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    The Americans: The Complete Third Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 9th, 2016

    They are hard to get…”

    Naturally, Elizabeth and Philip Jennings — the Soviet spies next door at the center of FX’s The Americans — have proven to be exceedingly elusive. Over the course of three seasons and 39 episodes, they’ve dodged numerous close calls from the federal government, enemy agents, and from within their own household. But while various parties have tried to catch the main characters in the act, the thing that makes The Americans one of the very best shows on TV is that it’s actually incredibly easy to “get” Elizabeth and Philip; their efforts to keep their (unconventional) family together are universal.
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    The Americans: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 17th, 2014

    “…Super secret spies living next door. They look like us. They speak better English than we do. I mean, come on. Someone’s been reading too many spy novels.”

    And now someone has expertly taken the cloak-and-dagger intrigue of a great spy novel, transplanted it onto our television screens, and called it The Americans. While the show is very clearly set during the Reagan era, its complex, multi-layered portrayal of the human beings on both sides of the Cold War makes it feel thrillingly alive today.
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    Ugly Americans: Volume One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on October 5th, 2010

    For somebody who does a lot of the cartoon reviews on this website, I often miss many new cartoons that crop up on Saturday mornings, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, etc. One such animated show cropped up on my review slab. In the spirit of Halloween, (but not an official Nights of Terror post), it is my pleasure to take a look at Ugly Americans, the newest animation from Comedy Central.
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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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    Girls: The Final Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 3rd, 2017

    My persona’s very, like, witty yet narcissistic.”

    These self-aware words are spoken by Hannah Horvath, the on-screen alter ego of Girls star/creator Lena Dunham during the premiere of the show’s final season. Of course, anyone who’s watched Girls knows the “witty yet narcissistic” label applies to practically every character in Dunham’s often flawed (and even-more-often brilliant) HBO dramedy. So while this final batch of episodes includes some superb moments, it’s not a total surprise that this polarizing series concludes its run with a frustrating finale that is more satisfying for the show’s creators than it is for its fans.
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    Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 4th, 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.  For many the first film was a surprise hit that no one saw coming, something so toe-tapping fun between the soundtrack and action scenes, but most importantly it was the chemistry of the Guardians that had won over the audiences.
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    Come What May (Blu-ray)

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

    Don’t call it a comeback, but World War II movies are having a bit of a renaissance. (Seriously, don’t call it a comeback…they’ve been here for years.) There are seemingly endless ways to approach a WWII story — Hacksaw Ridge and Allied were in theatres recently, while the next few months will bring The Zookeeper’s Wife and Dunkirk — but the majority of movies that actually get made skew toward the American/British perspective. That’s the main reason Come What May — a somewhat sappy, intensely personal film from France — stands out from the pack.
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    Captain Fantastic

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on July 23rd, 2016

    Captain Fantastic has nothing to do with Elton John. (It turns out that’s not entirely true, because director/writer/actor Matt Ross (Big Love, Silicon Valley) found out his mother played Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy all the time, and it must have imbedded itself in his subconscious). The story in the movie starts in a very Lord of the Flies way, with camouflaged faces hidden amongst the leaves of the woods. They are children, and one of them leaps from the bush with a knife and cuts a deer’s neck. There are seven children and they all belong to Ben (Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings).
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    The Taviani Brothers Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 1st, 2016

    Even though I like to think I’ve seen more movies than the average bear, I’ll admit to having somewhat of a blind spot when it comes to world cinema. So I’m a little ashamed to say I hadn’t even heard of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani — the Italian filmmaking brothers who have worked together all their lives and started making movies in the 1950s — before I picked up this handy three-pack from the Cohen Media Group. The Taviani Brothers Collection features three of the siblings’ most acclaimed work: Padre Padrone, The Night of the Shooting Stars, and Kaos.
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    The Book of Negroes

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 6th, 2015

    Prior to picking up this title from UpcomingDiscs headquarters, The Book of Negroes was a complete unknown to me on several levels. I wasn’t aware of the six-episode miniseries that aired on BET earlier this year, nor had I ever heard of the book of the same name by Canadian novelist Lawrence Hill. Even worse, I was completely unaware of the real-life historical document that served as the inspiration for Hill’s book and this miniseries. So while The Book of Negroes is buoyed by solid storytelling and capable performances, my favorite thing about it is that it shone a light on a part of history that hasn’t totally gotten its due in pop culture.
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    Pioneer (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 23rd, 2015

    The Norwegian oil boom of the early 1980s isn’t the most obvious setting for a thriller, but director Erik Skjoldbjærg manages to squeeze plenty of intrigue out of what seems like a pretty dry subject. Of course, Pioneer could never be described as “dry” in the literal sense since the film follows a group of commercial divers in Norway as they try to establish the country’s first petroleum pipeline 500 meters underwater.
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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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    Hitler & The Nazis

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 9th, 2014

    Despite the atrocities that Adolf Hitler was responsible for, this ruthless visionary had an uncanny way of getting people to not only listen to him, but to follow him, and die for his quest of world domination.  We all know the name Adolf Hitler; it’s a name that will forever hold the stigma that it will remind people of nothing but hate and genocide.  But what made this man slip into darkness, fueled by hate with the goal of eliminating the Jewish race?
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    Heaven Is for Real

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on April 19th, 2014

    Let me say something about myself. I have a saying. Atheists are stupid and agnostics are smart. The reason agnostics are smart is because they know they don’t know. Faith is belief. The problem is that this is a cynical age. There are so many people who are atheists because they can cite facts about the universe and science. I always think it’s absurd to hear an atheist talk, because they are so insulting to anyone who doesn’t agree with them. So am I an agnostic?
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    Argo (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 23rd, 2013

    Ever since Ben Affleck stepped behind the camera and took on the role of director, I’ve found myself not only becoming a fan of his work but believing the man has greatness ahead of him.  When I first watched Gone Baby Gone, I was more than a little impressed; after all, it was his first time at the helm.  But then Affleck released his follow-up film, The Town, and it blew me away.  Sure, there were some great movies that came out that year, but the fact that it didn’t make the list of best picture nominees I just can’t understand.
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    Argo

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 12th, 2012

    Ever since Ben Affleck stepped behind the camera and took on the role of director, I’ve found myself not only becoming a fan of his work but believing the man has greatness ahead of him.  When I first watched Gone Baby Gone, I was more than a little impressed; after all, it was his first time at the helm.  But then Affleck released his follow-up film, The Town, and it blew me away.  Sure, there were some great movies that came out that year, but the fact that it didn’t make the list of best picture nominees I just can’t understand.  But with the release of Argo it would seem the Academy will have a chance to right that wrong and shower this film with plenty of adoration.  Sure, this is pretty much a shoe-in for the best picture nomination, but not just because it’s great, but really, what is the competition?
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    WWII in HD (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 17th, 2011

    “There are many among us who in the past closed their eyes to the events of war, because they believed that what was taking place in Europe was none of our business. That we could maintain our physical safety by retiring within our continental boundaries. Obviously, a defense policy based on that is merely to invite future attacks. For those who would not admit the possibility of the approaching storm, the past weeks have meant a shattering of past illusions.”

    No, that quote wasn’t George W. Bush. It was Franklin D. Roosevelt on May 26th, 1941.
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    Fair Game (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Bob Ross on March 30th, 2011

    A newspaper article infuriates the White House, which retaliates with all its political might to discredit the story, crush its author and cover up its own internal corruption. Sound familiar, like maybe All the President’s Men? If that’s among your favorite docudramas, then make room on the shelf for Fair Game, a real-life paranoid trip that unfolds across continents but finds its emotional center in a quiet suburban home.
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    The Hessen Conspiracy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on January 6th, 2011

    Written by Dave Younger

    Set in 1945 Germany, WWII is winding down, and The Japanese have just surrendered.  A bunch of American officers have commandeered a castle outside of Frankfurt, Germany, and the discovery of a wine stash leads Colonel Jack Durant (Billy Zane) to thinking:  What else could Princess Sophie have hidden before she fled?  Jack is first seen flirting with Lt. Kathleen Nash (Lyne Renee), but she’s not buying.
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    Dare to Play the Game

    Posted in Dare to Play the Game, News and Opinions by Michael Durr on February 24th, 2010

    Upcoming Titles for Xbox Live Arcade, Final Fantasy XIII reviews, & Apple gets rough on IPhone Apps? – Welcome to the column that will only be kid friendly to those who just got out of juvenile detention known as Dare to Play the Game.

    After about four months and probably more mentions on this column than you care about, I finally have all of the achievement points in WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010.
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    WWII in HD (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 4th, 2010

    “There are many among us who in the past closed their eyes to the events of war, because they believed that what was taking place in Europe was none of our business. That we could maintain our physical safety by retiring within our continental boundaries. Obviously, a defense policy based on that is merely to invite future attacks. For those who would not admit the possibility of the approaching storm, the past weeks have meant a shattering of past illusions.”

    No, that quote wasn’t George W. Bush. It was Franklin D. Roosevelt on May 26th, 1941.
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    Dare to Play the Game

    Posted in Dare to Play the Game, News and Opinions by Michael Durr on December 2nd, 2009

    Nintendo selling a ton of Wiis, Rockband tops 1,000 & 3D Gaming will be wave of the future? – Welcome to the column that promises to push technology that will be around a hundred years from now like the ballpoint pen & Ding Dongs known as Dare to Play the Game.

    Thanksgiving has come and gone along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I geared up a little differently this year for Black Friday by sitting in front of my computer and watching Amazon. After the dust cleared, I think my wallet was probably gasping for air a bit.
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    Moon Machines

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on August 6th, 2009

    This is a 6-part series presented by the Discovery Channel, documenting the different devices created so that America could reach the moon by a deadline that then US president Kennedy had promised the nation.
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    Miracle (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 29th, 2009

    “Do you believe in miracles?”

    Al Michaels’ famous coda to the 1980 Olympic Hockey Championship Game provides the title of this Walt Disney film based on the incredible feat. I have to admit that I’ve never been a big fan of the Olympic games. I’ve more times than not been annoyed at how much television time is preempted, and it dominates the headlines for over 2 weeks each time the games are played. Still, it was hard not to feel a little excited about this particular game. As Americans, we love those underdog stories.
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    A Mighty Heart (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 26th, 2009

    On January 23, 2002 Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped and eventually killed by terrorists while working in Pakistan. A Mighty Heart is based on this true story. The narrative comes from the book by his wife Marianne Pearl. While this is certainly the tragic tale of a murdered reporter, this film is more the story of Marianne and her struggle to locate Pearl in the 10 days from his capture until a video tape surfaced depicting his beheading.
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