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    The Girl on the Train (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 19th, 2017

    My husband used to tell me I have an overactive imagination…”

    The idea at the core of The Girl on the Train is equal parts provocative and relatable: a lonely commuter observes an attractive couple from a distance and imagines what their seemingly perfect lives must be like. Anyone who’s ever done any people-watching will recognize the appeal of inventing a backstory for a stranger, and the story is a healthy reminder that things are never quite what they seem from the outside. But despite a powerhouse lead performance, this Train is ultimately derailed by an unsatisfying mystery and a lack of flair that causes this potentially juicy story to lose steam as it chugs along
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    Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Seventh and Final Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 17th, 2017

    The premise here was always dirt simple. They’ve taken the buddy cop idea and found a way to work in the forensics science fad and deliver a procedural with a few twists. The show is based on a series of mystery novels by Tess Gerritsen, who introduced us to Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles in 2001. Tess makes a cameo appearance in this, the show’s final season. The season is shorter than the usual 18 shows. There are 13, and in all of them you can feel the weight of the characters and their situations counting down until the final episode of the series. You’ll be able to see where that’s going pretty much from the beginning. After seven years, you can look forward to a tearful goodbye as the show exits on its own terms.
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    Star Trek: Enterprise: The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 16th, 2017

    “It’s been a long time getting from there to here.”

    35 years, to be exact. Enterprise is the fourth spinoff from the original 1960’s hopeful series. The Earth is finally ready to send its first starship to explore the vast galaxy. This first starship Enterprise is smaller than the ships we’ve become used to. There are no shields or photon torpedoes. The transporter has only been cleared for inanimate objects. Not that this stands in the way of its occasional “emergency” use. The ship is very much like the cramped spaces of today’s submarines. It adds an even greater sense of reality to the show. The crew is composed of Captain Jonathan Archer (Bakula), First Officer and Vulcan High Command liaison, T’Pol (Blalock), Chief Engineer Charles (Trip) Tucker (Trinneer)
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    The Accountant (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 16th, 2017

    It would seem as though Ben Affleck is finally starting to shed the stigma of doing bad films.  He’s been on a roll since he took on the role of George Reeves in Hollywoodland and has also in the process become an accomplished director.  When the trailer first dropped for The Accountant, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as you look at the laundry list of talent that fills the cast, it quickly became a film I had my eye on.  What is surprising is despite there being franchises that seem to cover the same territory i.e.: Jack Reacher and the Jason Bourne films, is there room for another lone-wolf killing machine film?  Before going into this it was a question that bothered me; heck, I’m already burnt out of the Jason Bourne films, and with a new Jack Reacher film on the horizon, the saturation is noticeable.
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    The Orphan Killer

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on January 16th, 2017

    When a movie makes a bold claim such as being “a tour de force murder flick that defies classification,” it is inviting a hefty amount of preconceived criticisms prior to anyone actually viewing the film. It’s like titling a horror film This Will Scare You. Naturally, your first thought would be something along the lines of “Yeah, whatever, movie.” Needless to say, that want to criticize burns within you until you watch it. Then, with all the satisfaction in the world, you get to say “No, that wasn’t scary at all.” In the end, you are stuck with a movie that wasn’t what it promised to be, but realistically, you knew that would be the case anyway. It is a cheap marketing ploy that entices you to watch for all the wrong reasons.
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    Girls: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 11th, 2017

    “I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore, and I don’t know how to get out.”

    A TV show’s fifth season is around the time it starts to feel like you have to see things through to the bitter end. I mean, it seems downright irresponsible to ditch a series after five years of investing in its characters’ lives, no matter how flawed and frustrating they are. And there’s no doubt the self-absorbed millennials on HBO’s Girls are among the most flawed and frustrating people on TV; so I was delighted to find that the series produced one of its strongest seasons as it nears its conclusion.
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    Blair Witch (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 10th, 2017

    In 1999 The Blair Witch Project was released, and it was a horror film that created a stir like I had never seen before.  I remember going to Tampa Theatre to see it opening week.  The line was wrapped around the building for the sold-out screening.  Discussions were going on in the line about the film actually being real, some even talking about how they heard the bodies of the three filmmakers were never found.  It’s this kind of mindset going into the film that made it such an impact as I walked out of that first showing.  At the time I knew I had seen something unique, but I never would have expected it to spawn an entire style of genre filmmaking that would be copied over and over again.
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    Sleepy Hollow: Season 3

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

    “Evil has returned to Sleepy Hollow.”

    With the big bad finally destroyed and an apocalypse averted, the dynamic duo of Sleepy Hollow have gone their separate ways. Abby is now with the FBI, while Crane has gone into seclusion and ends up in jail for trying to sneak an artifact into the country from his homeland of Scotland. Abby gets him out of trouble only to discover that the tablet Crane found in his family crypt back in Europe holds more prophesy for the pair of witnesses. The two have to come back together to save the world from yet another end of times
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    31 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 9th, 2017

    There is something about a Rob Zombie film that will always be a draw, and it is always the realism that he brings to the screen.  Whether it’s The Devil’s Rejects or his version of Halloween, he always presents it in a way that I feel is grounded in reality.  Perhaps it’s also because I live in Florida, and there are some small towns that you don’t want to break down in at night for fear of crossing some crazed backwoods types.  To put it out there, I was a fan of Rob Zombie before he was putting out movies, and I have all of his albums; he’s just a guy who does stuff that I really dig.  That being said, I can be objective in saying his films have been a bit all over the place, but Lords of Salem was a piece of work that I simply loved, and I felt it showed a lot of growth from his previous films and worked well as a slow burn.
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    The Ultimate Legacy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 9th, 2017

    And the Ultimate Legacy makes three, marking the third installment in what will undoubtedly become known as the “Ultimate” series. Please don’t misunderstand my meaning; I say that as a good thing. Granted, before I watched the film I would have likely said that sardonically, but I must admit to being genuinely touched by the story and have gained an appreciation for the message behind it. Given this is the third go-around for the franchise, the themes and some of the cast is already well established by this point, which opens it up to becoming boring and stagnant; however, despite those obstacles it remains fresh and engaging. It is definitely a movie that should be shared with the whole family.
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    The Killing of America (Blu-ray)

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

    “America is the only industrialized nation with a higher murder rate than countries at civil war.”

    2016 might technically be in the rearview mirror, but it feels like last year left an indelible mark on the psyche of the United States. In addition to the most polarizing presidential election in a very long time, last year was marked by the deadliest shooting in U.S. history about an hour away from where I’m currently sitting, along with other highly-publicized instances of gun violence. So it feels like an appropriate time to revisit The Killing of America, a 1981 documentary that was never granted a commercial U.S. release after being deemed too exploitative.
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    Never Open The Door (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 2nd, 2017

    Since we are knee-deep into the holidays, it would only be fitting to discuss the independent horror film Never Open the Door; after all it takes place on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a shame we don’t have more horror films to watch during turkey day, but for some this new title may be a nice fit to change all that.  When I picked up the title I hadn’t heard a peep about it, but I’m a sucker for horror, and seeing that it was shot in B&W just made it all the more enticing.  Now, when I watch a title like this, one thing has to work. It has to have a story that engages me; story is what matters with these smaller films, because the budgets tend to not have room for big makeup FX or big-name actors.  The limitations placed upon the filmmakers seem to force their hand and have them get more creative with the execution of scenes, whether this means creative camera work or unique storytelling.
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    Road To The Well

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on January 2nd, 2017

    Road to the Well is about what you would expect from an independent thriller: atmospheric and character-driven, sporting a slow pace. While the pacing was indeed slow, it was most certainly deliberate and aided in the storytelling. I can’t necessarily say that I would watch the film again, but I can say I understand why it has won awards while on the festival circuit, especially given the fact that it is writer/director Jon Cvack’s first feature length film. It is a good movie. It satisfies. And even though good movies have their faults, Road to the Well succeeds in balancing its failures with tremendous amounts of successful feats.
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    Snowden (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 30th, 2016

    It’s been just about four years since Savages (2012) hit the big screen.  For me Savages was Oliver Stone simply having a blast, shooting an over-the-top action film fueled by sex, drugs, and violence.  Now it seems Stone has stepped back into the paranoid, government-conspiracy form that he seems to be best known for with Snowden.  Whether you view him as a traitor to the United States or a self-sacrificing lamb to expose the government and its illegal wiretapping, it’s a choice that is up to you going into this film.  Personally, while I feel his intentions were good, still, he did betray his government and committed treason.  What I had hoped with this film is that Oliver Stone would capture both sides of the coin, but as the title would suggest, Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is front and center on this ride, and that’s not my only problem here.
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    Dog Eat Dog (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 28th, 2016

    Writer/director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver and Auto Focus) has been a guy I can’t help but root for.  His films are filled with the kind of raw grit that I like to see in films.  His knack for shining a light onto the outlaws of society is something I don’t feel anyone does as well. Usually we see these characters celebrated, or simply put, they get the Hollywood treatment.  Schrader seems to always go the other direction and depict them with an unflinching eye that captures the character with honesty and dignity, even as their lives tailspin into darkness.  Dog Eat Dog may not be an original work by Schrader, but the film certainly carries many of the staples that embrace his celebration of the anti-hero while filming the manic insanity of the reality they live in.
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    Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Story (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 23rd, 2016

    There’s a man comin’, and he aims to bury you.”

    That sort of threat — especially when it’s made within the trigger-happy Western genre — usually refers to a wronged hero looking to rain vengeance upon some dastardly villain who wronged him in an extremely personal way. The only most interesting thing about Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Story is that our presumed hero is the one being hunted…and the “bad guy” has a legitimate gripe.
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    Sully (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 21st, 2016

    Clint Eastwood is 86 years old. He is also one of the best film directors working today. His latest film shows no signs of a man winding down his life, let alone his career. I obviously hinted that most other actors (or directors) his age have long ago died or checked into a nursing home. Eastwood looks lean and mean and still directs that way. Eastwood is interesting, as well, because he tends to pick projects that are outside the Hollywood studio corporate thinking. In other words, Eastwood is his own man and does pretty much anything he wants. His films as an actor and director have courted controversy way back to the days of Dirty Harry and A Fistful of Dollars. His films as a director and his personal political views are always full of contradictions that suggest a vibrant, searching mind. Sully is Eastwood’s latest film, starring Tom Hanks, and it is deceptively complex as well. On one level, Sully is a textbook depiction of a famous true life event.
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    In Order of Disappearance (Blu-ray)

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

    Coming out of Norway we have In Order of Disappearance, a film I knew nothing about aside from the cover art. To be , it pretty much reminded me of any of the numerous revenge films we’ve seen Liam Neeson in.  Stellan Skarsgard instead stars in this revenge romp that I feel got lost in translation with me.  It’s not that I couldn’t understand the base of the film being a revenge tale; this is very much clear as day, but it is the film’s sense of humor that borders on being dry and black, to other points I feel it’s just a Norwegian thing.  Usually one of the first things I do with a foreign film is I make sure everything is set to the original language track and use the subtitles to follow along (never been a fan of dubbing).
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    Duck Dynasty – Season 10

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

    It’s hard to believe it, but Duck Dynasty has made it to ten seasons, and it seems to be still going strong.  When seeing the trailers for the first season, I found it hard to believe this was even going to be a show, much less garner the attention that it has over the years.  I’ll admit it I surprised myself by how much I actually enjoyed the show, even if it was being a bit liberal by crediting itself as reality television.  Even if most of the show seems pre-scripted,  it’s continued to be entertaining, which is rather impressive for me, considering I feel I don’t even fit the show’s demographic. For those who have been viewers from day one, you’ve gotten to watch the Robertson family not only grow older but expand as well.
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    Morgan (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on December 19th, 2016

    The sci-fi horror thriller Morgan turns brutal when a scientific experiment goes awry, turning a lab into a blood-fest. Now on Blu-ray and DVD in a combo pack that includes an HD download, the film has all the trappings for a nighttime couples’ shocker. You will not want to see this one alone, especially if you want to get the best out of your video choice. So turn the lights down, get the popcorn ready, maybe your favorite beverage, and expect the unexpected. Lee Weathers (Kate Mara), the Risk Manager of SynSect, a genetics research company, arrives at a secluded lab surrounded by a forest following a reported incident of violence.
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    Suicide Squad (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 15th, 2016

    In the days leading up to the release of Suicide Squad, over the internet there has been one of the most vicious attacks on a film before its release that I can remember.  Sure, we had all the negative talk about Ghostbusters, but that was before anyone had ever seen the film, and as screenings came along, opinions seemed to sway.  Now I was lucky enough to attend a screening Monday for Suicide Squad, and there were up to 150 people turned away at the door because the auditorium was filled to capacity. I mean, the buzz for this was high, and we DC fans were giddy, because this film was our hope that WB would be turning things around.  I mention all this because now this has managed to become one of the worst-reviewed films of the year, and I’m just sitting here like WTF happened, did they see some other cut of the film?
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    Ben-Hur (2016) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 15th, 2016

    In 1959 when Ben-Hur came out, it was a massive undertaking that nearly closed the gates for MGM after nearly bankrupting the studio.  It was a huge risk in producing such a large-scale epic that fortunately paid off and became one of the studio’s cornerstone successes.  The story of Judah Ben-Hur and his fall from being a prince, to becoming a slave, to eventually becoming a hero to the people in the arena is such a familiar story that it’s hard to not feel you’ve seen this before without even entering the theater.  In some parts I look at Gladiator and see somewhat the same film, only being set in a separate time and place.  But really, the story of betrayal at the highest levels, and seeing great figures fall only to pull themselves up again is a theme Hollywood seems to relish, and it seems to attract many viewers in the process
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    Howards End: 25th Anniversary (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 15th, 2016

    Word of advice: don’t take up a sentimental attitude over the poor.”

    That bit of wisdom is offered by Henry Wilcox, the scheming, obliviously shameless wealthy capitalist in Howards End. The 1992 Merchant-Ivory film — which gets a spiffy, 25th Anniversary Blu-ray release courtesy of Cohen Media Group — is based on an E.M. Forster novel that was published in 1910. However, Henry’s philosophy towards the less fortunate members of society strikes a chord more than 100 years since the character made his debut. And that’s just one reason Howards End is worth another look as we prepare to turn the calendar to 2017.
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    Little Men

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on December 15th, 2016

    All too often do indie films fall under the category of “character study”. It’s almost as if that the entire “independent” genre has divided itself into these dramas focusing on painfully slow character development or budgetless, empty husks of action films riddled with terrible CGI. I have seen independent films that held my attention with captivating writing, but they seem to be few and far between. Little Men is no exception to the trend: it did have some interesting character development, but the story had great opportunities for intense conflict that just never followed through.
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    Greenleaf Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 14th, 2016

    relatively out of the spotlight as she has worked on making her cable network channel, OWN, a success.  While I wouldn’t ever say I was a fan of Oprah’s work on the screen, I could appreciate what she did in The Color Purple and Beloved. This being said, I have to admit I was a bit reluctant to take a title that at first glance seemed to be a show that would be heavy-handed with its subject matter centered around the church.  Despite my concerns, I’m glad I picked up this title, because despite how it handles some very familiar topics, it’s presented in a manner that not only feels fresh but is truly an engrossing show that manages to suck the viewer in and kept me wanting to see what would happen next.
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