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    The Revenant (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 20th, 2016

    America was once a primitive expanse where only very small groups of hardy hopefuls ever tried to venture across. It was a vast and endless wilderness that was mostly a mystery. This was the land of roving Indian tribes and undiscovered species of animals. This was a land of all kinds of danger. Life was one long hunt and endless battle against every kind of predator and natural enemy. There are so many remarkable moments in The Revenant that I will start with the bear attack. It is an unbelievably harrowing event that cannot be described in words that will in any way convey what you see on the screen. That one sequence alone is worth the price of admission
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    Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 29th, 2016

    “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…”

    It sure does seem like it was a long time ago since Star Wars was actually very good. It doesn’t matter if you thought Empire or Jedi was the last good film; few people that I’ve encountered mentioned the more recent trilogy in the same sacred breath as those original films. Star Wars gave us swashbuckler adventure in the spirit of the early serials. Then it was about a mythical epic story that swept a generation into its colorful universe. What George Lucas created in the late 1970’s will never die. But before long it became more about the creator and less about engaging the fans. The attitude turned into “this is my franchise and I’ll do whatever the heck I want to do with it.”
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    Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 16th, 2016

    “Perhaps we’ve grown so used to horror, we assume there’s no other way.”

    Given the quantity and quality of death and destruction we’ve witnessed over the previous four years, the most shocking thing Game of Thrones could do in its fifth season was offer a tiny glimmer of hope. After all, optimism in Westeros and Essos is an even rarer commodity than dragons. Yet this batch of episodes probably gives us the clearest glimpse at the endgame of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” saga. (Even as the author’s deliberate pace continues to drive book readers mad.) That being said, don’t think for a second the show has gone soft in its old middle age: Thrones still has the unmatched ability to dazzle and devastate in equal measure.
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    The Big Short (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 14th, 2016

    I’m guessing most of you still don’t really know what happened.”

    There is absolutely nothing funny about the financial crisis of 2008. Besides the fact that the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble led to the failure of countless businesses and a disastrous decline in consumer wealth, the crisis involved key phrases like “credit default swap” and “collateralized debt obligation.” Those terms are much more likely to make your eyes glaze over in boredom or confusion than they are to inspire laughs. The Big Short cannily recognizes this challenge and crafts a farcical, incisive narrative about a small group of outcasts who saw the whole thing coming.
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    Creed (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 2nd, 2016

    The last time we checked in on Rocky Balboa was 2006. It was a bittersweet coda to a franchise that provided 30 years and six films of the life and times of Rocky Balboa. Some were truly great films. I’d count the first and last as in that category. Some were near misses like the third and fourth films, while the fifth was pretty much a total disaster. In those years and films we watched Rocky go from a hungry Philadelphia wannabe boxer to the champion several times over. Like the franchise, the character had his own highs and lows. There’s no question that the Rocky franchise has gone the distance. And while it might have been a split decision, the Rocky films still stand as the champion of the film genre.
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    Spectre (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 13th, 2016

    “You have got a tricky day ahead of you.”

    It’s safe to say that Daniel Craig peaked as James Bond with Skyfall. Sam Mendes was the man who figured out how to make Craig work in the part. The secret wasn’t in the classic images of Bond’s past, but in the future. Instead of trying to mold Craig into Bond, Mendes molded Bond into Craig. It was the right thing to do as long as Daniel Craig was going to continue in the role. With Mendes repeating as director and John Logan from Gladiator and Penny Dreadful fame handling the script, expectations were through the roof for this one.
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    Last Witch Hunter (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on February 8th, 2016

    “Witches live among us. Their magic passed from an ancient race, diluted, half-forgotten but dangerously powerful. After centuries of conflict, a truce was forged. Witches would be allowed to live and govern themselves if they followed one strict rule: that magic never be used against humans. But a truce is a fragile thing…”

    Vin Diesel has made the Fast and Furious franchise into a massive global behemoth, but Diesel is not a global behemoth on his own. He has had successes and failures. He is someone who seems to be an unlikely star. He tried to make Riddick (Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick) into a multi-film franchise and accomplished it through sheer force of will, but his stardom largely rests on Fast and Furious. Diesel bristles at being typecast, so he has always tried to find new vehicles that will demonstrate his range
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    Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs (Blu-ray) (Signature Collection)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 3rd, 2016

    “Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

    Years ago a news magazine, I don’t remember which, conducted a survey. They discovered that more adults knew the names of the Seven Dwarfs than could name seven figures in the federal government, including President, Vice-President, Senate, House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court. They say our educations begin very young. Well, since 1938 our youths have been entertained by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
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    Bridge of Spies (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on February 1st, 2016

    Steven Spielberg. Tom Hanks. The Coen Brothers. 1957. The Cold War. Mark Rylance. There are a lot of elements to the stew that is Bridge of Spies. Let’s start with the most important ingredient. Steven Spielberg has been a household name for decades now as the most reliable producer/director of movie entertainment we may have ever seen. His name is so synonymous with big-screen entertainment that he needs no introduction from me. But he has been trying to get away from pure entertainment for a long while now, often with great success.
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    Hitman: Agent 47 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 2nd, 2016

    “History of man is defined by war. And war is defined by the men who fight it.”

    Well, it is definitely more high-tech than the 2007 version, but is that necessarily a good thing? That’s what you are here to find out in this reboot of the popular video game of the same name (minus the Agent 47 part, that is). Rupert Friend is Agent 47 in this updated version, and I will say that despite my initial upset feelings about the recasting of the character, he does an excellent job as the highly motivated and proficient assassin.
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    American Ultra (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 30th, 2015

    Why are people trying to stab you?”

    People in action movies aren’t usually inclined to stop and ask that question out loud. In American Ultra, a small army of CIA operatives repeatedly try to stab, shoot, gas, and blow up an underachieving slacker and his girlfriend. Seems like a lot of trouble for a panic attack-prone convenience store clerk who sketches a goofy graphic novel about an adventurous ape on his downtime. American Ultra is funny, violent, and tonally-jarring at times. However, it’s also a fun subversion of the action genre and (more specifically) “supersoldier” movies.
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    The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies Extended Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 17th, 2015

    “Will you follow me, one last time?”

    It’s time to say goodbye to Middle Earth, at least from a cinematic perspective. The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies marks the last time we shall see Peter Jackson’s version of Middle Earth. Sure, Ian McKellen has told us he wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of a return. I would. There is certainly enough work from Tolkien to support future adventures, but the rights to anything beyond these books belongs to the Tolkien estate.
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    Toy Story that Time Forgot (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 5th, 2015

    “Be grateful for your gifts. They are all around you.”

    This is the gift that has been giving for 20 years. It’s a bit hard to believe that it was all the way back in 1996 that we had our first adventure with Pixar’s imaginative Toy Story. Since that time we’ve had two solid theatrical sequels and now a second television/video short. It’s a bridge to the fourth theatrical film on its way. But that’s still a couple of years down the road, so it’s rather nice to be able to spend some time, no matter how brief, with the gang we fell in love with nearly 20 years ago
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    “31 Nights of Terror” Poltergeist (2015) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 8th, 2015

    “They’re hee-eere”

    That instantly-iconic horror movie line — delivered in a cheery, chilling, sing-songy voice by the late Heather O’Rourke — signaled the arrival of malevolent spirits in 1982’s Poltergeist. In 2015, “they’re hee-eere” could just as easily refer to the latest glut of horror remakes. (Thankfully, there’s still at least one *sacred* cow.) That list now includes a new version of Poltergeist, which features some solid thrills and (for better and for worse) sticks pretty closely to the original.
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    Spy (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on October 6th, 2015

    I don’t enjoy writing negative reviews. It’s a struggle when the film experience was joyless and then to have to go back and relive that. I also don’t enjoy reading reviews by other critics that get everything completely wrong. It’s even worse when almost all the critics get it wrong. Even worse than that is when I see critics dumping on a film that’s actually good, but that’s a story for a different day. How can I say Spy is so bad? Because I had to sit through the movie. I can get some enjoyment out of even the worst movies, and that’s true here, but I would not recommend it to unsuspecting viewers.
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    Cinderella (2015) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 21st, 2015

    “Have courage and be kind.”

    Those words — repeated many times in this newest version of Cinderella — serve as both the title character’s mantra and the film’s unofficial tagline. The message is elegant in its simplicity in a way that mirrors this refreshingly old-fashioned adaptation, which resists the prevailing urge to modernize and/or revise a classic story.
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    Ex Machina (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 23rd, 2015

    “You wanna see something cool?”

    If you’re old enough to remember audio tape, you might be old enough to remember Memorex. If you remember Memorex, you should recall their popular slogan: “Is it live or is it Memorex?”. Of course, the idea was that the tape quality was so good you couldn’t distinguish it from the real thing. What if robotics and artificial intelligence reached that same plateau? The point where you could not tell the difference between an actual human being and an artificial one.
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    Run All Night (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on June 17th, 2015

    “Tell everyone to get ready.  Jimmy is coming.” 

    If someone were to tell me while walking out of Schindler’s List that 20 years later Liam Neeson would be an action star, I would have thought they were out of their mind.  Between the trio of Taken films and numerous films that seem to be cut from the same ilk, Liam Neeson seems to be walking in the same footsteps as Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood as being the go-to everyman who just so happens to be a badass with or without a gun.
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    Focus (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 2nd, 2015

    “That’s what you get when you hire a con man.”

    As much fun as it is to watch clever, cagey characters try to outsmart one another on screen, the real appeal of movies about con artists is watching filmmakers try to pull the wool over the audience’s eye. It’s an especially tricky proposition when you consider that — thanks to the Internet — moviegoers might be more sophisticated than ever in terms of knowing how movies are supposed to work. (Or at least *thinking* they know how movies are supposed to work.)
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    Penguins of Madagascar (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 26th, 2015

    “Antarctica, an inhospitable wasteland, but even here, on the Earth’s frozen bottom, we find life. And not just any life: penguins. Joyous, frolicking, waddling, cute and cuddly life. Look at them, tumbling onto their chubby bum bums. Who could take these frisky snow-clowns… seriously?”

    This one has been a long time coming. I like the Madagascar movies and have been fairly positive about them in these pages. Each time I pointed out that the highlight of these films were the antics of those military-minded penguins and their grand schemes.
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    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 23rd, 2015

    “Will you follow me, one last time?”

    It’s time to say goodbye to Middle Earth, at least from a cinematic perspective. The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies marks the last time we shall see Peter Jackson’s version of Middle Earth. Sure, Ian McKellen has told us he wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of a return. I would. There is certainly enough work from Tolkien to support future adventures, but the rights to anything beyond these books belongs to the Tolkien estate.
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    Exodus: Gods & Kings (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 23rd, 2015

    When it comes to the modern epic, director Ridley Scott is the go-to guy to pull off the sprawling and mega-budget storylines.  From Gladiator to Kingdom of Heaven, Scott has constantly proven himself behind the camera in executing tales with lavish sets and battles involving hundreds to even thousands of extras.  With the release of Exodus: Gods and Kings, a retelling of the Bible story where Moses frees the slaves of Egypt, Ridley Scott would seem the perfect choice for this film.  Unfortunately, this is a Bible story that is sure to anger religious scholars and put some general audiences to sleep.
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    101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Athena on February 11th, 2015

    Athena here. That’s right, I’m the Siberian Husky that kind of runs things here at Gino’s house. Since I did such a great job doing the review on Snow Dogs, I decided to step in when I saw Gino watching yet another dog film. This time it was Walt Disney’s classic 101 Dalmatians. Naturally the film would have been better if it had been called 101 Siberian Huskies, but unfortunately the film was based on a popular children’s book by Dodie Smith who happened to have Dalmatians herself, so let’s not blame her; she didn’t know any better. Walt Disney himself discovered the story and took a personal interest in having it made into an animated film. 
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    Planes Fire and Rescue (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on November 7th, 2014

    Flying into home entertainment, the animated comedy adventure Planes: Fire & Rescue delivers a fun film for the whole family.  The film features some of the characters from the original and a whole lot of new ones.  Brightly animated, having fine direction and with a new storyline, the film has several good values including heroism and friendship. In this episode we find Dusty Crophopper returning from his around-the-world racing tour and about to participate in annual Corn Festival.
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    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Extended Edition) (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 6th, 2014

    “There are dark spirits, old and full of hate…The world is in great danger.”

    A trilogy is a hard animal to pull off. Even when you have a popular franchise, it is extremely difficult. All of the pieces have to work just right, or you could have a disaster on your hands. It is even harder when you’ve already beaten the odds once and delivered a trilogy that is both loved and a huge box office success. You run into an almost insurmountable mountain of expectations.
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