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    Harry Potter – Hogwarts Challenge (Interactive DVD Game)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on March 4th, 2008

    Harry Potter is awesome. I have thoroughly enjoyed every movie and own all of the 2-disc special editions. I even have taken the time to play a couple of Harry Potter games on the Playstation 2 and found them to be decent offerings despite the usual rushed movie game flaws. So, needless to say I was slightly interested when I received a dvd remote game with Harry Potter on the cover and wondered if a dvd remote game could finally be any good. After spending a few hours with the product, you as the reader have two decisions. 1)You can read this review that will be full of one-liners and reasons why whoever came up with the concept of dvd remote games should be shot or 2)You can trust me when I say this, don’t waste your time on this, please.

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    Harry Potter HD DVD launches online cinema

    Posted in News and Opinions by Archive Authors on December 4th, 2007

    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix launches today on DVD and HD-DVD. The HD-DVD consortium has revealed a new feature just for the HD-DVD release. This new feature ultilizes the standard network adapter included with every HD-DVD player. The gist of the feature is you can connect to a friends HD-DVD player and both of you can can simultaneously view the latest Harry Potter film fully synced up with message functionality.

    From the official site:

    Gather your own army of fellow wizards for a live community screening party. Invite other owners of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix HD DVD to simultaneously watch from their own internet-accessed players and text with your remote, PC or cell phone. When you host an invitation-only viewing, you control the film by pausing and playing the feature on everyone’s machine. You can chat live with your friends as you watch.

    Now each session you create has a host and only the host can control the playback during the session. It isn’t said but is pretty much assumed that each party needs their own copy of the HD-DVD release for proper playback.

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    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Region 2) (HD DVD)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 16th, 2006


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    Synopsis

    Not to fawn too heavily on one side in the next-generation format wars, but how cool is HD-DVD? Well, if for nothing else, the HD-A1 and HD-XA1 players from Toshiba are all region-free. And while Warner Brothers has been slipping over themselves and teasing American consumers with a release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, British customers have gotten full penetration, and can pick up the fourth Potter film now. So I went onto Amazon UK and picked up my own copy, and I�m going to presume that the disc will be the same when it comes out here, whenever that will be.
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    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on February 28th, 2006

    Utter the simple phrase of Harry Potter to any age, and it is nearly guaranteed that they will know what you are speaking about. Since becoming a worldwide phenomenon in 1999, the Harry Potter series have been turned into everything from video games to bathing products. Most notably, the series have been turned into a set of excellent films that are successful, for the most part, in recreating the major elements presented in the novels by author J.K.Rowling.

    With this being the fourth film in the series of …
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    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    Posted in News and Opinions by Archive Authors on January 10th, 2006

    On March 7th, Warner will release 3 separate versions of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – a single movie-only version (in both Widescreen & Fullscreen), as well as a 2-Disc Special Edition. The 2-disc SE will be presented in a 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer, along with English, French, and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks. Extras will include Additional Scenes, Conversations with the Cast, four Interactive Challenges, six Making-of Featurettes (“Harry vs. the Horntail: The First Task,” …
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    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 30th, 2004

    While the world of Harry Potter was created primarily for a younger adolescent audience, there is no question that the tapestry is epic, and compelling enough to satisfy adults. I believe the true success of these films lies within that idea. It is truly rare when a film arrives that can appeal so completely to both demographic groups.

    Prisoner of Azkaban is perhaps the darkest, but I don’t think the most frightening, Potter film. The creature images of the previous entry were considerably more graphic an…
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    Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on April 19th, 2003

    Based one the wildly successful Harry Potter series of novels, this film is based on book two of the series. As sophomore jinx’s go this one could have been far worse, the problem here is we no longer have the wonder of a new world to explore but, we still have characters that are not fully fleshed out yet either. The plot is somewhat predictable in that we have the same villain as the previous novel, albeit in a different form. Harry Potter and the usual cast of characters return for another year of adventure at Hog…
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    A United Kingdom (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 21st, 2017

    “We should not be fighting for segregation, we should be fighting for equality.”

    That’s the sort of rousing statement any random politician on the campaign trail might use to rile up a crowd of supporters at a pep rally. And even though those words are spoken here by a man in the midst of heavy political turmoil, the beauty of A United Kingdom — a straightforward but nevertheless impactful fact-based drama about forbidden love — is that they are actually born out of an intensely personal conflict.
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    Beauty and the Beast (2017) (Blu-ray)

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

    “Who could ever learn to love a beast?”

    Although it’s not quite a tale as old as time, people around the world have been enchanted by the story of “Beauty and the Beast” for centuries. The French fairytale was first published in 1740 and has subsequently spawned everything from a classic 1946 big-screen romance to Ron Perlman. Still, the most popular iteration of this story is Disney’s beloved 1991 animated musical, which helped solidify the Mouse House’s cartoon revival and serves as the most direct inspiration for this dazzling live-action adaptation. Then again, the fact that this new version is essentially a pretty close copy of a copy takes some of the bloom off this particular rose.
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    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 30th, 2017

    I’m writing a book about magical creatures.”

    The wizarding world J.K. Rowling conjured for her Harry Potter series captured the imaginations of children (and many, many adults) throughout the globe because it was precisely that…a fully realized, living and breathing world with its own lingo and lore. So while spinning off a corner of that universe might seem like a blatant cash grab, Rowling’s imagination has provided particularly fertile ground for new franchise opportunities. (OK, OK…the part where Warner Bros. agreed to make five of these before the first one even came out *does* feel like a cash grab.) For example, this latest crowd-pleasing stab at a billion-dollar series is based on…a fictional textbook mentioned in Rowling’s Potter saga.
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    Tuesday Round Up: March 28, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on March 28th, 2017

    There’s more than a little magic in the air for this week’s Round Up. Warner Bros. casts an enchanting, ultra-HD spell with the blockbuster Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which we’ll be reviewing in 4K. And speaking of “fantastic beasts,” I hope you don’t mind if I spend a few words on Baby, the sweet and loyal German Shepherd/Chow mix who could usually be found welcoming guests to UpcomingDiscs HQ. Baby, who was also a part-time movie critic, passed yesterday and she’ll be greatly missed.

    In other Round Up news, Paramount holds a moment of Silence for Martin Scorsese’s latest religious epic, while Candy Factory tries to put the pieces of a murder together in Americana. Finally, we’ll also check in with The Zookeeper’s Wife later this week and offer our take on the World War II drama. One last reminder before signing off for the week (and for March): 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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    Beauty and the Beast (2017)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 17th, 2017

    “Who could ever learn to love a beast?”

    Although it’s not quite a tale as old as time, people around the world have been enchanted by the story of “Beauty and the Beast” for centuries. The French fairytale was first published in 1740 and has subsequently spawned everything from a classic 1946 big-screen romance to Ron Perlman. Still, the most popular iteration of this story is Disney’s beloved 1991 animated musical, which helped solidify the Mouse House’s cartoon revival and serves as the most direct inspiration for this dazzling live-action adaptation. Then again, the fact that this new version is essentially a pretty close copy of a copy takes some of the bloom off this particular rose.
    Read the rest of this entry »

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    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1(UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 1st, 2016

    “In penance for their uprising each district shall offer up a male and female between the ages of 12 and 18 at a public reaping. These tributes shall be delivered to the custody of the Capitol and then transferred to a public arena where they will fight to the death, until a lone victor remains. Henceforth and forevermore this pageant shall be known as The Hunger Games.”

    Now that all four films are out on UHD Blu-ray in glorious 4K, we have the opportunity to view them all again from the very beginning. It’s easier to catch the subtle nuances that were planted in the earlier films that would pay off over the four-film run. It took us four years to do that originally. Now you can do it in a day. Gino Sassani takes us on the next part of that journey with The Hunger Games The Mockingjay Part 1 (2014).
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    Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 19th, 2016

    I’m writing a book about magical creatures.”

    The wizarding world J.K. Rowling conjured for her “Harry Potter” series captured the imaginations of children (and many, many adults) throughout the globe because it was precisely that…a fully realized, living and breathing world with its own lingo and lore. So while spinning off a corner of that universe might seem like a blatant cash grab, Rowling’s imagination has provided particularly fertile ground for new franchise opportunities. (OK, OK…the part where Warner Bros. agreed to make five of these before the first one even came out *does* feel like a cash grab.) For example, this latest crowd-pleasing stab at a billion-dollar series is based on…a fictional textbook mentioned in Rowling’s “Potter” saga.
    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Tuesday Round Up: November 15, 2016

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on November 15th, 2016

    Christmas decorations have been creeping onto store shelves for weeks now and temperatures here in the Sunshine State have begun to plummet all the way down into the high 50’s. Those are two sure signs that winter is coming. Here’s another: the latest batch of episodes from a certain wildly popular HBO fantasy series arrives this week. Game of Thrones: Season 6 highlights our latest Tuesday Round Up, but there is plenty more you should look forward to. Anchor Bay enlists in the Army of One, while Paramount boldly goes to toon town with Star Trek: The Animated Series.

    On top of all that, this is also an extremely busy week in terms of theatrical releases we’ll be reviewing. Be sure to come back to the site this weekend to see if Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them recaptures the magic of Harry Potter, and whether Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk scores with fans.

    Here’s your weekly 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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    The Legend of Tarzan (Blu-ray 3D)

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

    I’ve always been a fan of Tarzan; I loved the old series and the films basically because I just dug how he was this fearless character who lived in the jungles who fought the bad guys and a few wild animals as well.  As I got older that was when I discovered the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and I just had a blast with all these pulp tales about the civilized Wildman and the beautiful Jane.  I even remember how excited I was about seeing Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan as a kid; even though this screen adaption bored me to tears, it was still exciting to see the character up on the screen. Now it’s 2016, and the character is swinging into action on the big screen again, and with a large budget to back it up.
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    Denial

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on October 18th, 2016

    David Hare is an extremely prolific and ambitious playwright. He has written over 30 plays, but he has also done television and screenplays as well as directing in all three mediums. One of his first screenplays was an adaptation of his play, Plenty, which starred Meryl Streep, in 1985. He also wrote the screenplay for an adaptation Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Hours, which starred Meryl Streep as well. He also wrote the screenplay for The Reader, which was nominated for numerous awards and was about a woman guard in a German concentration camp and starred Kate Winslet.
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    Swiss Army Man

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on July 6th, 2016

    If a film is highly original, that is usually a good thing. If it completely defies logic, that might be good or bad, depending. If it defies common sense and intelligence, that would be a bad thing. Swiss Army Man does all of those things. It is tantalizing with possibilities that are explored, but frustrating in execution. It is rude and unpleasant, and not in a good way. Some people will respond to its ridiculous rudeness in a positive way, like the way that most children laugh when someone farts. That is not the real problem with this movie.
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    The Legend Of Tarzan

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

    I’ve always been a fan of Tarzan; I loved the old series and the films basically because I just dug how he was this fearless character who lived in the jungles that fought the bad guys and a few wild animals as well.  As I got older that was when I discovered the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and I just had a blast with all these pulp tales about the civilized Wildman and the beautiful Jane.  I even remember how excited I was about seeing Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan as a kid; even though this screen adaption bored me to tears, it was still exciting to see the character up on the screen. Now it’s 2016, and the character is swinging into action on the big screen again, and with a large budget to back it up.
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    A Bigger Splash

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on June 6th, 2016

    A Bigger Splash is a remake of a 1969 French film called La Piscine (The Swimming Pool) starring Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, and Jane Birkin. It was popular in its time and was challenging and mysterious but will not register in the memory of modern moviegoers. A Bigger Splash retains the same sense of adventurous storytelling and compelling ambivalence. A Bigger Splash stars Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series and the new “M” in James Bond movies Skyfall and Spectre), Tilda Swinton (a remarkable character actress who is different in every film), Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Greys) and Matthias Schoenaerts (Far From The Madding Crowd, The Danish Girl). That cast is dynamic by itself, and they are used to maximum effect. Ralph Fiennes, especially, is absolutely outstanding. He has never played a part like this before. His character could be described in many ways, because his moods shift radically.
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    The Bible Stories: Samson and Delilah

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul 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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    Midnight Special

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on April 10th, 2016

    Comic book movies are the preeminent form of movie entertainment in this day and age. I use the term broadly to include all sorts of fantasy books and ancillary offshoots. There is the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe and other universes that include Star Wars, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, and endless variations. As consumers we become fans of a particular fantasy world from which we gain great personal pleasure. Religion is also a source of orientation for most of the world. We believe in various versions of God in which to invest our emotions fervently and honestly. There is a clear difference between fantasy and religion, but then we have YouTube, which is becoming increasingly crammed with “information” that crosses the line between fantasy and reality.
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    The Bible Stories: Abraham

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on March 17th, 2016

    In the book of Genesis from the Bible, the story of Abraham comes right after the stories of Adam and Eve and Noah. It is one of the foundation stories of the Bible and talks of Abraham being the father of the Jewish people. The Bible is the source book of Christianity as well. The stories of the Bible are well known among people of all faiths as well, so it is assumed that most people on the planet know the story of Abraham. Bible stories are done religiously (pun intended), and Richard Harris (Camelot, Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies) himself has done two other Bible stories (Cain in The Bible: In the Beginning and the apostle John in The Apocalypse).
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    Alan Rickman (1946-2016)

    Posted in Tribute by John Ceballos on January 14th, 2016

    – “After all your posturing, all your little speeches, you’re nothing but a common thief.”

    – “I am an exceptional thief…”

    The above exchange occurs in Die Hard, which (in addition to being the gold standard for modern action movies) marked the film debut of Alan Rickman. The beloved, commanding actor — who died of cancer Thursday at age 69 — had already distinguished himself as a superstar of the British theatre world. But it was with his iconic performance as Bill Clay Hans Gruber that Rickman stole his way into the hearts of moviegoers worldwide.

    It would’ve been all too easy for Rickman to settle into a career playing haughty villains, thanks to his velvety baritone (the Voice of God!) and clipped diction. (And he did portray his share of baddies in films like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Sweeney Todd.) Fortunately for us, his immense charisma and magnetism simply made that impossible. As a result, Rickman also excelled at comedy (Dogma, Galaxy Quest), romance (Truly Madly Deeply, Sense and Sensibility), and everything in between (Love Actually). It’s no accident that the actor’s best-known, big-screen work — playing the enigmatic Professor Severus Snape in eight Harry Potter movies — contains dashes of humor, villainy and pathos. You often hear about characters that audiences “love to hate.” In Rickman’s case, he made it practically impossible to hate him…no matter how “bad” he was.

    We’ve actually had the pleasure of reviewing some of Rickman’s work here at UpcomingDiscs. Join us for a quick trip through our archives.
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    Victor Frankenstein

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 2nd, 2016

    “You know this story…”

    At least you think that you do. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is one of the best known novels of all time. But thanks in part to Hollywood, it is also one of the most misrepresented stories of all time. I’m a fan of both the novel and the series of Universal and Hammer films going all the way back to 1931 when Boris Karloff played The Monster and Colin Clive played the mad Dr. Frankenstein. Missing from both the original novel and the James Whale Universal film is any mention of a character named Igor. There isn’t even an assistant at all in the book, and in the 1931 film the hunchbacked lab assistant was named Fritz and was played by Dwight Frye.
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