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    Beavis & Butt-Head: The Complete Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 23rd, 2017

    Before there was South Park, in 1993 MTV released the coolest cartoon that was out there when they began to air Beavis and Butt-Head.  When it came to animated shows, there really wasn’t much out there that appealed to the average teenage boy, but MTV understood their audience and took a chance on creator Mike Judge’s little series that was virtually an overnight sensation.  The blend of having a short animated series mixed in with music videos that the show’s characters would deliver their commentary from the torn up sofa was the perfect blend for what would be an unexpected pop-culture movement.  Looking back at the series with older eyes, I can understand why my parents rolled their eyes about my urgency to get home to watch the new episode of Beavis and Butt-Head
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    Quarry: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 22nd, 2017

    I’m not as comfortable as you are with the notion of killing other human beings.”

    Remember that time about six months ago when NFL star Colin Kaepernick set off a firestorm of controversy by repeatedly kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest? A big part of the outrage was tied to the notion that Kaepernick’s actions were disrespectful to members of the U.S. military. One of the most striking things about Quarry — Cinemax’s compelling, well-rounded Vietnam War-era drama — is how it depicts a period not that long ago in our country’s history when veterans were openly treated with venom and vitriol that went way beyond someone taking a knee.
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    American Pastoral (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 20th, 2017

    Ewan McGregor has had an interesting career in front of the camera; he’s gone from playing a heroin addict (Trainspotting), to being a Jedi and several roles that just about make him impossible to typecast. With his new film, McGregor is doing double duty by also helming the film as director for the first time.  When I first heard about McGregor taking on American Pastoral, based on the book of the same name by Philip Roth, I was worried that perhaps he had bitten off a bit more than he could handle with his first time at bat.  What’s surprising is how relevant the film is at this point in time as the country is so divided, and because of this it adds a new perspective to the film.
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    Arrival (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

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

    “There are days that define your story beyond your life. Like the day they arrived…”

    The problem is that this starts out with the kind of story we’ve seen a thousand times before. The alien invasion theme is nothing new. H.G. Wells was describing it back in the 19th Century with War of the Worlds. Unrelated Orson Welles scared the crap out of a depression-era radio audience with the same story. Independence Day gave us a brilliantly visual story that also begins the same way: alien ships begin to take strategic positions around the world. Here we go again, right? Wrong. We should have guessed from the beginning that when director Denis Villeneuve tackles a genre, he’s going to turn it on his head. We’d seen him do it before.
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    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Series

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

    “It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives day by day, and we explore the galaxy trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here: not to conquer you with weapons or ideas, but to coexist and learn.” 

    No Star Trek series has divided Trek fans as much as the 1993 release of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
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    The Crooked Man

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on February 15th, 2017

    Have no fear, Michael Jai White is here, in a role that is outside the norm that has been established for him in recent years. You know the one, kicking ass and taking names, usually without a shirt on. However, in The Crooked Man, a horror film, he is doing quite the opposite, and also unlike him, he is not the focal point, as the story focuses on a young girl named Olivia, who finds herself not only framed for her friend’s death at the hands of the Crooked Man, but institutionalized when no one believes her story. An intriguing premise, but a bit long in the tooth, if you know what I mean. That said, it does earn the title of best television movie of 2017 for me, but we shall see how long its reign lasts, as we are only two months into the year.
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    The Black Dragon’s Revenge

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on February 14th, 2017

    Exploitation film has reached a point where there are just too many subgenres to count, or to care about for that matter. This film combines three of the subgenres into one incoherent amalgamation of boredom: Blaxploitation, Kung Fu flicks, and “Brucesploitation.” While the two former concepts should be familiar outside of the realm of cinephilia, Brucesploitation may be a little more difficult to grasp. Basically, after the death of Bruce Lee, filmmakers began to capitalize on Lee’s image posthumously, by using barely passable lookalikes such as Bruce Le or Bruce Li as lead martial artists.
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    Dead West

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 14th, 2017

    When it comes to having a serial killer being used as the main character or used as the anti-hero, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.  Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and of course Dexter are titles that first come to mind.  The difference between these two titles is that we understand their code, or see the lack of code, when it comes to whom they choose to kill.  It’s escapist entertainment, and I appreciate the morbidity of rooting for such deplorable characters, but that’s what cinema and television do; they take us along for a ride that reality cannot.  When it comes to Dead West, we’re on board for a cross-country trip with a serial killer, but sadly this is a trip that had me reaching for the door handle before arriving at our destination.
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    Vice Principals: The Complete First Season

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

    Danny McBride managed to inhabit the role of Kenny Powers to such an extent that I do appear to have trouble keeping them separate. I thought that the arrival of a new series would finally put that issue to rest. I’m discovering there was a reason I had trouble telling them apart. They are indeed the same person. Add to the situation that Vice Principals uses the same writing and production team headed by McBride and Jody Hill, and there are moments when you will think that you’re still watching Eastbound And Out. The wild card that changes things up enough happens to be Walter Goggins. Goggins came to notice as the cold Shane in The Shield and the quirky Boyd Crowder in Justified.
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    Come What May (Blu-ray)

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

    Don’t call it a comeback, but World War II movies are having a bit of a renaissance. (Seriously, don’t call it a comeback…they’ve been here for years.) There are seemingly endless ways to approach a WWII story — Hacksaw Ridge and Allied were in theatres recently, while the next few months will bring The Zookeeper’s Wife and Dunkirk — but the majority of movies that actually get made skew toward the American/British perspective. That’s the main reason Come What May — a somewhat sappy, intensely personal film from France — stands out from the pack.
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    From Dusk Till Dawn: Season 3

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

    Season 1 of From Dusk Till Dawn gave us a ten-episode remake of the hit original movie while setting up a mythology to stretch its story over numerous seasons. Season 2 took us deeper into the culebra syndicate, and we got to see how they operate in their world as Carlos (Wilmer Valderrama) searched for an ancient blood source and sought to sit at the throne as the leader of all the culebras (a snake/vampire hybrid of sorts).  All while the baddest outlaws North and South of the border, the Gecko brothers Seth (D.J. Cotrona) and Richie (Zane Holtz) were forced to work out their differences ever since Richie was made a culebra.
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    John Wick (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

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

    “John Wick isn’t the Boogeyman. He’s the guy you call to kill the Boogeyman”

    Taking a shot as a hitman in his latest film John Wick, Keanu Reeves delivers his character with authority in this explosive crime drama.  The film turns out to be an ideal fit for the star and his former stunt double turned director as they move to one perfectly choreographed fight scene after another. It’s a fast-action gauntlet that lasts nearly the whole 96 minutes.
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    Frankenstein: The Real Story/The Real Wolfman

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 8th, 2017

    “It killed 102 people, brutally mauling its human prey. Its victims are all women and children. The worst attack by an unknown beast in history, and the basis for the legend of the werewolf. Two investigators set out to solve the mystery. Applying modern day forensics, they hunt to uncover the real wolfman.”

    With the Universal remake of one of its classic monsters, you can expect to see a lot of related material come out of the woodwork to capitalize on the buzz.
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    Wax Mask

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on February 8th, 2017

    If you have any love for Italian horror films, then you know the names Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci are the ones that cause the most excitement. Both directors have made a name for themselves in horror cinema, each providing their own authorship within their own interests. Much like debate concerning The Beatles or The Stones, cinephiles typically side with one over the other. Yes, Argento has conjured dreamlike, character-driven horror that has haunted our minds over the decades (Suspiria, Phenomena), but the late Lucio Fulci has a seemingly innate ability to create landscapes of terror that consistently push the envelope of realistic gore (Zombi, The Beyond). While I do tend to favor Fulci, I am well aware of both of their contributions and influence to horror cinema as a whole. Even though they have notable differences, The Wax Mask offers a collaboration between the two greats prior to Fulci’s death in 1996.
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    Justice League Dark (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 7th, 2017

    To put things mildly, Warner Bros. still has a bit of a ways to go before its stable of DC Comics superheroes catches up to Disney’s dominant Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Warner and DC have long had the upper hand on both the small screen (Smallville, Arrow, The Flash) and with their animated, direct-to-video offerings. The latest in that latter category is Justice League Dark, which mostly sidelines DC’s best-known heroes in favor of a team of mystical outcasts led by a charming, abrasive rogue.


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    Story Of God: Season 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 6th, 2017

    Who or what is God? Does he perform miracles here on Earth? What happens to us when we die? Is there true evil on this earth? How was the universe created? How will it all end? These are the kinds of questions for which there are no concrete answers to be found in the world around us. These are the subjects that require us to turn to our faith or belief systems. The answers might be found in our culture. You might even have had experiences that have brought you closer to the answers. This is meaning-of-life stuff, and the answer might just be 42.
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    Zero Days

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on February 6th, 2017

    What do you know about the Stuxnet virus? It’s all right, you can be honest. If I’m being honest, before the documentary Zero Days, I hadn’t even known the name. After watching the film, my knowledge is stemmed more in speculation than fact. I hadn’t realized how many different ways there were to hear, “I can’t talk about that.” To this day, government officials refuse to answer any question regarding the computer virus that was supposedly designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear program. It is incredibly frustrating and has inspired in me a degree of curiosity that I hadn’t known possible beforehand. I can see why it the filmmakers were drawn to this subject matter.
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    Queen of Katwe (Blu-ray)

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

    In chess, the small one can become the big one.”

    It’s hard to stand out in the Disney family when your big brothers and sisters are Star Wars, Marvel, and the studio’s own blockbuster animated offerings. (Not to mention live-action re-imaginings of its own classic animated offerings.) While those properties have been making a racket at the box office, the Mouse House has also been quietly cranking out family-friendly, multi-cultural sports dramas in recent years, including 2014’s Million Dollar Arm, and 2015’s McFarland U.S.A. I’m not sure if Queen of Katwe is the best of that bunch (I really enjoyed McFarland) but it certainly has the most unlikely hero.
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    Pinocchio: Walt Disney Signature Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 2nd, 2017

    “When you wish upon a star. Makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you. If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.When you wish upon a star, as dreamers do… Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through. When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.”

    The song has become a standard. Every kid knows it. Walt Disney Studios has made it their theme song. You hear it each time you load up a Disney disc. If you have been fortunate enough to have visited Walt Disney World, you’ve heard it the entire day long.
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    Ballers: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 2nd, 2017

    American football has been making the news of late, and not just in the sports pages. For the last couple of years there has been an increasing concern for players’ safety. From our former president declaring he wouldn’t let his fictional son play the game to the hard-hitting Will Smith film Concussion, football has taken some heat over its violent nature. Players are retiring early, and the subject of life after football becomes more of a social question than ever before. That’s where HBO’s Ballers comes in. It’s a half-hour look at the NFL from the player perspective, both current and retired. It’s intended as a light bit of dramedy, and it certainly is that. Even so, the series doesn’t hide from some of the brutal realities of the sport, from the trappings of fame and fortune to the realities of its eventual end.
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    The Man Who Fell To Earth: Limited Edition (Blu-ray)

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

    It’s been 40 years since the release of The Man Who Fell to Earth, and in that time a lot has changed. If I’m being honest, this isn’t a film that really holds up too well.  Last year the star of the film, David Bowie, passed away, and it would seem prosperous and logical to crank out an anniversary edition of the film.  As it stands this film isn’t considered so much a classic, but a cult film that fans of Bowie and certain sci-fi fans hold in high regard.  For me, this was simply a title I had heard of in passing during talks about Bowie or sci-fi films, but it was never a film that really called to me.  To the disappointment of several friends, I’m not much of a fan of David Bowie’s music, and science fiction just isn’t a genre I’m in love with.
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    Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on February 1st, 2017

    Forbes magazine called Jack Reacher and author Lee Childs the strongest brand in publishing as much for his over $100,000,000 in sales and billion-dollar imprint as for the strong loyalty of fans and favorable ratings of the readers. The 21st Jack Reacher novel, Night School, is coming out in a couple of weeks (which I’m sure Simon & Shuster would thank me for mentioning, but they don’t need my help), and Reacher fans will be buying in droves. The second Reacher movie will be out on November 21. One of the first things I want to address is that Lee Childs had been actively involved in the picking of Tom Cruise to be Jack Reacher.
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    Danny Says

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on February 1st, 2017

    The 1960s were very important to the counterculture movement in the United States, most notably the artists of New York City. Whether it be future rock stars such as Iggy Pop and The Stooges and The Doors, or the enigmatic Phenom Andy Warhol, New York was at the crux of a lot of influential ideologies that have inspired us in the succeeding decades. However, there is only so much you can read about when it comes to discovering the cultural history of New York. That’s what makes documentaries like Brendan Toller’s Danny Says so fascinating: Sure, you know the history, but can you glean what the experience would be like? Danny Says takes you on a journey beyond the facts and delves into the personal experiences of one of the most significant music journalists New York has seen.
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    Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 27th, 2017

    Before there were The Hunger Games or even The Running Man, there was a tiny little B-Film called Death Race 2000.  Long before the remake occurred with Jason Statham as the lead I was a fan of the original, and for all the wrong reasons.  I thought it was great, the notion of having a point system for people you’d hit with your car, the kind of thing you’d joke with friends about, but would never actually go through with.  With David Carradine wearing the black mask as immortal Frankenstein behind the wheel of his death machine, he was fun to root for.  I’m pretty sure, though, it was a young Sylvester Stallone as the bloodthirsty Machine Gun Joe who got so many people to see the original.  I’ll be honest, it’s what got me to rent the VHS, hoping to see Rambo in action, but instead it just opened my eyes to a new kind of cinema cool I wasn’t expecting.
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    The Babymooners

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on January 24th, 2017

    If asked about my favorite genre of film, romantic comedies would not be close to the top of the list. However, I have seen enough rom-coms that I wouldn’t mind watching a second time. The Babymooners would be a film that I’d give a second watch, simply because of its charming energy. Most of this charm can be attributed to Shaina Feinberg and Chris Manley, who co-wrote and directed the film. Through explicitly stating in the synopsis that the film is “clearly influenced by old Woody Allen films,” the filmmaking duo alert audiences to exactly what they should be expecting, and they are not far off. So if you are a fan of Woody Allen, rejoice, as that is not an empty promise.
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