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    XX (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 25th, 2017

    While I’m not usually a fan of gimmicks involved in trying to get my attention to see a movie, I’ll happily take an anthology of a found-footage film, simply because the odds of me finding something I like in the anthology are greater. VHS 2 is personally my favorite anthology film out there; even though it suffers from having to be a found-footage anthology, it at least delivers several unique perspectives and stories. I find it hard to believe a horror fan out there can’t enjoy the film. With XX the anthology presents us with a unique proposition when it comes to horror, four tales that are all crafted and presented by women.  A rather unintentional taboo notion when you consider horror has been a boys’ club for many years, but we are in a new era, and with this anthology this is the business card that is here to show us what they got.
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    Ice – Season 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 23rd, 2017

    It’s not often that a show can come along that impresses me with its talent in front of and behind the camera; then when the show premieres, it is just bad for a couple of episodes and then manages to bounce back.  There are just so many options that if you don’t come out swinging, your show is going to be passed up for something else. I still feel like we’re in the Golden Age of television despite some of the best series in the past decade having already been retired from the airwaves (Breaking Bad is sorely missed despite Better Call Saul).  There is still so much out there that sometimes good stuff gets overlooked, and it’s not till DVD rolls around that you can discover a show, and that is the case for the new series Ice.
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    The Frank Sinatra Collection: The Timex Shows Vol. 1 & 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 18th, 2017

    “Just give us those good old songs.”

    Last year Eagle Vision released four discs that were collectively known as The Frank Sinatra Collection. But when a man’s been singing for nearly 70 years, you can’t hold a career like that on just four discs. There was always going to have to be more. The more arrived in the shape of three more DVD’s brimming with Sinatra vintage shows. But that still wasn’t going to be enough. Now there are two more discs that bring us the classic Frank Sinatra Timex specials. This was a series of four specials that aired in 1959/1960. Each had a theme that carried through the broadcast hour.
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    Get Out (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 18th, 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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    Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 18th, 2017

    With its original release in 2009, DC and Warner Bros have set up the release of Wonder Woman the animated film to help ramp up excitement for the live-action release of the new Wonder Woman film that is set to hit the big screen in a matter of weeks. For some of those readers who may think animated film means it’s just for kids, what WB and DC have done together with the animation department I wish managed to translate to their live-action releases. The DC/WB animated films in my opinion are phenomenal and honestly have set a high bar for me, because these translations have just been superior to the live-action films, and most come in short of the 90-minute mark
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    Divorce: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

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

    Look, as lousy as the marriage is, the divorce is going to be much, much worse.”

    The subject of divorce isn’t exactly a laugh riot in real life, so the makers of HBO’s comedy series tracking the dissolution of a decade-long marriage had their work cut out for them. Divorce (not surprisingly) takes a darkly comic approach to the hostile material; the problem is the show seemingly forgot about the part where we’re supposed to want to spend time with these people every week. The series also marks the HBO return of star/executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker…call this new show No Sex in the Suburbs.
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    Heat: Director’s Definitive Edition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 16th, 2017

    There was a 20th anniversary edition of Michael Mann’s Heat planned a couple of years ago by the folks at Warner Brothers. There was hope of a 4K restoration and more. The rights ended up reverting to 20th Century Fox before any of that could happen. Now Fox has released something they are calling The Director’s Definitive Edition, but it is the same cut and print of the film as used in the last Warner Brothers’ Blu-ray release. So I really can’t tell you what is definitive except for a couple of new and more recent bonus features.
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    The Expendables 2 (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 11th, 2017

    “I got this…”

    When Sly Stallone delivered his homage to the 1980’s action film in The Expendables he hit a lot of the action film requisites. It was old-school fun with a new-school level of effects and production design. But with all of his efforts to bring back the 1980’s action star hero, there was one beat he couldn’t have connected with until a couple of years later. You see, action films are like potato chips. You can’t have just one. Films like First Blood, Die Hard, Terminator, and all of the others always had one final thing in common…the sequels. In case you thought that The Expendables was a one-off, the sequel was inevitable. And this is one case where the second film might be a little better than the first. Sure, it’s somewhat of a two-hour cliché, but who says there’s anything wrong with that?
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    Fifty Shades Darker – Unrated Edition (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 11th, 2017

    From the suggestion of the title, you would think that we would be diving deeper into the world of BDSM, but after watching, the only thing that I can say about Fifty Shades Darker is that it’s a love story. Yes, I know that it was always a love story, but the first film possessed an edge and intensity which no longer exist in the sequel. Disappointing is too pale a word for the film. From its failure to properly capture the essence of the source material, less than engaging performance of the leads, and the vanilla nature of the sex scenes, the movie does not live up to the hype. If 50 Shades of Grey pushed the envelope with its sexuality, 50 Shades Darker embraces the commercialism of a sequel for profit rather than effect.
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    The Godfather & The Godfather Part II: 45th Anniversary (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 9th, 2017

    It’s hard to believe that it has been 45 years since The Godfather first graced theater screens. The Godfather films changed storytelling forever. Films before that time, mobster or otherwise, had some very simple but unshakable rules. There was always a fairly clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. The good guys always win in the end, and the bad guys always succumb to justice before the final credits. For perhaps the very first time, we were given characters that we knew in our souls were evil men. They killed. They broke laws. They manipulated everyone around them through fear and terrorism to bend to their wills.
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    Saving Banksy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 9th, 2017

    When it comes to graffiti art there is only one name that comes to mind, and it’s Banksy. Before checking out this documentary I had no clue that graffiti art was actually something people took seriously, beyond gang tags and little kids marking up a wall for fun. Apparently there are numerous acclaimed graffiti artists around the world, artists who define themselves with their own unique style and message they’d like to share with the rest of the world, even if their message will most likely be painted over.  In 2010 Banksy came to San Francisco to vandalize some walls with a little paint, and it was enough to create a buzz across the city about what the artist would do, and out of that spawned this unique documentary that explores the value of graffiti art.
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    Rings (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 8th, 2017

    When The Ring (2002) first came out, if you looked hard enough you could still find movies on VHS, so the thought of a mysterious tape that kills you seven days after watching it wasn’t so entirely farfetched.  Now that we are in 2017, if someone were to find a mysterious VHS tape, well, they’d be out of luck for the most part, since I’d wager most of the US population no longer has a VCR.  But Hollywood won’t let this stop their successful franchise from moving forward, even though it’s been 12 years since The Ring Two, this weekend is the release of the third film in the series, and quite frankly, I have to wonder if anyone really wanted this.
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    Streets of San Francisco: The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 8th, 2017

    If you weren’t around in the 1970’s you might be surprised to find out that film superstar Michael Douglas was once in a television cop show. It was this influential crime drama that allowed Douglas to show off the acting chops that would earn him a spot in the Hollywood elite for decades to come. It didn’t hurt any that he was able to team up with Karl Malden, an undervalued talent in his own right. The two of them literally bring the show to life.  The series was run by Quinn Martin, himself no stranger to groundbreaking television. Martin was the same talent who created the crime drama with The Untouchables. His uncanny ability to come up with a clever premise was responsible for such milestones in television history as The Invaders and The Fugitive. Later he would continue to shape the look of television
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    Apocalypse Child

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on May 4th, 2017

    It is always interesting to see how the history of cinema weaves its way back into the art form, especially when it is incorporated into the narrative itself. For example E. Elias Merhige’s  Shadow of the Vampire (2000) constructs its narrative around a fictional filming of F.W. Murnau’s  Nosferatu (1922). Recently, Gary Oldman announced his interest in writing and directing Flying Horse, a biopic of Eadward Muybridge, one of the founding fathers of moving images as we know them. Cinema is the only art I am aware of that artists take strides to be self-reflexive for the sake of appreciation of the medium. Apocalypse Child (2015) toys with self-reflexivity, but in a very unique way: It portrays cinema as a quasi-mythical presence through alluding to Francis Ford Coppola’s hellish stretch of filming Apocalypse Now (1979) in the Philippines.
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    The Affair: Season Three

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 4th, 2017

    I thought it was dull…unless it was supposed to be a satire.”

    Television has been trending toward shorter, more self-contained stories. Successful shows like American Horror Story, Fargo, American Crime, and others reboot themselves every year with new characters and storylines in an attempt to offer viewers something fresh each season. The Affair seemed ready-made for that formula: each season could’ve followed different adulterous encounters in a wide variety of settings. Instead, the perspective-shifting Showtime drama is determined to chronicle the far-reaching effects of a single Long Island dalliance. So while the show brushes up against some interesting relationship dynamics, it feels like it has stretched a thin concept beyond its breaking point.
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    The Expendables (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 2nd, 2017

    “Man, we’ll die with you. Just don’t ask us to do it twice.”

    Remember the old days of the action movie? Those films where someone like Stallone or Schwarzenegger would run around and take out armies of bad guys while barely breaking a sweat. You know the kind of movie I’m talking about. The ones where the hero goes up against a hail of bullets and explosions and manages to pick off the bad guys without catching a single slug himself. These were the days when a guy like Bruce Willis could fall thirty floors, get a spike impaled in his ribcage, have a ton of concrete wall fall on his head, and get run over by a truck, but still manage to take out the bad guy while muttering some witty little catchphrase that we would all be repeating, because if we could deliver the line just right that meant we were tough guys too
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    A Dog’s Purpose (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on May 2nd, 2017

    When’s the last time you saw a good dog movie with love, devotion, and heroism?  Not the animated type, but one that stars dogs doing some awesome stunts, creating the love for animals and even inspiration.  Well, you can find all that and more in the movie A Dog’s Purpose, a fun, adventure of a dog’s life that runs full circle.  It’s fun for the whole family, but don’t be surprised when your youngster starts begging for a new furry friend. After escaping from a cage, a starving young pup gets saved by Elizabeth (Juliet Rylance).  Her son Ethan (Bryce Gheisar) wants to keep the dog, and after an intervention with his father, Elizabeth wins out.
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    Saturday Night Fever: Director’s Cut (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on May 1st, 2017

    Even though I was born in 1975, I don’t remember a thing until I was about 5 years old, therefore I missed most of the “Disco” era. My dad would play music from the 70’s, but that consisted of Led Zeppelin, Queen and Black Sabbath among other bands; no disco in sight. But one faithful day in my middle school years, I did find my mother’s record and 8-track collection. There was some Barry Manilow, Julio Iglesias, and something called the Bee-Gees. I wouldn’t say anything crazy like it turned my life around, but after listening, I clearly understood. I clearly understood that my mother was crazy and I was much better off listening to Whole Lotta Love. Anyway, we have a movie to review, let’s continue with Saturday Night Fever.

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    Vega$: The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 1st, 2017

    By 1978 the television detective model had been nearly complete and possibly already a cliché. Dan Tanna might have well been the complete model as far as the formula goes. It was almost as if you could go down a checklist and, like Dr. Frankenstein creating a monster, you would check off the necessary elements. The scripts could then almost write themselves, and you let the show fly on autopilot for three seasons or so until someone decides to look behind the curtain.
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    The Vampire Bat

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on April 30th, 2017

    The early 1930’s was an excellent time for production of horror films. 1931 saw the classic productions of Frankenstein and Dracula, and 1932 The Mummy and White Zombie. These are all what I would call genre-defining films: they have refined the formulaic plots (mad scientist, supernatural threat) that came before them, but did so while incorporating the famous images we see today. Think about it; 80 years later and we still see Frankenstein’s monster with a flattened head and bolts, or Dracula with the jet-black widow’s peak and cape. As iconic as these films have become, there are countless productions that have flown under the radar of popularity. Frank R. Strayer’s The Vampire Bat is one such film that is worthy of more attention.
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    Animal Kingdom: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 28th, 2017

    “Everyone outside the family is a mark. Family comes first.”

    Meet the most dysfunctional crime family since The Sopranos. Not quite at the same level either on-screen or in quality, but once again we’re drawn toward another dangerous clan with criminal intent. I guess we could call them The Baritones. Actually Animal Kingdom is an apt description for television’s latest baddies. They’re about to head into their second season of mayhem on TNT where the series was the network’s top ratings winner during its run. Now that first season is out on Blu-ray from Warner Brothers, and it’s one crazy ride, of that you can be certain.
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    Chupacabra Territory

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 25th, 2017

    I have to admit I’m a sucker for cryptozoology, and stories about chupacabras and Bigfoot are fun to talk about. In the reality-TV-show world, there are many shows that have people travelling in the woods in search of evidence of these creatures. The proof is sketchy at best, but still it makes for entertaining television. Now we have the found-footage film Chupacabra Territory that dares to take us on an adventure into chupacabra territory where four hikers manage to get lost in the woods.  Is the found footage worth checking out? Well, that all depends how big a fan of the found-footage genre you happen to be.
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    The Marine 5: Battleground (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 24th, 2017

    The WWE is like a dog with a bone, refusing to let this franchise as well as its other one (12 rounds) go. I will give them this: they are maintaining some consistency with Mike “The Miz” Mizanin reprising his role of Jake Carter for the third time for The Marine 5: Battleground. This time around, however, the series won’t just star one WWE superstar, but six. That’s right you read correctly, six WWE superstars have come together for this action film. With the addition of The Mix come Bo Dallas, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, Naomi, and Maryse Ouellet Mizanin. Didn’t recognize any of those names? Don’t worry; me neither, as my days of watching wrestling ended with the end of the attitude era.
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    Mars (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 21st, 2017

    I was eight years old when Armstrong first stepped on the moon in July of 1969. Like every kid my age, it filled me with a feeling that I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of humanity’s grand exploration of space. By the time I was 15, we had landed the first probes on Mars. We were certainly on our way. The sky literally wasn’t the limit anymore. But then it all stopped. By the 80’s we had shifted our focus to low Earth orbit, and we haven’t explored the limits of space with a manned mission in nearly 50 years. Even the Space Shuttle is gone, and we don’t even have the capability to send Americans to the space station that we mostly paid for without hitching a ride with the Russians. And if you’ve been following world events at all, that ride isn’t a sure thing anymore. That 8-year-old with the mile-wide grin would never have believed we’d be so earthbound by the time he reached his mid-50’s.
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    Veep: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 20th, 2017

    As it turns out, there’s a virtually unprecedented tie in the Electoral College.”

    If you thought the latest U.S. presidential election cycle was a soul-crushing and unpredictable mess, you should take a peek at what’s happening on Veep. (At least we got a definitive real-life result…eventually.) The show’s outstanding fifth season begins with President Selina Meyer — who assumed the office after her predecessor resigned — locked in a frustrating Electoral College tie as she seeks to become the first woman to be *elected* to the highest office in the land. President Meyer sums up her predicament in a manner befitting HBO’s caustic, constantly-cussing comedy: “didn’t those Founding F—ers ever hear of an odd number?!”
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