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

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 8th, 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. Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels is an engaging, thoroughly zippy entry that is likely to entertain its intended young target audience along with those who have been obsessed with the Force since a long time ago.
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    Lego DC Comics Superheroes: Justice League — Attack of the Legion of Doom! (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 25th, 2015

    DC Comics buffs have been obsessively analyzing every frame of the latest Batman v. Superman trailer for clues that nod to a live-action appearance by their favorite hero. But for fans of Lego’s “DC Comics Superheroes” brand — which includes various movies, TV shows and videogames — the idea of a superpowered team-up is old hat. In fact, Lego is so far ahead of the curve that its newest offering — Attack of the Legion of Doom! — explores what happens when the bad guys form their own all-star team.
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    Penguins of Madagascar (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 26th, 2015

    “Antarctica, an inhospitable wasteland, but even here, on the Earth’s frozen bottom, we find life. And not just any life: penguins. Joyous, frolicking, waddling, cute and cuddly life. Look at them, tumbling onto their chubby bum bums. Who could take these frisky snow-clowns… seriously?”

    This one has been a long time coming. I like the Madagascar movies and have been fairly positive about them in these pages. Each time I pointed out that the highlight of these films were the antics of those military-minded penguins and their grand schemes.
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    101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Athena on February 11th, 2015

    Athena here. That’s right, I’m the Siberian Husky that kind of runs things here at Gino’s house. Since I did such a great job doing the review on Snow Dogs, I decided to step in when I saw Gino watching yet another dog film. This time it was Walt Disney’s classic 101 Dalmatians. Naturally the film would have been better if it had been called 101 Siberian Huskies, but unfortunately the film was based on a popular children’s book by Dodie Smith who happened to have Dalmatians herself, so let’s not blame her; she didn’t know any better. Walt Disney himself discovered the story and took a personal interest in having it made into an animated film. 
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    Nocturna (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 24th, 2014

    As adults we somewhat have a better understanding of how our dreams work and understand that those fears of the dark when we were children were somewhat silly in retrospect.  But when we were kids, the nighttime was a mysterious time that held so many possibilities, where the magic in the world around us was something that was very real for us all.  In the new Spanish language animated feature Nocturna, the first-time filmmakers (Adria Garcia & Victor Madonado) seem to have tapped into that childlike wonder and have crafted a film that I simply adore.
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    Patema Inverted (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 17th, 2014

    I’m not the biggest fan of Japanese animation. I don’t think it’s awful or anything, but animation is one of those things where I’m just picky about what I like.  Though I can say I am a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke) and most of his work.  I think this is worth mentioning, because though I may not be as well-versed in this genre, I’d like to feel I still go into it with an open mind, and I’m always excited to find a title that excites me that I never saw coming.  And that it precisely what Patema Inverted did.
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    Planes Fire and Rescue (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on November 7th, 2014

    Flying into home entertainment, the animated comedy adventure Planes: Fire & Rescue delivers a fun film for the whole family.  The film features some of the characters from the original and a whole lot of new ones.  Brightly animated, having fine direction and with a new storyline, the film has several good values including heroism and friendship. In this episode we find Dusty Crophopper returning from his around-the-world racing tour and about to participate in annual Corn Festival.
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    “31 Nights of Terror” A Letter to Momo (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 29th, 2014

    As the spookiest holiday of the year draws closer, we’re all probably a little more sensitive to anything that goes bump in the night. Almost every creature associated with Halloween is meant to terrify us, but what if some of those horrific-looking monsters were actually tasked with watching over us? In the Japanese animated drama A Letter to Momo, a young girl encounters a trio of mischievous spirits that only she can see and hear. The monster shenanigans, however, were merely one aspect in what turned out to be one of the more affecting family films I’ve seen this year.
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    Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 9th, 2014

    By John Delia

    Most every child knows the story of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty from early video, books and DVD.  Unless you went to see the movie at a theater back in the 1959, however, you probably saw a version that was not crisp and colorful. Finally, after what seems forever, the family animated fantasy has been Blu-ray remastered and digitally restored in super widescreen. The Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD have new bonus features and include the DVD release’s special extras as well.
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    South Park: Season 17 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 18th, 2014

    “Oh boy, zombie apocalypse!”

    No, it’s just South Park. But it has invaded pop culture as much as zombies have over its amazing 18-year run. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been walking a tightrope for over 18 years now, and it just doesn’t get old. One of the reasons the show doesn’t grow stale is their ability to make such a quick turnaround on current events.
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