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    Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 7th, 2017

    Rebels have friends always rushing to the rescue.”

    The Star Wars universe is famously vast, and that’s before even going down the Expanded Universe rabbit hole. Though it’s been precisely 40 years since the fourth first Star Wars film premiered, the army of artists who have taken on George Lucas’ iconic creations haven’t even come close to running out of material to explore. Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels debuted three years ago as an engaging, thoroughly zippy, kid-friendly contribution that has blossomed into a thoughtful, vibrant, and vital part of Star Wars lore.
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    Batman and Harley Quinn: Limited-Edition Gift Set (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 30th, 2017

    We need Harley Quinn.”

    Warner Bros. still has a bit of a ways to go before its stable of DC Comics superheroes catches up to Disney’s dominant Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Warner and DC have long had the upper hand on both the small screen (Smallville, Arrow, The Flash) and with their animated, direct-to-video offerings. Before Wonder Woman saved the day earlier this summer, one of DC’s recent big-screen highlights was the way Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn enlivened the supervillain mash-up Suicide Squad. And while I’m fully aware that Harley’s appeal lies in being a strong, sexy, wisecracking nutjob, I wish the makers of this well-deserved small-screen showcase had taken her a bit more seriously.
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    The Lion King: The Circle Of Life Edition (Blu-ray)

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

    “From the day we arrive on the planet and blinking, step into the sun, there’s more to see than can ever be seen. More to do than can ever be done. There’s far too much to take in here. More to find than can ever be found…”

    There’s a period in the 1990’s that has often been referred to as the second golden age of Disney animation. The studio had fallen from its once mighty perch, and most film historians tend to agree there was a creative dark ages through the 1980’s.
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    The Boss Baby (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

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

    “Survival of the fittest. It’s the law of the jungle. There’s always someone trying to take what’s yours. How do I know? It almost happened to me.”

    Where the heck has Alec Baldwin been lately? I seem to recall he was a pretty hot A-list movie star actor at one time. There was The Hunt For Red October, and then there was… OK, forget the A-list movie star bit. He was really an A-list television star. He killed it in 30 Rock and then of course there was… OK. Re-set. Now I remember. There was that hugely popular radio talk show he had going on for, what was it, five minutes?
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    South Park: The Complete Twentieth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 21st, 2017

    “Going on down to South Park and meet some friends of mine.”

    After 20 years or more, they really do feel like friends. I’ve known Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny longer than most real people in my life. Only the Simpsons have been around longer these days. Over those years, South Park has always been a series of stories that rarely connect with each other in any significant way. There have been multi-part episodes, and certain experiences have come back up over the years. Still, we’re talking about a universe where killing Kenny had become a running joke and happened pretty much in every episode.
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    The Lego Batman Movie (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 14th, 2017

    Black…all important movies start with a black screen…”

    I completely understand if you’re Batman-ed out by now. The Caped Crusader barely had a chance to catch his breath since the end of Christopher Nolan’s landmark superhero trilogy in 2012 and being pressed back into duty to help kickstart Warner Bros.’ budding superhero universe last year. But between those two iterations, we got a glimpse at a fresh, knowingly funny version of a hero that takes himself entirely too seriously. Batman was a scene-stealing supporting player in 2014’s blockbuster The Lego Movie, and now he once again takes center stage in a sharp, hilarious, irreverent adventure that celebrates practically every version of the beloved character.
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    Bambi: Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

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

    “Good morning, young prince.”

    The forest is alive with the news. It travels from tree to tree, from animal to animal. A new prince has been born, and the creatures of the woods gather to welcome the young fawn. His name is Bambi, and he soon wins the hearts of the entire population of the forest. From his first attempts to stand on his wobbly legs to his discovery of the things that surround him in this brand new world, Bambi takes us on an emotional journey through the circle of life.
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    Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 18th, 2017

    With its original release in 2009, DC and Warner Bros have set up the release of Wonder Woman the animated film to help ramp up excitement for the live-action release of the new Wonder Woman film that is set to hit the big screen in a matter of weeks. For some of those readers who may think animated film means it’s just for kids, what WB and DC have done together with the animation department I wish managed to translate to their live-action releases. The DC/WB animated films in my opinion are phenomenal and honestly have set a high bar for me, because these translations have just been superior to the live-action films, and most come in short of the 90-minute mark
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    Sing (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on March 23rd, 2017

    Probably the most silly of animated films this year, and that’s a good thing for Sing. Enjoyable, very funny, touching, and absolutely incredibly wacky. The family film targets children, but the adults will enjoy it a lot more than the average toon. I’m surprised the filmmakers waited so long to put the film in theaters, but with no children’s anime to stop it from becoming a blockbuster, it’s a very possible chance it will. Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey voiced), the grandson of a theatre owner, has the tough job of bringing the venue back to its glory after he inherited the entertainment palace.
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    Moana (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 16th, 2017

    – “OK, first, I’m not a princess…”

    – “If you wear a dress and you have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.”

    Disney Animation’s 1990s renaissance was followed by an early 21st century lull for its non-Pixar offerings. The princess-centric formula was played out, so Disney pivoted and started doing things like giving Rapunzel and Eugene Flynn Rider equal billing in 2010’s Tangled and making Frozen (which would’ve definitely been called “The Snow Queen” in the ’90s) a story about sisterly love as opposed to happily ever after. One of the things I love about the outstanding Moana is that it offers a refreshing, thoughtful and exhilarating new approach to the classical Disney princess formula.
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    Justice League Dark (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 7th, 2017

    To put things mildly, Warner Bros. still has a bit of a ways to go before its stable of DC Comics superheroes catches up to Disney’s dominant Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Warner and DC have long had the upper hand on both the small screen (Smallville, Arrow, The Flash) and with their animated, direct-to-video offerings. The latest in that latter category is Justice League Dark, which mostly sidelines DC’s best-known heroes in favor of a team of mystical outcasts led by a charming, abrasive rogue.


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    Pinocchio: Walt Disney Signature Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 2nd, 2017

    “When you wish upon a star. Makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you. If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.When you wish upon a star, as dreamers do… Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through. When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.”

    The song has become a standard. Every kid knows it. Walt Disney Studios has made it their theme song. You hear it each time you load up a Disney disc. If you have been fortunate enough to have visited Walt Disney World, you’ve heard it the entire day long.
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    The Secret Life of Pets (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 24th, 2016

    “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.” 

    The first thing you need to know about The Secret Lives Of Pets is that it’s not terribly original. Fans of the Pixar Toy Story Franchise will find pretty much every element of this script has been lifted from one of the three Toy Story films. Of course, if you’re going to lift an idea, you might as well steal from the best. Of course, there are always formulaic ideas in films, particularly animated films geared mostly toward children. And while I really did enjoy almost everything about this film, I just can’t escape the fact that I’ve seen it all before.
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    Star Trek: The Animated Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 24th, 2016

    “Space…the final frontier. These are the continuing voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one man gone before!”

    Of course, we never did get five years from that original show when it ended after just three years in 1969. The new film series has tried to fix that for us. The latest film picks up the five-year mission just after three years have gone by. It’s a double homage to the original show.
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    Ice Age: Collision Course (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 21st, 2016

    “The universe, a vast expanse of space and matter. It includes all that we see and all that we know. Since the beginning of time, we have wondered how it all came to be. A gloriously orchestrated plan? A chance series of events? Or something much, much dumber?”

    Space really is the final frontier. It’s where they send tired franchises to die. They sent Jason and Pinhead to space. They sent the Three Stooges into orbit. Abbott & Costello ended up in space. They even sent Machete into space. It’s the filmatic version of jumping the shark. In Ice Age: Collision Course they send lovable Scrat into space.
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    South Park: Season 19 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 15th, 2016

    “Going on down to South Park and meet some friends of mine.”

    After 20 years or more, they really do feel like friends. I’ve known Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny longer than most real people in my life. Only the Simpsons have been around longer these days. Over those years South Park has always been a series of stories that rarely connect with each other in any significant way. There have been multi-part episodes, and certain experiences have come back up over the years. Still, we’re talking about a universe where killing Kenny had become a running joke and happened pretty much in every episode.
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    Kung Fu Panda 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 7th, 2016

    “Never underestimate the impact of dramatic entrance!”

    It’s hard to maintain the attention of the 21st-century child. Animated movies have to combine enough elements of charm and action to keep their attention for a little under two hours. If you want to keep a franchise going, you have to rip out your sequels in reasonably tight schedules. It’s been over four years since Kung Fu Panda 2, and we waited nearly that long between the first and second entry. That’s a long time in a culture where we move from fad to fad almost by the hour.
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    Shrek: Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 7th, 2016

    Oh…you were expecting Prince Charming?”

    Shrek really did pick the absolute perfect time to emerge from his swamp. The 2001 computer animated sensation from Dreamworks arrived just as rival studio Disney was winding down its decade-long hot streak of hand-drawn new classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. In other words, it was the ideal moment for someone to come along and take shots at cartoon musicals and fairy tales that end with “Happily Ever After.” (Shrek‘s biggest target, however, was probably the Mouse House itself.) But how does the movie play 15 years later? Fortunately, Fox and Dreamworks have released a new Anniversary Edition to help us figure out the answer.
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    Extraordinary Tales (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 4th, 2016

    Edgar Allen Poe is on a short list of writers that has long been deceased that just about everyone has heard of.  At some point in school we all had are chance to read about the taunting of The Raven or a number of Poe’s other famous works. With Extraordinary Tales we get an animated treat in the form of 5 animated tales written by the master of the macabre.  This is more than just a simple animated retelling of the stories as each tale is given its own unique narration and animated style. Is it worth the time to sit back and watch these classic tales or did they belong on the shelf to collect dust?  Come along with me and I’ll tell you about my journey if you dare.
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    Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs (Blu-ray) (Signature Collection)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 3rd, 2016

    “Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

    Years ago a news magazine, I don’t remember which, conducted a survey. They discovered that more adults knew the names of the Seven Dwarfs than could name seven figures in the federal government, including President, Vice-President, Senate, House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court. They say our educations begin very young. Well, since 1938 our youths have been entertained by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
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    The Giant King

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 13th, 2016

    Yak: The Giant King is a 2012 animated offering from Thailand. It is based on Ramakien, the country’s version of a famous Hindu epic poem. Neither of those facts is readily apparent in the packaging and presentation of The Giant King, an American adaptation that was recently released on DVD. On the one hand, it helps explain why the dialogue here hardly ever matches the characters’ lip movements. But knowing that this crude, chintzy offering is actually based on something rather substantial makes it even more of a letdown.
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    Original Christmas Classics Gift Set (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 4th, 2016

    If you were a child in the 1960’s or 1970’s, you were around at the golden age of the Christmas television special. We just celebrated the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and there were a ton of holiday charms that came and went each year. But there were a handful that became classics and found their way to the airwaves every year in December. Of course, A Charlie Brown Christmas became one of these, and it is indeed among the best. It was not the only special to become beloved by generations of viewers. Now Dreamworks has brought together  seven of the most memorable of these classics.
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    Toy Story that Time Forgot (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 5th, 2015

    “Be grateful for your gifts. They are all around you.”

    This is the gift that has been giving for 20 years. It’s a bit hard to believe that it was all the way back in 1996 that we had our first adventure with Pixar’s imaginative Toy Story. Since that time we’ve had two solid theatrical sequels and now a second television/video short. It’s a bridge to the fourth theatrical film on its way. But that’s still a couple of years down the road, so it’s rather nice to be able to spend some time, no matter how brief, with the gang we fell in love with nearly 20 years ago
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    South Park: Season 18 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 8th, 2015

    “Listen, my friend. This is going to be very hard to comprehend, but none of what you are seeing is real.”

    Of course it’s not real. It’s not really that hard to comprehend at all. This is an animated show, after all. And the figures look like cut-out pieces of construction paper. Of course, we’re talking about South Park. What is hard to comprehend, however, is that we’re talking about the 18th season of South Park. Few television shows last this long, and only The Simpsons has been around longer when it comes to scripted animated shows running today. That’s rare air, indeed
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    Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 9th, 2015

    The Star Wars universe is famously vast, and that’s before the Force even Awakens this Christmas and kicks off a new series of feature films. (And let’s not even go down the Expanded Universe rabbit hole.) My point is that it’s been almost 40 years since Star Wars premiered, and the army of artists who have taken on George Lucas’ iconic creations haven’t even come close to running out of material to explore. It was actually 10 years ago that the first Lego Star Wars short premiered and applied the toy company’s irreverent, spoofy brand of humor to deconstructing Lucas’ “Empire” brick by brick.
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