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    Snatched (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 18th, 2017

    It’s not that hard to understand why Hollywood icon Goldie Hawn came out of semi-retirement to star in Snatched alongside comedian Amy Schumer. The South American-set mother/daughter comedy filmed in picturesque Hawaii, and Schumer was a hot box office commodity coming off the successful Trainwreck. (Holy oxymoron!) I just wish Hawn’s first movie in 15 years — a co-headlining gig, no less! — wasn’t such a wildly uneven effort. Because even though Snatched doesn’t fully utilize the talents of its legend, it’s apparent that Goldie’s still got it.
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    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 18th, 2017

    Reboots are all the rage in Hollywood, in case you haven’t heard. Even a relatively low-key property like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cinematic Universe series isn’t immune. Based on the wildly popular books by author Jeff Kinney, the first three movies featured the same core group of likable actors and become rock solid hits made on modest budgets. So you can understand why Fox would want to keep the series going, even if original star Zachary Gordon became too old to play the perpetually put-upon (and middle school-aged) Greg Heffley. This latest offering features an all-new cast, but too much of the same cringeworthy and juvenile humor; it’ll make you wish someone had hidden the reset button from this franchise.
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    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 17th, 2017

    “Of course I have issues; that’s my father.” 

    When I walked out of the theater in 2014 after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, I knew I had just seen something special, and knowing a sequel was already guaranteed had me excited to see what was next for this band of misfits.  Since the release in 2014 the film hasn’t just become my favorite Marvel film; it is one of my favorite films, period.  So as photos and trailers began to trickle out, I began to wonder if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 could actually hold up to the first.
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    Union Furnace

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 17th, 2017

    A few minutes of watching the news lately will reflect an ongoing division in race, but the one divide that seems to be more prevalent is the one between blue- and white-collar Americans. The Purge franchise has tapped into this and the exploitation of the classes being ramped up to a high degree. But personally I feel that’s a franchise that still is missing a rawness that never quite allows you to feel that it is real; it’s like a dark fairytale of what may come in the distant future. Union Furnace, instead, takes a more grounded approach to the upper class taking advantage of those in need and presents what could be a terrifying reality going on in small town America.
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    Billions: Season Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 15th, 2017

    In one corner you have U.S Attorney Chuck “The Scholar” Rhodes, played by Paul Giamatti. He’s the reigning world champion with a record of 80+ to 0. In the other corner is Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis; he could also be considered undefeated. He runs a sexy brokerage firm. Both of these guys walk and talk like champs. There’s a lot of trash-talk between them, but both have very lurid and potentially devastating skeletons in their perspective closets. This season finds them each willing to risk anything just to get to the other.
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    NCIS: New Orleans: The Third Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 15th, 2017

    “Welcome back to New Orleans.”

    The most recent member of the NCIS family enters its third season. There are some changes, but not just in the show’s cast. I have noticed a concerted effort to use the term NOLA by both the characters and various signs and symbols displayed throughout the new season. It’s a bit odd, because at one point a character chastises an outsider that the locals prefer New Orleans. Minutes later that same character uses the term NOLA. The crew now even wear lanyards that say NCIS:NOLA on them. I have not been to New Orleans post-Katrina, so I’m not up on whatever local thing might be going on with the name.
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    The Lincoln Lawyer (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on August 15th, 2017

    Suspenseful, intriguing, and exciting, The Lincoln Lawyer makes the legal system entertaining.  With all the TV attorney shows pushing for top ratings, this film comes at the right time.  A strong cast, excellent direction, and a riveting storyline make The Lincoln Lawyer a must-see. Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) keeps his legal business close to him, in his car.  Defending the lowlifes or whoever desperately needs legal assistance, Mick turns down very few clients.  While working on a questionable case, his confidant Val Valenzuela (John Leguizamo) gives him the name of Beverly Hills playboy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe).
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    John Wayne Double Feature Rio Lobo/Big Jake (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 15th, 2017

    “It is, I think, going to be a very harsh and unpleasant kind of business and will, I think, require an extremely harsh and unpleasant kind of man to see to it.” 

    That man, of course, is John Wayne. They called him The Duke, and he was indeed western cinema royalty for six decades. He represented the American ideal of the tough guy who stood up for the weak and didn’t shy away from a fight. His characters usually worked hard, and they played just as hard. He had a unique way of turning a phrase and has been one of the most widely impersonated Hollywood voices. By the time the 1970’s rolled around, Wayne was coming to the end of a long career.
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    King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 14th, 2017

    “For centuries man and mage lived side by side in peace until the rise of the mage sorcerer Mordred. Turning his dark ambition against man, he marches on the last remaining stronghold: Camelot.”

    So it finally happened: I found a Guy Ritchie film that I didn’t enjoy. I wasn’t expecting much from King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, but it is worth noting that I got even less than I expected. I know that sounds cruel, and I will admit that there were a few things that I did enjoy, but the number of things that went wrong versus what went right is not a close margin.
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    Big Little Lies (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 10th, 2017

    Big Little Lies — HBO’s star-studded and (deservedly) Emmy-nominated limited series — is structured like a typical murder mystery. We know someone has been killed, but we don’t know the perpetrator or even identity of the victim. On top of that, the limited series format promises that we’ll actually have an answer by time these episodes wrap up (**cough** The Killing). But the reason Big Little Lies shines— other than top-notch performances and stellar direction — is because beneath the murder-mystery veneer lies a darkly funny drama about all manner of adult relationships: husband/wife, ex-husband/ex-wife, mother/daughter, mother/fellow-mother, and so on.
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    Blindspot: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 10th, 2017

    When we begin the second season of Blindspot, three months have passed since the first season’s explosive finale. We are placed back in the action with the same time having passed on the show. Jane (Alexander) has been kept at a covert CIA black ops location where she is being tortured for information. It is a fortuitous time to rejoin the action, because we arrive just in time to see her engineer a clever escape. Meanwhile Kurt Weller (Stapleton) and his team have been back to more mundane FBI cases, and it’s obvious they miss the excitement of working the tattoos. They’re about to get their wish, and things are about to get pretty intense as we join the sophomore season of Martin Gero’s Blindspot.
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    Bender

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on August 10th, 2017

    In the early 1870’s the residents of Labette County, Kansas, lived alongside a family of serial killers. Known later as “The Bloody Benders,” their modus operandi was to lure travelers into their grocery store, invite them to stay for dinner, crush their skull with a hammer, and slit their throat to ensure death. Afterward, they would bury the remains somewhere on their property. Just as soon as they had been discovered, they vanished without a trace, making it difficult to ascertain if all the details we know are factual or fictional. However, stories like these are the perfect playground for filmmakers, as they are able to take as many creative liberties as they would like, and in the end, they need only say its “inspired by true events.” That being said, Bender is one of many adaptations of these events, but it looks to be one of the only films that explicitly deals with the actual Bender family and their specific victims.
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    Going in Style 2017 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on August 9th, 2017

    Putting a twist on the original movie Going in Style, director Zach Braff does a good job of reviving the comedy for modern-day audiences.  He turns up the laughter with memorable situation comedy and actors who can deliver some of the best one-liners.  It’s a lot of fun for a date night or just a chance to get away from the humdrum to laugh a little. Retired and trying to scrape by on his retirement check, Joe Harding (Michael Caine) is about to hit an unexpected brick wall. With his mortgage in jeopardy from lack of timely payments and his granddaughter needing help with tuition, he’s in a very tight spot.  His best friends Albert Garner (Alan Arkin) and Willie Davis (Morgan Freeman), who have been living together for the past 25 years to curb expenses, are about to be in the same boat.
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    Gifted (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 8th, 2017

    Extraordinary people come with singular issues and needs.”

    On the surface, being blessed with a genius-level intellect seems like good thing, right? So it’s interesting that movies about uncommonly smart people (Good Will Hunting, A Beautiful Mind, and The Imitation Game to name a few) tend to focus on the extreme isolation and inevitable exploitation of these individuals. Gifted is about a potential “one-in-a-billion” math prodigy and her weary, protective uncle, who carries himself like someone who’s seen too many movies about exploited geniuses and knows full well that “nobody likes a smart-ass.”
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    The Boss Baby (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 7th, 2017

    “Survival of the fittest. It’s the law of the jungle. There’s always someone trying to take what’s yours. How do I know? It almost happened to me.”

    Where the heck has Alec Baldwin been lately? I seem to recall he was a pretty hot A-list movie star actor at one time. There was The Hunt For Red October, and then there was… OK, forget the A-list movie star bit. He was really an A-list television star. He killed it in 30 Rock and then of course there was… OK. Re-set. Now I remember. There was that hugely popular radio talk show he had going on for, what was it, five minutes?
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    Ghost in the Shell (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 7th, 2017

    “In the future, the line between human and machine is disappearing. Advancements in the technology allow humans to enhance themselves with cybernetic parts. Hanka robotics, funded by the government, is developing a military operative that will blur the line even further. By transplanting a human brain into a fully synthetic body, they will combine the strongest attributes of human and robot.” 

    …and resistance is futile. OK. Wrong franchise.
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    1944

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 7th, 2017

    In times of war it is very easy to think of your enemy as the embodiment of evil. Sometimes it is necessary to do so. However, more often than not, the person on the other side of the line is just like you, a patriot doing their duty for their country, with mild to moderate understanding of the overall big picture. 1944 helps to illuminate this point, as the audience gets to experience the war from both sides of the battle. In this case it was Estonians fighting on both sides, further complicating the morality of the situation.
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    S.W.A.T.: Under Siege (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 4th, 2017

    An action film with a running time of 89 minutes should mean that it’s going to be lean on the story and keep things moving at a fast pace.  S.W.A.T: Under Siege delivers just that, but unfortunately in the process delivers something that we’ve seen many times before.  The film is being branded as a sequel (by name only) to S.W.A.T (2003), the film with Colin Farrell which was an adaptation from the TV series from the 70’s.  S.W.A.T: Under Siege has nothing to do with any of the previous incarnations, and has relocated from sunny California to Seattle Washington. But is the film worth checking out?  Well I’m not a fan of sequels that go straight to DVD, but this film does dangle a wild card for the audience that convinced me to give this a shot, Michael Jai White (Spawn, Black Dynamite).
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    Crashing: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

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

    It’s not all it’s cut out to be…it’s not about being on stage all the time. It’s about the killing of time.”

    There certainly hasn’t been a shortage of sitcoms starring stand-up comedians. Many of them (Roseanne, Home Improvement, Everybody Loves Raymond) have grafted the comic’s persona onto a family-friendly format. Even the shows that have depicted the life of a comic tend to take a surreal approach (Louie) or fast-forward to the part where the star is an established comedian (Seinfeld). HBO’s Crashing stands out because it honestly (and painfully) depicts the struggle of an aspiring stand-up…and makes it look very, very funny.
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    Psychoanalysis

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on August 3rd, 2017

    Having studied and enjoyed the works of Freud, Lacan, Kristeva, and other great psychoanalytical thinkers in school, the term “psychoanalysis” carries a significant weight for me. That being said, I had quite a few expectations when picking up this film. Expectations that were not met. Now to be fair, etymologically, “psychoanalysis” means ‘mental (psyche) loosening/break apart (analysis),’ and that is most certainly delivered. However, I believe that the only relationship that this film has to the writings and theories of psychoanalysis is that literal definition of the title. Otherwise, it is a tremendous mystery to me as to how this film received its name.
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    Girls: The Final Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 3rd, 2017

    My persona’s very, like, witty yet narcissistic.”

    These self-aware words are spoken by Hannah Horvath, the on-screen alter ego of Girls star/creator Lena Dunham during the premiere of the show’s final season. Of course, anyone who’s watched Girls knows the “witty yet narcissistic” label applies to practically every character in Dunham’s often flawed (and even-more-often brilliant) HBO dramedy. So while this final batch of episodes includes some superb moments, it’s not a total surprise that this polarizing series concludes its run with a frustrating finale that is more satisfying for the show’s creators than it is for its fans.
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    Warlock Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 31st, 2017

    Ever since Lionsgate acquired the Vestron Video collection and has been re-releasing these remastered titles, I have to say I’ve been in nostalgia heaven.  I remember seeing these VHS boxes in the horror section at my nearby video store and renting many of these to get my weekly horror fix. Waxwork was always a box cover I always appreciated, but one of the most memorable was Warlock, because in the sea of black VHS boxes with gory box art, Warlock was this white box with the mysterious Julian Sands and this menacing shadow in red. I even remember seeing the trailer attached to my VHS copy of The Monster Squad, and I always dug the trailer for the film, but it took forever for me to finally get to see the film
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    Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Seventh & Final Season

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

    “Two can keep a secret as long as one of them is dead.”

    The Pretty Little Liars have finally reached the end of their rope. And while you discovered who little mini-A’s were over the previous six years, you’re finally going to get to the bottom of the entire mystery. I’ll admit it’s a bit of a shocker. With the end upon us, this is no place for beginners. If you don’t know who Aria, Spencer, Emily, Hannah, and Alison are, it’s time for you to head back to the beginning and catch up. You can find our reviews from those seasons here. For the rest of you, let’s talk Pretty Little Liars, shall we?
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    Unforgettable (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 26th, 2017

    I’m done with crazy.”

    When it comes to movies about psychotically wronged women, the crazier things get, the better. Unfortunately, the makers of Unforgettable — a dull domestic drama/wannabe thriller — never got the memo. It’s a shame because the movie had some of the ingredients to be a deliciously pulpy thriller, including an amusingly unhinged turn from one of its stars. But in the end, this comes off as a Lifetime movie that slipped through the cracks, fell upwards, and was accidentally released in theaters.
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    Shooter: Season One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 26th, 2017

    “Guns change everything, and a bullet is forever.”

    This new USA Network series is based very loosely on the 2007 film staring Mark Wahlberg. The film was based on the bestseller novel Point Of Impact by the ironically named Stephen Hunter. The series started life with several events going against it. The film really didn’t make much of an impact itself. It lost money with a domestic box office total under $50M and about the same in the world-wide box office. So it wasn’t necessarily a no-brainer for a television series adaptation.
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