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    Wizards (35th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on March 26th, 2012

    “Ohh. Oh, Fritz? Fritz, get up for God’s sake! Get up! They’ve killed Fritz! They’ve killed Fritz! Those lousy stinking yellow fairies! Those horrible atrocity-filled vermin! Take that! Take that! They killed Fritz!!!”

    Ralph Bakshi is probably best known for his x-rated animated adaptation of R. Crumb’s Fritz the Cat, the first animated film to receive an x-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America and still turn into the most successful independent animated feature of all time. When his second and also x-rated animated feature, Heavy Traffic, a blacker than coal satirical comedy
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    Splintered (Bluray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on March 22nd, 2012

    “Chill out? Am I the only one hearing this? This thing attacks people, Jane, and she wants to go looking for it, because she has deranged fantasies about the unexplained!”

    In Splintered a group of teens go seek the truth behind the northern Wales urban legend known as the Beast of Bodmin, a creature who may be responsible for the death of a bunch of livestock and the disappearance of a number of tourists and citizens. Sophie (Holly Weston) lives with unsuppressed childhood memories of being assaulted in her bedroom by some kind of beast man.
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    Creature

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on March 22nd, 2012

    “You have no idea what a real monster looks like.”

    Clearly the creators of Creature have no idea what a real monster looks like either. This is the kind of film you would expect released directly to DVD and then shown on the SyFy channel late Saturday night, not one that would be released on over 1500 screens across America. This is a grade-Z movie barely elevated by a half decent cast. It is the kind of film that could have been intentionally funny, but director Fred Andrews wasn’t in on his own joke.
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    Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil – The Complete First Season

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

    “You already started reading the evil words, didn’t you? Then could you pass me my blood mop? I’m gonna need it later.”

    Somehow I was never aware of Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil: The Complete First Season until I received the DVDs to review. Based on the 2003 short film of the same name, Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil debuted on Canada’s Space Channel in September of 2010 and was picked up for broadcast in the United States by FearNet, which started showing the series in August of 2011.
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    John Carter

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on March 9th, 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. The result is a massive “been there done that” experience.
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    Absentia

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on March 9th, 2012

    “It has skin like silverfish.”

    After suffering through the vast majority of low-budget indie horror films whose only motivation seems to be to make a quick buck on distribution deals, it is truly a delight when you stumble on to something wonderful like writer/director Mike Flanagan’s Absentia. Building on a cast of unknowns, with the exception of an incredibly creepy cameo by genre fave Doug Jones, Flanagan weaves a web of creepy, atmospheric horror in this effective low-budget chiller.
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    The Tribe: Series 1, Part 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on March 5th, 2012

    “Exactly, you’re a kid. So go and be a kid… go and, I don’t know, go ahead and steal me something.”

    The Tribe is a New Zealand/British post-apocalyptic, young adult soap opera, beloved around the world. So I had to put on my young adult glasses and watch it through those.  In the near future, an unknown virus wiped out all the adults on Earth. Left to raise themselves, the kids form tribes in a Lord of the Flies type society. Now, being that the average viewer is probably between 12 – 17 years old, it is a very mild Lord of the Flies society.
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    Snow White: Deadly Summer

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on March 5th, 2012

    “You should have listened to me. As long as she’s in the picture, you will never come first.”

    Snow White: A Deadly Summer really should have been called Marcia Brady: Serial Stepmom. At least that would have been a more honest title than this Snow White trend rip off. This is bottom of the barrel, abominable direct to DVD crap at its worst. The only positive thing about it is that Maureen McCormick, Marcia Brady herself, plays the wicked step mother.
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    Project X

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on March 2nd, 2012

    “This party is gonna change everything for us.”

    Somewhere a chimp hugs his VHS copy of 1987’s Project X and cries in outrage that this wasn’t a remake ala Rise of the Planet of the Apes (this movie’s age demographic won’t even get that reference). Even feral monkeys would be outraged by the wild behavior exhibited in 2012’s Project X, and that is kind of the point.
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    Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

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

    “Remember… Winter is coming.”

    Very rarely, the stars align and a media magic event happens, creating a flawless television series. Such an event happened last year with the premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones based on the novels from George R.R. Martin’s best selling and ongoing series A Song of Ice and Fire. HBO was so pleased with the series, it green-lit the second season only hours after the pilot premiered. Co-President Richard Plepler said, “We told George (R.R. Martin) we’d go as long as he kept writing.”
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    Nurse Jackie: Season Three (Blu-ray)

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

    “At this very moment, I have no desire to stab you in the neck.”

    Between Weeds and Nurse Jackie, Showtime has the corner on shows about drugged up, ethically challenged women. The great Edie Falco somehow keeps Nurse Jackie relatable even though she is an unrepentant drug addict, thief and manipulative narcissist. It doesn’t hurt being surrounded by such a smart supporting cast and given lines that crackle with poignancy and humor.
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    The Woman in Black

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on February 3rd, 2012

    “Have you seen her? The Woman in Black? She once lost a boy, and now she’s come back. Our parents all worry, they make such a fuss: For if she can’t find him, she’ll take one of us.”

    Now this looks like a Hammer film. A subdued cool color palette, stunning Gothic set pieces, a wonderful location ripe with grieving and decaying symbolism, and genuinely scary ghosts make The Woman in Black an impressive throwback to old fashioned horror. Having been a fan of the original 1983 novella by Susan Hill and the 1989 TV teleplay for Britain’s ITV network, I looked forward to Hammer’s adaptation. I was not disappointed.
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    City Of God (Blu-ray)

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

    “If you run, they catch you; if you don’t run, they catch you.”

    Just miles from one of the most glamorous cities in the world, Rio de Janeiro, resides a favela (slum) known as Cidade de Deus or City of God. The poor were routinely pulled off the streets of Rio and forced to live in squalor in this favela. For decades this hell hole was run by murderously corrupt police and street gangs. Like a roach motel, once you checked into the City of God
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    Big Love: The Complete Fifth Season

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

    “I’ve gone and torn my family apart and I’m truly sorry.”

    I have a confession to make; I first started watching Big Love for what I thought would be the salacious subject matter. Polygamy seemed tawdry and unnatural. I wanted to see how HBO handled it. Soon after watching I was touched by the depth of love and commitment this family had for each other.
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    Kill Katie Malone

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on December 23rd, 2011

    “Check it out, someone is selling a ghost online at Ubid!”

    You know those ghost story movies where the victims not only do incredibly stupid things which further endanger them, but they are so thick they refuse to believe in ghosts even after they have been physically thrown across the room by something invisible and people around them are dying in mysterious unexplained ways? Kill Katie Malone is one of those movies.
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    Intruder – Director’s Cut (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on December 22nd, 2011

    “I’m just crazy about this store.”

    Anyone who has worked the night crew in a grocery store, restocking shelves after the place is closed, knows how creepy it can be walking the aisles in the belly of a half-lit behemoth. Now imagine if you were being stalked while you stocked by a mutilating psychopath. This was obviously the motivation for writer/director Scott Spiegel when he created his Super-8 short film Night Crew with childhood friends Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell.
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    Our Idiot Brother (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on December 14th, 2011

    “Here’s the thing, I… I live my life a certain way. And that is that I like to think that if you put your trust out there, I mean, if you really give people the benefit of the doubt, see their best intentions, they’re gonna want to live up to it. It doesn’t always work out, clearly, but, more often than not, I think that if you do, people will rise to the occasion. I really believe that.”

    In a deck of Tarot cards there is a major arcana card called The Fool. It depicts a young man wearing colorful motley clothes and carrying all his possessions in a bag on his back.
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    Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on December 13th, 2011

    “Oh hidy ho officer, we’ve had a doozy of a day. There we were minding our own business, just doing chores around the house, when kids started killing themselves all over my property.”

    A carload of preppie college kids set off for a Memorial Day weekend of partying deep in the backwoods of West Virginia. They encounter a couple creepy looking hillbillies leering at them on the highway. Stopping to gas up they encounter the two rednecks again, but this time one of the two approaches the girls holding a scythe over his head and laughing like a madman.
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    Chillerama (Unrated) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on December 13th, 2011

    “It’s impossible, but it would appear that the Spermupermine has had an adverse effect on your system. It’s not only strengthening your spermatozoa, but it’s causing it to grow to gargantuan proportions.”

    I definitely have a soft spot for the horror anthologies; they’re the equivalent of cinema short stories. Some of the best horror anthology movies were Creepshow, Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, The House That Dripped Blood, Trick ‘R Treat, Asylum, Body Bags, Dead of Night and Black Sabbath.
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    Evil Dead 2 (25th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on December 4th, 2011

    “Someone’s in my fruit cellar! Someone with a fresh soooul!”

    Sam Raimi wasn’t really interested in making a horror movie. Weaned on The Three Stooges, comedy was really more his style, but he could only find interested investors if he made a horror movie. So he and his filmmaking partner, Bruce Campbell, made the short film Within the Woods and with it secured funding for their first feature length movie, The Book of the Dead. When it was pointed out kids might not see a movie with book in the title, the name was changed to Evil Dead.
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    Peter Gabriel: New Blood – Live in London (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on November 23rd, 2011

    “You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire. Once the flames begin to catch, the wind will blow it higher”

    Peter Gabriel, the flamboyant original front man for Genesis from 1967 to 1977, left that band to pursue recording his own solo albums. Although none of his early albums scored a top 40 hit, they were deeply loved by the art house music crowd. Gabriel’s penchant for exotic world musical instruments, dark moving lyrics, and complicated arrangements built on his fiercely loyal following.
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    Placebo: We Come In Pieces (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on November 23rd, 2011

    Let me get this out of the way first off: I am not a big fan of emo-pop, so maybe I’m not the best person to review Placebo. The whiny nasal vocals and amazingly repetitive hooks tend to drag, and I find myself just wanting to slap the band and tell them to man up. That said, I should think if you are a fan of the band, you will love this nearly three hour concert disc filmed at London’s Brixton Academy in September 2010 during the band’s tour for their album Battle for the Sun.
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    West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on November 22nd, 2011

    “When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way! From your first cigarette to your last dyin’ days.”

    West Side Story is a masterpiece in film making. Its DNA comes from the greatest entertainers in the business. The great Robert Wise (The Sound of Music, The Day the Earth Stood Still) shares directing credit with one of the world’s greatest choreographers, Jerome Robbins. The music was composed by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Daniel Fapp’s cinematography is epic and evocative. The movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, a record at the time, including Best Picture and Best Director.
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    Sarah’s Key

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on November 21st, 2011

    “10,000 people crammed… no bed, no toilets and little water.”

    Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas) is an American journalist living in Paris covering the anniversary of the 1942 Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup, a horrific atrocity when occupied France bowed to the will of the Nazis and rounded up over 13,000 Jews to ship them off to concentration camps. As she investigates the story she discovers a dark secret in her French husband’s family directly connecting them to the event.
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    Infernal Affairs (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on November 13th, 2011

    “What thousands must die, so that Caesar may become great.”

    When Hong Kong released Infernal Affairs in 2002, it pretty much revived the Asian gangster genre and proved the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s Best Director Academy Award winner, The Departed. I saw The Departed before I watched Infernal Affairs and, now seeing it, must say I prefer Scorsese’s Boston noir re-envisioning of the film more than the original. I realize this goes against the hardcore fans and critics of the film, but it doesn’t take anything away from the hardboiled crime sensation directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak created.
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