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    Tuesday Round Up: April 4, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on April 4th, 2017

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…the latest entry in a massively beloved sci-fi franchise hit theaters and became the highest-grossing movie of 2016. Ok, so it was more like 3 ½ months ago, which isn’t all that long. And it was playing practically everywhere, so chances are you didn’t have to drive very far, far away to go watch it. Nevertheless, the commute will be nonexistent now that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is out on Blu-ray! Disney was nice enough to send us a copy and we’ll have a review of this disc very soon. On top of that, Omnibus Entertainment introduces us to Heidi. Finally, we’ll be wrapping up the week with some panache thanks to the big-screen release of Going in Style.

    Even though it’s a brand new month, the same reminder still applies here: if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    Silence (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 30th, 2017

    “The price for your glory is their suffering!”

    For most of us, hearing the name “Martin Scorsese” leads to iconic wiseguys, rock and roll, and Robert De Niro/Leonardo DiCaprio movies dancing into our mind’s eye. Further down the list of Marty-related things — probably even below Scorsese’s real-life film preservation work — but no less crucial to appreciating the director’s filmography is the role that faith has played in his personal and professional lives. The most obvious manifestations are the three religious epics Scorsese has directed, including his latest film Silence.
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    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 30th, 2017

    I’m writing a book about magical creatures.”

    The wizarding world J.K. Rowling conjured for her Harry Potter series captured the imaginations of children (and many, many adults) throughout the globe because it was precisely that…a fully realized, living and breathing world with its own lingo and lore. So while spinning off a corner of that universe might seem like a blatant cash grab, Rowling’s imagination has provided particularly fertile ground for new franchise opportunities. (OK, OK…the part where Warner Bros. agreed to make five of these before the first one even came out *does* feel like a cash grab.) For example, this latest crowd-pleasing stab at a billion-dollar series is based on…a fictional textbook mentioned in Rowling’s Potter saga.
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    Tuesday Round Up: March 28, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on March 28th, 2017

    There’s more than a little magic in the air for this week’s Round Up. Warner Bros. casts an enchanting, ultra-HD spell with the blockbuster Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which we’ll be reviewing in 4K. And speaking of “fantastic beasts,” I hope you don’t mind if I spend a few words on Baby, the sweet and loyal German Shepherd/Chow mix who could usually be found welcoming guests to UpcomingDiscs HQ. Baby, who was also a part-time movie critic, passed yesterday and she’ll be greatly missed.

    In other Round Up news, Paramount holds a moment of Silence for Martin Scorsese’s latest religious epic, while Candy Factory tries to put the pieces of a murder together in Americana. Finally, we’ll also check in with The Zookeeper’s Wife later this week and offer our take on the World War II drama. One last reminder before signing off for the week (and for March): if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    Insecure: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 24th, 2017

    “Black women aren’t bitter. We’re just tired of being expected to settle for less.”

    When people talk about racial and gender equality, they typically point to notions like everyone having the right to vote or the same opportunity to pursue their personal or professional passion without fear of discrimination. The premise of Insecure — HBO’s funny and insightful comedy series about modern relationships — is not quite that lofty, but no less worthy: black women reserve the right to be just as neurotic and lead love lives that are every bit as messy as their white counterparts.
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    Fences (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 22nd, 2017

    “Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.”

    In its transition from stage to screen, Fences — the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by the late August Wilson — doesn’t venture far beyond the Maxson household. And that’s precisely the point: director/star Denzel Washington isn’t overly concerned with masking the story’s stage origins. The existential claustrophobia that the characters in the play have been carrying their entire lives is right up there on the cramped screen.
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    Tuesday Round Up: March 21, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on March 21st, 2017

    Help! UpcomingDiscs HQ has been overrun by a koala, a couple of pigs, a gorilla, an elephant, a porcupine, and other adorable animals! Fortunately for us, these crooning critters happen to be the stars of Universal’s Sing, which we’ll be reviewing in 4K pretty soon. Meanwhile, Candy Factory leaves us torn with Split, while Magnolia Home Entertainment examines A Kind of Murder. Shout! Factory answers When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Faith, and HBO navigates the (often awkward) lives of two contemporary black women with Insecure: The Complete First Season. Finally, we’ll bring you a pair of theatrical reviews this weekend, including Woody Harrelson’s star turn in Wilson. We’ll also try to determine if there is Life on Mars (and in this sci-fi horror flick starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds).

    Now it’s time for your weekly reminder before signing off: if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    Beauty and the Beast (2017)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 17th, 2017

    “Who could ever learn to love a beast?”

    Although it’s not quite a tale as old as time, people around the world have been enchanted by the story of “Beauty and the Beast” for centuries. The French fairytale was first published in 1740 and has subsequently spawned everything from a classic 1946 big-screen romance to Ron Perlman. Still, the most popular iteration of this story is Disney’s beloved 1991 animated musical, which helped solidify the Mouse House’s cartoon revival and serves as the most direct inspiration for this dazzling live-action adaptation. Then again, the fact that this new version is essentially a pretty close copy of a copy takes some of the bloom off this particular rose.
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    Moana (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 16th, 2017

    – “OK, first, I’m not a princess…”

    – “If you wear a dress and you have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.”

    Disney Animation’s 1990s renaissance was followed by an early 21st century lull for its non-Pixar offerings. The princess-centric formula was played out, so Disney pivoted and started doing things like giving Rapunzel and Eugene Flynn Rider equal billing in 2010’s Tangled and making Frozen (which would’ve definitely been called “The Snow Queen” in the ’90s) a story about sisterly love as opposed to happily ever after. One of the things I love about the outstanding Moana is that it offers a refreshing, thoughtful and exhilarating new approach to the classical Disney princess formula.
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    Tuesday Round Up: March 14, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on March 14th, 2017

    Howdy, neighbors! I realize our readers come from all over the world, but I feel like I can be at least a little familiar with some of you after writing for this site a little more than five years. And since they say that “good fences make good neighbors”, it’s only fitting that this week we find out if the great, Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Fences” makes for a good movie. Paramount was generous enough to send along a copy of recent Best Picture nominee Fences, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, so check back soon for our review. On the lighter side of the spectrum, Comedy Central serves up a drink (or 10) for Drunk History: Season 4. Finally, we revisit a tale as old as time later this week with the much-anticipated arrival of Beauty and the Beast.

    One last reminder before signing off for the week: if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    100 Streets (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 13th, 2017

    Life’s pretty simple, you know. It’s long periods of waiting broken up by brief moments of change. That’s it…that’s all it is.”

    100 Streets tells three barely-connected stories set in the same one-square-mile area of present-day London. (The neighborhoods of Chelsea and Battersea to be exact.) The stories are each quite compelling in their own right, and they’re performed by a talented group of actors. Unfortunately, the movie is occasionally bogged down by distracting, pseudo-profound soliloquies like the one at the top of this review. I appreciate the stabs at thoughtfulness and depth, but they come off as forced here and are more likely to make you roll your eyes than inspire you.
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    Tuesday Round Up: March 7, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on March 7th, 2017

    Resistance to our weekly Tuesday Round Up is futile. Resistance, courtesy of Omnibus Entertainment, is also one of the titles we’ll be reviewing in the next week or so. Be sure to check back soon for our take on the World War II drama. Meanwhile, Speakeasy Pictures serves up Bloodrunners, a Prohibition-era vampire thriller starring Ice-T. Film Detective introduces us to Joe Bullet, while Cinedigm logs onto Slasher.com. Finally, our week is set to end with a visit from a certain iconic movie monster when Kong: Skull Island swings into theaters.

    Now it’s time for your weekly reminder before signing off: if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    The King of New Orleans

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 2nd, 2017

    I don’t know what it is with this place. I don’t want to call it voodoo because that’s so cliché and you guys probably hate that down here…but there’s definitely a feel.”

    To say that a certain city is “almost like another character” in a movie has become somewhat commonplace. The phrase is usually applied to films where directors have placed an inordinate emphasis on the background and setting of their stories. By that standard, The King of New Orleans doesn’t simply cast The Big Easy as “almost like another character”…the city gets a starring role.
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    Tuesday Round Up: February 28, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on February 28th, 2017

    How well do you really know the person you’re married to? That’s the provocative question at the center of Allied, the stylish World War II drama from Robert Zemeckis. (Of course, the question becomes even trickier to answer when both people in the marriage are well-trained spies.) Thanks to Paramount, you can find out for yourself by grabbing a copy of Allied in 4K…and we’ll have a review of the spiffy new disc very soon. And be sure to come back later this week to see if our claws come out when we review Logan.

    One last reminder before signing off for the week (and for February): if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    Get Out

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 24th, 2017

    Sometimes…if there’s too many white people, I get nervous.”

    Some of the very best horror films/psychological thrillers succeed by taking a relatable source of anxiety and cranking it to 11. For example, The Exorcist can be viewed as the worst-case scenario for anyone suffering a crisis of faith, while The Shining taps into the madness of being cooped up with your family for too long. Get Out works because it uses the nerve-wracking experience of meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time as a jumping-off point to tell a subversive, insightful, and entertaining story that mashes together Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and The Stepford Wives.
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    Quarry: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 22nd, 2017

    I’m not as comfortable as you are with the notion of killing other human beings.”

    Remember that time about six months ago when NFL star Colin Kaepernick set off a firestorm of controversy by repeatedly kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest? A big part of the outrage was tied to the notion that Kaepernick’s actions were disrespectful to members of the U.S. military. One of the most striking things about Quarry — Cinemax’s compelling, well-rounded Vietnam War-era drama — is how it depicts a period not that long ago in our country’s history when veterans were openly treated with venom and vitriol that went way beyond someone taking a knee.
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    Tuesday Round Up: February 21, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on February 21st, 2017

    Did somebody call a cab? Larry Shirt is a taxi driver who shuttles some of the most colorful characters in New Orleans throughout the city. Larry comes across an Ivy League student, and the two form a bond that is complicated by Hurricane Katrina. So please join us in offering a royal welcome to The King of New Orleans, courtesy of Candy Factory. Later this week, we’ll take a trip to a mysterious, upscale family estate…hopefully, we can Get Out in one piece!

    Here’s your customary reminder before signing off for the week: if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    Tuesday Round Up: February 14, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on February 14th, 2017

    Hello again movie lovers…and just lovers in general! It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m sure romance is in the air. It’s also Tuesday, which means it’s time for our weekly Round Up of reviews we’ve got coming your way. HBO rocks out with Quarry: Season 1, a drama about a Vietnam War veteran who gets a very unwelcome reception when he arrives back home. But wait, there’s more! (Heh-heh…I said “but.”) Paramount has made sure we’ll be planted on our couch watching Beavis and Butthead: The Complete Series. Finally, Paramount is also speaking our language with Arrival in 4K.

    Before you run off to get that last minute Valentine’s gift, here’s for your weekly reminder until till next time: if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    The Lego Batman Movie

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 11th, 2017

    Black…all important movies start with a black screen…”

    I completely understand if you’re Batman-ed out by now. The Caped Crusader barely had a chance to catch his breath since the end of Christopher Nolan’s landmark superhero trilogy in 2012 and being pressed back into duty to help kickstart Warner Bros.’ budding superhero universe last year. But between those two iterations, we got a glimpse at a fresh, knowingly funny version of a hero that takes himself entirely too seriously. Batman was a scene-stealing supporting player in 2014’s block-buster The Lego Movie, and now he once again takes center stage in a sharp, hilarious, irreverent adventure that celebrates practically every version of the beloved character.
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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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    Tuesday Round Up: February 7, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on February 7th, 2017

    They stole his car and killed his dog…what more motivation does an impossibly deadly ex-hitman need to come out of retirement?! And now, John Wick is coming for us! Fortunately, it’s a friendly visit as Lionsgate releases John Wick in 4K ahead of this Friday’s release of John Wick: Chapter 2, which we will also be reviewing. On top of that, Lionsgate goes back in time with American Pastoral, gives us nightmare fuel with The Crooked Man, and offers a monster double feature with Frankenstein: The Real Story/The Real Wolfman. HBO misbehaves with Vice Principals: Season 1, while Sony stays up From Dusk Till Dawn: Season 3, and RLJ Entertainment gallops to the Dead West. (Be sure to check out our chat with Dead West star Jeffrey Arrington.) CBS/Paramount boldly goes to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — The Complete Series, Cohen Media Group returns to the dawn of World War II with Come What May, and Warner Bros. saves the day thanks to Justice League Dark.

    And speaking of “dark”, we have a pair of Reel World reviews coming this weekend to keep Mr. Wick company. Be sure to check back for our take on Fifty Shades Darker and to read whether everything in The Lego Batman Movie is awesome. Now it’s time for your weekly reminder before signing off: if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    Justice League Dark (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 7th, 2017

    To put things mildly, Warner Bros. still has a bit of a ways to go before its stable of DC Comics superheroes catches up to Disney’s dominant Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Warner and DC have long had the upper hand on both the small screen (Smallville, Arrow, The Flash) and with their animated, direct-to-video offerings. The latest in that latter category is Justice League Dark, which mostly sidelines DC’s best-known heroes in favor of a team of mystical outcasts led by a charming, abrasive rogue.


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    Queen of Katwe (Blu-ray)

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

    In chess, the small one can become the big one.”

    It’s hard to stand out in the Disney family when your big brothers and sisters are Star Wars, Marvel, and the studio’s own blockbuster animated offerings. (Not to mention live-action re-imaginings of its own classic animated offerings.) While those properties have been making a racket at the box office, the Mouse House has also been quietly cranking out family-friendly, multi-cultural sports dramas in recent years, including 2014’s Million Dollar Arm, and 2015’s McFarland U.S.A. I’m not sure if Queen of Katwe is the best of that bunch (I really enjoyed McFarland) but it certainly has the most unlikely hero.
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    Tuesday Round Up: January 31, 2017

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on January 31st, 2017

    Welcome to an extra special edition of our Tuesday Round Up! This week, you have a chance to win $1 million! (OK, that’s not exactly true.) Actually, we’re giving away a brand new car! (Still not totally accurate.) How about a set of shiny new steak knives?! (Nope!) OK, OK, I’ll come clean…especially since my nose has grown so much from all this fibbing that it is currently poking my laptop screen. What can I say? I was so inspired by Disney’s Pinocchio: The Signature Collection release that I couldn’t help but stretch the truth. (Check back soon for our review of the cartoon classic.) Disney is also several moves ahead of us with the release of family chess drama Queen of Katwe. Finally, HBO lives the high life with Ballers: Season 2.

    One last reminder before signing off for the week (and for January): if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    Broad City: Season 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 23rd, 2017

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: single gals looking for love — among other things — in the big city. On television, the trope dates back to the days of Laverne & Shirley and continues with more contemporary entries like Sex and the City and Girls. It’s an effective, timeless story hook that has gotten a funny, druggy, tremendously weird spin thanks to the queens kweens of Comedy Central’s Broad City.
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