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    Color of Time

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 30th, 2015

    I give James Franco a lot of credit. He works very hard for a big-shot Hollywood actor. He is ambitious in ways that no one from his generation even comes close to being. He’s fearless in his choices and will do practically anything that sparks his creative muse. He is constantly working on film projects, making sure that he includes big-budget blockbusters, but his real passion is a string of micro-budget experiments. He just starred on Broadway in Of Mice And Men. He has won Golden Globes, and he has been nominated for Oscars. He also pursued simultaneous degrees at numerous institutions.
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    Art and Craft

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 30th, 2015

    Art And Craft is a documentary about an off-kilter mind. That is not necessarily a bad thing. To have an off-kilter mind, that is. Many great geniuses and many great artists have had off-kilter minds, like Van Gogh and Kafka and others too numerous to mention. Art And Craft is about a man who painted many of the great works of art. The only problem is his paintings are nearly exact copies of the originals by famous artists. Mark Landis is one of the most prolific art forgers of the last 30 years. The other thing that should be noted is that he gives all the art away to museums as original works of the great masters.
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    Mythbusters 10th Anniversary Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 29th, 2015

    “Who are the Mythbusters?” 

    You know who the Mythbusters are, don’t you? They’ve been a staple on the Discovery Channel for over 12 years now. Yes, this 10th year anniversary release is a little late, but a welcome title all the same. If you really don’t know who the Mythbusters are by now, I can’t think of a better way to get acquainted than to pick up 50 of their best episodes in one collection
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    May in the Summer (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 29th, 2015

    Love is an endless act of forgiveness.”

    May Brennan is the best-selling author of a successful book centered around Arabic proverbs. She is played by Cherien Dabis, who is also the writer/director/producer of May in the Summer. Both Dabis and her fictional counterpart use short, pithy phrases like the one above as the basis for exploring familial and romantic relationships. But while May encounters rousing success with her (fictitious, unseen) book, Dabis’ picturesque, breezy, ultimately disposable film is a little bit more of a mixed bag.
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    The Judge (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 28th, 2015

    “Did that just happen?” 

    I have to confess that I entered The Judge expecting a different kind of film than I actually saw. After seeing the trailer, I was reminded of some of the classic courtroom dramas I’d seen over the years, from 12 Angry Men through …And Justice For All. On the ride to the screening I found my mind was swimming with the “closing arguments” Al Pacino delivered in …And Justice For All and was trying to image how Robert Downey, Jr. was going to try to top that.
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    Trace Adkins: Live Country

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 27th, 2015

    His uncle played Christian music, and he sang bass in a chorus for some years. His father gave him a guitar and started him on lessons at age five. With all of that background, it seems no surprise that Trace Adkins became a hit on the country music scene. It was obvious to everyone but him. Instead he looked to sports and a chance to be a lineman for Louisiana Tech until he blew out his knee. When the doc told him he had no chance at a football career, did he turn to that music? Nope.
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    The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 26th, 2015

    Hello, please allow me to observe you working.”

    A sign bearing those words hangs inside Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation factory responsible for films like Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro. It’s one of many polite directives that adorn the airy workspace, but it also describes the mission of The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. The movie gives fans an unprecedented look inside the world (and walls) of Studio Ghibli, and watching the creative process is alternately fascinating, frustrating, and exciting. However, the documentary also surprisingly turns out to be an elegy for a dying art form.
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    Zarra’s Law

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 25th, 2015

    Justice or vengeance: how often the lines of the these two things become blurred. At what point does justice become vengeance, or when does it become warranted to take the law into your own hands? Zarra’s Law tells the story of two men who have lived their life coloring inside the lines, doing the right thing, only to see the murderer of someone they loved dearly walk free after a less-than-satisfying sentence. Retired cop Tony Zarra’s (Tony Sirico) life is frozen at the moment he witnessed his brother’s murder. Despite being on separate sides of the law (Tony being a cop and his brother being a member of the mob),
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    Boardwalk Empire: Season 5 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 22nd, 2015

    “If we’re good today, we’ll be better tomorrow.”

    The final season of Boardwalk Empire breaks the mold of what the show has been for the first four years. The action jumps ahead several years to 1931. It’s a necessary plot point if we’re going to be ending the popular series in the fifth season. I understand the jump and why it works. I guess my only real question is: why are we jumping ahead to end what is one of the best shows on television?
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    Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 22nd, 2015

    Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, just about everyone out there knows their “sign”.  I never really put too much stock in astrology; it always seemed like harmless fun people can have for a few moments each day as they read their horoscope for the day to see what possible good fortune can come their way.  In the new film, Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse, the film takes a different look at these astrological signs.  Rather than be signs that help reveal one’s personality, these symbols instead are supposed to be warnings for the upcoming apocalypse. 
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    Kroll Show: Seasons One & Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 22nd, 2015

    Thanks to Chappelle’s Show, Comedy Central has helped pave the way for comics on the cusp of breaking out to produce their own sketch comedy shows to springboard themselves to a larger audience.  Key & Peele has flourished in the sketch comedy scene, and now there is Nick Kroll with his own sketch comedy show Kroll Show.  But in the world of sketch comedy, is there really a need for more shows? After all, NBC still has Saturday Night Live; well, to be fair, it has been a while since SNL has been consistently funny.
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    The Bridge Season 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 20th, 2015

    “It’s complicated.”

    Fox has decided to jump off The Bridge. In a move I find more than a little surprising, the show ends here with this second season. From the sets extras I get a strong idea that no one involved with the production saw it coming either. This was one of the better shows on television, and with Sons Of Anarchy also finished, Fox is losing some extraordinary quality to their lineup. At least Sons Of Anarchy got to run its course and tell its story. Sadly, the same can’t be said for The Bridge. I was looking forward to more from a show that was getting better as it moved into its own invention.
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    Boyhood (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 20th, 2015

    Boyhood is all the rage right now. With all the hoopla surrounding the film, it should be noted that it is ordinary. It is just about people living their lives. One could even call it boring. One can say that because life is boring. It is not as exciting as it is in the movies. Life is about small moments that add up to memories and then it is over. Boyhood doesn’t make grand statements about boyhood, or about motherhood or fatherhood for that matter. It is just about a few people and what happens to them.
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    Viktor

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 20th, 2015

    We can blame thank Liam Neeson — or “Liam Neesons” — for this recent run of action movies about men of a certain age who tear their way through some part of Europe in the name of their missing or dead children. Viktor — a French/Russian production starring Gerard Depardieu and Elizabeth Hurley — is one of these latest Taken take-offs. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more inert revenge films you’re likely to see.
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    The Identical (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 19th, 2015

    What if Elvis Presley had an identical twin brother no one ever knew about? (It would certainly help explain all those Elvis sightings years after the King’s death.) That’s the kooky conceit at the center of The Identical. Unfortunately, rather than embracing the absurdity of its premise, the movie is an amateurish, uninspiring combination of “by-the-numbers musical biopic” and “painfully-earnest family drama.”
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    Jessabelle (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 15th, 2015

    When I think about the swamps of the Louisiana bayou, with the exception of hungry gators lurking beneath the murky depths, I can’t help but think about the connection it has to the supernatural.  I blame seeing Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond for this.  It’s a film that haunted me when I was a kid, and the imagery has stuck with me over the years.  There have been numerous films over the years that have explored the supernatural of the bayou; most successfully we saw this in the Kate Hudson thriller The Skeleton Key.
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    Bad Turn Worse

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 15th, 2015

    There are 32 ways to tell a story, but there’s only ever one plot…that things are not what they seem.”

    Early on in Bad Turn Worse, a character mentions this maxim credited to writer Jim Thompson (“The Grifters”, “The Killer Inside Me”) apropos of almost nothing. It’s kind of a clunky, inauthentic interjection, but the message is clear and crafty: directors Simon and Zeke Hawkins know they’re not re-inventing the wheel in terms of plot, so where they really hope to grab your attention is in how they present their stylish, well-acted feature film debut.
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    Banshee: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 14th, 2015

    “There will be casualties”

    Alan Ball got my attention in 2001 with HBO’s black comedy Six Feet Under. It was one of the most original shows I had ever seen, and to this day I find it hard to characterize the series when asked to do so. It was there that he also introduced me to Michael C. Hall, who continues to amaze me in the role of Dexter over at Showtime. When Six Feet Under left the airwaves, Ball didn’t waste very much time in bringing his quirky style back, this time to the horror genre
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    Tyrant: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 13th, 2015

    “Those who are feared make peace. Those who are kind get killed.”

    Both temperaments are well represented throughout the first season of Tyrant, FX’s Middle East-set family drama. I say “family drama” because even though the show features plenty of political power plays and double-crosses, Tyrant is at its best when it focuses on the rotting and crumbling of the central Al-Fayeed clan. Call it Godfather-lite.
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    Annabelle (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 13th, 2015

    “Since the beginning of civilization, dolls have been beloved by children, cherished by collectors and used in religious rites as conduits for good and evil.”

    The Conjuring was one of the best horror movies to come along in years. Why? Because it was a good scare with a story that didn’t totally insult our intelligence or leave us scratching our heads too many times. The movie also dealt with its own red herring of sorts in a possessed doll kept under wraps by that film’s hero couple.
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    Men, Women & Children (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 13th, 2015

    The internet is destroying everything. It seems crazy, but it’s true, and most people know it. I mean that so many businesses have been destroyed by the tremendous growth of the internet and its insidious and unchecked influence. The newspaper business, music business, broadcast business and probably the movie business have been fundamentally and permanently altered. Men, Women and Children addresses how it affects each and every one of us on a daily basis. We’re all aware of this. It’s our lives now, and it wasn’t 10 years ago.
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    Girls: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 12th, 2015

    Writers are a ridiculous class of people who make everything about themselves.”

    For many, the current face — and oft-naked body — of “writers who make everything about themselves” is Lena Dunham, the creator/star/writer/director of HBO’s Girls. The equal-parts brilliant and maddening quarter-life crisis comedy became one of the most polarizing shows on TV over its first two seasons, as self-involved heroine Hannah Horvath sought love and a career as a writer in NYC. At the start of season 3, Hannah has both of those things…which is why I’m astounded — and, frankly, pretty impressed — that she remains as egotistical as ever.
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    Dinosaur 13 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 9th, 2015

    Even though in this documentary we may not get to experience T-Rexes chasing after unfortunate paleontologists while running amuck in a theme park, Dinosaur 13 still manages to be an engaging adventure from start to finish.  This is a film that reaches out to all the young kids inside all of us who while growing up dreamed about what life was like when dinosaurs once ruled the world.  It taps into that adventurous bug that was once inside all of us as kids about exploring and discovering worlds that have not yet been discovered and creatures that now can only survive in our imaginations
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    I Am Soldier

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 9th, 2015

    British Special Air Service (S.A.S.), the British special forces training. Becoming the elite is easier said than done, and I Am Soldier demonstrates that quite well. The transition is not just about physical strength and ability; as it turns out the mental aspect is more essential than that, for it takes great willpower and resilience to battle the trials and tribulations, the ability to push on while the rest of you is begging to stop. Inside this film, possibly for first time, we are treated to the training that goes into becoming S.A.S.
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    Looking: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 6th, 2015

    The most remarkable thing about Looking might be how thoroughly unremarkable it is. This is a double-edged sword for HBO’s dramedy, which follows the love lives of three gay friends living in modern-day San Francisco. The series sidesteps the headline-grabbing sensationalism that accompanies many other shows that prominently feature gay characters. (Looking at you, Ryan Murphy.) On the other hand, Looking is often low-key to the point that it bypasses being funny or particularly entertaining. What the series does have on its side is a naturalistic tone that makes the show more engrossing and immersive as the first season progresses.
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