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    Into the Storm (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 21st, 2014

    Breaking news: anyone who goes to see movie called Into the Storm is probably more interested in “the Storm than they are in any of the people running away from it. The good news is the film understands this, to an extent, and clocks in at a slender 89 minutes. Of course, the titular Storm doesn’t appear for every one of those 89 minutes. This is very bad news because Into the Storm is populated with characters and storylines that are both forgettable and irritating. It’s basically Twister with somewhat better effects, but much less interesting people.
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    Housebound (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 19th, 2014

    Laughing out loud and getting startled out of your wits are two of the most visceral reactions you can have as a moviegoer. For a director to elicit either reaction is challenging enough, which is why I was so delighted to be feeling both during the thrilling, funny finale of Housebound. It’s an even more impressive feat when you consider it was accomplished by a first-time filmmaker working on a shoestring budget.
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    The Dog (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 18th, 2014

    “If anybody gets up, they’re dead. Anybody moves, they’re dead. Anybody makes a sound before I leave this movie, …”

    You get the idea. These are the words of one John Wojtowicz, better known as The Dog. On August 22, 1972 he attempted to rob a Chase Manhattan bank in order to finance his male lover’s sex change operation so that he could become a woman. The heist was about as amateur as the come and went horribly wrong from the start. In a matter of minutes the bank was surrounded by a swarm of police units and a growing mob of bystanders.
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    Patema Inverted (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 17th, 2014

    I’m not the biggest fan of Japanese animation. I don’t think it’s awful or anything, but animation is one of those things where I’m just picky about what I like.  Though I can say I am a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke) and most of his work.  I think this is worth mentioning, because though I may not be as well-versed in this genre, I’d like to feel I still go into it with an open mind, and I’m always excited to find a title that excites me that I never saw coming.  And that it precisely what Patema Inverted did.
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    Betrayal

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on November 17th, 2014

    “If I step on your toe, I was aiming for your heart. But if you step on my toe, I’ll cut your f&@#ing heart out.”

    Isn’t it always the case that the people closest to us usually bring us the biggest trouble, or perhaps that is a pessimistic view. However, I must admit it’s likely a view that the lead character of Betrayal could agree with as he finds himself drawn into a web of deception that threatens to destroy the lives of not only his family but his own as well.
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    Hot in Cleveland: Season Five

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 14th, 2014

    I had never seen a single episode of Hot in Cleveland before I sat down to review this season 5 DVD set. So why did it feel like I’d been watching this show my entire life? Turns out, it’s entirely by design. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like I’m the target audience for Hot in Cleveland: I’m under 50 years old, and I’m a man. But if you look beyond the plastic surgery jokes and geriatric humor, you’ll find a show that aggressively channels — and ultimately appeals to fans of — many of the classic, multi-camera sitcoms of the past. In other words, Hot in Cleveland feels like you’re watching re-runs of a show you’ve already seen…and still enjoy plenty.
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    Satellite

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on November 13th, 2014

    Satellite is a small, micro-budget independent film that went to a bunch of film festivals and got a bunch of great reviews….in 2005. Why is it taking so long to get a proper DVD release? Such is the fate of many small, micro-budget independent films. It apparently also had some music rights issues, which can be hugely problematic because of the expense. There is also the problem of marketing and advertising, which can be expensive. Then they should be better in some way than the Hollywood product, or it doesn’t have a chance.
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    Welcome to the Space Show (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 12th, 2014

    Welcome to the Space Show looks like what would happen if you combined Steven Spielberg’s E.T. — or the openly-Spielbergian Super 8 and Earth to Echo — with the boundless imagination and quirky charms of anime. The result here is intermittently dazzling, but this particular kid-friendly alien adventure is ultimately less than the sum of its parts.
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    Reno 911: The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 11th, 2014

    Now that it’s over, Comedy Central has put together the entire six-season run of Reno 911 in one big DVD collection. The show that started out as basically a Cops parody (which is pretty funny on its own trailer-trash merits) had become a holy grail of sorts for the Comedy Channel. While some sketch shows like The Ben Stiller Show and Mr. Show have managed to touch on the Cops parody with their material, the only one that did it regularly was the show that used it for inspiration. The show spanned six seasons and a major motion picture. Reno 911 can be best described as a faux-reality show with a good deal of improvisational comedy performed by some very capable actors and actresses.
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    Jersey Boys (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 11th, 2014

    “You sell 100 million records, and see how you handle it.”

    If you’ve ever seen an episode of Behind the Music — or followed popular culture at all in the previous century — then you probably know artists tend to not handle that level of success very well. However, the rise and (inevitable) fall of the original Four Seasons lineup is unique for a number reasons. Unfortunately, very few of those reasons are captured in Jersey Boys, Clint Eastwood’s oddly lifeless, workmanlike adaptation of the joyous, wildly popular Broadway musical.
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    Drive Hard (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 11th, 2014

    Personally I’m not a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise, despite the fact that I tend to enjoy films from the genre.  For me, I’ll take the old school films like Vanishing Point, Two-Lane Blacktop, and the original Gone in 60 Seconds over these big budget productions any day.  All I can figure is that these films that I do enjoy are working with budgets that force the directors to be creative and understand most of their elaborate stunts only get one take and are not polished with CGI, but instead whatever the camera captures that is what we see on the big screen. The stunts are simply incredible, and the cars in my humblest opinion were simply cooler back then.
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    Getting On: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 10th, 2014

    It’s noble work. It is useful. You are angels of mercy…I just never thought that I would end up here.”

    The geriatric care wing of a hospital — where the employees are undermanned and overworked, and many of the patients are in a near-catatonic state — is not the most obvious sitcom setting. As a result, HBO’s comedy series Getting On isn’t exactly what I’d call a gut buster. But even though much of the humor seems hyper-specific to this particular circle of workplace hell, anybody who has ever been underpaid to do a hard, crappy job should be able to relate.
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    Exes: Seasons One & Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on November 10th, 2014

    A show about divorce, now I know what you are thinking: “Yeah, Yeah what else is new, the market is flooded with shows about people trying to put their lives together after having their world rocked by divorce.” On the one hand I would agree with you; however, I challenge you to think about this. In my experience these shows are normally from the female perspective and deal with the woman dealing with a bum ex-husband, kids, and getting back into the dating pool. None of these things embody what The Exes is about.
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    Planes Fire and Rescue (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on November 7th, 2014

    Flying into home entertainment, the animated comedy adventure Planes: Fire & Rescue delivers a fun film for the whole family.  The film features some of the characters from the original and a whole lot of new ones.  Brightly animated, having fine direction and with a new storyline, the film has several good values including heroism and friendship. In this episode we find Dusty Crophopper returning from his around-the-world racing tour and about to participate in annual Corn Festival.
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    The Newsroom: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 7th, 2014

    “We don’t have the trust of the public anymore.”

    - “Get it back!”

    The Newsroom took a pretty decent beating during its first season. Sure, plenty of people praised the show’s exceptional acting and ambition, but too much of the conversation seemed to revolve around its flaws and its polarizing creator. In this Blu-ray set’s bonus material, Aaron Sorkin cops to being “overly earnest” and “aggressively uncool” in his work.
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    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Extended Edition) (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 6th, 2014

    “There are dark spirits, old and full of hate…The world is in great danger.”

    A trilogy is a hard animal to pull off. Even when you have a popular franchise, it is extremely difficult. All of the pieces have to work just right, or you could have a disaster on your hands. It is even harder when you’ve already beaten the odds once and delivered a trilogy that is both loved and a huge box office success. You run into an almost insurmountable mountain of expectations.
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    Perry Mason Movie Collection: Volume 4

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 6th, 2014

    Erle Stanley Gardner wrote crime fiction, and while many of his 100 or so works are unknown to most of us, he created a character who has become as identified with criminal lawyers as any other in fiction. It was in these crime novels that Perry Mason first faced a courtroom. He developed a style where he would investigate these terrible crimes his clients were on trial for. He would find the real killer, and in what has become a Hollywood cliché, reveal his findings in a crucial moment during the trial. While we may not remember the novels, we all remember the man in the persona of Raymond Burr.
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    Step Up: All In (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 5th, 2014

    Does it always have to end up in a big giant dance battle?”

    If you’ve ever sat through a dance movie, then you know the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Dance flicks are a somewhat different beast than movie musicals; they are less whimsical and tend to take themselves more seriously, which invariably makes them seem even sillier. Some of the movies in this genre — Dirty Dancing and Footloose — are beloved guilty pleasures. (And many people who love them don’t even bother feeling guilty.) In recent years, the “dance flick” itch for moviegoers has been scratched by the Step Up franchise.
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    Life of Crime (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 5th, 2014

    This has been a review that has taken me a while to get to, not because it’s something I was dreading, but instead it had me revisiting some other Elmore Leonard adaptations to the screen.  There have been countless adaptions of Leonard’s work on the big screen as well as television.  Whether it’s his westerns 3:10 to Yuma, Justified or Hombre or his work on crime Jackie Brown, Out of Sight, and Get Shorty, there is a good chance at some point you’ve seen Elmore’s work, and those were just a handful of titles I mentioned.  I was a teenager when I first discovered Elmore Leonard
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    Impractical Jokers: Season 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on November 5th, 2014

    “WARNING: The following program contains scenes of graphic stupidity among four friends who compete to embarrass each other…”

    They’re back!!! Tru TV’s smash hit Impractical Jokers is back with a season two that continues to show you that no one embarrasses you quite like your closest friends.  The gang is all back; Q, Murr, Joe, and Sal, as they take their pranks to the next level. The stakes are the same: one infiltrates a prospective business such as dental office, movie theater, etc. and must do whatever the others order to push them out of their comfort zone; failure to comply results being subject to the consequences at the end of the episode.
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    Maleficent (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 4th, 2014

    “Let us tell an old story anew, and we will see how well you know it.”

    If Christopher Nolan’s take on The Joker isn’t the very best example of modern cinematic villainy, then it’s near the top of the list. Obviously, a tremendous amount of credit goes to Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance in The Dark Knight, but I’d argue the real thrill comes from the character’s arbitrary, inexplicable approach to evil.
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    The Wonder Years: The Complete Series Set

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 4th, 2014

    “1968, I was twelve years old. A lot happened that year. Dennis McLain won 31 games, The Mod Squad hit the air, and I graduated from Hillcrest Elementary and entered junior high school…but we’ll get to that. There’s no pretty way to put this: I grew up in the suburbs. I guess most people think of the suburb as a place with all the disadvantages of the city, and none of the advantages of the country, and vice versa. But, in a way, those really were the wonder years for us there in the suburbs. It was kind of a golden age for kids.”

    With all of the television I’ve watched over the decades, it’s more than a little surprising to me that I missed out on The Wonder Years.
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    The Reckoning

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 31st, 2014

    Just because an actor shares the same last name of their more popular sibling, the talent doesn’t necessarily carry over as well.  In the case of The Reckoning, the Australian thriller has two siblings with much more marketable star power. Jonathan LaPaglia comes into The Reckoning and ripping a few pages from his brother’s acting book in playing a detective whose partner is the victim of a heinous act of “random” violence. Also joining the film with famous siblings is Luke Hemsworth, whose brothers Liam and Chris Americans may be more familiar with.  Does the hereditary star power help this little Aussie film, or does it flounder down under?
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    Plastic

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on October 30th, 2014

    Well-acted and directed, a surprisingly good action flick Plastic has hit the home video market on DVD.  The movie offers its own interpretation of a several million dollar diamond heist that actually took place by a group of men in 1997.  The original robbery spanned from Manchester, England to Los Angeles, CA and involving the prestigious Bejon Jewelers on Rodeo Drive.  This film’s story adds a little comedy with their creative crime caper and that’s a good thing because if not, it would have been just be another heist movie.
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    Behaving Badly

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 30th, 2014

    “Everyone in this story is guilty of something.”

    With the exception of bland do-gooder/ dream girl Nina Pennington (Selena Gomez), all of the characters in Behaving Badly seem desperate to live up to — or rather down to — the movie’s title. The plot revolves around strippers, nuns, dead Latin teachers, and Lithuanian mobsters, so it’s clear the filmmakers were going for mindless raunch. But instead of a gleefully debauched 97 minutes, we get “comedy” that lacks wit and laughs that feel totally uninspired.
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