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  • Hot in Cleveland: Season Six

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 4th, 2016

    Oh crap…I’m going back to Cleveland.”

    I had never seen a single episode of Hot in Cleveland before I sat down to review season 5. So why did it feel like I’d been watching this show my entire life? Turns out, it’s entirely by design. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like I’m the target audience for Hot in Cleveland: I’m under 50 years old, and I’m a man. But if you look beyond the plastic surgery jokes and geriatric humor, you’ll find a show that aggressively channels (and ultimately appeals to fans of) many of the classic, multi-camera sitcoms of the past. In other words, Hot in Cleveland — which wrapped up last year after six seasons and 128 episodes —feels like you’re watching re-runs of a show you’ve already seen…and still enjoy plenty.
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    Tuesday Round Up: May 3, 2016

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on May 3rd, 2016

    Decisions, decisions. Life’s full of tough choices, isn’t it? Star Trek or Star Wars? The Beatles or The Stones? Cake or Death? Best-selling author Nicholas Sparks has made a pretty lucrative career out of romantic push and pulls. Thanks to Lionsgate, the latest big-screen adaptation of Sparks’ work — The Choice — arrives this week. (I’ll be sure to have an extra hankie handy when I review it…just in case.) Liongate was also kind enough to Remember Christopher Plummer’s latest drama. Finally, the studio also scopes out Sniper: Special Ops.

    One last thing before we wrap up this Round Up: if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you *choose* to 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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    American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 2nd, 2016

    I feel I should start this off with a little disclaimer; if you are the least bit squeamish and can’t handle the sight of blood and gore, click out of this review as fast as you can, because things are about to get a little bit messy as I delve into the American Guinea Pig series.  For those of you who hung around, I’m guessing you’re either a gore hound or simply have a morbid curiosity as to what this film is all about.  Some of you may already know about the Guinea Pig series, but for those who don’t, here is a little crash course for you.
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    Destroyer / Edge of Sanity

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on May 2nd, 2016

    Anthony Perkins is arguably most well known as Norman Bates, the hotel owner with mommy issues from Psycho. While Hitchcock’s film was groundbreaking for the horror genre (and Hollywood in general), I find it strange that Perkins’s career did not improve with such a commercial hit. He had certainly acted in other projects prior to Psycho, but his name is not one that I see very often. In other words, I have never “happened upon” an Anthony Perkins film, I seek out films in which he has acted. As a matter of fact, I can count those films on one hand: The Trial, and the three schlocky sequels to Psycho. This Blu ray double feature contains two films produced in the late 80s between Psycho III and Psycho IV, towards the end of his career.
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    Papa Hemingway In Cuba

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 30th, 2016

    “Let’s go find you a fish.”

    I’ve been told enough times that it is often not a good idea to meet your heroes. It’s too often impossible for anyone to live up to expectations, particularly when they are already up on a pedestal in our minds. All humans have their flaws, and Ernest Hemingway was no exception. I never met him. He killed himself around the time I was busy being born. I often joked to my writing professors that he feared my arrival. The truth is that he had so many demons. It isn’t a secret today, and it wasn’t then, at least not for anyone familiar with his work.
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    The Green Room

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 28th, 2016

    Ever since writer/director Jeremy Saulnier came out with his gripping revenge film Blue Ruin, fans have been patiently waiting to see what he’d do next.  If you have not had the chance to see Blue Ruin and you are a fan of the revenge genre, it’s a film that is certainly a must-see and is one of the few films that lives up to the hype that surrounds it.  The problem with doing such a strong and powerful film so early in your career is that expectations seem to just skyrocket, and it seems there is just no way you can make everyone happy.  As a fan first and critic second, I know I’ve been guilty of doing this in the past. It’s almost impossible to not get excited, and at the screening for this film I know I was not the only one with high expectations.
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    Standoff (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 28th, 2016

    The setup is actually quite elegant in its simplicity: a man protects his house — and the terrified little girl who bursts into it one day — from a cold-blooded killer. Despite becoming a bit tedious in its middle section and a little improbable during the finale, Standoff absolutely lives up to its title. The movie is carried by a pair of strong lead performances and subtly effective stylistic touches from its first-time director.
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    The Bible Stories: Samson and Delilah

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 28th, 2016

    “To all things, there is a purpose. It was the time of judges. The Lord had punished the children of Israel for their sins against him. He had delivered them into the hands of the Philistines.”

    The timeframe of Samson and Delilah is around 1075 B.C. Samson, like many characters in the Bible, is chosen by God but is far from perfect. The stories of many characters in the Bible are ones of sinners, and they must always try to overcome their flaws with God’s help and intervention.
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    Haven: Complete Final Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 28th, 2016

    Based on the story “The Colorado Kid” by Stephen King, the SyFy series Haven comes to its end with the last 13 episodes for the final season. When we were last in Haven a fog bank surrounded the small coastal Maine town and Duke (Eric Balfour) accidently unleashed all his “troubles” upon the town.  Things were not just looking bad for the town; in fact this may be the darkest days they’ve had to encounter.  Would 13 episodes be enough to wrap up all the loose ends and finally allow the town of Haven to be normal, or would this take a darker turn and dare to leave the town to suffer its doom to the mysterious Croatoan?  Well, I’m not about to spoil anything, so rest easy, fans, but I should say that not everyone is going to make it through this alive; in fact, I can say this season kept me on edge from start to finish.
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    Tuesday Round Up: April 26, 2016

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on April 26th, 2016

    Who’s the baddest pimp in town? (Other than yours truly, of course.) Well if you’re a fan of blaxploitation cinema, you probably know the answer to that question is Dolemite! The film makes its Blu-ray debut this week, so be sure to keep checking our site for the review. Meanwhile, Lionsgate retraces its steps with Backtrack, and Comedy Central bids a warm farewell to Hot in Cleveland: Season 6.

    Before you go, here’s the customary reminder/PSA before signing off for the week: 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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    Veep: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 25th, 2016

    We’re making history with the first woman president.”

    That statement may or may not become a reality in a matter of months, but HBO has real-life politics beat either way. Season 3 of Veep, the caustic, constantly-cussing comedy series, concluded with U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer ascending to the highest office in the land. But lest you think the show jumped the shark by having VP Meyer outgrow the show’s title, there’s more than enough sharp-tongued mayhem to go around once Selina and her staff — referred to as “an infection of mediocrity” in season 4 — have their finger on the button.
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    Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 25th, 2016

    Besides the fact that The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun has one of the most excessive titles that I’ve seen since Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, the film just might be one of the most bonkers I’ve seen as well.  Not only was the film a remake from back in 1976, but it is also based off the novel from author Sebastien Japrisot.  I’ve never seen the first film, nor have I read the book, so when I came into viewing this film I came into it with few to no expectations.  Going by the trailer I had figured this would be just a simple straightforward thriller; I couldn’t have been any more mistaken.
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    Elvis & Nixon

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 23rd, 2016

    “You must be kidding.”

    It is the most requested photograph from the White House archives. I’m talking about a photograph of Richard Nixon with The King. This particular King’s kingdom wasn’t a nation or political group. Of course, I’m talking about Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll. The meeting occurred in the days before Nixon installed his infamous recording equipment and long before that fateful break-in at Watergate. So no one really knows what was said in the meeting. Now director Liza Johnson attempts to take us behind the closed doors of the Oval Office on that fateful day in December of 1970 when the leader of the free world met with the leader of a generation
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    The Huntsman: Winter’s War

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 22nd, 2016

    There is another story. One that comes long before…happily ever after.”

    An unseen narrator — an uncredited Liam Neeson, wisely choosing not to show his face in this film — intones these words at the start of The Huntsman: Winter’s War. He’s talking about the saga involving a certain magic mirror and Ravenna (a still-captivating Charlize Theron), the wicked antagonist from 2012’s Snow White and The Huntsman. But as this flat, uninspired prequel/sequel hybrid unfolds, it becomes clear that this “other story” is essentially an unimaginative mish-mash of Disney (shades of Frozen and Brave are added to the Snow White framework) and Tolkien.
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    Daniel Tosh: People Pleaser

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on April 21st, 2016

    Daniel Tosh is known for his no-holds-barred approach to stand-up comedy. His latest special, People Pleaser, is no exception: He even admits that he makes a living out of saying outrageous things in the middle of this act. Although he is often criticized for delivering racist and misogynistic humor to the young, white male demographic, Tosh gracefully disagrees through this persuasive performance. Having already seen two of his prior specials, I must admit he hit a beautiful stride in his fourth special that I really wasn’t expecting. There is an impressive retention of attitude and abrasiveness, but he added a large amount of metacognition to his act that forces the audience to really think about his performance.
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    Congratulations To Paul O’Callaghan On Reaching 200 Reviews.

    Posted in Site News by Gino Sassani on April 21st, 2016

    Paul’s been with us for a while. Regular readers are familiar with his work because he’s just reached his 200th review. He’s absolutely the most off-the-wall writer here, but we love him because he makes the rest of us look sane. Hopefully, he’ll be driving us crazy for another 200.

    Please join me in congratulating Paul O’Callaghan on hitting 200 reviews here at Upcomingdiscs.com.

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    Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 21st, 2016

    Due to the explicit sexual nature of the following National Lampoon Radio Hour, it’s featured as adult entertainment and not recommended for children’s ears without parental supervision.”

    Even if you had no idea it originated as a magazine, the name “National Lampoon” instantly conjures images of raunchy, subversive, anti-establishment humor. That’s how strongly the iconic comedy brand managed to embed itself into pop culture. (In addition to the magazine, there were stage and radio shows along with at least two classic movies.) This dynamic, uproarious, and aptly-titled documentary does a very good job of illustrating how that happened.
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    Pretty Little Liars: Season 6

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 20th, 2016

    “Two can keep a secret as long as one of them is dead.”

    When it comes to Pretty Little Liars, it seems making the fans crazy is what they do best. The fifth season of the show is out on DVD, and this is no place for beginners. If you don’t know who Aria, Spencer, Emily, Hannah, and Alison are, it’s time for you to head back to the beginning and catch up. You can find our reviews from those seasons here. For the rest of you, let’s talk Pretty Little Liars, shall we?
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    The Bible Stories: David

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 20th, 2016

    I am by no means an expert on the Bible. That is why I am always anxious to see filmed representations of the stories, since most of my knowledge comes from other people. It’s always an interesting topic, and so many people have their own interpretations. I think that is the point. I think discussion of the Bible allows people to express their own inner thoughts about their relationship to God. But I long ago gave up on the idea of ever getting a clear picture of the meanings of the stories. There will be plenty of people who will tell you they know all the answers, but I sincerely doubt anyone has any such thing. I previously reviewed Abraham from this series, which was an earlier story in the history of the Jewish and Christian faiths.
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    The Revenant (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 20th, 2016

    America was once a primitive expanse where only very small groups of hardy hopefuls ever tried to venture across. It was a vast and endless wilderness that was mostly a mystery. This was the land of roving Indian tribes and undiscovered species of animals. This was a land of all kinds of danger. Life was one long hunt and endless battle against every kind of predator and natural enemy. There are so many remarkable moments in The Revenant that I will start with the bear attack. It is an unbelievably harrowing event that cannot be described in words that will in any way convey what you see on the screen. That one sequence alone is worth the price of admission
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    Silicon Valley: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 20th, 2016

    Billionaires are people too.”

    HBO’s Silicon Valley, which takes merciless aim at the tech capital of the U.S., was impressive right out of the gate. The series struck comedy gold in its debut season by making fun of both self-important, aggressively eccentric billionaires and the bumbling “guys in a garage” who are trying to get to their level. Season 2 is both nerdier and more confident in its skewering of corporate soullessness and the scrappy underdogs who often can’t get out of their own way. (I’m not sure there’s another show on TV that would use a SWOT analysis to decide whether a douche-y stuntman lives or dies.) The result is a very funny sitcom that has gotten even better.
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    Tuesday Round Up: April 19, 2016

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on April 19th, 2016

    We’ve got a bear of a Round Up for you this week, my friends! Leonard DiCaprio tussled with a vicious grizzly and took home his first Oscar for The Revenant. And now, thanks to Fox, we’ll bring you a Blu-ray review of the hit survival drama. Fox also engages in some gross Misconduct, while Entertainment One seeks safe Haven: The Final Season. HBO plays second fiddle with Veep: Season 4 and innovates in Silicon Valley: Season 2. Comedy Central brings back Daniel Tosh: People Pleaser, while Magnolia Home Entertainment lampoons an iconic magazine/comedy brand with Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead. Finally, Warner Bros. schemes with Pretty Little Liars: Season 6.

    One last reminder before signing off for the week: 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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    Everybody Wants Some

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 19th, 2016

    For the Gasparilla International Film Festival, to nab the latest film from writer/director Richard Linklater is kind of a big deal. GIFF was the second festival to show Everybody Wants Some after its debut at the acclaimed South by Southwest festival.  With the film being lauded as a spiritual sequel to Linklater’s cult hit Dazed and Confused, I had to admit I was a bit skeptical about this film and its ability to even match up to its predecessor; after all, it was the indie darling that helped launched the careers of Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, and many others.  This ensemble of talented up-and-comers managed to capture this cinematic lightning in a bottle about high school, and for me it’s a film I manage to watch at least once a year when I come across someone who hasn’t yet seen the film.
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    Contest: Win Tangerine On Blu-ray From Magnolia Home Entertainment

    Posted in Contests by Gino Sassani on April 18th, 2016

    Our friends at Magnolia Home Entertainment are not done with you yet. They’ve given us 2 copies of Tangerine on Blu-ray to help sweeten the day for 2 lucky Upcomingdiscs readers. Sean Baker directs this wild and crazy journey through the L.A. subculture world. The film was an official 2015 Sundance selection and includes some nice special features.

    To win a copy of this prize, 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 – What is your favorite small/independent film?
    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, May 29th, 2016.
    Please – only one contest entry per person!

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    The Jungle Book (2016)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 16th, 2016

    “This is the law of the jungle…”

    Disney appears to have a law that all of its classic cartoon features must now be made into live-action films. As I’ve mentioned in my review of the original classic The Jungle Book, the animated feature was the end of an important era at Walt Disney Studios. It was released about a year after Walt’s death and was the last film he supervised from beginning to end. In the wake of Walt’s death the studio experienced a sharp turnover and complete retooling of the animation department. With only the nine old men to carry the traditions of Walt into the future, The Jungle Book would forever mark a distinct milestone in the history of animated feature films.
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