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    XX (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 25th, 2017

    While I’m not usually a fan of gimmicks involved in trying to get my attention to see a movie, I’ll happily take an anthology of a found-footage film, simply because the odds of me finding something I like in the anthology are greater. VHS 2 is personally my favorite anthology film out there; even though it suffers from having to be a found-footage anthology, it at least delivers several unique perspectives and stories. I find it hard to believe a horror fan out there can’t enjoy the film. With XX the anthology presents us with a unique proposition when it comes to horror, four tales that are all crafted and presented by women.  A rather unintentional taboo notion when you consider horror has been a boys’ club for many years, but we are in a new era, and with this anthology this is the business card that is here to show us what they got.
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    Ice – Season 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 23rd, 2017

    It’s not often that a show can come along that impresses me with its talent in front of and behind the camera; then when the show premieres, it is just bad for a couple of episodes and then manages to bounce back.  There are just so many options that if you don’t come out swinging, your show is going to be passed up for something else. I still feel like we’re in the Golden Age of television despite some of the best series in the past decade having already been retired from the airwaves (Breaking Bad is sorely missed despite Better Call Saul).  There is still so much out there that sometimes good stuff gets overlooked, and it’s not till DVD rolls around that you can discover a show, and that is the case for the new series Ice.
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    Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 18th, 2017

    With its original release in 2009, DC and Warner Bros have set up the release of Wonder Woman the animated film to help ramp up excitement for the live-action release of the new Wonder Woman film that is set to hit the big screen in a matter of weeks. For some of those readers who may think animated film means it’s just for kids, what WB and DC have done together with the animation department I wish managed to translate to their live-action releases. The DC/WB animated films in my opinion are phenomenal and honestly have set a high bar for me, because these translations have just been superior to the live-action films, and most come in short of the 90-minute mark
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    The Wall

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 12th, 2017

    Director Doug Liman has been a director whose career I’ve enjoyed following since I was in high school and first saw Swingers. It was one of those cool independent films that appeared in the mid-90’s when independent films were all the rage.  A couple years later he did the film Go which I felt beautifully captured the rave culture that had taken the states by storm but the film was quickly overlooked.  Then he got his big break with The Bourne Identity and as his career expanded to Mr. and Mrs. Smith so did the budgets ie: Edge of Tomorrow. Now with the release of The Wall Liman seems to have gone back to his roots in a way in creating one of the most intimate and intense war films to hit the cinemas, despite its major release being set by Amazon Studios.
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    Saving Banksy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 9th, 2017

    When it comes to graffiti art there is only one name that comes to mind, and it’s Banksy. Before checking out this documentary I had no clue that graffiti art was actually something people took seriously, beyond gang tags and little kids marking up a wall for fun. Apparently there are numerous acclaimed graffiti artists around the world, artists who define themselves with their own unique style and message they’d like to share with the rest of the world, even if their message will most likely be painted over.  In 2010 Banksy came to San Francisco to vandalize some walls with a little paint, and it was enough to create a buzz across the city about what the artist would do, and out of that spawned this unique documentary that explores the value of graffiti art.
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    Rings (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 8th, 2017

    When The Ring (2002) first came out, if you looked hard enough you could still find movies on VHS, so the thought of a mysterious tape that kills you seven days after watching it wasn’t so entirely farfetched.  Now that we are in 2017, if someone were to find a mysterious VHS tape, well, they’d be out of luck for the most part, since I’d wager most of the US population no longer has a VCR.  But Hollywood won’t let this stop their successful franchise from moving forward, even though it’s been 12 years since The Ring Two, this weekend is the release of the third film in the series, and quite frankly, I have to wonder if anyone really wanted this.
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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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    Chupacabra Territory

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 25th, 2017

    I have to admit I’m a sucker for cryptozoology, and stories about chupacabras and Bigfoot are fun to talk about. In the reality-TV-show world, there are many shows that have people travelling in the woods in search of evidence of these creatures. The proof is sketchy at best, but still it makes for entertaining television. Now we have the found-footage film Chupacabra Territory that dares to take us on an adventure into chupacabra territory where four hikers manage to get lost in the woods.  Is the found footage worth checking out? Well, that all depends how big a fan of the found-footage genre you happen to be.
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    The Lost City Of Z

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 21st, 2017

    The best way to describe this film is epic; they really don’t make films like this anymore, and leave it to Amazon Studios to present us with such an ambitious film.  At one time Brad Pitt was set to star in the film, and then the lead role was offered up to Benedict Cumberbatch. Due to his conflicting schedule with Doctor Strange, he too had to drop out. Eventually Charlie Hunnam (Crimson Peak, Sons of Anarchy) was given the role, and to be honest, I don’t think there is another actor who is more suited for the role. Percy Fawcett (Hunnam) was a loyal soldier in the British army who seemed to never get the recognition that he deserved, and frankly this is something I feel Hunnam can relate to. He’s been in some great roles over the years, but somehow he’s a guy who’s been overlooked and hasn’t quite gotten the spotlight that he deserves.
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    Split (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 20th, 2017

    When it comes to writer/ director M. Night Shyamalan, it’s hard to find a more polarizing director between film critics and film geeks. I was a fan up until he did The Village. It’s not as though I “hated” the film; I just was getting sick of the gimmick plot twists that seemed to go hand in hand with his work.  As he continued to release films, I just would shrug at the trailers, and my enthusiasm for his films quickly declined.  For me Unbreakable has grown to be my favorite work of his, which is funny to me because the first time I saw it I had a hard time deciding how I felt about the film.  It was a comic/ superhero film that showed us perhaps what it would be like in the real world if some regular Joe realized he was perhaps meant for something greater.
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    The Bye Bye Man (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 14th, 2017

    Every year there are dozens upon dozens of horror films released, each with the intention to make an impact on the genre.  Horror is easily my favorite genre in film, but it’s a genre that easily allows itself to spill into other genres. It doesn’t matter to me what the budget is, or whether the special effects are on point; what matters most is if the story holds up.  I mention this because going into The Bye Bye Man I had heard some pretty bad things, but I don’t usually let that get in the way of my opinion of a film; after all, everyone has their own tastes.  For me the film’s tagline “Don’t think it. Don’t say it.” should have the added line, “Don’t remember it.”
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    Office Christmas Party (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 12th, 2017

    The trouble with most holiday films is that once the holiday passes, there is about another year of waiting till it seems right to put the film on again.  Everyone knows about A Christmas Story and Polar Express, but really, the staple holiday films are sparse, but they are great.  Every year, despite the high probability to fail, studios churn out some holiday films in the hopes that one of these attempted swings will turn out to be a box office giant. I believe it’s safe to say that there hasn’t been a holiday hit for a while, but despite the long odds, Office Christmas Party comes out strong with a big cast and raunchy intentions.  Is it enough to lure people into the darkened Cineplex or have you want to go out to Netflix or Redbox to cure those holiday fever blues?
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    Archer: Season 7

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 6th, 2017

    With Season 8 gearing up, Season 7 of Archer makes its way onto DVD, for many to binge and catch up before the season premiere. I have to admit this was a show I had watched perhaps a handful of episodes but I could never quite get into.  I’ll admit at times I can be a bit thick-headed when it comes to watching an animated series. After repeated requests (or demands that may or may not have been at gunpoint), I settled in and binged a season of Archer.  To my surprise, I had a blast with the show and quickly devoured more episodes which finally caught me up to Season 7.  So what trouble has the former world’s greatest secret agent, Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) gotten himself into?
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    Trainspotting 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 31st, 2017

    “First, there is an opportunity.  Then…there’s a betrayal.”

    It’s been 20 years since the release of Trainspotting, and it’s fair to say a lot has changed in the past two decades.  I remember going out to the United Artists Mission Bell Cinemas to see Trainspotting the weekend it came out.  I was with my best friend at the time, and neither of us was old enough to buy tickets for the film, so we ended up having to sneak into the film.  We’d seen the trailers, and in a time before the internet, there just wasn’t much we could find out about it aside from reading articles in the entertainment magazines.  To this day, I remember walking out of the auditorium simply floored by the film.
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    Wilson

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 25th, 2017

    Daniel Clowes  is one of a handful of writers in the industry that when I see his name attached to a project I can’t help but be curious to see what he’s up to.  In 2001 he wrote Ghost World, which was based on the comic he created. It was an independent film smash, and I’d consider it a cult sensation.  Then he had Art School Confidential that had the same humor and a great cast, but it just didn’t seem to connect as well with audiences.  I love the odd little characters Clowes manages to bring to life, despite many being so over-the-top, he manages to somehow keep them grounded in reality.  So when the offer came along to review Wilson, the new film he’s written based off his graphic novel, it was an offer I couldn’t pass up.
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    Bloodrunners

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 20th, 2017

    We’ve reached a point where I’m starting to wonder if there is anything new that can be brought to the vampire genre. They may not be my favorite horror creature, but vampire movies tend to be fun for the most part, and being fun is mostly what we look for when we decide to check out a horror film. Bloodrunners attempts to show us something new, taking us back to the prohibition era of the 1930’s, but is this a trip worth taking? Grab a bottle of hooch and a stake for the road, because it’s nightfall, and I’m about to dive into this vampire tale.
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    Joe Bullet

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 12th, 2017

    When it comes to exploitation films you really are rolling the dice when you find a title you’ve never heard of and you decide to watch it. Through the 60’s and 70’s there were countless exploitation films that covered many genres, many of which were sold to audiences by a cool-looking poster and catchy title.  Sex and violence were the major exploits with these films, and at this time there was also the birth of black cinema, or simply blacksploitation films.  Many have heard of Foxy Brown, The Mack, and Truck Turner, but for all these hits there were many more misses, and it’s the lost gems of the era that film geeks get excited over.  Just because a film wasn’t a hit at the time didn’t mean the film was no good; many just fell between the cracks, and Joe Bullet just happens to be one of those titles.
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    Kong: Skull Island

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

    Every year it seems the “summer” movie season starts sooner than the year before.  Here we are, the second Friday of March, and already we’ve seen the huge box office weekend for Logan, and now this weekend we have the release of Kong: Skull Island.  Ever since Kong first graced the big screen back in 1933, every film that followed was a mega-event. Personally it wasn’t till 2005 that theatergoers got to fully experience the massive beast in all his glory as he became worthy of the title “the 8th wonder of the world”.  Now we have Legendary Entertainment playing in the giant monster movie sandbox with plans to set up a series of monster films.  All this leads up to the inevitable clash of the kaiju monsters where we will finally see the showdown of Godzilla vs. King Kong.  Before we begin to get too excited, how does our current trip to Skull Island fare?
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    Beavis & Butt-Head: The Complete Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 23rd, 2017

    Before there was South Park, in 1993 MTV released the coolest cartoon that was out there when they began to air Beavis and Butt-Head.  When it came to animated shows, there really wasn’t much out there that appealed to the average teenage boy, but MTV understood their audience and took a chance on creator Mike Judge’s little series that was virtually an overnight sensation.  The blend of having a short animated series mixed in with music videos that the show’s characters would deliver their commentary from the torn up sofa was the perfect blend for what would be an unexpected pop-culture movement.  Looking back at the series with older eyes, I can understand why my parents rolled their eyes about my urgency to get home to watch the new episode of Beavis and Butt-Head
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    The Great Wall

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 20th, 2017

    It’s kind of a big deal when discussing the film The Great Wall to mention that it is the most expensive Chinese film made to date.  With an estimated budget of a $150 million, I can understand the stunt casting of putting Matt Damon in the film that takes place during the Great Wall’s construction.  It’s quite simple; Matt Damon is an international star, and he puts people in seats.  What’s more surprising is that at one time Edward Zwick was on board to direct, but eventually that position would be passed on to  Yimou Zhang. For those unfamiliar with Zhang, he’s responsible for such martial arts epics Hero and House of Flying Daggers, and for Zhang this would be his first Hollywood feature.
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    American Pastoral (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 20th, 2017

    Ewan McGregor has had an interesting career in front of the camera; he’s gone from playing a heroin addict (Trainspotting), to being a Jedi and several roles that just about make him impossible to typecast. With his new film, McGregor is doing double duty by also helming the film as director for the first time.  When I first heard about McGregor taking on American Pastoral, based on the book of the same name by Philip Roth, I was worried that perhaps he had bitten off a bit more than he could handle with his first time at bat.  What’s surprising is how relevant the film is at this point in time as the country is so divided, and because of this it adds a new perspective to the film.
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    Dead West

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 14th, 2017

    When it comes to having a serial killer being used as the main character or used as the anti-hero, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.  Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and of course Dexter are titles that first come to mind.  The difference between these two titles is that we understand their code, or see the lack of code, when it comes to whom they choose to kill.  It’s escapist entertainment, and I appreciate the morbidity of rooting for such deplorable characters, but that’s what cinema and television do; they take us along for a ride that reality cannot.  When it comes to Dead West, we’re on board for a cross-country trip with a serial killer, but sadly this is a trip that had me reaching for the door handle before arriving at our destination.
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    From Dusk Till Dawn: Season 3

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

    Season 1 of From Dusk Till Dawn gave us a ten-episode remake of the hit original movie while setting up a mythology to stretch its story over numerous seasons. Season 2 took us deeper into the culebra syndicate, and we got to see how they operate in their world as Carlos (Wilmer Valderrama) searched for an ancient blood source and sought to sit at the throne as the leader of all the culebras (a snake/vampire hybrid of sorts).  All while the baddest outlaws North and South of the border, the Gecko brothers Seth (D.J. Cotrona) and Richie (Zane Holtz) were forced to work out their differences ever since Richie was made a culebra.
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    Rings

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 5th, 2017

    When The Ring (2002) first came out, if you looked hard enough you could still find movies on VHS, so the thought of a mysterious tape that kills you seven days after watching it wasn’t so entirely farfetched.  Now that we are in 2017, if someone were to find a mysterious VHS tape, well, they’d be out of luck for the most part, since I’d wager most of the US population no longer has a VCR.  But Hollywood won’t let this stop their successful franchise from moving forward, even though it’s been 12 years since The Ring Two, this weekend is the release of the third film in the series, and quite frankly, I have to wonder if anyone really wanted this. 
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    The Man Who Fell To Earth: Limited Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 2nd, 2017

    It’s been 40 years since the release of The Man Who Fell to Earth, and in that time a lot has changed. If I’m being honest, this isn’t a film that really holds up too well.  Last year the star of the film, David Bowie, passed away, and it would seem prosperous and logical to crank out an anniversary edition of the film.  As it stands this film isn’t considered so much a classic, but a cult film that fans of Bowie and certain sci-fi fans hold in high regard.  For me, this was simply a title I had heard of in passing during talks about Bowie or sci-fi films, but it was never a film that really called to me.  To the disappointment of several friends, I’m not much of a fan of David Bowie’s music, and science fiction just isn’t a genre I’m in love with.
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