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    Cymbeline (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 21st, 2015

    At this point, it’s pretty difficult to find a play by William Shakespeare that hasn’t been produced for the stage or adapted for the screen many times over. So imagine my surprise when I came across Cymbeline, a Shakespearean play I’d never even heard of. (Though maybe that says more about me than it does about the play’s popularity.) Filmmaker Michael Almereyda transplants the action to the present day, but the tablets, cell phones, and other anachronistic touches aren’t enough to inject life into a languid, lurching film that largely squanders a pretty impressive cast.
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    American Sniper (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 19th, 2015

    “The thing that haunts me are all the guys that I couldn’t save.”

    I have to admit I was a little skeptical that Clint Eastwood followed up his directing stint on Jersey Boys as quickly as he did to shoot American Sniper. The former was far from one of his better efforts, and he looked increasingly out of his element by the time it was said and done. He jumped into his preparation for American Sniper almost immediately, and the results could have been…underwhelming. Instead Eastwood hit his target with the kind of profound impact I don’t think I’ve seen from him since Unforgiven. Unforgiven won a Best Picture award, and deservedly so. American Sniper was nominated, although Eastwood himself was snubbed in the director category.
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    Duck Dynasty: Season 7

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 19th, 2015

    “Meet the Robertson clan. They turned duck calls into a multi-million dollar empire.  But running a family business is tough when the family just wants to run wild.” 

    The Robertson family is quickly becoming the most recognizable family on TV, considering they are flooding the stores with their books, DVD’s, and many other products you can find at Wal-Mart.  I can’t help but think this is a family that is doing everything right, and good for them for the success they’ve managed. Seeing a positive reality show is refreshing, and the fact that it’s not filled with backstabbing and manipulation just allows it to stand out from everything else.
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    The Pyramid (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 19th, 2015

    If nothing else, The Pyramid has an intriguing premise. A father-daughter archaeologist team discovers an unusual, three-sided pyramid buried 600 feet underground that might even predate the ancient Egyptians. Essentially, this is Ancient Aliens as a found-footage horror film. Yes…unfortunately, I said “found footage,” a cinematic device that now feels even more decrepit than your garden variety mummy. So while the film’s opening act probably got people like this guy extremely excited, the movie falls apart the deeper the characters descend into the titular pyramid.
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    Boardwalk Empire The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 19th, 2015

    “As you know, in less than two hours liquor will be declared illegal by decree of the distinguished gentlemen of our nation’s Congress. To those beautiful, ignorant bastards. Rest assured that, dry though the country may be, I am in the midst of concluding arrangements that will keep Atlantic City wet…”

    HBO has finally released a full series set of Boardwalk Empire on Blu-ray. This is an HBO trend that has gone full tilt in the last year, seeing such hits as The Sopranos, True Blood and soon The Wire all coming in wonderful full-series releases. They look great on your video shelf. Together they create a tremendous number of hours of quality television. I love having it all in one place. If you’re new to the show, what better time to climb on board?
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    Mortdecai (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 18th, 2015

    “A man of your age has no excuse for looking or behaving like a fugitive from a home for alcoholic music hall artistes.”

    Sound like anyone you know? Johnny Depp is one hell of a talented actor. There are few in the industry than can so completely inhabit a character. He has an uncanny ability to make you forget Johnny Depp the actor and lose yourself in his performance. He is a chameleon physically and expressively. Unfortunately, Johnny has had trouble finding box office gold lately. You see, he’s having a lot of fun at our expense. But it’s not just we who are footing the bill for his tomfoolery. The studios are handing out hundreds of millions of dollars for box office misses
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    Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 18th, 2015

    “Nobody’s innocent. Everyone’s hiding things.”

    The citizens of Broadchurch — the fictional seaside town that was rocked by the murder of a young boy in this superlative British crime drama — learned the above lesson the hard way. In fact, I felt pretty strongly that every compelling secret the series had to offer had surfaced during the show’s outstanding first season. So I was pretty dubious when I heard creator/head writer Chris Chibnall had gotten the band back together for an encore. Having now finished season 2, I’m thoroughly delighted to be proven wrong.
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    An Irish Exorcism

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on May 14th, 2015

    Once more I dive into the deep chasm that is filled with contemporary, independent exorcism films. Reading the title, An Irish Exorcism, what can be expected of this film? I was hoping for the film to bring focus to what it means for an exorcism to be “Irish.” Do Irish Catholics perform exorcisms differently than other Catholics? Is there a world-famous exorcist who travels to Ireland in order to succeed in saving a child’s life, where countless priests have failed? Wherever your imagination takes you after reading the title is a step toward a more creative film. The only thing that sets An Irish Exorcism apart from other cookie-cutter exorcism films is that it is set in Ireland. 
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    The Cobbler (Blu-ray)

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

    “To truly know a man, you must walk in his shoes.”

    On the lone special feature of any substance included on this Blu-ray, director/co-writer Thomas McCarthy admits The Cobbler was inspired by the well-known idiom listed above. I’m all for getting as many original ideas on the big screen as possible. But even if you don’t think basing a feature film on a popular saying is a shaky proposition, The Cobbler severely underwhelms because it totally fails to capitalize on its high-concept premise in an intriguing way.
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    The Midnight Special (3DVD)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 13th, 2015

    If you were around in 1972, television was a very different place. By midnight most stations were shutting down to the tune of the national anthem. After that there was a test pattern and a high-pitched ring that would fill your screen until dawn when programming would resume. Of course, there were also only three networks, and, if you were lucky enough to live in a large market, a handful of local stations. All good people were expected to be safely tucked into their beds long before 1:00 AM. It was a very different world from today when we get 24-hour programming on over 200 stations or more
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    Lost River (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 13th, 2015

    Lost River is the showy, laborious, mystifying feature filmmaking debut of actor/meme machine Ryan Gosling. Unfortunately, you’re more likely to have heard about the intensely negative reaction the movie received when it premiered at Cannes last year, than you are to have actually seen the film. Lost River now arrives on a bare bones Blu-ray that does little to clear up — or enhance — Gosling’s first foray into directing. So we’re left to assume he simply decided to make a movie out of his dream journal.
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    Tanked: Season 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 12th, 2015

    “If you can dream it, we can build it.”

    That’s the motto of Wayde King and Brett Raymer of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM). They are two guys from Brooklyn who moved to Vegas where they started ATM. Why they couldn’t do it in Brooklyn isn’t ever mentioned. Must be the high taxes. The duo claim that they are the number one tank aquarium manufacturers in the United States. That likely doesn’t include the mass-produce guys like All-Glass. Still, from what I’ve seen here, there’s no question these guys are good.
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    The Barber (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 12th, 2015

    “It’s the guy next door, guy who sits too close in the theater, maybe even at church. Plain, ordinary, the everyday man. That’s the guy they should be afraid of. ‘Cause they never see him coming.” 

    Or maybe the friendly neighborhood barber. Max Enscoe’s screenplay for The Barber appears to touch on those fears. We’ve all seen those interviews with neighbors and friends after a particularly heinous killer is finally caught. He was quiet. Always went to church.
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    Black Or White (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on May 12th, 2015

    There are certain things that are obvious to some of us, and nobody wants to talk about them. All people are full of weaknesses that they then try to deny exist. People are people, but some people think they are better than other people. It seems obvious that we should all try to get over our hatred and be more accepting of all our differences and see how much alike we all are. Black or White is an important movie that comes in the form of a fun and heartwarming melodrama. The movie navigates through very murky and unexplored waters and comes out the other side triumphantly.
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    Tracers (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 11th, 2015

    “It’s like being kids again. The streets are our playground.”

    The above quote refers to parkour, the art and discipline of moving through urban spaces that was popularized in France. French practitioners of parkour are called “traceurs,” which gives this totally clichéd, consistently ridiculous, but occasionally breathtaking action flick its title. You’ve seen the plot before (many times), but Tracers still vaults itself above the straight-to-DVD pack thanks to its freewheeling free-running sequences.
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    The Vatican Exorcisms

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on May 10th, 2015

    “Have we heard from the devil yet?” 

    Perhaps we have, given the cunning deception of the DVD’s front cover. I take joy in walking into films relatively blind, only having seen the attention-grabbing image that prompted me to pick it up. Let it be known that the cover of the DVD I received differs greatly from the one that is advertised on Amazon; however, both covers are severely misleading as to what the film actually entails. That being said, knowing absolutely nothing about this film may not be the best way to approach it.
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    Bar Rescue: Toughest Rescues

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Deborah Bostock-Kelley on May 10th, 2015

    “When you have a formula, you work it. You work it to death.”

    Cue obnoxious New York bar expert who reminds me of a Mafia hit man, insert a cute mixologist, an experienced chef, and four different sets of confrontational failing bar owners being gifted with five days with Jon Taffer and his longevity in the industry, experience with over 800 bars, and you have Bar Rescue – Toughest Rescues.
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    50 To 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 8th, 2015

    I will be the first to admit that I never watched a horse race prior this film. Just never interested me; however, it did not take long to see that 50 to 1 is more of a story about unwavering friendship; friendship between two men who had a chance encounter years before becoming a team and a friendship between a trainer and a horse that everyone has all but given up on. As cheesy as that may sound in theory, it was actually a very warm concept, and the production team manages to unfold the story in a way that makes it easy to watch.
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    Apparition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 8th, 2015

    “Too much time alone, you get stuck up in your head. Your brain becomes a maze.”

    The most important thing you need to know about Apparition is that it’s not a horror movie. (The second most important thing you should know is that this is a different film from The Apparition, which is one of the worst movies I’ve seen during my three-year stint writing for this site.) Yes, there’s a haunted house, cranky spirits, and an abnormally high number of jump scares. But at its heart, this low-budget thriller is a drama about dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.
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    American Interior

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on May 7th, 2015

    Who was John Evans? That is one of the many questions that American Interior addresses that you never knew you wanted to be answered. The more you learn about John Evans and his story, the more you will come to appreciate the beautiful intricacies woven into the tapestry that is our country’s history. In addition to a unique history lesson, the film also treats you to very stylized images and color schemes, keeping spectators engaged in both story and screen. Part narrative documentary, part concert film, part animation, and part music video: this charming film is a surprisingly pleasant ride with a Welsh musician and a dead-eyed puppet. 
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    Halt and Catch Fire (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 7th, 2015

    “An early computer command that sent the machine into a race condition, forcing all instructions to compete for superiority at once. Control of the computer could not be regained.”

    That command? It’s Halt And Catch Fire. Television is very much like that. So many shows out there are competing for your attention. Even on the same network there’s often competition for the resources of the studios and the sponsors who provide the paydays. Now AMC has added another original series to compete for your attention…and precious time. You guessed it. Halt And Catch Fire. Does it work? Let’s find out. 
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    Bedlam

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

    “You will be severely punished for your disobedience.”

    Yeah, there is plenty of that going on in this film. What a fragile construct the mind can be, or at least that is how it appears in Bedlam. As the movie progresses, it becomes harder to tell who is more mad, the patients or the people in charge. However, the film does teeter between the line of real insanity and comical insanity.
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    The Book of Negroes

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 6th, 2015

    Prior to picking up this title from UpcomingDiscs headquarters, The Book of Negroes was a complete unknown to me on several levels. I wasn’t aware of the six-episode miniseries that aired on BET earlier this year, nor had I ever heard of the book of the same name by Canadian novelist Lawrence Hill. Even worse, I was completely unaware of the real-life historical document that served as the inspiration for Hill’s book and this miniseries. So while The Book of Negroes is buoyed by solid storytelling and capable performances, my favorite thing about it is that it shone a light on a part of history that hasn’t totally gotten its due in pop culture.
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    The Simon Wiesenthal Film Collection

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

    “When history looks back, I want people to know the Nazis weren’t able to kill millions of people and get away with it.”

    Those words were spoken by Simon Wiesenthal. Wiesenthal was an architect living in Poland in the 1930′s. He was witness to the systematic persecution, isolation and eventual slaughter of the Jewish population of which he was a member when Germany’s Nazi troops invaded Poland. He and his family ended up in a concentration camp and into forced labor. When Hitler instituted his “Final Solution” most of his family members were killed. He barely survived after an unsuccessful escape attempt; he would have surely been killed if not for a sudden turn in the Nazi forces
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    Inside Amy Schumer: Seasons One & Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 4th, 2015

    Well, it looks like Comedy Central is still searching for a viable replacement for the loss of The Chappelle Show almost a decade ago. The newest attempt to recapture the former fan base has to be Inside Amy Schumer. I must confess a blissful ignorance to Mrs. Schumer’s rise to fame; I had no knowledge of her existence in recent years, never glimpsing a cameo of her in a television series or movie (or least one that I was aware of), and then all of a sudden it was like she was everywhere.
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