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    Black Sheep

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on April 24th, 2015

    When picking up a copy of Jonathan King’s Black Sheep, you know exactly what you are getting into: a lot of bloodthirsty sheep. For about 83 minutes, the film delivers exactly what is promised on the front cover. That being said, the film is definitely catered to a rather specific audience, consisting of people who would actually want to watch Black Sheep. However, hiding under the implied lunacy, is a rather intelligent pastiche of the genre tropes put forth by its many predecessors.
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    John Doe: Vigilante

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 22nd, 2015

    “A vigilante is simply somebody who violates the law in order to punish a criminal for what they believe is right, for what they believe is justice.”

    It’s easy to understand the appeal of big screen vigilante justice. We’ve all gotten tangled up in red tape, which is why it’s so gratifying to watch somebody tear through it. (And often spray some red elsewhere.) John Doe: Vigilante ends up being as ludicrous as any of the 17 Death Wish movies, but it also goes beyond putting the entire blame on “the system.” There are some interesting ideas at play here, including the notion that there’s a little Vigilante in all of us.
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    Echoes (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 20th, 2015

    Imagine the horror of being asleep and then suddenly you wake up, paralyzed.  Your eyes flutter frantically about as you struggle to move, but nothing will budge.  From the corner of your eye you see movement.  You’re not alone, and the person who is in the room with you is ready to kill you. This is the hook Echoes attempts to use to suck the viewers in.  As a psychological thriller about sleep paralysis, it’s unfortunate that the only suspense the film manages to deliver on is just when the film will finally come to its painfully boring conclusion.
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    Housekeeping

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 17th, 2015

    This film did not hold my interest at all. I know, I know…kind of a crude way to start off a review. However, I just don’t see the point in sugarcoating my feelings about this film. I had envisioned a completely different movie in my head before popping the disc into the Blu-ray player, and the idea in my head and what was displayed did not match up in the slightest. Perhaps that is my fault; I know better than to go into a film with expectations. And on that front, I will accept my role in my displeasure with the overall product. However, Housekeeping did nothing to help its case, in my opinion.
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    The Missing (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 14th, 2015

    The longest-running crime dramas tend to be “case of the week” mysteries where the perp is comfortably caught within the hour. It’s a formula for sure, but it’s one that’s easy to replicate and works quite well if you have the right talent and personalities involved. In reality, of course, there are many cases when the crook isn’t captured before the end credits…or ever. The accompanying anger and uncertainty is much trickier (and messier) to convey dramatically. The Missing — a limited series from England that aired on Starz — isn’t the first show to tackle that territory, but it’s certainly a compelling recent example.
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    Manhattan: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 10th, 2015

    “There’s something I need to tell you. We’re building a weapon. It’s not like any weapon the world’s ever seen. It draws its energy from a fast-neutron chain reaction. It releases the power of an ancient star. If it works, and it’s going to work, it will be the more destructive than all the bombs dropped in all the wars in history put together. It’ll bring armies to their knees. Cities will disappear in the blink of an eye. The world will be united in peace by the most just and noble country in the history of mankind or it will burn to the ground. Whoever builds it first, there’s the endgame. So it has to be us, whatever it costs.”

    It’s one of those dramatic stories where mankind is altered forever.
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    Wild (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 10th, 2015

    “Finish that sentence…why do I have to walk a thousand miles?”

    The answer to that question probably won’t satisfy everyone who watches Wild, which is based on Cheryl Strayed’s first-person chronicle of her 1,100-mile hike from the Mojave Desert to Oregon. To some, there simply isn’t a compelling enough excuse to ditch your responsibilities and go on an extended journey of self-discovery. The reason Wild works — besides career-best work from its Oscar-nominated star — is because the ultimate explanation is something simple that most people can relate to: Strayed walked more than 1,000 miles to prove she could do it.
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    Voices (Blu-ray)

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

    This is a movie that snuck up on me.  I had seen the trailers, and it looked like goofy fun, but I really wasn’t prepared for how this film would linger in my mind and follow me around.  First let me just say this film is not for everyone; this is one of the darkest comedies I’ve seen in quite some time, but on top of that this is one of the most tragic films as well.  At first glance the trailer for The Voices has you thinking this is going to be American Psycho meets Dr. Dolittle (only one character can hear the animals talking), and for the most part that is this film.  But as the final act kicked in, I realized this was really so much more.
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    Walker Texas Ranger: Flashback

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 9th, 2015

    There was a new cowboy in Dallas, and he wasn’t throwing touchdown passes. But Walker was almost gone before he could really get started. After just four episodes, the show’s production company suffered financial collapse, and the show was rescued at the last minute by CBS Productions, who would continue to run the show for its nearly decade-long run. For nine years Norris brought us the ultimate Texas Ranger in a formula cops-and-robbers show. The show often became a parody of itself, but maintained a solid viewership throughout. Hell, Norris even sings the theme song
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    MacGyver – The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 8th, 2015

    MacGyver (v) To act in an extremely resourceful manner. To utilize everyday items in unconventional ways to achieve a difficult task. I predict it will not be long before you can open your trusty copy of Webster’s and find this character has officially entered our lexicon. There is little doubt but that it is an unofficial part of it now. Crossing over from the realm of pop culture and into our language is a phenomenal achievement for a television show.
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    Wild Card (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 7th, 2015

    When it comes to screenwriters in the industry, William Goldman is virtually the king of the written word.  From writing such hits as Marathon Man and All The President’s Men to The Princess Bride, Goldman will always be a legend in Hollywood even if it has been a while since his last successful original work.  Wild Card is a remake of the Burt Reynolds version of Heat back in 1986.  It’s been a few decades since watching the film, so instead of trying to remember anything from it how about I just stick to this stylized version?
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    Fantail

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 7th, 2015

    This was a peculiar one, I tell you; if I had to compare it to other films, I would put it in league with Napoleon Dynamite or The Good Girl, in regard to the way the story was told. Neither films are ones that I hold in high esteem; however, despite the dreary way that the story dragged on, I still found myself mildly interested in the story progression. Towards the middle, that is, the beginning was a bit of a snore. The majority of the film plays out within a convenience store during the graveyard shift. The main character, Tania, is the only one usually on shift, and we get to see just how boring her shifts can be.
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    An Act of War

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 7th, 2015

    I feel obligated to say that I somewhat saw the ending for this one coming. Maybe not all the details, but there were some clear signs from the beginning that pointed me in the direction of how the film was going to conclude. However, as I’ve been told some many times in my not-so- long life, it is not about where you end up but how you get there. In the case of this film, the journey is quite the experience. The film opens with a bit of a flash-forward which comes off a bit disorienting at first, because we don’t really know the context for the type of incident which has occurred. Slowly I was able to sort of put the pieces together.
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    The Rewrite (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 4th, 2015

    “It’s a comedy…hopefully.”

    It’s been six years since Hugh Grant teamed up with director Marc Lawrence. It’s their fourth collaboration. It doesn’t appear that Lawrence is willing to direct a film that doesn’t feature Hugh Grant, because he hasn’t. Let’s just say the fourth time wasn’t the charm. In fact, it wasn’t even all that charming. And the problem is that Grant and Lawrence have attempted to build careers out of making Grant charming. By now they’re just trying too hard, and the result is a poor showing that was in desperate need of a Rewrite.
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    Daryl Hall & John Oates: Live in Dublin (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 3rd, 2015

    They started as a local band in Philadelphia. By 1972 they had released their first album on the national stage called Whole Oates. The duo has been together for over 40 years and have remained playing through most of that time. Even with stops for solo projects, Daryl Hall and John Oates have remained a team throughout those years. It’s rather rare for a rock team to remain together and friends for so long. Their endurance has paid off in so many ways, but 2014 would be a year they would see a lot of that hard work and partnership be recognized as they became the first Philly band inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
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    Veep: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 2nd, 2015

    For the first time in four years, I can say what I really think.”

    It may have taken four years for fictional U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer to make her boldest political move yet, but Veep was finally able to achieve all-around greatness in just three. I know there are fans of HBO’s caustic comedy series who would argue the show was already great, and I agree there have absolutely been many flashes of foul-mouthed brilliance throughout its run. But it wasn’t until Veep had Selina Meyer try to outgrow the show’s title in season 3 that the series itself ascended to another level.
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    Interstellar (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on March 31st, 2015

    Most movies are just not very good. Lots of money goes into turning out boring, repetitive garbage. You watch it and then dispose of it and make room for the next thing. There are some who do more, but the more you do, the greater the risk. Most filmmakers are not given the freedom to take really big risks, but someone who has been given the opportunity to take the big risk is Christopher Nolan. Interstellar is $165,000,000 gamble shooting for the moon.  Actually Nolan is shooting for something way past the moon. He wants to take us to another galaxy.
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    Grace

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on March 31st, 2015

    Grace takes a refreshing approach to unfolding the story; it gets right to the point. When Grace is introduced, she is right in the thick of things, waking up alone half-naked on a beach after a night of excess. She is shown some kindness by a stranger who wastes no time letting her know that she has been where Grace has been and offers her the opportunity to change. Now, naturally, this is too easy; any audience member would see through that. The one thing everyone knows about life is that though as human beings we have the capacity to change,
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    Silicon Valley: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 30th, 2015

    There’s money flying all over Silicon Valley, but none of it ever seems to hit us.”

    There’s a lot to like about HBO’s Silicon Valley, which debuted last year with a confident, clever freshman season that took merciless aim the tech capital of the U.S. My favorite thing about the show — besides hyper-specific jokes aimed at geeky targets like the many endings of “Mass Effect 3” — is that it portrays (and makes fun of) each aspect of the cutthroat tech industry, from the self-important, aggressively eccentric billionaires to the scrappy, proverbial guys in a garage.
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    Diamond Heist

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 27th, 2015

    There’s a mile-long list of Hollywood movies that have been re-titled in foreign countries to hilarious effect. I’ve personally had much less experience with foreign productions being re-branded for American audiences, but Diamond Heist seems like one of the more egregious examples you’re likely to find. The DVD cover has professional tough guys/straight-to-DVD MVPs Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones brandishing weapons while accompanied by a vague explosion and the wonderfully generic tagline, “Payday is only a bullet away.” In other words, there’s nothing here that suggests this Hungarian import is actually an action/comedy about male strippers.
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    Penguins of Madagascar (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 26th, 2015

    “Antarctica, an inhospitable wasteland, but even here, on the Earth’s frozen bottom, we find life. And not just any life: penguins. Joyous, frolicking, waddling, cute and cuddly life. Look at them, tumbling onto their chubby bum bums. Who could take these frisky snow-clowns… seriously?”

    This one has been a long time coming. I like the Madagascar movies and have been fairly positive about them in these pages. Each time I pointed out that the highlight of these films were the antics of those military-minded penguins and their grand schemes.
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    A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 26th, 2015

    I’m not really a big Beatles fan. That will shock, anger, and dismay many of you. Sure, I’ve got a couple of favorites, but nothing I feel the need to hear over and over again. Now, with that said, I am a fan of Paul McCartney. Of all the Beatles he has evolved the most. He has gone from a kid who was nothing really special, just in the right place at the right time, to a very accomplished musician. Few musicians today can match his performance skills on almost any instrument. While a lot of celebrities talk about compassionate subjects, I get the impression McCartney is more sincere than most. Perhaps it’s this sincerity that makes him such a good songwriter.
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    L.A. Apocalypse

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 25th, 2015

    The recent earthquakes in Los Angeles: facts of life or foreshadowing the big one?”

    I’m not saying the makers of L.A. Apocalypse — a SyFy-level TV movie centered on catastrophic earthquakes in California — timed the release of their low-budget action flick so it premiered well ahead of San Andreas, the would-be summer blockbuster starring Dwayne Johnson about catastrophic earthquakes in California. It’s just funny how things often work out that way. L.A. Apocalypse doesn’t have The Rock (or anyone you’ve likely heard of) and is working with a very small fraction of San Andreas‘ budget. The result is as underwhelming as you’d expect.
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    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 23rd, 2015

    “Will you follow me, one last time?”

    It’s time to say goodbye to Middle Earth, at least from a cinematic perspective. The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies marks the last time we shall see Peter Jackson’s version of Middle Earth. Sure, Ian McKellen has told us he wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of a return. I would. There is certainly enough work from Tolkien to support future adventures, but the rights to anything beyond these books belongs to the Tolkien estate.
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    Exodus: Gods & Kings (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 23rd, 2015

    When it comes to the modern epic, director Ridley Scott is the go-to guy to pull off the sprawling and mega-budget storylines.  From Gladiator to Kingdom of Heaven, Scott has constantly proven himself behind the camera in executing tales with lavish sets and battles involving hundreds to even thousands of extras.  With the release of Exodus: Gods and Kings, a retelling of the Bible story where Moses frees the slaves of Egypt, Ridley Scott would seem the perfect choice for this film.  Unfortunately, this is a Bible story that is sure to anger religious scholars and put some general audiences to sleep.
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