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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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    Paulette (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 17th, 2016

    I earn money…I meet people…I can pay my debts…I can buy nice things for myself.”

    Taken at face value, all of those pursuits sound totally admirable, especially when you consider that the person earning that money, meeting those new people, and buying those nice things is a bitter old woman who slowly comes out of her caustic shell. I mean, the only minor hiccup here is that Paulette — the title character in this wacky, soufflé-light French comedy — turns her miserable life around by selling drugs.
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    The New Girlfriend (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 27th, 2016

    Being a woman’s hard work.”

    Femininity — the quality and essence of being a woman — is at the forefront of The New Girlfriend, a gender-bending and genre-bending offering from French director Francois Ozon. The film is a curious mix of farce, rom-com hijinks, frank sexuality, and serious drama about loss. The formula isn’t always cohesive, but it makes for an intriguing twist on the old “boy meets girl” story.
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    Welcome to New York (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 27th, 2015

    “This film was inspired by a court case, the public stages of which have been filmed, broadcast, reported and commented on throughout the media worldwide. Nonetheless, the characters portrayed in the film and all sequences depicting their private lives remain entirely fictional.”

    The disclaimer that appears at the top of Welcome to New York is only the first indication that this flawed, unflinching drama — based on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair — seeks to blur the line between fact and fiction.
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    Maison Close: Season One (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 4th, 2015

    No woman dreams of entering this profession. But it is a real profession…”

    In fact, it’s commonly referred to as “the world’s oldest profession.” We’re talking, of course, about practice prostitution. The profession also happens to be the focus of the soapy, serialized Maison Close, which is set in a 19th century Parisian brothel. And thanks to Music Box Films, Season 1 of the French prostitution drama is now making its U.S. Blu-ray debut.
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    Ernest & Celestine (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 22nd, 2014

    “A mouse can only be friends with a bear in a fairy tale.”

    And that’s exactly what we have here. Ernest And Celestine is a charming little tale told through a wonderful watercolor world of animation. It certainly looks very much like the storybooks I remember reading from as a small child. Indeed, the film is based on a series of book from Belgian artist Gabrielle Vincent. The first book appeared in 1981 and continued for 20 years, delighting children the world over. As an artist it makes some sense that the books had a very unique visual style
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    Capital (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 12th, 2014

    “People believe money is a tool. Money is the master; the better you serve it, the better it treats you.”

    That mantra — spouted by a ruthless hedge fund manager in Capital — may not be as succinct or as elegant in its simplicity as “Greed is good,” but the message remains the same. Most people see money as a means to an end, but to the financial masters of the universe in this French financial thriller, money is the end.
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    Mobius (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 17th, 2014

    “I’d have loved to be a spy, but it’s a dangerous game and it pays s—.”

    For a lot of moviegoers, the word “spy” evokes tuxedos, gadgets, and exotic accents. Möbius — a French/Russian production from French filmmaker Eric Rochant — only employs the last of those tropes while falling in line with more low-key espionage adventures like Three Days of the Condor and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. So I shouldn’t have been surprised that this film gets up to some subterfuge of its own; Möbius is a love story posing as a spy thriller.
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    You Will Be My Son (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 27th, 2014

    They say you can’t choose your family, but apparently that well-known phrase never made its way to France. At the very least, no one bothered to tell Paul de Marseul, the legacy-obsessed vineyard owner at the center of You Will Be My Son (Tu Seras Mon Fils.) Cohen Media Group gave this tasty 2011 French offering a theatrical release last year, and now the film — which alternates between being a picturesque delight, a tense family drama, and a thriller — arrives on Blu-ray.
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    The Prey (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 24th, 2014

    In the 1990s, the French action films of Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional) and Euro-centric offerings like John Frankenheimer’s Ronin provided a sleeker, more exotic alternative to the outsize, muscle-bound exploits of Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Van Damme. Besides movies with the words “Fast” or “Furious” in their title, American action flicks have mostly moved away from lo-fi, knucklehead thrills and turned to PG-13 heroes in CGI adventures. Meanwhile, European filmmakers have stayed in their stylish, car/foot-chase-loving lane. The result is entertaining yarns like The Prey/La Proie, which stands out thanks to its thuddingly simple action movie pleasures.
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    True Blood: Season Five (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on May 20th, 2013

    Well, it is that time of the year when we must see what the blood suckers, shape shifters, wolves and the faeries are up to. No, I am not talking about the State of the Union address; I’m talking about the latest season of True Blood. Season Five to be exact. In these twelve episodes, we again travel to the land of Bon Temps, Louisiana and see exactly what delicious trouble and dastardly deeds our characters can get themselves tied up in.
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    Magic Journey to Africa (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 18th, 2013

    “I want to visit a country of dreams, imagination and magic.”

    Instead of “dreams, imagination and magic”, the Africa presented in this confounding, family-friendly offering from Spanish filmmaker Jordi Llompart is a place of trippy visuals, head-scratching dialogue and horrid CGI. Magic Journey to Africa — billed as a “giant screen spectacle” — is now available for home consumption, where the film’s dazzling 3D presentation is its only saving grace.
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    Special Forces (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 7th, 2013

    In a film the pays its respects to the French soldiers who are participating in the war on terror as well as the journalists that risk their lives to cover the war, Special Forces delivers more of the same in this new release.  Though the default setting has the spoken language in English and has English-speaking stars, don’t let this French release fool you; the dubbing is terrible and the film is better viewed in its original language. Elsa (Diane Krugar) is a French journalist who is in Afghanistan to cover a story about a woman sold as a child.  By now we should all know speaking against the politics in these countries is not just bad, but when you are a woman this could get you killed.
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    To Rome with Love (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 7th, 2013

    You don’t usually get too many legendary (and wildly polarizing) filmmakers coming off the biggest hit of their careers — unadjusted for inflation, of course — at age 77. Yet that’s exactly where Woody Allen found himself with To Rome with Love, his pleasant, witty, not-at-all-groundbreaking follow-up to Midnight in Paris. The writer-director originally named this film The Bop Decameron before changing it to Nero Fiddled. I’m guessing somebody (smartly) figured the suddenly buzzworthy director’s next film should have a less esoteric title; and if there was a way to incorporate a European city into the name, even better.
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    Just Go With It (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on June 16th, 2011

    It is that time again boys and girls for the movie of the week. This week, we visit a genre that is staler than your grandmother Edna’s cookies: the romantic comedy. *boo* *hiss*. Okay, okay before you start throwing those almond cookies, I think I need to let you know that there is a $5 bill in it for each of you. *whisper from editor* “Do we have that in our budget?” “No silly, just go with it.”. Audience – “What was that?” Why, our movie today is the Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston picture: Just Go With It. Roll the film!
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    Doctor Zhivago Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 4th, 2010

    In many ways the epic story and film Doctor Zhivago echoes the real-life story of Boris Pasternak, who penned the original novel. Pasternak was a firsthand witness to the events that led to and became the Russian Revolution. He collected 50 years of memories that began with the early days before the revolution and ended with his own confrontations with the USSR government. Like Zhivago in the story, Pasternak’s work was banned in his own country. The manuscript had to be smuggled out of Russia and found its way first to Italy, where it was finally published for the first time. But it didn’t stop there.
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    Tombstone (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 28th, 2010

    “Every town has a story… Tombstone has a legend.”

    When will Kevin Costner ever learn? He just doesn’t strike that hero pose. He isn’t even that good an actor unless he’s playing a G-Man type as he did in The Untouchables and JFK. In just a little while Russell Crowe is fixing to school him on the proper stature of Robin Hood. In 1993 and 1994 another Russell, this time Kurt Russell, schooled him on the iconic lawman Wyatt Earp. Tombstone was released Christmas day in 1993. Exactly 6 months later on June 24th, 1994, Kevin Costner released his epic film called Wyatt Earp.
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    Cocoon (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 28th, 2010

    Cocoon was based on a somewhat obscure novel by David Saperstein. It was also an unlikely film for beginning director Ron Howard. He had made it known since his career began that he had little respect for the science fiction genre. In an interview provided on this very release, he condemns the genre as not being about character or story. I’d say that Ron Howard just hasn’t watched the right science fiction. I beg to differ with his assessment.
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    Armageddon (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 27th, 2010

    “This is the Earth at a time when dinosaurs roamed a lush and fertile planet. A piece of rock just six miles wide changed all of that. It hit with the force of 10,000 nuclear weapons. A trillion tons of dirt and rock hurtled into the atmosphere, creating a suffocating blanket of dust that the sun was powerless to penetrate for a thousand years. It happened before. It will happen again. It’s just a question of when.”

    When was 1998 with the summertime blockbuster movie Armageddon. This film was the poster child for summer tent pole movies.
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    District 13: Ultimatum (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on April 26th, 2010

    The first District 13 movie was considered a modern day cult classic. It featured a number of meticulous and daring stunt scenes that were worked without the use of wires or computer generated effects. It was written and produced by Luc Besson famous for Fifth Element & Leon. But would the sequel set in the future 3 years later be able to hold the same interest?
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