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    Dog Eat Dog (Blu-ray)

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

    Writer/director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver and Auto Focus) has been a guy I can’t help but root for.  His films are filled with the kind of raw grit that I like to see in films.  His knack for shining a light onto the outlaws of society is something I don’t feel anyone does as well. Usually we see these characters celebrated, or simply put, they get the Hollywood treatment.  Schrader seems to always go the other direction and depict them with an unflinching eye that captures the character with honesty and dignity, even as their lives tailspin into darkness.  Dog Eat Dog may not be an original work by Schrader, but the film certainly carries many of the staples that embrace his celebration of the anti-hero while filming the manic insanity of the reality they live in.
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    Passengers

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 23rd, 2016

    With talks going on about setting up colonies on Mars, long distance space travel is quickly moving away from the pages of science fiction to the next step in space exploration. Passengers is a film that taps into the possibilities of what this could mean for us as a species but also takes a look at the great risk that we would be facing. At a glance it would seem like a surefire Hollywood blockbuster to end the year, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that is a sure thing.  Despite the great effects and set designs, two bankable stars, and a more than capable director, Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game and Headhunters), what you still need is a story that will not only fill those seats but keep people wanting to come back for more.
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    In Order of Disappearance (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 21st, 2016

    Coming out of Norway we have In Order of Disappearance, a film I knew nothing about aside from the cover art. To be , it pretty much reminded me of any of the numerous revenge films we’ve seen Liam Neeson in.  Stellan Skarsgard instead stars in this revenge romp that I feel got lost in translation with me.  It’s not that I couldn’t understand the base of the film being a revenge tale; this is very much clear as day, but it is the film’s sense of humor that borders on being dry and black, to other points I feel it’s just a Norwegian thing.  Usually one of the first things I do with a foreign film is I make sure everything is set to the original language track and use the subtitles to follow along (never been a fan of dubbing).
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    Duck Dynasty – Season 10

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 21st, 2016

    It’s hard to believe it, but Duck Dynasty has made it to ten seasons, and it seems to be still going strong.  When seeing the trailers for the first season, I found it hard to believe this was even going to be a show, much less garner the attention that it has over the years.  I’ll admit it I surprised myself by how much I actually enjoyed the show, even if it was being a bit liberal by crediting itself as reality television.  Even if most of the show seems pre-scripted,  it’s continued to be entertaining, which is rather impressive for me, considering I feel I don’t even fit the show’s demographic. For those who have been viewers from day one, you’ve gotten to watch the Robertson family not only grow older but expand as well.
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    Nocturnal Animals

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 15th, 2016

    In 2009 Tom Ford, the famed fashion designer, came into the Hollywood scene with his stunning first-time writing/directing effort, A Single Man.  It was a somber film that garnered numerous accolades and left many of us wondering what he would be doing next.  It’s been seven years, but we finally get the follow-up film we’ve been waiting for.  Nocturnal Animals is clearly a film that cries out for award attention with its December release and a cast that for better or worse could make a dramatic reading of a telephone book an engaging experience.  When the trailer dropped for the film, I was sold on its stunning visuals and its ambiguity that had me hooked and curious about what Ford would have in store for us.
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    Suicide Squad (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 15th, 2016

    In the days leading up to the release of Suicide Squad, over the internet there has been one of the most vicious attacks on a film before its release that I can remember.  Sure, we had all the negative talk about Ghostbusters, but that was before anyone had ever seen the film, and as screenings came along, opinions seemed to sway.  Now I was lucky enough to attend a screening Monday for Suicide Squad, and there were up to 150 people turned away at the door because the auditorium was filled to capacity. I mean, the buzz for this was high, and we DC fans were giddy, because this film was our hope that WB would be turning things around.  I mention all this because now this has managed to become one of the worst-reviewed films of the year, and I’m just sitting here like WTF happened, did they see some other cut of the film?
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    Ben-Hur (2016) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 15th, 2016

    In 1959 when Ben-Hur came out, it was a massive undertaking that nearly closed the gates for MGM after nearly bankrupting the studio.  It was a huge risk in producing such a large-scale epic that fortunately paid off and became one of the studio’s cornerstone successes.  The story of Judah Ben-Hur and his fall from being a prince, to becoming a slave, to eventually becoming a hero to the people in the arena is such a familiar story that it’s hard to not feel you’ve seen this before without even entering the theater.  In some parts I look at Gladiator and see somewhat the same film, only being set in a separate time and place.  But really, the story of betrayal at the highest levels, and seeing great figures fall only to pull themselves up again is a theme Hollywood seems to relish, and it seems to attract many viewers in the process
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    Greenleaf Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 14th, 2016

    relatively out of the spotlight as she has worked on making her cable network channel, OWN, a success.  While I wouldn’t ever say I was a fan of Oprah’s work on the screen, I could appreciate what she did in The Color Purple and Beloved. This being said, I have to admit I was a bit reluctant to take a title that at first glance seemed to be a show that would be heavy-handed with its subject matter centered around the church.  Despite my concerns, I’m glad I picked up this title, because despite how it handles some very familiar topics, it’s presented in a manner that not only feels fresh but is truly an engrossing show that manages to suck the viewer in and kept me wanting to see what would happen next.
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    Return Of The Living Dead 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 29th, 2016

    Fresh out of the vaults comes another cult classic. Vestron Video has decided to unleash Return of the Living Dead 3 for horror fans to snatch up this holiday season.  Considering the titles that Vestron has already released, for some this might be a title that will leave fans scratching their heads about there being an urge to re-master this film, much less crank out a Blu-ray with so many features.  Well, the simple answer is that the person in charge of acquiring and releasing these titles knows that there are fanboys like me out there who will shell out the money for a product that’s given this kind of attention.  Return of the Living Dead is a cult classic and is mostly responsible for casual moviegoers making the connection with zombies and brain eating
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    I.T. (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 24th, 2016

    There is a way this film could have been great if not a little amusing. Imagine if James Bond was being stalked by Q; what would Bond do?  Sure, I’ll admit it’s a silly notion, but it’s all I could think about as I watched this film about a millionaire and his family being stalked by a disgruntled I.T. worker.  In general, it’s a story we see a couple of times a year, the seemingly charming figure that comes into a person’s life that turns out to be crazy and throws everyone’s life into chaos.  Films like Cape Fear and One Hour Photo are just a couple of examples of films that tackled the stalker sub-genre; even last year’s overlooked gem The Gift showed you can still be terrifying with a little creativity.
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    Army Of One (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 23rd, 2016

    It’s been a while since Nicolas Cage has been in a big studio-released film.  It doesn’t mean he’s doing bad movies; it just means he’s not doing any tent-pole releases that flood the multiplex.  Seeing Nicolas Cage in a film like Army of One is simply a snapshot of how modern cinema has to evolve for better or for worse.  Really, I don’t mean to come off as though this is a bad film or inferior to any other films past or present, but ten years ago this is a film that would have had a much wider release and would easily have gotten more attention.  After all, who could resist Nicolas Cage in a film helmed by the director of Borat?
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    Hacksaw Ridge

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 4th, 2016

    Just when you thought you’ve seen it all when it comes to films about World War II, Mel Gibson helms a film that hits you with such an emotional wallop that I’ll say it right now: just hand the man the Oscar for this film.  It’s only November; how can I be so sure of this? Well, of course there are some titles to keep an eye on as we enter award season, but I honestly can’t imagine a title coming out that can achieve what Gibson did.    I’m sure by now you’ve seen the ads for the film that draw comparisons to Saving Private Ryan.  It’s a bold statement, but I’m writing this to say that Hacksaw Ridge isn’t the best war film since Saving Private Ryan, it is a superior film to it as well.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” The Id (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 30th, 2016

    This is one of those titles that came along where I had no idea what to expect.  I knew it was a horror title, and really that is about it.  The problem with doing films in a single location, though it may save you money when it comes to the actual production, is that in return you put an added pressure on your performers and the story to not be boring and keeping the story moving.  It can be done; after all, 10 Cloverfield Lane is one of my favorite films of the year, and most of it takes place in a bunker.  When it comes to The Id, how did the film turn out? Well, I feel it was a victim of its own design.
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    Our Kind Of Traitor

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

    When it comes to spy novelist John le Carre (Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, The Night Manager), his books seem to produce great films and mini-series but are far from being box-office darlings. Each production of one of his novels seems to be filled with talent in front of and behind the camera.  When it comes to the release of Our Kind of Traitor, despite the impressive cast it’s a film that managed to slip through the cracks and seems to have limped its way to a DVD/Blu-ray release when really it’s a film that deserves to be appreciated more on the big screen.  While it may not be filled with the spectacle of special effects and explosions, it’s a film that garners some impressive performances throughout and has a story that quickly pulls the viewer in.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Waxwork/Waxwork II (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 22nd, 2016

    The third release of the Vestron Video Collector’s Series that Lionsgate has decided to put out isn’t just one film but two, Waxwork and its sequel Waxwork 2: Lost in Time.  If you think just because it’s a two-for-one release that they may have taken the lazy route on handling the transfers and features, well, I can happily say that you’d be wrong.  If you like campy horror, especially the kind that existed during the late 80’s on into the early 90’s, then this is the kind of double-feature set you’ll have a blast with.  It doesn’t hurt, either, that it’s being released just in time to be enjoyed for those of you looking to put together some horror movie marathons during the Halloween season
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    Blood Father (Blu-ray)

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

    I can’t be the only one who misses seeing Mel Gibson in a tent pole movie for the studio every year.  Sure, he said some rotten things, but does it matter what he does in his personal life?  The man still is a great actor and an even better director.  Hollywood has always been forgiving of its talent; it’s a system that seems to enjoy seeing talent make a comeback and do some amazing work.  What it seems is that sometimes we forget that these icons on the screen are human, and they make mistakes and do stupid things and they have to own these experiences for the rest of their lives in the spotlight.
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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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    “31 Nights Of Terror” The Caretaker

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 17th, 2016

    When it comes to director Jeff Prugh and his new film The Caretaker, he shows that you don’t need a big budget or grand effects to deliver a horror film.  In the case of The Caretaker, filming on a modest budget may have presented the director with the challenge to lean more towards atmosphere and technique rather than fall back on special effects and gore. This isn’t a film that is going to get a wide release in theaters across the US, so it’s going to have to rely on receiving word of mouth to be seen.  With there being so many options to choose from, what makes The Caretaker stand out from the pack? Well, if I’m being honest, it’s because I find the film charming in a way.  Not exactly what a horror film would want to have said about it, but this is one of those little films where you can actually feel the labor and passion put into this.
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    The Accountant

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 14th, 2016

    It would seem as though Ben Affleck is finally starting to shed the stigma of doing bad films.  He’s been on a roll since he took on the role of George Reeves in Hollywoodland and has also in the process become an accomplished director.  When the trailer first dropped for The Accountant, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as you look at the laundry list of talent that fills the cast, it quickly became a film I had my eye on.  What is surprising is despite their being franchises that seem to cover the same territory ie: Jack Reacher and the Jason Bourne films, is there room for another lone-wolf-killing-machine film?
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Satanic (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 13th, 2016

    When you have a title like Satanic, it’s kind of hard to not start to build up expectations right out of the gate.  I like a horror film that isn’t afraid to go dark and play with the subject matter of the occult, because honestly it’s the only topic that can manage to get under my skin.  The Exorcist in my opinion is hands down the best horror film of all time and manages to haunt me after a viewing simply because the boy I once was who went to Catholic mass every Sunday knew that it could happen.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Masks (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 8th, 2016

    After the release of The Editor on Blu-ray last year and with the remake of Susperia in the works, it would seem that there is a slow revival of the Giallo film.  For those unaware of the term or style, it’s basically a horror/ mystery film that tended to have slasher elements that emerged out of Italy.  These were beautiful and stylish films that directors like Dario Argento, Mario Bava, and Lucio Fulci were the ambassadors of.  While The Editor was more of a spoof of the genre, though well done, it is Masks that has really gotten my attention.  Though it comes out of Germany, the love and attention to detail in adding so many of the familiar hallmarks of the Giallo film makes Masks more than just a simple homage, but it’s so well executed I could have believed this was a lost Dario Argento film.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” The Neon Demon (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 6th, 2016

    “Are you food or are you sex?”

    When it comes to director Nicholas Winding Refn, he’s a director from whom I’m never all too sure what to expect.  For me Drive is one of my favorite films in the past ten years, while Only God Forgives simply bored me; despite the stunning imagery, it had nothing else going for it.. His films going even further back are just as much of a mixed bag, so coming into The Neon Demon I knew better than to get my hopes up, and that I should just go ahead and let the film stand on its own, as it should.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Chopping Mall (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 1st, 2016

    “I guess I’m just not used to being chased around a mall in the middle of the night by killer robots.”

    It’s October, and that means it’s the start of 31 Nights of Terror, and this year we’re kicking things off with one of my guilty pleasures growing up, Chopping Mall.   This came out at a time when slashers were pretty much a dying genre, but there was still a demand to have horror films up on the big screen.  I never got to see this in theaters, but I remember the VHS box art from my local mom-and-pop video store.  The idea of the robotic hand clutching a shopping bag with a head on it was something that gripped the teenager in me.
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    Deepwater Horizon

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 1st, 2016

    It really doesn’t seem so long ago that all the major news networks were showing footage of the destroyed oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that was pumping out gallons upon gallons of oil into the ocean.  The BP oil rig disaster was all we could talk about in April of 2010, and all of us at home were left wondering if they’d ever plug up that hole and stop the leakage of oil that would go on to destroy hundreds of miles of beach coast property as well as cause long-lasting effects on the fishing industry.  Everyone was looking for someone to blame, and plenty of it went to BP.  While this made for engaging news for a while, it never seemed like a story that Hollywood would want to invest in and make a film about.
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    The Magnificent Seven (2016)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on September 23rd, 2016

    Great, just what we need, another remake of a film that is not only a classic, but the film which it was inspired by is also a highly-praised classic.  I’ll admit I’ve grown tired of Hollywood going to the well and remaking films that simply don’t need to be messed with.  It’s one thing to see Seven Samurai (1954) translated for American audiences to go from a black & white martial arts spectacle to seeing a colorized star-studded western, The Magnificent Seven (1960).  When I first heard about the remake, I had hopes that the film would be modernized yet again, but unfortunately the studios decided to keep the setting in the Wild West, and even when Denzel Washington was hired on to head the film with Antoine Fuqua (Training Day & The Equalizer) in the director’s chair, I still wasn’t convinced.
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