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    Holiday Gift Guide Spotlight: Paramount TV On Blu-ray

    Posted in Holiday Gift Guides by Gino Sassani on December 14th, 2016

    I think I see your problem. You have this list. It’s a list of people you need/want to buy a Christmas gift for. The trouble is that they’re into home theatre, and you don’t know Star Trek from Star Wars. You couldn’t tell a Wolf Man from a Wolverine. And you always thought that Paranormal Activity was something too kinky to talk about. Fortunately, Upcomingdiscs has come to the rescue every Christmas with our Gift Guide Spotlights. Keep checking back to see more recommendations for your holiday shopping. These gift guides ARE NOT paid advertisements. We take no money to publish them. Let’s take a look at what Paramount has to offer in the television on Blu-ray department
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    Oppo Announces It’s UHD Blu-ray Player: Meet The UDP-203

    Posted in Release Announcements by Gino Sassani on December 12th, 2016

    We were one of the first sites to start reviewing UHD Blu-ray releases. I managed to get my hands on the Samsung player a bit early and started reporting on those first discs. What you don’t know is how much of a pain that Samsung player really is. From the remote down to the function it is a bit of a nightmare to operate. Of course, I’ve been spoiled by the Oppo players I usually use for my reviews here. Oppo took their time launching their unit. I suspect they wanted to make sure they got it right. You have been emailing me for months about an Oppo UHD player. I was sworn to secrecy…until now. Meet the Oppo UDP-203. I’ll be reviewing a unit as soon as I can get my hands on one. I’m told it will be soon. For now here’s the official press release from Oppo
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    Holiday Gift Guide Spotlight: Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe

    Posted in Holiday Gift Guides by Gino Sassani on December 12th, 2016

    I think I see your problem. You have this list. It’s a list of people you need/want to buy a Christmas gift for. The trouble is that they’re into home theatre, and you don’t know Star Trek from Star Wars. You couldn’t tell a Wolf Man from a Wolverine. And you always thought that Paranormal Activity was something too kinky to talk about. Fortunately, Upcomingdiscs has come to the rescue every Christmas with our Gift Guide Spotlights. Keep checking back to see more recommendations for your holiday shopping. These gift guides ARE NOT paid advertisements. We take no money to publish them. You should not just be considering home video for that special person on your shopping list. This time of the year Jimmy Stewart often comes to mind. Of course, there’s the annual classic showings of It’s A Wonderful Life. But Jimmy Stewart was more than an Academy Award-winning actor. He was a bomber pilot during World War II. Stewart didn’t like to talk about his service and so most of us know very little about those days.

    Now Robert Matzen has written Mission: Jimmy Stewart And The Fight For Europe. It’s a wonderful (pardon the pun) look at those days of heroic service. Matzen takes us inside of Stewart’s own thoughts and feelings thanks to interviews with surviving brothers in arms. He’s scoured Stewart’s own words and the histories that exist out there. This is a Jimmy Stewart so much like the man we remember from the movies, yet so much more complicated and courageous. This is a fascinating read. I’m going to be talking with the author next week and I can’t wait to share that chat with all of you here. In the meantime, you might want to check this book out to round out your Christmas shopping lists. I’m reading it now and it’s been hard to put down. Now you know why I’m falling behind on my work here. I’m going to be telling you more soon.

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    Congratulations to John Ceballos And His New Bride Katie!

    Posted in Site News by Gino Sassani on December 1st, 2016

    Senior reviewer John Ceballos took some time away from watching movies Thursday. We have to forgive him for that because he used the time rather wisely. John got married today to Katie. The family also includes 3 corgis that I get to babysit sometimes. Please join me in wishing them all the best in their life together and in welcoming Katie (and the corgis) to the Upcomingdiscs family. If you’re worried John might get distracted it should be noted that he found the time to file a review even on his wedding day.

    johnkatie

    Congrats Guys!

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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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    Pete’s Dragon (2016) (Blu-ray)

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

    “Sometimes a dragon gets lost…and winds up far from his home.” 

    It appears to be the intention at Walt Disney Studios that each of its animated classics is to be remade as a live-action film. You can certainly understand the why that might be so. Computer-generated images have passed into the realm of photo-realistic presentations. Today there isn’t anything you can’t bring into the “real” world to interact with actual flesh and blood actors. The concept brought us the brilliant Jon Favreau version of The Jungle Book. Not all of these attempts have been or will be quite so successful. I count Pete’s Dragon among one of those lesser-than films.
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    Holiday Gift Guide Spotlight: Shout Factory

    Posted in Holiday Gift Guides by Gino Sassani on November 30th, 2016

    I think I see your problem. You have this list. It’s a list of people you need/want to buy a Christmas gift for. The trouble is that they’re into home theatre, and you don’t know Star Trek from Star Wars. You couldn’t tell a Wolf Man from a Wolverine. And you always thought that Paranormal Activity was something too kinky to talk about. Fortunately, Upcomingdiscs has come to the rescue every Christmas with our Gift Guide Spotlights. Keep checking back to see more recommendations for your holiday shopping. These gift guides ARE NOT paid advertisements. We take no money to publish them. This Christmas season is the time to give the gift of 4K. Shout Factory has found the perfect movies to allow your special someone to see the true potential of 4K.
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    Mechanic: Resurrection (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 29th, 2016

    1n 1972 Charles Bronson played The Mechanic, Arthur Bishop. He was a hitman with a high level of skill. When he tries to pass on that skill, he’s betrayed, and he has to get himself a heaping helping of revenge. In 2011 Bronson did indeed pass the character to Jason Statham when the film was remade. Unfortunately, Bronson had passed in 2003 and couldn’t actually pass the torch on the screen. Statham turned the character into more of an action anti-hero, and the film really didn’t perform at the box office. It never made back its budget in the domestic market and barely made money when the worldwide take was finally counted.
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    Bad Santa 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 27th, 2016

    “Santa ain’t no arms dealer?”

    OK, maybe he’s not selling arms to the Middle East, but when Billy Bob Thornton puts on the Santa suit, there’s no telling what kind of dirty dealing might be going on. Bad Santa was a kind of surprise hit back in 2003. It made a respectable $60 million at the box office and pretty much disappeared from most people’s holiday film radar. Let’s be honest here. Bad Santa wasn’t going to make the list for traditional family gatherings in quite the same way as It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle On 34th Street, or even among the irreverent favorites like A Christmas Story. I just can’t see the grandkids on granddad’s knee watching Santa tell some kid to go f#%@ himself.
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    Holiday Gift Guide Spotlight: Universal Studios

    Posted in Holiday Gift Guides by Gino Sassani on November 25th, 2016

    I think I see your problem. You have this list. It’s a list of people you need/want to buy a Christmas gift for. The trouble is that they’re into home theatre, and you don’t know Star Trek from Star Wars. You couldn’t tell a Wolf Man from a Wolverine. And you always thought that Paranormal Activity was something too kinky to talk about. Fortunately, Upcomingdiscs has come to the rescue every Christmas with our Gift Guide Spotlights. Keep checking back to see more recommendations for your holiday shopping. These gift guides ARE NOT paid advertisements. We take no money to publish them. We shine our first spotlight on two great gift ideas from Universal Studios
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    Allied

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 25th, 2016

    Brad Pitt appears to be making this World War II thing a bit of a niche. In recent years he went from Inglourious Basterds to the superior Fury and now to Allied. I wish I could say that he’s getting better, but Allied marks a step backwards for the actor in more ways than just the performance. It’s an unfortunate aspect of Hollywood that sexy rumors and scandals sell more theater tickets than a good movie. Hollywood power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have called it quits, and the scuttlebutt is that it was Pitt’s fling with Allied co-star Marion Cotillard that caused the split. I don’t know if any of that is true and honestly wouldn’t care a hill of beans if it were. I only bring it up because if Pitt was having some kind of on-set torrid romance, it’s a shame that none of that passion ever made it to the screen. These two have about as much romantic chemistry as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Too soon?) If only that were all there was to sink this period drama.
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    Happy Thanksgiving

    Posted in Site News by Gino Sassani on November 24th, 2016

    From all of us here at Upcomingdiscs, I want to wish all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday.

    Enjoy plenty of family, friends, football and don’t forget to share a movie or two with someone you love.

    We’re thankful for all of our loyal readers out there.

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    The Secret Life of Pets (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 24th, 2016

    “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.” 

    The first thing you need to know about The Secret Lives Of Pets is that it’s not terribly original. Fans of the Pixar Toy Story Franchise will find pretty much every element of this script has been lifted from one of the three Toy Story films. Of course, if you’re going to lift an idea, you might as well steal from the best. Of course, there are always formulaic ideas in films, particularly animated films geared mostly toward children. And while I really did enjoy almost everything about this film, I just can’t escape the fact that I’ve seen it all before.
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    Star Trek: The Animated Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 24th, 2016

    “Space…the final frontier. These are the continuing voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one man gone before!”

    Of course, we never did get five years from that original show when it ended after just three years in 1969. The new film series has tried to fix that for us. The latest film picks up the five-year mission just after three years have gone by. It’s a double homage to the original show.
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    Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 21st, 2016

    In the summer of 1974 The Paper Lace released a song called Billy Don’t Be A Hero. It has the distinction of being the first and perhaps only hit record to top the charts twice in a year by different bands. The second release in 1974 was by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods. For some reason the song was playing over in my head as I watched Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. I’m not sure if it was because the title characters share the same name or because both deal with war. The song was written about the Civil War but was thought by most to be about Vietnam, likely because of the release dates. Vietnam was an unpopular war, and the same can be said for the war in Iraq. The similarities continue. The song ended up fading as summer candy pop music, and the same is likely to be the fate of this film.
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    Billions: Season One (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 14th, 2016

    “What we do has consequences, intended and unintended. The decisions we make, the actions we bring have weight.” 

    When upcoming heavyweight contenders like Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin get together, you have reason to expect big things. And Billions is very much about heavyweights. The entire show is one big metaphor for a heavyweight prizefight. In one corner you have U.S Attorney Chuck “The Scholar” Rhodes, played by Paul Giamatti. He’s the reigning world champion with a record of 80+ to 0. In the other corner is Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis; he could also be considered undefeated.
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    Arrival

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 13th, 2016

    “There are days that define your story beyond your life. Like the day they arrived…”

    The problem is that this starts out with the kind of story we’ve seen a thousand times before. The alien invasion theme is nothing new. H.G. Wells was describing it back in the 19th Century with War Of The Worlds. Unrelated Orson Welles scared the crap out of a depression-era radio audience with the same story. Independence Day gave us a brilliantly visual story that also begins the same way: alien ships begin to take strategic positions around the world. Here we go again, right? Wrong.
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    Exclusive Interview With Sheldon Renan: Director Of The Killing Of America

    Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on November 12th, 2016

    Violence in America has been a hot topic in the news these days. But it’s not as new of a topic as you might imagine. In the 1980’s Sheldon Renan directed The Killing Of America. He put together news footage, much of which never made it to air at the time. He interviewed serial killers and investigated the stories. The documentary was never released in The United States. Now Severin is finally releasing it on Blu-ray. Of course, I just had to talk to the director and get the scoop on this one. Bang it here to listen in on my chat with Sheldon Renan.

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    Hell on Wheels: The Final Episodes (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 4th, 2016

    “This train don’t stop.” That’s what we’re told in an Elton John ballad. But it doesn’t matter if it’s that Midnight Train to Georgia or a freight train, you can bet the farm that it’s going to run out of track.  That’s for sure, and you can expect more than a little crying over it all. The saddest news, however, is the show’s final year. You really should not even think about joining the series from this point. I suspect it will still be quite entertaining, but for the full experience you do have to start from the beginning. The evolution of the Cullen character from Civil War veteran out for vengeance to the man who we see in the fifth season is a rather nice journey to witness. So saddle up for the first four. You can find the reviews for other seasons here.
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    Star Trek Beyond (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

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

    “Space… The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

    Every Star Trek fan knows the words by heart. For 50 years they’ve heralded the promise of something special. From the television show that couldn’t but did anyway to 12 feature films. Would #13 be the lucky one? The trailers left many of us worried that it would more than likely be unlucky.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Decorations Contest Winner

    Posted in News and Opinions by Gino Sassani on October 31st, 2016

    Our 31 Nights Of Terror comes to an end. The decorations contest did not go as well as we hoped. There won’t be any voting because we only had one entry. The winner of a Troma 3-Blu-ray set is Paul Blacker with the following winning photo:

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    There is still time to enter our other many contests.

    Thank you for another 31 Nights Of Terror.

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    Papa Hemingway in Cuba

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 28th, 2016

    “Lets go find you a fish.”

    I’ve been told enough times that it is often not a good idea to meet your heroes. It’s too often impossible for anyone to live up to expectations, particularly when they are already up on a pedestal in our minds. All humans have their flaws, and Ernest Hemingway was no exception. I never met him. He killed himself around the time I was busy being born. I often joked to my writing professors that he feared my arrival. The truth is that he had so many demons.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Independence Day Resurgence (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 27th, 2016

    “The countless lives we lost in the War Of ’96 did not perish in vain. They inspire us to rise from the ashes as one people of one world. For 20 years the world has seen no armed conflict. Nations have put their petty differences aside. United, we rebuilt our families, our cities and our lives. The fusion of human and alien technology not only enabled us to defy gravity and travel at unimaginable speeds. It also made our planet finally safe again.”

    Not so fast there, cowboy. There would be no need for a sequel to the 1996 hit film Independence Day if the big bad aliens weren’t coming back.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Contest: Win Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein On Blu-ray

    Posted in Contests, Expired Contests by Gino Sassani on October 26th, 2016

    This will be our last giveaway for 31 Nights Of Terror. We saved the classic for last. We’re giving away Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein on Blu-ray. Bela Lugosi returned to the role of Dracula for the 2nd and last time for this farce. It was also the final appearance of Lon Chaney, Jr. as The Wolf Man. It marked the end of an era and it’s going out to one lucky winner.

    To win a copy of this prize, follow these instructions.

    1. Fill out your name and email address in the comment form below – your email address will remain private and visible only to us.
    2. Do not post your address as an actual comment!  Instead tell us – What was the funniest horror/comedy you ever saw?
    3. Only those comments that answer our question will be considered.

    Contest is now closed Winner is Bill Grady

    Winners are notified by E-mail. If you did not get a confirmation E-mail from us, check your Spam filter and contact us. Any prize not claimed in 2 weeks will be forfeit and be placed in the end of year contests next Holiday Season.

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    “31 Nights Of Terror” In Their Own Words: Interviews With Masters Of Horror

    Posted in Random Fun by Gino Sassani on October 25th, 2016

    Most of the time we’re telling you what we think here at Upcomingdiscs. I thought it would be nice to use 31 Nights Of Terror to let you hear what the filmmakers themselves have to say. We have talked to many of them over the years. Take some time to “chill” with some masters of horror.

    Sara Karloff has been keeping the memory of her father alive for decades. Boris Karloff was one of the true masters of horror. Sara’s a friend and it’s always great to talk with her. Join us for one of those talks. Sara Karloff Interview

    Joe Dante reached out to us a few years ago. It was a great honor to talk with him. We share a love for classic horror and Dante is truly a master filmmaker. Joe Dante Interview

    David Hewlett is known mostly for his work as the annoying but brilliant Rodney on Stargate: Atlantis. When I caught up with him he had just worked on the horror film Debug. It was one of my favorite interviews. David Hewltt Interview

    Thomas Dekker played characters from Captain Picard’s son to John Connor in the Terminator series. He also worked on a film called Fear Clinic. That’s when I got the chance to chat with him. Thomas Dekker Interview.

    Felissa Rose was 13 when she appeared in Sleepaway Camp. Imagine my surprise to see her years later in Zombie Killers. That’s when we ended up having our nice talk. Felissa Rose

    Declan O’Brien has been a real friend to Upcomingdiscs. He turned around the Wrong Turn franchise and then did it again with the Joy Ride films. He puts his budget on the screen. I talked to him twice. Wrong Turn Interview & Joy Ride Interview.

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