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    The Dark Knight Rises (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on December 6th, 2012

    “You think this can last? There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”

    In the spirit of full disclosure, let me state that my favorite comic book hero is Batman. As a child, even before the sixties TV show premiered, I loved the tale of Batman. It is a story of a child who overcomes the fear and destruction of his childhood and becomes stronger because of it.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” The Raven (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on October 17th, 2012

    “What cannot be disputed is your imagination is the inspiration of a horrendous crime.”

    The Raven may not be a turkey, but it doesn’t really soar either. Director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) attempts to fashion a historical fiction around the mysterious final five days of Edgar Allen Poe’s life. A notorious drunk and opium addict, Poe (John Cusack) careens through 19th century Baltimore dead broke, bitter from years of writer’s block, and harassed by the locals for being a blustering has-been. Due to a distinct lack of social sympathy, he can’t even borrow money for a single drink
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    How to Make It in America: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on September 4th, 2012

    “Money, right yeah it matters, but it’s one piece of the puzzle. Let me tell you something. Sometimes who you are doing business with is a lot more important than the business that you are doing.”

    When How to Make It in America season two begins, Ben (Bryan Greenberg) and his best friend, Cam (Victor Rasuk) return from their business trip to Japan after spending their new-found cash on a load of “Japanese soft cotton” hoodies they intend to silk screen with their new Crisp fashion label and find a way to mass distribute. Ben’s ex-girlfriend Rachel (Lake Bell), now unemployed, hits the job market and scores a gig with an uptight home improvement magazine.
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    The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (Special Edition) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on August 29th, 2012

    “We decided to tour round Serbia. We’ll go to villages. It will be interesting to see farmers’ reactions to our sexual provocations. Sexual education for Serbs. Widening the horizons. This is our guerilla mission.”

    I like to think I am not a prude. My taste in film runs to the controversial, and I don’t shy away from extreme cinema. I think Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom and Caligula are masterpieces; A Serbian Film impressed and affected me, although I have no intention of watching it again
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    Big Trouble & The Crew + Oscar – Triple Feature

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on July 31st, 2012

    “Miami Beach. Used to be the average age around here was, like, 82. And then that broad Madonna decides that this is the place to be, and the next thing you know, everywhere you turn, it’s women with big breasts, men with big breasts. Breasts are very big here.”

    This is one of those budget triple-feature DVD’s presenting three of Touchstone Film’s underperforming comedies, The Crew, Oscar, and Big Trouble. I must say I enjoyed the fact I hadn’t seen any of the films before.
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    Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones Live At The Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on July 27th, 2012

    “I’m a rolling stone, man-child. I’m a hoochie coochie man.”

    While touring the states in 1981, The Rolling Stones found themselves with a rare night off in Chicago and decided to take advantage of it by attending a Muddy Waters concert. They owed Waters for their initiation into blues, and they even took their name from the title of one of his songs.
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    Dead Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on July 27th, 2012

    “This island is cursed.”

    Like a viral plague spreading across the land, zombie movies, television series, games and books rise around us in great numbers and threaten to eat the very genre they spring from. We have officially moved well past the vampire craze, and now the undead crave flesh instead of blood. Much like the zombies themselves, they come in many varieties, some remain fresh and move quickly, while most are rotten, shamble along slowly, and quite frankly stink. Dead Season falls in the latter category.
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    The Dark Knight Rises

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on July 20th, 2012

    “You think this can last? There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”

    In the spirit of full disclosure, let me state that my favorite comic book hero is Batman. As a child, even before the Sixties TV show premiered, I loved the tale of Batman. It is a story of a child who overcomes the fear and destruction of his childhood and becomes stronger because of it.
    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Wilfred: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on July 8th, 2012

    “Come on Ryan! These are big existential questions, best left for boring Russian novelists and teenagers on acid. Real people don’t think about this shit!”

    As Wilfred: The Complete First Season begins, Ryan Newman (Elijah Wood), a miserably depressed out of work lawyer, just reached the end of his rope. One night, after meticulously composing the final draft of his suicide note, he downs a handful of pills, chugs them back with a bottle of NyQuil and heads off to bed. Nothing happens. He can’t even fall asleep.
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    Bullhead (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on June 29th, 2012

    “Sometimes things happen in life that turn everybody silent. So silent that nobody dares to talk about it anymore. To no one. Not even themselves.”

    Who knew there was a hormone mafia in Flanders (not Homer Simpson’s neighbor, but Flanders is part of Belgium, but unique with its own dialect and culture)? Evidently, shady criminals sell illegal experimental hormones to farmers so they can fatten up their livestock. In Bullhead these are brooding crooks that sit and talk about their problems a lot and seem to resent cows a great deal. The one with the biggest problems happens to be the biggest man among them, Jacky Vanmarsenille (Matthias Schoenaerts)
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    The Raconteurs: Live at Montreux 2008 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on June 19th, 2012

    The Raconteurs were formed in Detroit in 2005 by Jack White, formerly of The White Stripes; he pulled together artists Brendan Benson, Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence, who were formerly with the Cincinnati garage rock band, The Greenhornes to create the radio friendly garage band, The Raconteurs. Pulling from the roots of rock and roll with a raw, gutsy sound, they immediately scored with their debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, which went to number two in the U.K. and made the top 10 on Billboard’s album chart in the U.S.
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    Accident (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on June 14th, 2012

    “A deadly car accident took place at North Point last night; a bus lost control and left two dead and eight injured.”

    Every day accident fatalities happen all over the world. These deaths are so obviously accidental that the authorities hardly think twice about them. In director Cheang Pou-Soi’s Accident  a team of four assassins, Brain (Louis Koo), Fatty (Suet Lam), Uncle (Fung Shui-Fan) and Woman (Michelle Ye), each a master of the art of the invisible kill, stage their assassinations so perfectly as to appear to be simply “accidents” even under the closest scrutiny.
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    Entourage: The Complete Eighth and Final Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on June 13th, 2012

    “You’re the good kind of addict. You’re the I-got-messed-up-with-the-wrong-girl-and-ended-up-on-a-blow-bender addict. But Ertz is the Skeevy-old-man-who-got-caught with-a-crack-pipe-and-the-17-year-old-from-Speed-Racer addict.”

    Where season seven of Entourage was all about the hard life and times of Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) and company stumbling through the shallow traps of an impossibly expensive Hollywood lifestyle: i.e. growing addictions, porn star girlfriends, and desperate career moves, Entourage: The Complete Eighth Season is all about redemption through hard choices.
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    Workaholics: Seasons 1 & 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on June 11th, 2012

    “Ugh. How many times do I have to explain this to you? If you see the neighbor’s house getting broken into, it’s probably Karl high out of his mind thinking he’s locked out of our house.”

    When it comes to office based slacker comedies, Mike Judge’s Office Space still sets the gold standard. Workaholics wishes it could be as quotable and timeless as Office Space, but settles for goofy, instantly forgettable juvenile ramblings suitable for a stoner’s short term memory. Much like the boy’s prank of choice, involving a dollar bill wrapped around poop, Workaholics looks good on the surface, but is pretty much the same old crap underneath.
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    John Carter (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on June 6th, 2012

    “When I saw you, I believed it was a sign… that something new can come into this world.”

    John Carter first appeared in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom magazine serial nearly a century ago in 1912. The science fiction pioneering Carter stories captured the imagination of masses and inspired countless authors and directors. For example, George Lucas himself has stated there would be no Star Wars without John Carter of Mars. It took nearly a century to get it to screen and in time countless others have mined the series for inspiration.
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    Snow White and the Huntsman

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on June 1st, 2012

    “First, I will take your life, my lord, then I will take your throne.”

    Is it wrong for me to watch Snow White and the Huntsman and root for the evil queen? How about disagreeing with the magic mirror on the wall about Snow White (Kristen Stewart) being the fairest of them all, when Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) is absolutely ravishing? I’m sorry, Twihards, but Stewart isn’t even in the ballpark compared to Theron’s stunning beauty, not to mention acting chops. How do I reconcile these feelings with the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed this gothed-up version of the beloved and culturally ubiquitous Snow White fairy tale?
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    Chernobyl Diaries

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on May 25th, 2012

    “Aside from the sketchy van situation, if you promise that the tour is safe, I think it could be kinda cool.”

    Chernobyl Diaries… so many bad choices to make and so little time. Imagine we are clueless Americans abroad in the Ukraine, so instead of visiting the major metropolitan areas, why not go on a tour of the Pripyat, the ghost town evacuated due to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown in 1987? Nothing says vacation more than exploring the scene of the worst nuclear disaster in history.
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    42nd Street Forever (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on May 24th, 2012

    “His name is Samson. He’s big with his cat, with mama and with his stick. Black Samson… he’s mean and clean and rules the scene.”

    In the 70s and 80s, filthy little theaters littered New York’s 42nd Street, sandwiched between adult bookstores, porn theaters, and peepshows. These dens of celluloid sin hosted an endless loop of “B” movies affectionately known as grindhouse films. They ran exploitation films, drive-in double features, and European softcore of every subgenre, ranging from Blaxploitation to Sexploitation, from Euro-crime to Sci-Fi and Horror. Some theaters projected these movies 24 hours a day, seven days a week
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    Battleship

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on May 18th, 2012

    “My dad said they’d come, said it my whole life. He said one day we’ll find them or they’d find us. Know what else he said? He said, ‘Hope I’m not around when that day comes.’”

    Director Peter Berg kneels at the altar of Michael Bay and lovingly creates a clone of his most bombastic, military-fetish, slo-mo obsessed, whiplash-cut-driven movies with Battleship, based on the Hasbro (the same company behind the Transformers movies and yes, it definitely shows) board game of the same name.
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    Mother’s Day (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on May 10th, 2012

    “If my family can’t live in this house, you sure as hell can’t either!”

    Daniel (Frank Grillo) and Beth (Jaime King) Sohapi picked up a great deal on a recently foreclosed house, and they’ve invited a handful of friends over to celebrate. A tornado threatens the area, but everyone is partying in the basement, which has been recently reinforced as a tornado shelter. Things look great in suburbia until three frantic and deadly bank robbers, Ike (Patrick Flueger), Addley (Warren Kole), and Johnny (Matt O’Leary), return to their childhood home following a botched bank robbery.
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    11-11-11:The Prophesy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on April 30th, 2012

    “What does it say about me that I find it much easier to believe in the Devil than I do in God?”

    Coming off the Saw franchise, Director Darren Lynn Bousman brings us 11-11-11, a lame attempt at an atmospheric thriller in the vein of The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby and The Devil’s Rain.  I can only think the film was rushed into production to cash in on a once-in-a-lifetime date phenomenon. It certainly shows in the stiff acting and lo-fi production values.
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    The Raven (2012)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on April 27th, 2012

    “What cannot be disputed is your imagination is the inspiration of a horrendous crime.”

    The Raven may not be a turkey, but it doesn’t really  soar either. Director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) attempts to fashion a historical fiction around the mysterious final five days of Edgar Allen Poe’s life. A notorious drunk and opium addict, Poe (John Cusack) careens through 19th century Baltimore dead broke, bitter from years of writers block, and harassed by the locals for being a blustering has-been. Due to a distinct lack of social sympathy, he can’t even borrow money for a single drink
    Read the rest of this entry »

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    The Wicker Tree (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on April 23rd, 2012

    “Here in Tresock, I believe the old religion of the Celts fits our needs at this time. Isn’t that all you can ask of a religion?”

    In 1973 Director Robin Hardy captured lightning in a bottle with the classic The Wicker Man. Based on David Pinner’s 1967 novel Ritual and loosely adapted into Anthony Shaffer’s sharp screenplay. Shaffer painstakingly researched paganism giving the film an undeniable authenticity, The Wicker Man became a genre of its own known as Folk Horror. The beauty of the film was the war of counter-religions, Christianity vs. Celtic Paganism.
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    Treme: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on April 17th, 2012

    “Won’t bow, don’t know how.”

    More than any other show, Treme captures the very soul of the city it is set in. Where The Wire may have presented the city of Baltimore as one of the supporting players in the series, Treme is New Orleans. The haunting percussion and brass of the musicians, the lyrical shorthand of its citizens, the quiet desperation of pride after destruction, rampant political corruption and unchecked crime mix together to form an eclectic jazz tempo that makes up the heartbeat of the Crescent City.
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    Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on April 10th, 2012

    “Don’t you ever touch the sacrificial fluids… okey dokey?”

    “Okey dokey” indeed; in 1985, director Josh Becker gathered his friends, including Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, and they shot Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except in Detroit around Campbell’s childhood home. Working with a microscopic budget, they created a tribute to the savage exploitation films of the sixties and seventies, full of bad lighting, crappy sets, leaden acting, cheap makeup gags, horrible dialog, and a certain goofy infectious fun.
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