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    IT (2017)

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

    In case you’ve been living beneath a rock and out of contact with any and all social media, this weekend the long-awaited film adaption of Stephen King’s It releases. Some of my friends look at the trailer for the new film and instantly reject what they see; they immediately cling to their memories of how the original mini-series scared them. One thing you’ll hear them all saying is how Tim Curry made such an impact on their lives and to this day gave them reason to fear clowns. While I respect their opinions, when you revisit the film, you can’t help but notice how dated the film is, and really, if you’re over the age of 10, it just isn’t scary.
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    Granny Of The Dead

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

    What happens when a group of friends decide they want to get together and make a horror movie? I’d imagine the result would be something close to Granny of the Dead. I’m not sure what kind of budget they had to make the film, but I’d imagine it wasn’t very much, and the talent on the screen doesn’t really scream the next box office star, but the film has charm, the kind of charm that they did the film not because of the paycheck but instead they just wanted to have fun and make a movie.  I’m hoping that is the case with the film; if so, then I can forgive a lot. For instance, have you ever seen the fan film that is a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Is it great?
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    Good Time

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

    Every once in a while a film comes along that not only takes you by surprise but exceeds all expectations and just sticks to you. Last year it was La La Land, and this year for me it is Good Time.  Checking out the trailer after the film began to pick up some buzz on the internet, I thought that it looked good, but nothing about the trailer stood out to me to lead me to believe this was anything special.  But the thing that the trailer just doesn’t seem to capture is the experience. As you often see the tagline “a thrill ride”, this may be the first time in a long time where I feel this generic tagline actually fits, because that is precisely what this film is.  From the moment the film takes off, it doesn’t let up till the closing credits begin.
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    Lucifer: The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 24th, 2017

    It seems there is no end in sight for comic book properties being bought and turned into movies or television series. Lucifer is one of the newer properties getting the television treatment, and personally this was a title I was looking forward to. With Tom Kapinos (Californication and Dawson’s Creek) at the helm, this seemed like it would be a good fit, though one thing did nag at me. When you have a show called Lucifer and it is about the devil taking a vacation on Earth, is broadcast television really the proper outlet? As a fan of Californication I was excited to see what Kapinos would do with the material and for the most part the show doesn’t disappoint.
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    Wolves

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

    I used to be a basketball fan back in the ’90s when Michael Jordan was a God on the court and you had Larry Johnson as “Grandmama” before Madea was ever a thing. Every year, some sort of inspirational sports story seems to come out. And for the most part it seems, whether it’s basketball or another sport, it’s generally the same story. But every once in a while one of the films will break the mold and give us something special. Don’t get to excited: I’m not saying Wolves is one of those films, but it is at least better than most of the other films of its ilk.
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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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    Union Furnace

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 17th, 2017

    A few minutes of watching the news lately will reflect an ongoing division in race, but the one divide that seems to be more prevalent is the one between blue- and white-collar Americans. The Purge franchise has tapped into this and the exploitation of the classes being ramped up to a high degree. But personally I feel that’s a franchise that still is missing a rawness that never quite allows you to feel that it is real; it’s like a dark fairytale of what may come in the distant future. Union Furnace, instead, takes a more grounded approach to the upper class taking advantage of those in need and presents what could be a terrifying reality going on in small town America.
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    Annabelle: Creation

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

    Following the success of The Conjuring, it was no surprise that sequels would follow, but I have to admit seeing an Annabelle film was a bit unexpected. While The Conjuring was based on true events (as true as one may or may not wish to believe in the paranormal), Annabelle was mostly a work of fiction. I’ll admit I’m a bit of the fan of the Warrens and have read plenty about their investigations, and I certainly feel their life is ripe for the Hollywood treatment along with the hundreds of case files they developed over the years.  While the first Annabelle did well at the box office, it took a beating by critics, but those involved at the studio see that there is still money to be made as they continue to expand the franchise.
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    A Ghost Story

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 7th, 2017

    It’s difficult to be original and innovative when it comes to tackling a haunted house film. Ghost stories have been around for ages and told just about every way you can imagine, so what do you do to give the audience something they have never seen before? After coming back from directing Pete’s Dragon, writer/ director David Lowry a delivers a small intimate film that manages to take the haunted house story and makes it something unique from all the rest. Though when I say unique, and when I say innovative this may not be a positive for some. The film begins by introducing us to a couple played by Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara; their characters are simply credited as C & M.
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    S.W.A.T.: Under Siege (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 4th, 2017

    An action film with a running time of 89 minutes should mean that it’s going to be lean on the story and keep things moving at a fast pace.  S.W.A.T: Under Siege delivers just that, but unfortunately in the process delivers something that we’ve seen many times before.  The film is being branded as a sequel (by name only) to S.W.A.T (2003), the film with Colin Farrell which was an adaptation from the TV series from the 70’s.  S.W.A.T: Under Siege has nothing to do with any of the previous incarnations, and has relocated from sunny California to Seattle Washington. But is the film worth checking out?  Well I’m not a fan of sequels that go straight to DVD, but this film does dangle a wild card for the audience that convinced me to give this a shot, Michael Jai White (Spawn, Black Dynamite).
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    Warlock Collection

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

    Ever since Lionsgate acquired the Vestron Video collection and has been re-releasing these remastered titles, I have to say I’ve been in nostalgia heaven.  I remember seeing these VHS boxes in the horror section at my nearby video store and renting many of these to get my weekly horror fix. Waxwork was always a box cover I always appreciated, but one of the most memorable was Warlock, because in the sea of black VHS boxes with gory box art, Warlock was this white box with the mysterious Julian Sands and this menacing shadow in red. I even remember seeing the trailer attached to my VHS copy of The Monster Squad, and I always dug the trailer for the film, but it took forever for me to finally get to see the film
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    Atomic Blonde

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 28th, 2017

    John Wick was an action film that seemed to sneak up on everyone. Sure, it had a great trailer, but I don’t think anyone expected to walk away from just how great it actually was. What made it so effective weren’t just the well-choreographed fights and the stylish look of the film, but it was the characters that while over the top, were also ones the audience could relate to. Atomic Blonde is helmed by half the directing team that gave us the first John Wick, and from what the trailers first teased us with, I came into it with hopes we’d get something special.  While on the surface I can’t say that this film surpasses John Wick, what it does is stand alone for being a culturally and socially important film as it delivers not just the ultimate badass female in an action film, but I believe the first that belongs in the LBGT community.  It’s a big deal what this character represents, but how does the rest of the film fare throughout the fistfights and shootouts?
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    Dunkirk

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 22nd, 2017

    When Christopher Nolan has a new release, it’s an event to get excited about. There are few directors I can say this about. Sure, there are directors that I like, but still there are few who manage to capture what makes going to the cinema an experience. Dunkirk is his latest cinematic opus. Despite it being his shortest film, with the exception of The Following; this is the first time he has shot a film entirely in IMAX form. What’s the big deal? Well, aside from the picture being twice the size of the regular format, what he does with these cameras is deliver a beautifully striking picture of destruction and survival.  There’s a lot of buzz going around with this film, and already it’s being looked at as the first real Oscar contender of the year.  Is the film worth the hype?  Is it really Nolan’s best picture?
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    Kong: Skull Island (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 19th, 2017

    Every year it seems the “summer” movie season seems to start 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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    The Strain: Season 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 11th, 2017

    From creator Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Blade 2) based off a book he co-wrote, The Strain has been a horror series that has continued to impress as it revs up to begin its fourth season on FX.  It’s a show that centers around a vampire outbreak that began at JFK airport when a plane arrived with all its passengers and crew “dead”, and then things quickly spiraled out of hand.  If your eyes rolled at the thought of simply another vampire story, let me take a moment to explain. What del Toro and Chuck Hogan created is a very unique take on the vampire lore, having their creature of the night more a victim of a wormlike parasite that creates a mutation in the body, and as we discover in Season Three, in the brain as well.
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    Absolutely Anything

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 11th, 2017

    The Monty Python comedy group has been a staple of British comedy for decades; personally my favorite film of theirs will always be Life of Brian.  For director Terry Jones, it’s been a while since he has stepped behind the camera to helm a picture, and it’s been even longer since he directed the 1983 classic The Meaning of Life. It’s not uncommon for directors to step away for years only to come back and return with some kind of passion project. Add into this mix Simon Pegg, whose comedic timing I would have figured would make him a perfect fit for a Monty Python film / revival; it just seemed that Absolutely Anything had everything in place to be a success.
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    The Belko Experiment (Blu-ray)

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

    When a film like The Belko Experiment comes along there is a part of me that wonders, how far off is the film from reality? Films like Death Race 2000, The Running Man, The Purge, and Battle Royale have all flirted with the idea of the government using murder as a form of entertainment while also using it as a way to control the public. You look at the violence in the world and how numb we’ve all seemed to have gotten towards violence in the news and our favorite TV shows. I can’t help but wonder, would it be so crazy to see murder on our television screens?  Looking back at history and the gladiator times, there was murder for entertainment, where families would cheer on the bloodshed and carnage.
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    Baby Driver

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

    For the most part it seems the summer blockbusters tend to be sequels, superhero films, or CGI bonanzas that are simply eye candy to get us to films in the dark auditoriums to escape the heat. It’s rare that something comes along that is so clever and as fresh as Baby Driver.  Personally I’ve been a fan of Edgar Wright from the moment I first saw Shaun of the Dead, he was a writer and director that I felt knew how to make films fun. When he was set to direct his dream project Ant-Man, I was excited to see him finally get a chance to do a giant tent-pole studio film, but weeks before filming was set to begin he got pulled away and replaced. When it got announced he was working on an action-comedy named Baby Driver well I was excited but the film’s title had me scared, fears of him doing something along the lines of Baby’s Day Out ran through my mind
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    The Unholy (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 30th, 2017

    From the vaults of Vestron Video has unleashed The Unholy for horror fans to indulge in for the first time on Blu-ray.  Growing up and going to a Catholic school, films like The Exorcist and The Unholy managed to be all the more terrifying to me because the prospect of demons coming from hell was thought to be a possibility.  Sure, Freddy and Jason could get the young me nervous at night, but what films like The Unholy presented were the kind of thoughts that had me afraid to keep the lights off at night. But does the film hold up decades later? That’s a tough call, but with the new digitally restored version of the film now hitting the shelves, it’s worth grabbing a little holy water and checking out.
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    Trespass

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 29th, 2017

    When it comes to Writer, Director, Producer, Walter Hill is simply one of the best at doing the traditional tough-guy movies.  Films like The Warriors and 48 Hours are simply staples of my childhood; he even was involved with Alien, which I believe is one of the best sci-fi/horror films ever made, yet his star has seemed to fade as the years have passed. His work on the underappreciated Bullet to the Head I felt was a nice throwback to the features he made back in his heyday and had me realize how much his voice is missed in today’s cinema. This week, Shout Factory rolls out a blast from the past with the 1992 film Trespass.
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    T2 Trainspotting (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 28th, 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.
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    Workaholics: The Final Season

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

    Since 2011, the trio of Blake, Adam, and Ders have been reporting to their telemarketing job and bringing the laughs to Comedy Central on Workaholics.  With the final season now released, it’s time to bid a fond farewell to the trio that has shown us the joys of pranking, slacking, and pot in the work place. Does the show go out with a bang, or does it fizzle before reaching that last episode? I was a little concerned how things would end up because of the years I’ve gotten to really like the show and everyone involved. It’s time to punch in that time card and check out what this final season is all about.
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    Aaron’s Blood

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

    When it comes to vampire films, I’m not so much a fan of the romanticized fantasy depiction that we see in Ann Rice novels.  Personally, I like my monsters to be grounded in reality; films like Near Dark and Let Me In seem to have a more vicious bite to them. Why do I prefer these darker and more grim depictions? Well, I believe if vampires have had to kill to survive, whether it be for a month or generations, they should be handled as some scary bad guys, not pretty, sparkly, cuddle-bunnies.  When an indie film comes along like Aaron’s Blood and it decides to go the more ground with reality horror route, it gives me hope, and it’s something I’m actually looking forward to seeing. But does the film deliver the goods?
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    47 Meters Down

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 16th, 2017

    It’s summertime, and that means it is time for those bikini-clad bodies to start decorating the beaches and become bait for everyone’s favorite predator of the ocean. For those who don’t tan and manage to only burn in direct sunlight, there is a safer alternative to the beach, and that is your local theater with the new film 47 Meters Down.  Last year we had the surprise hit The Shallows that made a valiant attempt at making the beach terrifying once again. I love a fun, cheesy shark film; it’s one of those cinematic pleasantries I feel we just don’t get enough of. With the wait for Meg being another year off, it seems 47 Meters Down is going to have to tide me over till then. Is it worth taking a dip?
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    Kill ’em All (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 16th, 2017

    It used to be when you had a straight-to-DVD release, you knew better than to set the bar too high.  From time to time you would find that occasional gem that slipped through the cracks and turned out to be something awesome, but this was a rare occurrence. With the way films are released now, the talent you are seeing in straight-to-DVD releases has improved, as have the budgets, since getting a film on the big screen has become a greater financial challenge.  I mention this only because I look at a title like Kill’em All and wonder if they even cared. The actors are here and doing their job, but it’s the figures behind the scenes that I’m calling out here.
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