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    Falling Skies: The Complete Fifth Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 5th, 2016

    Our final fight didn’t go as planned. But one thing was clear…this would be the bloodiest battle yet.”

    TNT’s post-apocalyptic, alien invasion war drama has never been short on casualties. So hearing that the last episodes in the show’s run would result in even more losses — human and otherwise — wasn’t exactly a shock. Following a fairly ludicrous cliffhanger, the final season starts off quite promisingly before falling back on some bad habits. Unfortunately, it all culminates with a semi-disastrous series finale.
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    Da Vinci’s Demons: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 4th, 2016

    “It all begins with seeing. So what do you see?” 

    The term “Renaissance man” is often used to describe a person who has a very wide range of interests in which they have become quite skilled. It’s taken from the traits of the many artists, innovators, and writers of the 15th century. And while the term might well apply to any number of such historical figures, there is none for whom it is more apt than Leonardo DaVinci.
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    Extraordinary Tales (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 4th, 2016

    Edgar Allen Poe is on a short list of writers that has long been deceased that just about everyone has heard of.  At some point in school we all had are chance to read about the taunting of The Raven or a number of Poe’s other famous works. With Extraordinary Tales we get an animated treat in the form of 5 animated tales written by the master of the macabre.  This is more than just a simple animated retelling of the stories as each tale is given its own unique narration and animated style. Is it worth the time to sit back and watch these classic tales or did they belong on the shelf to collect dust?  Come along with me and I’ll tell you about my journey if you dare.
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    Show Me a Hero (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 4th, 2016

    “Justice is not about popularity…”

    “…but politics is.”

    The title of Show Me a Hero is taken from an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote: “Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.”  So it’s not a surprise that in the hands of David Simon — creator of an all-time great drama with The Wire — this HBO miniseries is short on conventional heroics and long on personal, political, and institutional tragedy.
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    The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 4th, 2016

    Following the Lifetime original movie Lizzie Borden Took an Axe, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles is a continuation of the tale about the young woman accused of killing her stepmother and father with an axe.  It’s tricky enough to do a feature length film about real people involved in real events; liberties seem to be taken for the sake of telling a good story.  It’s one of those things that when you see “Based on true events” or “Inspired by true events”; is there a difference, and does it even matter?  Well, if you are watching The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, accept the fact that though the character and her sister are very real, this is hardly biographical, but instead a fun game of “what if” that the creators have done with Lizzie Borden.  And it’s a wild eight-episode ride that they have set the viewers on.
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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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    For Better or For Worse

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on February 3rd, 2016

    I’ve never been too big a fan of romantic comedies. They are often too quirky for their own good, and they follow a typically cliché story arch. I do not even enjoy rom-coms from famed comedic directors such as David Wain. Although certain directors do attempt to break the mold, it’s as if the genre is nothing more than a memory foam mattress: you will always fall into place, because it is the most comfortable. That being said, when watching a made-for-TV rom-com such as For Better or for Worse, one can assume there will not be much breaking of the genre conventions.
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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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    The Sin Seer

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on February 1st, 2016

    With a few slight changes and additions, Sin Seer could have been quite something. As is, it is far from the worst film that I have ever seen, but there were a few areas that upon examination did not make much sense, such as in what world would we ever allow a convicted felon to carry a weapon? There are a few other things; however, I will let you marinate on that question, as it is one that plagued me for much of the movie’s duration. Our story opens up at a prison; convicted felon Grant Summit (Isaiah Washington) is released after serving an undetermined amount of time for the death of at least three people. OK, let’s just pause there.
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    Jack’s Back (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 1st, 2016

    The 100-year anniversary of the Jack the Ripper murders is quickly approaching, and a copycat serial killer is looking to make his mark in Los Angeles.  With only one murder left, the LAPD is in a rush to prevent this madman from completing his across-the-pond murder masterpiece, and the prostitutes of LA are shaking in their heels and miniskirts.  It’s a great way to start off a film, and I’ll admit I was hooked early on with this film, but if you were hoping for a true modern tale of Jack the Ripper, I’m sorry to say you’ll feel more than a little hoodwinked by this film.
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    All Hallows’ Eve 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 1st, 2016

    My first All Hallows’ Eve experience was an unexpected fright delight. The 2013 horror film featured a trio of stories tied together by a creepy clown and a familiar “babysitter-in-peril” plot line; it was a fun, unsettling, and grungy throwback to low-budget scares. So you can’t blame me for actually being pretty excited when I found out they’d made another one. Unfortunately, this sequel is a disappointing, thoroughly unsatisfying mish-mash that undoes practically everything that was good about its predecessor.
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    Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 28th, 2016

    There have been nine Jesse Stone movies starring Tom Selleck. They come from a series of books written by Robert B. Parker. Parker is also famous for the Spencer For Hire series, which was a television show starring Robert Urich from 1985 to 1988. Parker also created a popular Sunny Randall series that was originally meant as a vehicle for Helen Hunt. Many modern writers such as Harlan Coben, Robert Crais and Dennis Lehane credit Parker for revitalizing and reinventing the detective genre. It has been a tried and true genre for over a hundred years. It is a beloved formula. The Hallmark Channel has been behind this series of movies with Selleck, who has had a career resurgence with the CBS series Blue Bloods.
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    Bolero / Ghosts Can’t Do It

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on January 28th, 2016

    My first exposure to Bo Derek was Michael Anderson’s horror film Orca. While she may have had a minor part in the film, she had a rather unique beauty about her that was hard to ignore. After Orca, she dropped off my radar for the better part of five years, until her familiar face came to me in Shout Factory’s Bolero/Ghosts Can’t Do It combo pack. Once again I was graced with her unique beauty, but with a new understanding of her acting career: mainly how it was influenced by her relationship with her late husband John Derek.
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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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    Swamp People: Season 6

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 26th, 2016

    “The way of life depicted in this program dates back 300 years. Hunting, especially alligator hunting, lies at its core. Some images may be disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.”

    And they’re not kidding. Gator hunting is a bloody business, and this show gets you right up close and in the action. The hunters set hooks with bait, and once a gator is hooked they must reel it in and shoot it in a very small vulnerable spot in the back of the head.
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    The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 21st, 2016

    Have you ever stumbled across someone’s diary?  At first glance it may look innocent enough, but for the person with dreams, fears and confessions, it is that friend and confidant that will listen to its author as they bare their soul and not be faced with judgement. In The Diary of a Teenage Girl, not only do we get a peek into the secret life of Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley), but we are taken on a journey of experiencing first love and sex through the eyes of a 15 year-old girl.  It’s sweet, it’s tragic, but where this film’s strength comes at its audience the strongest is with its honesty, which for some may be a bit too sobering of a reminder of what life is like as a teenager
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    The Condemned 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 21st, 2016

    Here comes another in the long line of movies featuring a WWE superstar. Boy, I tell you, the floodgates open after The Rock (although now he goes by Dwayne Johnson) proved it was possible to move from wrestling stardom to silver screen stardom. That said, none them have really made the leap successfully since him; however, that is not from a lack of trying. This time around, Randy “The Viper” Orton looks to try his luck in the sequel to a WWE sponsored film in The Condemned 2.
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    Stonewall

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on January 20th, 2016

    1969 was a very eventful year for the United States of America. While I will not name all of the events that transpired over that year, I will remind you of two of the most recognized: In July, Apollo 11 lands on the moon, and in August, Woodstock takes place in upstate New York. However, the events that take place in Stonewall are not as publicized as the space race or the culminating concert of the hippie movement. In fact, I had never heard of the Stonewall riots until my final year of college. To those who are not familiar with the riots, allow me to set the scene: During the early hours of a Saturday morning in late June, an unexpected police raid befalls Stonewall Inn.
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    Broad City: Season 2

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

    Broad City is about two 20-something ladies who don’t give a whoop whoop. They care so little that they don’t know they don’t care. On top of that, there is a motley collection of odd oddballs. That’s a problem, because these people have nothing but problems. Not that any of them care. And these ladies are like dudes so much that they say “dude” to each other. Our two ladies (I say ladies because I don’t want to say girls or women or other less complimentary appellations) are named Ilana Wexler and Abbi Abrams, played by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. Glazer and Jacobson are creators, co-writers, and performers, and their involvement goes back to a web series they created before it was picked up by Comedy Central.
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    The Saint: Seasons 3 & 4

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 20th, 2016

    “So that’s what it’s like to be Simonized.”

    Years before he became the iconic suave British secret agent with the license to kill, Roger Moore might just have put himself in the running through his six-year run on British television’s The Saint. The show was part of the British Invasion of spy shows that came close on the heels of the first James Bond film Dr. No. Moore played Simon Templar, known throughout the globe as The Saint. While Templar wasn’t really a spy, he acted like one most of the time, and the series managed to cover most of the conventions of the genre.
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    The Intern (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 19th, 2016

    The Intern tackles a pretty important issue. Age gaps are the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. The issue is confusing to address, because a lot of people don’t even know what age group they belong to or don’t care. But the differences are very real, and they cause enormous alienation and division. Baby Boomers and Millennials are two examples which are represented here by Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, who has a daughter starting the first grade, so another age group is represented. To be clearer, Baby Boomers are born between 1946 to 1964, Generation X 1965 to 1980, Generation Y/Millennial 1981 to 2000 and Generation Z/Boomlets after 2001.
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    Everest (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 18th, 2016

    Everest is an existential film. It could be one of the most beautiful travelogues you’ve ever seen, but it is far more than that. Its beauty and majesty are perfectly enhanced by 3D, but the true significance has to do with the mysteries of the soul. What drives men to do things that they have no business doing? What makes them climb a mountain whose summit is at the height that 747 jets fly? The old answer that is always used is, “Because it’s there”. Obviously, the reasons run much deeper. There is a void in many people that they can only fill by doing the impossible. They look for accomplishments and knowledge that will hopefully give life meaning
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    Painkillers

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 18th, 2016

    Have you ever had a dream that you wake up from and as your head spins from the snippets of the dream you can remember it takes you a few moments to clear your head and remember where you are?  Usually this is a result from a hard night of drinking, but for Major John Cafferty (Tahmoh Penikett) it is a battle he is waking up from, and it is not a dream.  With no memory of what happened, Major Cafferty wakes up in a special military hospital with several members from his platoon, only some of his soldiers are dead, and no one has a clue as to how they found themselves in the medical facility.
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    Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 18th, 2016

    In our experience, almost everything ends in death.”

    Given its morbid-sounding title, I suppose you can also say that in the case of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, things *start* in death as well. The inevitability of death — a notion that is simultaneously profound and crushingly simple — is one of several big picture ideas explored by the small potatoes title characters. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, now making its Blu-ray debut, is equal parts brilliant and befuddling. But as thought-provoking and exhilarating (and funny!) as the exchanges are, I’m not entirely sure this material was meant to be presented as a movie.
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    Sinister 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 13th, 2016

    In 2012 Sinister had its release and horror fans seemed to be divided on the film.  For me, I dug the mythology of Bughuul, an evil spirit who appears in 8mm family films that seem to always end in some new gruesome way.  He’s a character the horror genre needs, as I see him as a silent hybrid of Jigsaw (from the Saw franchise) and Freddy Krueger (from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise), where he’s a killer who gives us unique kills in some unsettling locations.  Now with the release of Sinister 2, do the filmmakers step up their game and deliver us more from the possible new icon of horror?  Sort of; just not how I would have expected it.
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