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    Hawaii Five-O (2010): The Seventh Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 22nd, 2017

    “Book ’em, Danno.”

    It’s been seven years since we started to hear that phrase again. Before 2010, it had been 30 years. Still it persisted in the modern lexicon along with the term Five-0, which is still shouted in high-crime areas in cities all over the country whenever a police presence is felt closing in on the bad guys. Hawaii Five-0 ended in 1980. That’s when Tom Selleck took over the sets and production crew on Hawaii to work as Magnum P.I. until 1988 when it all closed down for good — or did it?
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    Criminal Minds: The 12th Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 19th, 2017

    The 12th season of Criminal Minds would be one of great change. Some were expected and some were not. There had been incidents behind the scenes that had drawn red flags among the cast. Thomas Gibson was known to have a temper and had been reprimanded for it in the past. But as the Season 12 shooting began, he crossed the line again by allegedly kicking a writer. It was the last straw, and he was quickly fired from the series. So while the season begins with his character, it only lasts a short time. This is also the first season without Shemar Moore as Derek. That exit was planned and dealt with at the end of the previous season.
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    Granny Of The Dead

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

    What happens when a group of friends decide they want to get together and make a horror movie? I’d imagine the result would be something close to Granny of the Dead. I’m not sure what kind of budget they had to make the film, but I’d imagine it wasn’t very much, and the talent on the screen doesn’t really scream the next box office star, but the film has charm, the kind of charm that they did the film not because of the paycheck but instead they just wanted to have fun and make a movie.  I’m hoping that is the case with the film; if so, then I can forgive a lot. For instance, have you ever seen the fan film that is a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Is it great?
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    NCIS: The Fourteenth Season

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

    There have been a lot of changes at NCIS over its 14 season run to date. Over time people have come and gone, but rarely has the series had to deal with so much change going into a new season. The most obvious of these has been the departure of Michael Weatherly as beloved character Tony DiNozzo. Tony was one of the still many remaining characters from the show’s premier season a decade and a half ago. He’s the kind of character who couldn’t be replaced by just one new character. NCIS starts the 14th season with three new characters on board. But Weatherly wasn’t the only big loss to the series. The unexpected death of showrunner Gary Glasberg hit the cast and crew pretty hard.
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    The Originals: Season 4

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

    “It’s a beautiful day outside. The streets are all packed with tourists. They’re drinking beers. They’re chasing beads, headed out on the vampire walking tour of New Orleans. They think it’s just a myth, just part of the city’s charm. Well… we know better. Just like we know there’s a storm coming…”

    Are you ready to do the Time Warp again? Ready or not here it comes. It’s been five years since we last left the New Orleans setting for The Originals. Klaus (Morgan) has been locked up in the catacombs by Marcel (Davis), who is once again ruling as the supernatural king of New Orleans. Hayley (Tonkin) is taking care of her growing daughter Hope by never staying in the same place twice
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    Peanuts by Schulz: School Days

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

    I grew up on the Peanuts creations of Charles M. Schulz. Most of us have, in some way or another. His newspaper comic strip is one of the longest running and most successful strips of all time. The work has been translated into every language currently spoken on the planet. The images of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang have appeared on just about any kind of product imaginable. Our pop culture contains too many references to the strip to mention briefly.
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    A Blast

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

    A Blast just might be one of the ‘smartest’ movies I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I am not the smartest person to watch it. Heavily soaked in allegories about Greece’s recent financial crisis, the film begs to be understood, but if you do not have any background knowledge about the crisis, you are lost from the start. The film feels it was made specifically for Greek viewers, as all of the allegorical elements feel poignant and intentional, but not knowing anything about contemporary Greek society leaves you with the feeling of “this means something; I just don’t know what it is.”
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    Killing Hasselhoff

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on September 5th, 2017

    Like normal folks, when I’m hard up for money I may attempt to come up with a quick scheme or two or generate a significant income: may play the lottery (attempt to claim that 700 million dollar jackpot), perhaps sell miscellaneous  items, or cash in some bonds. However, this is the first time I heard of attempting to kill a celebrity to collect the payout of a death pool. Killing Hasselhoff tells the story of Chris, a club owner who finds himself in a desperate spot and in need of money. His only recourse appears to be attempting to facilitate the death of Baywatch star David Hasselhoff. Strange, right? I mean, most people would try to get a loan before contemplating murder.
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    Elementary: The Fifth Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 31st, 2017

    “My name is Sherlock, and I’m an addict.”

    Elementary is one of those shows that rather quietly continues to do what it does without drawing a ton of attention, but yet enough fans that the series has been able to reach the 100-episode milestone here in its fifth season. That used to be a little more important than it is today. Years ago a show’s only chance at making money after the original run was through syndication. Today there are less independent stations, and they tend toward the situation comedies more than drama.
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    Blue Bloods: The Seventh Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 30th, 2017

    Blue Bloods is the first television drama to capture the best of the police procedural and also the warmth and charm of the family drama. It’s like NYPD Blue invaded the set of Brothers & Sisters. The show brings incredibly good writing and production values that do look and feel like a film every week. You hear that a lot from series show runners, but this is one of those rare cases where it is true. It doesn’t hurt that the show has a strong cast that includes the like of Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg. It doesn’t work unless everyone connected with a show buys into a common goal. That’s exactly what you get here, and it shows on the screen.
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    Bull: Season One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 29th, 2017

    “I’m Dr. Jason Bull. I’m not a lawyer. I’m an expert in what’s called trial science. I study the jury’s behavioral patterns. I know what they’re thinking before they do. Everything my team learns gets plugged into a matrix, which allows us to assemble a shadow jury that is scary in its predictive efficiency. The verdict you get depends on me, and that’s no bull.”

    When Michael Weatherly left NCIS after 13 seasons, it’s not like he didn’t have a pretty wide safety net.
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    Oxenfree

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 28th, 2017

    Tragedy has a way of tearing families apart, and that is the case in Oxenfree, a story about three foster brothers who reunite at their family’s vacation lodge. As expected, their reunion is not a happy one, as old wounds are reopened and differences are brought to the forefront. But beyond that, Oxenfree displays a childlike wonder that you cannot help but enjoy as the three embrace the better parts of their childhoods via the retelling of a ghost story passed down from generation to generation, as well as an epic battle for a makeshift fort. It is definitely a film worth seeing, and a wholesome experience that the entire family can enjoy.
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    Lucifer: The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 24th, 2017

    It seems there is no end in sight for comic book properties being bought and turned into movies or television series. Lucifer is one of the newer properties getting the television treatment, and personally this was a title I was looking forward to. With Tom Kapinos (Californication and Dawson’s Creek) at the helm, this seemed like it would be a good fit, though one thing did nag at me. When you have a show called Lucifer and it is about the devil taking a vacation on Earth, is broadcast television really the proper outlet? As a fan of Californication I was excited to see what Kapinos would do with the material and for the most part the show doesn’t disappoint.
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    I Am the Blues

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

    The blues has had a tremendous impact on our contemporary popular culture, as it is largely the foundation of what we have come to understand as “pop music.” Without the blues, cultural phenomena such as Rock N’ Roll, Beatlemania, the British Invasion, heavy metal, hip-hop, gangsta rap, grunge, and contemporary pop would have evolved much differently. Even as I look over that list, I can’t make an argument for any one of those cultural shifts to be as impactful or as lasting as the blues. Perhaps I am a little biased as a rock enthusiast and musician, but every good guitar player knows that most of their stylistic flair can be traced right back to the Deep South.
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    Wolves

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

    I used to be a basketball fan back in the ’90s when Michael Jordan was a God on the court and you had Larry Johnson as “Grandmama” before Madea was ever a thing. Every year, some sort of inspirational sports story seems to come out. And for the most part it seems, whether it’s basketball or another sport, it’s generally the same story. But every once in a while one of the films will break the mold and give us something special. Don’t get to excited: I’m not saying Wolves is one of those films, but it is at least better than most of the other films of its ilk.
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    Union Furnace

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 17th, 2017

    A few minutes of watching the news lately will reflect an ongoing division in race, but the one divide that seems to be more prevalent is the one between blue- and white-collar Americans. The Purge franchise has tapped into this and the exploitation of the classes being ramped up to a high degree. But personally I feel that’s a franchise that still is missing a rawness that never quite allows you to feel that it is real; it’s like a dark fairytale of what may come in the distant future. Union Furnace, instead, takes a more grounded approach to the upper class taking advantage of those in need and presents what could be a terrifying reality going on in small town America.
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    Billions: Season Two

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

    In one corner you have U.S Attorney Chuck “The Scholar” Rhodes, played by Paul Giamatti. He’s the reigning world champion with a record of 80+ to 0. In the other corner is Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis; he could also be considered undefeated. He runs a sexy brokerage firm. Both of these guys walk and talk like champs. There’s a lot of trash-talk between them, but both have very lurid and potentially devastating skeletons in their perspective closets. This season finds them each willing to risk anything just to get to the other.
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    NCIS: New Orleans: The Third Season

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

    “Welcome back to New Orleans.”

    The most recent member of the NCIS family enters its third season. There are some changes, but not just in the show’s cast. I have noticed a concerted effort to use the term NOLA by both the characters and various signs and symbols displayed throughout the new season. It’s a bit odd, because at one point a character chastises an outsider that the locals prefer New Orleans. Minutes later that same character uses the term NOLA. The crew now even wear lanyards that say NCIS:NOLA on them. I have not been to New Orleans post-Katrina, so I’m not up on whatever local thing might be going on with the name.
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    Bender

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on August 10th, 2017

    In the early 1870’s the residents of Labette County, Kansas, lived alongside a family of serial killers. Known later as “The Bloody Benders,” their modus operandi was to lure travelers into their grocery store, invite them to stay for dinner, crush their skull with a hammer, and slit their throat to ensure death. Afterward, they would bury the remains somewhere on their property. Just as soon as they had been discovered, they vanished without a trace, making it difficult to ascertain if all the details we know are factual or fictional. However, stories like these are the perfect playground for filmmakers, as they are able to take as many creative liberties as they would like, and in the end, they need only say its “inspired by true events.” That being said, Bender is one of many adaptations of these events, but it looks to be one of the only films that explicitly deals with the actual Bender family and their specific victims.
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    1944

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

    In times of war it is very easy to think of your enemy as the embodiment of evil. Sometimes it is necessary to do so. However, more often than not, the person on the other side of the line is just like you, a patriot doing their duty for their country, with mild to moderate understanding of the overall big picture. 1944 helps to illuminate this point, as the audience gets to experience the war from both sides of the battle. In this case it was Estonians fighting on both sides, further complicating the morality of the situation.
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    Psychoanalysis

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on August 3rd, 2017

    Having studied and enjoyed the works of Freud, Lacan, Kristeva, and other great psychoanalytical thinkers in school, the term “psychoanalysis” carries a significant weight for me. That being said, I had quite a few expectations when picking up this film. Expectations that were not met. Now to be fair, etymologically, “psychoanalysis” means ‘mental (psyche) loosening/break apart (analysis),’ and that is most certainly delivered. However, I believe that the only relationship that this film has to the writings and theories of psychoanalysis is that literal definition of the title. Otherwise, it is a tremendous mystery to me as to how this film received its name.
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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 were over the previous six 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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