015

    Writers are a ridiculous class of people who make everything about themselves.”

    For many, the current face — and oft-naked body — of “writers who make everything about themselves” is Lena Dunham, the creator/star/writer/director of HBO’s Girls. The equal-parts brilliant and maddening quarter-life crisis comedy became one of the most polarizing shows on TV over its first two seasons, as self-involved heroine Hannah Horvath sought love and a career as a writer in NYC. At the start of season 3, Hannah has both of those things…which is why I’m astounded — and, frankly, pretty impressed — that she remains as egotistical as ever.
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    Exclusive Interview With Hannah New Of Black Sails

    Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on January 12th, 2015

    Anyone who has seen the Starz pirate drama Black Sails knows who Hannah New is. She plays the feisty Eleanor Guthrie. Eleanor runs the Island where all of the pirates sell their booty. It’s a powerful position for a woman of 1715. Hannah New is up to the challenge and I had a chance to chat with her recently about her role on Black Sails. She’s just as much fun as her character. Bang it here to listen in on my chat with Hannah New. There are a few clicks in the audio which were an unfortunate result of our telephone connection. It’s worth the patience.

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