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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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    Howards End: 25th Anniversary (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 15th, 2016

    Word of advice: don’t take up a sentimental attitude over the poor.”

    That bit of wisdom is offered by Henry Wilcox, the scheming, obliviously shameless wealthy capitalist in Howards End. The 1992 Merchant-Ivory film — which gets a spiffy, 25th Anniversary Blu-ray release courtesy of Cohen Media Group — is based on an E.M. Forster novel that was published in 1910. However, Henry’s philosophy towards the less fortunate members of society strikes a chord more than 100 years since the character made his debut. And that’s just one reason Howards End is worth another look as we prepare to turn the calendar to 2017.
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    Aliens: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 30th, 2016

    A creature that gestates inside a living human host…and has concentrated acid for blood.”

    If you’re a fan of sci-fi, horror, or action films, chances are you’re also intimately familiar with the creature at the center of the Alien franchise. Ridley Scott’s 1979 original is a masterpiece of space horror, so it would’ve been foolish for any follow-up to try and replicate the same formula. Instead, James Cameron’s classic sequel succeeds by transplanting an entirely new genre into the series (Aliens is basically a war movie) while maintaining the sense of terror that made its predecessor a classic. You can get a fresh look for yourself now that Fox has released a 30th Anniversary Edition.
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    Roots: The Complete Original Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 8th, 2016

    “Roots: The Saga of an American Family literally blazed across this nation’s screens.”

    In 1977 the entire country became Africans for eight consecutive nights. The name Kunta Kinte would become a household name. It was unprecedented on so many levels that even the ABC executives that made the decision to air it believed it was going to be a ratings disaster. The decision to run it on so many consecutive nights was made to avoid the ratings collapse from lasting more than a week. But by the time the final episode aired, Roots had become the most-watched television mini-series of all time.
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    Ghostbusters (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 8th, 2016

    “Who you gonna call?”

    By now everyone knows the answer. Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson are the Ghostbusters. As their ad proclaims, they’re ready to believe you. Ghostbusters was originally conceived by Aykroyd as a vehicle for John Belushi and himself. When Belushi died, reportedly from a drug overdose, the project sat on the shelf a few years. Harold Ramis would eventually team up with Aykroyd and finish the script. It’s been said that “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard
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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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    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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    Batman: The Complete Third Season

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

    Why, this is getting more farcical by the moment!”

    It’s easy to point at the 1960s Batman TV series and laugh. For Dark Knight loyalists who insist their hero be gritty and tortured, the show is (at best) a campy amusement. At worst, it’s an embarrassing atrocity. The two most important things to note are 1.) the show is very much a product of the Swinging Sixties time period in which it was made, and 2.) the series is *supposed* to be funny. (Batman picked up an Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy nomination during its run.) Keeping those two factors in mind is crucial to enjoying this entertaining, monumentally bizarre run of episodes.
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    My Fair Lady: 50th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 30th, 2015

    “She’s quite a common girl, very common indeed.”

    Of course, we don’t need 50 years of hindsight — or more than 100 years, if you want to go all the way back to the original 1913 staging of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” — to know that there’s nothing common about cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle. And there’s nothing ordinary about 1964’s My Fair Lady, the beloved Oscar-winning musical that now gets an uncommonly (but appropriately) lavish 50th anniversary Blu-ray update courtesy of Paramount.
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    I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 4th, 2015

    I Love Lucy changed the fledgling television industry in the 1950’s. This was a time when network television was less than a decade old. Most folks had never heard of television just 15 years earlier. I Love Lucy defined the concept of a sitcom. The show was driven by the very strong personalities of the cast. Desi Arnaz was considered a charismatic Latin lover by American women. Lucy played the perfect foil and found a mountain of gold to mine in strong physical comedy. So many modern shows owe their roots to this classic that it would be impossible to mention them all here. Now CBS and Paramount are bringing the show back in brand-new high-definition restored image that will delight even the pickiest fans of the show.
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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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    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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    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 24th, 2014

    “The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

    Marilyn Burns, Paul Partain, Allen Danziger, Teri McMinn, William Vail and Gunnar Hansen individually may not be that well known.
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    High School Confidential! (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 28th, 2014

    “You have just seen an authentic disclosure of conditions which unfortunately exist in some of our high schools today. The job of policemen will not be finished until this insidious menace to the schools of our country is exposed and destroyed.”

    “Authentic” is probably a stretch, but High School Confidential! is certainly fascinating for a variety of reasons. Every generation has an alleged scourge that invades high schools and threatens to rip apart the very fabric of society. (Cue masterpiece eye roll.) In 1958, that menace went by the name “Mary Jane.”
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    Grace Kelly Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 6th, 2014

    “Few screenwriters could’ve invented the story of Grace Kelly.”

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say there’s never been a movie star quite like Grace Kelly. Within the space of just 11 films, the actress won an Oscar and starred in a handful of bona fide classics on her way to becoming Hollywood royalty. Of course, the reason Kelly made less than a dozen films and retired from acting at the ripe old age of 26 is because she became *actual* royalty after marrying Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
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    Norma Rae (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 3rd, 2014

    “I’m Norma Rae. You know me.”

    Chances are you’ve at least heard of Norma Rae, even if you haven’t actually seen the Oscar-winning film that bears her name. You might know it as the granddaddymomma of underdog stories centered on feisty female crusaders; Norma Rae begat Silkwood, Erin Brockovich, North Country and others. Or you might know it as the movie that made Sally Field a serious movie star, although it’d be another five years until she really believed that people liked her.
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    The Agony and the Ecstasy (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 3rd, 2014

    “The Sistine Chapel. The masterpiece of a sculptor who did not want to paint.”

    Remember when Michael Jordan quit basketball, tried his hand at baseball, and then returned to the NBA less than two years later? Well, imagine if Jordan had actually made it to the majors with the Chicago White Sox and put up a .375/50 HR/50 SB mark on his way to winning the American League Rookie of the Year/MVP awards, along with a World Series ring. The artistic equivalent of that was Michelangelo — one of the most significant figures of the Italian Renaissance, but a sculptor by trade — painting the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
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    The Jungle Book (Diamond Edition) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 11th, 2014

    There are two very distinctive schools of thought about Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book. There are the Kipling fanatics who have never forgiven Disney for taking a story considered sacred in literary circles and creating something that honestly bears (pardon the pun) little resemblance to the original work. These folks rightfully point out that the story contains almost nothing recognizable about the story and characters from Kipling’s beloved classic. I have often condemned projects that take names like The Night Stalker and Battlestar Galactica and create a vision incompatible with the traditions I associate with them.
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    The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 10th, 2014

    You have to interfere in what is wrong to make it right.”

    When a movie is described as a “timeless classic,” the implication is the film contains a level of artistic merit and cross-generational appeal that has made it relevant decades after its release, and will make it watchable decades from now. The flip side is the type of film that is very much of the time it was created. Despite what ought to be a universal message about caring for one another, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness — making a welcome debut on Blu-ray as part of the Fox Studio Classics series — belongs in the latter category.
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    Sunrise (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 16th, 2014

    This song of the Man and his Wife is of no place; you might hear it anywhere at any time.”

    The aching simplicity of the story in Sunrise is the reason the silent film remains thoroughly watchable almost 90 years after its release. It’s also why the movie will remain thoroughly watchable another 90 years from now. Then again, the reason F.W. Murnau’s 1927 effort goes beyond simply remaining watchable — and enters masterpiece territory — has less to do with what the story is and much more to do with how it’s told.
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    Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 9th, 2013

    “Wanted: a nanny for two adorable children. If you want this choice position, have a cheery disposition, Rosy cheeks, no warts. Play games, all sorts. You must be kind, you must be witty, very sweet, and fairly pretty. Take us on outings, give us treats, sing songs, bring sweets. Never be cross or cruel. Never give us castor oil or gruel. Love us as a son and daughter, and never smell of barley water. If you won’t scold and dominate us, we will never give you cause to hate us. We won’t hide your spectacles so you can’t see, put toads in your bed, or pepper in your tea. Hurry, nanny! Many thanks!”

    And so the call goes out for Mary Poppins
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” House of Wax (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 4th, 2013

    There’s a saying that in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. No one would have expected that a one-eyed man could become the king of 3D. But that’s exactly what happened with House Of Wax. The film has become one of the definitive films in the 3D format. To look at it on Blu-ray now, it holds up quite nicely in a day where 3D has become almost passé. Still, it’s hard to believe that Warner Brothers would choose a man with only one eye to shoot their 3D film. That man was Andre’ De Toth
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    The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 3rd, 2013

    All good things must come to an end, and so it was at Walt Disney Studios. The Golden Age of feature film animation had started with Snow White And The Seven Dwarves in 1937. By the end of the 1970’s it was all but gone. As the studio entered the 1980’s the things had gone from bad to worse. Walt was gone, and so it seemed was the magic. Most of The 9 Old Men had either retired or passed away. The studio leadership was considering closing the animated studio and moving on to live-action films only.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Halloween (35th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 1st, 2013

    “I met him fifteen years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding; and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”

    In 1968 Marvin Gaye / Tammi Terrell hit the American pop charts with the song Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing. They didn’t know it at the time, of course, but they were talking about John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween.
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    A Letter to Three Wives (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 23rd, 2013

    “To begin with, all the incidents and characters in this story might be fictitious, and any resemblance to you or me might be purely coincidental.”

    Right off the bat, the unseen, all-knowing narrator of A Letter to Three Wives lets her audience know the characters in the film aren’t the only ones who are about to have their heads profoundly messed with. That sort of smart playfulness is one of the many reasons you should check out this terrific romantic dramedy from legendary writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz now that it’s on Blu-ray for the first time.
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