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    Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Seventh & Final Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 28th, 2017

    “Two can keep a secret as long as one of them is dead.”

    The Pretty Little Liars have finally reached the end of their rope. And while you discovered who little mini-A’s where over the previous 6 years you’re finally going to get to the bottom of the entire mystery. I’ll admit it’s a bit of a shocker. With the end upon us this is no place for beginners. If you don’t know who Aria, Spencer, Emily, Hannah, and Alison are, it’s time for you to head back to the beginning and catch up. You can find our reviews from those seasons here. For the rest of you, let’s talk Pretty Little Liars, shall we
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    Shooter: Season One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 26th, 2017

    “Guns change everything, and a bullet is forever.”

    This new USA Network series is based very loosely on the 2007 film staring Mark Wahlberg. The film was based on the bestseller novel Point Of Impact by the ironically named Stephen Hunter. The series started life with several events going against it. The film really didn’t make much of an impact itself. It lost money with a domestic box office total under $50M and about the same in the world-wide box office. So it wasn’t necessarily a no-brainer for a television series adaptation.
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    La Vie de Jean-Marie

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on July 26th, 2017

    La Vie de Jean-Marie (The Life of Jean-Marie) is a documentary that pitches itself as an “excellent example of cinema verité,” leaving it exposed to the tremendous legacy that specific film movement left upon cinema history. For those that don’t know, “cinema verité,” or “truth cinema,” is a style of documentary invented by French filmmaker Jean Rouch around the late 1950’s. The idea behind this style of cinema is “reveal the truth” through the use of the camera and the spontaneity of the film’s subjects. La Vie de Jean-Marie does indeed wear the shoes of cinema verité quite well; however, it does so in an exhausting fashion.
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    The 100: Season 4

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 20th, 2017

    “We’ll figure something out. We always do.”

    You should know the setup by now. If not, you can check out our previous reviews: The 100 Reviews. You’ll discover a series that changes quite substantially with each new season. In fact, the title itself was no longer relevant to the series after the first episode. The originally 100 was quickly whittled down in size. Then the rest of the Ark came down, and in Season 4 there are about 500 of the Ark’s inhabitants on the planet.
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    Alive and Kicking

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 20th, 2017

    We here at UpcomingDiscs strive to provide our beloved readers with the most informative and well-thought-out reviews, regardless of the movie or TV show genre that comes flying through the door. Collectively, our awesome little staff covers a wide range of interests. But when swing dancing documentary Alive and Kicking arrived at UpcomingDiscs HQ…there was only one man for the job. The toe-tapping doc is equal parts enlightening and entertaining, whether you’re a swing dancing novice (like my wife/occasional movie-watching partner) or — like me — a guy who’s been into this stuff for the last 15 years.
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    Game Changers

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on July 19th, 2017

    Over the last eight years or so, the abstract concept of nostalgia has become a commodity. Film, television, and videogames have been adjusting their aesthetic to incorporate stylistic visuals that are intended to draw in what seems to be a relatively specific demographic: “80’s kids.” Whether it be Stranger Things, Kung Fury, or Turbo Kid, these films have succeeded (and failed) to create a new style out of this “nostalgia aesthetic.” However, being a child of the 90’s, I have noticed that these “nostalgia aesthetics” have shifted toward my decade.
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    Behind the Mask — The Batman: Dead End Story

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 13th, 2017

    In 2003, a commercial director named Sandy Collora made an 8-minute short film called Batman: Dead End, in which the Caped Crusader does battle with the Joker…along with Alien and Predator! While this sounds like a heavy dose of fanboy wish-granting, the film was Collora’s very serious attempt to show Hollywood big wigs what he could do. The mini-movie turned heads among the Comic Con crowd due to its gritty tone and impressive production values on a shoestring budget. Not surprisingly, this overlong Behind the Mask documentary is at its very best when it chronicles the making of what is widely-regarded as one of the best fan films ever made.
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    The Strain: Season 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 11th, 2017

    From creator Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Blade 2) based off a book he co-wrote, The Strain has been a horror series that has continued to impress as it revs up to begin its fourth season on FX.  It’s a show that centers around a vampire outbreak that began at JFK airport when a plane arrived with all its passengers and crew “dead”, and then things quickly spiraled out of hand.  If your eyes rolled at the thought of simply another vampire story, let me take a moment to explain. What del Toro and Chuck Hogan created is a very unique take on the vampire lore, having their creature of the night more a victim of a wormlike parasite that creates a mutation in the body, and as we discover in Season Three, in the brain as well.
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    Absolutely Anything

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 11th, 2017

    The Monty Python comedy group has been a staple of British comedy for decades; personally my favorite film of theirs will always be Life of Brian.  For director Terry Jones, it’s been a while since he has stepped behind the camera to helm a picture, and it’s been even longer since he directed the 1983 classic The Meaning of Life. It’s not uncommon for directors to step away for years only to come back and return with some kind of passion project. Add into this mix Simon Pegg, whose comedic timing I would have figured would make him a perfect fit for a Monty Python film / revival; it just seemed that Absolutely Anything had everything in place to be a success.
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    Money

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 6th, 2017

    There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little.”

    This devastatingly simple yet endlessly revealing quote by poet Charles Bukowski appears at the start of Money, a lean, mean, low-budget thriller filled with well-to-do characters who nevertheless feel the need to steal millions of dollars. To be clear, there are more than two things wrong with Money — particularly in the movie’s latter half, after the promising set-up starts to unravel — but the film still works as a brisk and entertaining game of cat-and-mouse mice.
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    Trespass

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 29th, 2017

    When it comes to Writer, Director, Producer, Walter Hill is simply one of the best at doing the traditional tough-guy movies.  Films like The Warriors and 48 Hours are simply staples of my childhood; he even was involved with Alien, which I believe is one of the best sci-fi/horror films ever made, yet his star has seemed to fade as the years have passed. His work on the underappreciated Bullet to the Head I felt was a nice throwback to the features he made back in his heyday and had me realize how much his voice is missed in today’s cinema. This week, Shout Factory rolls out a blast from the past with the 1992 film Trespass.
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    Bones Season 12

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 28th, 2017

    “I believe you. Trust me. Listen, you know what, we’re gonna help you. You understand? You’ve served your time.” 

    We’ve all served 12 years together. Bones has proven itself to be the little show that could. While it has never been exactly a ratings superstar, the show pulled in quite a loyal fanbase that kept it on the air for a surprising 12-year run. There were few years the show didn’t finish on the bubble, and they were starting to wrap up everything last year in what was going to be the last. The characters actually went different ways but were brought back together for a shortened Season 12 encore.
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    All Nighter

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 28th, 2017

    “Dad, this is my boyfriend Martin…”

    The tension generated by the first meeting between a young man and the father of the woman he loves has always been a reliable source of conflict. I mean, Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro managed to squeeze three(!) Focker movies out of that stressful dynamic. All-Nighter fits snugly into that familiar sub-genre while managing to carve out low-key moments of character development and male bonding in between all the noise that comes with this sort of whacky situation.
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    Workaholics: The Final Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 25th, 2017

    Since 2011, the trio of Blake, Adam, and Ders have been reporting to their telemarketing job and bringing the laughs to Comedy Central on Workaholics.  With the final season now released, it’s time to bid a fond farewell to the trio that has shown us the joys of pranking, slacking, and pot in the work place. Does the show go out with a bang, or does it fizzle before reaching that last episode? I was a little concerned how things would end up because of the years I’ve gotten to really like the show and everyone involved. It’s time to punch in that time card and check out what this final season is all about.
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    Life of Significant Soil

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on June 25th, 2017

    The concept of eternal recurrence was (arguably) brought to the mainstream in 1993 with the release of Groundhog Day (1993). Certain films such as Run Lola Run (1998) and even an episode from The X-Files, “Monday” (1999), have managed to capture the strange, yet sad, philosophical nature behind repeating a single day. Since then, many variations of the concept began to meld with time travel, adding more distractions from the concept itself, only borrowing the basic premise: Just as space and time are infinite, so are our collective existences (in theory). Life of Significant Soil is closer in relation to the former films mentioned; however, it allows the raw emotion of experiencing a traumatic event to helm the ship.
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    The Andy Griffith Show: Return to Mayberry

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 23rd, 2017

    If there is a television series in the history of the industry as American or timeless as The Andy Griffith Show, I haven’t seen it. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone with strong negative feelings about the series. It was one of those organic and comfortable productions that reached deep into the core of rural America. Even if we lived in a bustling city, there were aspects of the show that still rang true. It was populated with the kind of familiar faces so that it wasn’t hard for anyone in the audience to smile in remembrance of a character they’ve known in real life. And even after 50 years, the series still speaks to that certain aspect of the friendly small southern town. A lot of the credit for that peaceful easy feeling must be credited to the titular star Andy Griffith himself.
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    Aaron’s Blood

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

    When it comes to vampire films, I’m not so much a fan of the romanticized fantasy depiction that we see in Ann Rice novels.  Personally, I like my monsters to be grounded in reality; films like Near Dark and Let Me In seem to have a more vicious bite to them. Why do I prefer these darker and more grim depictions? Well, I believe if vampires have had to kill to survive, whether it be for a month or generations, they should be handled as some scary bad guys, not pretty, sparkly, cuddle-bunnies.  When an indie film comes along like Aaron’s Blood and it decides to go the more ground with reality horror route, it gives me hope, and it’s something I’m actually looking forward to seeing. But does the film deliver the goods?
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    Cheech And Chong’s Next Movie

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on June 20th, 2017

    One of the reasons that I love reviewing movies is that it allows me the opportunity to see things that I wouldn’t normally watch. In most cases, it is a film that has been newly released, whether it be a theatrical release or a straight-to-DVD release. However, in other cases it is an older film that is being re-released. Such is the case for Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie. Though I have never seen any of the films, the names Cheech and Chong are synonymous with stoner comedy. Ideally, I would have liked to have seen the first film before diving into the middle of the franchise.
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    The Wedding Party

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

    Weddings: outside of the picture-perfect day that is typically presented in television and movies, most of us understand the untold anxiety placed upon a bride and groom when families and friends amalgamate. Granted, some films depict this phenomenon accurately, but never solely focused on said anxieties properly. The Wedding Party is an independent feature written and directed by Thane Economou, and it showcases these anxieties up front and films them brilliantly, as the entire film is shot in one continuous take.
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    Father Dowling Mysteries: The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 11th, 2017

    Catholic priests are used to hearing confessions, but for one particular pastor in Chicago, the usual confessions about using the Lord’s name in vain or stealing a couple of paperclips from the office just weren’t exciting enough. Father Dowling loved reading mystery books, and it appears to have sharpened his own powers of observation and deduction. As luck would have it, crimes and mysteries would simply fall into his lap. With the help of Sister Stephanie, better known as Sister Steve, he would step away from his pastoral duties to track down clues that were elusive to the Chicago Police Department. You might just say he was the answer to their prayers. All the while he would attempt to keep the financially strapped Saint Michael’s parish on solid footing.
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    Where the Buffalo Roam

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

    When it comes to Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, I view the man as an American legend and the ambassador of the sixties and the seventies. He was the voice for those who were misfits to society, and he was a nightmare for the establishment. Many people watched Fear and Loathing and Las Vegas and formed their opinion of him, thinking he was just a drug-consuming madman who somehow managed to get a gig as a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. Though there are glimpses of truth in this character, it was more a fictional creation named Raul Duke that Thompson created to tell his narrative. Where the Buffalo Roam I had hoped would be a film much closer to the real-life Thompson
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    Prisoner X

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on June 7th, 2017

    “Time-traveling terrorist, what’s scary about that?”

    I’d say there is a lot scary about that. Fortunately, the character that said it was being sarcastic. Can you imagine, how do you battle an enemy that already knows what is going to happen? Prisoner X is a psychological thriller, which attempts to solve this question when a terrorist from the future and the Central Intelligence Agency’s top agent match wits to prevent a dystopian future.
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    Major Crimes: The Complete Fifth Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 7th, 2017

    After five seasons I don’t really think of Major Crimes as a spin-off from The Closer. It has gone on to establish itself as a much better show than its former version ever was. We have become very comfortable with most of these characters, and the series isn’t really looking over its shoulder anymore, if it ever did. This is one of those shows that’s just easy to watch. There might not be anything groundbreaking going on here, but it feels like that old worn shirt that you love to wear because it just feels good having it on. That’s the kind of thing that can go on for many years, and Major Crimes doesn’t appear at all to be slowing down. It’s become an anchor for TNT, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
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    Becker: The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 7th, 2017

    Who says no one likes a guy who’s negative all he time? Becker has got to be one of the most cynical, grumpy, and negative characters to grace our sit-com screens. He’s a guy you probably love to hate, and he’s also hilarious. Ted Danson spent over a decade behind the bar at Cheers and could have easily called it a career. You know, stop while you’re ahead. Instead he climbed right back into the television saddle and reemerged as Dr. Becker. This time he played a medical doctor who hates everything and everyone around him. Refusing to display that little bit of a heart we all know he has, Becker spends most of his life complaining about everything.
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    Numb3rs: The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 7th, 2017

    Do you believe that a numbers wizard can predict the most random of human actions with mathematical equations so accurately as to know where and when such a person will be? If so, then I suggest you put down that letter you are writing to Santa, finish eating that egg a bunny left for you, go to your pillow and pull together all of the loot you got from the tooth fairy, and plunk it down on season three of Numb3rs. No, that’s not a typo; apparently they believe that letters aren’t good enough to stand on their own, so they inserted a 3 where the e should be. Aren’t they so clever? Not. In the fairy tale world of Numb3rs, all you need is an almost obsessive knowledge of math, and the crooks don’t stand a chance.
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