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    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Series

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

    “It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives day by day, and we explore the galaxy trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here: not to conquer you with weapons or ideas, but to coexist and learn.” 

    No Star Trek series has divided Trek fans as much as the 1993 release of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
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    The Crooked Man

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on February 15th, 2017

    Have no fear, Michael Jai White is here, in a role that is outside the norm that has been established for him in recent years. You know the one, kicking ass and taking names, usually without a shirt on. However, in The Crooked Man, a horror film, he is doing quite the opposite, and also unlike him, he is not the focal point, as the story focuses on a young girl named Olivia, who finds herself not only framed for her friend’s death at the hands of the Crooked Man, but institutionalized when no one believes her story. An intriguing premise, but a bit long in the tooth, if you know what I mean. That said, it does earn the title of best television movie of 2017 for me, but we shall see how long its reign lasts, as we are only two months into the year.
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    The Black Dragon’s Revenge

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

    Exploitation film has reached a point where there are just too many subgenres to count, or to care about for that matter. This film combines three of the subgenres into one incoherent amalgamation of boredom: Blaxploitation, Kung Fu flicks, and “Brucesploitation.” While the two former concepts should be familiar outside of the realm of cinephilia, Brucesploitation may be a little more difficult to grasp. Basically, after the death of Bruce Lee, filmmakers began to capitalize on Lee’s image posthumously, by using barely passable lookalikes such as Bruce Le or Bruce Li as lead martial artists.
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    Dead West

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 14th, 2017

    When it comes to having a serial killer being used as the main character or used as the anti-hero, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.  Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and of course Dexter are titles that first come to mind.  The difference between these two titles is that we understand their code, or see the lack of code, when it comes to whom they choose to kill.  It’s escapist entertainment, and I appreciate the morbidity of rooting for such deplorable characters, but that’s what cinema and television do; they take us along for a ride that reality cannot.  When it comes to Dead West, we’re on board for a cross-country trip with a serial killer, but sadly this is a trip that had me reaching for the door handle before arriving at our destination.
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    Frankenstein: The Real Story/The Real Wolfman

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

    “It killed 102 people, brutally mauling its human prey. Its victims are all women and children. The worst attack by an unknown beast in history, and the basis for the legend of the werewolf. Two investigators set out to solve the mystery. Applying modern day forensics, they hunt to uncover the real wolfman.”

    With the Universal remake of one of its classic monsters, you can expect to see a lot of related material come out of the woodwork to capitalize on the buzz.
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    Wax Mask

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

    If you have any love for Italian horror films, then you know the names Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci are the ones that cause the most excitement. Both directors have made a name for themselves in horror cinema, each providing their own authorship within their own interests. Much like debate concerning The Beatles or The Stones, cinephiles typically side with one over the other. Yes, Argento has conjured dreamlike, character-driven horror that has haunted our minds over the decades (Suspiria, Phenomena), but the late Lucio Fulci has a seemingly innate ability to create landscapes of terror that consistently push the envelope of realistic gore (Zombi, The Beyond). While I do tend to favor Fulci, I am well aware of both of their contributions and influence to horror cinema as a whole. Even though they have notable differences, The Wax Mask offers a collaboration between the two greats prior to Fulci’s death in 1996.
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    Story Of God: Season 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 6th, 2017

    Who or what is God? Does he perform miracles here on Earth? What happens to us when we die? Is there true evil on this earth? How was the universe created? How will it all end? These are the kinds of questions for which there are no concrete answers to be found in the world around us. These are the subjects that require us to turn to our faith or belief systems. The answers might be found in our culture. You might even have had experiences that have brought you closer to the answers. This is meaning-of-life stuff, and the answer might just be 42.
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    Zero Days

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on February 6th, 2017

    What do you know about the Stuxnet virus? It’s all right, you can be honest. If I’m being honest, before the documentary Zero Days, I hadn’t even known the name. After watching the film, my knowledge is stemmed more in speculation than fact. I hadn’t realized how many different ways there were to hear, “I can’t talk about that.” To this day, government officials refuse to answer any question regarding the computer virus that was supposedly designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear program. It is incredibly frustrating and has inspired in me a degree of curiosity that I hadn’t known possible beforehand. I can see why it the filmmakers were drawn to this subject matter.
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    Danny Says

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on February 1st, 2017

    The 1960s were very important to the counterculture movement in the United States, most notably the artists of New York City. Whether it be future rock stars such as Iggy Pop and The Stooges and The Doors, or the enigmatic Phenom Andy Warhol, New York was at the crux of a lot of influential ideologies that have inspired us in the succeeding decades. However, there is only so much you can read about when it comes to discovering the cultural history of New York. That’s what makes documentaries like Brendan Toller’s Danny Says so fascinating: Sure, you know the history, but can you glean what the experience would be like? Danny Says takes you on a journey beyond the facts and delves into the personal experiences of one of the most significant music journalists New York has seen.
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    Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 27th, 2017

    Before there were The Hunger Games or even The Running Man, there was a tiny little B-Film called Death Race 2000.  Long before the remake occurred with Jason Statham as the lead I was a fan of the original, and for all the wrong reasons.  I thought it was great, the notion of having a point system for people you’d hit with your car, the kind of thing you’d joke with friends about, but would never actually go through with.  With David Carradine wearing the black mask as immortal Frankenstein behind the wheel of his death machine, he was fun to root for.  I’m pretty sure, though, it was a young Sylvester Stallone as the bloodthirsty Machine Gun Joe who got so many people to see the original.  I’ll be honest, it’s what got me to rent the VHS, hoping to see Rambo in action, but instead it just opened my eyes to a new kind of cinema cool I wasn’t expecting.
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    The Babymooners

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

    If asked about my favorite genre of film, romantic comedies would not be close to the top of the list. However, I have seen enough rom-coms that I wouldn’t mind watching a second time. The Babymooners would be a film that I’d give a second watch, simply because of its charming energy. Most of this charm can be attributed to Shaina Feinberg and Chris Manley, who co-wrote and directed the film. Through explicitly stating in the synopsis that the film is “clearly influenced by old Woody Allen films,” the filmmaking duo alert audiences to exactly what they should be expecting, and they are not far off. So if you are a fan of Woody Allen, rejoice, as that is not an empty promise.
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    Broad City: Season 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 23rd, 2017

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: single gals looking for love — among other things — in the big city. On television, the trope dates back to the days of Laverne & Shirley and continues with more contemporary entries like Sex and the City and Girls. It’s an effective, timeless story hook that has gotten a funny, druggy, tremendously weird spin thanks to the queens kweens of Comedy Central’s Broad City.
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    Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Seventh and Final Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 17th, 2017

    The premise here was always dirt simple. They’ve taken the buddy cop idea and found a way to work in the forensics science fad and deliver a procedural with a few twists. The show is based on a series of mystery novels by Tess Gerritsen, who introduced us to Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles in 2001. Tess makes a cameo appearance in this, the show’s final season. The season is shorter than the usual 18 shows. There are 13, and in all of them you can feel the weight of the characters and their situations counting down until the final episode of the series. You’ll be able to see where that’s going pretty much from the beginning. After seven years, you can look forward to a tearful goodbye as the show exits on its own terms.
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    Star Trek: Enterprise: The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 16th, 2017

    “It’s been a long time getting from there to here.”

    35 years, to be exact. Enterprise is the fourth spinoff from the original 1960’s hopeful series. The Earth is finally ready to send its first starship to explore the vast galaxy. This first starship Enterprise is smaller than the ships we’ve become used to. There are no shields or photon torpedoes. The transporter has only been cleared for inanimate objects. Not that this stands in the way of its occasional “emergency” use. The ship is very much like the cramped spaces of today’s submarines. It adds an even greater sense of reality to the show. The crew is composed of Captain Jonathan Archer (Bakula), First Officer and Vulcan High Command liaison, T’Pol (Blalock), Chief Engineer Charles (Trip) Tucker (Trinneer)
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    The Orphan Killer

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on January 16th, 2017

    When a movie makes a bold claim such as being “a tour de force murder flick that defies classification,” it is inviting a hefty amount of preconceived criticisms prior to anyone actually viewing the film. It’s like titling a horror film This Will Scare You. Naturally, your first thought would be something along the lines of “Yeah, whatever, movie.” Needless to say, that want to criticize burns within you until you watch it. Then, with all the satisfaction in the world, you get to say “No, that wasn’t scary at all.” In the end, you are stuck with a movie that wasn’t what it promised to be, but realistically, you knew that would be the case anyway. It is a cheap marketing ploy that entices you to watch for all the wrong reasons.
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    Sleepy Hollow: Season 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 10th, 2017

    “Evil has returned to Sleepy Hollow.”

    With the big bad finally destroyed and an apocalypse averted, the dynamic duo of Sleepy Hollow have gone their separate ways. Abby is now with the FBI, while Crane has gone into seclusion and ends up in jail for trying to sneak an artifact into the country from his homeland of Scotland. Abby gets him out of trouble only to discover that the tablet Crane found in his family crypt back in Europe holds more prophesy for the pair of witnesses. The two have to come back together to save the world from yet another end of times
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    The Ultimate Legacy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 9th, 2017

    And the Ultimate Legacy makes three, marking the third installment in what will undoubtedly become known as the “Ultimate” series. Please don’t misunderstand my meaning; I say that as a good thing. Granted, before I watched the film I would have likely said that sardonically, but I must admit to being genuinely touched by the story and have gained an appreciation for the message behind it. Given this is the third go-around for the franchise, the themes and some of the cast is already well established by this point, which opens it up to becoming boring and stagnant; however, despite those obstacles it remains fresh and engaging. It is definitely a movie that should be shared with the whole family.
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    Never Open The Door (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 2nd, 2017

    Since we are knee-deep into the holidays, it would only be fitting to discuss the independent horror film Never Open the Door; after all it takes place on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a shame we don’t have more horror films to watch during turkey day, but for some this new title may be a nice fit to change all that.  When I picked up the title I hadn’t heard a peep about it, but I’m a sucker for horror, and seeing that it was shot in B&W just made it all the more enticing.  Now, when I watch a title like this, one thing has to work. It has to have a story that engages me; story is what matters with these smaller films, because the budgets tend to not have room for big makeup FX or big-name actors.  The limitations placed upon the filmmakers seem to force their hand and have them get more creative with the execution of scenes, whether this means creative camera work or unique storytelling.
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    Road To The Well

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on January 2nd, 2017

    Road to the Well is about what you would expect from an independent thriller: atmospheric and character-driven, sporting a slow pace. While the pacing was indeed slow, it was most certainly deliberate and aided in the storytelling. I can’t necessarily say that I would watch the film again, but I can say I understand why it has won awards while on the festival circuit, especially given the fact that it is writer/director Jon Cvack’s first feature length film. It is a good movie. It satisfies. And even though good movies have their faults, Road to the Well succeeds in balancing its failures with tremendous amounts of successful feats.
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    Duck Dynasty – Season 10

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 21st, 2016

    It’s hard to believe it, but Duck Dynasty has made it to ten seasons, and it seems to be still going strong.  When seeing the trailers for the first season, I found it hard to believe this was even going to be a show, much less garner the attention that it has over the years.  I’ll admit it I surprised myself by how much I actually enjoyed the show, even if it was being a bit liberal by crediting itself as reality television.  Even if most of the show seems pre-scripted,  it’s continued to be entertaining, which is rather impressive for me, considering I feel I don’t even fit the show’s demographic. For those who have been viewers from day one, you’ve gotten to watch the Robertson family not only grow older but expand as well.
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    Little Men

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on December 15th, 2016

    All too often do indie films fall under the category of “character study”. It’s almost as if that the entire “independent” genre has divided itself into these dramas focusing on painfully slow character development or budgetless, empty husks of action films riddled with terrible CGI. I have seen independent films that held my attention with captivating writing, but they seem to be few and far between. Little Men is no exception to the trend: it did have some interesting character development, but the story had great opportunities for intense conflict that just never followed through.
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    C.H.U.D II: Bud The Chud

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on December 14th, 2016

    The first time I saw C.H.U.D., I was deathly afraid I was going to be watching yet another zombie movie. C.H.U.D. is an acronym for ‘Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers,’ so with only that description, my assumption wasn’t unreasonable. For the readers who have actually seen C.H.U.D., you probably know that I was pleasantly surprised: it was actually a very fun monster movie. Yes, they were humanoid, but they were rather creepy, with bright glowing eyes and scaly skin. C.H.U.D II apparently forgot how amazing the original creatures were, because they are absent from the entire film (even though they are proudly displayed on the front cover of the Blu-ray case). Instead, we are treated to a zombie film with glam metal transition music and only the worst brand of tongue-in-cheek silliness.
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    Beauty & the Beast: The Final Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on December 6th, 2016

    When this series initially started, I was intrigued, although it merely seemed like a filler show. However, I find that I have to eat my words, since Beauty and the Beast survived four seasons before coming to a climax with this final season. The swan song for the show had already been sung before the first episode of this season even aired, but that didn’t stop the cast or the crew from providing a suspense-filled season as well as a proper conclusion to the story. 
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Tales Of Poe

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on October 29th, 2016

    What 31 Nights of Terror list would be complete without an addition from the master of macabre himself, Edgar Allen Poe, this time in the form of an anthology series that transforms three of his dark tales into a visual experience that will haunt you. Tales of Poe treats the audience to a front-row seat for the stories of The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, and Dreams. Fair warning, these are not direct interpretations. There is some artistic license taken, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Who wants to just watch imitation when you can watch recreation, and that is exactly what Tales of Poe offers.  I hope you have a strong stomach. Who am I kidding, if you are reading this, you must, because Tales of Poe pulls no punches in its tribute to the master.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Girl in Woods

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on October 28th, 2016

    Girl in Woods is a very conflicting film. The writing and direction were wonderful, as well as the setting: I have previously written about my fondness of independent horror films set in the woods (see my review of The Interior). However, the film’s post-production and the acting were not up to par with the maturity set forth by the intricate story and overall tone of the film. The film succeeds in establishing an atmosphere of fear and mania through cleverly fragmenting the narrative through cryptic flashbacks, but it fails to impress with visuals, simply because of poor quality.
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